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Thread: Michelle von Horrowitz.

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    Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Character name: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Nicknames: MvH, Dreamer.
    Height: 170cm.
    Weight: 67 kg.
    Place of Birth: Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
    Date of Birth: 1st January, 1990 (age 29).
    Alignment: Tweener (heelish tendencies).
    Current feuds: n/a.
    Non-FWA accomplishments: 2015 CWA Wrestle Royale Winner. CWA High Voltage Champion (x1). 17-4 overall record in CWA.
    FWA accomplishments: n/a.
    FWA win-loss record: 1-0.
    Style of wrestling: Brawling with high-flying and hardcore elements.

    Move-set:

    1. Finishing moves.

    - Psycho Driver #2 (pump-handle version).
    - 450 splash.
    - Burning hammer (protected and rare last ditch finisher).
    2. Signature moves:

    - Busaiku Knee Kick (used in build up to finish only).
    - Double underhook DDT (through the announce table is a favored spot).
    - Brainbuster (avalanche brainbuster in big matches only).
    - Tiger Driver '98 (double underhook piledriver).
    - Cattle Mutilation.
    3. Suplex variants.

    - Northern lights suplex.
    - Tiger suplex.
    - Dragon suplex.
    - Belly to belly suplex.
    - Belly to belly overhead release suplex (sometimes top rope).
    - Sleeper suplex.
    - German suplex (sometimes top rope).
    - Regal-plex.
    4. Submission moves.
    - Stretch muffler (sometimes with stomps).
    - Cross-face chicken wing.
    - Ankle lock (grapevined).
    - Bow and arrow.
    - Camel clutch.
    - Sleeper hold.
    - Abdominal stretch.
    5. Grapple moves.
    - Drop-toe hold (sometimes into second turnbuckle, which is often exposed).
    - Russian leg sweep (sometimes into second turnbuckle, which is often exposed).
    - Neckbreaker.
    - Running neckbreaker.
    - Hurricanrana.
    - Poisonrana.
    - Dragon screw leg whip.
    - Atomic drop.
    - Reverse DDT (sometimes onto a folded out chair).
    6. Aerial and dive moves.
    - Frog splash.
    - Springboard crossbody.
    - Baseball slide.
    - Lionsault.
    - Moonsault (from the top rope to the floor in big matches only).
    - Elbow drop (from the top rope to the announce table in big matches only).
    - Suicide dive.
    - Springboard dropkick.
    - Shooting star press (big matches only).
    - Springboard shooting star press to the floor (big matches only).

    Favored weapons: steel steps, steel chair, exposed turnbuckle, announce tables, ring bell.

    Base pic for your character: Carey Mulligan.
    Theme music: 'In Dreams' by Roy Orbison.

    Record:
    CWA record: 16-4-0 (2015-16).
    FWA record: 2-0-0 (2016 special appearance, 2020-present).
    Overall record: 18-4-0.

    2015-16 matches:
    10/2015: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Anna Malikova (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    10/2015: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Johnny Addams (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    11/2015: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Wolf (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    12/2015: Harrison Wake def. Elijah Edwards, Michelle von Horrowitz [Triple Threat Match - CWA High Voltage Championship #1 Contender] (CWA Wrestle Royale)
    12/2015: Michelle von Horrowitz wins the Wrestle Royale Match [30-Person Battle Royal - CWA World Championship #1 Contender] (CWA Wrestle Royale)
    12/2015: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Jonathan McGinnis (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    12/2015: Michelle von Horrowitz and Phillip A Jackson def. Bell Connelly Jon Snowmantashi [Tag Match] (FWA-CWA Supercard)
    01/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz and Johnny Vegas def. Jonathan McGinnis and Jon Snowmantashi [Tag Match] (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    02/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Johnny Vegas (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    02/2016: Jon Snowmantashi def. Michelle von Horrowitz [CWA World Championship] (CWA Five-Star Attraction)
    03/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Enigma (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    03/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Drew Connor (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    03/2016: Drew Connor and Ethan Connor def. Enigma and Michelle von Horrowitz [Tag Match] (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    04/2016: Jonathan McGinnisdef. Jon Snowmantashi, Harrison Wake, Michelle von Horrowitz, Enigma, Johnny Vegas [Steel Roulette Match - CWA World Championship] (CWA Retribution)
    04/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Harrison Wake (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    05/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Dustin Dreamer (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    05/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz and Lightbringer def. Dustin Dreamer and Harrison Wake [Tag Match] (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    05/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz and Anzu Kurosawa def. Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday [Tag Match] (FWA Back in Business)
    06/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Harrison Wake [2 out of 3 falls Match] (World's Strongest)
    06/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Ariel Justice (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    07/2016: Michelle von Horrowitz def. Mark Merriwether (CWA Adrenaline Rush)
    07/2016: Michelle Von Horrowitz def. LIGHTBRINGER, Mark Merriwether [Triple Threat Match - CWA High Voltage Championship] (CWA Kings Reign Supreme)
    2020-present matches:
    01/2020: Michelle Von Horrowitz def. Dominick Dust (FWA Fight Night)
    Last edited by SuperSaiyan; 02-01-2020 at 12:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    MARKING OUT.
    Last edited by An Original Name; 12-22-2019 at 02:28 PM.
    The most amazing thing about this recent conversation is that I've learned AON is even more of a waste of space than I thought he was previously

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Aaaaaaaand the rumors are true!

    Welcome back!

  4. #4
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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Hell fucking yes son


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


    The only time WWE came close to a good story line post Attitude Era was Undertaker/Mordecai - Dakstang
    [06:01 PM]Dakstang
    :
    Yeah I guess you are right. And I only want to be Daddy to my own kids. Sorry.

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Shit

  6. #6
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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    This is awesome, welcome back SS. Great to see you back and I love that you’re bringing Michelle in to FWA, Michelle was definitely one of my favorites to write for in CWA and I can’t wait to see how she fairs in FWA.

    Banner credit: Booty

    Rest in power, Flock U
    Rest in power, TCON

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    Stop the hating of the E-Feds. If you don't like something, that's fine, just ignore it and let the people who do enjoy what they're here on WC to do. Mocking them to make you feel less of a geek for being on a geek on a wrestling forum is lame. If you want to not read their posts, I can fix that for you.

  7. #7
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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Thanks for the warm welcome. It's good to see a few familiar names still around! Looking forward to getting started.

    Looks like I'm a little late for the current card, so would it be okay for me to put a segment together for the next show?

    Sent from my I4213 using Tapatalk

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    You are more than welcome to do that!

    Also, shoot either me, Devin or Jimmy a PM tomorrow with any potential ideas you have! Bear in mind, Back in Business is 3 shows away, and we'd love to have you a part of it! There is one minor snag in that alot of our stories have already been set in motion, but we can make something good work for ya, Im sure.

    Its soooo great to have ya back on board, mate.

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    yoooooooooo


    ~
    ~ THE KING OF KINGS ~~
    Spoiler:






  10. #10
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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    PROMO HISTORY
    PART I - “A ROYAL DEBUT.”
    September 2015 - December 2015.

    Volume 0: "My Spring". (09/20/2015)
    Spoiler:


    Drip.

    The room is dim, and if there had been any features of note inside of it you wouldn’t have been able to see them. As it were, the dull, dark paper peeled back from the walls, the concrete floor worked on building its already-thick layer of restless dust, and a single door – its hinges rusting and its paint faded with age – stood slightly ajar and allowed a prism of light to illuminate a corner hidden from the camera’s gaze. In another corner, next to a tap that ceaselessly dripped into the stained, cracked basin waiting beneath it, a woman sat, knees beneath her chin and her eyes open but vacant.

    Drip. Drip.

    You would be forgiven for thinking that the woman was asleep, or a waxwork, or dead. She gave off no indication that she inhabited the realm of the living, and the soft motion of her breathing – reminiscent in its softness and tempo to the rhythms of the sea – was obscured by her long, defined legs. She wore a long, racing-green t-shirt, three large gold letters spelling out ‘NOW’ across her chest, as well as old-gold boxing shorts. White, knee length wrestling boots sat unlaced next to her. Her perma-bedhead rested atop a calm, pale face, ends dyed green and the rest an untidy golden crown.

    Drip. Drip. Drip.

    Droplets of dirty, hard water continued to make their way out of the faucet and into the rusting basin, and – eventually, in a subtle move only noticeable because of the stationary nature of the rest of the scene – the woman blinked, twice, and her head tilted towards the incessant noise’s origin. She was not surprised by it or annoyed by it, but she observed it nonetheless.

    Drip. Drip.

    “Good morning, my darlings,” she said, not acknowledging the camera or the state of disrepair that her living quarters were in. It was, in the objective sense, the late evening, but all minutes belonged to the morning for Michelle von Horrowitz. “Welcome to my humble abode. It’s nothing if not humble. And humble is my word of the day, tulips.”

    Her accent was laced with the Dutch homeland, but Americanisms were quite easy to find. She had been living here for years, in her little hole hidden away in the suburbs of New Orleans, and going home was not at the top of her list of priorities. There was very little for her in Europe now, and even that was too much.

    “They, and by they I mean the mamas and the papas and the teachers and the bosses, will always tell you that humility is a virtue. That if you are humble, if you pay your dues and work hard and keep the arrogance inherent to our species in a little box, eventually you will be rewarded. You plug away, you slowly place hand before hand and foot before foot as you climb up the side of some steep hill, and the summit will glide slowly and resolutely into the forefront of your visage. It’s like this here faucet, tulips. The basin will get more and more full, drip by drip, drop by drop, until eventually it will overflow.”

    Drip.

    “They, the mamas and the papas and the teachers and the bosses, are undoubtedly correct. If you overcome your ego and keep on climbing, you will reach the summit and you will fill the basin. You may even win the respect of your peers, or – if you’re able to earn them a handful of loot – even those who decide your matches and the level of your opportunity. This is the correct way, they will tell you. ’She has deserved this,’ they will say. ‘He’s earned a spot at the top.’ And when you arrive at the summit, and you look down at the other darlings clawing their way up the slopes behind you, you will realize that your knees and your elbows are shot, and your head is dizzy, and the mind that was once resolute has begun to slip. You will stand on the summit and you will know that you are too old to stay there, that you must quickly descend again if you are
    to endure.”

    Here she paused, removing her eyes from the drip-dropping of the water and – finally – allowed her gaze to fall onto the lens of the camera. Her thin mouth, surrounded on either side by pursed lips drained of color, refusing to allow emotion to escape.

    “You see, tulips, last night I had a dream. It was a short dream, but it returned to me three times in the same night, and that can only mean one thing. My dreams are no more important than yours, darlings, but I am more important than you, and so I have been blessed with the skills to remember them and to interpret them. The skeptics will tell you that I am delusional, or a charlatan, or both, but you’ll just have to decide for yourself.”

    Another drip. A sinister smile.

    “I dreamed of a garden, thick and luxurious grass stretching out like an ocean in all directions, flat and vivid and glistening with the morning’s wetness. So full of promise, so sheer and vast and imbued with life. I walk in the grass, feeling the moisture against my feet, watching the greenest green of the grass appear between my white toes, the sun driving its heat against the softness of the skin on my back. The new day has started there like it is about to here and it is clear and bright and beautiful.

    “There is one, small break in the unending sea of green, and before long I find myself standing in it. Around me are flowers, dark red and deep blue and a purple so purple it’s almost black. Angry colors. They are arranged in a circle, and around the circumference runs the rose bushes, the fuming red petals fighting for prominence among the dying leaves and the thick, proud thorns. It is now that I realize that I am standing in the thorns, that my feet are bleeding, that I can’t see the division between the red roses and my blood.”


    Drip. Drip.

    The girl yawned a huge, overly dramatic yawn, stretching her arms up above her and letting her short finger nails scrape against the mold on the walls. Her eyes involuntarily closed as her mouth opened wide, pearly whites peering around the corners of her lips. With something resembling effort, she pushed herself up, back scraping against the wall until the vertical is reached. Bending over with her hands on her knees, she let out three deep breaths amid the incessant panting, almost overwhelmed by the grim reality that the day is here and her dreams are over.

    Another drip.

    “I reach where the plants are tallest, and a wall of thin but strangely erect stems stretch around my face. The petals of these flowers are dying, wilting in their final minutes, all droopy-like and pathetic. When I touch them I only want to help them but as it draws level with my eye-line I find that the palm of my hand is all ablaze, and my fingers are charred and crumbling. I’m absorbed by it – the oddness and the glory of it – and before I know it the sorry excuse for a garden is absorbed by it too.”

    At last, she felt herself able to support her own weight, and stepped cautiously away from the wall. Opening her eyes and placing her hands behind her back, the room seemed smaller still now that she had grown out of her corner. She stared at the camera, her face still calm and plain, anything that could be said to resemble emotion kept in its proper place, a place that she had succeeded in firmly fastening shut.

    “The humble man waits for the basin to be full, one drip at a time. The humble woman waits for the ugly flowers to die before planting the pretty, young ones. All of this can take hours. Weeks. Years. The humble grow old and grey and, as they lie infirm and turgid on their death beds and look up at the reaper’s cold, slender fingers, they wonder why they were never rewarded. Why their meek nature didn’t bring them the joys that were promised. They have not and will not inherit the earth, because bold men and women model and re-model it into the world they wish to inhabit.”

    A final drip. Michelle’s bare feet padded against the concrete floor, the light sound echoing in the tiny, dank room. She lifted an arm and placed the fingers on the faucet.

    “When I pass out, in the heat of the garden, I can still feel the flames. I can taste them and smell them as I tumble through the darkness of my own subconscious, faces screaming into sight, dissipating as I reach out to touch them. It feels like hours before I am lucid again, but I know – and it is something that only I, with the gifts that I have been given, would know – that only seconds have ticked by whilst I slept. I place my fingers against the soot, on my body, and well I pull it away the blackness comes with it, leaving a white hand-print above my waist.

    “The flowers are gone, but there are still flowers. The lame and the old have burnt themselves away into nothingness, but the ones growing through now are bold and hopeful. There are tulips of yellow and green and orange, the colors of youth and promise. The colors of the new Spring. Their stems are thick and strong and without thorns. I lay back among them, the coarse blades of the grass and the soft yellow petals marrying their disparate styles against the soft purity of my skin. This is my doing. The Spring is mine.”

    With a delicate twist of her wrist, the faucet is turned and the drips cease. Instead, the water gushed out into the basin, violently splashing out onto the concrete and hissing its roar in the camera’s direction.
    Volume 1: "The Box". (10/18/2015)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Anna Malikova [CWA Adrenaline Rush, October 2015].


    The lights weren’t on. You could peer into the darkness until your eyes hurt, but it was thick and strong and not for permeating. But you could feel that there was someone – or something - there, lurking in a corner, quite conscious and breathing delicately against the silence. You could feel this even from the other side of your television screen.

    “Good morning, tulips,” she said, in little more than a whisper. It was enough within the confines of solitude to feel commanding, the small voice reaching out into each corner of the modest room and echoing softly around the chamber. “This is quite the morning, too – you join me on the eve of my return. For it is a return, even if the curtains marked with a C, a W, and an A haven’t been drawn back by my hands. Tomorrow I climb through the ropes again, I hear the babble of the crowd again, I smell the sweat seeping into the mat again. For it will be the same: it’s always the same even when it’s different. Even the booking is identical. Keep us away from the mannetjes, through tradition and laziness and maybe a bit of fear, and perhaps we’ll go away.

    “I’d like to share with you a story that came to me in my night, some point between Monday and Wednesday. I slept for forty hours and saw many things, some of which I can’t even begin to describe, but most of it vivid and bright as if I were walking through the world under the sun. I stepped out of my body and into others, into the bones of trees and the beds of rivers. I won’t bore you with details. I want to take you with me into a small box, not unlike this one, and a darkness, and all darkness is exactly the same.


    “The lid of the box was opened, and into it were poured the two smallest snakes, for they had proved violent and unsociable. Across the room the rest of their kind slithered and crawled amongst each other, soaking up the sun’s light through glass, climbing the manufactured landscape of their pit. In the box there was none of this; only the darkness and the other. For a time they would sit in opposite corners, waiting for the seconds when the lid would be lifted and the day’s meal dropped in by gloved hands. And each time she’d catch a glimpse of the other across their prison, its red eyes gleaming back at her, the occasional hiss.”


    Here there was a brief suggestion of activity, the sound of a sigh breaking the rhythm of the woman’s soft breathing and comfortable, rolling accent. The souls of feet rearranged themselves onto a concrete floor, and the mattress of a makeshift bed squeaked underneath the woman’s shifting weight. Footsteps padded into the silence, along with the thin hiss of a metal ring being scratched against a hard wall.

    “Until one day, of course, the snake killed the other in silence whilst it slept, and then crept back to its own corner to wait. When the lid was lifted for the food that day, she lashed at the hand, small, delicate teeth slicing through latex and then flesh. The last thing she saw of the box were lifeless red eyes peering back at her, and the reflection of her green ones inside of them, all illuminated by a prism of light allowed in by the hastily dropped lid. And then, I was out of the box, crawling back towards the pit.”


    The lights were turned on, and Michelle von Horrowitz stood next to the switch, dressed in black biker shorts and a baggy, shapeless t-shirt. Her hair was riddled with the negligence of sleep, its green ends shrouded in a mass of untamed blonde curls that fell to her shoulders. The room wasn’t much. The walls were mostly uncovered but for a few scraps of wallpaper that had been reluctant to her efforts at peeling, and the concrete floor had a frameless mattress as its only company.

    “Tomorrow’s match is full of adorable little elements, tulips. Not least of all is the booking. Anna Malikova, some green Soviet girl, is hired at around the same time as three male competitors and myself. Of course, we are fastened away in a singles match, a women’s match, whilst the big, butch men duke it out in a triple threat. The disconcerting nature of this match-up doesn’t stop there, little ones. Things only get more mind-boggling when you consider my opponent. Last week, Annie wanted to show that us women folk can hang with the boys, and in the next breath was calling for the return of the Women’s title. This is either hypocrisy or ineptitude. Either is contemptible.

    “Annie wants to emulate her inspirations, her idols, like Alexis and Ashley Adams. Annie wants to take the company by the throat. Annie yearns for a day when the ominous they come to understand that women play as much of a role as the guys do here. And then, when we’re done recovering from the flagrant hurling of clichés, Annie begs the big boys to give us back our Women’s Title, so we can be content in The Box and play on our own.”


    Von Horrowitz let out something between a sigh and a giggle and shook her head, almost in disbelief. She turned away from the entrance of the small room and back towards the bed. Again, she scraped the silver ring on her right index against the wall as she went, the steel whining in friction against the concrete. She took a seat, reaching for her shorts, kneepads, and boots. Setting to work in putting them on, the day seemed to loom ominously ahead of her; the morning in the gym and then ten hours on the bus to Memphis. It was doable, and she could sleep on the Greyhound. Soon enough she’d be taking her life into her hands on planes again, so she had decided to make the most of keeping two feet on the ground.

    “So, Annie, I’m afraid you’ll have to take the fight to the powers that be over restoring some kind of Women’s Gold Award all by your lonesome. And then you can fight jobbers flown in from wherever you can find them every week. I want no part of it. I don’t want to turn back the clock on women’s wrestling, and I hope that you’ll put your own misplaced desires over such gold to one side. You’ll have more fun if you follow me into the boys’ pit. All you have to do is put your fear to one side. There’s nothing to it.

    “But for now, I’m afraid I have a debut to make. And one only gets a singular chance at a first impression, tulips. I would love to carry you into the men’s division on my shoulders, Annie, but it’s been decided that I must instead drag you into it kicking and screaming. Tonight, I’m afraid, will not be pretty for you, but you should find comfort in the notion that you are playing a small part in something larger. Instead of martyring yourself for some segregated championship, you’ll be propelling me head first into my run. Again sticking primarily in your mother tongue of Soviet-draped Cliché, you say you’re here to walk the walk, not talk the talk. I’m afraid that, at least this week, you will end up doing neither.”

    ADRENALINE RUSH - match write-up

    Spoiler:

    Women's Proving Grounds Match
    Spoiler:


    Anna Malikova vs Michelle von Horowitz



    Lindsay Monahan: The following contest is scheduled for one fall and introducing first…

    The sound of “Female Russian Rap Music” begins to play out and Anna Malikova steps out as the crowd is unsure of how to react. A few whistles and cat calls from the male members of the audience causing their significant other to look at them in disgust while Anna confidently makes her stride to the ring ignoring everything around her as she flips her hair at the fans eliciting a few boos.

    Lindsay Monahan: Making her way to the ring from St. Petersburg, Russia and now residing in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and weighing in at 127lbs, Anna Malikova!

    Jim Taylor: Anna is here to follow in the footsteps of her idols as she calls them, women like Alexis and Ashley Adams

    Tim Coleman: I spoke with Ashley and she’s flattered that Anna feels that way about her, but then she said she’s the only real idol left in regards to women’s wrestling in CWA

    Jim Taylor: And the feud between Ashley Adams and Alexis continues several years later…

    Anna steps in the ring and flips her hair once more while posing before standing in the corner.

    Lindsay Monahan: and her opponent…

    In Dreams by Roy Orbison begins to play as Michelle von Horowitz is brought to the ring by eight well-tanned, well-oiled, and well-muscled men in tiny black underpants and alternating comedy/tragedy masks, hoisted onto their shoulders on a basic, small bed with two wooden poles on either side. She is placed into the ring, where she awakens, and the structure is taken to the back by her ‘gatekeepers.

    Lindsay Monahan: Introducing next from Rotterdam, Netherlands and now residing in New Orleans, Louisiana, and weighing in at 71kg, “Dreamer” Michelle von Horowitz!

    Jim Taylor: Quite the extravagant entrance by Michelle von Horowitz, but can she back it up inside the squared circle?

    Tim Coleman: I wonder how much those guys got paid to carry her out here

    Jim Taylor: Don’t get any funny ideas Tim

    Tim Coleman: Oh, I’m not I was just wondering…for a friend

    Jim Taylor: ….right

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    The two ladies step up to each other in the ring and right away Anna slaps Michelle right across the face to shock from the fans while Anna flips her back and taunts Michelle.

    Jim Taylor: How many times is she going to flip her hair back?

    Tim Coleman: She can do it as many times as she likes!

    Jim Taylor: Keep it in your pants Tim!

    Michelle fires back with a stiff forearm shot to the jaw catching Anna off guard, and then sends Anna off the ropes and catches her with a drop toe hold sending Anna face first to the mat. Michelle takes by the hair and slams her head down to the mat once more with authority. Michelle yanks Anna by her golden locks and whips her to the corner and it’s there where Michelle unleashes several kicks to the knees and thighs of Anna, who is looking worse for wear as times goes on and Michelle brings her out of the corner and drops Anna to the mat with a Russian leg sweep and goes straight into the pin…

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Jim Taylor: Kick out by Anna but Michelle remains in firm control after some unnecessary taunting has come back to bite Anna

    Michelle now has an Argentine leg lock submission applied that has Anna struggling to break free as she screams out in agony while Michelle wrenches back.

    Jim Taylor: Michelle has Anna wrapped up like a pretzel!

    Tim Coleman: Oh, I could go for a pretzel right about now!

    Anna is slowly making her way towards the ropes to break free and finally does so forcing Michelle to break the hold. Anna begins to struggle to her feet gingerly still feeling the effects of that deadly submission while Michelle tries to sneak up on her, but Anna senses it and drills Michelle with a back elbow sending her back and now Anna fires back with spinning leg lariat nearly taking Michelle’s head off with it and she is quick to the pin…

    1…
    NO!

    Jim Taylor: This time it’s Michelle kicking out while Anna has taken control for the first time in this match, but can she keep this wave of momentum going?

    Anna now sends Michelle off the ropes and catches her with an impressive spinebuster! Michelle’s spine bounces off the unforgiving canvas and Anna quickly hooks the leg once more…

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Michelle with a shoulder up and Anna looking a bit flustered climbs up top while Michelle begins to find her footing, and Anna leaps off looking for a flying clothesline but Michelle ducks out of the way and Anna manages to roll and land on her feet to prevent any collision with the mat yet it’s enough for Michelle to strike back with a nasty super kick right to the chin of Anna and both ladies drop the mat while the official begins the count…

    Jim Taylor: Both ladies are absolutely spent after giving it their all tonight!

    1…

    2…

    3…

    Both ladies begin to stir

    4…

    Michelle is up first…

    5…

    Now Anna is up and sluggishly swings a forearm towards Michelle, but Michelle manages to duck it and hits Anna with a quick kick to the midsection followed a double underhook DDT! Then Michelle climbs up top and catapults off landing a beautifully executed 450 splash and then goes straight into the pin…

    1…
    2…
    3!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, Michelle von Horowitz!

    Michelle has her hand raised as the victor, and takes it all in before taking her leave while Anna remains in the ring holding her midsection and head looking deflated in defeat.

    Jim Taylor: What an exciting match for both ladies! Both of them looked impressive, but it was Michelle von Horowitz who managed to score the win!

    Tim Coleman: Yeah, yeah great match but now I got a hankering for a pretzel!

    Jim Taylor: Could you at least try and remain professional?

    Tim Coleman: I’ll try, but I can’t make any promises.

    Volume 2: "The Bird Eats Itself". (11/05/2015)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Johnny Adams [CWA Adrenaline Rush, October 2015].


    The smell of communal books was as distinctive in the New Orleans public library as it was anywhere else. The space was large, partitioned by low shelves filled with tomes of varying age, tone, and quality, and Michelle found herself sat in the quietest corner of the square room. Across from her, an elderly homeless man slowly nodded off to sleep with a half-eaten pastrami sandwich sitting unattractively in front of him. A young man paced an aisle, picking up the odd book, flicking through it, and putting it back invariably in a different spot. She could hear the faint din of student chatter away across the room and the buzz of the lights overhead. The library was the only public space that didn’t make her want to kill people.

    Her face was framed by a set of borrowed, plastic headphones, the computer in front of her playing the same clip she’d been watching for half an hour. The building would be closed soon, her homeless friend turfed out to find a soft patch of concrete, and this would have to be her last watch. On the screen, Johnny Adams stood morbidly, staring at an old tombstone with a complex combination of emotions on his unremarkable face.

    “I have to do this for you,” he was saying. She sighed and sat back in her chair. Why would you film this?

    Across the room, the frumpish librarian was circulating, informing the patrons that the doors would be locking shortly. She had been here for hours, and the chair had moulded beneath her to match the shape of her thighs. Her eye lids were heavy and her limbs ached with every slight movement. She hadn’t slept in almost ten hours and the effects were making themselves a nuisance.

    “… I’ll make everyone proud of me, I’ll make mum and dad proud of me. And I’ll make damn sure I make you proud of me! …”

    Pathetic.

    She had watched his match from the previous week twice earlier in the afternoon. He’d done well for a green child who, in truth, was little more than a fan. His top rope C4 was almost beautiful, but you could see it coming from a handful of kilometres away, and his two opponents – who were greener still than Adams himself – had exposed some of his weak points.

    But the match was not really what interested her. The action was stuttering, the competitors doing their best to find their feet, and as a result it was a bit of a mess. This promo, on the other hand, was telling. The desperation on the boy’s face was clear, giving way at times to what she thought was guilt or maybe even shame. The latter was close to the shame she owned herself, but his guilt came from a different place. It wasn’t the direct guilt that came from culpability, she thought, but rather the misplaced feelings of ’I should’ve been there’ that could drive a weak man insane. And this Addams boy looked weak.

    A hand was placed on her shoulder, and when she looked up it was the frumpish librarian, thin-rimmed spectacles balanced precariously on the end of her nose. She looked familiar. Michelle nodded without saying a word and began to stagger towards the bus station, past the city’s drunks and homeless (or both) who were fighting for benches in Duncan Plaza and towards the bug-ridden hotel bed that waited for her in Knoxville.

    ***


    On the bus, she slept and she dreamt.

    She dreamt of many things, but there were two images that stuck with her as she traversed the boundary into the land of the awake. They were images that she’d seen before, hundreds of times, and she sensed that her unconscious form had wriggled and writhed in the regrettably leather seating of the Greyhound. She didn’t feel for her neighbours. These dreams were always uncomfortable, and so was her chair, so why should her fellow passengers expect better than her?

    At first, she dreamt of an elderly woman, pottering around her kitchen. She was dropping knives and forks, smashing plates and glasses with her careless hands. At one point, a pan was knocked from the side and free-fell to the tiles below. It didn’t bounce. When the old woman stood on it, the metal folded and crumbled beneath her feet like it was paper.

    She watched from the doorframe, flitting between the state of a child and that of a woman, both being her own at a different stage of life. Her hands felt the familiar wood of the doorframe, the paint chipping, the occasional splinter poking against the delicate skin on her pale, white finger. The room itself was a disaster zone; the aforementioned crockery strewn around the space, uneaten and possibly inedible food garrisoned on the kitchen table, mould and damp climbing the walls around the ugly, European curtains. Outside it was snowing. It was Rotterdam in winter

    “What are you staring at?” the woman said, her harsh shrill voice escaping without any movement of lips.

    You, she wanted to say. You, you stupid old woman. But she didn’t say anything. She hadn’t back then and she couldn’t now.

    The old woman was turning, staring at her with a foolish, painted face. Their tiny, third-floor flat had fallen into this oaf’s control four weeks ago, and she wasn’t coping with the pressures of home ownership. She was the sort of working class woman who felts, who knew, that she’d one day break the glass ceiling and make her way into society’s upper echelons. She’d spent her life preparing for it, speaking English or French or German (much more fancy) rather than her native Dutch, insisting they pray before eating, in possession of knowledge surrounding social etiquette even if the actual performance of such norms was beyond her classless form.

    Her name was Aunt Maude and she was terrible. She was Mother’s sister and had agreed to look after Michelle whilst the matriarch took her younger daughter to Berlin for the month. Auditions at the conservatoire, whatever that was. Little Bella had packed her cello and a month’s worth of clothes and off they’d driven, without a thought or a care for the poor soul they had left with this half-mad, half-cruel woman.

    Maude had finished her one hundred and eighty degree spin, which seemed to take minutes. And then she lumbered forward, walking straight through Michelle as she always did, into the front room to watch her dramas.

    Much later in the journey, she dreamt of the nest again. The white, speckled bird was sitting atop her eggs, eyes pointed at the sun. There were no clouds in the sky. There were no cars on the road. Only the bird.

    The scene was motionless for a while until the bird’s neck began to crane around, its long, slender neck forming almost a perfect circle. Its beak scratched at its chest, and when its neck was re-extended a thin stream of blood began to run from the gash. Again, the beak reached down, this time to its stomach, beginning to nip away at a little flesh. This continued, the bird insatiable in its hunger, until the beast’s frame looked like a violent and vivid Jackson Pollock painting. Some of the cuts were deeper than others, but all of them brought a thin drip of blood, splattering down onto the eggs or the branches or the grass below.

    Eventually, long after the bird’s lifeless form had succumb to loss of blood and gravity, landing with a thump on the ground below, the eggs began to hatch.


    ***


    She was sitting in the corner of the ring, the empty seats of the empty stadium lining the scene around her. Both of her hands clutched the middle rope and, as the scene opened, she pulled herself up onto her feet. She was dressed in full ring-gear; black biker shorts with a green stipe on one thigh, black knee-length boots, a green, loose-fitting t-shirt, knee and elbow pads. Her match wasn’t for hours but she was ready, had been ready for days.

    “Good morning, tulips,” she began, arms reaching out onto the ring ropes, back leant against the upper turnbuckle. “I am going to assume you watched this little Adrenaline Rush program last week. I am not one for boasting, so there is no real need for me to commemorate my crushing win, the first of many in a long, storied CWA run. I assume you all saw the manner in which little Annie was vanquished. I assume you all saw the beauty and majesty of my four hundred and fifty degree splash. I assume you all saw whose hand was raised when the final bell was rung. These points need no analysis. They are only facts.”

    She stepped forward into the middle of the ring, the souls of her boots lightly padding against the mat. The springs of the ring gave slightly with each step, the structure almost squeaking as she moved to centrality. The camera was stationary, the entire ring framed in its picture. When the journey was complete, she placed her hands behind her back and stared into the lens.

    “You are only interested in what I will do this week. And you should be. A hundred competitors have come through these curtains, walked down that ramp, and climbed into this ring to opening day victory. It is easy to start well. But they all begin to stammer when they’re expected to perform on a weekly basis. No staying power. These people are worthless, to be considered only for your contempt. Talent will only take you so far, tulips, before training and conditioning will have to pick up the slack.

    “Which brings me, rather neatly, to Johnny boy. Mr Adams fought last week also, in a match that I have commented on before. Whilst Annie and I were locked in the box, consigned to a Women’s ‘proving grounds’ match, he and two other green boys fought in a Triple Threat directly afterwards. Many of you will think the manner of his victory impressive, most notably his finishing move. But this was little more than dancing. An elaborate choreography that takes longer to set up than to complete. Johnny boy has sacrificed impact for showmanship – substance for style.”


    The woman walked forward, placing her forearms on the top ropes and continuing to stare at the camera, the hypnotism only broken fleetingly for the occasional blink.

    “I would like to tell you all a story that came to me in dreams. I want to take you away to the sea. Not the sheer, blue oceans you have here, but the smaller, livelier seas that lap up onto our European beaches in autumn. The foam formed with each wave before being destroyed by the jagged rocks they were thrown into, and two forms rummaged in the sands of the beach. They were at opposing ends of the space, either unknowing or indifferent to the other’s presence. The closer whistled an upbeat working tune as he went, whilst from afar the hushed tones of a hummed funeral dirge permeated the occasional note. When it did the two songs clashed and clanged and then died.

    “On the beach, behind the figures, flowers began to grow. Behind the closer figure the suggestion of roses, thorns on the stems beneath stunted, red petals. The further shadow had produced tulips of all colours, yellow and purple and red. The green stems were strong, the leaves large and resistant to the wind. As the shadow stood, it observed the sprouting of the latest bud, before returning to the sand to sow more seeds. But the roses were not taking, and they limped towards adolescence before beginning to wither.

    “The closer figure would pace from side to side, stroke a dying flower, pull out strands of his thick hair in frustration. Occasionally, he would stare across the beach, at the tall, strong flowers that his counterpart had brought forward, the line of trunk-like stems getting closer and closer. Ever more frantic, ever more a failure, he forges a small chasm in the sand with his hands and pours the contents of his seed bag into it, screaming at the skies a prayer that reads more as a thinly-veiled threat. But nothing happens. The seeds are content in the ground and their brothers flop forward to die pathetically.

    “Eventually, the tulips have grown higher than their planter, a horticultural success with no equal, and more of them appear organically, immaculately. They swallow the far shadow whole and eat up the beach, the malformed roses disappearing entirely in the tangled mass of colours. The sea comes in around them, watering the roots, the flowers climbing out of them like proud, leaping fish yearning for a taste of sun.”


    A pause. A smirk.

    “If you will suffer it, I will have to make one more assumption. I believe I do not have to explain these images, even to you, Johnny Boy. The symbolism of my dreams are obvious, but they never lie. The ring, Mr Adams, is no place for fans. It was made by greater men than you, and needs the tending of greater ones to remain strong. Your sweat and blood cannot nourish it. Your hopes and dreams cannot sustain it. This little venture, which you have lived out a million times on tacky British furniture, can only end one way. Desire can only bring you to the dance, and your talent is not equal to its rhythm.

    “Way up high, beyond even the rafters, your brother has the best view in the house. When we are done, Johnny boy, he will shake his head in shame, and turn away in disbelief.”

    ADRENALINE RUSH - match write-up
    Spoiler:

    Singles Match
    Spoiler:


    Johnny Adams vs Michelle von Horowitz



    ​"In Dreams" by Roy Orbison plays and the crowd watches Michelle von Horowitz enter the arena. She steps into the ring and receives mostly jeers but a few cheers from the smarks in the arena. Michelle smirks at them before huffing and letting them have their peasantry fun.

    Lindsay Monahan: Making her way to the ring from Rotterdamn, Netherlands and now residing in New Orleans, Louisiana and weighing in at 71kg, "Dreamer" Michelle von Horowitz!

    "Times like these" by the Foo Fighters begins and Johnny Adams approaches the arena with the fans rocking. Adams races into the ring and does the slide under the ropes and a roll and spring up. Adams and von Horowitz stare down before the bell rings.

    Lindsay Monahan: and her opponent from London, England by way of Hertfordshire, England and weighing in at 149lbs, Johnny Adams!

    Adams gets the quick upperhand with a side head lock. Horowitz counters with a single leg hold before Adams flings her with a side hip toss. Adams, usually the high-flyer, has a size advantage for the rare time in the CWA. Adams keeps Horowitz grounded before releasing and bouncing off the ropes for a running dropkick. Horowitz dodges it and lands various kicks to the knees and thighs before hitting a running crossbody off the ropes! Horowitz gains some cheers but quickly gets the rest of the crowd exploding when Adams hits a jumping DDT!!!

    Adams grabs Horowitz around the neck and whips her into the ropes. Adams gets a drop toe hold to counter but quickly escapes and hits a springboard tornado DDT! Adams covers, for the first pinfall attempt!
    ...........1
    ...........2
    .Kick out

    Adams tries for a shining wizard but Michelle von Horowitz dodges and hits a leg whip. Horowitz then lands a superkick to a kneeling Adams right under his jaw! Horowitz covers with the crowd concerned!
    ..............1
    ..............2
    ....Kick out!

    Horowitz tries a Russian leg sweep but Adams counters by grabbing the turnbuckle and holding his stand. Horowitz falls to the canvas, hitting her head, and Adams jumps to the top turnbuckle for a split-legged moonsault!!! Adams crawls back to Horowitz and covers with the fans cheering.

    ..............1
    ..............2
    ......NO!

    Jim Taylor: What a wild, back and forth match this has been thus far!

    Horowitz gets on one knee as Adams attempts another shining wizard, but Horowitz counters it again this time with an ankle lock submission! She cranks back on the ankle of Adams, who howls in pain and then Horowitz proceeds to grapevine the hold and Adams with nowhere to go has no choice but to tap out!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, Michelle von Horowitz!

    Tim Coleman: Adams with a costly mistake and Michelle von Horowitz manages to counter that into an ankle lock for the victory!

    Jim Taylor: You're right about that Tim, all it took was one mistake by Adams and Michelle took full advantage of it and continues her winning ways in impressive fashion

    Michelle leaves the ring after having her hand raised and walks to the back without turning back around while Johnny remains in the ring holding his ankle as the referee tries to tend to him.

    Volume 3: "Burns Right Through". (11/25/2015)
    Spoiler:


    vs. WOLF [CWA Adrenaline Rush, November 2015]


    When the drink had arrived, transported from bar to table by a young, well-groomed man wearing a white shirt and one of those ridiculous slender ties, she noted that the ice had been formed into perfect cubes that bobbed like buoys on the amber surface. Over time, the heat of the room and the warmth of the alcohol – a warmth that roared into her chest in song with each sip – had begun to erode the blocks. First the vertices lost their sharpness, and then the edges were gradually contoured. Bit by bit, molecule by molecule, the ice melted away and diluted the rest of the drink. The process was slow and Michelle looked on impatiently as the volume in the room leapt and then lulled and then leapt again around her. Gradual but incontrovertible. Each sip less strong than the last.

    Michelle had taken up residence in a booth set away in the corner of the room. Behind her and in front, wooden boards separated her own silence from the excited chatter of her fellow punters. Each dialogue would take its turn to rise into prominence, a few snippets straying into the loner’s ears before fading again, another unrelated exchange taking its place.

    Behind her, a young couple were eating noisily, their steel blades slicing through the meat and scraping at the plate below. After a couple of minutes of silence, the man would ask a banal question about the woman’s day, and she’d return a one word answer before returning to her food. In front, two fathers were doing their best to control four rowdy children, all of whom were intent on competing for the prize of most obnoxious sprog. A waitress brought a glass of wine to an old man by the window. Three men in football jerseys raised a toast at the bar. Others pushed beer mats around their tables or sipped lethargically at overpriced drinks or let their food go cold in front of them.

    Michelle was reasonably fond of bars and extremely fond of drinks. Her natural impediments – primarily a distinct lack of interest in human interaction – meant that she would never get quite the experience from these places that they intended. But this is where they kept all the alcohol, so Michelle was reasonably fond of bars.

    “But you have to go into work tomorrow?” the young man was asking behind her.

    “Yes,” his partner replied, bluntly. These people were everywhere. She imagined that their conversations had been more elaborate – or at least more interesting – at an earlier stage in the relationship, but relationships have a short half-life and this was the husk that was left. The bird eats itself and the eggs begin to hatch.

    She sipped at her drink, allowing it to work its oesophageal magic, closing her eyes to maximize the sensitivity of her taste buds. It was good whiskey, especially for Michigan. She had been to the state once before, and although Grand Rapids was less dilapidated than Detroit (what wasn’t?) she still felt uneasy here. She yearned for the comfort of the South, an ease bred from familiarity and anonymity. The North was different somehow. Harsher. Less forgiving.

    “Chantelle-Marie, would you please just stop eating the salt?” one of the parents was saying, ever-frantic.

    “It’s no use. That one’s just wild,” his husband replied. “Maybe if she keeps eating the salt her heart will explode and she’ll finally sit still.”

    When her glass was empty (but for the now crumbled remnants of ice) she caught the eye of her waiter with the ludicrous tie, and soon enough the reinforcements arrived.

    “How’s the whiskey?” he asked.

    “It burns right through,” she replied.

    As she poured a mouthful of the amber down her throat she let the tip of her tongue rest upon a cube, its cold, smooth texture contrasting and complementing the music of the whiskey. Outside the moon was ascending and occasional groups lumbered unsmiling in front of the windows, pulling their jackets tightly around themselves to shield from the cold. She wondered if they knew the drabness of their own city, the source of their discontent. Occasionally someone would laugh or shout out in excitement and the effect was jarring, even startling.

    “Are you who I think you are?” a meek voice said. Michelle dragged her eyes from the window and placed her glass down on the table. In front of her stood a young woman – perhaps twenty – clutching the straps of her rucksack. She stood close to the ground and was dangerously slender. Her hair had been cut short and slicked back, a quiff giving her two much-needed additional inches, and a pair of circular glasses were fixed on her face.

    “Who do you think I am?” Michelle replied.

    “You’re Michelle,” the girl replied, almost giddy with excitement. She wore a pair of black jeans and a white Jonathan McGinnis t-shirt. The t-shirt looked homemade. “Michelle von Horrowitz!”

    “Indeed,” she said. Michelle opened her mouth to continue but didn’t know where the natural extension of this was, so she stopped short and closed her mouth.

    “Oh my goodness,” the girl said. Staring around at the others in the bar. She greeted the room’s apathy with incredulity. Why weren’t they fawning, too? “I’m such a massive fan. Of the CWA and of you especially, of course. Please, please –“ as she pleaded she whipped her bag around her torso and began to root through its main compartment. “Would you sign this for me? I already have Jonathan McGinnis… Snowmantashi… Craig Owens… a few others. I would love to add yours to my collection.”

    The girl handed over a notepad. The cover had an image of a yellow crocodile on a blue background. Inside were frantic notes on every imaginable topic – recipes, diary entries, calculations, formulae. Michelle took the book from her and realised she didn’t have a pen. Or a signature.

    “So, do you think they are going to bring the Women’s title back?” the girl asked, desperate for the conversation to be prolonged.

    “I hope not,” Michelle answered. She was trying not to sound blunt but she was out of practice. “I don’t have a pen.”

    “But you’re going to enter the Wrestle Royal, right?” the girl continued, returning into her bag for something to write with. Michelle just shrugged. She didn’t know anything about the Wrestle Royal, other than that it was happening soon and would involve thirty competitors. She didn’t know the process. She didn’t know the prize. She didn’t need to know. Either in the fast lane or the slow, her destination remained the same.

    “You were so good against Johnny Adams last week,” the girl continued, picking up the conversational slack. A perma-smile was plastered on her youthful, pale face. “I was really worried about you, going against a man and all. Who do you have this week?”

    “Wolf,” Michelle responded blankly, taking a pen out of the girl’s hands and beginning to scratch ‘MVH’ onto an empty page of the notepad. When she looked up to return the book, the girl’s face had changed.

    All remaining colour had been drained, the size of her eyes and the shape of her mouth depicting the sort of desperation and misery usually reserved for recently-neutered dogs.

    Wolf?!” she replied. She hadn’t taken her book back and Michelle was left holding it out rather pathetically. “But he’s… he’s an animal! What are you going to do?”

    “I’m going to wrestle him,” Michelle replied.

    “But surely you need some strategy?”

    “That is my strategy,” Michelle replied, with some sense of premature triumph. “I’m going to wrestle him.”

    ***


    Michelle von Horrowitz sat in the corner of the ring, the empty stadium rising up around her and the expectant mat below her. Her head rested against the second turnbuckle, her legs stretched out in front of her, one calf propped up atop a shin. She had her arms wrapped around the bottom rope, the coarse material scratching softly against her palms. She had donned her ring gear; baggy green t-shirt, black biker shorts, knee and elbow pads, long, unlaced boots. All that she needed now was an opponent. And an audience.

    “The scene opens and all at once it’s majestic. Vast. Impenetrable. Away in the distance stars dance heel and toe. In the forefront, taking up perhaps a third of the image, a barren, dying planet looms ominously. Its rotation reveals a patchwork of brown rock and fire, burning vividly and violent against the sheer black of space. This is the scene that waited in my dreams. This is the scene I wish to tell you about now, tulips.”

    The camera had begun to move towards the woman, steadily and slowly. As she concluded her opening gambit, the camera had traversed perhaps half a metre, the speaker still positioned across the ring. She continued, staring straight ahead, straight past the camera.

    “Tomorrow I face a FWA Hall of Famer. Tomorrow I face Mr ’Gold and Glory’. Tomorrow I face the Beast, Wolf. Over two metres tall, almost a hundred and thirty kilograms. Calves the size of tree trunks, arms the size of my body. He cuts an impressive figure, without a doubt, and his history in the ring is both well-documented and highly regarded. A hardcore legend, if you’ll excuse the overused terminology, and a brawler. A loner, fixed in place. Solitary and impenetrable.

    “It must have been hard for the Big Bad Wolf to finally jump ship, tulips. A hero in his own habitat, he’s stumbled his way through the opening weeks of his CWA career. A few wins, a few losses. The very definition of mediocrity. Consistency is king in this business and the Wolf-man has been consistently inconsistent. One big win at the pay-per-view does not alter the fact that our legend has already been beaten twice. Shoulders down for a three count, twice. You shall have to tell me what that feels like some time, Mr Wolf.”


    We had traversed maybe a third of the ring, and it had become clear that the woman’s eyes were closed. Her head was tilted back slightly, allowing the harsh, bright lights of the arena to shine down upon her pale skin.

    “The planet continues to spin against its black canvas as, from beneath my visage, a small meteor appears, tumbling and turning on its direct path towards the surface. Its speed is such that it scratches the sky. I watch it as it gathers speed, hurtling through the darkness in silence. As it hits the atmosphere it somewhat crumbles, chunks of rock crumbling away and diverted this way and that. But for the most part it remains, faster and hotter than ever, scorching the sky red as it prepares to land.

    “And when it does it burns right through. It hits the surface and we see before we hear. Dirt and rock and whatever else are thrown up around the point of impact, and then we get the thud, the crash, and the roar of uplifted earth. The planet’s wildfires envelope the crater before tumbling into it, biting away at the body’s wounds. A few moments later, the meteor reappears out of the other side, hurtling onwards towards its next target. The tunnel left rumbles and moans with the pressure. When the holes at either side begin to expand, huge bodies of rock breaking off into the atmosphere surrounding it, it looks to be devouring itself, spawning ten thousand new meteors to spew at ten thousand far-flung planets.”


    The camera crawled over the CWA logo in the centre of the ring as the woman paused. She allowed her head to fall forward, away from the turnbuckle, but her eyes remained fixed firmly shut. She used her left hand to muss up her hair, which sat lop-sided towards her left.

    “You see, Mr Wolf may be the number one contender for the High Voltage Championship. He may have ripped through the competition in some other small pond away across the horizon. You may have won a six-person circus at last month’s pay-per-view. You may be big and you may be strong. But you are still a lumbering, feeble-minded, weak-willed individual who has been floundering for months in an angry, semi-coherent mediocrity. You’re too well regarded, your history too storied for you to open the show, but – and how can I say this tactfully – nobody cares enough about Wolf to put you in the main event. And so you just go on floating, because you can’t swim but you refuse to sink.

    “You see, my little tulips, the Big Bad has blown any momentum he may once have had with just a pair of lacklustre performances. He can win as many clusterfucks as he likes, he will still be the man who was pinned twice in consecutive weeks. To me, anyway. I have spoken to some who seem to hold the Wolf-man in reverence. He’s big, they say. He’s strong. But he is a man and he is fallible.

    “Some of you may wonder what authority I have to speak like this. Two wins, you might dare to say, and already I speak like a champion. And you would be right to say this, tulips. My crushing victories against little, darling Annie and sweet, green Johnny are only worthwhile as statements of intent. Tomorrow, with Wolf in my sights, these statements become actions, intentions become reality. And the night’s sky runs red as the Wolf howls at the moon in pain.”


    The camera slowed to a halt around a metre from Michelle’s face, and it was here that she finally decided to open her eyes. They glistened deviously beneath the unnatural blue arena lights as she teased a smile.

    ADRENALINE RUSH - match write-up
    Spoiler:

    Singles Match
    Spoiler:


    Michelle von Horowitz vs Wolf (Craig Owens on commentary)


    In Dreams begins playing and the crowd rises to its feet to greet Michelle von Horowitz with boos and jeers. Horowitz ignores them, walking to the ring as the fans simmer down.

    Danzig's "Twist of Cain" begins and the crowd emerges with a thrilling ovation. WOLF comes to the ring looking intense as ever with Horowitz waiting.

    Hans Zimmer's "Time" now plays as the crowd greets the High Voltage champion Craig Owens with jeering as he slowly makes his way down to ringside. Instead of joining the commentary team he sits at ringside to get a closer look at the match.

    The bell rings and the two competitors stare at one another from their respective corners. Wolf steps forward first and backs Horowitz into her corner. Wolf fakes a lunge and reads Horowitz's dodge to hit a violent elbow smash into the face. Then it's another elbow, and a third, and a fourth. Horowitz is backed against the turnbuckle as Wolf wails away on her. Wolf, the much-larger competitor, whips Horowitz across the ring and the smaller wrestler is flung into the turnbuckle with her feet flying up in the air upon impact. Horowitz dodges a corner clothesline but Wolf watches her momentum and lands a sole kick into the ribs. Then Wolf hits a running powerslam and covers!
    .................1
    .................2
    .Kick out

    Wolf remains in control, sending Horowitz into the turnbuckle and hitting a spinebuster throw back into the corner. Horowitz fights back with forearms to the face but Wolf stops it with a few more of those corner elbows to the neck and jaw.

    The tide turns when Wolf whips Horowitz into the opposite turnbuckle and follows behind for a running boot, but Horowitz back flips over Wolf using the turnbuckle. Horowitz hits a superkick that joggles Wolf's mind and then a running crossbody! Horowitz hooks the far leg!
    ...................1
    ...................2
    ..kick out!

    Horowitz shows how quickly a match can turn, grabbing Wolf but getting driven into the turnbuckle. Wolf lands repeated shoulder thrusts against Horowitz's ribs until the smaller wrestler catapults over Wolf, who drives his shoulder into the middle turnbuckle. Wolf's arm goes limp and Horowitz yanks it down while pulling Wolf into the canvas. Horowitz begins stomping into the arm repeatedly until the referee backs her up. Wolf's shoulder looks legitimately hurt as Horowitz wastes no time focusing on it, wearing Wolf down even more.

    Horowitz lands a double underhook DDT to a kneeling Wolf and rolls him onto his back to cover!
    ................1
    ................2
    .......kick out

    Horowitz allows a second to catch her breath, which might allow time for Wolf to gain some strength in his limp left arm. Horowitz grabs the wrist but Wolf grabs Horowitz with his non-injured hand and yanks her through the top and middle ropes and out the ring!

    Wolf takes this chance to recuperate while Horowitz rests on the ground outside the ring. Both wrestlers seem to get up at the same time. Horowitz grabs Wolf's foot, but Wolf doesn't fall. Instead, he grabs Horowitz by the hair and pulls her to the apron. Horowitz lands a surprising forearm uppercut that stuns Wolf, and then enters the ring with the match hanging in the balance

    Upon entering the ring Horowitz is stunned by Wolf short arm clothesline taking her down momentarily, and it's at this moment that Craig Owens hops up on the apron distracting Wolf. Owens taunts Wolf, who makes a beeline for the champion, and Owens qucikly hops off the apron snickering and bowing while Wolf yells obsecinities at him. Meanwhile, Horowitz has recovered just as Wolf turns back around...DOUBLE UNDERHOOK DDT! Wolf's head bounces off the mat and then Michelle climbs up top...450 SPLASH! She hooks his leg for the pin...

    1...
    2...
    3!

    Lindsay Monahan: Your winner, Michelle von Horowitz!

    Michelle quickly takes her leave while soaking in the win while Craig enters the ring and stands over Wolf while raising his title high above to a jeering crowd.

    Volume 4: "Interview". (12/05/2015)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Harrison Wake and Elijah Edwards, and 30-person battle royal [CWA Wrestle Royale, November 2015]



    Everything about her surroundings had Michelle von Horrowitz experiencing pangs of discomfort. First, there was the lighting, unnaturally bright and producing enough heat to force the occasional bead of sweat through her pores. Secondly, there was the room itself, dressed up neatly like somebody was trying to rent it out, with no peeling wallpaper and even a window. The camera was different, too; more imposing, staring at her with its large, round eye in deep expectation. And finally there were all these people. Two men behind the camera - one staring at its small, square screen whilst the other held a comically large boom - and a woman sitting next to her, flipping idly through a pad of notes and avoiding eye contact in what seemed a deliberate fashion.

    “You ready?” the man behind the camera asked. The woman placed her notes out of the lens’ sight, fixed on a smile, and nodded in lieu of a starter’s pistol. “And… action!”

    “Good evening and welcome to CWA.com’s build-up coverage of one of the most anticipated events of the year, the Wrestle Royale. I’m Michelle Kelly, and I’m joined now by the undefeated Michelle von Horrowitz. Three matches, three wins, but zero interviews, until now. Michelle, it’s wonderful of you to join us.”

    There was an uncomfortable pause, during which von Horrowitz shuffled awkwardly in her chair. She looked at the camera, and then to her interviewer, and then back at the camera. She said nothing. The uneasy effect was only half-deliberate; the wrestler didn’t really know whether a response was expected.

    “Erm, so, it’s been a few weeks since your debut victory against Anna Malikova,” Kelly pushed on, keeping her gaze on her continually shuffling guest. “And since then you’ve amassed a small collection of scalps, first seeing off Johnny Adams and then FWA Hall of Famer Wolf. But no interviews. What has caused you to break your silence now?”

    “Well,” the wrestler started, still confused as to whether her attention should be directed towards the interviewer or the camera. She took the average and stared off idly towards the floor. “They told me I couldn’t keep talking into a camera every week, so here I am.”

    “I see,” the Interviewer replied, momentarily flustered. She stared once at the man behind the camera, who shrugged, and then at the gormless soul holding the boom. He didn’t offer a response. “In just two days you return to the ring in a Triple Threat match, the winner of which will go on to face the High Voltage Champion, whoever that may be after the pay-per-view. A Triple Threat match will place you out of your comfort zone. How have you been preparing for the new challenge?”

    “I’ve been in Triple Threat matches before,” Michelle said, a little bluntly. This isn’t going well, she thought to herself, but what were they expecting? She had told them this would happen, whether she desired the event to be awkward or not.

    She recognised the man behind the camera. He’d spoken to her after each of her victories, offering timid congratulations as she escaped from the arena and from the mindless troglodytes lining the bleachers. She’d seen him again shortly after arriving in Detroit, whilst she drank in the corner of a dive bar and stared at the passing traffic. The cars in Detroit were as tainted and worn down as the people. It was a disgusting city but not one without charm.

    “Michelle?” he’d said to her as she swirled the amber liquid around in her glass. “It’s me, Jasper. We work together.”

    The wrestler had nodded. She had thought she’d smiled, too, but looking back she couldn’t be sure either way. The cameraman was there with some more of her colleagues, he’d said. They’d got a list of bars from the concierge at their hotel, he’d said. She was welcome to join them, he’d said. When Michelle had politely declined he’d looked at her as if she’d just killed his dog with a shovel. People didn’t understand that loneliness wasn’t always to be avoided. To some it was meant to be embraced. Most are so desperate to fill their life with the inane chatter of others that they refuse to even consider those that shun it.

    It had always been like this, though. When the boys and girls in Holland had asked her whether she fancied the pubs or the coffee shops she’d chosen neither. She declined offers to walk along the canals with acquaintances even if she liked the idea, deciding instead to go alone. She’d refused to play with her sister’s new toys so often that their mother had eventually bought the younger girl her cello, ’something you can enjoy without relying on Michelle’s company’. And now Belle was playing with orchestras in Berlin and Paris and Madrid. Everything she had she owed to Michelle’s sullen insistence on loneliness.

    “Let’s try a different avenue,” Michelle Kelly continued, persistent as ever. “As well as your Triple Threat match, Detroit will be the setting of the Wrestle Royale contest, where thirty competitors will climb into the ring to vie for a world title shot. First, will we see Michelle von Horrowitz amongst the thirty? And if so, what’s your strategy? Most of the field will have the size and power advantage over you, two important attributes in an over-the-top match like this. And please, Michelle, more than a sentence in response. You owe the viewers that much.”

    The wrestler raised an eyebrow, looking sideways-on at her counterpart. She wasn’t sure whether she enjoyed her directness. It was bred from a mistrust of anyone who took their job as seriously as she did, especially when their job wasn’t as serious as hers to begin with.

    “The Wrestle Royale match will indeed be graced by my presence, tulip,” she began, looking properly at Kelly for the first time. She was beautiful in the most conventional of senses, refusing to stray even an inch from society’s picture of what a woman should be. “It would be ludicrous of me to pass up such an opportunity. I would be lying if I claimed that the World Heavyweight Championship wasn’t my ultimate goal. Anyone in the locker room who says otherwise is a charlatan. Size and power will only get you so far though, darling. Just look at the Big Bad Wolf, quivering in pain after a DDT and a 450 splash last week on Adrenaline Rush.

    “But that is different to a battle royal, you will say. Technical skill and speed can win out in a one-on-one wrestling match, but perhaps not in an over-the-top contest. But strength and mass are no guarantees of victory, either. In fact, the biggest man paints the biggest target on his chest, and my fellow minnows will be clamouring over each other to shoot down a prize buck. I maintain that the key in any type of match is intellect. And I think you’d agree, Michelle, intellect is a rare trait to find in our industry.

    “But as for strategy? The same as always, tulip. Take them as they come, one-by-one.”


    “Take them as they come?” Kelly replied, seemingly smelling blood and beginning to circle. “For someone who claims ownership of great intelligence that doesn’t seem the most well thought out strategy.”

    “You’re right, darling,” von Horrowitz answered, without shame. And then, with unintentional candour; “I’ve had a lot on my mind this week.”

    And that much was certainly true. In a good week, Michelle’s nights would stretch out until they met each other in middle of the day, and she’d amass close to a hundred and twenty hours of shut eye. This week she’d had maybe a tenth of that, and it was beginning to show. The cubes of ice in her glasses clinked ferociously with the shaking of her sleep deprived hands. The tar from many frantically smoked cigarettes clogged in her arteries. The weight of bastard consciousness hung heavily on her eyes.

    It was not for want of trying, either. It was down to the dreams. Not the good dreams that placed her in the souls of beings thousands of miles away or lost in leagues of harsh, drastic landscapes. These were the bad dreams. Dreams of her childhood, either direct or analogous, that had her waking suddenly at half-hour intervals. Many would call them nightmares, but she tried not to. All offerings of the night are gifts, no matter how painful, and she wasn’t usually one to flee from them so pathetically.

    It had primarily been the bird that eats itself, played over and over again on a sadistic loop. The branches of the tree bled with it, dripping down onto the vivid grass below and hanging there like violent dew drops. Without fail, the bird would eventually flop over, out of its nest and into a sorry heap on the floor beneath. And always, with a sense of great horror and something close to sorrow, the eggs would begin to hatch, and she’d wake before she could observe what had been left behind.

    Maude was prominent, also, as she always was. Her stupid, fat aunt stomping around in the kitchen with her stupid, fat face, crushing and crunching crockery beneath her stupid, fat feet. She’d watch her young self watching this woman, hating this woman, seething with a yet unnamed rage that she’d only come to understand in adulthood. Maude often visited her in the night, and it was usually in the same despondent guise, going about her messy business with complete disregard for any observers. But sometimes other events would creep amongst these dreams, usually at times when Michelle’s fears and anxieties were beginning to build. And that was the case this week, which was lamentable but, of course, explainable. It was perhaps the biggest week of her professional career.

    It had begun to affect her on the bus ride across from Grand Rapids, where she’d walked in the night through their deserted family home. She pushed open each door and observed the stillness within. Every sense was hyperactive. She could see the dust building upon the surfaces; smell the mildew building in the corners of windows; almost hear the day turn into night and then back into day. Every room but one. She’d been into the small box that Aunt Maude had made her home a few times since The Night It Happened, but soon enough it had lost its thrill. Now the bedroom seemed to contain only dread and doom. She would walk right up to it each time the night placed her in this scene, reaching out for the brass door handle which hummed and then screamed as it waited for her. And then she’d awoken, thrashing about in her chair and causing quite the scene. Her fellow travellers stared at her in something resembling indifference. It was the Greyhound, after all, and they were quite used to it.

    The next night, though, as the moon crept up above Detroit and cast its white, otherworldly light on a city in ruin, the dream she feared most had come back to her again. The door – Maude’s door – was pushed open by a hand that didn’t quite seem her own. It creaked on its hinges, dust popping upwards from the carpeting as new oxygen surged in to replace the stale air. Her Aunt lay in a mound on top of her bedding, face pale even for a von Horrowitz, eyes staring up at the light fixture fastened to the ceiling. Spittle bubbled in the corners of her mouths. She blinked, and her subconscious removed her two yards from her previous perch, Michelle now finding herself staring over the shoulder of herself at the very age that she was on The Night It Happened. And then again, so that she could observe her teenage self observing the child. And again and again, a human Russian Doll unravelling itself, compounding the fact that this event had played on her mind at each and every stage of her life.

    She’d awoken in a Detroit hostel with her forearm pressed against the throat of a poor, unsuspecting British boy who occupied the bed opposite. Fear flashed and somersaulted in his eyes, and it had taken her perhaps thirty seconds to gain control of herself and the situation, retreating first across the room and then out of it. Even the night wasn’t safe for her now. A place she’d seen as a refuge had taken the first opportunity to turf her out.

    Instead, she had sat on the bank of a large hill, staring at Ford Field. She’d run her hands over the long grass that the city couldn’t afford to mow and regard smashed windows that the city couldn’t afford to replace. The night was cold and she’d wrapped her coat around her, waiting for the morrow, when Michelle Kelly would sit beside her with her notepad and her boom. She smoked cigarette after cigarette, watching the thick plumes of smoke escape from her lungs and tumble upwards towards the stars. It would’ve almost been beautiful, if it wasn’t so fucking cold.

    “Um, Michelle?” Kelly was saying, pushing a finger into the wrestler’s shoulder to snap her out of a self-inflicted daze. “Are you still with us?”

    “It would appear so,” von Horrowitz answered, shuffling in her chair in a failed attempt regain something close to comfort. “I’m afraid I lost myself, tulip. Where were we?”

    “We were discussing strategy for the Wrestle Royale.”

    “Ah, yes!” the wrestler replied, almost in triumph. “The Wrestle Royale. No strategy necessary, really. We can all pick an attribute that we believe to be most important in over-the-top matches. Some will say the power to throw another out of the ring gives you the edge. Others, that the speed to evade a larger opponent will keep you alive. Some will pluck for brains, others for technique, and yet more will tell you that self-preservation is the key. Of course, all of these things are helpful in their own way, but it is equally true that one can possess each of them in bucket-loads and still be dumped out of the ring within a minute. Would you like to know the one, fool-proof strategy or the Wrestle Royale match?”

    A slight pause, for effect.

    “Luck, of course. If one is lucky, this match is his. Or, of course, hers. This is the biggest clusterfuck available in the CWA. We could re-run this match every night for a month and get a different winner each and every time. If the Lady smiles on me kindly, you can be sure that I’ll seize the opportunity with both hands, but it doesn’t really matter either way. All roads lead to Rome, as they say, and my destination is fixed on the gold trinket around Mr McGinnis’s waist. It could take a month or it could take a year; it makes no matter to me. The cream rises to the top, my darling tulips.”


    “Another match in which luck is sure to count towards the result,” Kelly continued, concerned that she’d exhausted the Royale and pressing on to a new thread. “Is your triple threat match, the winner of which will go on to challenge for the High Voltage Championship. One of your opponents, Elijah Edwards, debuted on the very same night as you, whilst Harrison has stalked these halls for weeks. Do you agree with some who are saying that Wake’s experience gives him something of an edge?”

    “Some? Who is this ominous some?” von Horrowitz replied, almost beginning to enjoy herself. “Experience, my darling Michelle, is yet another buzz word, spouted out by a unique combination of has-beens and wannabes drowning in the ineptitude of their own punditry. Wake has been in this specific organisation for a handful of weeks longer than me, it’s true, but I have waltzed in the rings of Europe and Japan and From Sea To Shining Sea. Whilst he was scraping up roadkill for his momma’s dinner I was lifting gold across the pacific. The only experience that this man holds over me is that of losing. The same goes for ‘Lijah, too. I know that they can be beaten, and they can only hope the same is true for me.”

    “Do you worry,” Kelly put in, chin placed delicately between a finger and thumb; her best affectation of thought. “That with this attitude towards your opponents, a Triple Threat could quickly mature into a handicap match?”

    Michelle indulged in a smirk. She was used to handicap matches. Her entire childhood had been one.

    “Worry is for people like Edwards and Wake,” she replied, turning her attention back toward the camera. “Tough Guy Harrison has shown his weaknesses to the world and to me. He was the first eliminated in the mess of a match that elevated the Big Bad Wolf into new realms of delusion. He looked on flaccidly whilst El Pecado drove a flag in the ground in Lexington. A six-man tag loss to the Vanity Brigade. Harrison has a long history of watching on whilst other people win matches, which is almost fortunate. Because as much as I dislike Harrison Wake as a monotonic vacuum of a primate – and I do so very much dislike him – it cannot compare to the feelings of blood-boiling rage that I feel every time Elijah Edwards steps through those ropes.

    “Elijah Edwards is a man blinded by hypocrisy, floundering in the torrid guidance dished out to him by his manipulative little pipsqueak of a manager. Rollings is a cretinous leech driven by money, and a man like that is to be neither trusted nor admired. Edwards’ association with this creature only highlights the magnitude of his double standards. He paints a mundane picture of himself as a respectful, honourable soul. A general solid guy. Yet he buys into the spin of a squalid little runt like Rollings, eyes wide and starry at the merest suggestion of accolades, wealth, and power. Edwards is full of the ugliest of lusts, and unintentional vanity is just as bad as deliberate.

    “Double E, as we are expected to call this odious little man, has been equally as uninspiring as Tough Guy Harrison in his short tenure here. A pair of wins, one in a thrown together six-man and the other thanks to a dubious finish. A loss to my old friend Johnny Adams, a green boy that I myself pushed aside as if he were a feather in the wind. ‘Lijah has plodded his way through the month, up and down but never too far either way. He speaks of prestige and titles but he dreams of the coin. I see it in his manager’s ugly black eyes.”


    Von Horrowitz paused momentarily, and the camera crept inwards along with the interviewer. Michelle Kelly had fallen silent, sensing the natural build to the climax.

    “But Tough Guy Harrison and Double E are two more names that could be replaced by any others, eventually just statistics lining the foundations of my reputation. In a year’s time, your two names will be appendices to my ascendency, alongside the twenty seven others I outlast in the Wrestle Royale match. But that is for the future, and I do like to keep at least one foot in the present, tulips. And so, I will endeavour to enjoy the inevitable warm-up victory, boys, and I don’t doubt for a minute I will enjoy pinning the one so unfortunately known as Double E. And it will be you, ‘Lijah, don’t doubt it. So when you’re staring at the lights on the arena ceiling, counting along one-two-three with the referee, I want you to put your ambitions of championship gold to one side. The shadow I’m casting needs occupying for the time-being.”

    WRESTLEROYALE - triple threat match write-up
    Spoiler:

    Lindsay Monahan: The next match is scheduled for one fall and introducing first…
    Spoiler:



    “Icky Thump” by The White Stripes blasts out indicating the arrival of Elijah Edwards. The crowd is on their feet cheering when Elijah steps out being flanked by his agent Romeo Rollings, and the two make their way down to the ring.

    Lindsay Monahan: Making his way to the ring being accompanied by Romeo Rollings, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada and weighing in at 221lbs, “Double E” ELIJAH EDWARDS!

    Jim Taylor: Edwards has had his fair share of wins as of late and looks to continue that trend tonight, but there’s no doubt that he’ll have his hands full in this contest

    Lindsay Monahan: And his opponent…

    Soon “Move Me” by The Ghost Inside now fills the arena and the fans begin to jeer mercilessly when Harrison Wake steps out with his agent Mia Walsh not too far behind him.

    Lindsay Monahan: Making his way to the ring being accompanied by Mia Walsh, from Rock County, Wisconsin and weighing in at 240lbs, “The Backwoods Badass” HARRISON WAKE!

    Jim Taylor: This man is as tough and nasty as they come but he can get the job done nonetheless!

    Tim Coleman: You got that right Jim, Harrison seems like the type of guy you wouldn’t want to run into a dark alley, but his manager on the other hand…

    Jim Taylor: Calm down there partner!

    Lindsay Monahan: And their opponent...

    “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison plays and Michelle von Horowitz is brought to the ring by eight well-tanned, well-oiled, and well-muscled men in tiny black underpants and alternating comedy/tragedy masks, hoisted onto their shoulders on a basic, small bed with two wooden poles on either side. She is placed into the ring, where she awakens, and the structure is taken to the back by her ‘gatekeepers

    Lindsay Monahan: Making her way to the ring from Rotterdam, the Netherlands and now residing in New Orleans, Louisiana and weighing in at 17kg, “Dreamer” Michelle von Horowitz!

    Jim Taylor: This young lady has been on quite the impressive hot streak as of late having not lost a single match she’s been in since he debut, and tonight she’s got a big opportunity in front her but in her way stands two other hungry competitors gunning after the same goal!

    Elijah Edwards vs Harrison Wake vs Michelle von Horrorwitz

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    The three competitors circle each other looking for an opening on the other when Elijah is the first one to make a move as he goes in for a hit on Harrison Wake, catching the man from the backwoods with a hard forearm smash knocking Harrison back a few steps into the corner and Elijah unloads with several elbow strikes in the corner to Harrison. He steps back leaving Harrison dazed in the corner when he senses Michelle sneaking up on him causing him to turn around looking for bicycle kick, but it’s Michelle who catches Elijah mid kick and drops him with a sudden but swift leg whip. Michelle continues her assault on the leg as she applies an argentine leg lock submission hold as she wrenches back on Elijah, who is cringing on the mat in obvious pain until it’s broken up by Harrison who drills Michelle in the back of the head with a Sucker Punch! He takes Michelle now in position before slamming her down hard to the canvas with an STO and into the cover…

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Michelle with a shoulder up and Harrison quickly whips her to the corner where he gets in several rough chops to the chest before bringing Michelle in for a short arm lariat taking her right off her feet. Harrison is in the driver’s seat, but only for a moment as Elijah has recovered and he runs at Harrison looking for a clothesline but Harrison ducks underneath yet Elijah is faster on the exchange knocking Harrison with a European uppercut leaving Harrison stunned allowing Elijah to drop him down right across the knee with a pendulum backbreaker! Harrison crumbles to the mat and now it’s Elijah in for the pin this time…

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    This time it’s broken up by Michelle, who grabs Elijah by the head bringing him up, but Elijah counters with a jawbreaker that sends Michelle stumbling back some allowing Elijah time to run at Michelle and he connect with One Armed Scissor! A Running single arm swinging neckbreaker and Michelle is down and out as Elijah attempts a grapevine STF submission hold and he has it locked in tight with nowhere for Michelle to go until it’s quickly broken up by Harrison Wake who stomps down viciously on Elijah’s head. Now Harrison looking to capitalize as he takes Elijah up and down hard with a huge Samoan drop and into the pin…

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Elijah with the kick out keeping himself alive, but for how much longer is the question. Harrison looks to find that out as he takes Elijah off the ropes catching him with a Lou Thesz press followed by several wild punches. Harrison is fired up now as Elijah lay on the mat, and Harrison turns around right into Michelle into a running cross body that takes Harrison down but he’s not out just yet as he manages to recover quickly but Michelle catches him with a low dropkick to the legs that causes him to drop to a knee and Michelle spins behind him to hit him with a Russian leg sweep! She attempts a figure four leg lock submission but Elijah puts a stop to that with a bicycle kick leaving her dazed allowing him to catch her with excellently executed exploder suplex right into the corner! The crowd is on their feet now as Harrison begins to stir but he’s dropped on his head with a snap DDT from Elijah and now Elijah begins his climb to the top looking for a flying elbow drop…but as he leaps off he misses when Harrison rolls out of the way in time and Elijah crashes to the mat hard! Harrison now has him in his sights…TIMBER BOMB! Harrison hits all of it and he’s in for the pin as Michelle makes an attempt to break it up but she’s not in time…

    1…
    2…
    3!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, and new number one contender for the High Voltage Championship, Harrison Wake!

    Jim Taylor: Well there you have it fans, Harrison Wake has done it! You are looking at your next challenger for the High Voltage Championship, so if I were Craig Owens right about now I’d be worried!

    Tim Coleman: I’ll give credit where it’s due, but he’ll stand no chance against a world class athlete like Craig Owens!

    Jim Taylor: That will remain to be seen but for now Harrison Wake can enjoy this victory

    Harrison takes his leave with Mia Walsh looking pleased with her client while Michelle looks on from the ring with disappointment, and Elijah is tended to by Romeo on the outside.

    Tim Coleman: Damn, though...this is turning out to be one hell of an evening, and we still got a lot to get to.

    WRESTLEROYALE - battle royal match write-up
    Spoiler:

    Jim Taylor: Jonathan McGinnis was a great champion and will one day wear the gold again, but tonight, a monster from the East rises.
    Spoiler:



    Tim Coleman: Congrats to the Kaiju. Man, who the hell is going to stop that guy?

    Jim Taylor: I don't know, Tim, but we're about to find out who's going to get that shot at the Pinnacle of PPV. It's time for the WrestleRoyale Match.

    Tim Coleman: The human demo derby! Who's gonna outlast and outsmart 29 other wrestlers to earn the right to main event Five Star Attraction? Lindsay, take it away! Let's get this party started!

    Lindsay Monahan: It is now time for the 30 person Wrestle Royale match!

    Crowd pops loudly for the announcement.

    Lindsay Monahan: The rules of the match are as follows: 30 entrants will participant and to be eliminated you must be thrown over the top rope with your feet touching the floor. The last person standing at the end of the match will be declared the winner, and they will move on to face the CWA World Heavyweight Champion in the main event at Five Star Attraction!

    Another big pop from the fans as they await the arrival of entrant number one…

    Entrant #1: Prince Pain

    “Toll of the Bells” hits and the crowd instantly begins to boo when Prince Pain steps out from behind the curtain. He pays the fans no mind as he walks straight towards the ring with one purpose in mind, and that is to destroy anyone that gets in his way of once again becoming world champion.

    Lindsay Monahan: Introducing entrant number one…PRINCE PAIN!

    Jim Taylor: Prince Pain may have got the unlucky draw of the hat, but I don’t think he cares much either way to be honest. All he cares about is reclaiming that former glory of his, and taking back what was once his world championship

    Tim Coleman: Oh yeah he’s a fired up and determined man, oh boy I don’t envy who comes out next to face him!

    Entrant #2: Fire Dragon

    “Hell Yeah” by Rev Theory hits and a few boos begin but most fans just don’t care as Fire Dragon makes his way out.

    Lindsay Monahan: and entrant number two…FIRE DRAGON!

    Tim Coleman: You say Prince Pain had the unlucky draw, but I think it may be the other way around Jim! Look at Fire Dragon, he’s shaking in his boots knowing he has to face an angry and determined Prince Pain!

    Dragon, at first, cautiously steps in the ring as Prince Pain is seething and chomping at the bit to get his hands on him…

    Main Event: WrestleRoyale Match

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    The bell sounds and Prince Pain makes a beeline towards Fire Dragon in the corner, but Dragon narrowly avoids the incoming attack slipping out of the way and he drills Pain with a few forearm shots before clotheslining him over the ropes but Pain manages to hang on while Dragon acts as if he’s done the unthinkable and eliminated the big bad Prince Pain…

    Jim Taylor: You may want to turn around there pal

    Tim Coleman: Oh boy, he’s toast!

    Dragon turns back around right into a Whirlwind Blast discus lariat from Pain that nearly takes Dragon out of his boots! Pain takes the dazed Dragon and handily tosses him over the top rope with ease…

    Fire Dragon has been eliminated!

    Tim Coleman: Who’s the next victim for Prince Pain?!

    Entrant #3: Captain Klappton

    “Raining Blood” by Slayer hits and out comes Fire Dragon’s partner, Captain Klappton. He doesn’t look the least bit intimidated as he enters the ring and shouts “IT IS WHAT IT IS!” right in Pain’s face but Prince Pain was ready for him with a Stick It super kick! Captain is leaning on the ropes now in a daze and Pain finishes the job with a clothesline over the top to the floor!

    Captain Klappton has been eliminated!

    Jim Taylor: Prince Pain making quick work of The Fugitives!

    Tim Coleman: I didn’t even realize they still had jobs here, well maybe not now after tonight’s performance, ha!

    Pain paces the ring awaiting the arrival of his next opponent as the clock ticks down…

    Entrant #4: Nate Savage

    “Cut the Cord” by Shinedown hits and the booing grows very loud as Nate Savage makes his way out.

    Jim Taylor: Uh oh, this one is bound to get ugly in a hurry!

    Tim Coleman: Two of the angriest guys in CWA, this is great!

    Savage steps through the ropes and gets toe to toe with Pain as his music fades away. Pain with the height advantage stands over Savage, but Nate isn’t backing down at all as the two stare a hole through each other before wailing away on each other much to the crowd’s delight. The fans may not like either man, but they want to see them beat the tar out of each other! They trade lefts and rights until its Savage gaining the upper hand backing Pain into the corner where he continues his assault with several boots to the midsection until Pain is a slumped prone position allowing Savage to connect with a corner cannonball as the countdown begins again…

    Entrant #5: Alex Nova

    “Almost Famous” by Eminem blares out and Alex Nova makes his way to the ring.

    Jim Taylor: This could get interesting he and Prince Pain have some history from previous organizations

    Nova quickly slides in the ring but right away he’s stomped on by Savage before he can make it to his feet, and Savage continues to relentlessly stomp away on Nova until he decides he’s had enough. He sends him to ropes now looking to set him up for the Nasty Bomb, but Nova hangs on before the rebound and laughs at Savage mocking him until from out of nowhere he eats a super kick from Pain that sends him toppling to the outside floor…

    Alex Nova has been eliminated!

    Pain leans over the ropes to flip off Nova on the outside before right back around into a bionic elbow from Savage that stuns Pain, and Savage drills him with several more leaving Pain stunned, or so Savage thinks as Pain is in the corner once more he charges in at him but Pain is ready and catches him with SUDDEN DECLINE! Pain drives Savage to the mat with a huge spinebuster as the countdown begins for the next entrant…

    Entrant #6: Rich Stone

    “Indestructible” by Disturbed hits and former world champion Rich Stone makes his way out as entrant number six.

    Stone enters the ring and goes right after Pain, who is more than ready for a fight, and the two begin to trade blows with lefts and rights while Savage is still recovering in the opposite corner. It’s Stone mounting the offensive drilling Pain with a knee to the gut before transitioning into a fisherman suplex on Pain! Stone’s attention turns to Savage, who makes beeline for Stone, but Stone is ready for him as he catches Savage with a knee to the gut followed by a belly to belly suplex as the countdown begins for the next entrant…

    Entrant #7: Humanity

    “Terror Time” hits and here comes Humanity rushing to the ring making his way to Stone to continue what he left on earlier in the night in the number one contender’s match.

    Humanity catches Stone with a throat jab followed by several uppercuts that have Stone reeling allowing Humanity to drop him with authority with a belly to belly side suplex! Meanwhile Pain and have recovered and have continued to go to town on each other on the opposite side with Savage driving his boot into Pain’s face. Humanity still has Stone in his sights and drops him down hard with a vicious sidewalk slam as the countdown begins for the next entrant…

    Entrant #8: Ben Bruce

    “Rock or Bust” by AC/DC hits and out comes on half of The Moment, Ben Bruce! He’s fired up as he makes his way to the ring and clubs Humanity with a double axe handle in the back while Savage almost has Prince Pain eliminated…

    Entrant #9: Clint Shepard

    “Mad World” by Gary Jules begins to play and the crowd erupts into a frenzy of cheers while Savage turns his attention from Pain to the entry way looking ready to blow a gasket…

    Jim Taylor: That music belongs to only one man, but could it be?!

    Finally, Clint Shepard steps out from behind the curtain and Savage is livid inside of the ring yelling at Shepard, who remains as he walks down the ring. Meanwhile, behind Savage is Prince Pain, who clubs Savage from behind and lifts him up over the top to be eliminated…

    Nate Savage has been eliminated!

    Tim Coleman: What?! That’s not right! Shepard had no business out here!

    Jim Taylor: Well, Savage should have thought about that before he attacked Shepard a few months back, turnabout is fair play!

    Savage is livid on the outside as he runs to face Shepard, but is blocked off by officials ordering him to return to the back. Shepard enters the ring while back in the ring Pain sets his sights on Rich Stone while Ben Bruce and Humanity are going at it…

    Entrant #10: Harrison Wake

    “Move Me” by The Ghost Inside and here comes Harrison Wake! The number one contender for the High Voltage championship makes his way down to the ring hitting the first man he sees, which is Ben Bruce, leveling Bruce with a sucker punch to the back of the head and Bruce drops to one knee as Harrison continues his assault on Big Ben. Meanwhile, Pain and Rich Stone are teaming up on Humanity taking turns laying the boots to him in the corner…

    Entrant #11: Elijah Edwards

    “Icky Thump” by The White Stripes hits and here comes Elijah Edwards as entrant number 11! He quickly beelines for Wake, who earlier cost him an opportunity at the High Voltage championship. Wake sees him and starts throwing punches, but Elijah manages to respond with a bicycle kick, downing the Backwoods Badass!

    Meanwhile, Rich Stone decide to try and eliminate Pain after double-teaming Humanity, but Pain responds with fists of his own. The countout continues as the next entrant is...

    Entrant #12: Nightmare

    It's Humanity's partner in crime as Nightmare runs to the ring and begins dishing out blows to everybody! Humanity, seeing that Nightmare has come, gets a second wind and begins to join the fracas. Ben Bruce tries to stop the momentum, but all he gets for his trouble is a Passing of the Damned from CWA's resident monsters! Both Humanity and Nightmare unceremoniously toss Ben out of the match.

    Ben Bruce has been eliminated!

    But wait! Nightmare takes the opening and dumps Humanity out! Nightmare eliminates his own partner!

    Humanity has been eliminated!

    Humanity looks enraged for a second...but then laughs? He shakes his head and nods, giving his blessing to Nightmare who rejoins the fray against Prince Pain.

    Entrant #13: Michelle von Horrowitz

    The eerie woman known as "Dreamer" enters the match, singling out the man who earlier won the Triple Threat match with focused kicks and chops. Wake, being kind of crazy, actually eggs her on before countering with a lariat of his own. Elijah Edwards sees this and immediately goes after both Horrowitz and Wake, restarting their earlier contest.

    Meanwhile, Clint Shepard, who has been taking shots here and there, makes the mistake of getting a shot in on Pain, who had just slammed Nightmare. Pain, not caring about Clint's status as an Icon, uppercuts the legend and sends him over the top rope and out of the Royale.

    Clint Shepard has been eliminated!

    The clock ticks down as another combatant enters the fray...

    Entrant #14: Andre Jones

    The protege of Rich Stone enters the match looking to assist his mentor...BUT GETS DRILLED BY STONE! Rich Stone shares glory with no one and immediately eliminates Andre.

    Andre Jones has been eliminated!

    Rich cranks his neck as he goes back to the match...but WAKE ELIMINATES THE FORMER WORLD CHAMPION WITH A LARIAT!

    Rich Stone has been eliminated!

    Wake seems pleased until Elijah attempts to eliminate him, but Wake holds on. More fighting as Pain continues to try and hold court against Nightmare and Horrowitz stays back, assessing the situation. She doesn't have much time to do that as the countdown continues...

    Entrant #15: Eddie Von Gunner

    The collective groan of CWA's fans can be heard as the former X-Fly Champion and washed-up has-been/never-was rock star Eddie Von Gunner returns to action for a shot at reclaiming what little glory he had. He gets in the ring and starts to headbang as he screeches for a microphone. Michelle, not quite knowing what to think of this strange little man, decides to just ignore him. A nearly costly mistake as Eddie is able to grab her by the hair and toss her over the top. Michelle hangs on as Eddie prances about as if he won the entire match. He's so engrossed with himself that he doesn't notice the timer clocked down.

    Entrant #16: Gabrielle Montgomery

    Wait, WHAT THE SHIT?! IT'S GABRIELLE! The former FWA World Champion! The Caramel Goddess has arrived in CWA and has entered the WrestleRoyale! The fans are roaring for her, half because this was a major shock appearance and the other half because they read the hentai. Either way, she enters the match and comes face-to-face with Von Gunner. Because Eddie is an idiot, he assumes she's one of his groupies. He goes for a rather inappropriate embrace that Gabrielle side-steps before eliminating the pest.

    Eddie Von Gunner has been eliminated!

    Gabrielle flashes her famous seductive smirk...that is almost taken off when she comes face to face with Prince Pain. Apparently irate that his kingdom's been invaded by a would-be queen, he does not hesitate to clock her. To her credit, she fights back ferociously against the much more powerful foe as a new combatant enters...

    Entrant #16: Ethan Connor

    One half of the Tag Champions is announced and Ethan does come down the ramp...but he does not enter the match. He sneers at the fans and says "It ain't the time yet, dorks!" as he sits near the barricade.

    Meanwhile, Nightmare has gotten back in the mix of things as he continues to pound away at Prince Pain, unknowingly saving Gabrielle from elimination. However, her peace is short-lived as Michelle takes this opening to rejoin the fight and start brawling with Gabrielle. Elijah and Wake still are at each other's throats as the clock ticks down yet again.

    Entrant #17: Jeremiah Johnson

    Former High Voltage Champion Jeremiah Johnson gets the nod as he slides in and starts to lay into everyone he can. He points to the sky as if to thank his god for giving him the strength against these white heathens...right up until he bumps into Nightmare, who promptly DDTs him for his trouble. Prince Pain gives him a football kick right between the shoulder blades as the brawls continue, with Elijah barely avoiding elimination at the hands of Harrison Wake and Michelle having trouble getting the better of the Caramel Goddess.

    Entrant #18: Rolando Fuentes

    Another former World Champion enters the fray, but not before getting some last minute coaching from Diego Gonzales. Rolando slides in and, with that familiar old evil ferocity, jumps Prince Pain and drills him hard with precision strikes. The opening gives Nightmare a chance to pick up Jeremiah Johnson and make the radical zealot suffer for his actions.
    And again, as all this is going on in the ring, Ethan Connor is sitting outside, having not entered the match yet. He's even stolen a bag of popcorn from a fan and chowing down on it. And the next entrant is announced...

    Entrant #19: Jonathan McGinnis

    The complexion of this match has changed dramatically as the now former World Champion enters the match. He's still a bit wobbly, but he's PISSED and that anger's giving him plenty of energy.

    SUPERKICK!
    SUPERKICK!
    SUPERKICK!

    In quick succession, McGinnis has laid out Nightmare, Horrowitz, and Fuentes with superkicks. Jeremiah Johnson, thinking that McGinnis was spent, rushes him. All he gets for his trouble is a superkick that sends him over the top and out of the match.

    Jeremiah Johnson has been eliminated!

    McGinnis is not done as he sizes up Prince Pain for a superkick, but gets kicked in the knee by Gabrielle! Gabrielle tries to prove her superiority over a CWA World Champion by tossing McGinnis over the top, but he hangs on despite his knees. Once again, we get a clock down...

    Entrant #20: Nick Lawton

    The other half of The Moment is up, but he doesn't enter the ring immediately. Instead, he sees a smirking Ethan Connor and decides to get a little payback. He chases Ethan around the ring until Ethan has no choice but to slide in, with Nick right behind him and right on top of him. Nick starts pounding away at Ethan as McGinnis re-enters the ring for a bit of payback on Gabrielle, but he's cut off by Wake who still wants a piece of the former champion. The countdown winds down...

    Entrant #21: Johnny Vegas

    "The Man Who Beat the Darling" is up next. After a quick kiss from his Jenny, he slides in and cracks Wake in the skull with a forearm smash. He then gives Elijah a swift kick before coming face to face with McGinnis. Vegas has a toothy grin that is immediately wiped off by a heart punch. McGinnis is in no mood to deal with Vegas, not when the pain of his loss was still so raw.
    Nick is still trying his damndest to eliminate Ethan Connor, but it's to no avail as the obnoxious title holder will not just let go. Meanwhile, Gabrielle has just finished another scrap with Horrowitz (who's more than holding her own against the Hentai Queen) when she bumps into Nightmare. Nightmare, very familiar with Gabrielle's pedigree, is not about to waste any time as he grabs her by the hair...

    Entrant #22: WOLF

    ...but he's immediately distracted by the next entrant, the powerhouse known as Wolf! Wolf darts to the ring and SPEARS THE EVERLOVING CRAP out of Nightmare! There's a really tense stare-down between Wolf and Gabrielle, two FWA legends. Gabrielle breaks the tension with a barrage of fists, but Wolf grabs her and plants her with the Final Howl! Wolf roars as he picks up Gabrielle and prepares to powerbomb her out of the ring...headscissors! Gabrielle counters with a headscissors and shockingly eliminates Wolf!

    Wolf has been eliminated!

    Gabrielle looks rather please with herself as she notices that the clocks ticking down again. After looking to see that everybody else was pre-occupied, she decides to wait to see who comes down next...

    Entrant #23: Zack Sullivan

    The self-professed "Majestic One" is up next, accompanied by manager and former CWA's Women's Champion Ashley Adams. Zack looks as egomaniacal as ever as he enters the ring...
    CARAMEL COATED DDT! Gabrielle boots Zack in the gut and delivers her patented finishing DDT! She then picks him up and tosses him out.

    Zack Sullivan has been eliminated!

    That pisses Ashley off something fierce as she yells at Gabrielle, shouting various insults and taunts Gabrielle shouts back as he tries to get back to the match...

    NO! Michelle von Horrowitz takes advantage of Gabrielle's distraction and eliminates her! Gabrielle Montgomery is out!

    Gabrielle Montgomery has been eliminated!

    Ashley mockingly laughs at Gabrielle, causing the Caramel Goddess to run after her for some payback. Michelle, eerily smiling, returns to the action as a new combatant is about to enter...

    Entrant #24: Drew Connor

    And now things get really unpleasant as the other Connor brother races down to the ring just in time to save his brother by eliminating Nick Lawton!

    Nick Lawton has been eliminated!

    With the brothers united, The Echo can now really focus on taking control of this match as they target Elijah Edwards, who had just finished fending off Harrison Wake. Stereo superkick eliminated Elijah, putting his dreams of main eventing Five Star on ice.

    Elijah Edwards has been eliminated!

    The brothers Connor look rather pleased with themselves...RIGHT up until they get clotheslined by Prince Pain. His conditioning is remarkable considering he's been in this match the longest. The clock clicks down...

    Entrant #25: Ryan Andrews

    Ooh, this is interesting. The bodyguard of Craig Owens enters the fray. A veritable hoss of a man, he enters the ring and focuses his attention squarely on Harrison Wake. It's no secret: he's wanting to do damage to the man next in line for a title show at his boss/meal ticket. Wake, however, is not a pussy. So he slugs it out with the big man.
    Meanwhile, Rolando attempts to eliminate Nightmare with a lariat, but Nightmare turns it around on the former World Champion and tries to lariat him out himself. Rolando hangs on...at least, until McGinnis drills him with his favorite move.

    Rolando Fuentes has been eliminated!

    Nightmare takes this as a personal affront as he starts to club away at McGinnis. Another entrant is coming up...

    Entrant #26: Shade

    The eerie face-painted warrior makes his return with a bang, springboarding in and splashing both Nightmare and McGinnis! Shade looks to be all fired up until he meets the equally eerie Michelle von Horrowitz, who launches her own vicious assault on the new entrant.

    Meanwhile, Prince Pain is attempting to eliminate Drew Connor, but Ethan blocks it. Pain tries to eliminate Ethan, but Drew blocks it. Then both members of The Echo try to eliminate Pain, but Pain's too strong and just tosses them off. The timer clocks down to zero and a new entrant is announced...

    Entrant #27: "Grand Wizard" Konchu Hao

    A rather peculiar-looking wrestler walks down the ramp. He's dressed in black, wearing a large-collar coat and a mask with what looks to be...antennae? Nobody knows what to think of this stranger, but it's clear when he enters the ring that he is at least somewhat competent as he grabs Michelle and full-nelson slams her to the mat. He makes some kind of hand gesture to signal...something, but never gets to finish it as The Echo, having fended off Pain for the moment, double-team clothesline this newcomer out of the Royale.

    Konchu Hao has been eliminated!

    Pain is back to his feet as The Echo attempt their stereo superkick to eliminate him. Surprisingly, that doesn't work. They yell at McGinnis, who had just freed himself from Nightmare's grasp, and motion for him. McGinnis, not really caring, joins The Echo and finally eliminate Prince Pain!

    Prince Pain has been eliminated!

    And because The Echo are jerks, they immediately sandwich McGinnis's head with rolling elbows! They crotch top over McGinnis as the clock ticks down...

    Entrant #28: El Pecado

    The masked luchador, the buzzsaw El Pecado gets the nod as he enters the fray...only to get eliminated by ANOTHER tandem superkick from The Echo!

    El Pecado has been eliminated!

    Meanwhile, Johnny Vegas is trying to take advantage of The Echo's handiwork by trying to muscle McGinnis out of the ring. McGinnis, feverishly tries to hang on as he simultaneously attempts to eliminate Vegas and get this guy out of his way. The two of them get tied up in the ropes. On the other side of the ring, Wake is squaring off against Nightmare in a battle of "Who can punch the other guy harder?" It seem to be fairly even as the clock winds down.

    Entrant #29: Craig Owens

    The High Voltage Champion ends up with a lucky draw as he walks to the ring. He's greeted by Ryan Andrews who now acts as his benefactor's living shield. The Echo try to eliminate either of them, but Ryan Andrew presents much the same problem that Prince Pain did. More brawling as Michelle is down in the corner, either trying to recuperate or play possum. The final entrant is about to come in as the clock ticks down...

    Entrant #30: Apollo Mars

    Former temporary tag partner of Craig Owens and successful male model, Apollo Mars practically struts to the ring like he owns the place. He slides in and, strangely enough, greets Owens with a handshake. Owens seems receptive of it...until he nods at Ryan Andrews and Apollo Mars gets clotheslined out. So much for lucky #30.

    Apollo Mars has been eliminated

    However, that temporary distraction allows Wake to sneak up and eliminated Owens! Wake has just sent a message to the High Voltage Champion!

    Craig Owens has been eliminated!

    Ryan Andrews is shocked as he goozles Wake...STEREO SUPERKICK FROM THE ECHO! Ryan Andrews is out!

    Ryan Andrews has been eliminated!

    The Echo are loving this, feeling like they're invincible. They may just take the WrestleRoyale and do exactly what they say they'd do...

    ...Or, they could be too busy taunting to realize that Nightmare is right behind them, ready to send them packing. The brute of the Movement drills The Echo with a double clothesline, sending them over the top rope...but not out! The Echo skin the cat and grab Nightmare and toss him out instead!

    Nightmare has been eliminated!

    Meanwhile, McGinnis and Vegas are still tied up in the ropes. Vegas is relentless in trying to eliminate McGinnis, to prove his victory wasn't a fluke. It's that overzealousness that cost both McGinnis and Vegas dearly as Shade, flying under the radar, gets underneath both men and eliminates them both!

    Jonathan McGinnis and Johnny Vegas have been eliminated!

    Shade looks pleased that he not only eliminated two men, but got a measure of revenge against McGinnis...RIGHT up until he fell victim to The Echo's Stereo Superkicks! Shade is eliminated!

    Shade has been eliminated!

    The Echo are so high on themselves. They feel like, with only Wake and Horrowitz remaining, that they have already won. They point to the Five Star Attraction sign like idiots and perform even more crotch chops. Finally, FINALLY, the madness ends as Harrison Wake is able to grab both of the Connors and toss them over the top rope. When The Echo try to hang on, Wake just boots those smug little bastards off! At least for tonight, Harrison Wake is a hero of the people!

    Drew and Ethan Connor have been eliminated!

    However, Wake's journey ends as Horrowitz, who had been skulking in the corner, dropkicks Wake in the back and sends him tumbling. History is made as Michelle von Horrowitz has won the WrestleRoyale!!!

    Harrison Wake has been eliminated!

    Lindsay Monahan: Here is your winner of the 2015 WrestleRoyale...MICHELLE VON HORROWITZ!

    The crowd is on their feet as they bear witness to a historic rise! Michelle von Horrowitz has gone from newcomer to WORLD TITLE CONTENDER! The woman they call "Dreamer" is on her knees, gazing at the sea of fans as her eyes focus on the Five Star Attraction sign. She raises her hands to it, as if it were calling to her. And in this case, it is.

    The first woman to win the WrestleRoyale now looks to become the first female World Heavyweight Champion of CWA at the biggest event of the year.

    But in her way? A Kaiju who now holds the prize...
    Last edited by SuperSaiyan; 02-01-2020 at 01:23 PM.

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    PROMO HISTORY
    PART II - “THE ROAD TO CWA: FIVE-STAR ATTRACTION
    December 2015 - February 2016

    Volume 5: "Saviour". (12/21/2015)
    Spoiler:


    vs Jonathan McGinnis [CWA Adrenaline Rush, December 2015]


    As she gripped the arms of the seats tightly, feeling the edges of her fingernails permeate the fabric, she wondered to herself; why is this a thing? As the stale, unventilated air filled her nostrils, occupying her lungs with a stubborn insistence, she asked herself; why is this a thing? The baby three rows in front of her gave the first signs of its intentions, and they were loud. The digitalised sounds of a mobile gaming device clicking into life resonated from a row back. No, three mobile gaming devices. The feet of the little boy directly behind her began to prod into her spine, as if trying to count individual vertebrae. And, as the flight attendants came forth into the aisles to perform their piece, and the ‘fasten seat-belts’ light flicked into action with a familiar sound, and the pilot’s voice announced its presence with a southern drawl and a prognosis of it’s gonna be a windy one, she openly murmured the words; why is this a thing?

    Of course, it shouldn’t be thing. It’s a metal box, suspended high in the air by a force all-to-easily explained away in the name of science, whizzing around the globe from an exact, pinpoint location towards an exact, pinpoint location. There was no reason for it to work, but she was willing to accept that it did at face value. But beyond that, she didn’t understand why something so majestic and so precise was carried out in a way as if to make it seem both mundane and suffocating. Knees pinned mercilessly beneath her chin, sucking at someone else’s air, eyes fixed on the grey, endless runway through the miniscule, plastic window, Michelle von Horrowitz was filled with nothing but dread for the two hour flight that lay ahead of her.

    It was nobody’s fault but her own. By the time she’d left the arena on the night of the Royale, she’d not slept for almost four days, and even that had been a few hours of forced and stuttering unrest. As her arm had been raised in victory and she surveyed the somewhat disappointed, partially confused faces of her adoring public, she had decided upon one thing; drink until you sleep. It had taken almost twenty hours, but she’d managed it. After checking into a cheap hotel in the city centre, she’d occupied a series of bars within a hundred metre radius. And then she’d slept, for almost ten hours before the night terrors came again. But that almost ten hours had been bliss, and so she’d spent breakfast picking the prior day’s best bar before heading towards it. Five days of this can wear on a person.

    In the end, she’d left it too late to travel from Detroit to Albany by bus and still manage to study McGinnis’ tape, cut a promo, and squeeze a few hours in at the gym. A flight it had to be, and all the joys that came with that; the arduous journey to the ‘just outside the city’ spot that airports invariably occupy, the interactions with the port’s employees who were so far gone in their contempt for the repetition of their jobs that they utterly resented the fact that you needed to travel somewhere, and then the journey itself. The journey itself was the worst bit, and that was still to come.

    The pilot had made his announcements and the supposedly reassuring safety precautions relayed, clearing the way for the engine to begin its roar. Before long, the plane was sliding forward down the runway, a constant and sluggish pace adhered to whilst the final checks were made. The tarmac through the window was only creeping away beneath them, but Michelle found it dizzying. She closed her eyes and placed her head against the cushion, just in time for the vehicle to begin accelerating. Her breathing sounded uneven, unnaturally loud, and she became hyper-aware of the force with which she was locking her eyes shut. The engine roared louder still, the whole vestibule shaking under the pressure of its motion. And then the floor disappeared from beneath her, and her stomach endeavoured all of a sudden to migrate upwards.

    She opened her eyes to see the city beneath her, shrinking into obscurity as they climbed towards the blue. The ascension was sheer and unnerving. She felt as if she were standing atop a ladder, her fingers a few inches from the clouds, reaching a little too fast and a little too early to feel the wisps against her skin. The earth began to stretch out before her and she felt, if only for a moment, that they were flying with enough speed such that she should see its curvature at any moment. And then they hit the clouds, and plunged onwards.

    “Are you okay, my dear?” he asked, he being the man sat two seats down. The place between them was empty, and he peered through a furrowed brow at his counterpart by the window. She shuffled uneasily and pulled her coat around her.

    “Fine, thanks,” she said, pushing the fringes of her hood over her eyes. She attempted to flatten her hands, giving the arms of her chair some much needed respite. “I’ll be alright; it’s only a short flight.”

    “You should have one of these,” he said, offering her a tube of what looked like mints, individually wrapped within a green cylinder. She looked at the man’s face; wearing its age plainly as age had worn him, pockmarked and freckled and ridged deeply with wrinkles. Some white hair stubbornly clung on around his ears and on his neck, and he was obviously quite proud of it. “I got them on prescription from England, for some acute angina problems I was having back then. Really quite the ticket, as they say in London. Or, at least, as they should say in London.”

    The man then smiled, revealing a mouthful of chipped, yellowing teeth.

    “Truth be told,” he said, checking around him for any snooping attendants. “I’m higher than the rest of you by a good few thousand feet.”

    Michelle couldn’t help but return the grin. She took one of granddad’s sweeties and carefully unwrapped it, popping the capsule into her mouth and forcing a swallow.

    “There really isn’t anything to worry about,” he said, sitting back in his chair and staring forward at the upcoming in-flight entertainment. “I’m sure you’ll agree, in roughly five to eight minutes.”

    In roughly five to eight minutes, she agreed. The opening scenes of ‘Paul Blart 3: Blart Harder’ were playing on the shared screen that hung a few rows forward, flight attendants walked in slow motion down the aisles of the plane, other travellers seemed to be having silent conversations that she couldn’t decipher. Michelle caught her reflection in the small square of plastic that substituted as a window. She was smiling, apparently.

    “You should try and get some sleep,” the man was saying without looking over (or moving his lips). “You’ll wake up in Albany, most probably.”

    “Can’t sleep,” von Horrowitz replied, waving him away haphazardly with the back of a hand. “Shouldn’t sleep.”

    “As you will,” he said. One of the attendants had stopped next to him and was busy pouring a small bottle of clear liquid into a plastic cup. Michelle thought she caught the old man staring into the young boy’s eyes, a playfulness evident within the rich, deep blues of his irises, transfixed by either his youth or his beauty. The boy moved on to the next row, disappearing as quickly as he’d arrived. “But, if you don’t mind me saying, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone in quite so much need of sleep as you right now.”

    A long period of silence seemed to follow, but the linearity of time is often broken by Kevin James movies. And then, Michelle said, rather suddenly; “Sometimes, when the plane is taking off, I worry that it’s try to climb too high too quickly and it’ll just snap in two.”

    “You worry too much,” the old man said. “And it would most likely be far more than two pieces.”

    Michelle didn’t appreciate his sense of humour.

    “The bags under your eyes are heavier than my luggage,” he continued, regarding her as a doctor might a patient before diagnosis. “And you’re whiter than Trump. You really should try and get some sleep.”

    “It wouldn’t be peaceful,” Michelle said, staring down at the bleak clouds that masked their velocity.

    “Ah, a dreamer?” he replied. “I have another pill for that back at home.”

    Another elongated period of silence followed, which was eventually broken by the announcement of upcoming turbulence. As the vehicle punctured the air-pockets it skidded and bumped over nothing in particular, the whole metallic tube creaking and moaning under the strain. An unfamiliar feeling housed itself in the pit of Michelle’s stomach. She felt - cocooned as they were in their own little corner of sky, higher than any point on earth but far below the stars - as if she was slightly abstracted from it all. The planet below seemed like someone else’s problem. The temporary haven-in-the-clouds was a world of its own. Its population was listed on the flight manifest. Its leaders wore blue dresses or ties and greeted their subjects with safety precautions.

    It was this alien feeling, this sudden bout of otherness, that placated Michelle to the point where talking didn’t seem quite as arduous and unnecessary as in everyday life. With a sigh at her own insistent conventionalism, she began.

    “It’s the same scenes each time. Snippets from my childhood, memories of family members, that sort of thing. But then there’s one little montage that crops up more often than all the others. Sometimes three or four times in a night. There’s a large tree with thick, gnarled branches and no leaves, and beneath it a sea of grass that extends all the way to the horizon. And on the tree there’s a nest, and a large white bird with brown speckles that stares at me for a long time. An unnaturally long time. When it next does anything it’s pecking at itself, scratching and gnawing at its own body, removing chunks of its flesh and feathers until the blood is dripping thick and fast. Eventually, of course, it dies, and falls out of the tree, leaving two large white eggs in its nest. The sky gets bluer and the grass gets greener and the blood gets redder, and then they start to hatch.”

    The two sat quietly for a while, the old man with his chin between index and thumb, staring listlessly at the ceiling of the vestibule.

    “Do you know what it means?” he asked. Michelle nodded. “Who’s the bird?”

    “The bird is lots of people,” she answered with a shrug. “The bird is me. This bird is my mother. The bird is my aunt.”

    The man nodded and turned away from her, staring back at the screen. He folded one leg beneath the other and exhaled heavily.

    “This movie is terrible.”

    ***


    Michelle von Horrowitz stood, back propped up against a plain, white wall, arms folded across the baggy, creased t-shirt that covered her torso. Her gaze seemed to be directed beyond the camera. The heel of her right boot tapped rhythmically against the wall behind her, a wall that had as its only feature a large flat-screen television showing footage from last week’s pay-per-view. We join the Royale as it’s gaining momentum, the clock counting down to the entrance of number thirteen.

    “We all wait, holding our breath, inching forward in our seats, for something to happen. Some people will wait for years, others for three short weeks.”

    The screen showing the match was muted, but Michelle herself appeared at the top of the ramp and began to walk down towards the carnage in the ring. She checked the tape on her wrists, staring intently at the sea of humanity before her. Little did they know. Little did she know.

    “I realise it’s been a while since I’ve treated you to one of my night-time narratives, my dear tulips, and so I wish to regale you with a tale that came to me for the first time yesterday evening before we talk about my riotous, thrill-a-minute victory. Our scene opens in a lounge. An entirely ordinary, suburban, Americana lounge; a little tarnished by age but well-managed and well-kept. Lying on the ordinary couch of this ordinary lounge is a young woman – perhaps thirty or forty years old – who would herself be considered quite ordinary, if it wasn’t for the fact that she was dead.

    “Beneath her, clamouring for attention that just isn’t going to come, is a gaggle of fur-balls who are themselves extraordinary in their diversity and their quantity. Thirty – no, thirty one, even – each of which are tackling each other, burying their head into another’s sternum and attempting to barrel roll them away from the prize. Slapping with weak paws and nipping with brittle, malformed teeth, they eventually converge into little more than a frantic mass, tumbling and pulsating and folding in on itself. Except for one; the smallest and the whitest, sat on its haunches a few metres from the melee, its tail raised high in the air behind it and gently swaying with a peculiar brand of excitement.”


    Here she paused, choreographed to coincide with a spike in the action. Michelle was hurled over the top rope by Eddie von Gunner, only to hold on for dear life as the countdown clock towards Gabrielle’s entrance begins. She sighs and continues.

    “Obviously, before long, the disaster-zone is cleared. All of the little runts have expended themselves, more through their own giddy excitement and rampant but unfulfilled blood lust than anything else. When the dust settles and the last combatant gives up the fight, our hero stands, elegantly padding her way through the carnage towards the trophy. Clambering up onto the couch, she bears her teeth and claws, scratching the first scrap of meat away from the young woman’s face.”


    On the screen, Jonathan McGinnis entered the arena, the tone in the ring shifting towards one of anticipation. The former heavyweight champion of the world; the saviour of the company.

    “Of course, the little beasts are myself and the other thirty, less successful Wrestle Royale combatants, that is plain enough. But I have had some trouble determining who lies in waiting on the couch, having sucked their last breath of air and shed their final tear. The natural assumption is Mr Snowmantashi, my opponent-in-waiting at Five-Star Attraction. But he is more alive now with the gold around his waist than he has been in years. Also, our deceased protagonist was once young, and beautiful, and not even vaguely Japanese. This does not fit. Perhaps, then, it would be Darling Jonathan; withered and stagnant as he is, ripped down from his perch by a man he thought was his friend. This could work. But, of course, nobody would put themselves through the bother of fighting for a shot at McGinnis anymore. He is a champion without a championship, and that is no champion at all.”


    A sideways glance at the screen as the pixelated version of herself dumps a distracted Gabrielle over the top rope and out of the match.

    “And then it dawned on me, a few hours after I’d awoken. The woman is not a person. The woman is this promotion. You see, before my debut, before I’d even been announced as an employee of CWA, I stood before you on tape at Global Collision and stated my intentions. This company has become rotten. It has devoured itself with half-baked gimmicks and cataclysmic booking decisions. I told you that the revolution was coming, and that the impure and the desperate and the just plain bad would be cast out. I told you that it was time for a real rain to come and wash all the scum from the streets. The boil must be lanced before the pain becomes too much.

    “The only place from which this eradication can be administered is, of course, the top. Which, coincidentally, is the place I have just earned a direct ticket to. You see, this is the difference between myself and Jon Snowmantashi, and the difference between myself and Jonathan McGinnis. The latter, our renowned, former World Heavyweight Champion, wanted his place on the top for very different reasons. He saw the frame of CWA – once beautiful and proud, so full of hope and promise for the future – and knew just as well as I know that its final breaths are on its lips. But, of course, Hero McGinnis wanted to save it; to save our company and to save us. He would show the world that a ridiculous gimmick and muscles the size of bowling balls weren’t necessary for success. And he did show that, which was nice. Until he lost.”


    Behind her, Jonathan McGinnis is eliminated – along with Johnny Vegas – by a face-painted figure skulking around amidst the chaos. Shocked faces are panned to in the audience as McGinnis fumes on the outside, staring up at Shade. And still, Michelle sits in a corner and waits, watching it all transpire before her.

    “Mr Snowmantashi seeks the top spot for different reasons. He has no interest in saving the company. He’s more interested in saving himself; saving a career plagued by mediocrity and disappointment. He wants the top spot for honour and for renown. These are all valid reasons to desire the belt, or at least they are more valid than McGinnis’ motives. But this is selfish. McGinnis climbed the mountain to save the company. Snowmantashi climbed the mountain to save himself. I have the precipice in my sights, and I do it to save all of you.

    “Yes, my tulips, I do this for you. I do this to spare you from the worst excesses of this company, from Snowmantashi’s self-indulgence and McGinnis’ self-importance. I do this to reward your patronage with an at least vaguely interesting champion. I do this to give hope to those in wrestling schools who aren’t eight foot tall, for those who don’t own a face painting manual, and for those who don’t look like a four hundred pound Japanese man-baby. I do this so this vile company has a chance of not offending our collective sense of truth when it calls itself a wrestling promotion.”


    … the Echo high five in glee as Shade plummets out of the ring …

    “But tonight isn’t about all of that. Tonight is about Jonathan McGinnis, and proof of credibility. Darling Jonathan likes to speak about his craft, about his many years scraping out a living in backwoods promotions. He talks about ‘leaving it all in the ring’. He talks about this a lot. He talks about this almost every week, in fact. But this is the very essence of his problem. Darling Jonathan, and many others like him, can’t grasp a simple fact of this industry. If you leave it all in the ring every single week, soon enough you don’t have anything left.”

    … Harrison Wake manoeuvres into position behind the Echo, ready to strike and bring about their elimination …

    “Jaded, cynical, going through the motions… Jonathan McGinnis is not the man that he once was. And the man that Darling Jonathan once was is not the woman that I am today. ‘A McGinnis on his game’, he enjoys saying, ‘is a McGinnis who can’t lose’. Of course, this pre-supposes that our Darling Jonathan very often falls well short of his best. And tonight, old man, it’s about time somebody told you that this isn’t your game.”

    The video footage ends with a drop kick.

    ADRENALINE RUSH -
    segment
    Spoiler:

    Roy Orbison: A candy-coloured clown they call the sandman… tiptoes to my room every night…
    Spoiler:



    We return to Adrenaline Rush as the lights dim and the titantron goes black. As Roy begins to sing, a general, vague boo resonates around the arena.

    Roy Orbison: Just to sprinkle stardust and to whisper… ‘Go to sleep, everything is alright’…

    As the music comes in, Michelle von Horrowitz appears at the top of the ramp. She is in full ring gear - black biker shorts with a green stripe on one thigh, black knee-length boots, a green, loose-fitting t-shirt, knee and elbow pads.

    Jim Taylor: And here she is, Tim, the last person standing in last week's Wrestle Royale match.

    Tim Coleman: And the number one contender for Jon Snowmantashi's World Heavyweight Championship! It's going to be a hell of a match at Five-Star Attraction.

    Jim Taylor: But she can't look beyond tonight, Tim. Former World Champion Jonathan McGinnis is due to go one-on-one with Michelle von Horrowitz tonight, and it's next!

    A contented grin is clear on her face, and – almost smug with herself – she regards the audience from beneath the screen with a sense of superiority.

    Roy Orbison: Then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you…

    Images flash behind her of last month’s victories, and Michelle begins the walk down towards the ring at her leisure. The crowd, impatient and slightly apathetic, begin to heckle and boo more loudly. Michelle laps it up, raising both arms to right angles like a pro-wrestling Jesus and rotating three hundred and sixty degrees.

    Rob Orbison: But just before the dawn…

    She pauses half way down the ramp and stares up at the ‘Five-Star Attraction’ sign hoisted way overhead, her grin seeming almost permanent. And then, slowly, her eyes track down to a banner being frantically waved at her by a braying fan…

    Roy Orbison: I awake and find you gone…

    The banner reads ‘Michelle von Horror Witch’, and she almost gasps at its unoriginality. Taking two strides towards the fat, balding fan, she tears the sign from his grasp.

    Roy Orbison: I can’t help it… I can’t help it… If I cry…

    The banner torn and its pieces dispersed on the ramp behind her, Michelle continues towards the ring, climbing the steps and pausing once more to survey the packed arena. Minuscule, in comparison to what awaits at the pay-per-view.

    Roy Orbison: And I’ll be happy in my dreams….

    She climbs through the middle ropes, striding towards the corner to ascend to the second turnbuckle. In a somewhat predictable but tried and tested move, she traces the line of an invisible championship belt around her waist.

    Roy Orbison: Only in dreams…

    After taking the microphone from a lackey in a black shirt, Michelle von Horrowitz took up a position in the middle of the ring and waited patiently for Roy to finish.

    Roy Orbison: In beautiful dreams…

    MVH: Good evening, tulips.

    A ‘WHAT?’ is heard around the arena as the wrestler places her spare hand behind her back, her feet shoulder’s width apart and her gaze directed firmly at the camera.

    MVH: Of course, I speak directly to the audience at home, knowing full well from forty eight hours in this yuppie cesspool of a city that no intellectually aware human being sits in this room tonight. But, at home, on time delay when this show is broadcast in Europe and Asia, there might be a handful of people listening that are actually worth talking to.

    Another ‘WHAT?’

    Michelle smiles and takes a couple of steps to her left, staring at the mat momentarily before re-focusing on the camera.

    MVH: It was less than a week ago when all of you – and by all of you I mean the small proportion of you that can afford pay-per-view – tuned in to see your heroes line up for a chance at the big gold belt. You marvelled as Craig Owens successfully defended his High Voltage Championship. You wowed as Jon Snowmantashi ripped the World Heavyweight Championship from around Jonathan McGinnis’ waist. You sat, dumbstruck, as a renegade official counted a fast three for Harrison Wake to jump the queue for a High Voltage Championship shot. And then you watched as every man and woman even loosely connected to this company took part in the Wrestle Royale.

    A huge boo resonates around the arena. The fans know where this is going.

    MVH: You see, tulips, I am a student of history, and I think it’s important that we properly examine past events so that lessons can be learned. And there were plenty of lessons to be learned at the Wrestle Royale.

    A ‘boooooring’ chant begins to gain speed. Michelle continues unfazed.

    MVH: I understand that you have short attention spans, trogs, and so I have planned a short video presentation to keep you all focused. Let’s all look at the big shiny screen together, as I rather brilliantly juxtapose the first and last minutes of last week’s pay-per-view.

    The screen flickers into life, and rolls footage from Wrestle Royale. We begin with the first match-up, as Wolf begins his walk down the ramp towards the ring.

    Jim Taylor: Wolf can’t be too thrilled tonight after coming off a loss the week before on Adrenaline Rush.

    Tim Coleman: Not just any loss either Jimbo, he lost to a woman! How embarrassing that must be for a guy like Wolf! Heck, I’m surprised he’s even showing his ugly mug out here tonight after that loss!

    The screen flicks over to silent footage of Harrison Wake’s elimination and the subsequent celebration. Michelle leans against the top rope, staring down at the announcer’s table, and specifically at Tim Coleman. A small ‘Michelle is gonna kill you’ chant can be heard but it doesn’t catch on.

    Jim Taylor: I don’t think she’s happy, Tim!

    Coleman remains silent.

    MVH: And let’s all be honest with ourselves here, trogs. Mr Coleman was just voicing what all of you were thinking, as Michelle von Horrowitz entered at lucky number thirteen in the Wrestle Royale match. But if Mr Coleman would like to back his words up, I’d gladly have him as my first title defence on the first Adrenaline Rush after Wrestle Royale…

    She walks back into the middle of the ring and looks back into the camera.

    MVH: But I’m getting ahead of myself. I have two matches scheduled before my barbaric and brutally one-sided title defence against Tim Coleman, facing the two most recent World Champions of this promotion. At Five-Star Attraction, Jon Snowmantashi stands between me and the World Heavyweight Championship. But tonight, in this very ring, Jonathan McGinnis – hot off the back of, ahem, two losses in singles competition – has the privilege of wrestling the number one contender for the CWA World Heavyweight Championship.

    A ‘we want wrestling’ chant begins to gather momentum.

    MVH: And that, of course, would be me.

    Quickly overwhelming, the ‘WE WANT WRESTLING’ chant is now more of a roar, and Michelle openly laughs into the microphone.

    MVH: Oh, my darling little trogs, and who do you think it is that’s going to give you wrestling?

    General boos.

    MVH: The Last Indy Darling, they call him. And by they, I mean that’s what he himself so often calls himself. Even if everybody else refuses to, Darling Jonathan has bought into the idea of Jonathan McGinnis. A man who acts like the hero of the people, who still has the gall to wear the t-shirt of some two-bit promotion whilst banking one and a half million dollars a year in the big leagues. This man is a hypocrite, and a self-important one. He is not even worthy of your pity, only your contempt will do.

    The crowd has reached fever pitch. A third are shouting ‘IN-DY DAR-LING’, the second third ‘SNOW-MAN-TAS-SHI’, whilst the final third return to ‘boooooooring’.

    MVH: But nobody is here to doubt that Darling Jonathan has had a wonderful 2015. But it is December. The Great Independent Hero is already shaping up for his fall. And if one of you gormless trogs thinks that Jon Snowmantashi…

    A huge cheer circulates, and Michelle has to pause.

    MVH: …is the man to guide this promotion through 2016 then you’re even closer to catatonia than I thought. I am the winner of the 2015 Wrestle Royal. I am the unpinned, the un-submitted Michelle von Horrowitz. I have not been pinned. I will not be pinned. I can not be pinned. When Jon Snowmantashi and Jonathan McGinnis are exchanging rear chin holds in Outer Shanghai in the year 2020, I will still be here, saving you all from dull fights between dull championships in a dull, predictable climate. I am the saviour of CWA. This is not going to have a happy ending. The Last Indy Darling will fall. The fat Japanese man-baby will fall.

    She walks forwards to the ropes, the crowd somewhat subdued but still hostile.

    MVH: You are looking at the next heavyweight champion of this world. And if you can’t deal with that? It’s a good thing your opinions mean less than nothing to me. Now get me a god damn opponent to beat.

    She throws the microphone in the general direction of the time keeper, taking a seat in the corner and waiting for the entrance of Jonathan McGinnis.

    ADRENALINE RUSH - match write-up
    Spoiler:

    Lindsay Monahan: Already in the ring from Rotterdam, the Netherlands and currently residing in New Orleans, Louisiana. She weighs in at 71kg, “Dreamer” Michelle von Horowitz!
    Spoiler:



    Michelle waits in her corner looking towards the entry way…

    “Blessings” by Big Sean ft. Drake & Kanye West hits and Jonathan McGinnis steps out to a loud, positive ovation. The former world champion pays no mind to the reaction he’s receiving as he walks to the ring looking all business.

    Lindsay Monahan: and her opponent making his way to the ring from Montreal, Canada and currently residing in Los Angeles, California. He weighs in at 207lbs, “The Last Indy Darling” Jonathan McGinnis!

    Jim Taylor: McGinnis looking all business tonight after coming off consecutive losses in the last several weeks he can’t be in the best of moods

    McGinnis enters the ring with purpose staring across at Michelle, who returns the stare as she stares at him intently when they are interrupted…

    “Sword of Destiny” hits and the crowd goes berserk as the new CWA world champion Jon Snowmantashi comes out in non-wrestling attire consisting of his official CWA t-shirt that reads “Kaiju” on the front in big bold letters and black gym shorts with his world title draped over his shoulder.

    Tim Coleman: What is tubby doing out here?

    Jim Taylor: Obviously he has a vested interest in this match considering Michelle is the next challenger for his title, and the possible rematch between him and McGinnis

    Tim Coleman: All he’s doing out here is rubbing it into McGinnis, look at him Jim, he’s stewing right now looking at Snowmantashi

    Snowmantashi takes a seat at ringside and looks back in the ring where McGinnis is eyeing him while Michelle pays him no mind and keeps her focus on McGinnis.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!


    Main Eventw/ New CWA World Heavyweight Champion Jon Snowmantashi at ringside for commentary
    Jonathan McGinnis vs Michelle von Horowitz

    The bell sounds and McGinnis’ gaze hasn’t moved from the man that defeated him and someone he considered a friend. Michelle steps up to Jonathan and slaps him across the face causing McGinnis to look back at her with a fire in his eyes, which she likes and he comes back at her with several, rapid fire rough chops out of the corner that has Michelle staggering back to her corner where McGinnis continues his assault with the chops until he finishes off and shoots a glare at Snowmantashi before taking Michelle out of the corner and irish whips her to the opposite corner causing her to bounce off right into a super kick but it’s cut off as Michelle catches him by the boot and immediately spins him around right into a leg whip taking him off of his feet but McGinnis rolls back to his feet however and Michelle catches him with a drop toe hold slamming him face first to the mat and she’s quick on the exchange with a low dropkick right to the head knocking him back sending him rolling to the ropes where he tries to get his wits about him and now it’s Michelle going for her own super kick, but now it’s McGinnis catching her boot spinning her around and dropping her right on her head with a bridging German suplex!

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Michelle kicks out and now McGinnis climbs up top waiting for Michelle to get back up and as he dives off looking what was intended to be a bulldog, but Michelle had it well scouted as she slips out of the way and McGinnis gingerly lands on his feet only to be taken down with a Russian leg sweep! Now it’s Michelle with the pin…

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Jim Taylor: McGinnis kicks out! Boy, these two are so evenly matched!

    Tim Coleman: You’re telling me, Jimbo!

    Michelle waits as her prey rises to his feet before charging at him looking for a running cross body, but McGinnis catches her and immediately drives her to the mat with a power slam! Michelle quickly rolls to the outside however trying to find her wits about her and as she turns around…SPRINGBOARD SUICIDE DIVE!

    Jim Taylor: Good grief! McGinnis taking himself out as well as Michelle!

    Both competitors are sprawled out on the mat outside as the crowd is chanting “THIS IS AWESOME!” Soon McGinnis begins to stir and slowly gets to his feet when Michelle is on all fours unaware of her surroundings as McGinnis grabs her by the head and throws her back in the ring breaking up the count. He climbs up top once more as Michelle is still trying to find her bearings and once she’s up she’s caught by diving cross body into a pin!

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Michelle kicks out and McGinnis takes his time slowly pacing around her before dragging her to the ropes placing her in position…ROPE HUNG DDT! Michelle’s skull is driven to the mat with authority and McGinnis now has her where he wants her…ANKLE LOCK! He has the ankle lock submission applied with no intents of letting go as Michelle screams out in pain reaching out for the ropes…

    She slowly but surely inches her way to the ropes as McGinnis desperately tries to keep her away from the ropes, but his grip is slipping allowing her to reach the ropes in time breaking the hold! Michelle clutches her ankle as McGinnis curses out loudly in frustration and argues with the referee allowing Michelle time to recover…SUPERKICK! Michelle drills McGinnis with a super kick and he falls to the mat in a heap as she drops on top of him for the cover…

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Jim Taylor: Somehow, McGinnis found a way to kick out!

    Tim Coleman: It’s that fighting spirit of his, Jim, he just doesn’t know when to quit!

    Both wrestlers lay on the mat as the count begins but soon it’s Michelle up first as she staggers to her feet and climbs up top looking to put McGinnis away with her 450 splash, but McGinnis comes back in time knocking her down into a prone position on the top turnbuckle as he sets her up…SUPERPLEX! Both wrestlers lay spent on the mat for what seems like an eternity but soon McGinnis is up now looking to end this as he begins to set Michelle up for Something Light...but before McGinnis can get her up she shoves him away…SUPERKICK! McGinnis is stunned now and Michelle instantly drops him with a double under hook DDT! Then she proceeds to make her way up…450 SPLASH! She hooks the leg for the pin…

    1…
    2…
    3!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, Michelle von Horowitz!

    Michelle looks in the direction of Snowmantashi as her arm is raised, and he shows no emotion as he looks back at her while holding his championship over his shoulder. Behind Michelle is McGinnis, who is just coming to and sits in the corner looking at his former friend and the woman who will challenge him.

    Jim Taylor: Michelle von Horowitz just defeated the former world champion! Could this mean Snowmantashi's reign is in jeopardy?

    Tim Coleman: She's good Jim, and I think she's good enough to do it!

    Jim Taylor: That remains to be seen for now and that's all the time we have for tonight fans, good night!

    Volume 6: "Passion - Part One". (01/09/2016)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Jon Snowmantashi and Bell Connelly, with Phillip A Jackson [CWA/FWA supercard, December 2015].


    Kevin DuPont Building, New York City, NY, US
    30th December, 2015


    The two sets of eyes had only one thing in common, and that was that they seemed to be slowly burrowing into her skin. The larger, brown set, belonging to the huge faux-Soviet man with the greying-black beard, were dull and lifeless. The smaller, blue eyes, the possessions of the thin, short man with only thin tufts of white hair around his ears and above his top lip, danced with deviousness, almost in accusation. They had been sitting there for almost thirty minutes, whilst the thin man played with various dials and buttons on the panel in front of him and the big man leafed through notes written in a childish scrawl. Michelle hadn’t said anything important. Michelle didn’t have anything important to say.

    “You said a lot about Jon Snowmantashi last week,” Black Bear said, stroking his beard in an affectation of intellect. “A career plagued by mediocrity and disappointment, for one thing. A four hundred pound Japanese man-baby, for another.”

    “Yes?” Michelle said, tapping idly on her knee with a pair of finger tips. She couldn’t find the question in the Bear’s statement.

    “Well,” Hank Microphone cut in, leaning forward in his chair and examining the small, fidgeting woman in front of him. She had dressed down in black skinny jeans and a loose green t-shirt, although Michelle didn’t really own the clothes necessary to ‘dress up’. “This is a man who has been all over the world, proving his name and proving his ability in a variety of different promotions on several continents. He’s the current CWA World Heavyweight Champion. These don’t seem like things that you could say about a mediocre, disappointing, Japanese man-baby.”

    “Well he is a four hundred pound Japanese man-baby, that much is plain to see,” Michelle responded, slowly and thoughtfully. “But the title histories of many companies are riddled with mediocrity, and you don’t need a Wrestling God Card to perform in Japan. I’ve been there myself, and to Europe, and Mexico. That doesn’t prove anything. Mediocrity, my dear Hank, does not necessarily mean that Snowmantashi is without talent. He would not be able to get a contract with this company if he didn’t possess some skill. But Snowmantashi is not a lion; he is a jackal. McGinnis too. The carcass of CWA has been left to rot for too long, decomposing in the open air, and it’s only logical that the vultures would circle eventually. McGinnis was first in, picking off whatever scraps he could. And now Snowmantashi has run him off.”

    “Well, you face the vulture twice in the next week,” Black Bear interjected, turning a page in his notepad. “Both in tag team matches. Let’s forget about McGinnis for the time-being –“

    “I wish we could,” Michelle put in.

    “Beforehand, you and the FWA’s Phillip A Jackson will take on Bell Connelly and the current CWA World Champion. Have you spoken to Jackson?” Bear.

    “No,” Michelle.

    “Well, why not?” Hank. It always seemed to be Microphone who framed the questions, whereas the Bear just seemed to stumble through meandering statements. It was his show, after all.

    “We have nothing in common,” she answered. “I’m not really sure what we’d say to each other.”

    “What do you mean, you have nothing in common?” Hank.

    “Well,” Michelle started, sighing heavily, more through boredom than anything else. “He has his way of climbing to the top, and I have mine. He’s surrounded himself with powerful men. Men who can carry him on their shoulders to whatever end they decide is the correct one for him. I am physically repulsed by this idea. He is a man of plenty, who enjoys the finer things in life. I’m not particularly sure that fine things exist. I guess, if I’m pushed to it, I would admit that I share Jackson’s ambition. But he has very different ways of going about his business, and he wants the prize for very different reasons. As far as tag partners go, though, there are worse. My team-mate for Adrenaline Rush, for instance…”

    “But getting back to the super-show,” Bear interjected, doing his utmost to drag her back on topic. “There’s another person involved, besides yourself and the two champions…”

    “Indeed,” Hank interrupted, shaping up for another question. Michelle began to predict just how inane this one would be. “Bell Connelly, another champion. She is the current holder of the FWA Women’s Championship, after successfully defending it at last week’s Trial By Fire pay-per-view. We’ve heard you speak about Snowmantashi rather extensively. He seems to be your specialist subject, in fact. But what about Connelly?”

    “What about her?” Michelle asked. She disliked open-ended questions even more than direct ones. “She’s one of the most insubstantial people I’ve ever come across in my life, if that’s what you mean.”

    Bear and Hank looked at each other, and the smaller man raised a bushy, white eyebrow.

    “What do you mean by that?” he asked.

    “Well, I’ve spoken a lot about the women’s division, and the lack of a need for one in modern professional wrestling. There is no such thing as the CWA Men’s Championship, nor in FWA as a matter of fact. But still the Fantasy Wrestling Alliance persists in boxing up their female talent – she almost spat out this last word in derision – “in a division all to themselves. I’ve always thought this was mostly through fear; a fear that one day soon the patriarchy of pro-wrestling will come tumbling down. But that day is never going to come when people like Bell Connelly are still sucking my oxygen. As long as she, and the rest of the FWA shills, buy into this bullshit partitioning, we’re never going to see women regularly main-eventing pay-per-views. The only reason I have such an opportunity is because I have earned it. But, I guess Bell has her reasons to hold onto this 1950s nostalgia circus. The gold comes with prize money, of course, and perhaps she’s saving up for a second brain cell. The one she has now must get so lonely, rattling around inside that massive head.

    “But Bell is only the beginning of the problem,” she continued, leaning back in her chair and placing a boot on the edge of a table inside the rented studio. Above her, the word ‘RECORDING’ was lit up next to a small, red circle. The show wasn’t live; it wouldn’t be aired until after the supercard. That fact made the whole event seem all-the-more pointless. “I don’t think people like Snowmantashi and Jackson have even stopped to consider that a woman might strip them of their titles, and thanks to Austerio we know exactly how much respect for women Jonathan McGinnis has. Johnny Vegas reduces his wife to little more than a valet, polishing his boots and leading his cheers. But I know what I am capable of – what we are capable of – even if the rest of them need their faces pushed up against the glass to really see. I see it now. That’s what sets me apart from the rest of these people.”


    A long silence followed, and Michelle felt she could almost hear Black Bear rolling his eyes.

    “Another thing that sets you apart,” he started, placing his notepad to one side for the time-being. “Is passion. Nobody can doubt McGinnis’ love for this industry and his desire to succeed. Snowmantashi and Vegas, too. I had a guy on my show the other week who spoke about his love of the competition, of the music he hears as the battle crashes around him. With you, all I get is a peculiar contempt for, well, everything and everyone. You’re clinical… abstracted… I don’t see the same passion as I do from those guys.”

    It was Michelle’s turn to raise an eye-brow. Such big words for such a stupid man. She wondered how long he had been practising that outburst for.

    “Passion?” she said, and then she drifted off, into the past, taking refuge within her head.


    ***


    Shibuya Junior High School, Tokyo, Japan
    4th March, 2009


    She remembered being surprised by the noise that such a small group of people could make. It wasn’t necessarily the volume, which was moderate but never overwhelming, but its sustained nature was alarming. They were the main event, owing to the night that they’d stolen the show down the road in Roppongi, and the eighty or so punters that sparsely lined the bleachers had been braying from the first minute. They’d been going for thirty already. She was nineteen years old.

    Iwao was coming at her again, lumbering across the ring with arms stretched out at his sides. It was an odd, unsettling stance, forcing you to confront the large man’s power head-on. He was twenty centimetres taller and forty kilograms heavier and he’d been letting her know about it. She was rocked by a blow to her right temple, followed by a forearm, and finally a knee into the midriff. She remembered vividly the fans counting in Japanese after he’d hoisted her up for a delayed vertical suplex, words she didn’t readily understand but could easily work out. For twenty six seconds, Iwao Karasu had let gravity slowly drain the blood through her body and into her head, before dropping her on it with a brainbuster.

    Karasu was her first great rival. They’d fought up and down the Japanese archipelago, twice more in Europe, and once in Pittsburgh. Eleven bouts in total, this being their third, and she was yet to score a victory over him. He was a relentless foe, always stumbling forward at you on the front foot, all grapple and cheap shots and power moves. They had always put on a great show together, and she was fond of remembering this particular occasion. She fancied it as their best.

    He continued to work her with blows, even whilst she lay helpless in a head scissors or a bear hug or an arm bar. Each submission hold, held until she could inch and claw her way to the bottom rope, was punctuated by a suplex – a t-bone or a fisherman’s or, at one point, a nasty full nelson throw that dropped her on the top of her head – and a cover. Each time she’d throw a shoulder up at two and he’d stay on her, locking in the next rest hold.

    Eventually she’d managed to reverse an attempt at a headlock into a standing arm bar, and although he was too big and powerful for her to hold it in she seized the shift in momentum. She remembered the next ten minutes better than the rest of the match. She must’ve kicked the big man close to forty times, peppering his legs and abdomen with her boots. After throwing him through the middle and top ropes into the steel post, she’d exposed the opposite middle turnbuckle whilst the referee checked on her opponent’s condition. A brutal drop toe hold had followed, drawing a thin line of blood from Iwao’s forehead.

    She’d managed to lift him up and over the top rope with a big back body drop, and followed it up with a suicide dive. When she’d risen to taunt the crowd, to offer them the spent body of their hero, she’d found herself unable to raise her right arm. It was the first of a trio of times that she’d break it, and if the adrenaline hadn’t been pumping through her veins she’d have fainted from the pain of it. It took all of her effort to pick the big man up and throw him back into the ring, the blood now flowing thick and fast from above his left eye. When she rolled in after him, her weight shifted over the broken bone, and she thought the darkness would take over.

    Iwao was on her in a flash, stomping away at her torso, throwing her throat onto the bottom rope and standing on her back. She could still see the faces of the crowd as she stared out, Karasu atop of her and the air being driven from her lungs. There were so few of them. There was a world championship match at the Korakuen Hall, so she imagined she should be grateful even this many had come. Obviously, all of this thinking was retrospective; at the time all that she could consider was the pain searing through her right arm.

    The next thing she knew, she was hoisted up into the air in a torture rack. Iwao folded her up with his trademark Burning Hammer, and she didn’t even remember being covered. She didn’t really remember kicking out, either, though she must have done, because the match continued, and her opponent began to hoist her up onto his shoulders again, looking for a second verse the same as the first. More though instinct than anything, she slipped through the big man’s grasp, and – as he turned – she nailed him with a Busaiku Knee Knick. Iwao lay spent on the mat as she climbed up to the top turnbuckle, leaping off with a 450 Splash.

    The referee must have then counted the three, but all that Michelle remembered was passing out on top of Karasu, clutching her arm in vain.

    Iwao had come to see her after the match, as a pair of doctors chatted away in Japanese. Michelle couldn’t understand a word of it.

    “They are saying it’s broken,” he’d told her. “In two places.”

    She’d stared down at her arm and nodded – it made sense. Her opponent had explained that he’d needed eight stitches in his head, and she’d almost felt compelled to apologise. With some effort, she managed to resist. He had a small scar above his eye. She’d be out of action for months. Swings and roundabouts.

    Generally speaking, though, Iwao was one of the good ones. She would hardly say that she had friends in the industry, but there was a handful of wrestlers that she’d enjoyed working with. You could form a bond with someone if you danced with them often enough – where the freedom existed to shout usually unspeakable things at a rival down a microphone before throwing him on his neck for forty five minutes in a wrestling ring. She built that bond with Karasu, eventually. This wouldn’t be the last time she put stitches in his head, or the last time he’d break her arm. And they would apologise, eventually.

    CWA/FWA SUPERSHOW - segment (with Bell Connelly [AnOriginalName])
    Spoiler:

    The cameras then go backstage. We go to a corridor in the Staples Centre. Michelle von Horrowitz stands, her back against a white wall, a door with a hastily printed sign reading ‘MVH’ visible on her right. Her arms are folded over her standard baggy green t-shirt and she stares past the camera, preparing to begin. She is alone, naturally.
    Spoiler:



    MVH: When I was a young girl, perhaps five or six, my mother used to read her favourite parts of the bible to me. The cold, winter, Rotterdam evenings would fly by as Ms von Horrowitz sat in the large arm chair next to my bed, leafing through the pages of the decrepit old book of lies and smoking her vanilla-scented cigarettes. She loved the Book of Job, as all literary types do, and occasionally – when in her more hopeful moods – she’d move on to the gospels. But mostly it was Genesis and Exodus. She thought all morality had to come with bloodshed for it to really stick. Her absolute favourite was the story of Lot. Those who are familiar with it will know that this is not an appropriate story for a five year old.

    The camera remains stationary, and so does the woman. She is in ring gear, ready for the evening’s main event.

    MVH: Lot was a dutiful and devout man of Sodom, who was visited by two angels sent down from the heavens. He treats them as guests, inviting them into his home and washing their feet. But the men of Sodom, both old and young, came to his house and demanded that Lot’s guests be served to them to satiate their lusts. But Lot refuses, and instead offers up his virgin daughters to the men, so that they might know them instead. The angels reveal themselves as Sodom’s Doom, and take Lot – the last righteous man in Sodom – and his family to safety before the city is razed to the ground.

    Here she pauses, re-adjusting her stance and placing her arms behind her back, still leant against the wall.

    MVH: My mother used to tell me this story as a warning. She knew what life was like for a young woman without a big, strong man to protect her, and she knew of our species’ predatorial tendency towards violence. Of course, she pictured herself as Lot, and my sister and I are his daughters. At least in her mind. And for many years I trusted in what she said. But my mother was a weak person. She thought she understood the nature of people, but she was clueless. She couldn’t even comprehend her own daughter.

    Michelle leaned forward, placing her hands in her pocket and staring straight-on at the camera.

    MVH: I am, of course, not one of Lot’s daughters in this ugly little story. For a while, in my adolescence, I fancied myself as the righteous man. The protector. But that is equally as ridiculous. My dear tulips; I am the Doom. The CWA and FWA stand like two cities of the plain, riddled with the same sorts of depravity and stupidity as Sodom and Gomorrah. There is no righteous man to protect our cheery heroes, Bell Connelly and Jon Snowmantashi. All there is, and all there would ever be without my arrival, is a slow, painful descent. Great cities crumbling into ruin before our very eyes, eroding over years and years of decline. The boil must be lanced; the Doom must be swift. Tonight, it comes.

    Michelle turns from the camera and walks towards her locker room, turning the handle and pushing back the door. The camera follows her inside.

    F IS FOR FRIENDS WHO DO STUFF TOGETHER. U IS FOR YOU AND ME, N IS ANYWHERE AND ANYTIME AT ALL DOWN HERE IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA!”

    The instant Michelle opens up her locker room door, this song comes blasting out of her locker room, and if that wasn’t the only sign that seemed to suggest her locker room was a tab bit remodeled, There were brightly colored streamers hanging from the ceiling, bright pink balloons totally covering the walls and one big banner in the center of the room bearing the legend (Seemingly written in crayon) “WELCOME!”

    ???: DO YOU LOVE IT?!

    Seemingly appearing out of thin air Bell Connelly jumps out from behind Michelle’s shoulder with a stripped white and pink top, her title belt wrapped around her shoulder and her long golden hair tied up behind her neck in a ponytail. The instant she appears, she embraces Michelle in a tight warm hug a wide smile on her face and laughter on her voice eventually she lets go and appraises Michelle with those big glittering sapphire eyes of hers

    Bell Connelly: Howdy! Howdy! Howdy! Ok, I know what you’re thinking. This place needs a TONE more glitter. but don’t worry I stuffed a bunch in your locker so I got ya covered buddy! Oh I’m Bell by the way. Bell Connelly. As in “Ding Dong! Oh, who’s at the door. Oh it’s Bell! Once I heard you we were in the main event together I just HAD to come say hey! Isn’t this awesome!

    Bell raises both her hands palms up in front of Michelle’s face

    Bell Connelly: CWA. FWA. Two worlds colliding BOOM! CRASH WAAAAA!

    Like a child crashing two toy cars together Bell in slow motion brights her palms together is what she seems to think is slow motion while she ever so kindly provides "Colliding" sound effects

    Bell Connelly:....I figured I’m probably the most qualified person to roll out the welcome wagon. So welcome to Extreme Makeover: Locker Room edition! Do you remember that show? Sorry I don’t have a bus to move for you. The room’s too small. Buttttt if you want I can make noises like a bus and moonwalk backwards. That’s just as good right?Michelle's eyes surveyed the room, a look of something between horror and incomprehension on her face. The balloons... the streamers... the banners... It looked like the Powerpuff Girls had eaten too much birthday cake and vomited all over her beautifully sparse and austere locker room.

    MVH: ... what is ... why is ... who ...

    Eventually her eyes came to rest on Bell, who had apparently been speaking. Von Horrowitz was too dumbstruck to listen. Her mind raced back to all of the horrors she'd seen in dreams, but none of it compared to the sheer tragedy of this wall of balloons.

    After what seemed like half a minute of awkward silence, she slowly backed out of the room, closing the door behind her Bell frowns to herself almost in confusion before turning to a corner of the room arms out.

    Bell Connelly: Was it something I said?

    The camera pans around to reveal the heavyset gentleman in the corner

    Chubby Carlos: You got me Dude. You still want me to make balloon animals?

    Bell Connelly Oh! I want a kitten!

    CWA/FWA SUPERSHOW - match write-up
    Spoiler:

    MAIN EVENT INTERGENDER TAG MATCH"The Immortal" Phillip A. Jackson w/ Thomas Princeton and "Dreamer" Michelle von Horrowitz vs "Inhuman" Jon Snowmantashi and Bell Connelly
    Spoiler:


    On one side of the ring stands the near three hundred pounds of the Kaiju, Jon Snowmantashi. On the other side of the ring, Phillip A. Jackson stretches for a sizeable opponent. On the aprons, Bell Connelly excitedly cheers the CWA World Heavyweight Champion on, and Michelle von Horrowitz looks menacingly at all three other competitors in the match. The bell rings and the two men in ring start circling about. They lock up but PAJ turns that into a waist-lock in about half a second, any attempt at moving the immovable object is futile and he gets an elbow rocking him away for his troubles. PAJ, shockingly enough, doesn’t back down, he’s pissed and shoves (to no result) Snowmantashi. Snowmantashi snorts, so PAJ knife edge chops him in the chest. The Kaiju doesn’t feel a thing. One more time?! Still nothing. A third time! Snowmantashi is chuckling at PAJ’s efforts. The crowd is chanting “SNOW-MAN-TA-SHI” which only serves to frustrate the FWA World Champion. He signals one more time and Kaiju is more than willing to give him the opportunity. He reaches back, reaches back - EYE POKE!

    Piers Gallagher: GREAT MOVE!

    Snowmantashi holds the top half of his face and the crowd boo PAJ though Princeton at ringside compliments him on his keen intelligence. PAJ smirks and nods at his success, but Snowmantashi whirls around, visibly pissed off. He tries to get his hands on the champ but PAJ is in between the ropes, demanding the referee regulate the Japanese savage - then he tags in von Horrowitz. The number one contender to the CWA World Heavyweight Championship doesn’t look too happy with PAJ’s success but she gingerly enters the ring, her eyes dead set on Snowmantashi. The crowd anticipates the early and upcoming confrontation between the two - but Bell Connelly calls in for the tag, excitedly requesting her chance. Jon can’t possible neglect his bubbly partner and is more than willing to tag her in.

    Langdon Trafford: Here we go, Bell Connelly gets in on the action... I'm worried this match may be a little too heated for her!

    Connelly hops over the ropes and into the ring and offers von Horrowitz a hand, but you can guess where that goes. von Horrowitz sneers, slaps the taste out of Connelly’s mouth and then viciously kicks at Connelly, so hard, the FWA Womens Champion drops to the back on the mat. A hint of overconfidence settles in for von Horrowitz, it’s put to an instant stop when Connelly’s back on her feet after a kip up. Michelle has none of that and goes for another low kick, Connelly hops above it though, and in that same jump, nails a high knee right into the face of von Horrowitz. Michelle stumbles back into the ropes, but as soon as she bounces off it, she’s charging ahead - DIVING CROSS BODY. Connelly, while still having the impact, manages roll through, hook the leg and

    ONE!

    TW-

    Jim Taylor: Close! Bell Connelly showing that she can hang with those at the top, perhaps!?

    Michelle gets out of it. Both women spring to their feet. Michelle goes low, kick straight to the knee cap gets Connelly down to one leg. She uses the low ground - DOUBLE UNDERHOOK DDT. She hooks the leg-

    Tim Coleman: PERHAPS NOT!

    ONE!

    TWO-

    THR!

    Bell kicks out, getting the crowd worried that we’d see an early defeat for the FWA Women’s Champion. Michelle, fully in control, tags in PAJ and with Connelly firmly in no man’s land, she must be willing to risk a great deal of pain to switch the momentum. Michelle doesn’t quite leave the ring. Both of them wait for Connelly to get to her feet (a struggle) and then dropkick her in the knee. She drops to all fours and KICKS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE HEAD. There’s nothing fancy here, but it still hurts to see. PAJ stands in the middle of the ring, hands raised in a taunt for all to see the supposed superior champion. He backs up all the way to Snowmantashi, thinking he’s sly, he spins around for a forearm but Snowmantashi blocks it and shakes his head, PAJ backs up instantly. He nods, fair play, turns around PAJle!

    Piers Gallagher: Great move from PAJ again! He's showing who's boss here, just like he should!

    Snowmantashi is knocked off the apron and holding his head. He looks back up to sneer at a smirking PAJ and sprints for the apron, sliding into the ring but the referee is already begging him out of it while PAJ keeps taunting. Michelle doesn’t hesitate to take advantage, jumping into the ring in a knee bar for as long as the referee pushes Snowmantashi out of the ring. It just urges the big man on but there’s nothing he can really do so he reluctantly steps out and von Horrowitz is back on the apron, none the wiser. PAJ turns back his attention on Bell, waits for the FWA Womens Champion to get back up, locks his hands around her waist and german suplexes her, landing her flat on the back of her head, he doesn’t let go and goes for a second one - bridges through…

    Tim Coleman: PAJ is really being dastardly here! I like it! He's making sure to hurt Bell!

    ONE……..

    TWO…….

    KICK OUT!

    Connelly may be cornered but she doesn’t have an ounce of submission in her. It doesn’t deter PAJ who tags in von Horrowitz to get her own chance at finishing off the blockbuster main event. Michelle is instantly surgical when she steps in the ring. She sorts through a what’s what of leg submission maneuvers: knee bar, figure four leg lock, single leg boston crab, cloverleaf, argentine leg lock. And each time she begins baiting the crowd, explaining she’s got another one in her notebook of submission maneuvers. To further piss the entire arena off, she stops to talk to PAJ and they even consult Princeton at ringside, she goes all the way back to the classics and busts a stepover toehold, for all its simplicity, it’s got capacity to break a leg. Credit where credit is due, never does Connelly even consider tapping out. Michelle is never deterred, she signals that she’s tired of toying with the champion and readies for the Ankle Lock. She grabs Connelly’s leg but as soon as she does, Connelly flips forward and Michelle spears PAJ right off the turnbuckle.

    Michelle doesn’t really care for PAJ’s safety, she turns around to turn her ire back on Connelly who’s sprinting to tag in Snowmantashi. Michelle catches her leg just as she’s halfway to the Kaiju. Michelle shakes her head, and is about lock in the Anke Lock again- CONNELLY FLIPS MICHELLE FORWARD A SECOND TIME. Michelle stops just short of Snowmantashi’s reach. The two are but seconds from clashing, von Horrowitz is perhaps not quite reluctant but cautious. Either case, the apprehension cost her, Connelly desperately gets her hands around von Horrowitz’s head, somehow with one good leg, springboards off the ropes AND HITS THE BELL DOG!

    Langdon Trafford: BELL DOG! SHE JUST HAS TO GO FOR THE PINFALL!

    Connelly’s way too tired to go for the pinfall and that’s taken quite a bit out of von Horrowitz who’s dazed on the mat. Both remain on the mat and start showing life ever-so-slowly, the referee, recognizing this is a once-ever match-up, holds back on counting anybody out. The two start dragging towards the opposite of the ring where there partner stands and it takes an agonizingly long time but eventually hands slap and two new men are in the ring. PAJ gets to Snowmantashi first and launches a flurry of forearms that rock the champion back. He takes a step back - SUPERSWEET SHIN SYMPHONY. It rocks Snowmantashi back, he’s nearly going to fall, his hands wave around hoping to remain standing, and that he does, a ton of fights with McGinnis has given him the ability to withstand that devastating superkick. PAJ doesn’t seem to care though - SUPERSWEET SHIN SYMPHONY! This time Snowmantashi drops like a ton of bricks. PAJ drops on top!

    Piers Gallagher: And the FWA champ pins the CWA champ... just like it should be! Not like Snowmantashi had a chance against someone like PAJ!

    ONE……

    TWO………

    THR!?

    Jim Taylor: I wouldn't be so quick to speak, Piers! Our champ is still in this!

    Snowmantashi stands to his feet with PAJ in his grasp. The FWA World Heavyweight Champion is shaking his head and desperate to escape. Princeton, noticing PAJ’s predicament after helping von Horrowitz up at ringside is urging Snowmantashi to put PAJ done. The Kaiju has no remorse and recklessly tosses PAJ over the top rope, sending him dropping clean onto von Horrowitz and Princeton. “KAI-JU! KAI-JU! KAI-JU!” Connelly, mildly recovered and limping suggests something to Snowmantashi and the champ is more than willing to comply. They go to the far side of the ring, measure their groggy opponents, it’s not McGinnis and Snowmantashi but it’s the next best thing - STEREO SUICIDE DIVE.

    Jim Taylor: SUICIDE DIVE SQUAD V2.0!?!?

    Langdon Trafford: Bell and Jon are making a great team!

    Snowmantashi and Connelly wipe out on von Horrowitz and PAJ. Snowmantashi recovers and rolls PAJ right into the ring. He holds onto PAJ’s hair and looks to the crowd with a sick sort of grin, he hammers one foot into PAJ’s head, then a second, then a third-fourth-fifthsixthseveneighninten-he just keeps going with absolute no remorse. By the time he lets go, PAJ’s hair is a mess and it’s a wonder his face isn’t a bloody one. Snowmantashi lifts PAJ’s limp body up, wraps those clubbing arms around PAJ’s head and locks in the FROSTBITE. It’s not every day you see the large man apply the sleeper hold on the smaller man but that’s exactly what he’s doing. PAJ’s rocking blows to the head have taken much of the resistance out of him but still he reaches for the ropes. Everytime it looks like he might pass out, he shows shocking determination reaching out again but never really coming close. It doesn’t matter because help comes in the form of a SUPERKICK!

    Tim Coleman: Alright... I think Snowmantashi's dead! That was a hellacious kick! I think MVH and PAJ are making a good team too!

    Snowmantashi drops flat from the third superkick he’s received today. Michelle slaps PAJ awake, neither he nor Princeton take kindly to it but after some suggestions from Michelle, PAJ smirks and seems to agree. They both climb in the ring, Michelle points to the sky and goes rocketing - 450 SPLASH. She rolls right off and PAJ takes his signal, AMAZING SPLASH. Surely this is it!

    Piers Gallagher: IT'S OVER! IT HAS TO BE!!! PAJ HITS THE AMAZING SPLASH!

    ONE….

    TWO….

    THREEEEEE!!!!!!

    WAIT!

    LEG ON THE ROPES.

    Piers Gallagher: ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

    The referee realizes just in time and has to tell PAJ. The champion is none too pleased and argues a great deal, von Horrowitz and Princeton are both willing to contribute to the debate. He doesn’t seem to realize the giant is climbing back to his feet right behind him and as soon as he himself turns around - HAILSTORM. PAJ bounces off the mat like he’s a basketball. KAIJU seems to feel the energy and so does Connelly who stands back alive in their corner. She asks Snowmantashi for the tag and while the CWA World Heavyweight Champ is reluctant, he concedes and Connelly is right back in limping. Michelle wasn’t about to wait for the advantage, during the reluctance, she drags PAJ right to her corner, lifts him up, goes to the apron, and tags herself in.

    Tim Coleman: Michelle von Horrowtiz is proving herself to be championship worthy right now.

    The two women charge at each other, Michelle goes for a kick to the midriff, MATRIX EVASION. Michelle doesn’t care for being impressed, she goes for a lower kick to that vulnerable leg and Connelly is instantly down holding a leg she can barely stand on at this point. Michelle looks down on her. She smirks to Snowmantashi and we find out why a second later, PAJ pulls Snowmantashi off the apron, grabs his head, uses the apron as leverage 720 DDT. Michelle has renewed her focus, and she locks in the ANKLE LOCK. She wrenches as hard as she possible can but Bell resists with all the energy she can muster and tries to reach the ropes. Michelle is intent on ending it now and locks it right in, so that there’s no moving at all for Bell. She tries to roll side to side but it’s futile. PAJ desperately tries to stop Snowmantashi from reviving and clawing into the ring and he’s doing a hell of a job, the two tossing sluggish forearms to one another. Bell realizes there’s no help coming, she’s got to make a decision, have her ankle snapped or live to fight another day. She resists a second longer…

    THEN TAPS OUT.

    Langdon Trafford: Poor Bell!

    Piers Gallagher: Who cares about her, PAJ was the MVP here! He stopped that fat waste the CWA call a champ from getting in! YES!

    Jim Taylor: I think the plaudits have to go to our own Michelle von Horrowitz!

    Tim Coleman: PAJ and MVH were the better team, that's all there is to it! Both worked together better!

    Winners: Michelle von Horrowitz and Phillip A. Jackson.Following the match, Princeton gets into the ring and congratulates PAJ as well as his partner. Snowmantashi is reeling from the forearms in the middle of the ring as he checks on Bell.... but he's taken from behind as PAJ suddenly nails him with another superkick straight to the head!

    Langdon Trafford: There is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR THAT!

    Jim Taylor: Disgusting.

    Piers Gallagher: I LOVE IT!

    The fans rain down boos as Michelle von Horrowitz stands shocked. PAJ jumps out of the ring and takes the CWA World Championship, he holds it straight at Michelle's face telling her that she's the real champ, she's the one who deserves this, this is her belt. He then throws the belt down at Jon Snowmantashi's feet and smirks... PAJ then leaves the ring with Princeton and they walk to the top of the stage receiving boo after boo. They stand at the top of the stage posing, victorious whilst inside the ring Jon Snowmantashi and Bell Connelly are both down.

    Tim Coleman: A look into the future?

    The show goes off the air with the parting image of Michelle von Horrowitz standing at the fallen Snowmantashi's feet staring at the belt with a glint in her eye...

    Volume 7: "Passion - Part Two". (01/11/2016)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Jon Snowmantashi and Jonathan McGinnis, w/ Johnny Vegas [CWA Adrenaline Rush, January 2016].

    Staatsoper Unter den Lendin, Berlin, Germany
    8th November, 2005


    It had been two years since Belle had moved to Germany’s capital, and this was the first time that Michelle had been allowed to travel with her mother on a visit. They’d spent the day drinking coffee in cold, dour cafes adjacent to tourist spots. The Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate. The evening had brought them out to the State Opera House, and mother had insisted that Michelle wear a new dress that she’d picked up from a boutique on Kurfu ̈rstendamm. It was green with a gold neckline, and it had that ’simple elegance’ about it her mother was always talking about. Michelle hadn’t put up too much protest through fear of being left in Marseilles next time Belle invited them out.

    Their seats were excellent, Michelle thought, although the quality of vantage points in opera houses was hardly something she could claim to be an expert about. The orchestra had taken the stage, her baby sister sat far out on the left lank with another pair of cellists. They began to play and the audience sat, a thick anticipation laying in the hall. Michelle surveyed the faces in the auditorium and placed their nationalities; the solemn, quick-to-age Germans, the angular, Gallic French, some pasty, unfashionable English. The music floated over them as they traced their eyes across the orchestra, inspecting each instrument and musician in turn. She thought it an odd event. It was striking in its passivity.

    The music was pleasant at first but, to Michelle’s uneducated ears, it seemed only to repeat and build rather than re-invent or start afresh. Two hours of it was about a hundred and eighteen minutes too many. She clapped when her mother clapped through politeness. When it was finished, she watched the older woman next to her beam with pride as her youngest daughter took her bow. It seemed to Michelle that the whole thing had been a success. She would later justify that it was only a student performance from the junior class at the conservatoire, so they were hardly going to heckle. But her mother was in an inexplicably good mood. Perhaps it was the wine.

    They’d gone to a reception afterwards, where she’d watched her mother and sister speak to the teachers about her progress. The matriarch was doing her best to sound professional, and Michelle shuffled uncomfortably, waiting for the event to see itself into the past. There was an obnoxious deference to it all, as if any modicum of excitement had been drawn away in the refining process. She squirmed each time one of the faculty members addressed her, either to enquire where she schooled (“Rotterdam.” – Michelle, “But she’s off to Marseilles soon enough.” – mother) or if she played music herself (“no.”), and would eventually retreat into a reasonably unoccupied corner of the hall, waiting for the ordeal to run its course.

    She was fifteen years old. It had been two years since the incident with Aunt Maude, a tragedy that she did her best not to think about. Their mother, though, had always associated it with Belle’s acceptance into Berlin’s College of Music, and having Michelle accompany her to the city brought awkward connotations. For twenty four months, the woman had point blank refused to take her elder daughter to Germany. Eventually, she’d relented, and Michelle had enjoyed some of today. The history of the city spoke for itself, and she enjoyed the bleak quality of its people. But tonight had been nothing but a stark reminder of the leagues between Michelle and her family.

    She drank her third glass of wine, the last that her mother had rationed for her young body, and stared up at the high, elaborate chandeliers. Beneath them, some of the students and teachers had fetched instruments – mostly brass and percussion – and were beginning to play some generic twenties American swing. Some of the others were beginning to dance. Michelle went outside, bumming a cigarette from a seedy looking French man, and sat on a bench across the street. She waited, patiently and dutifully, for her family to come outside.

    ***


    Kevin DuPont Building, New York City, NY, US
    30th December, 2015


    “Um, Michelle?”

    The voice was meek, unassuming, but enough to break the spell of her memories. She’d been swimming in her mind as of late, all-too-ready to dive out of the now and spend some time with Bell back in Berlin, or Iwao in Tokyo, or Franz in Marseilles. Now was no different, even if she was still sitting in Hank Microphone’s rented studio, talking with the host and his guest, Black Bear, about her upcoming tag matches.

    “How long was I away for?” Michelle asked, leaning back in her chair and lifting her heels onto the seat, clutching her knees beneath her chin.

    “Five minutes or so,” replied Hank. “It’s okay, we’re not live, but this studio is expensive. You ready to carry on?”

    She nodded, lethargically, bored.

    “So,” Black Bear began again, picking his notes up once more and finding his place. “Next week, you team up with Johnny Vegas to face off against Snowmantashi and McGinnis. Your opponents are long-time friends, occasional tag partners and frequent opponents. They will obviously know each other very well. They’ll be used to each other’s styles. But you and Vegas have never come across one another before. Do you think that leaves you at something of a disadvantage?”

    “Tag team matches are inherently unfair, I’ve always thought,” Michelle started, tapping a couple of fingers idly against the arm of her chair. “I like to rely on myself, and myself alone. If you bring in another variable like a tag partner, you find yourself thinking about them and whether they’re going to hold up their end of the bargain. I’ve managed to avoid tag matches so far in my short tenure here, and that’s probably the biggest contributing factor to the success I’ve had. It’s made all the worse by the fact that my opponent is a man like Vegas.”

    “What do you mean by that?” Microphone asked with a sideways glance to his co-host. “Vegas has had his share of victories in this company, too, not to mention a pin-fall victory over then-champion Jonathan McGinnis.”

    “Yes, yes, yes,” von Horrowitz replied, a derisive tone evident in her voice. The Man Who Beat The Darling, as he so often tell us. But he’s not the only one who’s done that, and any semblance of prestige has since disappeared from such statements. Snowmantashi crushed the champion at Wrestle Royale and stole his title. I myself held Darling Jonathan’s shoulders down for three last week. McGinnis is on a downward spiral, and whether Vegas was the catalyst for that or just took advantage, I can’t say.”

    “So are you telling us that you aren’t confident in your partner?” Black Bear asked, rather pointedly.

    “I don’t know very much about my partner, and I’m not particularly bothered about him either, to be honest,” Michelle began, waving a hand as if to throw away the question. “I’ll be concerned about myself, and self-preservation, mostly. If Vegas climbs into the ring and does some damage to either of the Dive Squad, then so be it. Good news, hey presto, and all that. But I’m not relying on Vegas. I’m not relying on anyone. Next week’s Adrenaline Rush is just a second opportunity to get my hands on the Man-Baby, to weaken him before Five Star Attraction. If Darling Jonathan gets in the way, or my partner for that matter, then… what’s the term? Collateral damage?”

    Black Bear placed his notes down in front of him and leaned back in his chair, folding one leg over the other. He exhaled deeply as if in frustration before picking up his earlier line of questioning once more.

    “It sounds to me like you’re not overly concerned with this match,” he started. “Do you think it’s wise to be so flippant about your opponents, let alone your partner? It probably won’t inspire his confidence in you.”

    Michelle looked at the clock above the hosts, watching the big hand creep towards the eight. She had things to do, tape to watch, champions to study. These things didn’t seem to matter. They never had. She opened her mouth to answer two or three times before closing it again. Her mind began to drift once more. Later, looking back, she could never be sure if she’d answered Black Bear or not, and she certainly hadn’t listened to the podcast back. She was constantly pulled back to Berlin, to Japan, to France, as if some gravitational force was commanding her into the past. The hands crept around the clock, charging forwards towards Five Star Attraction, but Michelle was forever drifting, receding, into memories that were hers and hers alone.

    ***


    Acade ́mie des Phillipe Lacroix, Marseilles, France
    4th February, 2007


    She sat in the library, a book open in front of her, turned to a page on the Siege of Leningrad. Next to it was a pencil and a notepad, disused for the time-being and slowly being forgotten about. Michelle sat on the low chair, slowly tilting it onto its hind legs with a foot pressed against the edge of the table. It was getting late, and away at the counter the librarian was making his final checks for the evening. Winter was still stubbornly clinging on, refusing to let Spring take the helm.

    Isobel returned from the hunt grasping a trio of text books. The only one visible was on differential calculus, which was probably the primary cause of the look of sheer woe that had latched onto her face. She dumped the books down onto the table and took a seat across from Michelle, leaning back on her chair and rubbing at her heavy eyes.

    “It’s time to go,” she said, tapping her fingers against the front cover of a book on the Algerian War of Independence that sat atop her pile. “The Russkis can wait until the morning.”

    Michelle had a coffee rested on her knee, housed in a cardboard cup. She took a sip at the bitter, lukewarm liquid, and then surveyed her notes as if they were lost relics.

    “I don’t think I’ve read a thing since you left,” she said, picking up her pencil and using it to push long strands of brown hair away from her eyes.

    “It’s late,” Isobel replied, looking over at the librarian. He was sitting at his desk and staring back over at the pair, his last unwelcome guests. He waited patiently for them to get up and go. “You taking anything out? It’s Sunday tomorrow so this place’ll be closed.”

    “Just this Soviet bullshit, I guess,” Michelle said, squinting at the thought of a Sunday wasted with the German army. “Maybe one of those snazzy calculus tomes you got yourself, too.”

    “We’ll drop them off at the dorms, and then to le Cavalier?” Isobel asked, standing from her chair and picking up her books. Michelle followed suit, packing her notes away into a rucksack and picking up the history book. Margot continued. “They have some band on from Munich. Mathieu and Pierre are going, and that English boy from le e ́cole d’e ́glise.”

    “I can’t,” Michelle said, with not a hint of disappointment. She followed her dorm-mate to a specific aisle on the ground floor, where the girl from Lille pointed at a maths book bound in purple. She picked up a copy and turned away from the spot, heading towards the exit. “I’m meeting Franz. In fact, would you mind taking my books back for me? I’m late already.”

    ’The mysterious Franz’, how delightful,” Isobel replied, passing her tomes over to the employee. He began to scan them through. “If you insist. But bear in mind you’re consigning me to an evening with Jeanne, if I can even persuade her to sign herself out.”

    “You will overcome,” Michelle offered, handing her rucksack over to her counterpart after the librarian had finished with the books. After reaching the exit the two went their separate ways, and von Horrowitz pressed on towards her bus stop. It was an unnaturally cold night, so she pulled her coat around her tightly and smoked one of the six cigarettes she’d managed to save for the evening. She was banking on Franz having some spare.

    The ride through the city was short in terms of distance, but the roads were choked with the Saturday night revellers, the people flowing in and out of the centre for the festivities. She watched large groups of youths, usually single-gender packs, waiting for taxis and sharing the dregs of cheap bottles. Eventually, the bus pulled up at her stop, and Franz was waiting for her across the street.

    Franz was a Hungarian boy who went to the university in Marseille. He was eighteen and he’d moved to the city from Budapest the previous summer, studying literature and working in a bakery in the village near Michelle’s school. He offered her a cigarette upon approach and lit it for her, too. He pointed away to the north, towards a large building that a few dozen people were hovering around.

    “Did you manage to get the money?” he asked, stuffing his free hand in his pocket in a vain attempt to conceal some warmth. His voice was thick with a Hungarian accent. Michelle shook her head. “I guess it’s on me, then.”

    “It would appear so,” she said, watching a group of young men filing into the small gymnasium in front of them. “Who is on, anyway? And how much is it?”

    “The main event is le Boucher de Bordeaux against L’Guerrier des Irises’,” he replied. “And it’s fourteen euros, but I can cover it. I think it’ll be quite the evening.”

    The two filed up the street towards their destination, where the boy paid through a small hole in the wall before entering via a narrow tunnel into what was a gymnasium of a public secondary school. It was reasonably wide, and all around a small, old wrestling ring sat bleachers, a steep ascent from floor to ceiling. It was already near full, punters of all ages moving towards their seat as the ring crew made their final checks. Franz was beginning to move down towards the ring, spotting a patch of seating only thinly populated on the fifth row back. When they’d taken their seats, Franz lit another cigarette and stared over at the top of the ramp, attempting to spot any wrestlers that may be sneaking a look at the night’s environment. He pointed at a smartly dressed woman and explained that it was Delphine Heracles, the owner of the promotion that was running the event. Michelle stared at her and took Franz’s cigarette from his hand, taking a drag before returning it to the boy.

    Eventually, the lights were dimmed and a man in a tuxedo took his position in the middle of the ring. He raised a microphone to his lips and introduced the capacity audience to this live Full Pro France event. The fans roared with anticipation, staring at the makeshift ramp and the small entrance at the top of it. As a small, stocky man came out to a chorus of boos, Michelle found herself staring wildly around herself, eyes fixated on each individual face and ears absorbing each individual sound. His opponent came next; a taller and more slender man, pale white and in gold tights. He high-fived a few audience members at the top of the ramp and shouted something in Italian, which was cheered even if it wasn’t understood. His hair was closely cropped and a thick, greying goatee grew around his thin, pursed lips. Around his waist was a small, gold belt, the words ’Champion National de France’ engraved across it.

    The two stood in the middle of the ring and the referee took the belt from the taller man, holding it high above his head and presenting it to the boisterous audience. The announcer lifted his microphone up again and introduced the combatants; the small, conceited Fracois Bellatroix from Lille versus the larger, older veteran from Florence. Finally, the bell rang, and the two jockeyed for position around the middle of the ring, a collar and elbow tie up kicking off the match.

    She was seventeen years old and the music was sweet.

    ADRENALINE RUSH - segment (with Jon Snowmantash [Jon Snow])
    Spoiler:

    When we return from the commercial break, Michelle Kelly is standing in the ring, which has been lined with red carpet. She is sat on a high-backed black chair, two more of which are positioned either side of her. The crowd is hot with anticipation.
    Spoiler:



    Michelle Kelly: Ladies and gentlemen, in just two short weeks the biggest event in the CWA calendar takes place, when the stars of this company fight for honour and renown at Five Star Attraction. The main event is a true tale of David and Goliath, as our current World Heavyweight Champion Jon Snowmantashi will take on the winner of the Wrestle Royale, Michelle von Horrowitz. It is my privilege to announce that both competitors have agreed to give up ten minutes of their time to speak with me, and all of you, here tonight. So, without further delay, may I introduce the number one contender for the biggest prize in the business; Michelle von Horrowitz!

    Roy Orbison’s ‘In Dreams’ sounds out around the arena and is greeted by a chorus of boos. Before long, von Horrowitz is stood upon the stage, surveying the crowd, most of which are instantly hostile towards her arrival. She begins to stride down the ramp at her leisure, something resembling a devious grin on her face, hands tracing the line of an invisible championship around her waist.

    Jim Taylor: Here she is, Tim, the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship…

    Tim Coleman: Michelle Kelly literally just said that…

    Von Horrowitz takes a few moments to snatch a sign written in what looks like crayon that reads ‘GO BACK TO HOLLAND’ out of the hands of a fan. She crumples it into a compact ball and punt kicks it high into the audience. Soon enough, she is on the apron, climbing through the ropes, and beckoning the crowd on in their hatred. She appears more than happy to portray the villain. Her music stops and she positions herself on Michelle Kelly’s left.

    Michelle Kelly: … and now, introducing her opponent for Five Star Attraction’s main event. He is the current, reigning CWA Heavyweight Champion of the world. He is Jon Snowmantashi!

    The heart-pounding rhythm and vocals of "Sword of Destiny" reverberate throughout the arena, announcing the arrival of the CWA Heavyweight Champion. Jon Snowmantashi steps through the curtains in a simple "KAIJU" shirt and some shorts that go down to his knees. The gold everyone vies for in the back lies on his shoulder as it must, it's simply too small for his waist. He's jovial, aggravatingly so, and that might be a ketchup stain on his shirt too. In any case, the champion makes his way down the ramp, indifferent to both the crowd and whatever theatricality is expected in his arrival. He walks up the steel steps and takes his spot in a re-enforced chair to Michelle Kelly’s right, the crowd still cheering loudly as Kelly waits to ask her first question.

    Michelle Kelly: Welcome to both of you, both champion and challenger. Let me start with a general question, for both of you. Tonight will be the second time that you will have faced off, albeit in tag team matches, after the main event of the recent end-of-year cross-promotional super show with the FWA. What are your thoughts on that match as well as tonight’s encounter, where the champion will team up with his long-time friend Jonathan McGinnis, and the challenger with Johnny Vegas? Do you feel that you have become better acquainted with each other’s styles? Has it in any way altered your respective strategies as we head towards Five Star Attraction? Let’s start with you, Miss von Horrowitz.

    MVH: Well, first of all, it’s Ms von Horrowitz…

    The crowd are instantly on MVH’s back again, more because of her tone of superiority than the content of her response.

    MVH: And second of all, that wasn’t really one general question, Michelle. It was more like three questions, each of which are general enough to almost be considered mundane. I have zero interest in discussing our match at the super-show. It is in the past, and I trust that everybody has already seen the contest and drawn their own conclusions. Anything that I could say about it now would be redundant. As for my strategy, I wouldn’t be the calculating competitor that I am if I was ready and willing to give away my game-plan with my opponent sat three metres away from me. I almost wish you’d asked the Champ first, if only because he’s probably unintelligent enough to actually give you an answer. He calls it ‘straight forward’… ‘plain talking’… but I honestly doubt that the Man-Baby possesses the mental faculties to give us any more than the grunts he offers on the microphone each week.

    Snowmantashi doesn’t seem interested in von Horrowitz’ diatribe, and is staring almost straight through her. Michelle continues…

    MVH: As for tonight, well, I’ve spoken about this at some length already. It is, of course, inherently unfair that I am expected to partner with a man I’ve never even spoken to, whilst my opponents are a semi-established unit with their own cute little team name and all. But I have long come to realise that I can’t expect parity of opportunity from wrestling promoters. Tonight will be little more than an experiment; a skirmish before the battle to come at Five Star Attraction. The Man-Baby isn’t smart enough to conceal his thoughts or his abilities, so tonight will just be another opportunity to read his strategy whilst guarding my own. But hey, maybe I won’t have to. Maybe he’s ready to answer your question and save me a job tonight. Jonny boy?

    The champion has a wide dumb grin when he's finally given leave to speak at the culmination of the challenger's thinly veiled shots.

    Jon Snowmantashi: I not know how is in Oranda, where you from... but in Japan... I think in Amerika too, a baby complains. A baby thinks everything is unfair. But, I try to make things fair for you, I tell you strategy for Go Suta Aatorakushon - I have no strategy. I not need strategy to beat Makuginisu-kun. I not need strategy to beat everyone else I beat already. I not need strategy to beat you. I not need strategy tonight. Strategy is for people compensate for weakness. I not really have weakness. I understand if you keep your strategy in secret. You need strategy. These people need show. I need challenge. Makes sense. I not blame you.

    He lowers the microphone and that seems to be about everything he has to say in regards to Michelle's flurry of questions. Ordinarily, maybe Kelly would have questioned Snowmantashi's reluctance to strategize, but she'd interviewed him enough to know this was always his answer in regards to studying his opponent.

    Michelle Kelly: At Five Star Attraction, Ms von Horrowitz, you're going in as a challenger for the biggest prize in the business, it's not something that happens every day. Mr. Snowmantashi, you're going into Five Star Attraction with your very first defense of the championship you recently acquired. I'd like to go beyond your relationship as challenger and champion for a second here. Ms von Horrowitz, you haven't shied away from... criticizing Mr. Snowmantashi's character, and Mr. Snowmantashi, you've shown almost indifference in recognizing your opponent. What do you truly think about the person opposite you, personally and professionally?

    It's almost a question that seems to serve to solely raise the animosity instead of lowering it. Snowmantashi, for once, raises the microphone first.

    Jon Snowmantashi: Misheru-kun is very pretty lady. Not very nice, though. In ring, I not care about what her goals are, what she thinks of me, what she thinks of this company... she on other side of ring, all I want is to break Misheru-kun.

    Well he's never been known to mince words.

    Jon Snowmantashi: You know, they say I defending championship at Go Suta Aatorakushon. She's challenging the championship. Is our relationship. I clarify something, I not defending the championship at Go Suta Aatorakushon, I attacking the challenger.

    He lowers the microphone, there's still half a grin on his face, sort of mismatching whatever seriousness he's trying to deliver with his words.

    Michelle Kelly: Any response, Michelle?

    Von Horrowitz lifts the microphone and stands up, pacing around slightly as she replies.

    MVH: I’m never sure, when this man begins to speak, if he means what he says or whether it’s all an elaborate plan. No strategy. No strategy? I’ve heard this man called a warrior before. A legend of the international wrestling world. But wrestling without strategy is just fighting, and there’s a large part of me that thinks that that’s all he is; a fighter. And an infantile one at that. A fighter who has bumbled his way through a career that has had – admittedly - more ups than downs, but even the best fighter in the world is no match for a wrestler. And that is what I am. A wrestler who has proved to all of you what I can do in this ring. I’ve wrestled bigger and I’ve certainly wrestled better, and eventually even the largest tree falls victim to a small-but-sharp axe.

    Here she turns to face her opponent directly for the first time, eyeing up his immense frame. A hint of apprehension creeps onto her face before she’s able to dispel it.

    MVH: As for breaking me at Five Star Attraction?

    A small snort of derision.

    MVH: What Jon Snowmantashi wants to do is of little interest to me. It should be of little interest to all of you, too, because a competitor’s desires are not significant. Snowmantashi can bluster about breaking his challengers all he likes, but he is still a defenceless champion. He defeated the hypocrite McGinnis, for sure. But there isn’t anyone in tonight’s main event who hasn’t done that. Even McGinnis defeats himself on a regular basis. This is no great feat. Snowmantashi is a transitional champion waiting to diminish. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Von Horrowitz returns to her chair, placing the microphone on its arm and beckoning for Michelle Kelly to ask her next question.

    Michelle Kelly: We have heard both of you talk about what will happen in two weeks’ time, but – as my third and final question – I’d like to you to imagine something you probably haven’t even paused to consider. What if you lose? What would be next for Mr Snowmantashi or Ms von Horrowitz, should you fail to secure the victory at Five Star Attraction?

    Michelle picks her microphone up and jumps in ahead of the champion.

    MVH: You are wrong, Michelle. I have, of course, considered what would happen should I be beaten at Five Star Attraction. I think about this before every single match, although – as I’ve come to regard the competition here in CWA with less and less reverence as each week goes by – that’s less true now than it was in my debuting weeks. Part of me thinks that if I lose, I will begin to fade. I’ve built myself a fair bit of momentum and, should I be halted by the Man-Baby, there’s a good chance that mid-card obscurity will follow for a few weeks, maybe even months. But the cream rises, and I am bolstered by this simple fact; nobody really expects me to win, anyway. Nobody but myself.

    She pauses as a ‘SNOW-MAN-TASH-I’ chant begins to circulate, gaining momentum in her elongated silence.

    MVH: You see, Jon? These people are all relying on you. The expectation is there, and it is strong and unrelenting. If I should fail, I can re-build, slowly but surely. If you should fail, and you and I both know the probability of that is not insignificant, then it is over. You will be a one-hit wonder… A failure… A disappointment. You will crawl back to Japan with your tail between your trunk-like legs. You will have nowhere to go. No one will cheer your name. No one will remember the good times. You will be the man who worked his way to the top over a period of years, only to piss it all away in a single month… A single title defence. For me, this match is my first roll of the dice. For you, it’s your career.

    She drops the microphone onto the mat in front of her, making it quite clear that she has nothing more to say to either of these people. Snowmantashi raises the microphone to answer the question himself.

    Jon Snowmantashi: To walk away from failure would be to dishonour yourself, to do away with your pride, I can never do such a thing. Rather in defeat, or in victory, you must always stand the same, you must never waver. I will continue doing what I have always done and that is to break down the person who stands in ring with me. Not my opponent, not these people, not anyone will change that. And - is as you say, cream will always rise. I don't consider defeat, I don't consider victory either, I consider only one thing, destroying my opponent. At Go Suta Aatorakushon, that is you Misheru-kun. All I considering, is destroying you.

    The CWA Heavyweight Champion stands now with the microphone on the chair and the belt adjusted to his shoulder. In immediate answer to the large figure before her, Michelle von Horrowitz stands forth too, quite willing to go toe to toe with the man-baby, size difference or not. Michelle Kelly's been long enough in the business to sense the tension rising.

    Michelle Kelly: With all of that said, I'd like to thank both of you for affording me ten minutes of your time ahead of the preparation for tonight's main event and, of course, your match at Five Star Attraction and I'd like to wish both of you good luck in the main event.

    In all likelihood, both champion and challenger care not for the idea of luck, but both have said their peace and left the microphone there. All that's left is to talk things out in the ring, more physically than verbally. The camera cuts away with the two competitors sizing up the person who will seek to break their dreams, and the person they'll seek to break, period.

    ADRENALINE RUSH - match write-up
    Spoiler:

    Main Event Tag Team Grudge Match
    Spoiler:


    Suicide Dive Squad (Jon Snowmantashi & Jonathan McGinnis) vs Michelle von Horowitz & Johnny Vegas w/Jenny Vegas


    "In Dreams" plays and Michelle von Horowitz steps out ignoring the scathing response that she's getting as she simply walks to the ring.

    Lindsay Monahan: Making her way to the ring from Rotterdam, the Netherlands and now residing in New Orleans, Louisiana, weighing in at 71kg, "Dreamer" Michelle von Horowitz!

    Soon the music is replaced by "King for a Day" and Johnny Vegas steps out still in the same face paint from before as he's accompanied by Jenny Vegas and the crowd gives them a nice reception.

    Lindsay Monahan: and her tag team partner being accompanied by Jenny Vegas, from Los Angeles, California and weighing in at 220lbs, Johnny Vegas!

    "Blessings" now hits and Jonathan McGinnis steps out looking ready for war.

    Lindsay Monahan: and their opponents introducing first from Montreal, Canada and now residing in Los Angeles, California, weighing in at 207lbs, "The Last Indy Darling" Jonathan McGinnis!

    "Sword of Destiny" hits and out comes Jon Snowmantashi with his world title around his waist as well as the same attire from earlier in the event as he receives a loud, standing ovation.

    Lindsay Monahan: and his tag team partner, from Tokyo, Japan and now residing in Los Angeles, California. He weighs in at 290lbs, and he is the CWA World Heavyweight Champion, "Inhuman" Jon Snowmantashi!

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    The bell rings as McGinnis starts off against Horrowitz. The two lock up in the center of the ring as Snowmantashi watches on, a sullen look on his face. Vegas, meanwhile, is all fired up as he is practically begging to get in the ring. Horrowitz and McGinnis jockey for position using some rudimentary takedowns and legsweeps, but neither gains the advantage right away. At least, until Horrowitz kicks McGinnis's knee hard, causing the former World Champion to buckle. She backs into her corner for some running strike...

    Tag! Vegas tags himself in, wanting to get another shot at McGinnis. Horrowitz is noticeably annoyed, but leaves as Vegas goes for a dropkick...McGinnis rolls out of the way and counters with a scissor stomp! Vegas's head bounces off the mat as McGinnis grabs him and puts him in a front facelock. Snowmantashi puts his hand out for a tag...but McGinnis doesn't seem interested. Seems he has something to prove as he suplexes Vegas hard! McGinnis goes for a cover, but Vegas kicks out.

    Hard shoot-style kicks to Vegas's chest start to result in welts as McGinnis sizes him up for a superkick, but Vegas ducks and goes for a schoolboy, with McGinnis kicking out at one. Vegas goes for an inside cradle, but McGinnis kicks out again. Vegas backs into a corner as McGinnis goes for a running boot, but Vegas avoids the assault and schoolboys McGinnis INTO THE TURNBUCKLES. McGinnis is loopy as Vegas goes for an enzuigiri, and connects! McGinnis falls as Vegas stumbles into his corner, only to have Horrowitz tag in.

    Horrowitz, seemingly pleased to re-enter the fray even if Vegas is a little upset, methodically punishes a still dazed McGinnis, staring at both him and Snowmantashi with that eerie, all-knowing look in her eye. Her distractions do give McGinnis opportunities to fight back, but Horrowitz still maintains the advantage due to her surprising ability to manipulate joints. She doesn't seem interested in pinning McGinnis...moreso just toying with him.

    This goes on for some time until Snowmantashi decides he's had enough. He enters the ring, shoves Horrowitz off McGinnis, drags McGinnis to his corner despite the referee's protests, and tags in! McGinnis, still in pain, is nonetheless upset. Snowmantashi doesn't care as he stares down the challenger for his title, ready to start Five Star Attraction early...

    ...for a few seconds, until Horrowitz tags in Vegas, who seems to be a bit surprised by this. She hops down onto the floor as Snowmantashi, either wanting to send a message or just wanting to suplex somebody, grabs Vegas by the neck and start wailing on him with suplexes, slams, and body splashes galore! Vegas tries to fight back with his kicks, but Snowmantashi's having none of that as he slaps Vegas and drives him to the mat with a vicious powerbomb! Snowmantashi covers, but to Vegas's credit he doesn't stay down for three.

    Snowmantashi decides that enough is enough as he goes for his big moonsault, but McGinnis blind tags in, wanting to get that win over Vegas himself. This seems to get Snowmantashi irritated as he and McGinnis glare daggers at each other...SUPERKICK! Vegas drills Snowmantashi with a superkick, sending the heavyweight tumbling out of the ring. McGinnis counters that with a Superkick of his own, sending Vegas into the ropes. McGinnis goes to lariat Vegas's head off, but Vegas ducks the clothesline and suicide dives onto Snowmantashi! McGinnis is confused as to why Vegas would do that...

    1...
    2...
    3...!

    Horrowitz rolled up McGinnis and scored a three count! She tagged in when Vegas was sent careening into the ropes by McGinnis's superkick! Horrowitz steals the win!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winners of the match, Michelle von Horowitz and Johnny Vegas!

    Vegas is clearly upset by Michelle stealing this victory from him as he begins to berate her only for Michelle to slap him, and he shoves her which almost turns into a scuffle until the referee breaks them up while McGinnis comes to and Snowmantashi begins to check on him as the show comes to a close.

    Volume 8: "The Silent Kingdom". (01/30/2016)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Johnny Vegas [CWA Adrenaline Rush, February 2016].


    “The hills roll into the horizon, white-grey tufts of cloud forming and disintegrating overhead, the walls of the palace rising sheer in the foreground. An old, diminishing king walks alone amongst the trees… stares out over vast knolls from high windows… sleeps without partner in an oversized bed. These are the things I saw last night, from afar and in close. His sons and the occasional daughter walk amongst him, and the kingdom without subjects is alive with discontent and accusation. But it is silent. It is always silent.”

    Michelle sits alone, naturally, in a plain room. The walls and floors are bare concrete, one tall, metallic locker positioned in a corner. A rucksack, filled with ring gear, a fistful of bills, and a half-full bottle of Jameson’s is propped up against it. The camera is positioned in an opposite corner, offering a hardly-expansive wide shot of the basic locker room.

    “When the king and his offspring are together, he sits above them, out of reach and aloof upon his throne. He surveys them carefully, checking their movements, their schemes and plots obvious and evadable. Some stand at his side, subservient and safe. They tend his table, serving his drinks and delivering his food. They circle the throne like reverent jackals around wounded prey, ever hungering and ever hoping.”

    Her back is leant against the cold wall, one foot lifted up onto the wooden top of the bench and the other stretched out in front of her. She is wearing black skinny jeans and a baggy red t-shirt, her hands stuffed lazily in her pockets.

    “But there are others in the grand hall. The Silent King watches them, sat comfortably in his excessively lavish chair. They are the hunters, and they regard both the scavengers and the prey carefully, mistrustfully. And each time one approaches his father, he is pulled back by the pack, equally uneasy around each other as they are their prize. They fear the next son along; that he will steal their place in the line, their chance to approach the throne. And the King reigns on supreme, unchallenged by a mob of rivals too busy quarrelling amongst themselves. These are the things I saw last night, from afar and in close.”

    She leans forward on the bench, crossing her legs in front of her and staring into the camera. Heavy bags, the sign of uneasy nights, sit unhappily beneath her eyes. Her short, blonde hair is untamed in more of a mass than a style, the green highlights an oily bundle of split ends.

    “Mr Snowmantashi,” she begins anew, for the meantime ignoring her next opponent and taking the long view. “I speak to you now, and only now, in the hopes that you can watch this little video in whatever five-star, downtown hotel you’re checked in to. I also hope you’re finding it restful, and that you’re enjoying life as a part-timer. When we finally meet at Five Star Attraction, it will be your fourth match since Wrestle Royale. Your fourth and my seventh. But I guess you must enjoy the champion’s advantage whilst it lasts, and the view is surely enhanced by arguably three of your top contenders – the two Johnny’s and myself - fighting amongst themselves. I imagine it’s quite the picture out of your palace, whilst your man-servants fan you with palm leaves and feed you grapes.

    “But believe me when I say that whatever it is that you’re currently doing is not within the remit of the champion that I am going to be, once I beat you for a third time at Five Star Attraction. Running scared and living a peaceful life do not have a place in my plans. The CWA will never be saved if its champion is not waving its banner each week. Our Hero is showing his true colours, revealing himself and his self-interest. This company deserves better.”


    Finished with the champion for the time being, she leans back against the wall and shifts her focus. As the subject moves along to Johnny Vegas – her competitor in tonight’s Adrenaline Rush main event – her body language transforms along with it. When discussing Snowmantashi, she appears uncharacteristically on edge, as if the weight of the match lay uneasily on her shoulders. Vegas appears less of a concern, for better or for worse, and she places her hands back into her pockets as if there is no need to defend herself.

    “But between myself and the Man-Baby stands yet another rival… another pretender to his throne. Johnny Vegas, the Man Who Beat the Darling, propelled forward by a misbelief in himself and the first taste of momentum he’s had in his sorry little career. Twice last week he revealed himself as a petulant little boy, first when he whined and wailed in despair at a situation which he himself has steered into, and then again after I dragged him through the main event intact. He believes himself to be as much of a contender for the belt as myself, thanks to… well, I’m not quite sure, actually. A sixth place finish in the Wrestle Royale? A pin-fall victory over a once-champion who has since been beaten by half the roster? He is either delusional or reaching. Perhaps both.

    “But, my little tulips, I am more than happy to give Vegas an opportunity to prove himself. He was part of a winning team last week on Adrenaline Rush, after all, which is more than can be said for the last two champions of this company. And I can even see why Johnny might feel a little bit hard done by. If Vegas had defeated the world champion any week other than the one directly before the night he lost his title and a number one contender was crowned, he probably could expect a title shot. But, with all due respect – and I say that in the knowledge that very little respect is due – it would’ve been a dark day for the CWA if these two midcarders were competing for the company’s biggest prize.”


    Here, Michelle affords herself a small, smug smile. Perhaps an allusion to Vegas’ demands that his match be added to a double main event at the next pay-per-view.

    “And then there was the little... fracas… at the culmination of Adrenaline Rush’s tag team main event last week,” she begins once more, dispelling all emotion from her pale face. “Little Johnny is getting too big for his size six-and-a-half boots. He’s not happy, apparently, that I carried his useless carcass through the biggest match of his career and earned him a victory. He wants the glory for himself. He’s desperate, my little tulips, to show you all that Johnny’s Big Night wasn’t a fluke. And I agree, it couldn’t have been. And do you know why, Vegas? Because – had McGinnis been on his game – you wouldn’t have beaten him. What they’re all thinking, what they’re all saying, there’s truth to it all. And you’re beginning to fear this yourself.

    “I’m not sure why Darling Jonathan was only half-present for your encounter. Perhaps Austerio was right about his… extracurricular activities. Maybe the worries of finalising his new multi-million dollar contract were still over him. Or, quite probably, he already had more than half a mind on his big title match at the Wrestle Royale. Part of you probably thinks that you can do the same tonight; that another scalp is yours for the taking because your opponent is already focusing on the Man-Baby. Dispel such thoughts. They will betray you to your downfall. The Wolf-Man couldn’t stop me; Darling Jonathan couldn’t; thirty other wrestlers including yourself at the Royale fell at my feet. Even Bell Connelly, the great hope of the FWA and of the people, tapped and screamed as I broke her ankle in two. Why do you think you’ll be any different?”


    Another brief pause. Michelle leans forward again, closer proximity to the camera allowing it a better view of the glint in her eyes. Her hands have come loose from her pockets and she massages each wrist in turn, as if loosening herself up for the battle to come.

    “I admit that you weren’t even a blip on my radar screen two weeks ago, but the ridiculous claims that you make for yourself have forced my hand. Not only is your little… grudge match… not worthy of main-eventing such a prestigious event as Five Star Attraction, but the fact that you think for half a second that last week was anything other than my win makes your delusions plain. I will turn you into a statement, and then a shell.”

    The screen fades to black, Michelle von Horrowitz propping herself against the wall and lifting a boot up onto the benchtop once more, as if this promo has been nothing more than an interruption in her busy day of sitting and thinking.

    ***


    Michelle could hardly believe that this was all happening, and that it wasn’t just another one of her subconscious visitations. If it wasn’t for the fact that she hadn’t been sleeping enough to dream anything this creative, she wouldn’t have accepted the reality of it. But here she was in a small Brooklyn coffee shop, sat across the table from Bella von Horrowitz, the sister she hadn’t seen in nearly three years. It could’ve been longer than that, for all Michelle knew.

    She looked much the same. Black hair - long and straight - framed her youthful face, and she still dressed with the sophistication and class that their mother had hoped they’d both gravitate to. Michelle had made some effort; she’d borrowed an iron from someone at her flea-ridden hotel and pressed her favourite green t-shirt. Black, rectangular-rimmed glasses perched on the end of her sister’s small nose, and some artificial colour had been added to her pale cheeks. The only real clue that the two were sisters were their eyes; the same violently piercing green, large and knowing and clear as the ocean.

    The wheels had been set in motion by an employee at the Barclay’s Centre, who had cornered her after she’d finished with the camera. Michelle had thought it would just be another useless, overlong interaction, where some underling thought – with a bit of luck and a lot of charm – they could manage to break down the wrestler-crew barrier and become her new best bud. When he’d thrust Bell’s letter into her hand and explained that it had arrived that morning to the ticketing department, she’d considered it carefully and with apprehension. It was only upon noticing the beautifully crafted handwriting with its delicate and deliberate cursive strokes that she’d come to realise who it was from.

    ’I know that you must be extremely busy,’ it had said, towards its culmination. ’But I will be at Fowler’s Café in Midtown Manhattan at five on Saturday, if you’d care to join me. It would be wonderful to finally see you again, sister’. Bell always wrote like this. Loaded with melodrama, hopeful and precious and begging for approval. Every few years they seemed to find each other, and – as much as she enjoyed the sweet, tandem refuges of secrecy and solitude – Michelle felt it best to keep at least one final bridge to the distant past intact.

    “Why are you here?” Michelle asked, and in retrospect perhaps a little bluntly. They had been in the café for just over half an hour, whilst Bella ate her way through a Caesar salad and Michelle forced down half a bowl of soup. The moon had taken over for the nightshift whilst they’d been inside, and a steady string of custom lined the coffee shop’s cash register. Michelle, the older of the two by a pair of years, stared with resentment at the coffee in front of her. It was dark outside and she hadn’t moved onto the harder stuff yet. Still, she thought, looking over at the glass of water in front of her sister. It could be worse.

    “My orchestra’s here for a few performances,” the younger girl replied, idly pushing the last few leaves around her plate with her fork. “We’re doing two weeks in New York City, then up to New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine.”

    They’d mostly been talking about Bell’s life back in Europe (frequent touring around Germany, France, and Italy, and then three bi-weekly residency performances in Berlin when they were at home), the English fiancé she’d picked up six months ago (tall, handsome, rich, the classic catch), and her thoughts on – not to mention critiques of - the Wrestle Royale match (’Giles insisted we buy the thing…’). Usually, they didn’t really mention their mother or the Netherlands, a country in which neither still lived and only one still visited. It had always been a comforting arrangement, but now, with the memory of Aunt Maude’s lifeless lump of a body never far from Michelle’s mind, it felt like something of a barrier.

    “Are you seeing him while you’re here?” the older woman asked, sipping at the bitter, lukewarm coffee and staring out of the window. The city revellers were beginning to replace the haggard, day-worn tourists, choking up the sidewalks whilst taxis and buses streamed alongside them. Michelle was awkwardly attempting to shift the dialogue around to family.

    “I might as well,” Bella replied, setting her fork down at long last. She seemed to half-shrug as she spoke, readjusting her glasses before she continued. Michelle judged them to be nervous tics. “He’s only in Montreal. It’s more of a short jump than a flight, really. He is our father, after all.”

    Your father, maybe,” Michelle answered. “The one sensible thing our mother ever did was ignoring that old fool, after all these years.”

    Bell flinched a little at her mention, setting her water back down and staring directly at her sister for what felt like the first time in years. She still spoke to their mother on a regular basis, calling her three times a week at timetabled points and writing once a month for the novelty. And there were frequent visits back to Rotterdam, too, where their mother still lived in the house that Aunt Maude had died, whiling away the hours knitting scarves that nobody would wear and launching rambling rants that nobody would hear.

    It had never been the same between Michelle and her mother since Bell’s first successful interviews at her music school in Berlin, which had also been the summer that her sister – Aunt Maude – had come to Rotterdam. She’d been meant to watch Michelle whilst mother and daughter travelled to Germany, but had seemingly given up on the task halfway through in favour of dying. She’d been gone for two weeks, apparently, by the time the musician and her mother returned and finally called an ambulance, though Michelle had only found her ten days ago.

    The relationship had strained almost immediately, and had always been close to breaking point for a couple of years. Michelle felt mother blamed her for the whole affair, or at least wondered why a girl of her age hadn’t thought to check on the elderly woman, or call someone once she had found her. Michelle often wondered the same things herself. It had seemed to get better for a while afterwards, when time had its chance to lessen the memory. But then their father had arrived with apologies and demands, both of which had been turned down, and the drinking had begun. And all the old resentment and mistrust slowly seeped back into their relationship.

    “She does ask about you, every now and then,” Bell said, carefully treading through the dialogue’s minefield. “Maybe once a year, but more recently as of late. I think she was worried that I hadn’t heard from you in a while.”

    “I’d tell her not to waste her worry,” Michelle offered. “She has so little of it to go around.”

    “I think she’s mellowed a little, recently,” Bell answered, as if in negotiation. Michelle raised an eye brow, having none of it. “She’s a little more passive, at least. Not drinking nearly as much. I don’t think she’s quite herself sometimes, though. When I mentioned that I was coming here for a month, she said ’make sure you see Michelle’. And I caught her watching a re-run of Adrenaline Rush last time I was in Holland, too.”

    “Well, you can tell her I’m fine,” Michelle said, feeling inexplicably angered by news of her mother’s vague attempts at concern. It was a little late.

    “I can see that,” her sister interjected, sensing the rising temperature and seeking a shift in topic. “Is it that big one next?”

    “Not yet,” Michelle asked, quite easily pinpointing who she meant. Vegas was many things – a confused, self-interested, pompous, egotistical punk, for instance – but he was hardly big, in stature or significance. “Soon.”

    As they finished their drinks, they spoke briefly about Bell’s upcoming performances (‘We start on Sunday at the Lincoln Center, if you want me leave you some tickets for collection?’ – left unanswered), Michelle’s decision to return to the ring (‘I thought you’d just disappeared, and then eighteen months later you pop up again in the biggest promotion on the earth?’ – received a non-committal response), and about the food (you can say nothing interesting about salad or soup), before drifting their separate ways.

    Their goodbyes were always subdued and a little nervous, though this evening was sustained by an amiability to the meeting that Michelle neither expected nor remembered. She stood on the corner of an adjacent street, smoking a cigarette and staring down the road, patiently waiting for the bus that would take her back to the hotel and another night of bastard consciousness.

    ADRENALINE RUSH - segment (with Jon Snowmantashi [Jon Snow])
    Spoiler:

    The ring is set up with red carpet lining the mat. Jim Taylor has left his perch at the announcer’s desk and is standing beside a table, three chairs positioned around it. A microphone is in his hand and the crowd are loud, with audible chants of ‘C-DUB-A’ and ‘SNOW-MAN-TASH-I’ and a smattering of ‘M-V-H’ thrown amongst them.
    Spoiler:



    Jim Taylor:
    Ladies and gentleman, we have known the main event of Five Star Attraction, the biggest show in the CWA calendar, for more than a month now. At the Wrestle Royale pay-per-view, two matches shaped the future of the company. First, Jon Snowmantashi took the CWA World Heavyweight Championship from his long-time friend Jonathan McGinnis, confirming that he’d enter Five Star Attraction with the belt on his shoulder. Then, Michelle von Horrowitz won the Wrestle Royale match, confirming that she’d receive the next shot at the gold. But only tonight, when the two combatants put pen to paper to sign the contract, will this match become official. So, without further delay, I’d like to introduce the challenger, Michelle von Horrowitz!



    ‘In Dreams’ by Roy Orbison sounds out around the arena, and the song is generally greeted with a chorus of boos. Michelle von Horrowitz arrives on the stage, smiling to herself at the obvious reactions of the trogs. As she begins to wander down the ramp, she points up towards the Five Star Attraction sign hanging way above the ring, and then traces her imaginary title belt with her hands.

    She climbs through the rope and walks straight past Taylor, climbing to the second turnbuckle and pointing at the ceiling, staring out at the sell-out crowd.

    Jim Taylor:
    And introducing next, he is the cha –

    The muffled sound of a microphone being snatched out of a hand is heard, and von Horrowitz takes a seat before raising it to speak.

    MVH:
    I’m sure there’s plenty of time to get to that later, James.

    The crowd’s boos heighten and sharpen, as the realisation that the champion’s arrival is about to be delayed dawns on them all. The ‘SNOW-MAN-TASH-I’ chant wins through and can be heard from all four corners of the Barclay’s Centre. Michelle laps it all up.

    MVH:
    But first, I would like to talk to you all about the three Jons. Snowmantashi, McGinnis, Vegas. Three paragons of our sport. Each has their own share of renown, carving their own paths through the ranks of the industry through skill and graft. Each claims virtue and honour, either for himself or his duty to his craft. The loveable billionaire. The successful underdog. The unstoppable man.

    The New York audience begins a ‘BOOOOORING’ chat, but Michelle is uninterested, staring right down the camera as if addressing an entirely different audience altogether.

    MVH:
    But these three things are oxymoronic. All billionaires are, by definition, greedy and conceited. An underdog who is successful is no longer an underdog. And all men can be stopped.

    Jim Taylor has awkwardly taken his seat, realising that he’s not going to get his microphone back any time soon.

    MVH:

    Vegas has shown his true colours, and they are all beige. He whines and he complains and he bitches, demanding another match against a jaded former champ, elevating himself to the main event. McGinnis always positioned himself as the wrestler of the people. An every-man who left it all in the ring each week. When he reached the top that he always strived for he didn’t know what to do with himself, and he diminished. And Snowmantashi? Doesn’t he just seem more fallible with each passing day?

    She turns towards the stage, as if talking to the guys in the back.

    MVH:

    I’ve already pinned Jonathan McGinnis, twice. Johnny Vegas will find out tonight that he’s bitten off far more than he can chew. And Jon Snowmantashi is stewing in memories of a pair of tag losses, a mire of nagging doubt pressing in around him. He is ripe for the picking, and he
    knows
    it. And you will all jeer when he loses, as if I’ve just sacrificed your third and final hero named Jon. But you shouldn’t despair, trogs. This is not the end of days scenario you’ve been imagining; Snowmantashi is not the champion you deserve. Where has he been? Taking every other show off. Hiding himself away in tag team matches. You should rejoice, my little tulips, for a Michelle von Horrowitz reign will not be this timid. This, I promise you.

    Michelle places the microphone down in front of Taylor. The table they are sat at is covered in long black cloth, and on top of it sits a lengthy contract attached to a clipboard. She picks up a nearby pen and flicks through the pages, scratching M.V.H. into the appropriate spaces. Then, she turns and watches the titantron, awaiting the champion.



    "The Sword of Destiny" pierces the arena and the moment the vocals come to an end, Snowmantashi steps through the ropes. He isn't quite grinning but he's got a near-smile etched on his face as a resounding "SNOW-MAN-TASH-I" makes the rounds of the arena. It's almost like they're more inclined to cheer in support of the champion because they're so vehemently against the challenger. He wears a "Kaiju" shirt and some shorts. He isn't in his wrestling gear tonight but he isn't wrestling either, something he's likely none too pleased with himself. He climbs up the steel steps and never does a second pass without Horrowitz taking an eye off the champion. He circles about the table and takes a seat himself. Jim Taylor moves the contract over to Snowmantashi's side and shows him where to sign. Before each signature, Snowmantashi offers Horrowitz a playful smile, or a dangerous smile, whatever way you wish to see it, as if each signature is counting down to their inevitable clash. At last, the paper is signed. Snowmantashi reaches for the microphone just as it seems Jim Taylor might put an end to peaceful proceedings.

    Jon Snowmantashi:
    Misheru-kun. There is one thing you not get right. I am not a man. Makuginisu-kun is a man. Rasubegasu-kun is a man. Osutereo-kun is crazy man, but he man too. Shedo-kun is man. Purinzu-kun is big man. But he's a man. You are a woman... but you still just a man. I am kaiju. I am a force of nature. It's not about what these people deserve. Nature cares not for what these people deserve. Nature does what is natural for it. And what is natural for this kaiju... for your opponent as Go Suta Atorakushon... is to destroy you.

    There's no ounce of menace in his words. He says it matter of factly and then puts the microphone on the table. "KAI-JU" overcomes the "SNOW-MAN-TASH-I" chants and like tribesmen before a ritualistic sacrifice, they repeat the title with increasing pace. Snowmantashi stands up and rounds the table. He stops short of Michelle von Horrowitz, looks down on her as she sits on the chair, adjusts the championship she seeks to have around on her waist, looks fondly at it, then heads to the ropes. His journey stops there. Michelle stands up, grabs the steel chair she sits on, folds it in one swift motion, and rams it into the back of the champion. The steel crashing into flesh echoes through the arena like a drummer banging cymbals. Jim Taylor is out of the ring with not a second to spare. The champion gets tangled, and Michelle pulls him back into the ring. The man stumbles forward onto his knees, and the challenger nails him across his head with the chair again.

    Tim Coleman:
    It looks like my broadcast partner is making a hasty return to his seat… here he is now… nice job keeping a lid on this situation, Jimmy.

    Jim Taylor:
    It’s madness, Tim! Out of nowhere comes the steel chair!

    Snowmantashi is up to one knee again, attempting to shake loose the pair of chair shots. Von Horrowitz is crouched in the corner, and she charges forward to nail the champion with a Busaiku Knee Kick. Snowmantashi falls to the mat, the championship flies across the ring, and the challenger slowly steps over towards it. The crowd’s despair is tangible. She crouches over the championship as its owner turns over onto his stomach, getting back up to all fours once more. Lifting it up, she stares at the name-plate on its front, sizing up its weight. Turning, she sees Snowmantashi, again up to one knee…

    Jim Taylor:
    The champion is refusing to succumb to this onslaught!

    Tim Coleman:
    But for how long, Jim? He’s wide open and von Horrowitz is moving in for the kill...

    The challenger lunges forward at the champion and slams the heavy, gold belt into his forehead. Snowmantashi hits the mat again, but once more struggles back to his feet. Von Horrowitz, visibly frustrated, nails him a second time with the belt, screaming ‘STAY DOWN’ at the champion.

    Of course, he doesn’t. He crawls over the ring ropes, using them to drag himself back to his knees. In the meantime, von Horrowitz busies herself removing the second turnbuckle cover, exposing the steel ring beneath. She stalks Snowmantashi, waiting for him to reach a vertical base, before dragging him to the corner and hitting a drop toe hold into the metal.

    Jim Taylor:

    That’s a man’s skull, for God’s sake!

    Tim Coleman:
    And that’s brought a stream of blood from the champion’s forehead, Tim. This isn’t going to do his Five Star Attraction preparations any good.

    Jim Taylor:
    I think that might be the point, Tim!

    Snowmantashi is crawling back towards the centre of the ring, blood beginning to flow fast from a fresh cut. Michelle stares down at his should-be-lifeless form, shaking her head in disbelief. She picks up the chair once more and brings it crashing down onto the champion’s back, flattening him out for a second. She then uses a lot of her effort and strength in pulling Snowmantashi towards and onto the table before beginning the ascent to the top rope.

    As von Horrowitz steps up onto the second turnbuckle, a dozen security guards make a quick dash down the ramp, followed swiftly by medics. They flood the ring, pulling Snowmantashi off the table before the challenger can reach the top rope. She stares down at them and the champion, before hopping down onto the floor. She is laughing to herself and shaking her head as she stares back at the champion’s body whilst on the ramp, disappearing from view to prepare for the main event.

    The EMT's are demanding a stretcher be brought down the ramp and so it is. Snowmantashi is crowded and almost unseen by both the camera and the crowd. The solemn silence is soon overcome with a "SNOW-MAN-TASH-I". The chant gets louder and loud as Snowmantashi is rolled to the edge of the ring where two stretchers have been placed to hold his weight. The chant gets louder, and as if hearing it, Snowmantashi rolls right off the stretchers. He isn't immediately at his feet. He's on one knee but with the rising chant he finally gets to both feet. Still, he crouches down to regain his breath, blood flowing down ringside. He tries to walk but stumbles. EMT's try to help out but he shoves one away and then notices his championship in the hands of another and grabs it. He breathes heavily again then stands up and continues up the ramp. Slow steps carry him forward. He drops another time on all fours. Gathers his breath. Picks up the belt. EMT's still crowd him like he's a baby learning how to walk and about to stumble at any time. He gets up one final time and makes a limping struggle to the back: bloodied, broken, battered.

    Tim Coleman:
    I'm still not sure if he's a man or a force of nature as he claims to be. But Snowmantashi is hurt, Jim, I'm not sure if he'll even make it to the main event of Five Star Attraction.

    Jim Taylor:
    Does that mean Michelle gets the championship on a forfeit?

    Tim Coleman:
    Not if the champion has anything to say about that, but he's got to think about his health here. In any case, Michelle von Horrowitz has Johnny Vegas to worry about in tonight's main event. We'll keep you updated if we hear anything about Snowmantashi's health.

    ADRENALINE RUSH - match write-up
    Spoiler:

    Grudge Match - Main Event
    Spoiler:


    Michelle von Horowitz vs Johnny Vegas w/Jenny Vegas

    Lindsay Monahan: The following contest is your main event of the evening and set for one fall! Introducing first…



    Pierce the Veil’s “King for a Day” hits and the crowd begins to loudly show their support when Johnny Vegas steps out with his wife Jenny at his side. Johnny wearing the same Joker face paint like last week while Jenny is dressed like Harley Quinn, and the two make their way to the ring with Jenny interacting with the fans while Johnny is all business.

    Lindsay Monahan: Making his way to the ring being accompanied by Jenny Vegas, from Los Angeles, California, and weighing in at 220lbs…JOHNNY VEGAS!

    Jim Taylor: Here comes the man that has shown a bit of a different side as of late, but he still has his rabid followers that show their undying support for him no matter what

    Tim Coleman: With who his opponent is tonight he’ll need all of the support that he can get Jim…

    Lindsay Monahan: and his opponent…



    Michelle wanders out onto the stage, surveying the arena during the opening verse. As the music comes in and Orbison sings 'I close my eyes', she leisurely walks down to the ring. Before getting to the ring she stops by a young child who is sporting a Johnny Vegas sign. She takes the sign away from the child much to their dismay as the child looks rather sad and on the verge of tears. Michelle enters the ring and holds the sign up mocking the child before tossing it behind to the outside floor.

    Lindsay Monahan: Introducing next from Rotterdam, The Netherlands by way of New Orleans, Louisiana, and weighing in at 71kg…”Dreamer” MICHELLE VON HOROWITZ!

    Jim Taylor: You’ve got that right Tim. Michelle has not a lost a match since she has arrived in CWA, even earning herself a shot at the world championship at Five Star Attraction after winning the Wrestle Royale. To say Johnny has got his work cut out for him tonight, well that would be understatement…

    Tim Coleman: She also didn’t back down from her confrontation with Snowmantashi earlier this evening

    Jim Taylor: She certainly did not Tim. She may be small, but she’s a spitfire and she knows how to get the job done.

    Michelle begins to limber up and stretches a bit while Johnny hops in place in his corner before giving a kiss to Jenny, and Michelle notices that and sticks out her tongue in disgust.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    The two competitors begin to circle each other sizing the other up before locking up, and Michelle traps Johnny in a side headlock yet Johnny manages to slip out and spin behind Michelle and takes her down with waist lock. He tries to keep his grip, but she slips out behind him now and drills him with a sharp kick to the back of his knee before running the ropes and catching him right in the same knee with a chop block that brings him down to one knee, which leaves him open for Michelle to hit him with a shining wizard kick right to the head knocking him on his back to the mat.

    Michelle brings Johnny up to his feet before whipping him to the corner, and she begins to unload a flurry of kicks to Johnny’s sides and thighs before finishing him off with a running dropkick in the corner prompting Johnny to slump in the corner. Michelle sets him up in a tree of woe position before drilling him with another dropkick and Johnny flops to the mat in a heap…

    Jim Taylor: Johnny Vegas not in a good way right now

    Tim Coleman: You can say that again Jim, he’s getting schooled by Michelle!
    Michelle nonchalantly makes the cover…

    1…
    NO!

    Johnny with a shoulder up and Michelle peppers his legs with several stomps to soften it up before applying a stretch muffler submission. Michelle has it expertly applied while rubbing salt in the wound stomping Johnny’s head as Jenny looks on from the outside with concern and begins to rally the fans behind Johnny, and the support seems to be doing the trick as Johnny begins to desperately crawl to the ropes before clutching on for dear life forcing Michelle to break the hold. Michelle is none too happy about this as she kicks a downed Johnny right in the midsection with a soccer kick before bringing Johnny up and she looks to send him to the ropes but he reverses it sending her to the ropes, yet she comes back up looking a wheel barrow inverted DDT but Johnny counters once more into a German suplex! Both competitors lay on the mat spent after that exchange before Johnny drapes his arm over Michelle…

    1…
    ½ NO!

    Michelle with a shoulder up and Johnny rolls off her and springs up to his feet gingerly still feeling the effects of Michelle’s earlier attacks to his leg. He props himself in the corner opposite of where Michelle props herself up and before she can react she’s leveled by a corner clothesline from Johnny. He keeps her in the corner now where she’s in a daze allowing to catch her with a corner enziguri and she slumps down to the mat allowing Johnny to make the cover once more…

    1…
    2…
    NO!

    Michelle kicks out this time while on the outside Jenny begins shouting words of encouragement to Johnny, which prompts Michelle to roll over and spit at her and yell some curses at her eliciting shock from Jenny. Johnny now takes Michelle to the ropes where he sets her up looking for his signature rope hung DDT, but Michelle places her palms to the mat as Johnny goes to execute it forcing him down to the mat allowing Michelle time to recover. Michelle gathers herself placing Johnny in position and looks at Jenny once more and gives her wicked smirk...

    Jim Taylor: Johnny’s face driven to the mat with that sick curb stomp!

    Tim Coleman: Good thing he’s rich because he’s going to need all of the money in the world to repair the damage done to his face after that!

    Michelle laughs as Jenny looks on in horror checking on Johnny in his corner after he rolled over there. After several moments Johnny starts to rise up but seems disoriented stumbling out of his corner as Michelle runs at him looking for the busaiku knee kick yet somehow Johnny manages to roll out of the way and drills Michelle with a super kick but he doesn’t get all of it as she drops to the mat…

    Jim Taylor: Johnny climbing up top, but I’m not so sure this is such a wise idea considering the state he’s in right now...



    Jim Taylor: That's Jonathan McGinnis' theme music, what is he doing here?

    Tim Coleman: Isn't it obvious Jim? He's playing mindgames with Johnny!

    Johnny looks to the stage as the music plays while still standing on the turnbuckle but no one comes out, this distraction allows Michelle to knock him down and he lands crotch first on the top turnbuckle, and now she drags him off the turnbuckle before placing him in position...

    Jim Taylor: Psycho Driver!

    Tim Coleman: That’s all she wrote for Johnny!

    She hooks the leg of Johnny…

    1…
    2…
    3!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, Michelle von Horowitz!

    Jim Taylor: A valiant effort put forth by Johnny Vegas, but he was just no match for Michelle

    Tim Coleman: You can say that again Jim!

    Jim Taylor: Michelle celebrating yet another hard fought victory…wait, there’s our world champion Snowmantashi on stage

    Jon Snowmantashi appears on stage with his world title draped over his shoulder, and stares down at Michelle, who is still in the ring and stares daggers right back at Jon while motioning that she’s coming for that belt. Jon still showing signs from earlier in the evening with a bandage on his forehead.

    Volume 9: "(up)Stream". (02/12/2016)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Jon Snowmantashi [CWA Five-Star Attraction, February 2016].


    She sat, her knees together and feet apart. Her back was craned into a crooked arch. A camera sat idly in front of her. Her head was in her hands, and she ran her fingers through her short blonde hair, pinching the green ends with her finger nails. She stared down at the murky grey concrete beneath her black boots. Around her, the sounds of some mid-card match permeated the walls of Madison Square Garden, the time counting down towards the main event. Jon Snowmantashi. Michelle von Horrowitz. Five-Star Attraction.

    So much of her life in the past month had been little more than a gradual build to this encounter. Now, thirty minutes sat stubbornly between her and the match, and the aches that roared through her body – aches from the sport and aches from the lack of sleep – were beginning a crescendo. Her sister, Bella, had put it well, as the two of them sat in some Manhattan winery after her performance and she described her emotions before it. ”When your stomach’s a storm and all of your weight has sailed across it into your limbs.”
    She picked up her rucksack, rummaging through it for the bottle of Jameson’s. Empty. She made a mental to-do list for the remainder of the evening; win world championship, get a new bottle. Setting the thing aside, she stared at the lens of the camera, which sat unused and accusatory. Sighing, the young woman tried to imagine her sister – younger still – going through the same thing in whatever the backstage areas of a place like the Lincoln Centre were like.

    Michelle had sat in the auditorium the weekend before, feeling the warmth, luxury, and comfort that surrounded her and regarding it with suspicion. She’d leafed through the program notes, stopping at a random page where the composer – some middle-aged German man named Bram – wrote about his creation. ’My ‘orchestral sonata’ is a piece in which several movements of the same music fight and struggle against one another, but through this forge a collaboration both sweet and sombre’. She slammed the book shut when the musicians began to take the stage, her sister the foremost of a group of three cellists, themselves only a small portion of the string section.

    The music had begun with them, the violins rising softly over the deep cellos, whose notes were long and drawn. Violas stirred and a fiddle leaped behind it all, the baritone violins joining the cellos in framing the piece. Each instrument sang a variation on a similar theme, almost waltzing through the opening throws of the song. Michelle stared around at the suited New Yorkers, stroking their chins or holding tiny binoculars up to their faces. Their mood, one of anticipation and longing, matched the direction of the music.

    She watched the rest of the musicians, thirty or forty of them, who in turn had their gaze turned on the strings. They were inactive and docile, holding their instruments limply. The whole scene – the slow build of the music which promised more to come, the anticipation etched onto the faces of the punters, the impatient surveying of the rest of the orchestra – dragged her back. She found herself, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, sat high in the bleachers of the Tokyo Dome. It was early 2015 and around her thousands of wrestling fans sat in expectation, eyes directed to the ring positioned centrally.

    Within it, two men were standing in opposite corners. One, huge and focussed, rocked from his left foot to his right. The other, taller but much lighter and considerably older, was in good shape for his age. He wore a flamboyant ring robe with the Japanese flag as its focal point and sat coolly on the top turnbuckle. Michelle was perhaps a hundred yards away from them, in-between people she didn’t know, her handful of possessions stuffed into the rucksack between her feet. She’d been in the capital for two months now, and out of the ring herself for twenty four.

    This was it; the main event, what they were all here to see. The larger man was introduced as Snowmantashi and the crowd entered their most raucous state of the evening (though everything is relative, it must be remembered). Streamers were thrown into the ring. The man only stared at his opponent, methodically rocking from foot to foot. When the taller man was introduced there was only silence. He was older, less imposing, a man bred to lose. The crowd watched on impatiently, the champion waited for his cue, the strings went on singing. No streamers were thrown, and Snowmantashi stared straight through his opponent as the bell sounded.

    In 2016, in her locker room at the Garden, Michelle von Horrowitz hit record on the camera.

    “Tulips, the hour of reckoning has arrived.”

    A long, deliberate pause. Michelle was still seated on a bench positioned in the corner of her locker room, which was larger than usual. The benefits of being in the main event, she supposed. It seemed bigger still with Michelle’s rucksack, a tall locker, and the bench on which she sat as its only contents.

    “But not my hour of reckoning. Nor that of Jon Snowmantashi, though he will feel like it has been when the final bell tolls. Rather, the hour of reckoning for the CWA has finally come. And not a second too soon, either, for we find ourselves in the darkest of days. Our champion will not wave the banner, except for contract signings and knowing glances from the stage, and we rely on has-been’s and never-be’s to sell pay-per-views. But all is not lost. Tonight is the night on which things begin to change.”

    Change
    . The music seemed to transition abruptly, horns colliding with strings like waves crashing themselves against the rocks. But, by some strange device, after a few moments it seemed as if it had been this way since the music had begun. Bella still bowed away at her cello, drawing out her longing notes as the horns marched and rallied against the calm shores. Michelle sat and watched in her borrowed comfort in the Gods at the Lincoln Centre.

    The first battle cries of the horns were echoes of the first bell in the Tokyo Dome, with Snowmantashi charging down his opponent as soon as he’d had half a chance to remove his robe. A flourish of clubbing forearms and stiff kicks followed, the sickening thuds resonating around the arena and accompanied by the audience recoiling in unison. After ten seconds, the serenity and anxiety that had accompanied the introductions was a distant memory. After ten minutes, Michelle refused to believe there had ever been any calm about this man. He was huge, savage, unrelenting. Fists, elbows, shins, and headbutts. The old hand could do nothing in response. He could barely stand.

    “Some of you may wonder what I know of waiting,” Michelle continued, in her locker room at the Garden. “Six editions of Adrenaline Rush and the Wrestle Royale are all you’ve seen of me, and already I sit here, waiting to walk out in the main event of the biggest show of the year. But my journey did not begin on the night I defeated Anna Malikova. In 2007, I stepped into the ring for the first time, in front of a dozen people in some decrepit little Marseille gym. For five years, I scraped out a living in France and Germany, in Britain and Russia, and of course, in Japan. Whether there were ten people watching on or a thousand, when the final match ended and they made their way down dark streets towards lonely homes, they’d each agree on one thing; that night, they’d seen the Michelle von Horrowitz show.

    “And then nothing. On the cusp of the fame and success and respect that I’d slowly earned, I walked away from it all. Through injury, fatigue, and general dissatisfaction, I left the squared circle, and retreated into the shadows. For two and a half years, I watched as undeserving fools held up little gold belts, calling themselves the best in the world and squabbling over nonsense whilst the sport bled out around them. The fans began to value a stiff kick and flashy ring gear above strategy and success. The titans of the game became covetous, and they sought out the gold for their own glory rather than the good of the sport. And I watched on, I said nothing.

    “I sat in my corner whilst the music died. There was nothing I could do, I told myself. The fate of my beloved sport was out of my hands. Even if I relented, and came to the States and fought in the big leagues, there was nobody who shared my ideals; my vision for this art. I could not wrestle myself every week. And so I kept on waiting as the silence took hold, and no sound stirred but the screams of my discontent.”


    She paused, straightening her back, gaze still intent on nothing besides the lens. Her mind should’ve been fixed on the immediate future and the kaiju that waited that night, but it was intent on swimming back into the distant past. The sounds of Madison Square Garden – the jeers and fawns of the fickle audience, the occasional signals of the bell, the muffled entrance themes played by way of introduction or celebration – seemed distant and insignificant, replaced instead by her sister’s sonata. She was dragged into the Lincoln Centre once more, as the plucked strings entered the fray to accompany their bow-borne sisters.

    The horns had dominated the piece for a handful of minutes, trumpets charging in elaborate flourishes whilst half a dozen trombones bombarded the violins from across the stage. A pair of tubas underscored their smaller, brass companions, whilst a lone saxophonist tied them all together, beckoning them onwards in the assault. But, slowly at first, as if with trepidation, a duo of harpists stirred into life. One re-enforced the drawn notes of the bowed string section, whilst the other danced amongst the domineering trickery of the trumpets, as if in mockery. They were flanked by a rumbling double bass and a sad mandolin, providing respite and beating back the horns.

    “And then, after two and a half years, I realised it was time,” she continued, fingers playing with the bottom of the baggy green t-shirt she’d wear to the ring that night in New York. “It was time for me to come here, to the mecca of professional wrestling, to rip out the festering tumours from the heart of the sport. This is their hive; they gravitate towards these shores. Seven weeks and seven wins later, all that stands between me and The Cleansing is Jon Snowmantashi. A road bump of a champion.”

    She would be the respite that the sport needed, just as the harps had been for the violins. She only hoped it would not be too little, nor too late. She had seen this before, been this before. In 2002, she’d sat on the front step of their suburban, Rotterdam home, watching her mother drinking from the bottle through the open kitchen door and waiting for the ambulance to arrive for Maude. They should’ve called the morgue directly but nobody had the number. That had felt helpless. In the Tokyo Dome in early 2015, when she’d watched the veteran choose an eye rake over a clean break, she had known it to be futile. He only managed a couple of European uppercuts before Snowmantashi threw him into a corner and reeled off ten headbutts, before hoisting the old man into the air and slamming him back down with a sit-out powerbomb.

    Michelle had sat in the rafters, almost able to feel the ring-rust sinking into her ill-conditioned body. She’d travelled around Europe for the best part of eighteen months, before returning to Japan as a tourist rather than a worker for the first time in her life. She’d seen a few events during the hiatus, but nothing like this, and never a man like Snowmantashi. He was strong, and had a focus and motivation that was hard to fathom. She had come to recognise nobody as unbeatable, but he thundered around the ring in a storm of vicious unpredictability. When the old hand had slid out of the ring, trying to catch a breather, the big man had instantly crushed him against the steel barricades with a suicide dive.

    Some things were futile. Certain. Pre-determined. Snowmantashi beating an aging star in a show-match so some promoter could double the price of the tickets. Aunt Maude being pronounced deceased and wheeled out of the bed in the spare room, where she’d waited patiently breathlessly for two weeks. Ms von Horrowitz, Michelle’s mother, spending the majority of the years between 2002 and 2007 staring through the neck of a bottle and pinning all of her hopes on Bella. These things were certain. Some things were still to be decided. The future of the world heavyweight championship. The future of the CWA. The future of Jon Snowmantashi and Michelle von Horrowitz.

    She had, of course, been running away. In retrospect, she had realised this as she sat there in the Tokyo Dome, watching Snowmantashi endlessly stomp the veteran’s head on the outside as the referee began his count towards twenty. Her decision to fly to America and accept some bookings on the east coast shortly afterwards was no coincidence. She had a tendency to run from things, but those days were as dead as Aunt Maude. When she’d found her, lying limply and lifelessly in a mound upon her bed, she’d closed the door to the spare room tight and pushed the discovery from her consciousness. She had run away from it despite never leaving the house.

    She had thought all of these things in her comfortable seat at the Lincoln Centre, as she’d stared down at her sister’s pale face. Bella had the von Horrowitz eyes, deep green wells that told stories with no words. Only the loud, sudden entrance of the drummers had broken the spell, and dragged her into the present. They pounded heavily and furiously, hammering the strings into submission. The violins faded and the cellists died. The harps remained, stout and proud, but their spell was diminished, their music was twisted. The drums were the bringers of doom, and they were unstoppable.

    They drove her back into the Tokyo Dome, where Snowmantashi heaved his lifeless opponent beneath the bottom rope. His Hailstorm followed, a devastating fireman’s carry into a cutter, and the Moonsault that came next was nothing but redundant. As she watched the lateral press, Michelle considered this champion as inevitable as the resulting three count.

    When she’d stood in the ring with him, just over one year later, he would proclaim himself a force of nature. She had come to realise that there was truth to this. She’d hit him with the chair half a dozen times, and cut him open against the exposed turnbuckle, but still he’d asked for more. He’d stumbled out of the arena on his own two feet, refusing aid from the EMTs in an impressive fit of pride. And then he’d made his wordless statement, standing on the stage after she’d seen off Vegas, reminding her of what he’d said he was; more than just a man.

    But she had to believe this wasn’t all futile. She had to believe in what she was doing. That it could be done.

    “After Snowmantashi had taken the world championship from around his best friend’s waist, and I had outlasted thirty other competitors to earn the next chance to approach the summit, he stood in that ring and spoke as if he knew me. As if he knew my motivations and my ambitions and my methods,” she began again, in her locker room at the Garden. “Over the last month, I’ve made my opinion of our champion perfectly clear. I have called him simple, one-dimensional, mediocre. I call him ‘Man-Baby’, not only because he looks like an oversized toddler, but because his thought process is straight-forward, limited by his oh-so-finite intellectual capacity. And I stand by this. But I have no specific hatred for the Man-Baby. He is one of the few that I respect.”


    She paused, allowing this last declaration to linger in the air. The sound of a huge pop from the crowd crept in through the walls as the McGinnis-Vegas bout drew to a close.

    “The saviour of this company must hold its prize, and there is only one wrestler fit to drag its fading body away from the precipice. I had once thought, in fact, as I picked up my first wins against Sweet Annie and the Wolf-Man and the Green Adams boy, that perhaps I was not alone. You roared and blustered your way to the top, and McGinnis was blown away by your focus. But since, you’ve stalled and stagnated. Your reign has been propped up by protective bookers, your record blemished by a string of tag losses. You’d rather sign contracts than defend your belt.”


    The picture that she’d painted of Snowmantashi evoked Bella, sitting on her corner of the stage, the music that she’d coaxed out of her cello silenced for the time-being. She looked impotent, a neutered appendage to the orchestra, the rest of the battle still raging around her.

    “The Man-Baby’s response to this has been written for him,” she went on, massaging each wrist in turn, loosening up in preparation. “But he can’t hide behind blame for the bookers. Our champion should demand to compete, not be dragged kicking and screaming into each match he graces us with. And, when I prove that this kaiju is in fact just a man, when I hold his prize up before your eyes and your television screens fade to black, you will see that I am a woman of my word.

    “Over the Bringer of Light and the Embodiment of Shade… the F’s Bell of the Ball and all of Humanity… whoever is deserving of stepping through my ropes and dancing my dance will get their opportunity. Whether they’re Indy darlings or Puro titans, all will come to pay their tribute and play their part in the rebuilding. But all will fall, and all will fade.”


    In January of 2016, in the grand hall of the Lincoln Centre, Bella’s cello spurs into action once more. It drives those around it, the violins steadily falling into its rhythm, fiddle and viola bounding ahead. With it, a pianist awakens for the first time, answering the horns’ march. The trumpets flourish once more, but the harps and the mandolin are quick to subdue them. The drawn out notes of longing have gone from Bella’s music, as if it had been corrupted by the silence. It has made concessions, drawn to the power and the force of the horns and the drums and the mighty roar of their rhythms. The resulting finale is harmonic, truly, for the first time in the piece, building through themes introduced earlier by both sides of the battle. The conductor spirals and struggles to keep to its frightening pace. Its final note, shared by Bella’s cello and her opposite number amongst the ranks of the trumpeters, rings out for an unnatural length of time and the crowd is on its feet. But the two musicians are stifled by their submission. Neither are truly happy. Neither are truly themselves.

    In July of 2002, on the front steps of a suburban Rotterdam home, she is joined by her sister. The body-bag left the scene an hour ago, and their mother hadn’t moved away from the table or her bottle. The moon hides behind the clouds as if in shame.

    In February of 2015, at exit J5 of the Tokyo Dome, she stares back into the ring at the kaiju. He lifts his belt into the air and the crowd lap it up, though no championship was on the line in the one-sided bout. She rolls a cigarette hastily, her pale, usually-dexterous fingers a bundle of knots as the adrenaline rushes through her extremities. She knows it is time. Time it all began for real.

    In February of 2016, in Michelle von Horrowitz’s locker room, a camera stands on its tripod, abandoned and switched off. The room is empty, the roar of the crowd rushing in through thick walls. The handle of the door creaks and then turns, the frame pushed open, a young man in a black CWA staff t-shirt entering. He’s under strict instructions to collect the camera from the locker room of the number one contender and post the footage after the final bell has been rung. Through the open door, Roy Orbison can be heard singing about a candy-coloured clown they call the sandman.

    FIVE-STAR ATTRACTION - segment
    Spoiler:

    The camera joins our announce team, smartly dressed and with piles of prepared notes in front of them. Behind, a man waves a ‘KAIJU’ sign rather proudly whilst his children stare embarrassedly at him.
    Spoiler:



    Jim Taylor: Well, ladies and gentlemen, after than classic match, it’s time for us to take a look ahead at tonight’s main event.

    Tim Coleman: Yes indeed, Jim, after weeks of innuendo, confrontation, and brief encounters across the ring in tag team matches, tonight it will be the CWA World Heavyweight Champion Jon Snowmantashi taking on the 2015 Wrestle Royale Winner Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Jim Taylor: But before we bring you that tale of David and Golliath later on tonight, first we have a brief glimpse of the challenger.

    Tim Coleman: After what can only be called a savage beatdown on the champion last week, the CWA universe has been asking the same question in unison.

    Jim Taylor: That question, of course, is why?

    Tim Coleman: von Horrowitz has been holed up in her locker room since early on this afternoon, but earlier this week she sat down with Michelle Kelly for a brief conversation.

    We cut from the announce team to a small, plain room, two women sitting in the foreground of the shot. One, CWA backstage announcer Michelle Kelly, sits cross-legged in a dress and heels, prepared notes on her lap. The other, CWA number one contender Michelle von Horrowitz, is slouched in her chair, staring idly past her counterpart at nothing in particular.

    Michelle Kelly: Michelle, thank you for taking time out of your preparations to join us now.

    Von Horrowitz snaps out of her daze and looks at Kelly before waving her on in her questioning.

    Michelle Kelly: Let’s leap in at the deep end, then, if you don’t mind. Last week on Adrenaline Rush, you attacked Jon Snowmantashi from behind with a chair, and then the championship belt, and finally the exposed turnbuckle. You would’ve put him through a table, if CWA security hadn’t shown up to stop it. Were your motives as plain as they seemed? Were you just attempting to weaken the champion before Five-Star Attraction?

    The wrestler sits up, almost straight, in her chair, and even leans forward slightly. She idly massages her wrists as she speaks.

    Michelle von Horrowitz: Last week on Adrenaline Rush, Jon Snowmantashi said something that I took exception to. Every time he opens his mouth, he spews something I disagree with. Something I can challenge. But last week, Jon Snowmantashi claimed he was unstoppable. That he was more than just a man. He looked at all of the people at the Barclay’s Centre and those that watched at home, all of the men and women and children who stared back at him with adoration, the one hope in their truly hopeless lives, and he lied to them. He set them up for the realisation that their hero, the man who carried on his back their own pathetic little dreams that they never get to live out themselves, wasn’t the person he’d claimed to be. Last week on Adrenaline Rush, I was performing a public service. I exposed the lie at its telling. I showed the world that Snowmantashi could be stopped.

    There’s a few seconds of silence, and von Horrowitz slouches back down in her chair. Kelly shapes up for her next question.

    Michelle Kelly: With all due respect, even with the help of steel chairs, gold belts, and steel turnbuckles, did you actually show that? Snowmantashi returned to the stage during the climax of the show, after your main event victory over Johnny Vegas.

    Michelle von Horrowitz: Very impressive. Almost half an hour later. Michelle, even you, in your limited experience within the wrestling industry, will know that I do not need to hold Snowmantashi’s shoulders to the mat for thirty minutes. Three seconds will do just fine. The methodology is unimportant. If Snowmantashi can be downed with a chair, he can be floored by a dozen DDTs. If the champion falls to a gold belt, the steel steps will do the same job. At Five-Star Attraction, I will finish what I started. Then the world will see this man for what he really is.

    Here, she turns away from Michelle Kelly, and stares straight down the camera lens.

    Michelle von Horrowitz: After I defeat the World Heavyweight Champion, kaiju, Jon Snowmantashi. Only one of those three titles will remain. He will no longer be the champion of this world. He will no longer be the champion of anything. He can no longer claim to be a force of nature, an unstoppable superman. He will only be Jon Snowmantashi.

    We return to the announce team after the shot fades to black.

    Tim Coleman: And that full interview is available on CWA.com, along with a video package chronicling Jon Snowmantashi’s rise to the world heavyweight championship.

    Jim Taylor: But for now, we return to in-ring action…


    FIVE-STAR ATTRACTION - match write-up
    Spoiler:

    As we return to the arena, Lindsay Monahan has taken up position in the centre of the ring, microphone in hand. The crowd are pumped, from the action that's gone before and what lies ahead.
    Spoiler:



    Lindsay Monahan: Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for your main event!


    CWA World Heavyweight Championship - Main Event

    Jon Snowmantashi [C] vs Michelle von Horowitz

    The atmosphere heightens again as the bell rings, and all eyes are turned to the entrance ramp. Roy Orbison's 'In Dreams' begins and the audience is on the challenger's back before she's even arrived. She is brought out onto the stage on a simple, makeshift bed, borne my eight muscular men dressed in black underpants and alternating comedy/tragedy masks. They hold her on top of their shoulders by a wooden beam running either side of the mattress. The boos reach fever pitch as she is carried down the ramp and slid beneath the bottom rope. She awakens and ascends to the second turnbuckle, the bed borne away again by her silent keepers, and traces the line of an invisible championship belt around her waist.

    Jim Taylor: What a pompous entrance by our number one contender there, but what should we expect?

    Tim Coleman: Oh, please, Jim - the streak this woman's been on, she's entitled to a little bit of luxury.

    Jim Taylor: You’re right about her momentum, Tim, but all it's brought with it is a sense of superiority.

    Tim Coleman: If she wins tonight, it'll be more than just a 'sense'...

    Jim Taylor: But that's a big if Tim, because standing in her way...

    As if on cue, Orbison dies away as MVH takes a seat on the top rope. There is a period of silence that follows, the intensity of the crowd's roars growing and growing until it feels as if they might take the roof of Madison Square Garden clean off. There's a 'SNOW-MAN-TASH-I!' chant circulating around half of the audience, whilst most of the remainder are screaming 'KAIJU' at the top of their lungs. The silence goes on, the latter chant winning out until it feels like eighty thousand people are willing his arrival...

    Jim Taylor: Just listen to this, Tim!

    Tim Coleman: It's hard not to... Typical New York loudmouths, if you ask me.

    Finally, 'Sword of Destiny' rings out around the arena, and the crowd loses their shit. It's only a short amount of time before Snowmantashi is standing on the stage, championship gold hanging from his shoulder. He pauses for a second at the top of the ramp, surveying his fawning fans, before his eyes lock onto the woman standing in the ring. He begins a swift stride down towards the ring, ignoring the fans either side of him just desperate for a touch from the champion. He climbs through the ring ropes, never once taking his eyes off his challenger, lifting the belt high above his head.

    Tim Coleman: These two have been at each other's throats the last month or so.

    Jim Taylor: Yes indeed, Tim. What started off as a war of words matured into a skirmish in a pair of tag matches, and then an all-out battle last week on Adrenaline Rush.

    Tim Coleman: And if tonight is anything like last time these two brawled, we might have a new champion.

    Jim Taylor: But it won't be, Tim. What we saw last week was a vicious sneak attack. Tonight is a wrestling match, and I'm giving the edge to the champ.

    The bell rings and the crowd simmers down as Monahan lifts her microphone back to her mouth.

    Lindsay Monahan: This next contest is scheduled for one-fall with a sixty minute time limit, and is for the CWA World Heavyweight Championship!

    Polite applause, though the general feeling is of impatience. The crowd just wants the two of them to start kicking lumps out of one another.

    Lindsay Monahan: Introducing first; the challenger. In the corner to my left, from Rotterdam in the Netherlands and wrestling out of New Orleans, Louisiana. She weighs in at 71 kilograms and stands at 170 centimetres tall. The winner of the 2016 Wrestle Royale, Dreamer, Michelle von Horrowitz!

    The crowd greets the introduction with boos. Michelle hops down from her perch on the top turnbuckle, and then shifts from foot to foot, cracking her neck twice, limbering up for the match.

    Lindsay Monahan: And in the corner to my right, from Tokyo, Japan and wrestling out of Los Angeles, California. He weighs in tonight at 290 pounds and stands six feet, five inches tall. He is the reigning, defending, undisputed CWA Heavyweight Champion of the World... kaiju, Jon Snowmantashi!

    Most of the introduction is inaudible through the enormous amount of cheers that the man's presence is generating. He lifts the heavyweight title into the air, still staring intently at his opponent. He hands the championship to the referee, who parades it around the ring, before handing it to Monahan on the outside. She takes her seat in the timekeeper's area as the bell is rung.

    Tim Coleman: Here we go, ladies and gentlemen, your Five Star Attraction main event! It really doesn't get any bigger than this!

    Jim Taylor: That's right, and a truly international feel to this contest. The man from Asia takes on the woman from Europe right here in the good ol' US of A!

    Tim Coleman: That's why it's the world championship, Jim... And here we go!

    Snowmantashi charges over to MVH, who is quick to back away and take refuge by ducking between the second and third ropes, legs still in the ring. The referee stands in the champion's way, but he's uninterested in pursuing her anyway, knowing that she'll have to stand her ground eventually if she's to take his title. Michelle moves back into the centre of the mat and the two begin to circle the ring. They seem to be shaping up for a collar and elbow tie up, but when they're moments away from locking, the challenger again scarpers to the refuge of the ropes.

    Jim Taylor: It looks to me as if von Horrowitz wants nothing to do with the champion.

    Tim Coleman: It's just strategy, Tim... It would be plain idiotic of her to go in for a test of strength with Snowmantashi.

    The referee admonishes MVH, telling her to get back into the ring and fight. She glances at the man in black and white and then slowly, tentatively climbs back into the ring. She approaches Snowmantashi, looking as if she's going for another collar and elbow tie up. The champion can't help but let out a snicker, and he beckons her onwards, preparing to lock it up. MVH pauses at the last minute and hits a kick to the side of Snowmantashi's right calf, and then a second. She follows up with a low drop kick to his right knee, before planting a shoulder in his midriff and driving him back into a corner.

    Jim Taylor: And now we finally get going...

    Tim Coleman: von Horrowitz with a surprising show of strength there, backing the big man into a corner, and she's following it up by driving that shoulder into his abdomen.

    Jim Taylor: But Snowmantashi isn't having any of that, he swats her away as if she was a fly, and MVH falls back into the middle of the ring.

    She's back up to her feet quickly, grabbing onto the top rope to stop the oncoming Snowmantashi. But he's lost patience and, as the referee begins to count towards five for the rope break, he unleashes a pair of stiff kicks to the challenger's side, and then follows it up with a wicked knife edge chop. Michelle hits the mat and quickly rolls under the bottom rope.

    Jim Taylor: Snowmantashi doesn't seem like he wants to wait it out tonight. He came here for a match and by God he's going to get one!

    Tim Coleman: Come on, Jim! He cheated, plain and simple! That should’ve been a clean rope break!

    Michelle walks around on the outside for a moment, hands on her hips, sizing up Snowmantashi with apprehension. As the referee's count reaches five, she begins to climb up the ring steps and walks across the apron. The champion, not content to wait for her, charges over and nails her with a knife edge chop. The force would've been enough to send her rolling to the outside again if he hadn't a firm grasp on the back of her neck. He quickly sets her up and brings her back over the top rope with a suplex. He manages a couple of stomps to the challenger's head before she crawls back to a corner, the referee again coming in for the rope break. Snowmantashi is bored of this, though, and he Irish Whips her across the ring. Von Horrowitz's neck hits the turnbuckle hard, and she bounces back towards the centre of the ring, where the champion is waiting with a huge clothesline that almost takes her clean out of her boots.

    Jim Taylor: von Horrowitz folded up by that lariat, and there she lies in a crumpled heap in the middle of the ring.

    Tim Coleman: I don't think she'll be doing much running away now!

    Snowmantashi lifts his opponent up from the mat and doubles her over with a boot to the midsection before hoisting her up into a fireman's carry...

    Tim Coleman: The champion perhaps looking to end this one early with the Hailstorm.

    Jim Taylor: But no, there's still life in the challenger, she reels off a pair of elbows to the side of Snowmantashi's head, slips out the back, and nails him on the turn with an enziguri!

    Tim Coleman: But look at Snowmantashi, the big guy's only down to one knee! That kick would've floored any man!

    Jim Taylor: The KAIJU said it himself last week - he is more than just a man!

    MVH follows up the kick with a pair of forearms, before charging to the ropes. Snowmantashi rises from one knee and attempts a lariat, but the challenger ducks it and – whilst the big man’s back is turned – hits a chop block to the back of his right knee. Again, the champion is down to one knee, and the challenger charges to the same set of ropes, hitting a shining wizard upon her return.

    Jim Taylor: And Snowmantashi down on the mat for the first time of the match-up, and von Horrowitz straight away goes for the cover.

    ONE… T- NO!

    Jim Taylor: Snowmantashi up almost instantly – this one’s still early and the champion has a lot left in him.

    The challenger keeps up the pressure, going straight into a head scissors. The champion attempts to wrench himself free, but the hold is locked in and instead he decides to reach out for the bottom rope with a leg. He makes it, but von Horrowitz nails a handful of elbows to the top of his head whilst the referee makes the count for the rope break. She released at four and rolls away, weighing up her next move carefully.

    Tim Coleman: Smart strategy by von Horrowitz here, targeting that right leg when the big man is standing, and instantly going for the neck at every chance she gets.

    Jim Taylor: Maybe thinking Ankle Lock or Double Arm Underhook DDT…

    When the big man is up, MVH charges towards him and goes for another kick to the side of his leg, but this time the champion catches in. He pulls von Horrowitz towards him by her leg and knocks her down with a short arm lariat. The challenger is straight back up, but she runs right into a headbutt, which takes her down again. She rolls beneath the bottom rope, but the champion moves towards her immediately. Von Horrowitz thrusts a shoulder through the middle and top ropes, doubling him over, before using the leverage of the ropes to springboard over him, charging onwards towards the opposite set of ropes. She goes for a running forearm and connects, but seems to bounce off the champion. He laughs merrily and pounds his chest, before launching off the floor and hitting a standing drop kick.

    Jim Taylor: Michelle von Horrowitz goes down again, and this time Snowmantashi doesn’t give her chance to run away, staying on her with a trio of head stomps.

    Tim Coleman: And now he lifts her back to her feet, driving her into the corner with that shoulder thrust into her abdomen.

    With von Horrowitz’s back against the turnbuckle, Snowmantashi drives a series of stiff fists to her stomach, following it up with a pair of kicks to the side. He backs away and charges in, hitting a clothesline in the corner that sends the challenger down to a seated position. The champion grabs her by the hair and drags her onto her feet and – in the centre of the ring – puts her back on the mat with a uranage slam. He bounces off the nearest ropes and nails a grounded diving headbutt, going into the cover…

    ONE… TWO… - NO!

    He drags her back to her feet, again by the hair, and places her in a reverse waist-lock, driving the air out of her lungs before taking her overhead with a belly-to-back suplex. Snowmantashi follows up with another pair of stomps, before driving an elbow into her chest. He stands up and backs away, watching the challenger from a corner, willing her back onto her feet and, when she’s there, he takes her right back off them with a charging lariat.

    Jim Taylor: This is bad news for the challenger, with Jon Snowmantashi beginning to make his size and power advantage felt.

    Tim Coleman: But did you see the big man hobble out of that corner? I think von Horrowitz’s game plan is paying dividends.

    Jim Taylor: But for the time-being, Snowmantashi has the advantage and he goes for the cover.

    ONE… TWO… - NO!

    Snowmantashi picks his challenger up and again puts her in a waist-lock, this time going for a German suplex. He lifts her up and over, but von Horrowitz is able to rotate 360 degrees and land on her feet. The champion turns into another low dropkick, and MVH follows it up with a running neckbreaker.

    Jim Taylor: von Horrowitz is giving the champion all she has, and he’s up to his knees mere moments after she is.

    Tim Coleman: I think she’s going to have to settle into a rhythm and wear the big man down. He swats high impact moves away as if they were flies…

    The challenger backs the champion up into a set of ropes and attempts to Irish Whip him across the ring, but Snowmantashi reverses it and sends MVH running herself. She goes for a clothesline upon return, but the big man ducks. Michelle carries on running, bounces off another set of ropes and puts Snowmantashi into a sleeper hold.

    Tim Coleman: Something we haven’t seen from von Horrowitz before, but probably a good move. There’s no way she’ll be able to keep Snowmantashi down for three until she’s worn his down.

    Michelle is able to climb up onto Snowmantashi’s back whilst locking in the hold, and the champion staggers around the ring. He attempts to throw the challenger off, and then backs her up into each of the four corners in turn, but the move is in tight. Eventually, after a couple of minutes, the champion goes down to one knee, clawing for air.

    Jim Taylor: I must say I’m surprised, Snowmantashi appears to be fading fast here. The referee moves in to check the arm, there it falls - - no! Snowmantashi is still in this!

    The champion nails a couple of elbows into von Horrowitz’s abdomen, and fights his way back to two feet. He powers out of the sleeper and puts the challenger into a rear waist-lock, before sending her overhead with a huge German Suplex. MVH fights back to her feet, more through instinct than anything, goes for a forearm, but the champion ducks it and sends her flying again with a T-Bone. Michelle gets caught up in the ropes and hits the mat hard, landing on the top of her head.

    The champion doesn’t let her lie in peace, charging back over and dropping down to the mat with a head-butt. He gets back on his feet before nailing another head-butt immediately afterwards. He repeats this four more times, and when he stands after the sixth grounded diving headbutt he walks away from the challenger with his arms in the air.

    Tim Coleman: Don’t get cocky, kid!

    Jim Taylor: Snowmantashi has reason to be cheerful, though. I don’t think von Horrowitz really knows where she is.

    Snowmantashi shakes von Horrowitz back to life and drags her to her feet. He doubles her over with a boot to the midsection, and hoists her up into the air, perhaps looking for a sit-out Powerbomb. Michelle von Horrowitz, sensing her impending doom, reels off a trio of right hands to the big man’s head, and manages to slip over the top into a sunset-flip roll-up…

    ONE…. TWO… - NO!

    Von Horrowitz is straight back on the offensive, hitting a dropkick to the seated Snowmantashi’s torso. He’s quickly back up onto his knees, but MVH hits a pair of stiff kicks to either side of the champion, which doubles him over, and she nails the kneeling Snowmantashi with a double-arm underhook DDT.

    Jim Taylor: Why isn’t she going for the cover? That move has put numerous competitors away here in the CWA.

    Tim Coleman: But she’s never faced a man like Snowmantashi. I think she’s beginning to realise just how much this might take.

    Jim Taylor: Instead she’s climbing to the top rope, maybe thinking 450 splash, but Snowmantashi’s already stirring. He charges over and hits a forearm to von Horrowitz, who’s precariously balanced on that top rope.

    Tim Coleman: Oh no, Snowmantashi’s not thinking… ? He’s climbing up too, maybe looking for a superplex from that second rope…

    Jim Taylor: Second rope?! It looks like the champion is heading to the top rope!

    MVH again senses danger, and is able to hit a pair of forearms to the side of his head. Snowmantashi gives up on the superplex for a moment and hits a trio of headbutts to von Horrowitz, who fires back with a knife edge chop. Then, she kicks the legs of the champion from underneath him, and Snowmantashi quickly finds himself wound up in the tree of woe. Von Horrowitz carefully stands on the exposed shins of the champion and hooks the top rope with the fingers of both hands, pulling and wrenching to apply additional pressure on Snowmantashi’s legs.

    The referee starts his count for the rope break, and at four MVH hops over the champion and into the centre of the ring. She takes a moment to curtsy (much to the fans’ ire) before charging at the champion, nailing a low dropkick. The champion tumbles out of the tree of woe and onto the mat, and von Horrowitz instantly ties up his legs, pulls back his arms, and crunches the champion’s face against the mat with a Dragon-style curb stomp.

    Jim Taylor: Devastating strike there from Michelle von Horrowitz, but the cover is proving more trouble than usual here…

    Tim Coleman: She’s struggling to heave the big man over onto his back, all two hundred and ninety pounds of him.

    Eventually, she manages it…

    ONE… TWO… - - NO!

    Snowmantashi forces a shoulder up and von Horrowitz rises to one knee, catching her breath as the big man begins to stir again. She moves over to the opposite corner and begins to ascend the turnbuckle again. She beckons Snowmantashi upwards, and when he’s on his feet, she dives off, attempting to catch him with a diving cross body…

    Jim Taylor: What strength! Snowmantashi plucks her out of the air as if she was nothing!

    Tim Coleman: And now he hoists her into a fireman’s carry. Could it be… ?!

    Jim Taylor: HAILSTORM! He nails it! Straight into the cover…

    ONE… TWO… … …

    Jim Taylor: The referee’s stopped counting! Why has the referee stopped counting?!

    Tim Coleman: Her foot, Jim! It’s on the bottom rope!

    Snowmantashi can’t believe it, and he just looks at the referee in frustration, who looks terrified and points at Michelle’s foot by way of an apology. The champion shakes his head before dragging the challenger into the centre of the ring. He heads to the corner and begins to climb it, facing away from his competitor…

    Jim Taylor: We’ve seen this before, and if two hundred and ninety pounds of Jon Snowmantashi crashes onto you with a moonsault then that’s it…

    He steadies himself before leaping off, soaring and rotating through the air…

    Tim Coleman: NO! The big man crashes and burns! Michelle rolls out of the way!

    Von Horrowitz uses the corner to drag herself back to her feet, and the champion gingerly clutches his abdomen. Michelle wills him back to a vertical base, and when he’s up she charges at him, taking him right off his feet again with a savage Busaiku Knee Kick. She wastes no time, climbing to the top rope once more and steadying herself…

    Jim Taylor: 450 Splash! Picture perfect!

    Tim Coleman: Straight into the cover…

    ONE… TWO… TH -- NO!

    Tim Coleman: Snowmantashi kicks out!!

    Jim Taylor: Von Horrowitz has hit him with everything she has and the champion still kicks out!

    The challenger rolls off the champion, visibly spent herself, and crawls into a corner. Snowmantashi gradually makes his way up to his knees, and uses the ropes to drag himself back up to a his feet. He falls into a corner and uses it for support as the challenger does the same opposite from him. The two stare at each other across the ring, both breathing heavily, ready for the final push…

    Just then von Horrowitz charges at Snowmantashi with full speed…

    Jim Taylor: Oh she just drilled him with the busaiku knee kick!

    Tim Coleman: He didn’t even budge though!

    Jim Taylor: He is stunned nevertheless…

    Snowmantashi down one knee now looking dazed allowing Michelle to plant his head to the mat with another double underhook DDT! She’s not finished yet though…

    Jim Taylor: Cattle mutilation!

    Tim Coleman: She has it locked in tight with nowhere for Snowmantashi to go in the center of the ring!

    She keeps her signature submission locked in tight with no intent of letting up as the champion begins to fade away, and just when it looks like all may be lost for Snowmantashi he shows signs of life as he begins to power himself out of the submission hold by countering into a backsliding pin attempt keeping Michelle’s shoulders planted to the mat…

    ONE... TWO... - - NO!

    Michelle kicked out and the two competitors breathe heavily after such an exhausting encounter. Michelle is up first gathering her wits about on one knee as she beckons the champion to get up…

    Tim Coleman: Shining wizard kick!

    Jim Taylor: That looks like it took a lot out of Michelle though…

    She collapses to the mat for what seems like several minutes, but in reality only a few seconds before she springs up gingerly on her feet. Then she begins ascent to the top as she positions and readies herself…

    Jim Taylor: She’s looking for that 450 Splash!

    Tim Coleman: Wait a tic though! Snowmantashi has other ideas!

    Just as Michelle leaps off the champion bounces up in time to catch her in mid-air…

    Jim Taylor: HAILSTORM!

    Tim Coleman: He’s not done yet Jim!

    Snowmantashi climbs up top looking ready to end this once and for all…

    Jim Taylor: SNOWFALL!

    Tim Coleman: My god he may killed her with that moonsault!

    Snowmantashi hits his moonsault on the now unconscious challenger to his championship, and with his last ounce of strength he drapes his arm over her for the pin…

    ONE... TWO... THREE!

    Lindsay Monahan: Here is your winner, and STILL the CWA World Heavyweight Champion, Jon Snowmantashi!

    Snowmantashi lays on the mat for several seconds before slowly rising up to one knee as he's handed his championship.

    Jim Taylor: What a match that was folks!

    Tim Coleman: There were times that I thought for sure we were going to see a new champion, but Snowmantashi managed to pull out the victory in the end and walk away with the gold in tact!

    Jim Taylor: Michelle von Horrowitz put a tremendous effort though and has nothing to be ashamed of

    Snowmantashi looks down at Michelle and helps her to her feet despite her refusal for help. She shoves him away and takes her leave still showing the effects of the match while Snowmantashi shrugs and looks out at the sea of fans. He then takes his leave and as he's walking up the ramp he stops and the camera pans around to reveal his former friend, Jonathan McGinnis and his new buddies, The Echo standing on stage in front of him...

    Jim Taylor: This can't be good for Snowmantashi, he just went through a grueling match, c'mon guys!

    All McGinnis does is motion for the championship around his waist and mouths the words "I want my rematch" while pointing at the title on Snowmantashi's shoulder.

    Tim Coleman: He wants his rematch that he never did get!

    All Snowmantashi does is nod while the two have an intense staredown before McGinnis and The Echo take their leave leaving Snowmantashi to relish some more in his victory.

    Jim Taylor: Well, that could have ended much worse for Snowmantashi, but tonight he leaves Five Star Attraction still the world champion, good night from New York!


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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    PROMO HISTORY
    PART III - “IN LIMBO.”
    February 2016 - April 2016.

    Volume 10: "Mountain". (02/26/2016)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Enigma [CWA Adrenaline Rush, March 2016].



    It wasn’t until she had boarded the train, taking a seat as removed from the rest of the travellers as she could find, that she had chance to properly think about it. Three nights earlier, she had stood in her locker room at Madison Square Garden and told the world to expect change. She had stared at the world heavyweight champion from across the ring and thrown everything she could muster into his path. He’d just kept on getting up, swinging at her in a flurry of limbs and intensity. As she stared up at the lights, the sound of the referee’s hand thudding against the mat drowned out the screams of nineteen thousand people.


    The train glided towards Edison NJ, its wheels rolling forwards over the rails, Raritan Bay stretching out towards the Atlantic on her left. Her body was little more than a collection of bumps, bruises, and aches. A constant, dull pain plagued her neck and shoulder, the aftershock of two Hailstorms. A massive top rope superplex had turned her back into a piece of abstract art, purples and blues and blacks swirling against the canvass of her pale skin. Her core throbbed with the memory of the Snowfall. A two hundred and ninety pound Man-Baby landing on you with a moonsault often did that, she’d found. But it was the three-count that hurt the most.


    She had sat in her locker room afterwards, unwinding the tape from her wrists and staring idly at the tiles in front of her. Drifting back to the Autumn of 2009, she found herself walking amongst visions of her first championship match. Le Marteau and a fresh-faced Michelle von Horrowitz danced around the ring in Toulouse, the ALF National Championship hanging in the balance. She’d lost that one too, after le Marteau had dropped her on her head with his top rope brainbuster. The referee could’ve counted to a hundred.


    That had been her first sniff of gold, and she’d never been able to shake its scent from her nostrils. In truth, this one didn’t hurt any more or any less than Toulouse. The stakes were higher now, and Snowmantashi was already more of a rival than le Marteau ever was, but the feelings of eternal insufficiency that came with defeat were identical. The reaction to failure, though, would be different. In the Autumn of 2009, she had cut her ties and run, looking for another challenge in Germany. She’d never wrestled another match for l’Alliance de Lutte d’France or competed for its National Championship again. Another dance with Snowmantashi lay somewhere in her future, she knew, and this golden belt wouldn’t elude her forever.


    From Madison Square Garden she had found a bar, and in that bar she’d found a bottle. The amber liquid had roared down her throat, its music bounding within her chest. She sought comfort from the three-count within its green glass confines. The place was dingy, unstylish, almost empty. It was perfect. She would’ve happily stayed there until closing time (it never closed) if it wasn’t for the entrance of three young men, emboldened by the drink and the adrenaline built by a night at the Garden.


    Two of them wore the same Johnny Vegas t-shirt whilst the third, a big bastard with a dirty ginger beard and blackening teeth, was hugged by an XXXL ‘KAIJU’ t-shirt that was too small for him. They played pool and drank cheap beer, their half-coherent, entirely-mundane conversation crashing against the quiet that had previously lain thick in the bar. Every three or four minutes one of them would shout ’HAIL THE CLUB!’ and the other two would guffaw wildly. The barmaid, a frumpish woman with thick-rimmed spectacles and a salmon-pink blouse, regarded them suspiciously as she ran a cloth around the rims of glasses.


    It was only a matter of time before they noticed Michelle and, when they did, a formality that they’d approach. The big bastard had walked over with his bottle, taken a large, supposedly impressive gulp of its contents, and told her with the utmost sincerity that Bryant Park under the starlight was breath-taking and that he’d like to show her. She’d laughed in his face, been dismissive, hurt his feelings. The three had childishly chanted ‘KAI-JU’ in retort, much to the chagrin of the barmaid and three old men who sat around a circular table by the door, their sanctum butchered.


    The big bastard had returned an hour later, the courage of three more pints of piss-water lager roaring within him. He still had his pool cue in his hand and, through drunken carelessness more than attempted intimidation, he’d thrust it into her face as he slurred something about Bryant Park at night looking like a fairy-tale. She’d swatted the stick away and thrown him through the optics that sat behind the bar, leaving before the barmaid could tell her to.


    Michelle had waited in a small, grassed plaza across the street, and sure enough the three of them had followed her out, the big bastard cradling his back and flanked by the smaller two. It had taken them almost half an hour to get sick of the taste of their own blood, gingerly stumbling away into the night as aches seared through their bodies. She had nothing against them specifically. She had even tried to imagine Snowmantashi as she took each one down in turn and found it was useless. One cannot easily picture wrestling a bear when throwing kittens into the river. But slamming her fists into their torsos had proved somewhat cathartic. Every now and then, as the four figures danced in the shadows of tall buildings, people would pass by, ignoring them and skipping onwards towards their destinations.


    When the three men had crept away, she took up a seat on a bench adjacent to the scene of her latest, pointless victory. As she lit a cigarette, Michelle von Horrowitz stared up at the pale, crescent moon, which seemed to stare back sadly.


    ***



    As the sun set in the background of the picture, the last splinters of a deep red light broke over the landscape. A line of tall, thick trunks stretched upwards to conical formations of branches, naked with winter. They obstructed the view of a long, narrow lake, its surface still and black, and on the ground before them a thin layer of snow had been blemished by many boots. Dead leaves were trodden into the moss and roots. Michelle von Horrowitz sat against the thickest trunk, bare feet turning blue in the cold, a baggy t-shirt and drainpipe jeans - both in mourning black - adorning her body.

    “As snow pelts the rock and the wind swirls confusedly, a young girl plants her ice axe into the mountain’s side. The face she climbs is almost vertical. The cold and the altitude conspire to make her head swim. Her senses are as frozen over as the rock-face. The blizzard occupies her entirely. Slowly, with apprehension but also resolve, she lifts the other axe and plants it half a foot above the first, dragging herself another few inches towards the summit. It is close, now; a handful of yards from her grasp, and she can almost feel it. This scene I watched last night, as I stole an hour of elusive sleep, perched on the young girl’s shoulder and waiting for the fall.”


    She patted the snow around her with numbed palms, eyes focussed downwards on the white powder shifting between her digits. Only a slither of a segment remained of the sun behind her, the cover of darkness preparing to shield her from the camera’s persistent, penetrating gaze. She stifled a sigh, staring up at the camera with green eyes beleaguered by fatigue and defeat.


    “The sky rumbles and roars with thunder, lightning molesting the newly laid snow on lesser peaks below her. She wrenches the lower axe free, but as she drives it into the sheet of ice that sits on the mountain’s face it notches and falls from her grasp. She hangs there, fingers on her free hand stretching impotently towards the ledge, mind focussed only on the plateau she has spent her entire, subconscious existence creeping towards. But it is useless; the solitary pick cannot hold her slender form, its angle lessening until eventually its handle runs parallel to the mountain. Sweat is forming on the girl’s brow in spite of the cold. And then it comes loose, and she falls.


    “Her slender body drifts downwards, caught up in the wind like the falling snow but driven by gravity’s inevitability. At the mountain’s feet, the shadows howl into the storm. They stare up at her falling form, sensing her fragility, waiting impatiently for her to cast her skinny body down. The shadows, tulips, they circle like braying jackals, preparing to pounce on the carcass and enjoy their ill-gotten spoils. They sense the time is now. The young girl is prone.”



    Standing up, Michelle leant against the trunk and stared into the camera’s eye. A long, violent arc of sunlight clung on, biting into the lake’s surface, its reflection rippling gently with the water’s motions.


    “As I watched these images, their meaning struck me with clarity and force, as I’m sure it does all of you. Snowmantashi is our inevitable mountain of a champion, and for the time-being he remains insurmountable. But seasons change, and conditions relax. Five-Star Attraction will not be the last time I plant my axe into the rock, but for now I cannot think of this. The peak is too far away; the storm rages too strongly. The shadows and the braying jackals. These are what I must confront first.”


    In the blackening sky, blue stars drifted slowly into focus and began their nightly dance. The scene glowed as it bathed in their pale light. She adjusted her position against the cedar, and as she did a large, purple bruise on the small of her bag ran itself against one of the trunk’s knots. The pain of it rumbled through her body, a cruel reminder of Snowmantashi’s onslaught.


    “Next week on Adrenaline Rush, the first of these scavengers approaches. Mr Enigma enters the fray, tulips, and he smells blood in the water. The battle scars of Madison Square Garden are fresh on us both. I cannot - and will not - claim any physical disadvantage. Snowmantashi and I went through a war at Five-Star Attraction, but Mr Enigma and Shade almost killed each other. There is only one difference; he won, and I lost. That brings with it a psychological edge.


    “I’m sure that, as I say this, you assume my attitude to be defeatist. That I am making excuses for a loss that hasn’t yet occurred. But I do not give the edge to Enigma. I’m not speaking of the momentum and confidence that comes with a victory, nor am I setting myself up to fail. The edge is mine. To a certain type of person – the only type of person that really matters – failure is nothing but fuel. Edison’s teachers called him an idiot child. Disney’s first editor fired him because he lacked imagination. Newton failed as a farmer before he discovered the force that drags the young girl from the rock-face. I have stood on the brink before, and I stared into it with indifference.”



    The last glimmer of sunlight disappeared into the horizon, its glow now distant and subdued. The woman’s image became less clear, her surroundings dimmed. All around, the once silent woodland began to stir, as if heartened by the hidden sun.


    “Mr Enigma is a master of mind games, which he plays in search of a psychological advantage. He takes his opponent and, by stalking and whispering and snarling, drives him from comfort. His rhetoric is sculpted with one intention; to infiltrate the nightmares of his adversaries and run with their darkest thoughts. But Enigma must realise one thing, tulips. He will not drag me to the brink next week. He cannot force me to face my shortcomings. I seek them out willingly, and his humbling will bring with it their exorcism.”


    ADRENALINE RUSH - match and aftermath
    Spoiler:

    The lights dim and ‘In Dreams’ by Roy Orbison plays over the speaker system. Before long, Michelle von Horrowitz is standing at the top of the stage, surveying the hostile audience. Her eyes lock onto the ring and she begins to walk down the ramp, taking a moment to snatch a sign out of a fan’s hand. The sign has ‘UNDEFEATED’ scrawled across it and the first two letters have been crossed out. She hides the sign underneath the ring and climbs up the steps.
    Spoiler:




    Lindsay Monahan: This next contest is scheduled for one-fall and has a sixty minute time limit. Introducing first, from Rotterdam, the Netherlands and wrestling out of New Orleans, Louisiana… She stands at one hundred and seventy centimetres and weighs seventy one kilograms… She is ‘Dreamer’, Michelle von Horrowitz!


    Jim Taylor: Here she comes, Tim, the former number one contender for Snormantashi’s world championship, her challenge unsuccessful at Five Star Attraction.


    Tim Coleman: It sure was, Jim, and I’m sure this young lady will have plans to bounce back immediately, but that’s not going to be easy…


    Jim Taylor: Indeed it’s not – tonight she faces a CWA legend in what’s sure to be a tough battle.


    In Dreams is replaced by ‘Radioactive’ and the lights go out all over the arena. Enigma is standing at the top of the stage, pyrotechnics falling around him as a mixed reaction emanates from the crowd. He blows out a huge plume of smoke and strides down the ramp.


    Lindsay Monahan: And her opponent… From Mississippi and wrestling out of Jacksonville, Florida… He stands at six feet and three inches and weighs in at two hundred and fifty pound… Enigma!


    Tim Coleman: An incredible match and a big win for Enigma at Five Star Attraction against Shade…


    Jim Taylor: Indeed, and the circumstances of that victory were brutal, Enigma emerging victorious after a hard-fought last man standing match-up.


    Tim Coleman: You have to imagine that Enigma is physically destroyed after such a match, but here he is, as focussed as ever…


    Enigma climbs into the ring and the referee issues his final instructions before calling for the bell, the match beginning with the two competitors staring at each other from across the ring. They begin to circle, and MVH goes for a collar and elbow tie up. Enigma is uninterested in chain wrestling, instead hitting a European uppercut, following it up with a big boot. MVH climbs to her feet and walks into a clothesline… and then a second. She rolls underneath the bottom rope and stares at her opponent, sizing him up with apprehension.


    Tim Coleman: Shades of what we saw at Five-Star Attraction, Jim, with Michelle ducking out of the ring in the early stages.


    Jim Taylor: And how did that turn out?


    Michelle slides back into the ring, and Enigma charges over with a stomp. Michelle crawls into a corner, lifting herself up with the ropes, but Enigma follows her in with a few cornered knife edge chops. The crowd ‘WOO!’ along with Enigma’s strikes, and he follows up by placing von Horrowitz into a front face lock, slamming her face into the mat with a DDT. He goes for the cover…


    ONE… TW- - NO!


    Michelle gets a shoulder up but Enigma keeps on the offensive, applying a headlock to grind his opponent down. Michelle takes a while to fight her way back to a vertical base, and when she does she gains a tiny bit of separation with a trio of elbows to Enigma’s abdomen. She attempts to charge off the ropes, but Enigma grabs her by the hair and slams her to the mat. He follows up with a leg drop, and then a cover…


    ONE… TWO… - - NO!


    Jim Taylor: It’s been nothing but Enigma so far in this match, and he gets his second two-count there with the leg drop.


    Tim Coleman: Michelle seems off her game, for sure, but it’s going to take more than that to put her away.


    Enigma hoists Michelle up and Irish Whips her into the corner, following up with a running clothesline. He then reels off a series of right hands, rocking Michelle down to a seated position. A few stomps follow, until the referee intervenes to separate the pair. Michelle takes the opportunity to hit a standing drop kick, Enigma stumbling back. He charges in and she nails a drop toe hold, Enigma’s head crashing off the second turnbuckle. She goes for a cover.


    ONE... T- - NO!


    Michelle stays on the attack, dropping a series of elbows into her opponent’s chest. She hoists him up and Irish Whips him into a set of ropes, but he ducks the attempted clothesline. He hits a kick to the midriff and sets her up for a piledriver, but she fights out of it and drives Enigma back into the ropes with a shoulder, following up with two knife edge chops and a European uppercut. Enigma falls to the mat and rolls under the bottom rope, standing up on the apron. In the ring, von Horrowitz charges to a corner, jumps to the second rope, and then sends him down to the concrete with a triangle drop kick…


    Jim Taylor: Some athleticism shown there from MVH…


    Tim Coleman: It doesn’t look like she’s done there, charging across the ring and hitting a baseball slide…


    Jim Taylor: von Horrowitz crawls back into the ring, bounces off the ropes once more… SUICIDE DIVE!


    Both competitors crash towards the mat as the referee begins a count towards ten, but von Horrowitz is quickly to her feet. She goads the crowd before casually climbing up the steps, entering the ring as the referee reaches four. She sits in a corner, her head rested against the bottom turnbuckle as if she’s preparing for sleep. She shouts out towards her opponent.


    MVH: He’s counting, Mr Enigma… (Five)…


    The crowd begin to boo her, but she shouts above their racket.


    MVH: You’re not the demon you think you are… (Six)…


    She crosses her legs and places her hands behind her head in relaxation.


    MVH: You’re not even the man that they think you are… (Seven)...


    Jim Taylor: Michelle looks quite happy to settle for a count-out victory here. Cheap tactics, when you think about it.


    Tim Coleman: A win is a win, Jim…


    Enigma rolls under the bottom rope as the count reaches nine, but Michelle stays on him, hitting a low drop kick to the side of his head. She lifts him up by the hair and whips him into corner, Michelle charges across the ring and hits a cornered shining wizard, balancing on the second rope and lifting her arms up to goad the crowd…


    Tim Coleman: Perhaps thinking of following up with a hurricanrana?


    Jim Taylor: She’s taking her sweet time, though… And Enigma is stirring, he hoists her up, POWERBOMB!


    Tim Coleman: Straight into the cover…


    ONE… TWO… - - NO!


    Enigma stands up and hoists Michelle to a vertical base, driving her into a corner with his shoulder. He hits a trio of stomps to her abdomen before throwing her down with a power slam. Michelle fights her way back to her feet, and Enigma charges at her…


    Tim Coleman: SPEAR!


    Jim Taylor: And again, Enigma goes straight into the cover…


    ONE… TWO… T- - NO!


    Visibly a little frustrated, Enigma shakes his head at the referee before climbing to his feet. He gets to his feet and begins a Garvin Stomp, individual kicks to each limb before one to the head. He crouches down and waits for MVH to rise, moving in when she does in an RKO attempt…


    Tim Coleman: No… von Horrowitz able to reverse by pushing Enigma away.


    Jim Taylor: Michelle looking for an enziguri… No, ducked by Enigma, and he goes for a clothesline… No! Dodged by von Horrowitz, who hits a knife edge chop and then attempts a lariat of her own… Enigma blocks it, doubles her over with a boot to the midsection… PILEDRIVER!


    Tim Coleman: von Horrowitz just crunched against the mat there! Enigma goes for the cover…


    ONE… TWO… TH - - NO!


    Enigma thinks over his options, and decides to wait in the corner for von Horrowitz to get to her feet. When she does, he charges in for a big boot, but MVH is able to evade it at the last moment, catching Enigma’s leg above her shoulder, she forces his body into the Stretch Muffler submission, Enigma’s frame contorted and his head prone for a half dozen stomps. He lifts his hand, ready to tap… But then claws his way towards the ropes, inching closer and closer as the seconds tick by…


    Just as he’s about to touch them, Michelle lets go of the hold and drags him back into the centre of the ring, before placing him in the ankle lock…


    Jim Taylor: Surely Enigma’s going to tap here! This move has submitted several FWA competitors in von Horrowitz’s short tenure…


    Tim Coleman: I think you’re underestimating the resilience of Enigma, Jim…


    Michelle drops into a grapevine position and Enigma writhes in pain, lifting his hand as if he’s about to tap… But no, he clenches his fist and, with a flourish of energy, he uses his free leg to boot Michelle in the face… And again… And a third time. She has to let go of the hold, crawling away as Enigma does the same in the opposite direction, holding his right boot.


    Jim Taylor: The damage could well be done to Enigma’s ankle, he’s using the ropes to drag himself up there, and standing on his one, good leg…


    Enigma stumbles forward as Michelle charges at him, looking for a lariat… No! Enigma catches her arm and drags her to the floor…


    Tim Coleman: Venom’s Edge! Crossface submission locked in here on Michelle von Horrowitz, and she’s gonna tap! She’s going to tap!


    Jim Taylor: No! She begins to claw at Enigma’s hands, digging her nails into his knuckles… She’s going to fight him off…


    Enigma responds by hitting a pair of elbows to the top of her head, and then manoeuvring into The Holy Grail! He wrenches at her arm and she squirms under the pressure, reaching out with her free hand and her two legs for the ropes, but she’s sundered in the middle of the ring. She eventually realises she’s stranded and lifts her hands, reading to throw in the towel… With a last burst of effort, she drives Enigma’s shoulders down into the mat, forcing the referee to start the count…


    ONE.. TW—NO!


    She’s nowhere near the three, but the kick out forces Enigma to break the hold, and Michelle quickly rolls away into a corner, holding her arm and her shoulder alternately. Enigma retreats into the opposite corner, heavily favouring his ankle. The two stare across at each other, slowly climbing to their feet, relying on the ropes for stability. They gingerly encroach into the centre of the ring, ready for the final push……


    They engage in a lock up and immediately Enigma doubles over Michelle with a knee to her midsection before hoisting her up in position for the 187x...


    Jim Taylor: If Enigma connects with this then all he'll have to do is finish her off with that deadly Fatal Flat-Liner...


    Michelle finds the will to escape though as she flips behind Enigma clobbering him from behind with a back fist to his head, and now she's setting him up...PSYCHO DRIVER! She hits all of it but it took a lot out of her as she drapes her arm over him for the cover...


    ONE... TWO... THREE!


    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, Michelle von Horrowitz!


    Jim Taylor: A grueling battle between two warriors but Michelle prevails...wait a minute what's this?!


    As Michelle rises to her feet she's taken down by an in stereo super kick from The Echo!


    Jim Taylor: What is the reasoning behind this?!


    Tim Coleman: Do they really need a reason Jim?


    McGinnis enters the ring now while The Echo prop up Enigma and McGinnis drills him with a super kick! The Indy Club look down at their handy work and crotch chop in unison at the downed Michelle and Enigma. They exit the ring to much hostility from the fans, who boo and throw trash at them.


    Jim Taylor: Well that was certainly uncalled for, and up next we'll see those degenerates in action...

    Volume 11: Eight Years No Change (03/10/2016)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Drew Connor [CWA Adrenaline Rush, March 2016].


    Marseille, France

    December 14th, 2007


    Stood in her corner of the ring, a tight black t-shirt wrapped around her tiny frame, a seventeen year old Michelle von Horrowitz felt suddenly quite alone. Amongst the fifty or so fans that lined the bleachers in the gymnasium, there were at least two people who knew her name. Franz was there, as he had been at all of her matches. Tonight, she’d even asked Margot to come, more because she’d been threatening to buy a ticket anyway than anything else. Even so, in that small, stuffy room, staring across the huge mat at the man walking down the ramp, it felt as if every pair of eyes was fixed upon her in mistrust.


    Her two-strong fan club was situated a few rows behind the ring bell, a quiet anticipation settling upon them. Franz brooded with his trademark confidence. Margot was more apprehensive. She stared solemnly across the ring at the masked man that Michelle was supposed to fight. He was over six feet tall, and easily more than two hundred pounds. Average, for a male wrestler, but standing a few yards away from von Horowitz he seemed a giant.


    This was her eighth match for the promotion, the largest regional outfit in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, but her first against a man. She’d torn through her first set of female opponents in minutes, the bookers eventually relenting and feeding her this guy. Le Boucher, he called himself, and she could almost smell his seedy smile from beneath his black mask. He had been less than charming on the microphone for weeks, flinging every gender-based insult his second-class mind could generate in her direction and hoping some of it might stick. He lumbered in a cumbersome fashion from left foot to right. He was slow. Unprepared. Complacent.


    Before the bell rang, le Boucher thrust his pelvis in her direction three times, eliciting a large round of laughter from the audience. He put his hands on his hips and stared down at his opponent, chuckling to himself at the whole situation. She simply stared back, reminding herself to savour it. To take her time.


    When the bell rang, she couldn’t help herself.


    He charged in at her, as she knew he would, and she took him down with a drop toe hold, his face slamming against the second turnbuckle. She could still remember the three crunches that resonated as she repeatedly curb-stomped him against the pad. The crowd was silenced, a shocked awe descending on the gymnasium. A thin line of blood spilled out from beneath the man’s mask, and she did him a favour by ripping it off and giving him some air. Throwing the piece of leather into the crowd, she stalked le Boucher from the opposite corner.


    Even this early on in her career, she knew that she had made the right decision. Margot had questioned her motives, even her sanity, both before and after she’d witnessed this match. Michelle had offers from universities, in France and England and Germany, but she’d chosen instead to take a few bookings around Marseilles. Her crowds hadn’t yet reached a hundred, but she’d been winning. That was probably more important. When her opponent was up to his feet, she revelled in the sweet sound of his face colliding with her knee, the Busaiku kick sweeping him off his feet.


    He’d tapped almost as soon as she’d applied her ankle lock, but she’d held it in anyway, applying a grapevine and wrenching on the joint. As the time ticked on, she leisured in recalling every insult, every slur, every attack on her womanhood. The narrative drifted through le Boucher’s monologues and then, as the grand finale of his hip-thrusts were played back, the bone shifted in her grasp and he screamed in agony.

    ***



    Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
    March 10th, 2016


    Near the Steel Pier, a young couple steps onto the boardwalk. Their arms are linked with the giddiness of a third date, their heads swimming with infatuation. The sun glides into its early afternoon position, the ocean stretching out sheer and immeasurable before them.


    On a bench in front of Boardwalk Hall, an old man sits with a newspaper. The front page features a collage of presidential hopefuls, each putting on their best election-smile and waving at nothing in particular. He is immersed in the sports section, unable to tear himself away from a story about his beloved 76ers and their ill-fated visit to the Heat. He sighs and looks over the paper’s edge, watching a young family of tourists pointing at the hall. The father takes a photograph. The mother looks bored.


    Traffic stutters and starts down the thirty as people stream in and out of the city. Airplanes lurch into action from AC International Airport, darting towards spots on the other side of the globe. The water of Absecon Bay slowly drifts towards the ocean.


    And, in her locker room at the arena, Michelle von Horrowitz sits in front of camera, a small red light willing her to speak.


    “Upon the side of a grassy hill, an old pelican surveys the horizon. His feathers have greyed to the point that you can no longer see the divide between white and black. His eyes hang heavily, a sad expression on his pockmarked face. Around him, the predators circle, parading their youth like an insult. The old bird looks on, rooted to the spot, not precisely going backwards but watching the world advance around him, slowly forgetting about his once-relevant existence. This scene was presented to me, my tulips, as I stole an hour of sleep last night.”


    Michelle von Horrowitz sits, a tired face staring at the camera. She is alone, naturally, and he legs are folded in front of her, arms resting on her knees. She speaks plainly, composed, as if all she states is fact.


    “At the foot of the hill there runs a river, and from it two peacocks emerge. Their feathers are obscenely bright, shimmering in the golden glow that the sun throws out over the land. When they approach their old friend, he walks among them, as if he’s found his place. But it is all lies. They know that they are not the same, and that one is clinging onto days that are still to come for the other two. And ahead the snake pit looms, hidden from sight but never from mind.”


    She pauses for a moment, letting her words settle in front of her. Finally, she continues, still unmoving and abstracted, eyes focused on nothing but the lens.


    “I want to talk about last week, tulips, and the events of Adrenaline Rush. In my first match since Five-Star Attraction and the defeat to Jon Snowmantashi, Enigma and I had quite the war. A battle worthy, perhaps, of even my respect. But after our match had run its course, two party boy punks decided to hit the ring and lay us both out with super kicks and crotch chops. Bro’ Drew and Bro’ Ethan took it upon themselves to get involved in my business, and this week they have to face up to the consequences of that.


    “When this little Indy Club nonsense began, a Clique within the Clique, I had no particular interest in its ambitions or its deeds. The tag division, where The Echo apparently reside, is of little concern to me, so I’ve never cared much for the juvenile actions of the Brothers Connor. McGinnis would get his rematch, no matter what I said or did. He’d lose to Snowmantashi, though, and I’d be knocking on the door the next month. I was ready to let them cut their silly promos and thrust their hips to their heart’s content. But last week, I’m afraid things changed. The peacocks have stumbled into the snake pit.”



    She stands from her bench, gently pacing back and forth in front of the camera’s gaze. She is dressed in a baggy, dark green t-shirt, black shorts, boots, and pads on both knees and elbows. In three hours she would compete on Adrenaline Rush again. The week seemed to roll around quicker each time. The bruises on her back and neck, badges of honour from her battle with Snowmantashi, had been built upon by Enigma and the Connors. If this match didn’t seem suddenly so personal she’d be inclined to ignore it entirely.


    “The Indy Club, as they so adorably call themselves, have stated vague aims. To hold all the gold. To dominate and control the company. In truth, their ambition is as half-baked as their ability, as has become desperately apparent these past few months. The Moment have prized the prize away from The Echo. Darling Jonathan may have beaten Vegas at Five-Star Attraction, but what does that make it for 2016? One win in five? This banding together of fading stars is not the momentous event they seem to think it is. The world looks back and it yawns.


    “When I lost at Five-Star Attraction, tulips, I looked on as this little Club formed around me. I watched as McGinnis arrived on the stage, jumping to the front of the line. Beforehand, I witnessed the Connor brothers, at the time having no clue which one was Drew, laying waste to Johnny Vegas. These are the sorts of actions that I’ve spoken about in the past, tulips. The actions of desperate men, kicking the limp carcass of this organisation along, fuelled by their own base ambitions. Before my match with Snowmantashi, I spoke about saving the CWA from itself… From the tumours that were festering and multiplying from within… And now, we have the Indy Club, the latest and the worst.”



    She was sluggish, tired, slow. Her arms weighed her down, the effects of training and lack of sleep lying heavily on her body. She throbbed beneath the pain of a now semi-permanent hangover that had seemingly taken up residence in her skull. Her nights were plagued by terrors, of the mountain and the house, of the bird that eats itself, and of the golden wall stretching out before her. The Connor Brothers were nothing but roadblocks. Impediments. Bait.


    “But, as I’ve already said, I would leave them be. The patriarchal structure of the CWA would have to be torn apart, no matter what form that structure took, so it mattered little to me whether Snowmantashi or McGinnis sat on the throne. Until, of course, you boys decided to drag me into your little conquest. A statement of intent, no doubt. But I fear that you haven’t thought too deeply about all of this. Not content with taking the fight to Snowmantashi and the Moment, three worthy adversaries and champions nonetheless, you decide to involve Enigma and myself. These are not the tactics of master strategists. These are deeds of petulant children, lashing out in all directions because their favourite toy has been taken away.


    “But this, my tulips, is what the Echo have proven themselves to be time and time again. Even when they were on top, they still spent their lives whining about everything their feeble minds could consider. They weren’t getting the respect that they deserved. They were misunderstood. They were the greatest tag team in CWA history and didn’t get the credit. And now, the belts ripped away from them, the intensity of their bitching is only amplified. Everyone else is blamed for the defeat. The inability to own up to one’s failures is a characteristic of the weak.”



    She sat back down on the bench, picking up the roll of tape that sat beside her. Time was wearing on, the battle on the horizon becoming clearer. She began to run the tape around her wrists. The bell was waiting to be rung.


    “But tonight, on Adrenaline Rush? Oh, my tulips, Drew Connor will have no choice but to face up to things. I will push his face against the glass, and at long last his eyes will be wide open. His glory days are, as he fears, dead and gone, and all that remains now is this last gasp effort, this Hail Mary, this Indy Club. He is flailing in the wind, digging his heels into the mud and declaring himself still relevant. Tonight, the bell rings, and the facade dies. My hand has been forced, and if I’m compelled to pick a side, I find myself in the correct corner of the ring tonight.”


    The Club arrives as abruptly as a tidal wave, crashing over the establishment of the CWA and destroying all in its path, but the water of Absecon Bay still slowly drifts towards the ocean. Planes still leave the airport and cars still choke the roads. The old man still sits on his bench, and his beloved 76rs have still lost. The chaos that the Connors and McGinnis bring to their sport has little effect on the young couple, as they steal a kiss at the end of the pier beneath the late afternoon sun.


    The Indy Club kicks out at the world, and the world looks back and yawns.


    ADRENALINE RUSH - Ethan Connor (w/ Drew Connor) vs Enigma (MVH commentary) and post-match segment
    Spoiler:

    Ethan Conner w/Drew Conner vs Enigma
    Spoiler:







    As we return from the commercial break, the lights go off around the arena and ‘Radioactive’ begins to play. There’s a mixed reaction from the crowd, a massive, positive pop sounding when the music first starts and then a mixture of heckles and ‘EN-IG-MA’ chants as it settles. Pyros fall from above and Enigma is standing amongst them, blowing out a huge puff of smoke and beginning his slow pace down to the ring.


    Lindsay Monahan: Ladies and gentlemen this contest is scheduled for one-fall with a sixty minute time limit. Introducing first, from Missouri and wrestling out of Jacksonville, Florida… He stands at six feet, three inches tall and weighs in at two hundred and fifty pounds… ENIGMA!


    Jim Taylor: Here comes Enigma, Tim, the man who returned with a big win over Shade in a Last Man’s Standing Match at Five Star Attraction, and he’ll certainly be looking to get back to winning ways after last week’s loss on Adrenaline Rush.


    Tim Coleman: Yeah, of course, Tim, but that’s not necessarily going to be as straight forward as you make it sound.





    Enigma climbs up the steps after completing a circuit of the ring, eyeing up various fans on his way. His music dies down and is quickly replaced by ‘Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver’ by Primus. Ethan Connor walks out onto the stage, accompanied by his brother and a large chorus of boos from the New Jersey crowd.


    Lindsay Monahan: And his opponent… Accompanied to the ring by Drew Connor… Currently residing in Gainesville, Georgia, by way of… *ahem*… your mother’s bedroom… He stands at five feet and ten inches and weighs in at one hundred and seventy eight pounds… ETHAN CONNOR!


    Tim Coleman: Look at this, Jim. Look at how these people boo success!


    Jim Taylor: They don’t boo success, Tim, they boo the sort of underhanded tactics we saw employed by the Connor Brothers last week after the climax of the epic match between Enigma and Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Tim Coleman: Is it really underhanded? The Echo told us all what they intended to do in CWA as part of this Indy Club, and last week was just the opening gambit.



    Jim Taylor: And here tonight Enigma has a chance for revenge after being laid out, along with his opponent, in the aftermath of his match last week.


    Both members of the Echo have climbed into the ring and Drew is patting his brother on the back by way of encouragement, who is limbering up with some stretches. Enigma simply stares at them coldly from across the ring. The referee carries out his final checks, talking to the combatants and removing Drew from the ring (at length) before moving over to the time-keeper.





    Before he can ask for the bell to be rung, ‘In Dreams’ by Roy Orbison plays around the arena to a mostly negative reaction, though there are some cheers and a haphazard ‘M-V-H’ chant. Michelle von Horrowitz walks out onto the stage and surveys the audience before striding down the ramp with purpose.

    Jim Taylor: Maybe here to even up the score? Michelle von Horrowitz didn’t have anything nice to say about The Echo this week.


    Tim Coleman: My mother used to always tell me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all.


    Jim Taylor: Your mother says a lot of things.


    Tim Coleman: What’s that supposed to mean?

    Jim Taylor: And it appears, after a brief stand-off with Drew Connor ahead of their match later tonight, von Horrowitz is going to join us here at the commentary booth…


    Michelle picks up a headset and takes a seat next to Jim Taylor, staring across the ring at the Echo in turn. The referee calls for the bell and the two combatants, who’ve been distracted by von Horrowitz’s arrival, begin to circle the ring and lock it up in a collar and elbow tie up.


    Jim Taylor: As these two begin to jockey for position, Enigma using his more than sixty pounds weight advantage to move into a rear waist-lock, we should welcome our guest here at the announcer’s table.

    Tim Coleman: Indeed, very nice of you to join us, Michelle.



    Michelle doesn’t reply, and in the ring Enigma has grounded Ethan, the waist lock still applied. Connor attempts to wriggle free as Drew shouts instructions from the outside, so Enigma manoeuvres himself into a headlock, wrenching away at Ethan’s neck. After a few moments, Ethan fights up to his feet and bounces Enigma off the ropes, leaping for a standing dropkick… but Enigma manages to hook himself onto the top rope and Connor crashes and burns.


    Jim Taylor: Enigma begins an early Garvin stomp here, one kick delivered to each of Ethan Connor’s limbs, and then one to his head. Michelle, you were the recipient of this move last week on Adrenaline Rush…


    MVH: Yes, indeed I was, Jim, and it was thoroughly unpleasant. Enigma really knows how to pick apart each and every part of your body.


    Tim Coleman: And now he locks in a grounded front face lock, perhaps trying to slow down the faster man. Sensible strategy, Michelle?


    Again, von Horrowitz ignores Coleman’s question, and Enigma lifts Ethan up to his feet. He maintains the front face lock, and then attempts to take him over with a vertical suplex. Ethan drops his knee into Enigma’s head twice whilst he’s hoisted up, and then manages to slip out of the back. Connor goes for a lariat, but Enigma ducks it, kicks him in the midsection, puts the front face lock back in, and then drops him with a DDT. He goes for a cover…


    ONE… TW – NO!


    Enigma continues the grounded assault, going for an arm bar as Ethan squirms towards the ropes, Drew all-the-while shouting encouragement.

    Tim Coleman: Drew trying to talk his brother back into this match, with Enigma dominating the early stretches.



    Ethan gets to the ropes and the break is enforced by the referee. The two get to their feet and circle the ring, looking like they’re going for a test of strength. However, just before contact is made, Ethan hits an eye poke, followed by a pair of knife edge chops. Enigma is backed up into a corner, where Ethan works the body for a while. He then drives a shoulder into Enigma’s stomach and uses the position to force him up to a seated position on the top turnbuckle. Ethan follows him up…


    MVH: This is where the Connors are dangerous, when they begin to fly. Enigma’s strategy is the right one.


    Jim Taylor: But it looks like his luck with it is running out, as Ethan hits a beautiful hurricanrana from the top rope! He goes for a cover himself…


    ONE… TWO… - NO!


    MVH: See, that’s just the Connors all over, sloppy cover after a high impact move. It’s all part of the Echo image, isn’t it, Jim? Cutting corners, showboating for the fans who just aren’t interested…


    Jim Taylor: We saw some of that cutting corners last week, when Drew and Ethan hit the ring to take out both you and Enigma following your match…


    MVH: Yes, and well before their match, I might add. These are not the actions of the strong.


    Tim Coleman: Tonight is a fair playing field, though, Michelle, and Ethan seems to be doing pretty well against Enigma right now.


    No response is forthcoming, and Ethan continues to take the fight to his opponent. He hits a pair of forearms, taking Enigma back into a set of ropes, and Irish whips him across the ring. When Enigma re-approaches he ducks a clothesline attempt but, when he hits the first set of ropes again, Drew is there to grab his feet and stop his momentum. Enigma turns around to stare at the interloper, and then turns around into a big standing drop kick from Ethan. He goes for another cover.


    ONE… TWO… - NO!


    Ethan stays on him, locking in a head scissors as Enigma goes for the ropes. It takes him almost a minute but eventually he makes them with an outstretched foot. Ethan lets go as the ref reaches four, and Enigma gets up gingerly. Ethan charges in, trying to clothesline him over the top rope, but his opponent ducks and throws Ethan over himself with a back body drop. Connor manages to land on the apron. When Enigma turns around, Ethan takes him by the hair and slams his throat against the top rope. He stumbles into the middle of the ring and Connor leaps up, nailing a beautiful springboard forearm, straight into another cover…


    ONE… TWO… - NO!

    MVH: I saw this myself first hand last week. Enigma is a very resilient opponent. It’s going to take something bigger than that to put him away.


    Jim Taylor: I think Ethan knows that, too. These constant covers seemed designed to sap the energy from Enigma’s body, bit by bit.



    Ethan puts in a headlock, and it takes Enigma a while to climb up to his feet. He hits a couple of elbows to Ethan’s midriff, and then takes him over with a backdrop. Ethan is up to his feet immediately, but Enigma hits a clothesline, and then on the third occasion he takes him over with a picture-perfect vertical suplex, going for a cover of his own.


    ONE… TWO… - NO!


    Enigma backs into the corner, stalking his opponent, waiting for him to regain a vertical base. Eventually he does, and Enigma takes him right back down with a spear! Another cover…


    ONE… TWO… T – NO!


    Ethan gets his shoulder up, and Enigma takes a moment to suck in some oxygen. He slowly pulls Ethan up to his feet by his hair, rocking him with a kick to the midsection. He lifts him up, maybe looking for a big Powerbomb… but no! Ethan rakes the eyes out of the referee’s sight, and Enigma stumbles to the side of the ring, Connor able to hurricanrana him over the top rope! Ethan lands on the apron and rolls under the bottom rope into the ring as the referee begins his count towards ten and Enigma lays sprawled on the outside.


    Ethan distracts the referee as Drew hits a flurry of stomps on Enigma before posing for the fans, and in the meantime the Connor in the match has made his way to his feet. He waits for Enigma to rise too and, when he does, charges across the ring…


    Jim Taylor: SUICIDE DIVE! Ethan starting to build up a head of steam.

    MVH: You know, I’d really love to see how one of these boys gets on without their brother at ring side. They fight like jackals.


    Tim Coleman: Effective strategy, if you ask me.


    MVH: Nobody was asking you. Literally nobody in the universe cares what you think, Coleman.



    Ethan drags himself to his feet, and then lifts up his opponent by the hair, Irish whipping him straight into the steel steps! There’s a sickening thud as Enigma’s shoulder collides heavily with the steel. Ethan and Drew exchange a too sweet and then Drew meanders around the ring to crotch chop in Michelle’s direction, a huge smile on his face. Michelle stands up for a stare off as Ethan throws Enigma under the bottom rope.


    Jim Taylor: Things might be about to kick off here at the announce table... Ethan Connor goes for a cover…


    ONE… TWO… - NO!


    Order is gradually restored at ring side as Drew wanders back over to the opposite side of the ring. Ethan picks Enigma up again and backs him up to a set of ropes, Irish whipping him into the opposite set. He goes for a lariat, Enigma ducks it, and then hits a big RKO on Ethan as he turns around! Both men hit the mat, physically spent, Enigma unable to cover him…


    Jim Taylor: The fans are on their feet here, willing Enigma up


    The two men roll over to opposite corners, dragging themselves to their feet and staring at each other across the ring…just then there’s a commotion at ringside with Drew running to Enigma’s corner and hopping up on the apron with a distraction causing Enigma to angrily turn around with a forearm shot drilling Drew right across the jaw and straight off the apron while Enigma spits at him…


    Jim Taylor: Drew was up to no good but he paid the price for it…

    MVH: Serves him right



    Enigma then turns around…SUPERKICK! Ethan with a superkick on Enigma, who falls flat on his back…


    Jim Taylor: Oh no, not this way!

    Tim Coleman: Brilliant strategy, seems like Drew’s distraction paid dividends after all!



    MVH: Typical…


    Ethan falls on top of Enigma hooking the far leg…


    1…
    2…
    3!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, Ethan Connor!



    Ethan’s hand is raised by the referee, and his brother comes into the ring to celebrate with him. Enigma crawls to a corner, clutching his injuries, and Drew points over at him…

    Jim Taylor: What do we have here? Why am I not surprised?


    MVH: Because these are the sort of petulant acts we’re used to from the Echo.



    The brothers charge over to the corner, hitting a handful of stomps to Enigma and then celebrating with a fist bump. Ethan picks Enigma up as Drew lines him up, nailing a superkick! Ethan hits a second! Then stereo superkicks!

    Jim Taylor: They might just finish Enigma right here, just after his return!



    As Drew doubles Enigma over with a kick to the midsection, he drops down to one knee. Ethan charges over to the ropes, maybe looking for a neckbreaker onto his brother’s outstretched limb… But we hear the muffled sounds of a head set being put down, and Michelle grabs Ethan’s legs as he bounces off the ropes, causing him to fall flat on his face…


    Von Horrowitz climbs up onto the apron as Drew charges over at her, and she hits a springboard cross body, taking him to the mat… But she stands up into a big super kick from Ethan! The Connors stand momentarily over the bodies of Enigma and von Horrowitz, and they decide to target Michelle with a flurry of stomps. Enigma, forgotten about for the time being, rolls over to the corner of the ring and uses the ropes to regain a vertical base, and as Drew turns around to check on him he’s taken over by a massive spear! Ethan charges over at Enigma… kick to the midsection… 187x! Ethan’s neck is almost snapped in two by the suplex-into-inverted-cutter!


    Drew rolls out of the ring and drags Ethan out with him, Connor heavily cradling his neck. They point and shout at Enigma, standing tall in the ring, as Michelle gingerly climbs back to her feet.


    Tim Coleman: There seems to be serious bad blood between these four, Jim…


    Jim Taylor: And the Echo have nobody to blame but themselves.


    A second referee has come to the ring, the official scheduled for the von Horrowitz – Drew match. He points at Ethan Connor, and then at Enigma, and then to the entrance, signalling that he’s sending both of them to the back!

    Jim Taylor: von Horrowitz might have her wish! It looks like Drew is going to have to go this one alone!



    Ethan is fuming, screaming in the referee’s face, the occasional ‘your mum‘ audible amongst the rest of his babble. Enigma just shrugs and climbs out of the ring, making his way up the ramp towards the exit. Ethan is a little slower to go, but eventually he does, and Drew climbs into the ring with Michelle. The referee calls for the bell and the match gets underway…

    ADRENALINE RUSH - match write-up and aftermath
    Spoiler:

    Drew Conner w/Ethan Conner vs Michelle von Horrowitz
    Spoiler:




    Drew hits a kick to the midsection straight away and grabs Michelle by the scruff of the neck, throwing her into the corner. He hits a pair of knife edge chops before Irish whipping her into the opposite set, charging in and going for a clothesline. Michelle ducks it, Drew’s chest hitting the top turnbuckle, and she rolls him up with a school-boy…


    ONE… - NO!


    Jim Taylor: Michelle trying to end this one early with a roll-up there.


    Tim Coleman: Never going to happen. The Connors are former tag team champions for a reason, Jim.


    The two circle the ring before tying it up, Drew instantly moving into a headlock. He charges across the ring with MVH in tow and hits a bull-dog, and then a running spinning heel kick when she makes her way to her feet. He feels the momentum building, climbing up to the top rope, but von Horrowitz is back up and she rocks him with a forearm smash. She climbs up with him, maybe looking for a superplex, but Drew pushes her off. Michelle lands in the middle of the ring, and Drew goes for a top rope elbow drop, but she rolls out of the way. Von Horrowitz goes for another corner…


    ONE… T – NO!


    Michelle applies a grounded head lock and, when it becomes clear that Drew is too strong and is breaking free, she manoeuvres her body into a headscissors. Drew eventually manages to rotate his body enough so that the hold can’t be held in, but von Horrowitz grabs one of his free arms and puts in an armbar, wrapping her legs around his shoulder. She finishes off with a couple of stomps to Drew’s prone head, but the Connor is able to reach out to the bottom rope and force the break.


    Jim Taylor: Michelle looking to employ the same strategy as Enigma in the last match here, Tim, keeping Drew Connor grounded…


    Michelle pulls Drew to his feet by his hair and Irish whips him into the corner… But Drew runs up the turnbuckles and flies off the top with a moonsault, landing on Michelle and taking her down! He goes for a cover of his own.


    ONE… TW – NO!


    Drew keeps up the pressure with a front face lock, but von Horrowitz fights her way back to her feet. Connor lifts a knee into her midsection a couple of times before hooking her arms and taking her over with a double underhook suplex. He lifts her up again, a pair of forearms rocking her towards the ropes. He Irish whips her across the ring, and when she re-approaches he hits a big back body drop, sending Michelle all the way to the outside! Drew isn’t done there, he charges off the ring, somersaults over the top rope, and lands on the rising Michelle! She crumbles down to the mat and Drew is instantly up, taunting his opponents and the fans in self-congratulation.


    Jim Taylor: Drew should be worried more about finishing this off than showboating. That could turn around to bite him…


    Tim Coleman: Oh, come on, Jim! Wrestling’s supposed to be fun!


    Jim Taylor: Ladies and gentlemen, as Drew Connor rolls von Horrowitz under the bottom rope, we’re going to have to take a quick commercial break…


    *COMMERCIAL BREAK*


    Jim Taylor: Welcome back to Adrenaline Rush, and over the commercial break we saw a shift in momentum…


    An instant replay shows Michelle von Horrowitz in a corner, Drew charging at her, and then being taken down with a drop toe hold, sending his face into the second turnbuckle….


    Jim Taylor: And since then we’ve seen von Horrowitz targeting the head of Drew Connor, trying to build off that impact.


    As we return to live footage, Michelle has a headlock held in, her legs wrapped around the grounded Connor in a body-scissors. He’s rolling from side to side to try and find an escape, and eventually the angle is right for him to hit an elbow to the side of Michelle’s head, and then a second, and the third breaks the hold. He fights to his feet as Michelle shakes off the cobwebs. She charges over, going for a front face lock, but Drew reverses with a Northern Lights Suplex, bridging for a cover…


    ONE… TWO… - NO!


    Drew keeps up the pressure, using a headlock to drag his opponent back to her feet. He throws her into the corner, running in with an elbow smash, before suplexing her into the middle of the ring. He runs to the ropes and jumps up to the second, nailing a springboard moonsault into the cover.


    ONE… TWO… T – NO!


    Jim Taylor: Michelle von Horrowitz just about getting the shoulder up there, but Drew is breaking free from her relentless ground and pound.


    Tim Coleman: Absolutely, and now he’s just starting to get into the groove. A few more high impact moves like that and this one is over.


    After a trio of stomps, Drew picks Michelle up and puts her in a front face lock. He moves over to the corner and climbs up to the second rope (headlock still applied). He leaps off, obviously going for a tornado DDT, but von Horrowitz is able to push him off and send him crashing into the middle of the ring. Drew fights back to his feet as Michelle sucks in some deep lung fulls of air, then she charges over, looking for the Busaiku Knee Kick…. No! Drew evades it. Michelle gets up and turns around….

    Jim Taylor: SUUUUPERKIIIICK!



    He falls straight into the cover.


    ONE… TWO… TH – NO!


    Drew is aghast, admonishing the referee and staring at his opponent in disbelief. Eventually, he drags her up to her feet, planning what he’s going to do next. He hits a scoop slam in the middle of the ring and points over at the corner, beginning a hasty ascent and steadying himself on the top rope…


    Jim Taylor: 450 Splash maybe? Drew leaps from the top turnbuckle, just look at the elevation, the rotation…


    Tim Coleman: It’s beautiful, Jim! But no! Michelle gets her knees up into Drew’s sternum, and one half of the Echo rolls across the ring clutching his ribs.


    Michelle stalks Drew from across the squared circle as he uses the ropes to regain his vertical base. She charges in from behind, perhaps looking for the Regal-plex… No, Drew manages to fight out with a trio of elbows. Michelle stumbles backwards into the middle of the ring.

    Jim Taylor: Drew Connor looking for another super-kick here….


    Tim Coleman: No! Michelle von Horrowitz catches his foot…



    Jim Taylor: And straight into the stretch muffler! Submission move locked in in the middle of the ring here! Drew has nowhere to go!


    Michelle wrenches on Drew’s leg, applying additional pressure on his contorted body. With her free boot, she repeatedly stomps on Connor’s head, the crowd gasping at the brutality of the move. Drew raises his hand, close to submission, but each time he does he clenches his fist and drags his aching body a few inches closer to the bottom rope. He’s almost there, just an inch further…


    Von Horrowitz releases the hold and drags Drew back into the centre of the ring, applying an ankle lock! Drew writhes in pain, screaming out, staring at the bottom rope longingly. Michelle is constantly looking for the grapevine, but Drew is squirming too much for her to lock it in properly. With a last ditch effort, Drew manages to roll through, his momentum sending Michelle into the corner, through the middle and top rope, and shoulder first into the steel post!


    Drew hastily retreats into the opposite corner, clutching his ankle, whilst Michelle sags down into a seated position, holding her shoulder in despair…


    Jim Taylor: Seems as though that we have come to a standstill…


    Drew gingerly props himself up in the corner using the ropes as leverage while Michelle crawls back up as well as she still clutches her shoulder, and Drew comes out of the corner with a superkick attempt but Michelle catches his boot and drops an elbow strike right across his knee before rolling him up in a small package!


    1…
    2…
    NO!


    Drew kicks out before the count of three and rolls over to a corner as does Michelle who rolls over to the opposite side until there’s a commotion from the fans…

    Jim Taylor: Wait, that’s Ethan Connor, he’s supposed to be barred from ringside!



    Tim Coleman: He’s just being a good brother looking out for Drew!
    Drew has noticed this and distracts the referee by feigning still feeling the effects from the earlier submission to his ankle, while Ethan sneaks up and attempts to pull out Michelle’s foot from beneath the bottom rope but Michelle doesn’t budge and instead reaches over the top rope trying to snag Ethan by the hair but he scrambles away in time holding his hands up in defense as there’s another commotion from the fans…

    Jim Taylor: Here comes Enigma to even the odds!


    Tim Coleman: What’s that clown doing here?! He’s supposed to be barred!


    Jim Taylor: Oh, NOW you’re upset but you weren’t moments ago when Ethan tried to interfere



    Enigma runs down the ramp clubbing Ethan from behind with a double axe handle before tossing Ethan into the guardrail, causing Ethan to cry out in pain while back in the ring Drew shoves the referee aside and beckons MVH to turn around before attempt another superkick…but Michelle ducks underneath this time and drills Drew with a superkick of her own! Drew stumbles back into the corner in a daze and Michelle pulls him out and in position…PSYCHO DRIVER! On the outside Enigma is still laying the boots to Ethan while in the ring Michelle makes the cover…


    1…
    2…
    3!


    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, Michelle von Horrowitz!

    Jim Taylor: The Connors didn’t expect that to go down making their attempts to ruin this match futile



    Tim Coleman: This isn’t over between these four, not by a longshot!


    Jim Taylor: You’ve got that right Tim


    Enigma has stopped attacking Ethan and looks back in the ring at Michelle and nods as if to say “You owe me”, while Ethan scrambles over to the opposite side of the ring to held Drew out of the ring.

    Volume 12: "Trust". (03/25/2016)
    Spoiler:


    Trust.
    vs Drew and Ethan Connor, with Enigma [CWA Adrenaline Rush, March 2016].



    “For once, tulips, I wish to speak about nothing but reality. I mean this absolutely. A sort of State of the Union address, if you will, for you and your fellow viewers. Times in the Clique Wrestling Alliance are strange indeed. The once silent kingdom is now without rest. The Club runs amok, doing as it pleases with few consequences, its leader demanding a title shot he believes he’s entitled to. Meanwhile, our champion descends from his throne each week to fight lesser champions, which I guess is at least a step up from his part-time role in January. And the contenders circle the king’s castle permanently, as interested in each other as they are the man himself. You can see this with your own eyes.”


    The camera is still, a sign of its independence. No cameraman is permitted entrance into her domain. Nobody at all. There is only her, alone with her thoughts and the lens, sat upon the bench with her knees beneath her chin. There are signs of life from without, the suggestion of fans willing on the start of the show with their cheers. She waits impatiently too, her ring-gear donned and her words loaded.


    “There will be no shortage of contenders, that much I can say for sure. Obviously, we have Jonathan McGinnis but, if you don’t mind, we’ll save him for later. Then there’s my tag team partner, Enigma, who surely feels he’s owed something for his hard-fought victory over Shade, not to mention his long and storied career in this promotion. Maybe Johnny Vegas is watching on some hospital television, the date of Retribution circled on his calendar. The variations within this field are clear to see, but they do have one thing in common. All three of these men have been pinned or tapped out by me, my tulips. There is nobody in this company more deserving of a title shot than Michelle von Horrowitz. You can see this with your own eyes.


    “Darling Jonathan will no doubt tell you a different story. He’ll talk about Wrestle Royale, and his right to a rematch after he was crushed by Snowmantashi. In my eyes, he forfeited that right when I pinned him in two straight weeks. So, he beat Johnny Vegas. Who hasn’t? He thinks that now he has a pair of lackeys flanking him his prestige has been restored. What is it that Snowmantashi said, even before this little Club popped into existence? McGinnis is not the man he was. Or something less grammatically sound. About this our champion is in the right. You can see this with your own eyes.”



    Clearly, she begrudges giving Snowmantashi credit for anything, but at least it comes at McGinnis’ expense. She stood from her bench, beginning to pace from side to side, staring down at the floor as her black boots padded gently against the tiles.


    “But McGinnis has inserted himself into prominence with his ill-advised antics. Along with his lapdogs, for that is all that the Echo are, Darling Jonathan has involved himself in other people’s business for weeks. It’s fitting that, as our little travelling circus makes its way through the state of New Jersey, Adrenaline Rush has turned into a string of mob-style vignettes, the Club injecting themselves wherever they see fit. Bro’ Drew tries to get involved in Bro’ Ethan’s match with Enigma. Ethan returns the favour when Drew faces me. The Echo are there to write off McGinnis’ match with Lightbringer. And, of course, we see them again after two of our champions have worn themselves down in their own bout. These are not the actions of strong men, though they are so obviously the actions of men. Darling Jonathan continues to bark his orders, the Brothers Connor asking how high. What exactly are the Echo getting out of this? It is hard to imagine, my tulips, that they wouldn’t get their tag title rematch anyway, and either way The Echo versus The Moment will be the second or third match of Retribution. An association with a jaded former champion in rapid decline, both personally and professionally, changes nothing for the Connors.


    “Another thing that just doesn’t change is the extent of Drew Connor’s idiocy, and his ready willingness to flaunt it. Last week, he posted some lengthy diatribe about me, and my womanhood, and how much he was going to enjoy destroying me. He went on and on about how it was no concern of his that people thought it wrong for him to hit a woman. It is no concern of mine, either. I willingly signed my CWA contract, and have beaten better men than you every week since I did. But let’s get one thing absolutely clear, Drew; you shouldn’t lay hands on a woman, or at least this woman, because I am your physical superior. He played tough guy and told some story about his old dealing days, no doubt shaking those tail feathers and preparing to measure his penis. I am from the Netherlands. Your drug laws are stupid. I am not impressed by this, or you in general. And what did Drew proceed to do on Adrenaline Rush? Lose, of course. Like they all do.”



    She has stopped pacing, and now stares only at the camera as if the Echo are deserving of her full attention. Or, at least, their butchering is.


    “I’ve read somewhere that the Echo have the edge in this match-up, because they’re tag team specialists. Tag team specialists are just wrestlers who aren’t good enough to be singles specialists. This is nothing to brag about, tulips. I’m sure that even they feel their long but ultimately doomed title reign entitles them to the status of favourites. And sure, they’re brothers, that’s meant to mean something. I imagine they think the trust - -“


    Here, Michelle paused, the final word falling out of her mouth and hitting the floor like broken glass. Her mind was pulled in many directions at once, to Rotterdam and to Berlin, Marseilles and Tokyo. She flew through the downstairs window of her childhood home, a grey terrace in the suburbs of Rotterdam. She watched as a young girl sat alone with her cello, a slightly older girl withdrawn on the stairs with a book on her lap, and her mother sat beneath the kitchen window, a glass of white wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The three of them were detached from another, isolated and unconcerned about it. Nothing was being built here except resentment.


    She was borne away on the wind, over many leagues to Marseilles, where she had competed in some ball-room against a bearded bald wrestler who called himself Carrow. He was from the North-East of England and lumbered from left foot to right with the grace of a rhinoceros on ice. He had the turning circle of a Boeing 777. She had crushed him in about six minutes and retreated into the locker room, where some crew monkey had handed her a note from Franz. He’d been conspicuous by his absence that evening, but his letter made it clear why. His mother was ill and he had caught the train back to Budapest. She’d died like a selfish bitch three months later and Michelle had never seen him again.


    Taken across seas and mountains, she arrived in Tokyo, as she and Iwao sat in the corner of an empty coffee shop. She was twenty three, which made it early 2013, and the two of them occupied their spots gloomily and burdened. They were working for a few independent promotions in the south and west of Honshu, and had faced off for the eleventh and final time just a few weeks before. Michelle had won, which was special for more than just taking her record against him to 4-6-1. It had been a champion versus champion match, after she’d been crowned the Okayama Senshuken Resuringu Regional Heavyweight Champion the month before. Iwao had held the Honshū Puroresu National Heavyweight belt for over a year now, and was cementing himself as the finest wrestler in the province. For once, all was good, at least going into that match.


    Afterwards, though, things had gone to shit. HPW was shown all around the island on a number of different regional networks, whilst OCW had just negotiated a deal with a network based in Okayama, starting in the same timeslot as HPW and a natural competitor. The two had received the same chain of correspondences from both companies. First from HPW, who told the talent that they could not compete for any other televised promotions if they wished to keep getting booked on their shows. Three days later, OCW responded with a similar decree of their own, but specifically naming Honshū Puroresu as the forbidden pastures.


    HPW was the bigger company, for sure. The two of them had main evented their last sell-out show the month before, which had also featured a strong undercard including Anzu’s homecoming match. But Michelle always had a soft spot for OCW. She and Iwao had spoken longingly of building it up, until it could compete with the biggest promotions in the region, or perhaps even the country. When she’d heard about the deal with Okayama Television, it had seemed like that was finally happening. But now, this. The pair of them agreed that they’d try to negotiate their way out of it, and Michelle had spoken passionately about her desire to side with the underdog. Three days later, she’d heard that he’d packed his bags and left Okayama, signing a new contract with HPW for more money and less fights. She would never see him again either, not in the ring or outside it.


    Finally, she was carried back across the Pacific and dropped with a clunk in her locker room. Outside its confines, the Newark fans were screaming for the show to begin. They’d been waiting for hours. She’d been waiting for days.


    “I imagine they think the trust they’ve built over the years matters. But it doesn’t. This match means nothing. I have no interest in the Connors, or in their ambitions to hold the gold after Retribution. I am involved with their Club only as a temporary measure, tulips, to climb the ladder of chaos towards Snowmantashi’s throne. I know full well what a competitor Enigma is, and what he can do in the ring. We stole the show in Trenton, and the aches have hung around long after the bruises disappeared. But I trust nobody but myself, and I believe we’ll meet as opponents far more often than we will as partners.


    “Tonight, Enigma and I form a partnership of necessity, more than anything. Another win before Retribution will strengthen our respective cases before Richman’s announcement. But it is not a partnership that either of us will enjoy. I’ll be forced to find my enjoyment elsewhere, tulips, and I know just the place. The Connors are two of the most intolerably obnoxious people I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. They parade like peacocks, as if this world were theirs, when in reality they sit and wait for the orders of a second-rate has-been. Sure, they spur into action whenever Darling Jonathan decides he doesn’t want another pin-fall loss on his record, but when was the last time they actually won a fair fight? They are a sideshow and sidekicks. Irrelevant. Superfluous. You can see this with your own eyes.”


    ADRENALINE RUSH - vs. The Echo (w/ Enigma)
    Spoiler:

    Michelle wanders out onto the stage, surveying the arena during the opening verse. As the music comes in and Orbison sings 'I close my eyes', she leisurely walks down to the ring.
    Spoiler:




    Lindsay Monahan: Making her way down the aisle from Rotterdam, the Netherlands and wrestling out of New Orleans, Louisiana. She stands at 170cm and weighs 71kg, “Dreamer” Michelle von Horrowitz!


    Once she reaches the ring she climbs to the second turnbuckle in the ring and points upwards with both hands, staring up at the ceiling.


    Jim Taylor: Michelle receiving a mixed reaction from the fans tonight, but I don’t think any of that matters to her


    Michelle begins to adjust her kneepads in the corner.


    Lindsay Monahan: and her partner…


    As the lights go out all over the arena, the music and video begin to play and as Enigma takes the stage, standing atop the ramp, as his longtime fans go insane with some chanting his name and others booing him. The pyro begins to fall from above and also sparks up from below as Enigma blows out a huge puff of smoke. With that, Enigma begins his slow methodical pace to the ring.


    Lindsay Monahan: From Mississippi and wrestling out of Jacksonville, Florida. He stands at 6’3 and weighs in at 250lbs, Mr. Enigma!


    He makes his way to the ring and then paces around the ring looking eerily at some fans and breaking into laughter at others as if he was insane as he makes his way around and back to the ring steps. He then climbs into the ring, removes his excess attire and sits in the opposing corner awaiting the next move with complete focus in his eyes and utter ill intent in his heart for his opponent.


    Enigma and MVH stare each other down in their corner.


    Jim Taylor: Will these two co-exist tonight? Last week we saw them assist each other in their respective singles matches but tonight they’ve got to work together as a team…


    Tim Coleman: Good luck with that Jim!


    Lindsay Monahan: and their opponents…


    The opening chords to “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” echoes through the arena and the fans quickly respond with quite possibly the loudest jeers of the night so far as The Echo make their way out looking as confident like usual. They stand on stage and “2 Sweet” each other before walking down to the ring while mocking and berating fans along the way.


    Lindsay Monahan: From Gainesville, Georgia by way of *sigh* your Mom’s bedroom, they weigh in at a combined weight of 350lbs. They are Donald Trump’s favorite tag team and they represent The Indy Club, Drew and Ethan Conner…THE ECHO!


    Tim Coleman: There’s a true tag team right there, Jim! Plus, if that wasn’t enough they’ve been endorsed by the man that could very well be our next president!


    Jim Taylor: That’s a frightening thought. Moving on, we’ll see these heated rivals square off next after the break, stay tuned!


    *COMMERCIAL*


    Jim Taylor: Welcome back fans, here’s what took place during the break…


    Drew Conner snatches the microphone away from Lindsay, which garners more hate.


    Drew Conner: Richie Richmann you better be listening wherever you are back there because I’m only going to say this once. Tonight’s announcement had better be about us getting our rematch against those dorks in The Moment, AND Jonathan had better be getting his rematch against tubby or else there will be hell to pay Richie!


    Ethan takes the microphone.


    Ethan Conner: Starting tonight with these two chumps! We’ll be sending Chuckles back to circus and Michelle we’ll be sending back to wherever the hell she came from and why will we do that Drew?


    He hands the microphone back to Drew.


    Drew Conner: Because we can! Let’s get this party started dorks!


    Jim Taylor: The Echo not holding anything back tonight


    Tim Coleman: Why should they Jim? They haven’t been given their rematch and tonight they’ll use that pent up frustration on Enigma and Michelle


    Ding! Ding! Ding!


    Michelle will kick things off with Drew, continuing where they left off in last week’s match. They begin to circle each other with Drew egging her on and taunting her resulting in Michelle opening up with a low dropkick right to the shin taking Drew to one knee. Michelle propels herself off the ropes in time to catch Drew with a running cross-body taking him down to the mat. Drew looks taken aback by this and pleads with the referee to have Michelle back off, which the referee obliges and Drew uses this opportunity to recover acting as if his back is severe pain and Michelle is having none of it as she runs at him again for another cross-body but Drew catches her in position for a powerslam. Michelle finds her way out of though with several back elbow strikes to the side of his head forcing him to drop her, and she unloads on Drew with several stiff kicks to his sides and thighs that backs him up in the corner until the referee has Michelle back away. Michelle refuses as she’s had enough of this nonsense from The Echo and she comes in again at Drew only for Drew to counter back with a rake of the eyes temporarily blinding Michelle and now Drew places her in the corner and goes to town on Michelle with several kicks the midsection accompanied by insults shouted at her and taunts until she’s down in a seated position. Drew then tags in Ethan who comes in and with an assist from Drew he hits Michelle with a low corner dropkick! He drags Michelle out of the corner and peppers her body with a few stomps for good measure before setting himself up on the apron…springboard elbow drop! Ethan hooks the leg…


    1…
    NO!


    Michelle gets a shoulder up while Ethan tags Drew back in the match, who comes in and is looking for a 450 springboard splash but Michelle rolls out of the way in time just Drew is about to make his landing yet he somehow manages to land on his feet gingerly and connects with a pele kick that has Michelle stunned allowing him to take her down with a handspring backflip into a tornado DDT planting her skull to the mat. Drew taunts Michelle and stands over her yelling out, “This is too easy!” before making the cover…


    1…
    2…
    NO!


    Michelle kicks out and Drew tells her to just stay down followed by some rather vulgar insults. He tags in Ethan and then holds Michelle in a German suplex position while Ethan sets up for a super kick, but Michelle ducks out of the way at the last second which has Ethan hitting his own brother with the super kick!


    Jim Taylor: It looks like that plan backfired on The Echo!


    Tim Coleman: Oh no, this can’t be good!


    Ethan is in shock allowing Michelle to sneak up behind him…REGAL-PLEX WITH A BRIDGE!


    1…
    2…
    NO!


    Ethan kicks out but Michelle isn’t finished as she transitions into a cross-face chicken wing with a body scissors…and now she follows that up with CATTLE MUTILATION! She has it locked in the center of the ring with nowhere for Ethan to go, will he tap?! NO! It’s broken up in time by Drew as he used his last ounce of strength to break it up before slowly rolling to the apron while Michelle groggily rolls over to her corner where the tag is made to Enigma...


    Jim Taylor: Enigma is in and he’s ready to clean house!


    Enigma runs in and knocks Drew off the apron with a clothesline before setting his sights on Ethan, who is groggy and has no idea of his surroundings as Enigma is lining him up…CLOTHESLINE FROM HELL!


    Jim Taylor: Holy cow! He about took his head clean off with that clothesline!


    Tim Coleman: I don’t know how Ethan will kick out of that one!


    Enigma hooks the far leg…


    1…
    2…
    2 ½
    NO!


    Ethan kicks out at the very last second before three and Enigma just smiles at this knowing he gets to inflict more damage. He grabs Ethan by the hair looking to set him up for a power bomb, and as he brings him up Ethan counters with a DDT and Enigma’s head bounces off the mat! Both men lay in the middle of the ring spent for several second. Finaly, Ethan begins to stir and makes the tag to his brother Drew, who prevents Enigma from making the tag to Michelle with a running stomp to the back of the head. He taunts Michelle, who is ready to jump over the ropes but before she can she’s tripped up by Ethan on the outside and knocked to the floor while inside the ring Drew has Enigma set in his sights…SUPERKICK! Enigma drops to one knee begging Drew to just bring it, and Drew more than happily obliges…CANADIAN DESTROYER! Enigma’s skull is driven to the mat with such force and Drew makes the cover…


    1…
    2…
    3!


    Lindsay Monahan: The winners of the match, Drew & Ethan Conner…THE ECHO!


    Tim Coleman: Give the devils their due Jim, Drew & Ethan gave it their all tonight!


    Jim Taylor: I will give credit where it’s due and say that they were on their A game tonight. That can’t bode well for whoever they face next…


    Tim Coleman: Which will be The Moment at Retribution in a rematch for the tag team championship!


    Jim Taylor: That remains to be seen Tim, and speaking of the tag team champions they will be in action later tonight as they will take on our CWA World Champion, Jon Snowmantashi in a two on one handicap match!

    Volume 13: "Somebody Else's Plaything". (04/08/2016)
    Spoiler:


    Somebody Else's Plaything.
    vs. Jon Snowmantashi, Jonathan McGinnis, Harrison Wake, Johnny Vegas, Enigma [CWA Retribution, April 2016].



    As she stepped down from the bus, the familiar image hit her suddenly and with force. The New Orleans Greyhound Station was a vision, and not even in a sentimental, nostalgic sort of way. Anybody that had seen the stations in Atlanta or Omaha or Nashville would agree that New Orleans was like a palace. It was huge for one thing, with large glass windows separating the waiting passengers from their buses and otherworldly yellow lights illuminating the clean, white tiles. In the early morning light it was almost beautiful.


    Michelle von Horrowitz waited patiently by the bus, staring at the bags slowly being collected from its innards. With each minute, the façade of beauty began to fade, the smell of the place beginning to hit her along with the realisation that her rucksack wasn’t in the same place that she’d left it back in Newark. The employee panted heavily as he lowered a massive suitcase from the bus, wiping a film of sweat from his forehead as yet another customer refused point-blank to acknowledge his existence. He seemed miserable, but at least he still had his belongings.


    Eventually, the emptied bus was empty and reversing out of the station, retiring for the night and heading into hibernation. She watched it with antipathy, the large metallic vestibule almost mocking her as she stared back, impotent and bag-less. With a heavy sigh, she headed into the station and to the amusingly named customer service desk.


    The Greyhound staff were on their eternal go-slow protest, taking what seemed like hours to print off tickets and check in bags for the handful of future-passengers ahead of her in the line. Above, the sound of an airplane could be heard, dropping its cargo off quickly and luxuriously in Louis Armstrong Airport. She resented them for their willingness to pay ten times as much for the same journey, as well as their acceptance that a metal box could safely fly thousands of feet above the earth’s surface. She fucking hated airplanes.


    “Can I help you, mam?” the employee said over her spectacles as Michelle approached the desk. She was middle-aged and overweight and miserable, with hair that seemed to be painted onto her sweaty head and a name-tag that read ‘BERYL’.


    You’ve lost my bag,” Michelle responded, rubbing a few granules of sleep from her eyes and tapping the surface of the desk with her free hand.


    “Mam, I haven’t lost your bag,” Beryl answered. She didn’t do anything.


    “Well,” von Horrowitz started, doing her best to stifle a large and accusatory exhalation of breath. “The Greyhound Bus Company has lost my bag.”


    She handed over the baggage tag she’d been given in Newark and waited patiently. Beryl didn’t say a word, she just tapped lethargically at the keyboard, thinking very carefully about each motion before she saw it through. Michelle tapped the floor with the soul of her boot impatiently. She was beginning to regret her impromptu trip home (she used that word in the loosest possible sense). Over twenty four hours of bus travel seemed to lie heavily upon her body, and her four-hour layover at the Atlanta station had been an experience she would never forget. The last time she’d seen her bag was in New Jersey, and she was about ready to accept it had been lost to the ether.


    “Your bag is in Richmond, Virginia, mam,” Beryl said rather suddenly, snapping Michelle out of her malaise. “It was taken off the bus by mistake. I can have it forwarded here for you?”


    “No,” Michelle said quickly. The idea of waiting here for days on end, with all the familiar sights and familiar people – along with the promise of another conversation with Beryl on the horizon – was too much for her. “Send it to Boston. I’ll meet it there.”


    Beryl lowered her glasses even further. They seemed to defy gravity on the end of her nose.


    “Mam, do you think that’s as easy as you just commanding it?” she said, her voice dripping with open disdain for Michelle and every other lowlife that caught buses from her station. “If you take a seat, I’ll try and sort that for you, mam. It shouldn’t take too long.”


    After two hours, Michelle was ready for a drink. After four, she had finally been dismissed from the station with nothing but a slightly-unbelievable promise that her bag would be waiting for her in Massachussets. After five, she’d managed to find some old, ill-fitting ring gear in a corner of her sparsely decorated apartment. It was bright green with white lightning bolts stitched down the side of each thigh. The image of it filled her mind as she walked from her place to Larry’s, the worst and therefore the best bar in all of Louisiana. Her hands were forced into her pockets, her eyes directed towards the paving stones in an attempt to avoid staring at her dilapidated surroundings. This place was down-trodden… depressing… She couldn’t remember why she’d come back in the first place.


    As she walked, a picture of herself gradually occupied her mind. She was wearing the offensive ring gear she had just managed to dig out a trunk; lime green shorts, boots of the same colour, black pads for the elbows and knees, and a tight-fitting black t-shirt with ‘NOW’ stitched on it in green lettering. She had worn that garb in Japan, during the early years of her travels there. In 2010, she had stood in the Osaka Dome, staring across the ring at three men, all of whom were dressed in plain black trunks. She was a bright green blaze against the monochrome monotony, and she felt ridiculous.


    That night she had lost, as she often did in her early years in Japan. She had thrown herself over the top rope whilst Toshiro Matsui, Hideo Suzuki, and Koji Kagawa had traded blows on the outside, only for them to disperse and the hard concrete to rise up and meet her at an alarming pace. She could still hear the dull thud as it collided with the back of her head, and the shocked gasps of the audience. That was it for Michelle von Horrowitz that night. It was her own fault for trying to put on a show.


    The first Jameson’s seemed to slip down her throat without touching the sides, and she sent the second in after it to check if it was alright. As the amber liquid started to have the desired effect, she found herself pulled back to Japan again, to the Osaka Dome and the Fatal 4-Way match. Koji had won that night, she remembered. He was a veteran, and had been knocking on the door for a National Championship match for years now. He had paid his dues and deserved it, they’d said. It didn’t make it any easier, watching from the outside and clutching her head as he covered Hideo for the three. It never was.


    She’d spent a substantial part of her career watching from the outside as other people recorded a victory. Last week she’d done the same, watching as the Connors descended on a lonely Enigma and turned him into their play thing. It had happened on a monthly basis back in Japan. Hell, it had happened today, as the eternally damnable Greyhound Bus Company had stolen away her bag in the middle of the night. Back in the Netherlands and in Marseilles, she’d watched on as her life took shape around her, other people sticking their meddling fingers into the narrative to shape it. She found herself wondering exactly when her agency had deserted her.


    The fourth and fifth Jameson’s were even better than the first three, although they couldn’t stave off the memories. The future didn’t promise to be any different. A Steel Roulette match, they were calling it. Five men and her, all vying for the same prize. The format was different, sure; an elimination match meant that she’d have to be beaten outright, not left to suffer and watch on as others decided the outcome. But she imagined herself, sitting in her pod and observing Snowmantashi or Vegas or McGinnis, and all of the memories flooded back to her. Mother taking Bella to Berlin and leaving her with Aunt Maude. Iwao taking his contract with the biggest promotion in Honshu without even consulting her, leaving her to stew in the independents for another pair of years. Franz departing from Marseilles to spend time with his dying mother. Koji pinning Hideo and moving on to his title match. Harrison Wake pinning Elijah Edwards in their Triple Threat as she desperately, unsuccessfully tried to break it up. The Connor brothers picking Enigma apart. Her bag abandoned and lonely in Richmond. The list went on.


    She had no say in any of these things. Why should Retribution be any different?


    As the eleventh glass of amber was placed down in front of her, she began to notice a group of men sitting in the corner by the window, half-empty glasses of piss-water lager in front of them. They were staring across at her as groups of men often did, either through lechery or recognition. It was always a toss of a coin, really, whether they wanted to fuck her or fight her. Even if it was the former, she’d insist on the latter.


    “Michelle von Horrowitz, as I live and breathe,” one of them began, the biggest and ugliest of the bunch. He had stumbled over as she was working through Amber #13, the effects of intoxication and his own intellectual deficiencies plain on his face, and placed the palms of both hands next to her on the bar. She waited patiently for the follow-up but, of course, he had planned no further ahead than this.


    “Yes?” she asked without looking at him, signalling to the barman – not Larry, as far as she could tell nobody by that name actually worked at Larry’s Bar – to bring over another drink. He placed it down next to her empty glass, a few useless ice cubes left within it.


    “Me and my comrades in the corner would like to politely request your magnanimous presence this evening,” he said, thinking about each word carefully and deliberately, as if reading from a script. In the corner, the rest of his coven watched on hopefully. She sighed heavily and took a sip from the fresh glass.


    “Not if you were the last men in New Orleans,” she said, placing the glass back on the bar and staring around the empty room. “Which it seems that you might just be. But I’m a woman of my word.”


    She stared at the man’s face, which was mostly obscured by a beard, bits of food and foam hanging from the follicles. He looked wounded, like a dog being left at the kennels. He simply asked why?


    “Well,” she began, looking into his small, beady eyes so he could read nothing into her countenance but honesty. “I have no interest in hearing what you have to say. About anything. Ever.”


    There were a few moments of silence, during which the barman stared at the pair whilst wiping the remnants of lager from a tall glass. Michelle could almost hear the mechanical cogs rotating in the troglodyte’s head, a look of dejection beginning to take hold on his unremarkable face. Eventually, he lumbered forward, stumbling through an utterance of now wait just a moment missy and placing a massive, sweaty palm on her shoulder.


    From there, things seemed to progress in a blur of sound and vision. She picked up one of the glasses – unfortunately the full one, wasting good whiskey in the process – and slammed it with full force against the man’s temple. The shards and the amber flew across the bar, almost in slow motion, a thousand tiny fragments of glass propelling themselves into walls on the other side of the room. A few moments later, the guy hit the floor, and already the barman was on the phone. They were on the scene only moments later, Michelle waiting patiently on her stool as they arrived in a torrent of blue lights and deafening sirens. There was no point leaving, really. The bar staff knew who she was and she’d only be delaying the inevitable.


    When she arrived at the station, they seemed almost surprised that she had no possessions other than her ID, three cigarettes, and a few crumpled bank notes. They put her in a cell, alone, the battle-cries of the other caged beasts permeating her walls and bastardising the comfortable solitude. The walls were plain, thick, inevitable. There were no windows. No hint that the world continued outside of this cell. She had to assume that it did, despite her best wishes.


    She took a seat on the bed, her head propped against the wall behind her and her hands folded on her lap. Retribution was hurtling towards her as suddenly as the floor in the Osaka Dome, and she felt equally unprepared for its impact. One of six, all gunning for the same prize, all attempting to make their own impact on a structure that had its own ideas. And here she was again, out of luck and down and out because some other fucker had different ideas for how her evening should turn out.


    When she woke, a familiar face was standing at the door. Officer James Parish – no, Sergeant James Parish, now. He looked at her knowingly, partly in admonishment but mostly in acceptance. She had known him for over a year now, since she first took up residence in his city, but it’d been a handful of months since she’d seen him last. Not since before her CWA debut, at least. His face looked the same, just a little older and a little more tired.


    “You still check for my name on the night sheet?” She asked, standing up from the bed and moving towards the door. She was still dressed in the same clothes as the night before; black skinny jeans and a baggy red shirt. Parish looked formal in his uniform.


    “Every morning,” he said, with a sigh. Parish was the sort of man who enjoyed looking out for a woman, and then letting her know how much of a ball-ache it was. He moved out of the way of the open door and let her walk ahead, towards the familiar back exit. He was silent for the most part, handing over her belongings at the door and unlocking it lethargically, as if it were becoming more and more of a chore each time. She walked out into the pale morning light and lit a cigarette.


    “Thanks,” she said, turning back to him and taking a long, rewarding drag.


    “You know, Michelle,” he started in his best fatherly tone. “A bar fight, I can deal with. That can disappear in an instant. But you’re AWOL for months and then you come back to glass a guy? Why are you even here?”


    There was more accusation in his tone than usual. She stared at him without response, sucking at the filter of her cigarette and blowing thick plumes of smoke up at the sun.


    “You know why you’re here right, at the station?” He went on, hands in his pocket as if he didn’t enjoy dispensing this advice. He did enjoy it, obviously. “You’re here because you can’t help yourself. You can blame that man, but he’s not the first and he won’t be the last, will he? You’re here because you do your best to fuck things up for yourself.”


    Still no reply.


    “I’ve read about this Steel Roulette thing. ’The biggest match of her career’, the article said. And less than week before it you’re throwing whiskey at some punk in some dive bar?”


    Silence.


    “You let these people rile you, and when you hit back you’re only lashing out at yourself. You’re somebody else’s plaything, Michelle. And you can complain about that all you like, but I know that you love it. It gives you an excuse when you fail.”


    She just stared into his tired, old eyes. Her cigarette was finished. She flicked it onto the tarmac of the parking lot. Parish shook his head, exhaling through his nose, a wordless acceptance that all he had were words and they weren’t going to be enough.


    “When do you go to Boston?” he asked, giving up on his lecture. Michelle turned away from him and began to walk towards the Greyhound station, her mind already made up. She didn’t look back as she answered.


    “Now.”


    ***



    “At the start of 1941, things were going rather swimmingly for Mr Hitler,” she began, somewhat out of the blue. She stood alone, as you might expect, within her plain locker room. She spoke slowly and with purpose, the scene entirely stationary for the duration of her monologue but for the deliberate, methodical movements of her lips. This was no time for frills. No extravagant, metaphorical orchestras or sunsets by way of foreshadowing. All she needed was her voice.


    “I will elaborate, as I’m aware of the standard of public education in your country and thus the state of your personal grasp of history. Mr Hitler was progressing nicely through Central Europe, his domain now encompassing Belgium, Austria, Poland… the list goes on. Even my own home country of the Netherlands was occupied by his men. His borders ran from the large swathes of French land he’d captured, all the way to Stalin’s Soviet Union. He’d made many enemies, but friends still existed. In the south was Mr Mussolini, and in the Far East Emperor Hirohito was poised to enter the fray. Mr Hitler knew the importance of such men, even if he didn’t care for their characteristics. What he underestimated was the benefits of neutrality.


    “You see, closer to home, Mr Stalin and his red army had pledged non-aggression with the Germans. The three people in this country with even a vague understanding of politics and international relations will know that this wouldn’t have been easy for either leader, what with the inherent contradictions of a Fascist-Communist agreement, but it was a necessary evil. Without the reds involved, Mr Hitler was free to run rough-shot over the rest of Europe, planting his flag in whichever bit of land he liked that day.


    “But then came Operation Barbarossa, and German boots roared over almost three thousand kilometres of Soviet border. But Mr Hitler wasn’t prepared for the war of attrition that Mr Stalin inflicted on them, and in time he was beaten back. And that isn’t even the biggest flaw in the plan. With the Soviets’ hand forced, they entered the wider war on the side of the Allies. Germany were slowly stretched over too much disputed land, distracted them from their efforts in the West and obliging them to fight upon two fronts. In time – and it did take time – he was defeated, and Barbarossa’s shadow lay over his grave.”



    Here, she allowed herself a brief pause, but sudden movement was still unnecessary. She slowly adjusted her elbow pads slightly, pulling the black material into position over the joint.


    “Lessons are learned not from the successes of history, tulips, but from the mistakes. Take the month leading up to Five Star Attraction, for example. When I was embroiled in war with Jon Snowmantashi, desperate to prize his prize away from him, you did not see me debasing myself by throwing stones at the minnows. When I faced Jonathan McGinnis, Bell Connelly, Johnny Vegas… I simply defeated them and moved on. Only with the champion did I set off fuses. But when it was time for McGinnis to cash in his re-match clause? His vision became blurred, obscured by a latent sense of injustice and a tantrum thrown in repeated failure. He has lashed out in every direction at once, and now? He finds himself surrounded.


    “Now, don’t get over-excited and start shouting ‘Goodwin’ at me – I am not comparing Jonathan McGinnis to Adolf Hitler, though I guess it’s nice for the Darling to have aspirations. But at Retribution, Jonathan could have quite easily been staring across the ring at Snowmantashi, without a care in the world for the rest of the arena. Now? There are four others he must stare at too, each with their own ambitions and their own grievances with the Darling. He does not have eyes in the back of his head, and – with a fence of steel between us and them – he does not have his pathetic little club either.”



    She was dressed differently, lime green trunks and boots an unusual dash of colour. She felt uncomfortable with it, as if she was highlighting herself, emerging from the crowd to be picked off. Usually, she blended in, like at the Wrestle Royale, preparing to seize a chance when it presented itself. Things were different, now. Everybody knew Michelle von Horrowitz, for one thing. The background was no longer open to her.


    “In one direction, we have Harrison Wake. Finally, some might say, Tough Guy Harrison has been given the nod and is stepping up to the adult’s table. His achievements in lesser battles are the only supporting evidence. An unsuccessful match for a mid-card championship. First runner up at the Wrestle Royale. These losses are not things to be proud of. The Backwoods Badass, as he so hilariously calls himself, will no doubt be telling everyone that he has beaten me before, in some Triple Threat match. This is technically correct, but only a thin slither of the truth. Unable to defeat me, Wake pinned somebody else – Eleanor Woods? No… Eli Ward? No… It’ll come to me later. And then, later in the night, when it really mattered, Tough Guy Harrison found himself staring up at me, the winner of the 2015 Wrestle Royale, from outside the ring.


    “After Wake is Enigma, a man I once regarded with something vaguely close to respect. I look back on our match together as a war, but a war from which I emerged victorious nonetheless. But last week on Adrenaline Rush? Enigma was personally and wholly responsible for scarring my record. Thanks to the endlessness of his ineptitude, the Brothers Connor can now claim a victory over Michelle von Horrowitz. I find this unacceptable, and he is now less than nothing to me.


    “Finally, there’s Johnny Vegas, another man that I’ve beaten. We can excuse the fact that Johnny-boy has been MIA for the last month, can’t we? He’s been injured, viciously assaulted, et cetera. We can excuse the fact that in his last match he lost to Darling Jonathan, can’t we? McGinnis is one of the best in the world, et cetera. We can excuse the fact that in the match before that he lost to me, can’t we? I’m the best in the world, et cetera. We can excuse the fact that in the match before that he looked on impotently as I pinned McGinnis again, can’t we? It’s a tag match and he was on the winning team, et cetera. But the excuses run out eventually, Johnny-boy, and you’ll find yourself asking when these anomalies begin to become the trend.


    “So, some standard of competition, yes? You might even begin to feel for Darling Jonathan, if only he wasn’t such a colossal, gaping ass. Have any of them even won a match cleanly since Five Star Attraction? But, the thing is, you can include the Darling in that question and get exactly the same answer. There is only one person in this match that can feel hard done by Richman’s announcement, and she’s speaking to you now. Nobody in this company is as consistent as me, as good as me, or as deserving of a one-on-one championship match as me. Tonight should be Snowmantashi versus von Horrowitz II. You all know it. Harrison Wake, Enigma, and Johnny Vegas know it. And, deep down, McGinnis knows it, too.”



    She allowed these words to settle in a moment of silence. They felt important.


    “But, in spite of Richman’s bizarre decision, the world will get the match it wants eventually. When these four pretenders lie vanquished and sorry, the true re-match will take place. Only one man in the CWA can claim to have beaten me, fair and square. Only one man can say he has pinned me. That man happens to be the one I must go through to start the dream I have for this company. I know it must be that way, Jon. I think that you do, too. I think that you would agree that you underestimated me before Five Star Attraction, and that’s probably true in reverse as well. Now I know what I know. I have already said that lessons are to be learned from the mistakes of history. Tonight, we’ll find out how true that is.


    “I want to finish with a history more recent. There is a reason, my tulips, that I have main evented every single pay-per-view that I’ve been a part of in CWA. This is not new ground for me, nor has it been even before I walked through that door and broke Little Annie’s ankle in two. I am used to the occasion. What is new is only superficial. Four glass pods and a steel fence. These are not important things. The music that begins with a bell rang three times is the same in any auditorium, in any ring, in any match. It is fitting that tonight we hear the song at Retribution. But the five of you should not fool yourself that the retribution will be yours, gentlemen. It belongs only to me, and the wounds of Madison Square Garden will begin to heal tonight.”


    RETRIBUTION - vs. Jon Snowmantashi, Jonathan McGinnis, Harrison Wake, Enigma, and Johnny Vegas [STEEL ROULETTE MATCH - WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP]
    Spoiler:

    The time has come for the epic main event of the night! Everyone in the arena watches with anticipation as the house lights dim and the terrifying Steel Roulette slowly begins to descend from up above Within moments for the first time in CWA History The tension in the room is almost palpable as this infernal device of twisted metal and glass almost seems to groan with malice intent. the unforgiving structure has completely surrounded the ring with metal while the four Plexiglas pods that will hold some of the competitors in the match are shown at the four corners of the ring. Lindsay Monahan clearly doesn't want to get anywhere near the Steel Roulette , as she makes her ring announcements from the safety of the arena floor.
    Spoiler:




    Lindsay Monahan: Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for the Steel Roulette match! The rules of the match are as follows; In this match, two competitors will start inside the Chamber while the remaining four are locked inside their individual pods. Every five minutes, a pod will be opened at random to release another wrestler into the ring. Competitors will be eliminated from the Roulette by either pinfall or submission. The last man….or woman standing will be the winner... and will be crowned the CWA World Heavyweight Champion!


    The fans cheered for the start of the Steel Roulette match, the first one in history. They awaited to see who would be the first four participants to take their places inside the pods and have the advantage over the two that start the match automatically without the pods. The camera, still fixated on Lindsay Monahan, focused in on the veteran ring announcer as she continued onward.


    Lindsay Monahan: Introducing the four competitors that will enter the Steel Roulette through these pods...



    ….
    ….
    A candy-colored clown they call the sandman
    Tiptoes to my room every night
    Just to sprinkle star dust and to whisper
    "Go to sleep, everything is alright"...


    Once the drum beat kicks in out saucers Michelle Von Horrorwitz onto the stage as the gentle crooning of Roy Orbison serenades the audience, the soothing sound belies the absolute war that she will be involved in mere moments, she regards the crowd passively with that eery sense of serenity that seems to always follow her like a shadow as she walks on down the ramp


    Lindsay Monahan: Introducing first, from New Orleans, Louisiana by way of Rotterdam in The Netherlands she weighed in tonight at 71kg. She is the winner of the 2015 WrestleRoyale “Dreamer” Michelle Von Horrowitz!


    As MVH walks she never takes her eyes off the Steel Rolette as she does so, not, regarding it with fear, or intimidation instead she seems to be…….curious of it, Like a small child first introduced to the concept of walking, she makes her way on the steps leading into the ring. She strides into the ring looking up at the structure , going down in history as the first competitor to ever step into the SR. She lets the ref lead her into her pod as MVH stands there loosening her limbs rotating her head and neck closing her eyes and gently starts to sink down in place folding her legs cushioning her landing as she gets herself comfortable as she settles into what appears to be some kind of meditative state.


    MVH's music dies down as it is soon replaced by…


    I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
    Enough to make my system blow
    Welcome to the new age, to the new age
    Welcome to the new age, to the new age


    Another very mixed reaction as the lights go out and the familiar golden shower falls from the heavens meeting with the sparks and in the middle of it is the man they simply call “Enigma” stands in the center of the falling gold, breathing in the smoke his silhouette posing an intimidating presence as he begins to pace down to the ring.


    Lindsay Monahan:From Jacksonville Florida, Weighing tonight at 250 pounds; Enigma!


    The very instant he sees the Cell? He starts to laugh, at first just giggling slightly before turning into a thunderous belly laugh that echoes all around the arena, the mics manages to pick up him gesturing to the SR and rasping “Well, aren't you just beautiful” as he makes his way down up the steps a sick smile on his face as he images the type of pain he can inflict with this new “Toy” as he excitedly takes off his suit jacket as he makes his way to his pod smacking his lips together and running a tongue on his lips already can’t waiting to bust some heads


    I leave behind this sentiment to the man that I'll become.
    Telling him not to be burdened by the things that I have done.
    The longest days and endless nights have become the routine.
    Far beyond frustration. It's the end to all my means.


    Lindsay Monahan:From Rock County, Wisconsin weighing in at 240 pounds accompanied to the ring by his manager Mia Walsh, He is the “Backwoods Badass” Harrison Wake!


    Harrison Wake theme blares across the arena as he makes his way down to the ring in typical “No airs and graces” manner with his manager Mia Walsh trails behind her charge clapping and encouraging him on the biggest night of arguably the dark horse for the steel roulette’s career, Wake stomps his way up the stages pausing to rattling the steel chains and nodding his approval while Mia shouts out some final pieces of advice before she takes her place ringside. Wake enters the chamber shooting MVH and Enigma dirty looks and yelling at to the crowd that this is his match before entering his pod practically shoving down the ref who tries to escort him in. Standing in the cell he takes his jacket off and begins to hype himself up banging his fists against the glass pod as if warming them up


    We are born free
    from the restraints of this society,
    helpless to what is instilled.
    (Yeah)
    To all those who raise us, mold us, and shape us:
    there is a time to separate,
    from this


    The theme hasn’t been heard for at least a month but regardless it gets quite the pop for the billionaire boy of CWA, and after a moment both he and his wife Jenny appear hand in hand on the stage to only a bigger pop, Johnny regards them for a moment nodding his appreciation from under his hood but he doesn’t play to them. No no, he’s too focused on two things: Shocking the world and winning the CWA World Heavyweight Championship and getting his claws on the son of a bitch that stabbed him in the back


    Lindsay Monahan: From Los Angeles California weighing in at 220 pounds accompanied to the ring by his wife Jenny...Johnny Vegas!


    Vegas shows no fear as he comes down the ramp while Jenny seems a little daunted by the sinister cage he arrives at the base of the steps and is about to enter the cage for the first time….but Jenny holds him back momentarily tugging on it and reeling her man in for a last “Good luck kiss” after they release we see her mutter “Go get ‘em, tiger”. Johnny smirks and nods as he roars up the steps and goes into the ring hyping up the crowd and flinging his jacket out of the door before he goes into the last pod jumping up and down looking in great shape and focused on the task at hand. The last chamber of the Steel Roulette has been locked and by process of elimination we know just who is the first two men who would start this match Jonathan McGinnis and Jon Snowmantashi and you better believe the crowd was buzzing at the thought of that, but that was all about to change….
    ….


    “THE PRECEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY INDY CLUB”


    Look, I feel blessed
    Way up I feel blessed, way up I feel blessed
    Straight up


    All eyes focus on the stage as the crowd roar in disapproval for the leader of the Indy Club, Suddenly McGinnis makes his way onto the main stage, decked out in a black leather jacket looking wild-eyed and sticking his tongue out and mouths out constantly to the crowd and making belt motions while he struts down to the ring


    Lindsay Monahan: Introducing the two men that will start the 2016 Steel Roulette match! First, Representing The Indy Club from Montreal, Canada, he weighed in tonight at 207 pounds... he is a former CWA World Heavyweight Champion and the 2015 Ruler Of The Ring “The Last Indy Darling: Jonathan McGinnis


    , McGinnis stops by the entrance to the Steel Roulette. There, he just looked like he was crazy, as he ran his hands through his hair and looked at the Chamber with a crazed look in his eyes before he climbs into the ring and stands in the center of the ring looking up at the dome taking it all in, before he looked around with slight smirk on his face as he goes over everyone in a chamber and taunts them with varying degrees of success. Wake just yells back at him “Your ass is mine tonight boy!” Enigma just cackles madly at the insults and MVH? Well….She seems to have fallen asleep right in her pod, but eventually his head is turned in the direction of Johnny Vegas’s pod where Vegas stands not taking his eyes off of his McGinnis since he arrived in the ring. McGinnis sauntered over to the pod rubbing his mouth and we see him mouth the question “Hows your chin huh?” Johnny rushes forward suddenly towards him in anger but McGinnis just takes off his jacket Then, Mcginnis took his corner and awaited the arrival of the world champion McGinnis didn't take his eyes off of the ramp, as his theme died down and were treated to the sounds of silence as the anticipation builds


    “SNOW-MAN-TASHI”
    SNOW-MAN-TASHI”
    Get out here you son of a bitch….”
    “DANNNNK LALALALA”


    The crowd explodes as without any posing or showboating the massive man mountain known as “Jon Snowmantashi” comes storming down the ramp wearing one of “Unstoppable” brand t-shirt and the coveted world title held in place on his shoulder ignoring the crowd totally his eyes purely focused on the steel Roulette. He didn’t come here to have fun. He’s here to do a job and he just punched in


    Lindsay Monahan: And introducing the final participant, from Tokyo, Japan, he weighed in tonight at 290 pounds...he is the reigning defending CWA World Heavyweight Champion..He Is “Inhuman” Jon Snowmantashi!


    As business-like as ever, he hands the belt to one of the officials before he smashes his hands against the steel steps and made his way into the Chamber and into the ring, as he was met face to face with Jonathan McGinnis, a man he knows all-too-well. As Snowmantashi and McGinest stare at each other, as Snowmantashi’s music died down into the crowd. With that, The referee called for the locking of the cage, as the Steel Roulette was now locked No going back now. Suddenly, the bell rung as the start of this match was now made official. Here we go, Ladies and Gentlemen! The first ever Steel Roulette was about to begin and it will be a great one, there was no doubt about that one, was there? Of course not!


    DING~! DING~! DING~!


    And here we go.Snowmantashi and McGinnis would have their eyes locked onto each other as the bell rang and thousands in attendance were on their feet waiting to see these two men get it on! The camera zooms in on both men and Snowmantashi has the intense look on his face as we can see him staring down at McGinnis as if to say: “You wanted me? You got me buddy” and on the other side? On the other side, we see Jonathan McGinnis with a smirk on his face as both men start walking towards each other and start circling around. Knowing that they both know each other very well, Snowmantashi then stands up straight knowing that McGinnis doesn't want to try to overpower the World Champion, That’ll be more or less like trying to outwrestle a bear he stands in the middle of the ring and just looks at his former friend. McGinnis then stops circling around and stands right in front of Snowmantashi face as these two men are now face to face but as McGinnis backs away a little? SLAP! to the face of the world champion as the fans say "Ooooooh!" Snowmantashi holds his hand on top of his left cheek as he looks at the arrogant McGinnis What happens now? Snowmantashi roars with anger and suddenly rushes McGinnis picking him up grabbing both of his legs and gets a high double leg takedown! As he slams McGinnis to the mat but McGinnis struggles to get up but Snowmantashi wraps his arms around McGinnis' waist and from behind and he tries to take McGinnis back down to the ground! McGinnis struggles and fights to get off rolls over but the world champ just rolls over with him behind and it looks like he is trying to get his back for a Rear Naked Choke but McGinnis is fighting it! As he rolls over and Snowmantashi holds onto his back as McGinnis then grabs and reaches the rope! Snowmantashi lets go knowing there's nothing he can do here as steps back and looks at his savvy foe. McGinnis curses under his breath. Soon both men both lock up and are struggling to get a better hold on one another! McGinnis then grabs Snowmantashi’s arm, twists it and puts in a hammerlock! He knows how to get out of this hold with ease as he tries to grab McGinnis’s head from over his shoulder but McGinnis spins himself and Snowmantashi around and transitions into a standing headlock! And now Snowmantashi is the one trying to break free of this here! McGinnis uses Snowmantashi’s weight and his own to his own advantage as he then does a Flip headlock takedown and takes Snowmantashi down to the mat! With the headlock still intact and now Snowmantashi seems to be struggling here. Snowmantashi then rolls over McGinnis to get a quick pin and while the headlock still intact and the referee immediately starts counting as he’s on the mat!


    ONE!
    TWO!


    But McGinnis uses his weight to break out and still have the headlock intact! Snowmantashi then rolls over to get him and McGinnis on their knees and soon? Both men are back on their feet as Snowmantashi then takes McGinnis’s body and puts it against the ring ropes as he then goes for an Irish whip but McGinnis doesn’t let go and try to take Snowmantashi back down to the mat! The Leader of The Indy Club leader is trying to show that he can school the champ! McGinnis then breaks it and then applies a short leg scissors on Snowmantashi’s left arm! But Snowmantashi sees that opportunity and breaks out that hold and then Snowmantashi wraps his arms around McGinnis back again! As Both men are now on their feet but Snowmantashi starts working now as he grabs on of McGinnis’s arm and hooks it under his! And now Snowmantashi locks in an abdominal stretch out of nowhere! McGinnis moans in pain! Snowmantashi takes his right elbow, the arm that's free and rapidly and repeatedly hammers the ribs as he then let's go! Snowmantashi picks McGinnis up by his tights and McGinnis then puts in a reverse Bear hug! McGinnis uses his elbow to break out though and then hits a HARD knife-edged chop on Snowmantashi! Snowmantashi recoils for a moment then responds with his own open hand chop! And then the two begins to trade blows here! Snowmantashi starts getting the upper hand! Snowmantashi starts hitting right punches after right punches and then he hits a strong European uppercut! And McGinnis’s body hits the ring ropes as Snowmantashi grabs his forearm and throws him to the opposite side of the ring and bends over waiting for him to come back and once he does!? McGinnis’s jumps over Snowmantashi and flips over him resulting in a Sunset flip pin! The referee slides down


    ONE
    TWO!


    Snowmantashi reverses the pinning position to the point where he is now the one getting pinned as Snowmantashi is now on top of him.


    ONE
    TWO!


    McGinnis reverses it back and tries to go the original position but Jon rolls back and gets on his feet! He runs towards Johnny and tries to go for a Lariat but McGinnis quickly grabs the champ and get him in a small package!


    ONE
    TWO!


    And a kickout! Both men roll to their feet as they look at each other, evenly matched and the crowd is loving it. Snowmantashi then charges at McGinnis and then SMASH! he slaps McGinns in the face! And the fans react the same way as the first time then chops Snowmantashi in the chest loud as hell! And he now gets the upper hand and now he irish whips the Champion to the ropes but Snowmantashi comes back and Johnny hits a dropkick RIGHT to the mush Snowmantashi stumbles back a little, McGinnis sensing his moment tries to go for a slam but Snowmantashi slides and grabs McGinnis back and hits a strong German Suplex! But he doesnt let go! He gets up and hits another on McGinnis! And he still doesnt let go! McGinnis then back elbows his head as Snowmantashi lets go then jumps in the air and hits Snowmantashi with a dropkick! It stagger Snowmantashi back! But Snowmantashi comes to his senses and charges at McGinnis and McGinnis hits a powerful clothesline to send him back down! But Jon rolls back up as McGinnis kicks him in the gut, McGinnis then tries to go for a suplex again But Jon breaks out of it and tries to go for a Belly to Belly in the middle of the ring but the sneaky McGinnis hits him with a strong headbutt! And another and Snowmantashi then lets go but transitions it into a irish whip where McGinnis rebounds and comes back and kicks a bent over Snowmantashi in his left shoulder. As he holds himself back he staggered back! But whats this!? The timer in the corner of the television screen pops up as the fans scream along with it! "TEN! NINE! EIGHT! SEVEN! SIX..." McGinnis runs to the ropes again only to rebound once again and then captures Snowmantashi out of nowhere locks in the Belly to Belly position. The World Champion manovers himself to face away from the nearest ropes and he flips McGinnis over his body catapulted to the outside where his back connects with the steel! McGinnis arches his back out and screams in pain! "AAHHHHH!!!" But we can still hear the fans chanting!


    "THREE!
    TWO!
    ONE!"


    And just like that the arena turns dark as the fans are going crazy and a spotlight is seen blicking over each pod randomizing to see who will come out next! It goes on for a good two seconds but a gun shot echos through the arena that serves as a buzzer hits the speakers and we see whos next and the fans go crazy with a bit of a mixed reaction! We see the pod chamber on the opposite side of where Snowmantashi and McGinnis are fighting start to open up and the person inside? MVH! When the door opens, she finally starts to stirl from her slumber her eyes flicking open as she wakes up. Streching herself out clearly having a good cat nap as she stands up and steps out calmly and looks at the carnage on the outside of the ring. There, MVH walks by and tries to get the upper hand, as she delivers a European uppercut to Snowmantashi. Meanwhile, McGinnis was still down on the outside following that devastating Belly-to-Belly from the ring to the steel. MVH hit another European uppercut to Snowmantashi causing to fall onto the steel surrounding the ring. Snowmantashi get back to his feet,leaning against the chains, but MVH quick as a flash runs the ropes from the ring and jumps onto Snowmantashi, nailing a nasty crossbody against the chains!


    Snowmantashi crumbled from the impact as MVH hooked the leg, but only got a two count. Frowning , MVH gets to her feet and stomped on Snowmantashi a few times before turning her attention to McGinnis, who was barely moving. MVH got down and put her forearm into the face of Johnny as he tried to steal a pinfall here and eliminate the Ruler Of The Ring following that nasty belly-to-belly by Snowmantashi. The referee dropped down and made the count, but would it be enough to take out McGinnis?


    ONE
    TWO
    ..


    Of course not! McGinnis rolled his shoulder off the steel just in time. MVH was salivating from the thought of eliminating both of these men here right now. MVH, picking up McGinnis by his hair, to inflict more damage, but McGinnis suddenly pushes away MVH and slapped the girl from Holland across her chest! He yells out "WOOO!" at each shot One chop... two chops! Three chops! Four! Five! MVH's chest is no doubt turning a crimson red, as McGinnis continued to tear apart the chest of MVH. MVH was being punished, as McGinnis whipped goes to Irish Whip MVH, but MVH countered and nailed a Russian Leg Sweep McGinnis' head bounces off the steel MVH, gets to her feet with a smile but she didn't see Snowmantashi behind her! But she does when she turnes around and Snowmantashi hurls MVH into the steel her back bounced off and she grasps her back in pain she walked right into the clutches of Snowmantashi, as he popped his hips and nailed a belly-to-belly suplex from the outside right into the ring! MVH fell over the top rope! Clearly fired up now Snowmantashi entered the ring and the crowd was fired up as he began to circle around MVH begins to beat his chest clearly going to whoop her ass, but before he could get to lay a finger on her he was caught off-guard by Johnny McGinnis, who nails Jon in the back of the head with a forearm! Snowmantashi was forced to stop the offensive slightly stunned following the forearm smash by McGinnis. McGinnis hopped on to the top rope as he stood there, awaiting either MVH or Snowmantashi to turn around. Unfortunately for Jon Snowmantashi, it was him, as soon as he turned around? McGinnis leaped from the top and nailed a crossbody!


    But wait!


    Snowmantashi caught him! Snowmantashi has McGinnis in his grasps! What raw power! Snowmantashi shifts positons and tosses McGinnis across the ring with a devastating T-Bone Suplex! Snowmantashi gets to his feet and circled around McGinnis this time, his eyes full of murderous intent and locked in the Frostbite on McGinnis! The modified sleeper hold was locked in just for a few moments, but McGinnis, being as talented is he struggles and gets out of it and pushed Snowmantashi back off and as Snowmantashi steps back? BAM! BUSAIKU KNEE OUT OF NOWHERE! MVH hit the Busaiku knee on Snowmantashi causing him to crumble to the group as MVH scrabbles to the pin looking to avenge Five Star Attraction


    ONE ..
    TWO ..


    What? What in the World? Jonathan McGinnis broke up the count? Huh?!


    McGinnis interrupted the count, as it was obvious that he wanted to be the one to eliminate Snowmantashi. After all, Snowmantashi and McGinnis have a storied history together and the recent happenings just added fuel to the proverbial fire. To say MVH was angry would be an understatement, as she was beyond furious. MVH pushed McGinnis back asking, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" as McGinnis was heard saying, "I'm gonna' be the one to end him!" as MVH was just not hearing any of it! MVH shoves Johnny back again, but he uses that momentum and comes back with an attempt at a SUPERKICK! But wait, MVH countered! MVH caught the kick and spun McGinnis around and here comes The Regal Pl- No! He pushed MVH off right into the clutches of Snowmantashi! Snowmantashi was up following the knee to the face as Snowmantashi catches MVH and nails her with the HAILSTORM! MVH was down, but she was able to roll out of the ring to recover taking advantage of Snowmantashi and McGinnis’s rivialry Speaking of which Snowmantashi had his attention focused directly on McGinnis. Just like when the match started, McGinnis and Snowmantashi were staring at each other face to face, but their attentions were broken by the sounds of the fans counting along with the countdown. Here comes yet another wrestler in the match! Who would it be? Harrison Wake? Enigma? Or would it be Johnny Vegas? Vegas was praying it’s him. Practically chomping at the bit


    "THREE!
    TWO!
    ONE!"


    The loud gun shot was heard again that serves, as the cameras fixated on the next participant inside the Steel Roulette ! It was Enigma! Enigma exited his pod and entered the ring quickly, as both McGinnis and Snowmantashi stared at him, but the Clown wasn't backing down, giggling wanted every part of the action! Snowmantashi and McGinnis stared at each other as Enigma is still taunting at them as he stood tall in front of them. McGinnis and Snowmantashi slowly nod at each other and then both start waling on Enigma He’s taking these blows like a champ! And then? Then Enigma back tracks and starts to lean on the ring ropes as unpromto reunion of the Suicide Dive Squard comes together they Irish Whip Enigma to the opposite side so he can rebound off the ropes, he runs and comes back and Snowmantashi and McGinnis charge at Enigma so they can do a double clothesline but Enigma runs and ducks under both of their arms and runs to the other side of the ropes! Enigma is fired up as he comes back and he spreads his arms and hit a double clothesline on both men! And Both men fall down to the ground! Enigma then sees MVH get on her feet and he rushes forward and boots her right in the face McGinnis is seen resting on the corner as we can hear the crowd chant as Enigma jumps and his feet land on the second rope! He then starts hitting with constant rights and lefts with punche, until he hops off and McGinnis falls to his knees! Enigma then runs over to Snowmantashi and starts hitting him with right hands! he is clearing house here tonight! He looks at Snowmantashi who is getting up to his feet and he anxiously await as Snowmantashi turns around! And as Snowmantashi does? Enigma boots him in the face too! Snowmantashi stumbles to the ground as Enigma taunts to the fans proud of his work! He turns around and BAM! A thunderous calf kick from MVH who stops all of the clown’s momentum! Enigma rolls over but MVH looks like she’s in the zone tonight, as she starts delivering stiff kicks to the sides and thighs McGinnis is seen getting up on his feet but McGinnis is soon stricken down with a dropkick from MVH! Snowmantashi is seen getting up and MVH is stalking him, Waiting and anxiously awaiting for him to turn around once he does MVH goes for a low dropkick but Snowmantashi ducks it and open hand slaps her in the chest! He does it again and every fan is loving this match up so far! McGinnis and Enigma are seen getting up and they start to brawl with Enigma focusing his attack on McGinnis’s legs, specifically his calves! Hoping to eliminate that superkick McGinnis responds back with a punch to the face! And all four competitors are now brawling with each other! Enigma grabs McGinnis by his head and hits an uppercut to the jaw! He then irish whips McGinnis to the corner! He then charges at McGinnis but he moves out of the way and Enigma’s head hits the empty pod with a dull THUNK and his shoulder hits the steel post. McGinnis shaking his arms out then puts Enigma on top of turnbuckle! Meanwhile MVH and Snowmantashi are having a chop off and MVH starts winning until Snowmantashi then hits a strong headbutt out of nowhere that puts MVH on her knees and Snowmantashi then picks MVH up and slams her down with a Back Suplex! A Viciouis one. Satisfied that MVH is down for the moment he sees McGinnis going for a superplex! Hes in position but Enigma is holding on for dear life Snowmantashi rushes forward jumping onto the rope in a athletic bond in a feat no man he’s size should be capable of doing grabs McGinnis from behind and wraps his arm around McGinnis’s waist and it looks like hes going to go for a German Suplex from the top! But McGinnis is holding on to who is holding on to the corner! Out of nowhere MVH then runs and puts himself under MVH and Snowmantashi! She wants to Powerbomb both men and that would take an amazing show of strength for someone so small. There’s no-Wait...Oh my god she does it?! A powerbomb and German suplex and superplex combination just connects and every one crashes lands! Holy sh*t that was crazy! MVH after no doubt using all her energy to pull that one off crawls herself over to McGinnis and lay her arm around him!


    ONE
    TWO
    Thre-


    NO!


    A kickout! McGinnis kicks out and no one in the building can believe it as he raised his arm at literally two point ninety nine! Snowmantashi is seen rolling around and Enigma seems like he’s out of it with a blank stare in his eyes. It’s clear no bodies home the face paint becoming cracked the same thing as MVH stumbles to her feet with the aid of the ring ropes As McGinnis rolls himself to safety to the outside of the ring! Snowmantashi sees someone charging at him and as his blurry vision becomes clear? He sees that its Michelle looking to kick his head off! But Snowmantashi leaps forward and SPEARS her down and mounts on top of her and starts hitting her with rights and rights and lefts! Snowmantashi gets off as he yells out and lets out a battle cry which the fans love! Enigma somehow clears the cobwebs and goes to hit him from behind but Snowmantashi sends him to outside where McGinnis is at! Snowmantashi looks like he wants to hit another Hailstorm on MVH! He awaits and shouts and stomps around for the girl to get up...he’s so annoyed that he doesn’t seem to notice that MVH had removed the middle turnbuckle... Meanwhile as McGinnis is getting up thanks to the Chamber walls Enigma run to the ring ropes and rebound back maybe looking for that lariat of his but McGinnis hits a back body drop and Enigma’s body collides against the steel chain of the walls! And he crumbles down to the floor! McGinnis crawls to get inside of the ring While MVH is slowly getting to her feet! But Snowmantashi looks like he’s going for an Hailstorm but MVH wiggles out and turns him around! And then? She trips him up and drop toe holes him into the exposed turnbuckle! A move out of desperation and both hit the ground but MVH doesnt seem like she has much energy to cover as Snowmantashi starts to roll around on the mat! All four are out of it! Which is GREAT news for someone as The timer starts to hit and were at the last four seconds


    "FOUR!
    THREE
    TWO!
    ONE!"


    And who would it be? Harrison Wake or Vegas? The light hit one pod,... it was Wakes! The man with the most impressive beard in all CWA enters the match like a banshee, jumping over the top rope and making his presence known. Wake was standing tall over the four that were down, a smile on his face just waiting for someone to get up. That someone, sadly, was Enigma who got up fast and was blasted with a big kick right in the gut. Then, Wake lifted Enigma up and planted him with a devastating backbreaker! Enigma landed hard on the knee of Wake and he drops down and hooks the leg, but Enigma kicked out at two. Wake turns his attention to MVH, who just planted Snowmantashi but before MVH could capitalize, she was caught by a HARD haymaker right to the jaw! MVH fell hard, as Wake now realized that he could pin The World Champion right here. That last hit he took? This has to be it for Jon Snowmantashi! Wake dropped down and hooked the leg of the “Kaiju one” as the referee made the count!


    ONE..
    TWO..
    THR-


    NO! He kicked out at two! The heart of the champ on display here as Wake face turns bitter but he gets up and looks across the ring and sees Jonathan McGinnis , who was getting up gingerly clearly in pain and , slowly but surely; a sick grin appeared on the face of Harrison as he began stalking his prey, while Mia Walsh on the outside encourages him “Ain’t so bad without a crew huh? You ain’t got nowhere to hide now bitch. I told yo’ yo’ ass is mine!” He’s heard to yell out. Once McGinnis gets to his feet Wake went for the kill with his fists, but McGinnis ducks and Wake hits the ropes! Wake spins around and BAM! SUPERKICK OUT OF NOWHERE! McGinnis hit a superkick on Wake, but couldn't do anything as he fell down to the canvas in pain and lack of energy. After all, he's been in since the start of the match. All five men were down as the fans were going absolutely nuts! While Mia Walsh’s jaw drops in horror! McGinnis began to crawl as he put his arm across the chest of Harrison Wake. The referee dropped down and went for the count, but Wake had his foot on the rope the entire time! The referee refused the count, causing Mia to let out a sigh of relief. McGinnis couldn't believe it, and hurls abuse at the ref but knew he couldn't waste time in wanting the pin. McGinnis began to stand up, but he didn't realize Snowmantashi was on his feet. As soon as Snowmantashi -Slightly bleeding now-got up, he was grasped by behind and nailed a German Suplex! The fans were growing with intensity, as they knew what might be coming. Snowmantashi had his hands still grasped with the German, as Snowmantashi got to his feet to hit a second one, but was caught off-guard by Enigma, who came out of nowhere with a lariet! Snowmantashi was knocked down by the attack, and Enigma was the only man standing at this point. He turned his attention to MVH, who was beginning to move -A large bruise already forming on his face where Wake cold cocked her- Enigma had his arm out, signaling the 187x . MVH turned around and Enigma puts his hand around the neck of “The Dreamer” But MVH counters it with a low dropkick! Enigma staggered back right into Snowmantashi, who was pissed off and Snowmantashi grabbed The Clown by his back and tosses him to the outside! Enigma’s body hit hard on the steel as Snowmantashi yelled at Enigma from inside the ring. Snowmantashi turned around and was leveled with a clothesline by McGinnis! Snowmantashi and his old foe go tumbling over the top rope as they land on the outside, joining Enigma on the steel!


    The fans were going nuts at this point and time! Only Harrison and MVH remained in the ring, as they both turned around and met each other at the center of the ring and began to exchange blows in the center of the ring. The fans were just growing more and more loud, as the chants of "THIS IS AWESOME!" all together in unison. MVH and Wake continued, before Wake got the upperhand with a big forearm to the head. MVH hit the ropes but just getting leveled with a clothesline by Wake! MVH hit the canvas hard as Wake began to taunt the crowd, but suddenly, his attention was brought from the girl on the canvas to the last pod, as the fans began to count down the arrival of the last man to enter this match -- Johnny Vegas. The countdown began as the fans began to cheer, Vegas was salivating from his mouth practically pumping himself up and was just ready to enter this match!


    "THREE!
    TWO!
    ONE!"


    Here he comes! Here comes Johnny Vegas! He rushes into the ring FULL of energy and tackles Wake to the ground punching away all that pent up frustration. Meanwhile MVH -Whose on Jelly legs at this point uses the ropes to pull herself on her feet once more. Only to be set back down by a SUPERKICK! Without anyone noticing McGinnis has crept into the ring and despite how long he’s been in this match has seemed to have gone in another gear. Enigma tries to whack him...SUPERKICK! Down goes Enigma. McGinnis notices Snowmantashi beginning to stirl into the ring; SUPERKICK! Snowmantashi falls to his face. Harrison rushes forward trying his luck SUPERKICK! IT’’S SUPERKICK CITY IN THE STEEL ROULETTE! McGinnis stands in the centreof the ring sweat dripping off him he holds the “Too Sweet” symbol to the crowd and mouths “Hail the club Mother fuckers!” Before he senses someone else on there feet. The Last Indy Darling instinctively tries to throw a kick without looking who it is


    ...BUT IT’S CAUGHT….


    BY JOHNNY VEGAS


    Vegas pushes McGinnis’ leg away and takes him down with a clothesline. Vegas beckons the Indy God back to his feet, before taking him down with a second. Staggering, McGinnis fights up a third time, straight into a SUPERKICK! Johnny Vegas roars, the crowd roaring back at him… IT’S PAYBACK TIME AT LAST. Johnny Vegas has waited a long time to get his hands on Jonathan McGinnis and oh is he going to enjoy this


    But Michelle von Horrowitz is back to her feet on the outside.Von Horrowitz springboards from the top rope, going for a cross body, but Vegas catches her with another superkick! Enigma is crawling through the apron, and Johnny Vegas takes him in a front face lock, pulling him forward so his feet are set up on the second rope… DDT! Harrison Wake stumbles into Vegas’ path and gets an enzugiri! Vegas stand alone in the ring…


    … but only for a moment as the World Heavyweight Champion climbs into the ring. The two stand across the ring from each other, the crowd hot with anticipation. Finally, Johnny Vegas charges across the ring, unleashing a series of forearms and European uppercuts on the champion. Snowmantashi stumbles backwards, holding his arms up to shield himself. Vegas is unrelenting, backing the champion up into the corner, forearm after forearm. He backs away, playing up to the crowd… and Snowmantashi charges out of the corner with a big clothesline! But Vegas kips up, and takes the champion down with an enziguri!


    Snowmantashi fights back to his feet, the indomitable mountain standing off with Johnny Vegas once more. Vegas goes for another flurry of forearms… but the champion manhandles him, lifting him up into a fireman’s carry. He seems to be going for the hailstorm… but Vegas fights out of the back, and Snowmantashi turns into a SUPERKICK! The champion falls onto one knee, and Johnny Vegas puts him in a front facelock, hooking the arm.


    Jim Taylor: He can’t be thinking of suplexing Snowmantashi?! That’s over three hundred pounds!


    Tim Coleman: The adrenaline’s rushing through his veins, Jim! For better or for worse!


    Vegas strains as he tries to lift Snowmantashi up. The champion powers out, and eventually lifts Vegas high into the air himself… but no! Johnny Vegas fires back with a knee to the head. Snowmantashi drops him down, and Vegas lifts him up for a suplex! The crowd goes wild as Johnny gets back to his feet, the colossal effort clearly taking its effect on Vegas’ breathing…


    And he turns right into a SUPERKICK from McGinnis! The Indy God falls right into a cover…


    ONE… TWO… TH – NO!


    Johnny Vegas gets a shoulder up, and McGinnis can’t believe it, admonishing the referee. He is too busy to notice that Harrison Wake has come up behind him, and when he turns it’s straight into a Samoan Drop. Wake drags McGinnis up and rocks him into a corner with a series of headbutts. He follows up with a few rough chops and then a hard Irish Whip into the opposite set. McGinnis stumbles into the middle of the ring, and Vegas is up to his feet, standing next to Wake…


    Jim Taylor: STEREO SUPERKICK TO MCGINNIS!


    Vegas and Wake stand united for one moment… but it’s literally one moment, Wake taking Vegas down with a headbutt followed by an STO! He gets up to his feet, and there’s Enigma with an RKO! Enigma goes for a cover on the Backwoods Badass…


    ONE… TWO… NO!


    Enigma lifts Wake up and hurls him over the top rope, Harrison’s back colliding heavily with the steel. Enigma takes Wake by the scruff of the neck and hurls him straight through the glass of one of the pods! He’s not done there, taking Wake by the neck and pulling him into position, nailing a hard pile driver onto the steel!


    Jim Taylor: Looks like Enigma wants to show Harrison Wake a thing or two about toughness!


    Tim Coleman: But he’s forgotten about Jonathan McGinnis, the INDY GOD Throwing himself through the ropes and taking Enigma down with a suicide dive!


    Jim Taylor: Both men are taken out by that!


    Once again, it’s Johnny Vegas and Jon Snowmantashi in the ring, and this time the champion takes the initiative with a pair of knife edge chops. Vegas hits back with some forearms and a European uppercut… but Snowmantashi comes on strong with a series of endless headbutts! Fifteen in all, and Vegas eventually slumps to a seated positive in the corner. Snowmantashi drags him to his feet and takes him over with a T-Bone Suplex…


    … but he turns right into Busaiku Knee Kick from Michelle von Horrowitz! The champion goes down! And she doesn’t seem to be done there, first climbing up to the top turnbuckle… The crowd wills her on, and she goes to the , staring down at Snowmantashi in the middle of the ring…


    Jim Taylor: 450 splash!


    Tim Coleman: No! Snowmantashi rolls out of the way, and MVH crashes and burns!


    She wisely rolls under the bottom rope, leaving Snowmantashi and Vegas alone in the ring again, or she might have been in trouble. Vegas isn’t daunted in the least by the champ as he throws his body into the champ like a rubber ball against a wall, and after showing his dogged determination Snowmantashi stumbles back and Vegas drop kicks him onto the steel outside! Now alone in the ring, Vegas’s eyes travel to where McGinnis is, his eyes narrows in rage. He steps over the rope and it’s heard to say “GET UP YOU SON OF A BITCH!”


    McGinnis tries to crawl away but Vegas grabs him by the hair and HURLS him into the Pod


    where he lands with a THUD and goes limp on impact but Vegas isn’t done, not by a long shot. Shaking his head muttering threats under his breath he forces McGinnis’s body over the top rope and forces the body up STO AND HE TURNS him over in the KOJI CLUTCH! KOJI CLUTCH is LOCKED TIGHTER THAN EVER, Vegas’s crossing his legs and cutting off the air supply straining to with the sheer effort of this submission. McGinnis struggles vaguely but the toil of the match and the time he’s been in the match is starting to go limp….he raises his hand in the air clearly contemplating tapping BOOT TO THE FACE out of no where Harrison Wake comes out of nowhere and causes Vegas to lose his grip and break the submission just as McGinnis looked to be on the rope. Wake leans down and releases a pound and ground of STIFF punches that looks like they knocked Vegas loopy, he gets off and runs the ropes looking for a pointed elbow but Vegasmoves out of the way at the last possible moment causing Wake to bounce off of the mat gripping his arm in pain which Vegas takes advantage by drop kicking him into the corner where he jumps off the rope and buries his boot in the side of Wake’s head with a sickening WHACK causing Wake to fall down in the corner. Loopy.


    Vegas looks around breathing heaviy towards McGinnis feebly stirling on the ground and a idea occurs to him. Vegas drags McGinnis towards the corner to be in the best possible position for whatever he’s planning. He goes to climb the turnbuckle and stands up straight looking for his money shot, but doesn’t pull the trigger. He hesitates for a moment and looks up, and comes to a decision….AND STARTS CLIMBING ON TOP OF THE POD. The Crowd starts buzzing with excitement. He’s looking to end McGinnis’s damn career. He stands up straight looking to hit the money shot 20 feet up in the air,he stands up straight his arms in the air looking for the money shot…….but out of NOWHERE Harrison Wake grabs is leg and TOSSES HIM OFF LEAVING HIM TO FALL TO THE GROUP IN A CRUMPLED HEAP…..Without wasting any time he gets down and goes to the ring quick to hook the leg


    1
    2
    3


    JOHNNY VEGAS HAS BEEN ELIMINATED!


    As the referee finishes the three having been given ample time to recover McGinnis charges over and hits Wake with a boot to the head. The Backwoods Badass goes down, and McGinnis follows up with a couple of stomps. Wake rolls over to the corner and uses the ropes to drag himself to his feet, but McGinnis follows him in with a clothesline. He takes him in a headlock and charges across the wing, slamming Wake face first into the mat with a bulldog.


    Enigma has rolled back into the ring and, as McGinnis gets to his feet, he takes him in position for a rock bottom. The Indy God fights out with a couple of elbows to the head, rocking Enigma backwards. McGinnis charges in for a clothesline but Enigma ducks it, doubles McGinnis over with a boot to the midsection. He hoists him up into position…


    Jim Taylor: Powerbomb out of the ring! The Indy God collides with the steel chains and lands in a heap on the outside!


    Tim Coleman: And Enigma isn’t done there,s he turns his attention to Harrison Wake…


    Wake is back to his knees, but Enigma slams him back down to the mat face-first with a DDT. He’s building up a little bit of momentum now, and he notices Michelle von Horrowitz fighting her way back to her feet on the outside. He climbs out of the ring, watching her use the turnbuckles to fight to a vertical base after her failed 450. He charges at her, going for a spear through one of the pods… no! Michelle von Horrowitz dives out of the way and Enigma goes face first through the glass! ENIGMA IS DEAD. DEAD! MVH looks wide eyed at the clearly KO’ed body of Enigma as the crowd chants “HOLY SHIT” before she takes the time to drag Enigma out and pin him.


    ENIGMA HAS BEEN ELIMINATED!


    Von Horrowitz gets to her feet as Enigma is helped away from the ring, and around her, the three men are all climbing to their feet. The four of them stand in opposite corners, looking across the ring, and all of a sudden a torrent of action breaks loose!


    McGinnis charges over to Snowmantashi, hitting him with a series of stiff kicks, forearms, and European uppercuts, whilst Wake and von Horrowitz trade blows. The Backwoods Badass hits a handful of headbutts, whilst von Horrowitz fires back with kicks to the thighs and calves. Eventually, Wake gets the better of her, taking her down with a massive clothesline, whilst Snowmantashi fires back against McGinnis with two headbutts of his own. He follows up with a belly-to-belly suplex, sending the Indy God flying across the ring.
    The champion stands up but in comes Wake, hitting him with a handful of stiff chops, backing the champion up into a corner. Harrison goes for an Irish whip but Snowmantashi reverses, sending Wake into the opposite turnbuckle. The champion charges across the ring, going for a clothesline, but Harrison dives out of the ring, sending the KAIJU chest-first into the turnbuckles. Wake bounces off the ropes for some momentum, taking Snowmantashi down with a Lou Thesz press, following up with a half-dozen hard right hands.


    Jim Taylor: Wake is building up a head of steam here, taking the champion down with a sudden flourish of offence.


    Tim Coleman: But here comes McGinnis, taking Wake in a headlock to slow down his progress.


    Wake backs him up to the ropes, sending him charging to the opposite set. The Backwoods Badass goes for a clothesline, but McGinnis ducks it, springboards off the opposite set, into a tornado DDT! But he stands up into a dropkick from Michelle von Horrowitz! MVH goes for an ankle lock, but no, McGinnis fights her away and kicks her off. She stumbles towards the ropes and the Indy God charges at her, but Michelle ducks the attempted clothesline and back body drops him over the top rope, onto the steel below! But von Horrowitz has no time to celebrate, Wake charging in and hitting a clothesline over the top rope onto the outside.


    Wake follows the two of them out and concentrates on the Indy God. He picks him up and throws him against the glass of one of the pods, which doesn’t budge an inch, before taking him in a rear waistlock, perhaps going for a German suplex. McGinnis blocks it and hits an elbow to the side of Wake’s head and reverses into a rear waistlock of his own. Von Horrowitz is back up and goes for a clothesline on Wake, but Harrison ducks it and she hits McGinnis instead! McGinnis slumps into a heap and Wake takes von Horrowitz down with a clothesline! But here comes McGinnis again, hitting a pair of forearms on Harrison Wake…


    … AND OUT OF NOWHERE SNOWMANTASHI FLIES OUT OF THE RING! He takes both men down with a massive suicide dive, crushing them against the steel chains!


    All four competitors are down on the steel! All four of them looks like they been in a car accident. This might just be a matter of who can get to their feet first…And that person is von Horrowitz, who moves over to Snowmantashi, dragging him up to his knees. She unleashes a series of violent kicks to his arms and chests, driving him back towards the ring. The champion climbs in to escape them, and von Horrowitz sets herself up, springboards in, and nails a cross-body! Straight into a cover…


    ONE… TWO… - NO!


    Snowmantashi gets a shoulder up. Von Horrowitz retreats across the ring, lining Snowmantashi up as he gets to his feet. She charges in, maybe looking for a Busaiku Knee Kick, but the champ rushes her and takes her into a bear hug. He’s looking for a belly-to-belly, but she fights him off with a trio of elbows, and then drop toe holds him into the same exposed turnbuckle as earlier in the match! She rolls him up with a schoolboy…


    ONE… TWO – NO!


    Snowmantashi kicks out, but she transitions into an ankle lock! Snowmantashi attempts to kick her off, but she stomps on his head and then drops into a grapevine! She wrenches hard at the champion’s ankle…


    But in comes McGinnis, who hits her with a low dropkick, breaking the hold in the process! Leaning against the ropes to hold himself up but and goes for a SUPERKICK. BUT MVH CATCHES IT ANGLE LOCK AGAIN ANKLE LOCK IS LOCKED IN. MVH has the ANkle lock locked in tight on McGinnis and immediately dropped down and grapevines again making sure McGinnis couldn’t go anywhere McGinnis is screaming in pain as MVH was screaming “TAP! TAP OR I’LL BREAK IT” but the strength and will of desperation was oozing out of McGinnis as he crawled ever-so slowly toward the ropes. Finally, after about a minute of being locked in, McGinnis crawled to the ropes and was basically on the outside on the steel but yet MVH doesn’t let go in fact she’s so preoccupied that she doesn’t Snowmantashi get to his feet starts to climb the ropes SNOWFALL ON MICHELLE, CRUSHING HER she goes limp finally letting McGinnis go as Snowmantashi hooked the leg 1. 2. 3!


    MICHELLE VON HORROWITZ HAS BEEN ELIMINATED!


    As Snowmantashi crawls out of the cover, McGinnis comes out of nowhere with a number of forearms and hard right fists to the champion’s skull. The KAIJU does his best to fight out, staggering up to his feet, but McGinnis proceeds to drive his knee into his torso time and time again, backing the champion up into the corner. He hits a trio of knife edge chops and then attempts to Irish whip his across the ring into the opposite sit, but Snowmantashi holds onto his arm and drags him into a clothesline!


    But here comes Wake again, rocking Snowmantashi with a headbutt… The KAIJU returns the favour, and the two begin to trade headbutts in the centre of the ring. They hit half a dozen each, but it’s interrupted by McGinnis, who nails the champion with a superkick! Snowmantashi stumbles towards the corner, and the Indy God goes for another superkick on Wake, but Harrison catches his foot and drags him towards him…


    Jim Taylor: Belly-to-belly suplex over the top rope!


    Tim Coleman: Jonathan McGinnis collides heavily with the steel!


    Snowmantashi is back to his feet, and he charges at Wake, but the Backwoods Badass grabs the top rope and drags it down, the KAIJU flying over the top of it, landing on McGinnis and the steel! Harrison Wake follows them both out, taking McGinnis by the hair and dragging him to his feet. He Irish whips him into a pod, McGinnis bouncing off with a thud, the glass not budging an inch!


    The crowd are chanting ‘ONE MORE TIME’, and Harrison Wake obliges them. He picks McGinnis up to his feet, backs him up as far from the pod as he can, and whips him HARD towards it. McGinnis smacks into the glass, bouncing off again and rolling around on the steel, but the glass is still intact. Harrison Wake goes over to the pod to inspect it, confused as to how it’s in one piece. The crowd are chanting ‘ONE MORE TIME’, but Wake senses that he might need a bit more force. He picks up Snowmantashi, backs him up, and Irish Whips him towards the pod. The big man flies through the glass and the crowd goes wild!


    Harrison Wake picks up McGinnis and throws him back into the ring, following in after him. He backs him into a corner and drives a shoulder into his ribs, forcing him up into a seated position on the top turnbuckle. Wake hits a few hard right hands to the skull of the Indy God, and then follows him up onto the second rope. Wake looks to be going for a superplex, but McGinnis begins to fight out with some stiff fists to the ribs. Eventually, the Indy God creates some separation, and he hits a trio of forearms to Wake’s skull, and then a European uppercut sends Wake crashing into the middle of the ring. McGinnis steadies himself on the top rope…


    But Snowmantashi comes up from behind and pushes him off the top rope! Wake rolls out of the way and McGinnis crashes into the middle of the ring. Snowmantashi begins a slow climb to the top turnbuckle, facing away from McGinnis. He steadies himself and leaps off, going for a moonsault, crashing onto McGinnis’ prone body with full force!


    But Wake senses a chance to eliminate the KAIJU, and before Snowmantashi can go for a cover he’s taken down by a Sit-out Spinebuster! Wake goes for the cover, looking to eliminate the champion…


    ONE... TWO… TH – NO!


    Jim Taylor: Once again McGinnis breaks up the cover!


    Tim Coleman: That might come back to haunt him.


    All three men are spent, sucking in oxygen, fighting their way back to their feet… With a Roar Wake rushes towards McGinnis only to RUN RIGHT INTO A SUPER KICK. Wake staggers drunkenly back right into the wanting arms of Snowmantash who hooks him up. HAILSTORM And Snowmantashi crawls into the cover


    1!
    2!
    3!


    HARRISON WAKE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED!


    Snowmantashi takes his time to move away from Harrison Wake’s beaten body, breathing heavily and needing the ropes to get back to his feet. Across the ring, McGinnis is staggering to a vertical base, and from across the ring he stares down his old foe.


    Jim Taylor: It begins exactly as it ends, Tim! Jonathan McGinnis and Jon Snowmantashi are about to lock horns for the World Heavyweight Championship!


    Tim Coleman: The promised rematch from Wrestle Royale is about to happen! Isaac Richman tried his best to get in the way but Jonathan McGinnis simply would not quit!


    Snowmantashi and McGinnis walk towards each other in the centre of the ring and, after a lengthy stare down, McGinnis hits a stiff forearm to the side of Snowmantashi’s head. The champion returns the favour, the thud of his forearm against the Darling’s skull resonating around the arena. McGinnis comes back with one of his own, harder still than his first. They trade them, back and forth, back and forth, twenty forearms each… twenty-five… thirty! The two men stagger backwards, fighting to remain on their feet… McGinnis hits another forearm… Snowmantashi stumbles, goes to a knee, but stands back up into a MASSIVE forearm… McGinnis stages backwards into the rope, but uses the momentum to come back at the champion with a HUGE forearm! The champion goes to a knee… The challenger throws himself off the ropes, looking to use the momentum for added impact… but Snowmantashi surges forwards, taking McGinnis over with a big lariat, turning the Indy God inside out!


    Snowmantashi takes a moment to adjust his tights and suck in some oxygen before lifting McGinnis up to his feet, backing him up across the ring with a pair of headbutts. He takes him over with a vertical suplex, refusing him a moment’s rest, dragging him up to a vertical base again. Snowmantashi hits another t-bone suplex, sending McGinnis flying across the ring like a rag doll. The champion goes for a cover…


    ONE… TWO… NO!


    McGinnis gets a shoulder up, and Snowmantashi looks to keep up the momentum with a German suplex… The Indy God fights out with a series of elbows, breaking the waistlock and sending Snowmantashi stumbling. McGinnis goes for a superkick, but the champion catches his foot and drags him into a fireman’s carry, perhaps going for a hailstorm. No – McGinnis drives the point of his elbow into Snowmantashi’s head until the champion drops him… SUPERKICK! Snowmantashi stumbles backwards, but he doesn’t go down. McGinnis goes for another superkick, but Snowmantashi catches his foot and hits him with a headbutt, and then a big drop kick! Both men hit the mat, physically exhausted, sucking in air as the match goes past the sixty minute mark…Snow is up and stalks McGinnis, who is groggy and Snow drags him to the corner and unleashes an unholy amount headbutts to McGinnis busting himself open as blood begins to trickle from his forehead. He takes a dazed McGinnis from the corner and hoists him up on his shoulders for Hailstorm, but McGinnis escapes it with several back elbows forcing Snow to drop him and McGinnis drills Snow from behind with a lowblow! Snow drops to his knees and now McGinnis staggers in front of Snow...SUPERKICK! Snow doesn't go down though...ANOTHER SUPERKICK! Snow still remains on his knees but obviously in a daze with his eyes glazed over telling McGinnis to bring it one more time and McGinnis more than happily obliges pointing his finger like a gun at Snow before pulling the trigger...SUPERKICK! The third superkick and Snow drops in a heap and McGinnis drops on top of him hooking the far leg…


    1!
    2!
    3!


    JON SNOWMANTASHI HAS BEEN ELIMINATED! THEREFORE THE WINNER OF THE MATCH & NEW CWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, JONATHAN MCGINNIS!


    Tim Coleman: YES, HE'S DONE IT JIM!


    Jim Taylor: He went through hell to and Snow wouldn't go down until his last breath but we do have a new world champion, and his name is Jonathan McGinnis


    McGinnis is handed his championship and looks at as if it was a small child. He raises it up high for the booing crowd to see before exiting the ring a beaten, broken mess as he's met by the tag team champions The Echo who celebrate with him as they all throw up a 2 sweet and crotch chop the fans on stage as the show comes to a close.

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    Re: Michelle von Horrowitz.

    PROMO HISTORY
    PART IV - “HARRISON and ANZU.”
    April 2016 - June 2016.

    Volume 14: "Deluge".
    (04/20/2016)
    Spoiler:


    vs. Harrison Wake [CWA Adrenaline Rush, April 2016].


    Karasu Resuringusukūru, Tokyo, Japan.
    4th October, 2012.

    She stood beneath the entrance, set back from the main road by a narrow alley and a short flight of steps, thin strands of smoke ascending into the Tokyo air from her tightly-packed cigarette. A few metres away, vibrant advertisements lined tall buildings, shining down upon the streets and giving them an unnatural, electric glow. Her alley, though, was hewn in dull browns and shades of grey, but for the argon-blue light that read ’GYM’ above the door and the handful of colourful A4 sheets that had been fly-posted next to it.

    Amongst them, Michelle noticed the familiar sight of the official poster for her upcoming HPW show at the Nagoya Dome. The small, yellow sheet had followed her everywhere, through Metro stations and libraries and wrestling gyms, to the point where she could describe each pixel of it from memory. The most dominating feature was the figure of Osuushi, a three hundred and fifty pound mountain of a man, all rage and theatrics in his stock photograph. He roared down the lens, fists lifted as if the camera-man was about to pounce, eyes ablaze with a wild wrath. His championship belt – dwarfed by the sheer size of the man – hung proudly on his right shoulder. He was Osuushi, or The Bull, and he was a serious man.

    Across from him stood a twenty-two year old woman, dressed immaculately in almost-entirely black ring gear, pulling her best uninterested pose with arms folded, an affectation of apathy upon her face. Her hair was cut neatly above her shoulders, blonde roots giving way to dyed green ends, the same colour as her bright, piercing eyes. The letters MVH were stitched onto her tight, black shirt in green thread. Beneath the pair, Japanese lettering hyped The Bull vs. Michelle von Horrowitz for the Honshū Puroresu Television Championship. The date was a cruel reminder. She had twelve days and she wasn’t even slightly prepared.

    Michelle flicked her cigarette towards a drain and took one last deep breath of the clean, evening air. Inside, six men waited with the same impatience as the rest of the city.

    Forty minutes passed, during which she’d already rolled around the mat with the brawler and the technician. Now it was the grappler, a giant lug of a man standing at six and a half feet tall. He wore a baggy t-shirt to conceal the mounds of fat and muscle that ran unregimented around his torso, tribal tattoos sketched upon his biceps and hands. His hair was a tangle of sweat and knots, and when they came together the smell of him was like a high impact move all on its own. He staggered forward, lumbering from left foot to right, and the small woman slid through his legs, pushing his hulking form towards the turnbuckles. He grasped the ropes to keep his feet and she was on him in an instant, clubbing the small of his back with her forearm. She rolled him up in a schoolboy and the referee was down in an instant, his palm slapping the mat twice before the big guy drove his shoulder up.

    The brawler had been a similar size but leaner, tight skin wrapped around bulging muscle, quick as a dart but with enough power to make it count when he caught you. He’d knocked the air out of her more than once, his hammer-like fists raining down on her like a storm, cornering her against the turnbuckle and driving knees, elbows, and forearms into her torso. The technician had looked to wear her down. As soon as he’d caught her once he refused to let her go, dragging her down to the mat, tearing and gnawing at her joints, working them loose like an engineer at a machine. And now there was the grappler, throwing her around the ring like a rag doll, clumsy suplexes and stiff power slams painting her back with bruises.

    He came at her again, taking her in a bear hug, squeezing the oxygen out of her lungs with his trunk-like arms. She took the point of her elbow and slammed it against his head, the hold loosening for just enough time for Michelle to throw a forearm into his jaw. The brawler stumbled backwards, a couple of metres of separation forming between them. She roared at him with a Busaiku Knee Kick, the big man crumbling into a heap on the deck. He rolled onto his front and she wrapped up his legs around hers, pulling his chest away from the mat with his arms, before slamming him face-first into it with a curb stomp. The referee counted the three, which incidentally was the number of the big man’s teeth that had spilled onto the canvas.

    She took her seat on the stool they’d set up for her in a corner, her body a chorus of screams and aches. The big man was sliding beneath the bottom rope, his haggard trainer helping him to his place on a bench alongside the other two fallen giants. Iwao Karasu climbed onto the apron next to Michelle, a towel draped over his shoulder, staring beyond her at the three men sucking oxygen the other side of the ring. Iwao had agreed to help ready her for Osuushi, despite his own preparations for a number one contender match at the same show. They’d grown close over the years. Beating the shit out of each other for forty-five minutes every now and then did that for a relationship.

    “These are the best three you have?” she asked, taking a long, laboured pull at the water bottle. She’d expected this to take twice as long.

    “The best three willing to work at this time,” Iwao said, watching his head trainer patch up the three journeymen he’d assembled. Above them, the slender hands on the clock drove on towards midnight. “If you’d only train in the morning like a normal person we could get you some proper competition. These bums won’t prepare you for Osuushi.”

    “Maybe later. These’ll have to do for now,” she said, standing up from her stool and loosening her shoulders for another round. “Get them up, I want to go again.”

    “Maybe you do,” Iwao replied, glancing at her opponents. The brawler was sat on the floor, his back propped up against the wall and his head between his knees. The technician’s tight muscles were being massaged by the aging trainer. The grappler had a large ice pack pressed against his face. “I’m not so sure about them.”

    She had felt more than their body’s bruising beneath her blows. Their pride was hurt too. “They want to go again.”

    ***


    Caledisi Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida, USA.
    17th April, 2016.

    “Last night I dreamt of a family, and a village. These things came to me as I slept, vivid and clear, as real as anything I see now. I would like you to listen carefully. You see, my tulips, these images are not for nothing; they are messages, and they do not lie.”

    The scene is dark, a red glow visible on the horizon, the light a promise of coming sunrise. Michelle von Horrowitz sits upon a beach, feet in the white sand, the sea stretching immeasurably before her. The last, dying efforts of the pale moonlight dance across its surface, stars fading into the blue morning’s sky high above.

    “Beneath the Spring light, the villagers would build their houses and plant their gardens deep within a crevice of a mountain, the Sun shining on their backs as they work. The settlement grows up around them, a living being in its own right, bathing in the morning glow as it rears up under its own weight for the first time. A mother and her daughter watch as their home breathes, and unfolds, and grows, the intricate work of their people building up the city until it reaches out to touch the sky itself. And then comes the deluge.”

    The camera watches on over Michelle’s shoulder, the clear sky unremarkably blue, kissed by the suggestion of sunlight that peers over the horizon. The sea is calm, folding over itself with the rhythms of the tide. The shore stretches towards us, each gentle wave reaching out a few centimetres further than the last, sinking into the dry sand as it relentlessly marches on.

    “The winter arrives, and the villagers retreat into the higher reaches of the mountain. Our young hero watches on from within her mother’s arms, the cruel waves marching into their corner of the world and tearing at the foundations of the city. Their lives had been lonely, their toil long and their burden heavy, but they had been building something. It was their own vision. Their own. But nature has other ideas, and they watch as the water comes to wash the paint from the canvas.

    “After the deluge, the villagers climb down into their canyon once more to survey the damage. They see the destruction not as a setback, but a clean slate. When they start to build again, the old designs are humble and modest in comparison to the glory they have planned now.”

    There are a few other souls on the beach, but it is vast enough and early enough for them to pass by one another like boats in the night. A man walks his dog in the shadow of the southern cliff. A young couple recline on a beach towel a hundred metres upland, a dozen or so empty beer cans discarded around them. They are only interested in themselves, in their morning, their latest sunrise. Michelle felt alone, stranded and insignificant beneath the fading stars.

    “At Retribution, I was pinned by Jon Snowmantashi again. The memory of Five-Star Attraction was already raw, and the KAIJU ripped open the wound in Boston. I am acceptant that, for now, McGinnis and Snowmantashi must be left to finish their battle. Eventually, these wounds will need to be answered for, and I know that I must take this up with the Man-Baby himself, regardless of whether the championship belt sits upon his sweaty, disgusting shoulder. But the deluge has just destroyed weeks of work, and I must go down into the breach to rebuild before I dance in the pale lights with Snowmantashi again.

    “And so, my tulips, the endless march of the CWA travelling circus brings us to Flordia, where I must once more climb into the ring with the Backwoods Badass. You see, Tough Guy Harrison and I have something of a history – he was present for my greatest victory, as well as my first and last defeat. He pinned Elijah Woods during our Triple Threat match, putting him next in line for a High Voltage Championship shot, and just last week he fought on with the Man-Baby and Darling Jonathan after I’d been eliminated. Harrison Wake has watched me fail, twice.”

    A brief pause. The day is beginning to take over, a fresh promise warding off the oppressive night. An early morning breeze rolls in across the sea front, a respite from the dry, humid air that will only get worse with the day. A thin fog hangs out to sea.

    “It’s also true, my tulips, that Harrison was the last to fall during my successful Wrestle Royale effort, but these are now just historical footnotes. People like Elijah Edwards are right to point out that my momentum has stalled since that night. I’ve had just two truly important matches since then, and in both my night was finished by the KAIJU. Winning on Adrenaline Rush each week does not satisfy my hunger. But I’d remind you, whilst this is true of me, Harrison Wake finds himself within a glass house with a useless pile of stones sitting next to him.

    “Whilst I was putting on match-of-the-God-damn-year with Jon Snowmantashi in New York City, Tough Guy Harrison was demoted to the side-lines by Elijah Edwards and Craig Owens, impotent in his attempts to break up Double E’s championship-winning submission. Since then? Whilst I’ve been dealing with The Echo, refusing to let them get in the way of my head of steam, Wake has allowed each of his matches to be disrupted by Darling Jonathan. He couldn’t even get to the opening bell with Shade, and he’s lucky McGinnis saved him a pin-fall loss by getting himself disqualified. But it’s his contest with Dustin Dreamer that reveals most about Tough Guy Harrison. With victory in his sights, he allows rage to cloud his vision, and he chooses to pander to his bloodlust rather than concentrate on the result. These are the actions of a weak, stupid man. They should not be rewarded.”

    Behind her, the city is beginning to wake up, and birds can be heard in the distance beginning their morning song. In the background of the shot, a boat is visible through the fog, sailing past the bay and towards the docks. Buoys slowly bob above the surface, listlessly following the whims of the sea. The day is new. The slate is clean, ready to be drawn upon again.

    “This week, Harrison Wake and I will battle one-on-one for the first time, and I am glad that it is him. He has often been compared to the KAIJU. The similarities are plain for all to see. His heavy strikes are like a beating war drum. His focus is relentless. He is a force of nature in his own right. But he is not Jon Snowmantashi. He is merely like Jon Snowmantashi. He is preparation. Harrison, do not think of yourself as the deluge. You are not the destructive force that wipes clean the work that I have done. You are only the rebuilding, and the day is new.”

    ADRENALINE RUSH - match write-up

    Spoiler:

    Michelle von Horrowitz vs Harrison Wake w/Mia Walsh
    Spoiler:



    w/




    As we return to the arena, “Move Me” by the Ghost Inside sounds out on the PA system and Harrison Wake strides out onto the stage. He surveys the crowd, who are mostly hostile but with a smattering of support here and there, before striding down to the ring with purpose. His usual focus is plain on his face. Mia Walsh follows him, a smile on her face as she claps her client down to the ring.

    Lindsay Monahan: This next content is scheduled for one-fall with a sixty minute time limit. Introducing first, accompanied to the ring by Mia Walsh… wrestling out of Rock County, Wisconsin, he stands at six feet four inches and weighs in tonight at two hundred and forty pounds… The Backwoods Badass… HARRISON WAKE!

    Jim Taylor: Here he comes, Tim, the man who finished second place at this year’s Wrestle Royale and third place in last week’s Steel Roulette match at Retribution.

    Tim Coleman: A man of singular determination, for sure. Harrison Wake has come up just short twice this year, and he’ll be looking to keep that going as he prepares for singles action here tonight.

    Harrison climbs into the ring, Mia following through the second and third rope, and he strides around it in a wide circle. His fists are already clenched. He seems ready.



    His music slowly dies down and is replaced by “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison, Michelle von Horrowitz appearing at the top of the ramp. She looks around the arena at the audience, who are giving her an equally mixed reaction, before staring off at the ceiling for a few seconds. After loosening her wrists and cracking her neck, she strides down towards the ring.

    Lindsay Monahan: And her opponent, from Rotterdam, the Netherlands and wrestling out of New Orleans, Louisiana, she stands at one hundred and seventy centimetres and weighs in tonight at seventy one kilograms… MICHELLE VON HORROWITZ!

    She stops half way down the ramp to look at a sign that reads ‘YOU SUCK’. She shakes her head and grimaces at its simplicity. She rips the sign out of the fan’s hand and tears it in two, handing him the part that says ‘YOU’. She crumples the other half up and throws it at him. Finally, she turns away from the fan and moves to the ring, sliding under the bottom rope and climbing to the second rope to point at the ceiling.

    The referee makes his final checks as the two move to the centre of the ring, Michelle beginning to circle. Wake clearly has no interest in this, watching her circle him from the corners of his eyes. She darts in towards him, going for a collar and elbow tie-up, but he simply drives his knee into her side. Von Horrowitz buckles and hits the mat, and Wake is instantly on her (allowing himself a little chuckle at the simplicity of it all). He crouches over her, driving a fist into her head two or three times before she’s able to get her forearms in front of her face to block it, proceeding to squirm to the ropes and force the break. Wake eventually drags himself away when the referee reaches four.

    Jim Taylor: Harrison Wake with a handful of vicious strikes to start off with. They looked like clenched fists to me, Tim.

    Tim Coleman: Just letting Michelle von Horrowitz know what she’s let herself in for, I’m sure.

    Michelle uses the ropes to climb back to her feet, breathing a little heavier and holding the side of her torso that Wake drove a knee in to. She circles a little more tentatively this time, and when Harrison attempts a high kick to her shoulder with his shin he uses both forearms to push his leg away. Wake goes for a kick to her other side, but she straightens both arms in its path to again block the blow. He attempts the same kick again, but this time she catches her leg and hits a leg whip, sending him onto his back. He’s straight up to his feet quickly, going for a clothesline, but Wake ducks it and rolls him up with a schoolboy.

    ONE… T – NO!
    Wake is up quickly, and the two stand-off, staring at each other from a few yards away. They stand slowly and back into respective corners, beginning their circling once more. Wake offers his hand in a test of strength, but Michelle just kicks him in the side of the leg, following up with a spinning kick to the abdomen and then an enzugiri! Wake stumbles to a knee, von Horrowitz bouncing off the rope and hitting a shining wizard! She’s quick to go for a cover again.

    ONE… TW – NO!

    Jim Taylor: A series of four stiff strikes from Michelle von Horrowitz, but still she only manages to record a one-count.

    Tim Coleman: It’s still very early in this one, Jim, and I’d imagine that it’ll take much more to keep either of these competitors down for three.

    Wake climbs back to his feet using the corner for aid, and – after sucking in a little oxygen – charges over at Horrowitz to attempt a clothesline. She ducks it, and goes for a back-slide roll-up, but Wake is too powerful and she’s unable to pull him over. He manages to get his left arm free, and drags her round into a front facelock. He wrenches at her neck before delivering a clubbing forearm blow to the small of her back, and then hooks her arm around the back of his head, slamming her onto her back with a vertical suplex.

    He drags her straight back to her feet and backs her up into the ring-ropes, throwing her to the other side of the ring with an Irish whip. She bounces back at him, and Wake sends her to the mat with a shoulder block. She rolls away from him and slides under the bottom rope, taking a moment to catch her breath.

    ONE… TWO…
    MVH stares at Wake from outside the ring, her hands on her hips, and she begins to make one circle of the perimeter, never removing her gaze from Harrison.

    … THREE… FOUR…

    Tim Coleman: And this harkens back to what we saw at Five Star Attraction, where von Horrowitz repeatedly escaped to the outside every time Jon Snowmantashi began to gain some momentum.

    … FIVE… SIX….

    Jim Taylor: But that only worked for so long, didn’t it? Eventually Snowmantashi caught her, and a couple of Hailstorms later von Horrowitz had lost.

    … SEVEN… EIGHT…
    Von Horrowitz slides back under the bottom rope and, as soon as she’s made her way to her feet, Wake is charging in at her again. He grabs her by the scruff of the neck and hurls her into the turnbuckles. She hits it hard, bouncing back towards him and into a power slam. Wake again drags her to her feet, rocking her into the ropes with a pair of headbutts and then whipping her towards the opposite set. Upon re-approach, she’s lifted up and slammed down with a Samoan drop! Harrison goes for a cover.

    ONE… TWO… - NO!

    Jim Taylor: It looks like Harrison’s studied the tape, not allowing von Horrowitz to escape him for long enough to get her breath back.

    Tim Coleman: Indeed, Jim! A series of power moves knocked von Horrowitz for six, there!

    Jim Taylor: Was that a cricket metaphor?

    Tim Coleman: I’ve been watching a lot of it on ESPN.com. I… have a lot of spare time.

    Wake grabs von Horrowitz by the scruff of her neck and drags her to her feet, backing her into the ropes with a trio of knife edge chops. He proceeds to grab von Horrowitz’s arms and tie them up between the second and third ropes, the referee instantly admonishing him and starting a count towards five. As he does, Wake hits a half-dozen knife edge chops and a pair of headbutts, backing away once the official reaches four.

    Jim Taylor: Underhanded tactics from Wake, there, using the leverage of the ropes to gain an unfair advantage.

    Tim Coleman: Come on, Jim, are you telling me that Michelle von Horrowitz wouldn’t do exactly the same thing, given the chance?

    Jim Taylor: I imagine you’re correct, Tim, but two wrongs don’t make a right.

    The official gets MVH free, and Wake is on her immediately, pushing her into the ropes before throwing her towards the opposite set. She ducks the attempted clothesline and, as she hits the original ropes, she hooks her arms around the top set to check her own momentum. She drops down to the mat instantly and then rolls under the bottom rope, out of the ring.

    Jim Taylor: Harrison Wake doesn’t look like he intends to let von Horrowitz recover on the outside, following her out of the ring…

    But MVH runs around the ringsteps and slides back in, Wake doing the same but receiving a trio of stomps to the head as he’s on his hands and knees. He rolls onto his back and von Horrowitz crouches over him, hitting a half-dozen hard clenched fists to the side of Wake’s head. He puts his forearms up to block, as MVH did earlier in the match, and squirms away to a seated position in the corner. Von Horrowitz backs up slightly, charging in and hitting a low drop kick to the seated Wake. She takes him by the arms and drags him to his feet, hitting a trio of knife edge chops in the corner before throwing him out of the corner and into the middle of the ring. She climbs to the second rope and hits a double axe handle to the staggering Wake.

    The Backwoods Badass manages to stay on his feet, and MVH throws herself against the ropes, going for a clothesline as she re-approaches. Wake manages to duck it, and von Horrowitz’s pace increases as she bounces off the opposite set. Wake turns as she leaps into the air in an attempted cross-body… but he catches her! He throws her up onto his shoulders in a fireman’s carry…

    Jim Taylor: Did you SEE that strength from Harrison Wake?!

    Tim Coleman: And he slams her down with a brutal Death Valley Driver!

    Jim Taylor: Harrison Wake hooks the leg in the lateral press…

    ONE… TWO… - NO!Wake continues his onslaught, locking in a headlock to the grounded von Horrowitz. She attempts to fight free for about thirty seconds, clawing at his forearm with her hands, but his lock is held in tight. She re-positions her body, fighting around into a kneeling position, wrapping her arms around Wake’s back. With an extertion of effort, she drives him back onto his feet, the headlock still held in. She hits a trio of elbows into his side, backing him into the ropes and trying to push him into the other set…

    … But Wake simply slides onto a knee, dragging von Horrowitz back down onto her front with the headlock still in. She slams the mat with a fist in frustration, before again going to work making her way back to her knees. When she’s managed it, she again wraps her arms around Wake, attempting to drive him up to his feet again. Wake simply arches his back and wrenches the hold each time, making the attempt futile. Von Horrowitz resorts to clubbing at Wake’s side with clenched fists, and then manages to pull Wake into a standing position in a bear-hug. She clubs at his back, and the hold is released, Michelle immediately going into a rear waistlock and pushing Wake towards the ropes, performing a backwards roll whilst holding Wake, rolling him up into a cover…

    ONE… TW – NO!Wake pushes von Horrowitz away and fights to his feet, charging at her and taking her down with an STO…

    … and then he puts his headlock back in! Michelle kicks at the mat, squirming around the ring and eventually managing to hook a leg around the bottom rope. The referee starts his count, Wake eventually releasing the hold. Von Horrowitz immediately slides out of the ring and walks around it, her hands on her hips as Mia Walsh darts out of her way and Harrison Wake watches her from inside the ropes. The referee starts the count-out.

    ONE… TWO…

    Tim Coleman: Harrison Wake seems perfectly happy to slow this one down, and von Horrowitz is hardly in a rush either.

    … THREE… FOUR…

    Jim Taylor: But Wake has had the better of the early going, von Horrowitz has been dropped on her head and he’s been on that neck ever since, and it looks like it’s taking its toll.

    … FIVE… SIX…

    MVH stands behind a ring post, breathing heavily as Wake consults with Walsh across the ring from her. She is indeed favouring her neck, massaging it uncomfortably as she stares at her opponent.

    … SEVEN… EIGHT…

    Michelle slides into the ring, and slowly gets up to her feet. The two again begin to circle the ring, and Wake charges at her, hitting a knee to the side and then putting her in a front facelock. Von Horrowitz drives him across the ring into the ropes, throwing him across it and into the opposite set. She goes for a clothesline but Wake ducks it and, as she turns he rocks her with a headbutt. He follows up with a second, then a third… FOUR! SIX! The crowd are counting along as he continues, von Horrowitz dropping to the mat on the tenth headbutt!

    He continues the onslaught, dragging her to her feet and backing her into the ropes, whipping her across the ring and into the opposite set. He goes for a Lou Thesz press… but MVH has held onto the ropes, and Wake lands on his knees. She charges at him, going for a Shining Wizard, but he ducks underneath her leg and rolls through, taking her in a rear waistlock. He pushes her off the ropes and rolls her up…

    ONE… TWO… - NO!

    She rolls through and back onto her feet, charging at Wake… and straight into a Facebreaker Knee Smash! Von Horrowitz hits the mat and rolls away from her, using the bottom rope to drag herself back towards his feet. But Wake is on her in a flash, dragging her up by her hair and hitting a few rough chops, rocking her towards the turnbuckles. He backs away and charges in with a cornered clothesline, before he takes her over with a snapmare, Michelle landing in a seated position…

    Jim Taylor: And here comes Wake, hitting a series of kicks to von Horrowitz’s back!

    Tim Coleman: Driving the air out of von Horrowitz with those stiff-looking boots!

    He hits a half-dozen in total, and then follows it up by taking a hold of her wrists, stretching her arms either side of her and driving his knee between her shoulders. The referee asks her if she wants to give it up, but she shakes her head, and after thirty seconds she begins to fight her way to her feet, Wake transitioning into a full nelson. He looks like he’s going to go for a Dragon Suplex, but von Horrowitz wraps her leg around his to block it, she proceeds to hit a trio of elbows to his head before working her right arm free, and then taking Wake over with a hip toss. Harrison fights back to his feet, charging in and going for a lariat, she ducks it and doubles him over with a kick to the midsection…

    Jim Taylor: Michelle von Horrowitz bounces herself off the ropes… Running Neckbreaker!

    Tim Coleman: Finally MVH coming back into this one with some offence, and she goes for a cover…

    ONE… T – NO!

    MVH is on Wake again, lifting him up and then slamming him back down with a Russian leg sweep in the centre of the ring. Wake rolls over onto his stomach to stop the cover attempt, so von Horrowitz drives her shin into his ribs a couple of times instead. Wake rolls under the bottom rope and stands up on the apron, von Horrowitz charging over with an attempted shoulder through the middle and top ropes. Wake manages to evade it and then lifts his boot into her abdomen, MVH tangling herself in the ropes in the process. She works herself free, still inside the ring with The Backwoods Badass on the apron. He charges at her, looking for a lariat again, but Michelle ducks it. Harrison turns around into a massive running discuss elbow smash! Wake hits the apron and then rolls onto the outside of the ring!

    Jim Taylor: But is von Horrowitz able to capitalise, here? She simply flops down into the centre of the ring! The effects of this match already beginning to take their toll on her.

    Tim Coleman: This one has been hard-hitting from the offset, Jim, I can’t blame her if it’s beginning to take its toll.

    She rolls onto her knees and uses the ropes to climb up to her feet, on the opposite side of the ring to the stirring Wake. She breathes heavily, trying to regain herself, noting that her opponent is prone. Fortunately, he’s staggering on the outside too, struggling to regain a vertical base. When he’s finally climbed onto the apron, she charges over to the adjacent corner…

    Jim Taylor: Triangle dropkick! Harrison Wake hits the apron and again rolls onto the outside…

    MVH gets back to her feet and charges away from Wake bouncing off the ropes and running towards him, the Backwoods Badass just getting back to his feet….

    Jim Taylor: And now a baseball slide sends Wake back-first into the barricade!

    Von Horrowitz crawls back into the ring and to her feet, charging away from Wake again and bouncing off the ropes once more…

    Jim Taylor: SUICIDE DIVE! Both competitors lie spent on the outside!

    There’s a small ’M-V-H’ chant away in the distance as the two wrestlers suck in oxygen on the outside, von Horrowitz up to her feet first as the referee starts his count.

    ONE… TWO…

    She lifts both her hands up, pointing to the ceiling with a grin on her face. Most of the audience begin to boo, though there is a contingent of support way off in the distance…

    … THREE… FOUR…

    Jim Taylor: And now von Horrowitz continues her attack on Wake, hitting a pair of boots to his ribs as he attempts to get back to his feet.

    Tim Coleman: And now she takes him by the scruff of the neck, dragging him to a vertical base…

    … FIVE… SIX…

    Jim Taylor: And she drives his head against our announcers’ table… And again!

    … SEVEN…

    Tim Coleman: Harrison Wake lays sprawled across our announcer’s table, ladies and gentlemen!

    MVH: This isn’t YOUR announcers’ table, Coleman. This is MY announcers’ table.

    … EIGHT…

    Michelle slides under the bottom rope, into the ring, and then rolls back out of it again, taking Wake by the neck again, and slamming his head against the announcers’ table again as the official begins his count again…

    ONE… TWO…

    Jim Taylor: And Harrison Wake looks in bad shape here, MVH deciding to use the environment to her advantage.

    Tim Coleman: What did I say earlier, Jim? These two are cut from the same cloth. They’ll do anything it takes to win!

    …THREE… FOUR…

    Von Horrowitz drags Wake up and pulls him towards the steel steps. Wake manages a couple of elbows into her side, staggering her a little, but MVH drives an elbow into his back and takes him in a headlock. She drags him to the steps and slams his head into them!

    … FIVE… SIX…

    Von Horrowitz pulls Wake up again, going for an Irish corner towards the ring posted… but, with a huge amount of effort, he manages to reverse it and send MVH head first into the post herself!

    … SEVEN… EIGHT…

    Harrison Wake rolls under the bottom rope and then back out of the ring again to break up the count. Whilst MVH struggles to get to her feet near the ring post, he takes a seat on the top of the steps he was slammed face-first into, breathing heavily and watching his opponent carefully with his hands on his hips…

    … ONE… TWO…

    Jim Taylor: Harrison Wake looks to be weighing up his next steps as Michelle von Horrowitz struggles to get her senses back…

    Tim Coleman: These two have already fought past the twenty minute mark, Jim, and that’ll take it out of any competitor!

    … THREE… FOUR…

    When Von Horrowitz is finally up to her feet, she stumbles towards Wake, who runs to her and hits his Lou Thesz Press, nailing a flurry of right hands to her head as the referee and announcers watch on uselessly…

    … FIVE… SIX…

    Eventually he gets back to his feet, lifting von Horrowitz up and hitting a trio of headbutts, before following up with an STO onto the concrete!

    … SEVEN… EIGHT…

    Wake drags von Horrowitz up by the hair and throws her under the bottom rope, following her in and going for a cover…

    ONE… TWO… - NO!

    Wake puts Von Horrowitz in a grounded bearhug, von Horrowitz struggling to keep her shoulders off the mat as the commentators begin to meander off topic…

    Jim Taylor: And it looks to me, in that exchange, as if neither of these competitors want to win this match via count out. They were interrupting the count and going back to work, forcing the referee to start from one, rather than just wait in the ring for the ten.

    Tim Coleman: I guess there’s a lot of professional pride at stake here, Jim. Jon Snowmantashi is the former world champion, Jim, and will probably be next in line for a World Championship match against the newly crowned champ. These two came in third and fourth in the Steel Roulette match after McGinnis and Snowmantashi. They probably see this match as a massive opportunity to send a message to Richman and the rest of the talent in the CWA locker room.

    Jim Taylor: Sure thing, but I don’t think these two are thinking beyond the end of this match right now, Tim. Harrison Wake is a man of focus, of singular vision as you said at the start of this one, and I don’t think his focus will have wondered too far from simply beating Michelle von Horrowitz here tonight.

    Tim Coleman: Well, you’re probably right, but Mia Walsh will have thought about the ramifications of a victory here, and it will have entered into Wake’s thinking before we kicked things off here tonight, no doubt. A win here is a huge scalp, and I’m sure the CWA World Heavyweight Champion Jonathan McGinnis will be watching this one with interest.

    After about a minute of driving the air out of von Horrowitz with his bear hug, she’s managed to fight her way onto her knees. Wake still has his arms around her, his head beneath her arm as he squeezes her ribs. She drives her elbow into the back of Harrison’s head, and he momentarily loosens the hold for just enough time so that Horrowitz can reverse into a front facelock. She drives a few knees into his abdomen before going for a vertical suplex. Wake is too strong, though, going to one knee so that she can’t lift him… and then he powers her over for a vertical suplex of his own!

    Michelle von Horrowitz struggles to get back to his feet, and Wake stalks her from across the ring, perhaps looking for a superkick… Von Horrowitz turns around… she ducks underneath his feet, and Wake turns into an enziguri! Both competitors hit the mat as the crowd give them a huge round of applause, both of the wrestlers winning them round a little with the level of effort on show in Tampa Bay!

    ONE… TWO…. THREE…

    The referee begins his count towards ten as both wrestlers roll onto their front, crawling to opposite corners and using the ropes to make their way back to their feet. Wake decides to charge over at her, perhaps going for a lariat, but von Horrowitz evades it and hits a drop toe hold onto the second turnbuckle! She rolls Wake up with a school-boy…

    ONE… TWO… - NO!

    Jim Taylor: Wake with a powerful kick out, creating some separation between himself and von Horrowitz.

    Tim Coleman: But MVH charges over and hits a forearm to his head, rocking him towards the corner…. And then a second sends him into the turnbuckles…

    Michelle backs away across the ring and charges at him, hitting a cornered dropkick. Wake stumbles out of the corner and Michelle shows some strength in lifting him up off his feet, placing him into the tree of woe position. She proceeds to his a few kicks to the midsection. She then drives her foot against his throat whilst holding onto the top rope for additional leverage, the referee beginning his count towards five. At four she backs away from him… before charging back and driving her boots against his face with a tree of woe dropkick! Harrison Wake falls out of the corner and into a heap in the middle of the ring, He rolls onto his back, and von Horrowitz notices that he’s in perfect position…

    Jim Taylor: Von Horrowitz is going up to the top rope, perhaps sensing that this one is over! She’s looking for that 450 splash!

    Tim Coleman: But as she climbs, Wake is already stirring, he’s back up to his knees. And now he stumbles over to the corner, slamming an elbow against von Horrowitz’s head…

    Jim Taylor: She teeters on the top rope, and now Wake climbs up onto the second rope with her. He puts her in a front facelock, perhaps looking for a superplex from that second rope…

    Tim Coleman: MVH is wisely fighting out, hitting a pair of forearms to Wake’s ribs, the pair of them precariously positioned on that second rope…

    Jim Taylor: And now Wake releases the front face lock, and MVH hits a big forearm, Wake holding onto the top rope to stop from falling back into the ring… and he fires back with a headbutt… and then a second!

    Tim Coleman: MVH slumps down into a seated position on that top runbuckle, and Wake climbs up onto the TOP rope now! He puts the front face lock in again…

    Jim Taylor: TOP ROPE SUPERPLEX! Michelle von Horrowitz driven into the mat!

    Harrison Wake is a little groggy himself, though, and he struggles to go straight in the cover, instead lying spread-eagled on the mat as the referee begins another double countout…

    ONE… TWO…

    Wake begins to stir, rolling onto his front and lifting his head to see where von Horrowitz is…

    … THREE… FOUR…

    He crawls towards her, draping an arm over her as the referee slides down for the count…

    ONE… TWO… - NO!

    Jim Taylor: And one can’t help but think that, if Wake was able to hook a leg, this one might be over…

    Harrison Wake gets onto his knees, admonishing the referee for a perceived slow count. He gets back up and hits a trio of stomps to MVH, who gets onto her knees and begins to crawl towards a corner. Wake follows up with a kick to her abdomen, and she rolls into a seated position in the corner. Wake grabs the top rope and stomps her torso, before backing away, charging against an opposite set of ropes, and running her boot through her face! She slumps against the turnbuckle, Wake having to drag her back to her feet in the middle of the ring. He hits a pair of headbutts, goes for a superkick…

    Tim Coleman: No! Michelle von Horrowitz manages to catch his foot! She pushes him away, Wake backing away a few yards…

    Jim Taylor: MVH charges at him, looking for that Busaiku Knee Kick… but Harrison dives out of the way!

    Tim Coleman: Michelle stands up, turns around… THROATBUSTER!

    Jim Taylor: Michelle hits the mat hard after that vicious elbow to the throat! Harrison Wake drops into a cover…

    ONE… TWO… T – NO!

    Jim Taylor: Michelle von Horrowitz gets a shoulder up just before three!

    Tim Coleman: Harrison Wake can’t believe it, he’s virtually strangling the referee in frustration!

    Harrison eventually turns away from the official and back towards von Horrowitz, who has managed to roll onto her front and crawl over to the corner. She uses the ropes to drag her way to a vertical base, and the Backwoods Badass prepares for the Sucker Punch – his blow to the back of the head… Michelle seems to sense danger, though, and as Wake approaches she lashes out with a boot to his abdomen, doubling him over. She takes him in a headlock, repeatedly driving her knees into his torso whilst she attempts to regain some stamina. Eventually, she drags him to the corner and hits a rope-run tornado DDT! She goes for the cover, hooking the leg…

    ONE… TWO… - NO!
    Wake kicks out, and von Horrowitz puts a headlock in. She grounds him for a minute, attempting to regain some energy, loosening her neck by rotating the joint. Wake eventually climbs to his knees, and then drives his way to his feet. Von Horrowitz slams her forearm into his back a couple of times, and then applies a front facelock. She attempts to lift him up, perhaps looking for her Psycho Driver finisher… but he’s too big and too strong, dropping down to a knee to block the move. She releases the front facelock and drives each of her knees into his ribs twice, and then a left and right knee to the head! She puts the facelock backs him and, with enormous exertion, lifts him up, his the leg for the Psycho Driver…

    Jim Taylor : NO! Harrison Wake slips out of the back…

    Tim Coleman: SUCKER PUNCH! Michelle von Horrowitz hits the mat hard after that clenched fist to the back of the head!

    Jim Taylor: The Backwoods Badass goes for the cover!

    ONE… TWO… TH - NO!

    Tim Coleman: Again! Michelle von Horrowitz gets a shoulder up at the last possible moment!

    Jim Taylor: This match has just gone past the half hour mark, Tim! Harrison Wake is hardly in great condition himself.

    Frustrated, Harrison Wake goes for another cover immediately after the first…

    ONE.. TW – NO!Harrison slams his fists into the mat, getting to his feet and screaming at the referee, Michelle recovering to crawl onto her front again. Wake is incensed, backing the official all the way into the corner, who points to the CWA logo on his shirt by way of defence. Wake eventually turns away, but right into a flying forearm from von Horrowitz! Michelle attempts to Irish Whip him into the opposite corner, but Wake applies the breaks, sending von Horrowitz back in the direction he’d come from, towards the referee… von Horrowitz lifts her forearms to block a clash of heads with the official, squashing him against the turnbuckle in the process. The referee slumps down onto the mat, lying face-down, and Harrison Wake charges in for a lariat. Von Horrowitz ducks it and Wake turns round into a boot to the mid-section… Double Arm Underhook DDT!

    Jim Taylor: But Michelle von Horrowitz knows that pinning Wake is useless, with the referee down in the corner!

    Tim Coleman: So instead she busies herself in removing the middle cover from the opposite turnbuckle!

    Von Horrowitz waits for Wake to climb back to his feet, before dragging him towards the corner and driving his head into the exposed steel with a drop toe hold! Wake slumps into a heap, a thin line of blood running down from his forehead. MVH walks in a wide circle around the ring, her hands raised high above her in a premature celebration of victory. She then climbs out of the ring, grabbing von Horrowitz by the arm and pulling him towards the steel post, slamming his shoulder against it! She turns her attention to the steel steps, removing the top half of the structure and pulling the larger base into the space between the ring and the announcers’ table.

    Tim Coleman: MVH deciding to re-arrange a little furniture here!

    Jim Taylor: But she has to be careful, the referee is beginning to stir in the ring…

    Von Horrowitz slides into the ring and, in a business-like manner, waits in one corner whilst Wake holds his shoulder in another and the referee climbs to his feet in a third. The official turns around and MVH takes him out again with a Busaiku Knee Kick! She slides back out of the ring and drags Wake out after her by his injured left arm. She pulls him towards the steel steps, climbing up them with Wake in a front face lock…

    Jim Taylor: Oh God no! Von Horrowitz perhaps looking for a Pyscho Driver on the steps…

    Tim Coleman: But she can’t lift him, Jim! Wake goes to a knee to block the move. The effects of this long match are taking their toll on her strength.

    As she did earlier in the match, MVH released the front facelock and goes for a knee to the torso, but this time Wake is able to block it with his forearms. He continues to use his right arm – the good one – to repeatedly forearm her in the abdomen, eventually doubling her over. He climbs to his feet and pulls her into position…

    Jim Taylor: PILEDRIVER! On the steel steps!

    Tim Coleman: Both wrestlers fall down onto the outside here! They’re spent!

    The crowd launch into a ‘HOLY SHIT’ chant as the pair lie in a heap, the referee equally incapacitated in the ring. Wake is the first to stir, eventually crawling over to the ring and rolling under the bottom rope. He lies in the middle of the ring, clutching his shoulder, before he crawls to the corner and uses the ropes to drag himself up to his feet. The referee is also beginning to stir, using his own corner to get a vertical base. The official looks at Wake, breathing heavily but standing in a corner, and then at von Horrowitz, who has just rolled onto her front on the outside. He starts the count…

    ONE… TWO…

    Wake, unhappy at the concept of a count-out victory in this match, turns the referee around and lays him back on the mat with his Throatbuster elbow smash! He proceeds to climb out of the ring and take von Horrowitz – who is beginning to stir and trying to use the announcers’ table to get back up – by the hair and drags her to her feet. He slams her face against the table, Michelle falling back into a seated position on the steel steps that she’d been piledrivered onto. Wake starts to dissemble the announcers’ table, removing the monitors and causing the commentators to scatter…

    Jim Taylor: This one is really deteriorating into a straight-up fight!

    Tim Coleman: Come on, Jim! This one started as a straight-up fight!

    Wake climbs up onto the table and pulls von Horrowitz up after him, dragging her into position for perhaps another piledriver. He hooks his arms around her waist, but von Horrowitz drops down to her knees to block the move. She then throws a few forearms into Wake’s side, works her head loose, and then drives her fists into his abdomen. She stands up and stakes him in double arm underhook position, hitting a half dozen knees to the midsection…

    Jim Taylor: Double arm underhook DDT! Onto the table!

    Tim Coleman: But it doesn’t budge an inch!

    Both wrestlers lie in a heap on the announcer’s table, a chant of ‘ONE MORE TIME’ circling around the audience. Michelle has other ideas, though, eventually climbing off the table and stumbling back to the ring apron. She sucks in a few deep breaths, and then climbs up onto it, entering the ring with a sideways glance at the still KO-ed referee. She ascends the turnbuckles, Wake rolling over onto his back atop the announcers’ table. She steadies herself in the top, the fans on the feet… After a few suspenseful seconds, she flies off the top rope, looking for an elbow drop…

    Tim Coleman: No! Harrison Wake dives out of the way at the last possible second!!

    Jim Taylor: Michelle von Horrowitz crashes and burns through our table! She may be done!

    Neither wrestler seems ready to make their next move, MVH spread-eagled on the remnants of the table, Wake hunched over the steel steps, sucking in air. It takes the Backwoods Badass half a minute to stand up again, stumbling over to von Horrowitz and picking her up by the scruff of the neck. He carries her over to the ring and throws her under the bottom rope before following her in. Somehow, Michelle is crawling away from him, and he shakes his head before lifting her up to her feet. He whips her into the corner, following her in with a hard clothesline. She stumbles out into the middle of the ring…

    Jim Taylor: SUPERKICK!

    Tim Coleman: Harrison Wake goes for the cover!

    Jim Taylor: But the referee is still out on the opposite side of the ring!

    Tim Coleman: Well, it WAS Wake who laid him out…

    Wake gets out of the lateral press and attempts to shake the referee back to life, the official eventually coming to and realising where he is. Wake picks von Horrowitz up and kicks her in the midsection to double her over, lifting her up for a Powerbomb… but von Horrowitz fights out whilst she’s hoisted up, driving the point of her elbow to his head three times, forcing him to drop her… She charges at him and nails her Busaiku Knee Kick! Wake hits the mat and rolls onto his front! MVH takes his arms and wraps up Wake’s legs around her left boot, before using her right boot to curb-stomp Wake into the mat!

    Tim Coleman: Von Horrowitz with an adrenaline rush there, re-gaining the ascendancy with a flourish of offence!

    Jim Taylor: But can she capitalise! She’s sat in the corner and doesn’t look like she can follow up.

    Eventually, and with great effort, von Horrowitz begins to climb up to the top rope. She takes her time in steadying herself on the top, Wake having rolled onto his back, and stares at the ceiling, signalling that this one is over…

    Tim Coleman: You have to question whether this is a good idea! The last time she was up here, she threw herself through our table.

    She leaps off, going for her 450 Splash finisher…

    Jim Taylor: No! Harrison Wake gets his knees up!

    Tim Coleman: MVH rolls across the ring, clutching her ribs in agony… The Backwoods Badass is just about stirring himself, crawling towards a set of turnbuckles…

    Jim Taylor: We’re almost back where we started, Tim, Michelle von Horrowitz and Harrisson Wake in opposite corners of the ring, using the ropes to climb back to their feet.

    Tim Coleman: Both of them look physically drained, Tim. This one started out as a straight-up fight, I said that earlier, but now it’s developed into a war!

    Jim Taylor: And we’ve just passed the forty-five minute mark, Tim! The two of them are on their feet, slumped in their corners and staring a hole into one another.

    Tim Coleman: Wake stumbles towards the middle of the ring, and MVH follows suit, still favouring her ribs from the failed 450 AND her neck after a piledriver on the steel steps… But the Backwoods Badass is loosening the shoulder that was thrown into the steel post, blood still coming from that gash on his forehead from the exposed turnbuckle.

    Jim Taylor: And the Backwoods Badass hits a headbutt, Michelle von Horrowitz stumbling away from him, but then she drives back with a forearm driven right to that gash on Wake’s head..

    Wake staggers, but shakes his head and roars at her, driving the gash against her skull with a vicious headbutt! MVH goes down to one knee, Wake stumbling himself, unable to follow up… But Von Horrowitz throws another forearm at him, again driving him away from her, the two of them breathing in a deep, heavy, laboured pulls… Wake hits one more massive headbutt, MVH stumbling back into a corner, using the ropes to keep her feet and unable to move away from their support. But Harrison has to take a knee, steadying himself before the final push.

    Harrison slowly rises up taking a breath as he does so and goes for knee thrust to Michelle's midsection, but she avoids it as she slips herself underneath looking to take him down with a sunset flip that has Harrison flailing his arms about. Finally she stretches out her right leg far enough to strike him right in the lower back causing him to tumble down into the sunset flip but he rolls back away from her on the opposite end and gingerly rises up to his feet going for what looked like a superkick, Michelle narrowly avoiding contact as she ducks it and catches him with a schoolboy roll-up!

    ONE... TWO... TH - NO!

    Harrison with a kick-out and both rise up as Michelle goes for a superkick this time, but Harrison catches her by the boot and spins her around right into a bridging german suplex!

    ONE... TWO... THR - NO!

    Jim Taylor: Neither competitor willing to stay down!

    Tim Coleman: If they keep it up we'll be here all night, we still have a last man standing main event to get to!

    Both of them lay on the mat breathing heavily, obviously spent with about 10 minutes or so to go within the time limit. Harrison is first to his feet as he stirs and rises up with a slight stagger. He brings up Michelle pushing her to ropes and sending her the opposite direction with an irish whip looking to catch her off the rebound with his Timber Bomb as he snatches her up in position, but she counters in mid-air with an amazing hurricanrana sending Harrison flying across the ring. Michelle takes this time to catch her breath before ascending up top signaling for the end as she leaps off...450 SPLASH! She hits all of it as she hooks the far leg...

    ONE... TWO... THREE!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the match, Michelle von Horrowitz!

    Jim Taylor: I think we may have seen a match of the year candidate...

    Tim Coleman: I hate to say it but I agree with you Jim!

    Michelle has her arm raised as she finds it slightly difficult to remain standing. She bends over catching her breath while Harrison is stirring and rises up as Mia Walsh enters the ring and assists her client to his feet. Harrison glances over at Michelle and gives her a nod as a sign of respect, and Michelle returns the gesture as Harrison takes his leave with Mia.

    Volume 15: "Twenty Four Hours in Orlando". (05/05/2016)
    Spoiler:


    Twenty Four Hours in Orlando.
    vs. Dustin Dreamer [CWA Adrenaline Rush, May 2016].


    The bar rested on her shoulders, the chromed steel cold even through the thick, baggy t-shirt that covered them. A film of sweat was quickly building on her back, pinning the black material to her skin. Once more, she slowly squatted toward the ground, her back straight and her thighs burning. In the corner of her eye she saw three men standing in a huddle, sneaking glances at her, counting the one hundred and twenty kilograms that rested across her shoulders. She cleared her mind of the distraction. The gym was a solitary experience for her, a time for reflection as much as training. She stared only at the wall. She thought only about Harrison Wake.

    Her neck was still stiff, from what seemed to be well over a hundred headbutts and a piledriver on the ring steps. She hadn’t been able to work for three days, and should probably still be taking it easy now, but another match was already on the horizon. The injuries to her back were mostly her own doing rather than Wake’s, the obvious outcome of a botched elbow drop through the announcers’ table. Her arms ached from holding them in front of her face as Wake wailed away at her. Her brain throbbed, memories of forearm smashes and lariats (not to mention the headbutts and the pilderiver) refusing to dissipate. This is what going life and death for fifty minutes with Harrison Wake the week after a Steel Roulette match will do to a person.

    Yet here she was, three more squats to go, sucking in oxygen, her eyes wide open but registering nothing more than a notice pinned up in front of her. Please put weights back after use. Her mind was occupied, playing back the final moments of her match with Wake. The failed elbow drop, the failed 450 Splash. She’d been lucky when Wake nailed her with a superkick, the referee still unconscious thanks to her Busaiku Knee Kick and his Throatbuster. The match was riddled with her mistakes, and she almost felt that a loss would’ve been deserved.

    She hated this sort of training, but for a woman her size it was important to work on strength, and thankfully – as she had no interest in bulk - this type of workout was infrequent. Her ring-style was constructed so that her power was only needed in short bursts, for the odd suplex or the Psycho Driver. These squats were for her Burning Hammer, mostly, though she had found no use for her last resort finisher in the CWA so far. She imagined – or hoped, perhaps knew – that she would find herself in the ring with Wake again, and it was important to be prepared. It had taken everything to beat him on Adrenaline Rush, perhaps she’d finally have to dust off the Hammer again soon.

    Her mind raced back, trying to pinpoint a match that had driven as much life out of her in one fell blow. Osuushi, maybe. When she’d tied it up with The Bull (雄牛) in 2012 at the Nagoya Dome, the three-hundred pound man had run right through her with more than a hundred kicks and what felt like a thousand chops. It was a different sort of match to the one with Wake – shorter and slower, owing to the deliberate tone and pace that The Bull had inflicted on it – but the effects on her muscles had been the same.

    It hadn’t been the one fight in the Nagoya Dome that had aged her in 2002, but rather the weeks surrounding it. There was the ‘FIRST BATTLE (初陣)’ show in Yokohama, during which she’d lost to Toshiro Matsui, the Nagoya opponent of her oldest friend Iwao Karasu. Matsui had liked headbutts, too, wearing them as some sort of self-damaging badge of honour. Iwao was meant to wrestle the Bull that same night, and then the four of them would have a tag team match at the ‘SECOND BATTLE (第二の戦い)’ show in Shizouka. Finally, the road lead to Nagoya and ‘FINAL BATTLE (最後の戦い)’, where she’d find herself alone in the ring with The Bull at last. At least, that’s how it was meant to go.

    When The Bull had walked out in Yokohama, the first of three bouts on the week’s tour, he had no interest in warm-up matches. He bruised five of Iwao’s ribs, cracked three more, and placed a break in his ulna, another in his humerus, and two in his radius with an arm bar. If the big man had wanted to send a message, it had come through loud and clear. If he’d just operated in the heat of the moment – well, that was a message all of its own. Iwao had pulled out of their tag match, obviously, and she’d had to draft Anzu in as a replacement. She still owed her that favour.

    She placed the bar back on its notches, relieving her shoulders of its weight. Closing her eyes, she tried to force the memories of Harrison and The Bull away from her. Now wasn’t the time for reminiscences. She had another match, another opponent; Dustin Dreamer, the number one contender to Lightbringer’s High Voltage Championship. A dangerous man in his own right, having won the Lower-Card-Battle-Royale at Retribution. He was more King of the Foothills than King of the Mountain, but at least the lad had won at the event. That was more than she could claim, at least.

    And through it all, visions of Wake and Dreamer and Osuushi, the large form of John Snowmantashi danced clumsily. The only man to have pinned her in this company, and he’d done it twice. Dustin and Harrison suddenly felt like stops on the tour towards another 最後の戦い.

    ***


    She hadn’t received hostility like this for a while, and as the Orlando crowd – no more than two thousand, for a change – rained down the hatred upon her she felt the whole experience refreshing. It was like being greeted by an old friend.

    You couldn’t blame them, really; she’d just taken six minutes to beat some stalwart from the local shit-stain promotion that used this hall twice a month. He was from the city, working some surfer gimmick that went some way to hide the fact that had a bit of talent buried down deep. He was surprisingly swift when it came to chain wrestling, and two or three times in the early throws she’d found herself in a rear waist lock or hammerlock that she didn’t see coming.

    Class showed through, though, and soon enough the kid was on his back following a Busaiku Knee Kick. She’d dragged him up by his hair and, slender thing that he was, hoisting him up for the Psycho Driver had been relatively straightforward. A four-fifty and a three followed, and then came the boos.

    Michelle collected a microphone from Lindsay Monahan (who had climbed into the ring to begrudgingly announce that the next wrestlers came to you tonight from your Mother’s bedroom) and waited patiently for the Floridian to be rolled out of the ring. Her breathing was a little laboured, owing to a forearm the boy had managed to fit through her guard, reminding her of a deep, tender bruise that Harrison Wake had given her four days prior.

    “Trogs, your disdain is nothing but fuel, these local heroes you offer up to me only a sacrifice that feeds my strength!”

    The hostility was re-doubled. Winding up a house show crowd was one of Michelle’s favourite things to do.

    “You should be grateful, boys and girls, that my travelling circus decided to pass through this city – a city only famous for fascistic animators and hexagonal wrestling rings – and that your lives have been brightened if only for one solitary evening. For I do bring the light, boys and girls, and you have seen that it is good. You see this week in, week out on Adrenaline Rush, where I provide you with classic matches each and every time I climb through those ropes. I elevate weak men like Enigma and The Connors, and when given a warrior like Harrison Wake to work with I serve you match of the god-damned year. This is the revolution that I warned you of. The Deluge. I wanted to lead the CWA into this new dawn as its champion, but – for now at least – this circus must be dragged through the night from beneath.”

    Michelle pauses, realising that she’s been pacing across the ring. As she continues, she wonders towards a corner, taking a seat with her head propped up against the second turnbuckle.

    “But next week, when we pitch our Big Tent in Jacksonville, I am not given a warrior like Harrison Wake, who himself is only a warrior like Jon Snowmantashi. Instead, I am fed a lamb like Dustin Dreamer. Dreamer versus Dreamer, I read somewhere, but these comparisons are only surface level. I have been following the short but tumultuous career of the so-called King of Chaos, my dear trogs, although it must be said his work in the independents is patchy and, if I may be so bold, insignificant. Here, where it matters, he has shown momentary glimpses of skill and a certain talent for violence. But, nine times out of ten, Dustin Dreamer has come up short. He is not a winner. Hurting your opponent means nothing if you can’t pin his shoulders to the mat. Winning is what separates wrestlers from fighters.

    “Pinned by Charles Murphy. A Club-gifted DQ victory over Harrison Wake. Submitted by Lightbringer. A laundry list of almosts and nearlys, getting closer each time but always finger tips away from the mere scent of victory. And then, at Retribution, the Dreamer could stop dreaming, that elusive victory finally handed to him by a quartet of underachievers and novices. I almost hope he does beat Lightbringer for the High Voltage Championship, if only so the Kisai can stop wasting his time with it and join us at the adult’s table.”


    A small ’Dustin Dreamer’ chant begins to build towards the back of the small arena, spawned from nothing more than antipathy towards the woman in the ring. She didn’t perceive it as affinity with the King of Chaos himself, but there was enough disdain for his next opponent to hand him begrudging praise.

    “Now, before I find myself rambling on about inconsequential things like Dustin Dreamer –“ she almost spits out his name in derision. “- I took this microphone and debased myself by speaking to you people for a very important reason. You are all journalists and voyeurs. Many of you are holding phones up in front of your faces as I speak, and the word will get out. I want Harrison Wake, one more time. I don’t care where, and I don’t care when. I don’t care if I need to clear it with Richman. I don’t care if I must go through his puppeteer Mia Walsh. I want Harrison Wake. Any time, any place, any match.

    “I see Dreamer for exactly what he is. A stepping stone. A message waiting to be sent. He has his own path to tread, his own opponent to worry about, but next week he must put all hopes of glory out of his mind. He walks in my shadow! On Adrenaline Rush, my dearest trogs, the King of Chaos will learn to observe order, and to accept his place within it.”

    Dropping the microphone, von Horrowitz climbs out of the ring, the hostility following her up the ramp as Roy Orbison begins to sing.

    ADRENALINE RUSH
    - match write-up
    Spoiler:

    We come back from a commercial break to hear the ending of LIGHTBRINGER’s theme song as the CWA High Voltage champion takes his seat at the commentary desk - putting his title on the top of the table, facing towards the ring.
    Spoiler:



    Jim Taylor: Well it looks like we have a guest here for the next match, it’s the CWA High Voltage Champion, LIGHTBRINGER! Welcome! I’m sure you’ll be keeping an eye on Dustin Dreamer?

    LIGHTBRINGER:
    Thanks for the welcome. I think both people are worth keeping an eye on.

    Before they can talk further, “Johnny’s Revenge” by Crown the Empire begins to play and the crowd let out a chorus of boos as “The King of Chaos” Dustin Dreamer makes his way out onto the stage.

    Tim Coleman: A rising star is Dustin Dreamer! You never know, he might be the next CWA High Voltage champ! He is the number one contender, after all!

    LIGHTBRINGER: I’m sure we’ll find out soon.

    Jim Taylor: Well, you’ve already faced Dreamer before and won – do you think you can do it again?

    LIGHTBRINGER: All I can say that is I’m willing to defend this belt successfully – I will beat anyone who stands in my way. Dreamer did well to get the contendership – we will see if he has stepped up his game against Michelle von Horrowitz.

    Tim Coleman: I think you might be pleasantly surprised!

    The talking is interrupted as Dreamer’s music fades and is replaced by “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison – there is a mixture of boos and cheers in the crowd as Michelle von Horrowitz comes out onto the stage.

    Jim Taylor: Michelle von Horrowitz! Also known as “Dreamer” funnily enough, she has been a standout this year and she looks to continue and build on the momentum created last week from her win against Harrison Wake!

    LIGHTBRINGER:
    It was a great match. Truly, it was a very impressive performance from both of them.

    Tim Coleman: I have to agree, a great spectacle.

    MVH stops at the ramp as a fan appears to be shouting hostilities – she gives him a sarcastic thumbs up as she turns her attention back to the ring – focused on Dreamer. Eventually von Horrowitz gets into the ring and poses on the turnbuckle as Dreamer looks on, ready for the match.

    Jim Taylor: I understand you may already be familiar with Michelle von Horrowitz, too!

    LIGHTBRINGER: Yes, I have seen her wrestle in Japan – she was very good, she would prefer to fight the man and so she developed a bit of a reputation. As you have seen, she can handle herself well.

    Both combatants meet in the middle of the ring as the referee calls for the bell…

    “Dreamer” Michelle von Horrowitz vs “The King of Chaos” Dustin Dreamer


    Jim Taylor: Some eagle eyed fans will notice that Dreamer has been appearing without Athena at his side.

    Tim Coleman: He’s better off that way!

    LIGHTBRINGER: He may benefit from not feeling the extra pressure of having to impress someone – but it’s a tough match.

    Dreamer and MVH start the match off by circling each other cautiously – Dreamer seems like he is waiting on something – and MVH begins to throw some leg kicks to throw him off. After a fourth unanswered kick, Dreamer bull rushes at her and goes for a clothesline but she ducks under, bounces off of the ropes and hits a dropkick to the knees of Dreamer as he turns around. He flips forward and lands on his back and MVH goes for a quick cover but Dreamer powers out of it before the referee can even get down to count. Both of them get back to their feet and the opening plays our once more – MVH goes for stiff leg kicks. Dreamer manages to catch one and drives her forward towards the corner turnbuckle with force, stunning her, he then grabs her and hits a quick suplex out of the corner and he then goes for the quick cover, but again, the ref is not required to count.

    Jim Taylor: It seems both Michelle and Dustin are looking to show each other they’re up for this early on…

    LIGHTBRINGER: You can see that Michelle is targeting the legs. Dreamer is going to have to be aggressive and not let her dictate the match.

    Dreamer doesn’t let von Horrowitz get up as he crashes into her with a quick sliding dropkick to the back – he then lets Michelle get up before bouncing off of the ropes and hitting her with a leaping forearm smash, some in the crowd are impressed by the move but most boo Dreamer as he starts to get an upper hand on the matchup. MVH appears to be slightly stunned on the mat as Dreamer grabs her by the head and starts plastering her with quick headbutts before grabbing her and trying to lock on a sleeper hold…

    Tim Coleman: Dreamer is fired up! He’s doing well so far! I like it!

    The crowd watch in silence as MVH struggles to prevent Dreamer from cinching the submission – the referee watches with a close eye as she slowly starts to fade…

    Jim Taylor: What a win this would be for Dreamer, surely MVH is not done yet!?

    LIGHTBRINGER: It’s impressive that he has this advantage so early.

    An upset looks on the cards as MVH fades completely – but she suddenly springs back to life and manages to battle back to her feet, she launches elbows into Dreamer’s torso before he lets go of the grip… MVH bounces off of the ropes, slides through Dreamer’s legs and then jumps up and hits him with a poisoned frankensteiner! The crowd are into the MVH comeback as she takes a breather and awaits on Dreamer to rise – she runs at him and mows him down with a busaiku knee kick! She then grabs Dreamer and gives him a dragon style curb stomp before going for the cover…1……2…..NO! “The King of Chaos” manages to get the shoulder up just as the referee makes the two count. Von Horrowitz suggests the end is close as she begins to climb to the top rope… but Dreamer rolls out of the way and rolls out onto the apron of the ring before she can get anywhere near ready to launch – the crowd boo Dreamer.

    Tim Coleman: These idiots don’t know what they’re watching! That was a great move!

    Jim Taylor: Dreamer may be feeling a little frustrated…

    LIGHTBRINGER: Yes, wel-

    Before the High Voltage champion can finish speaking on commentary, his attention is taken as Dustin Dreamer shouts at him and taunts him as the crowd continue to boo – the champion seems nonplussed and finishes speaking…

    LIGHTBRINGER: I think he should focus on what’s going on in the ring…

    Dreamer riles the crowd up some more before turning around – MVH bolts towards corner and jumps onto the second rope before vaulting through the air to smack “The King of Chaos” off of the apron with a huge triangle dropkick. He slowly recuperates at the ring side before MVH comes storming back in with a baseball slide that causes him to stumble backwards onto the commentary desk – he comes face to face with the High Voltage title, staring at it a moment before turning around and being met with the body of Michelle von Horrowitz who comes flying through the air with a suicide dive. The fans break into cheers of appreciation for the moves they are seeing.

    Jim Taylor: It seems that the woman they call “Dreamer” has the upper hand on the man named Dreamer!

    Tim Coleman:
    Clearly, he has his eyes on the gold right here! This match means nothing to him!

    LIGHTBRINGER: It might serve him better to refocus.

    Dreamer tries to crawl to a separate area at ringside in order to try and regain his concentration but MVH is first to her feet and follows him there, striking him with kicks to the leg and torso area as he slowly starts to get to his feet, gritting his teeth and fighting through the pain. Eventually, he catches a leg, drives an elbow into it before releasing it and then drops his opponent with a clothesline - MVH gets back to her feet quickly yet with her back turned to Dreamer and receives a german suplex onto the canvas outside of the ring! The crowd react as her head thuds off of the mats, Dreamer pops up with a sickening smile as he jumps back into the ring and allows the referee to count.

    Tim Coleman: Attaboy!

    Jim Taylor: A real vicious streak here from Dreamer, did you hear the impact of MVH's head hitting the ground!?

    "Dreamer" on the outside slowly starts to recover, gripping the apron and using it to help her stand up. The referee almost reaches an eight in his count but he quickly moves out of the way as Dustin Dreamer meets MVH on the apron and starts hitting her with forearms to the midsection as well as some headbutts in order to stun her - he manages to drag her through the ropes and plants her with a rope assisted DDT but he doesn't let go of the headlock and instead cinches up a guillotine choke! The crowd are on edge again as Michelle von Horrowitz finds herself having to battle out of a dire situation.

    Tim Coleman: I think Dustin has shown that he is no slouch in this match! He might be coming for your belt!

    Jim Taylor: He has displayed excellent submission skills so far...

    LIGHTBRINGER:
    I've already been through a submission match, I will be prepared for these moves - but I can't lie, he is doing well.

    MVH thrashes out her legs and desperately tries to get her feet on the ropes as Dreamer pulls on the choke hold - she manages to catch the rope with her foot but Dreamer drags her away and locks the choke in further - the refere keeps a close eye as the crowd starts to raise their volume. With one last almighty push, MVH rolls and forces Dreamer to roll with her and ends up getting to the ropes with Dreamer still latched onto her neck - the referee breaks them up as "The King of Chaos" takes his time in letting the hold go. The crowd are furious though as he doesn't allow Michelle much time to recover as he lands a serious of crushing forearms to the head before whipping her into a corner and closely following her with a huge clothesline - Dreamer lets her stumble forward before picking her up and dropping her with a Death Valley Driver! Dreamer believes he might have won it as he goes for the cover...1....2....NO! Some of the crowd let out cheers as MVH gets the shoulder up!

    Tim Coleman: So close!

    Jim Taylor: A stunning kickout - but Michelle isn't out of the woods yet!

    LIGHTBRINGER: Dreamer is showing a good killer instinct, I can see that he has improved since the last time we met. Interesting.

    A portion of the crowd will von Horrowitz on as she slowly starts to get to her feet - they all shout warnings as Dreamer lurks in the opposite corner, waiting to pounce. The crowd holds its breath as he rushes forward and looks for a spear... but MVH moves out of the way! Dreamer goes flying through the turnbuckles and into the ringpost, almost frozen for a small moment in time as he deals with the immense shoulder pain. He slowly makes his way back to standing before turning around and being taken by surprise as MVH launches a corner shining wizard attack that fully connects! Dreamer is stunned! Von Horrowitz grabs her opponent into a headlock and then runs the ropes and lands her stylish tornado DDT, the crowd get to their feet as she goes for the cover...1....2....NO! Dreamer puts his foot on the rope in order to make the break!

    Jim Taylor: Dreamer is lucky he was close to the ropes!

    Tim Coleman: No, Jim, he's a smart guy, he wasn't going to waste his energy forcing the kickout!

    LIGHTBRINGER: You both could be right... but it looks like the end is near.

    Michelle von Horrowitz signals that the end is near as she looks to climb to the top turnbuckle - Dreamer is out on the canvas as she gets to the top and gets prepared for the 450 splash, she leaps off and spins through the air, the crowd amazed for a split second, - and she misses! Dreamer rolls out of the way and she ends up slamming into the mat! The crowd are surprised that Dreamer still had it in him to move! He manages to make his way to a corner and uses the ropes to help him get back to his feet - he even points at LIGHTBRINGER and taunts him before MVH gets back to her feet. Eventually, Dreamer bursts in and goes for a spear again but MVH reads it and lands another low dropkick onto the knees of Dreamer, propelling him forward. He seems to have a second wind though as he's back to his feet and comes running at MVH who goes for a clothesline attempt but Dreamer ducks, bounces off of the ropes and then takes her down with a spear!

    Tim Coleman:
    GOOD NIGHT MVH!

    Jim Taylor: It finally landed, he got the spear!

    Dreamer drops into the cover and the crowd releases boos as the count is made - 1.....2......NO!! MVH gets the shoulder up! Dreamer looks shocked and doesn't know what to do, he hounds the referee and almost violently insists that it was a three count, he demands faster counting which the crowd boo. However, some faces in the crowd appear worried as Dreamer knows he has to up the ante and he knows he has Michelle at his mercy. He walks over to her with a menacing glare in his eye and begins to lay the boot into her. He is keen to hit her with forearms as he lifts her to her feet - he gives her a quick rake to the eye which the ref shouts at him for... but MVH has no time to deal with it as Dreamer drives a knee into her gut before grabbing her and forcing her head between his legs... the crowd let out boos as Dreamer underhooks the arms...

    Jim Taylor: We all know what's coming...

    Tim Coleman: The end for Michelle von Horrowitz! I can't say i've cared much for her recently!

    Before lifting von Horrowitz up and to her doom, Dreamer casts a look over at LIGHTBRINGER...

    Jim Taylor: It seems that Dustin Dreamer has acknowledged you alot tonight and it appears he is trying to send a message...

    LIGHTBRINGER: Well... I think he should keep focus...

    Dreamer gives a shout along the lines of "You're next!" at LIGHTBRINGER - but his lapse in concentration is punished as MVH fights through the hold, unhooks her arms and tosses him over her shoulders, the fans cheer as Dreamer is taken by surprise! He gets to his feet with his back to MVH and has no time to react as she grabs him and plants him with a Regal-plex into a pin attempt...1.....2...NO! Dreamer gets the shoulders up before sitting up! MVH wastes no time and jumps onto his back, she secures a crossface chickenwing and yanks on it with Dreamer trapped in the middle of the canvas with nowhere to go! The crowd are shouting for a tap as Dreamer struggles furiously with the hold...

    Tim Coleman: He has to fight this!

    It looks like a losing battle as Dreamer thrashes furiously but is powerless as he slowly begins to fade in the middle of the ring, he looks on the verge of going out - the referee goes to check him but MVH lets the hold go, which appears to confuse the fans as Dreamer was on the verge of going out. However their confusion turns to cheers as von Horrowitz grabs her barely conscious opponent and drags him closer to the ropes. She climbs to the top and FINALLY HITS THE 450 SPLASH!! The crowd love it as she goes for the pin attempt...1....2.......3!! Dreamer just doesn't have the energy to kick out as the referee slaps the canvas for a third time and most fans cheer for the victory of Michelle von Horrowitz!

    Winner: "Dreamer" Michelle von Horrowitz


    After the match, MVH slides off of her opponent's body and slowly gets to her feet - the fans are appreciative of the effort she has put forth, they applaud her as she climbs to the top ropes and celebrates. Dustin Dreamer, meanwhile, rolls out of the ring and recuperates against the apron.

    Jim Taylor: A hard fought, deserved win for Michelle von Horrowitz! The momentum continues!

    LIGHTBRINGER: Dreamer broke concentration, he can't do that against me - but this is the level of Michelle... it just takes a small mistake and the match is lost. It's better he finds this out now rather than against me.

    Tim Coleman: I'm just gonna say it, Dreamer has a great chance against you after his performance tonight!

    LIGHTBRINGER: Maybe you're right. Maybe you're not. We'll see

    Volume 16: "Wake Up". (05/20/2016)
    Spoiler:


    MVH vol. 16 – Wake Up.
    vs Harrison Wake and Dustin Dreamer, with LIGHTBRINGER [CWA Adrenaline Rush, May 2016].


    Nagoya, Japan.
    October, 2012.

    The match with Osuushi, or The Bull, was coming toward her with all the subtlety of a double-decker bus. She was a rabbit in the headlights, blinded by the man’s intensity and ferocity. She had watched him tear the great Iwao Karasu - a man who’d taken her to the limit no less than eleven times - limb from limb just two days prior. Osuushi was no less than a beast, without mercy or honour. Usually, that was exactly the sort of man she would relish the idea of dancing with. But now, with eight days between her and her first opportunity at the Honshū Puroresu Television Championship, it was looking more and more unwinnable with each passing hour.

    After the events of ‘FIRST BATTLE (初陣)’, when Iwao’s bones had been cracked and bruised at will by the three hundred and fifty pounder, she’d found herself floundering in search of a replacement for him. Karasu was meant to be her tag partner at ‘SECOND BATTLE (第二の戦い)’, but they could hardly wheel him down to the ring in his hospital bed. She almost regretted her hard-headed, isolated nature, a nature that had won her very few friends in the back. Potential substitutes had slammed doors on her, laughed in her face, or launched into rants about why they wouldn’t tag with her if she was the last woman on earth. The idea of a handicap match against The Bull and Toshiro Matsui – Iwao’s supposed opponent on the night she was to face Osuushi – was not a pleasant one. She’d lost to Matsui a few nights prior, after all, and the memory of his headbutts still stung her brain and her pride.

    All that was left was a fool’s hope. She’d had a partner in the early stages of 2011, when she’d been rising through the ranks and happily latched onto somebody else’s star to help the ascent of her own. They’d only had a few matches as a team, and both of them knew it wasn’t really going anywhere, but Anzu Kurosawa had been there for her before. The only remaining issue was that Anzu was half the world away, wrestling in Mexico or Cuba or some other Latin American stink-hole. Contacting her was the easy part. Convincing her to fly back to her homeland to confront a beast and a lunatic would be more difficult. But Michelle had no other option, if she intended to even make it to ‘FINAL BATTLE (最後の戦い)’.

    When Anzu had picked up the phone, von Horrowitz found herself stumbling through what she’d thought was a carefully planned soliloquy. After exchanging some pleasantries (a social skill she’d never enjoyed or been particularly good at), she’d meandered her way through the events of the last week. Each time she approached the question, she veered away from it again, as if part of her was ashamed that she was asking somebody – anybody for help. She still mistrusted the idea of a teammate, and showing vulnerability had never been something she’d favoured.

    Eventually, Anzu had to cut her off.

    “When do we fight them?” she asked. It was the first thing she’d said in about ten minutes. Michelle smiled to herself, safe in the knowledge that – with the Pacific between them – Anzu wouldn’t know how happy she’d made her.

    I owe you one.”

    ***


    Tokyo, Japan.
    June, 2013.

    She found her seat with difficulty, hidden away as it was in the far reaches of the massive Dome, and scanned the scene. It was like nothing she’d ever seen before. A sea of humanity, to use the old cliché, and it was a stormy one. Thousands upon thousands of people, crammed into every crevice of the arena and alive with activity, all here for the same reason. She’d heard him called ’the greatest Intercontinental Champion in SPJ’s history’, a history that was long and storied and full of great intercontinental Champions. And there he stood, in the middle of the ring with his hands at his side, not an ounce of vulnerability about him.

    She’d heard other things, of course. He came from wealth, and there had always been unfounded rumours that his father was paying for his success. She couldn’t comment on the claim’s veracity until she’d seen him in person, and tonight was the first chance she had to do so. The year had been a busy one. She’d left Honshu Puroresu (HPW) after they’d demanded she give them exclusivity, and when Iwao signed a contract with the island’s goliath promotion she’d turned her back on him, too. She was still wasting her time in Okayama Senshuken Resuringu (OCW), a small-time, regional promotion that she’d once had faith in. Now, looking around at the sheer quantity of souls piled into the building, she realised her faith had been misplaced. OCW would never fill a place like this and – as a direct consequence – neither would she.

    These sorts of thoughts had been plaguing her mind for weeks now. It wasn’t all about winning championships and filling arenas, of course, but visions of insignificance had been draining her drive for most of the year. She was only twenty-three years old, and had beaten some of the biggest and baddest that Japan had to offer, but what was it all for? Her arm, broken four times already in her short career, seared with pain constantly, and she’d begun to forget what muscles felt like without the accompanying aches. It didn’t seem worth it, for a few hundred people in some abandoned warehouse or high school gymnasium. And now, as she surveyed the Tokyo Dome and all its luxury, these feelings were only compounded.

    When the match started, the man they called LIGHTBRINGER was everything she’d been promised. His offense was unparalleled in its versatility. His opponent, some up-and-comer who’d won a contenders’ tournament earlier in the year, couldn’t seem to get into the match. It was more likely that LIGHTBRINGER wouldn’t let him into it. They danced for a few minutes, the Star of Tokyo encouraging chain wrestling and subsequently schooling the young pretender. LIGHTBRINGER seemed to throw him down and drag him up at will, wrenching at each of his joints in turn. And then came the power moves; a fireman’s carry neckbreaker, a tombstone piledriver, and finally a top rope Samoan driver. He was quick, too – aggressively so. His moves were fluid and elegant, his technique flawless. The boy was spent ten minutes into the match. The LIGHTBRINGER lariat had sealed the deal. The cover was academic. This man was for real.

    When the three count was made, the crowd erupted into euphoria. The man himself wanted little of the fanfare. There was something about him that suggested he didn’t do this for the fans. She liked that in a man. ’He’d make a hell of a tag partner’, she thought, in spite of herself. She despised the idea of tag team wrestling. The idea of being reliant of beholden to anyone or anything but herself was repugnant to her. Even when she’d tagged with Anzu, someone she certainly respected and almost even liked, the concessions that had to be made and the compromises that had to be absorbed were too much. She redrafted her initial thought. ’He’d make a hell of an opponent’.

    ***


    Orlando, Florida.
    May, 2016.

    A candy-coloured clown they call the sandman…

    The reaction was mixed, as it often was nowadays. The cheers were as unexpected as they were unappreciated. She hadn’t changed one bit – she still looked upon these people with the same blind hatred as she had the week after Global Collision. But, as she’d told Jon Snowmantashi, the cream rises, even in the eyes of the trogs.

    As Roy began to warble about his dreams, she made her way down the entrance ramp. About half way down, she stopped to survey a sign, a large, bearded man shaking it in front of her face. The childish scrawl read ’MARRY ME, MVH!’ Her eyes drifted slowly from the placard to the man’s hopeful face, and then back to the text, and once more to the trog. Suddenly, and rather unpredictably, she burst out into wild, uncontrollable laughter. She held her gut, her diaphragm expanding and contracting at a tremendous rate. She sank to her knees, raising a hand to point a finger at the man’s unremarkable face, the hope slowly draining away and replaced by embarrassment. Finally, she pulled herself back to her feet, stifled a few remaining chuckles, and ripped the sign away from him. She crumpled it into a tight ball and continued on her way down to the ring, shaking her head as she went.

    After Lindsay Monahan had given her a microphone, she waited patiently for her music to die down and allowed herself a moment to soak in the atmosphere. There were still boos – many boos – but now they had to compete for prominence. She didn’t quite know how to feel about that. Eventually, remembering herself, she lifted the microphone to her mouth to impart her wisdom on the mindless, still throwing the crumpled paper-ball up and catching it in the same hand as she mused.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight is not a special night,” she began. “Tonight, your beloved puppet masters have decided to team me with a man I have no interest in and no affiliation with, against two men that I have already beaten. If I were you, paying so much for your awful seats in this stuffy arena, I’d demand my hard-earned green back. But no, you lap it up like nodding dogs, chanting this is awesome and the like when all you’re getting is recycled garbage. Variations on the same uninspiring theme.”

    The cheers subsided a little, the tide not necessarily turning entirely against her but the derision winning out for the time-being. She paused and she smiled. This was familiar. This was comfortable. She threw the ball of paper up once more, catching it again with a flick of the wrist, allowing herself a sideward glance at the announcers table. She meandered over to the ropes and, somewhat unexpectedly, threw the ball at Tim Coleman’s head. It bounced off his temple, causing him to slap at the air as if defending himself against some invisible attacker.

    “But, I’m not here tonight to talk about the shortcomings of bookers. These are inherent, and do not need further analysis. No, tulips, I’m here tonight to address the matter at hand. I’m here to talk to you about Harrison Wake. Two weeks ago in Florida, Tough Guy Harrison and I put on quite the show. A Match of the Year candidate, they’re calling it, and although such plaudits are nothing in comparison to the sweet scent of victory. We pushed each other to our limits, and – through piledrivers onto steel, missed elbow drops onto wood, and botched 450s onto canvass – when the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, my hand was once again raised. You may have earned my respect, Wake, but that’s all you earned. The spoils were mine.

    “It is my understanding, though, that one defeat is not enough for Tough Guy Harrison. No, the idea of taking a step down in the pecking order is not appealing to our resident Backwoods Badass. And nor should it be – people who accept losing will continue to lose. I expect nothing less from a man so tenacious. So, after another defeat, Wake stood in this very ring, microphone in hand, and confidently challenged me to a rematch at World’s Strongest. I don’t know if Marcus Bennet dropped him on his head enough times to forget what happened the last time, but I fear that the unhinged has finally lost the plot entirely. There will be no redemption, only further disappointment.”

    A small ’BACK-WOODS BAD-ASS’ chant could be heard, but a duelling ’M-V-H’ call rose to meet it. Michelle couldn’t help but think her audience was struggling through the decision as to which wrestler they disliked less.

    “If you want a match, Tough Guy, you’ve got one. But I don’t want any doubt left as to who the better person is. I don’t want to give you any room to negotiate your own position after yet another loss. That’s why my acceptance comes at a condition; two out of three falls. Beating you once is old news. I’m not interested in re-treading the past. When I’ve pinned your shoulders to the mat twice without reply, there’ll be no debate. Cold, hard facts are exactly that, Harrison; cold and hard. But you must confront them regardless.”

    Michelle paused again, realising she’d been pacing, meandering in both thought and action. She forced herself into a stationary position, leant on the top rope and staring directly at the lens. Mockery crept into her town, in spite of the respect that Harrison had earned. It was only her nature.

    “I’ll even give you an out, Wake,” she said, unblinking and unflinching. “After all, when does a sour patch become normality? First runner-up at the Wrestle Royale. An unsuccessful challenge for a secondary title. Second runner-up in the Steel Roulette. On the losing end of a Match of the Year Candidate. You may decide, when I’m done showing you and your partner why I’ve never been pinned on Adrenaline Rush, that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew at World’s Strongest. That’s nothing to worry about, Tough Guy; it takes a big man to recognise his own shortcomings. If, when you’re staring up at these very lights on this very ceiling, you begin to have second thoughts, all you need to do is say the word. I’m sure Captain Klappton would be willing to wrestle you next week, even at such short notice. Now, let’s get this thing over with.”

    After throwing the microphone in the general direction of Monahan, Michelle took up her favoured position in the corner, almost horizontal with her head against the bottom turnbuckle. She waited patiently for Harrison Wake. LIGHTBRINGER didn’t matter. Dustin Dreamer was irrelevant. There was only Harrison Wake and Michelle von Horrowitz.

    ADRENALINE RUSH - ​match write-up
    Spoiler:

    Everyone appears fired up for the match – LIGHTBRINGER selects himself to be the legal man for his team and MVH gets onto the apron, Dreamer absolutely demands that he is the legal man but Harrison Wake backs him off and tells him to get out! Some of the crowd aren’t happy with this.
    Spoiler:



    Jim Taylor: It seems that Harrison Wake wants a piece of LIGHTBRINGER, never mind MVH!

    Tim Coleman: He’s willing to fight anyone, you have to respect that! LIGHTBRINGER is lucky that Harrison is here to prevent Dreamer from beating him down!

    Wake appears to start off by trash talking the High Voltage champion before giving him a shove, LIGHTBRINGER responds with a forearm and they’re off – trading shots until Wake forces him back towards a neutral turnbuckle. The crowd shout as Wake lands a few hard chops in succession that cause LB to stumble forward from the corner – Wake comes forward and looks for a lariat but LB ducks under it and Wake rebounds off of the ropes and is met with a huge dropkick! Wake sits up but is instantly taken back down as LIGHTBRINGER comes roaring in with a sliding European uppercut that only manages to get a one count. Both men get back up and back off slightly from each other but go back at it with exchanging forearms until Wake is the one forced to a neutral turnbuckle this time. LIGHTBRINGER teases huge chops but instead he simply pats Wake’s chest before backing off all the way to MVH and tagging her in – the crowd approve of the mind games!

    Tim Coleman:
    Show off. See that’s why he will lose to Dreamer, he’s too busy trying to please the crowd!

    Jim Taylor: I think you just have a bias problem, Tim! Here comes Michelle - Wake will be up for a fight here!

    The crowd are anticipating a huge brawl here – but every time Harrison tries to get close to MVH, she fires off a stiff leg kick that keeps him at distance. The crowd wince in response as you can hear the thud of each kick – Wake becomes more and more irritated as each kick lands. Eventually he gets fed up and both combatants back up from each other, the crowd want to see a brawl and Harrison taunts MVH, demanding that she ‘fights’ – she obliges as both get ready to run at each other.

    Jim Taylor: Wake isn’t happy that Michelle has taken the tactical route!

    Tim Coleman:
    We’re all here to see a real fight…

    They both rush out, looking to meet head on but MVH dives at the legs of Wake and lands a huge knee chop block that propels him forward. MVH has a smirk on her face as she know she has her opponent outsmarted here and she runs in and delivers a huge shining wizard that knocks Harrison out near the apron. Dreamer hits his partner and the referee notices the tag – he comes bouncing into the ring.

    Tim Coleman: Time for revenge for last week!

    MVH comes for Dreamer but he knocks her down with a forearm – they repeat the sequence before MVH is backed into a corner and Dreamer starts firing off rapid punches followed by chops as MVH starts to absorb a huge amount of punishment – the crowd then boo as Dreamer rakes his thumb into her eye and the referee has to count to four before he backs off. “The King of Chaos” has a couple of words with the referee before he goes back to Michelle who delivers a big kick to the gut that has him recoiling. MVH climbs onto the top turnbuckle and goes for a diving crossbody… but Dreamer catches her! He shows off some incredibly strength as he lifts her up onto his shoulders… he gives a taunt to LIGHTBRINGER in the corner… and then drops her with the Death Valley Driver!

    Jim Taylor: Dustin Dreamer is running the show here!

    Tim Coleman: As he should be!

    He goes for the cover…1..2….NO! LIGHTBRINGER runs into the ring and breaks the pin up – the referee backs him off and the crowd boo as the recovered Wake runs into the ring and stomps on MVH along with Dreamer. They let MVH recover whilst LIGHTBRINGER still argues fruitlessly with the referee… Wake then hits a sickening suckerpunch to the back of the head of MVH which the crowd boo relentlessly… Wake then slithers out of the ring as Dreamer looks to go for a pinfall but MVH places her foot on the rope! The crowd (and her partner) are glad that she had the awareness of mind to be able to put her foot on the rope. Dreamer cuts a frustrated figure as he drags MVH away from the rope and tags Wake back in. The crowd are starting to grow frustrated as Wake stomps on MVH continuously and then places her in a sleeper chokehold on the ground. The referee continues to check on MVH as she appears to be fading - the crowd will her on and LIGHTBRINGER shouts at her furiously to not give up. She starts to get to her feet and elbows Wake in the torso a couple of times before the hold is released. She bounces off of the ropes but is met with a Lou Thesz press and then crushing rights and lefts from Wake that forces the referee to step in - Wake drags the referee to one side and distracts him as Dreamer sticks his foot in between the ropes and presses down on the throat of MVH - much to the crowd's dismay.

    Tim Coleman: Excellent teamwork!

    Jim Taylor: I can't say I'm a fan of it. LIGHTBRINGER and Michelle need to figure something out! We already know that both of them hate the idea of tag teams...

    The next few minutes of the match are spent with Wake mocking MVH and giving her various brutal beatdowns in corners - eventually one in his own team's corner leads to Dreamer being tagged back in, he chokes her in the corner before tagging Wake back in who repeats the same process - they do this in sequence for a few tags until Dreamer is back in. He drags a barely conscious MVH from the corner and goes for the pin but the one nicknamed "Dreamer" is able to show her resilience as she makes a kickout at two. The crowd let a roar of approval and LB slaps his turnbuckle in appreciation and also shouts encouragement at his tag partner. As MVH gets to her knees, Dustin grabs the neck and pulls guard - he has a tight guillotine choke in the center of the ring! He's careful not to blow out his arms as he cranks on it by sitting up and extending his legs - MVH remains calm as the crowd watch with their breath held. She places the hand on the back of Dreamer to prevent him falling backwards and then manages to lift her body out of his guard and into a side control position - Dreamer lets go of the choke as he no longer has the leverage. The crowd clap at the display of grappling chops from MVH as she gets to her feet - she's a bit wobbly but as Dreamer gets to his feet, he is met with a huge busaiku knee kick that wipes him out!

    Jim Taylor: MVH makes the comeback! What a move! Both competitors are down and look like they need the tag!

    Tim Coleman: Harrison Wake is the most dangerous man in this match right now, if he's in, it's over!

    Von Horrowitz slowly slides towards her corner - she's taken a coordinated beating from Wake/Dreamer and it shows! Dreamer is still recovering but he eventually comes to just as MVH makes the tag... he jumps and reaches Wake just in time! LB and Wake enter the ring and charge at each other, LB ducks under and bounces off of the ropes and then takes Wake out with a diving crossbody! They get back up and Wake charges at LB - he gets flapjacked onto the ring ropes and then turns around to be picked up and slammed to the floor. The crowd cheer as LIGHTBRINGER strikes his pose!

    Jim Taylor: I think the end is near!

    Dreamer comes bursting into the ring and clubs the High Voltage champion from behind with a thudding forearm before grabbing him and launching him with a German suplex!

    Tim Coleman: Yeah... for LIGHTBRINGER! Excellent move from Dustin!

    "The King of Chaos" is proud of himself but he turns around only to be met with a missile dropkick from Michelle von Horrowitz that sends him out of the ring - the crowd then get hyped as MVH grabs Wake and hits a double underhook DDT before getting up and bouncing off of the ropes and taking Dreamer out on the outside with a suicide dive! The crowd love it as she removes Dreamer from the equation and leaves only LB and Wake in the ring! LIGHTBRINGER goes for the cover on Wake but he manages to get the shoulder up at 2! LIGHTBRINGER then gets to his feet and tries to signal an end as he grabs Wake into a wristlock and goes for the LIGHTBRINGER LARIAT.... but Wake drills him with a headbutt! The crowd are on the edge of their seats as Wake avoids being put into danger - LIGHTBRINGER is stunned and Wake runs at him as he looks for a Lou Thesz press.... but LB catches him! He hoists him up onto his shoulder and into a fireman's carry - NECKBREAKER! LIGHTBRINGER slides out onto the apron, gets up and hits a Senton Atomico (Slingshot Senton) and goes for the cover...1...2...NO! Wake gets his leg up onto the rope! The fans are disappointed!

    Tim Coleman: Oh sure, when Michelle does it, they like it but when Harrison does it, they hate it! Fickle!

    Jim Taylor:
    I think that's because they want a certain team to win, Tim! Dreamer better look out on the outside, here comes MVH!

    On the outside, the fans are treated to Dreamer being taken out with a running neckbreaker on the canvas which seems to have him wiped out for the time being. LIGHTBRINGER gets to his feet in the ring and climbs to the top turnbuckle - he appears to have a slight argument with MVH as she demands the tag in but he baulks at her... this buys Harrison time as he gets to his feet and joins LIGHTBRINGER up top and they both begin trading shots left and right! Wake looks to have the advantage as he delivers a headbutt that stuns LB - he then taunts MVH... but it's the wrong move as LB grabs him and lifts him onto his shoulders... LANDSLIDE (Samoan Driver) onto the canvas below! The crowd pop huge for the big move, it looks like it could be over now!

    Jim Taylor: He just needs to make the cover! Wait a minute, what is Michelle doing!?

    As LB slowly starts to get to his feet, MVH slaps him and gets the tag! The crowd let out some boos but she doesn't care as she climbs up onto the turnbuckle and points upwards for her signature taunt, some of the fans boo her whilst some cheer as she leaps off and hits the 450 splash! It's surely over - Dreamer recovers on the outside but before he can attempt to get into the ring, LIGHTBRINGER comes flying off of the apron with a dropkick that sends Dreamer backwards and into the barricade as MVH makes the cover! 1...2......3!!!!! "Dreamer" picks up the win for her team! Most of the crowd are happy but some aren't...

    Winners: "Dreamer" Michelle von Horrowitz and "Tokyo Kisai" LIGHTBRINGER


    Jim Taylor: A blatant steal for the victory!

    Tim Coleman: LIGHTBRINGER has a lack of concentration - MVH just had to ensure she could get the job done! We all know LB isn't strong enough to beat Wake or Dreamer anyway!

    On the outside, LIGHTBRINGER simply grabs his belt and looks up with a disapproving glare in his eye. MVH doesn't care much though as she stands on turnbuckle and celebrates her win.

    Volume 17: "Grand Stage". (06/03/2016)
    Spoiler:


    Grand Stage.
    vs Harrison Wake [CWA World's Strongest, May 2016].


    The scene is still. Dewdrops hang from the vibrant, summer leaves. Clouds are tinted grey. A slight breeze rolls through the picture, branches dancing and whistling and creaking. The largest - an old, proud oak - sits alone on top of a gentle hill that dominates the foreground, casting shade over one of the slopes and the eight men that walk through its long grass. Their heads are bowed, their backs sheltered from the peeking sun by the dense mass of wood and leaf.

    Slowly, the camera glides over the scene, until the figures meandering up the hill become clearer. They are dressed in black, hooded cloaks, and their faces are obscured by masks of the same colour. Some represent tragedy, others comedy, but at this point the opposite sides of this duality march together, in time and as one. On their shoulders is a casket without a lid.

    They stomp ever-upwards, the long, untamed blades of grass gently waving in the wind, towards two women stood at the trunk of the oak tree. They too are dressed in mourning black, with veils hiding their faces. One is tall and young, her long, black hair thrown back by the breeze. The other is old, short, and fat, grey hair sitting in tight curls atop her head. Both stand stoic and emotionless. In front of them is the grave.

    When the bearers arrive, they slowly lower the coffin into its pit, thick arms controlling the structure until they no longer have the strength. It falls with a thud. They turn away wordlessly, marching back in the direction that they've come, a solemn danse macabre in the silent, summer light. The two women creep towards the hole, bending over to pick up a handful of dirt. They reach over the gaping earth and allow the soil to fall. They don't speak. They don't cry. They only turn and leave.

    The camera creeps towards the grave, peering into it and blocking the rest of the scene from the viewer. All that is left now are the walls of the hole, brown and cold and unforgiving, and Michelle von Horrowitz staring up at the lens.

    "I wanted to speak to you all about a vision I was afforded in dreams," she begins, her eyes open and unblinking. "But I have done this many times. I fear that my word alone is no longer enough. It is not being taken for what it is worth, and my word is worth everything. So, I thought it might be an idea to show you."

    The camera slowly inches downwards, into the earth, narrowing in on Michelle. Her hands are resting on her abdomen, her fingers interlocked. She looks comfortable. Almost relaxed.

    "These images, of a hill like this one and a tree like this one and a grave like this one, have come to me a number of times in the past week. Ever since Adrenaline Rush, in fact, when I almost single-handedly defeated both Dustin Dreamer and Harrison Wake. The King of Chaos and the Backwoods Badass. But both Kings and Badasses fall to the one, true Dreamer, and the night through which she dances. Almost every evening I have watched the coffin brought up the hill to be placed in the grave, and each night I observed my own eyes staring back at me, open and alive but contained in this hole. These are not empty visions. I understand this better than anyone."

    Still we are meandering down towards the buried, the hard soil creeping past the camera as it silently glides. There is no other movement. The hole a self-contained universe with Michelle von Horrowitz its only inhabitant. Nothing else mattered, nothing else existed, but her and the words that she spoke.

    "This scene does not foreshadow my death, tulips. I am not checking each direction twice before I cross the road, and I still go out in thunderstorms. When Death comes for me I shall greet him like an old friend, but I know that this day is in the distant future. No, tulips; this scene symbolises stagnation. It is the slow rotting of a corpse that relates to me and my mission. When the body is buried, it is fresh, and only the deadness of the eyes lets you know that there is nothing behind them. Over time, the forces of nature erode and devour, until what is left is nothing like the thing that once was."

    She pauses for effect, allowing her audience to find their way through the maze of language she's just laid for them. The edges of her lips curled upwards, a mere suggestion of a smile creeping onto her countenance. She enjoyed picturing the trogs struggling through the CWA.com upload. Fuck them. She wasn't speaking to them. She spoke to Wake, and to Snowmantahi and McGinnis, and to Richman.

    "And like time erodes the integrity and the familiarity of a corpse, my missteps have eroded the integrity of my mission. When I arrived in CWA, I spoke about the company's new dawn, a dawn that I would usher into being. The revolution needs a figurehead, and I had appointed myself as the one to don the white armour and go once more unto the breach. But, alas, each defeat has dragged me closer to the grave. Each failure has subjected me to another squandered month. I cannot drive the train from its rear. Nobody can. The world looks on to McGinnis and Snowmantashi for direction whilst I must prove myself against lesser men. This is stagnation and it cannot be explained or excused.

    “My opponent for the World’s Strongest pay-per-view is a man I would almost say I admire. He and I did go to war three weeks ago, and it took everything I had and then a bit more to finally put him away. My limits were reached, my respect was earned. A rematch with Tough Guy Harrison is the best I could hope for; the most impressive message I could sign my name to at this juncture. We have been evenly matched throughout much of our CWA career, though it’s true that he’s walked these halls longer than me. The final two in the Wrestle Royale, where I emerged triumphant. Third and fourth in the Steel Roulette, where he outlasted me. Our battle on Adrenaline Rush three weeks ago. The question asks itself, the answer needs to be given at World’s Strongest. Who is the better wrestler?”


    She allows herself a stretch of the arms - to suggest that signs of life still yet remained - as the camera glided on regardless. It was as if it were trapping her, almost crushing her. She refocuses on the lens, doing her best to eliminate these fears.

    “But this question comes with caveats, my little tulips. You begin to ask yourselves about the circumstances of these encounters. Third and fourth in the Steel Roulette, behind who? Snowmantashi and McGinnis, of course. The final two in the Wrestle Royale, but only after Snowmantashi and McGinnis had beaten the shit out of each other for the World Championship. A match of the god damn year candidate on Adrenaline Rush, but the episode doesn’t end with Michelle von Horrowitz standing tall over Harrison Wake. No, it ends with Darling Jonathan and the Man-Baby making eyes at each other. Let’s face it, Harrison; we play third and fourth fiddle in a band of two.

    “The opportunity that comes with this is obvious for all to see, I trust. Jon and Jonathan cannot dance forever, one would have to assume, and soon enough another challenger must emerge. We enter the coliseum this Sunday, not so much as enemies, but rather as rivals. Claims must be staked, Harrison, and at World’s Strongest I intend to make mine at your expense. I am aware, of course, that your answer to this almost writes itself. Even you must see it, Tough Guy, and if you don’t I’m sure that Mia does. It’s true that I’ve lost at every single pay-per-view that I’ve fought at. Five-Star Attraction, Retribution, even Wrestle Royale, though the phoenix did rise later that night. Nobody is more consistent than me week in, week out, but I’ve yet to prove I can win the big one.”


    She expected Harrison to throw this in her face because it had been so a number of times before. As far back as in France, working at some two-bit Marseille promotion, she'd managed a single championship reign totalling eleven nights. She'd earned an opportunity at the promotion's top prize, nothing more than a regional heavyweight belt, after a handful of weeks tearing her way up the card. The man she was due to face, Le Bourreau, no-showed the event and she was handed the title by default. Less than two weeks later, the former champion had decided to show for his rematch and she'd choked, crashing and burning from the top with an attempted 450 before offering herself up to his Death Valley Driver finisher. The pain of being dropped on her head was nothing compared to the pain of being a champion without a single defence.

    The accusations - that she would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when it really mattered - had hounded her from Europe to Japan. It had come to a head in Nagoya in October of 2012, the night she was due to face Osuushi, or The Bull. She had peeked at the arena during the opening bout, a sea of people rocking back and forth like the tide. They were intimidating in their quantity alone. She had vowed that day to never again look before it was time. No good could come of it. The people were there for many reasons, but for the first time in her career she was the main attraction. The call had been sent down with a runner mere minutes before the show began. They were to go on last. The weight of expectation hung heavily on her shoulders.

    The people were only so interested because of the build, and she had contributed very little to that. They had come to watch the latest matador stand in the way of The Bull. His tear through Honshu Puroresu (HPW) had reached almost legendary status. He was unbeaten since entering the company, a total of eight months, and he'd beaten forty six different men in that time. Eleven by knockout. The advertisements had taken the narrative up of a beast that no man could defeat, so a woman had been offered up instead. The Bull's manager had dredged up memories of Marseille, and similar crushing defeats in Berlin and London, and judged Michelle - among innumerable, unrepeatable things - a secondary player. It had stung, but the onus was upon her to correct him.

    Within the grave, the camera finally reaches its destination. The shot is taken up by Michelle von Horrowitz’s profile, unblinking and solemn. The brightness of her green eyes offset her ghostly pale skin, staring at the lens with clarity and intent.

    “It all changes tonight, Harrison. A two out of three falls match favours conditioning and technical prowess, two things I proved I have over you in Jacksonville. You can huff and you can puff but you can’t blow the house down, and if it takes an hour again then it takes an hour. I have all night. This stagnation must be stayed, a message must be sent, the ceiling must be smashed. Regardless of respect, even admiration, Harrison, these things can only come to me if they are denied to you. There is no luck that can be wished to you on Sunday, no glory waits in Miami. It has already been decided.”

    When she walked out beneath the lights in Nagoya, the audience ceased to exist as individuals. They had become one, all sound produced combining into a ball of energy and adrenaline that seeped into Michelle. She must have walked down the ramp, but she couldn't remember doing so. When she climbed through the ropes, thirty thousand people screaming for the opening bell, it had seemed like she'd always been standing within its ropes.

    The Bull lumbered to the ring more slowly, but with an intensity that she couldn't place and had no hope of describing. He wore black trunks and black boots, fat rolling over stubborn patches of muscle, and his eyes were alive. There was no malice in him, save that felt towards a thoughtless animal that rips into its prey. He was only what he could be, what nature had made him. As he rolled into the ring and got to his feet, eyes only for Michelle, the ominous nature of the event's name became more real. The ‘FINAL BATTLE (最後の戦い)’ was here.

    The match had started in the way she had hoped. He was quick for a man his size, as Iwao - her oldest friend in the industry who found himself on the shelf thanks to his tussle with Osuushi at ‘FIRST BATTLE (初陣)’ in Yokohama - had warned her, but she was quicker. She danced around him, retreating to the outside at any opportunity, giving him reasons to be frustrated. She thought that eventually her superior conditioning would begin to show, and then she could tear him apart. But she needed to be patient, and careful; one or two power moves from The Bull and it was all over. She limited him to a few scoop slams here and there, and a vertical suplex at the twenty minute mark drove the air out of her, but for the most part she was evasive. When he tried to throw her up into a fireman's carry she would slip out the back after a pair of hard elbows (with a loaded pad) and return to the leg.

    Weakening the base had been her staple for years, especially when she'd haphazardly come across someone with skill in the ring in Europe or Asia. It had brought down dozens of huge men. But The Bull was carved out of granite, and she kicked herself stupid against his sturdy base. He kept on coming at her, stubborn and brainless as an ox, and sooner or later he'd hit something big. She decided it was time to go all in - that he was as weak as he'd ever be - and floored him with two Busaiku knee kicks and a drop toe hold into the exposed turnbuckle. It was enough to keep any normal man down. But her 450 had missed, the big man rolling out of the way at an impossibly late instant. She had fought to her feet, only to be thrown back down with a power bomb. She could just about remember the second, but she left the scene before the third and fourth.

    Le Bourreau in Marseille and Osuushi in Nagoya had played on her mind for months afterwards, and the thought that the same thing was happening in the CWA had not escaped her. It wasn’t just important that she beat Harrison Wake. It was essential. The integrity of the remains depended upon it.

    WORLD'S STRONGEST - Match write-up.
    Spoiler:


    2 out of 3 falls grudge match

    Harrison Wake vs. Michelle von Horrowitz


    The camera pans across the audience as we return to the arena, quickly sweeping past signs that read ”KISAI OF MY HEART”, ”KAIJU REIGNS SUPREME”, and ”Y U FORSAKE US CYRUS?” and a surprising amount of Hail the Club t-shirts. It settles on the stage, just as Roy Orbison’s In Dreams sounds out on the PA system. Michelle von Horrowitz is brought out onto the stage, raised high on a make-shift bed by eight muscular, tanned men in small, black underpants. A mixed reaction emanates from the fans.

    Lindsay Monahan: “Ladies and gentlemen, this next contest is scheduled for two out of three falls, with a sixty minute time limit. Introducing first, from Rotterdam, the Netherlands and wrestling out of New Orleans, Louisiana… she weighs in tonight at one hundred and fifty six pounds… ’Dreamer’… Michelle von Horrowitz!”

    There are many boos, but an ’M-V-H’ chant is fighting for prominence amongst them. The wrestler remains silent and motionless on her structure, her ‘keepers’ marching on in time towards the ring.

    Jim Taylor: “You heard it from Lindsay, folks; 2 out of 3 falls. This all started three weeks ago on Adrenaline Rush, when von Horrowitz and Harrison Wake fought for almost an hour before she was able to escape with the win.”

    Tim Coleman: “I think an argument could be made for this one stretching back all the way to the Wrestle Royale, Jim. Harrison Wake and Michelle von Horrowitz fought in a triple threat match that night, Wake emerging victorious after pinning Elijah Edwards, but von Horrowitz got her revenge later that night when she eliminated Harrison in the annual battle royal…”

    Jim Taylor: “And who could forget the Steel Roulette match at Retribution? These two have been butting heads all the way through 2016, and it’s about to reach a climax here at World’s Strongest!”

    Michelle’s bed is slid under the bottom rope and she slowly rises from it, standing and staring at the packed arena as her ‘keepers’ take the structure back towards the exit. She begins to circle the ring, loosening up her joints and warming up her muscles. Eventually the lights come back up and her music fades away. It’s replaced by Move Meby The Ghost Inside, a boo and a hiss circulating but a small pop from die hard Wake fans present amongst it all. He walks out onto the stage, flanked to his left by his manager Mia Walsh applauding him admiringly.

    Lindsay Monahan: “And her opponent, accompanied to the ring by Mia Walsh… he comes to you tonight from Rock County, Wisconsin and weighs in at two hundred and forty pounds… ’the Backwoods Badass’… Harrison Wake!"

    Wake begins to stride down to the ring, ignoring the audience and staring only at his opponent. Mia Walsh walks a couple of paces behind, a huge smile on her face, confidence dripping from her.

    Jim Taylor: “Harrison Wake issued the challenge to von Horrowitz two weeks ago on Adrenaline Rush after his match with Marcus Bennett, and it was accepted last week before these two climbedinto the ring together again during a tag team match.”

    Tim Coleman: “And there’s a renewed focus about Wake tonight as he climbs into the ring and enters a stand-off with his opponent. The fans here in Miami are excited for this one, just listen to them…”

    There’s a duelling chant, a portion of the arena shouting ’BACK-WOODS BAD-ASS’ and another section replying ’M-V-H!’. Eventually, the two manage to drag their eyes from one another and begin to take in the crowd, thousands making up a sea of humanity, all waiting for them to get started. They take a few steps back and the referee calls for the bell…

    2 out of 3 Falls Match
    Harrison Wake versus Michelle von Horrowitz
    .

    And here we go! The two begin to circle the ring, von Horrowitz darting in low and grabbing at Wake’s leg, but he drags it away from her and she cuts a hasty retreat. They continue to circle, Wake eventually charging at her with an attempted collar and elbow tie up, but von Horrowitz darts between his legs and crawls away from his grasp. They enter another stand-off before circling for a third time. MVH goes for a kick to the thigh, but Wake lefts his leg and blocks it with a boot. She goes for a second kick to the opposite side, but again Wake is able to block it. He goes for a clothesline in return, but she hits the mat and forward rolls beneath it, the pair standing up and standing off again, the audience issuing a round of applause as the anticipation builds.

    Jim Taylor: “Neither of these two want to give away too much in the early stretches of this match.”

    Tim Coleman: “That’s right, Jim. And that’s how they started out three weeks ago on Adrenaline Rush, too – tentatively and strategically.”

    This time, Michelle accepts the offered collar and elbow tie-up, but is quick to manoeuvre into a rear waist lock, using the position to drag Wake down onto his front. She climbs over him into a front face lock, keeping Wake grounded, but Harrison utilises his superior strength and height to force her up onto her feet. He backs her into the ropes, attempting to throw her off him into the opposite set, but von Horrowitz holds on and then moves into a headlock, proceeding to drag Wake over her body onto the mat once more. She moves away from the neck and places Harrison in an arm bar, wrenching at the shoulder joint for a few moments, before again altering the hold, this time seamlessly drifting into a head-scissors. She drives the point of her elbow into Wake’s head as he attempts to wrench himself free, but eventually he settles for reaching over to the ropes with an outstretched leg and forcing a rope break.

    Jim Taylor: “Michelle von Horrowitz eventually releases the hold at four, after getting the better of Wake in that exchange.”

    Wake gets up a little gingerly, but von Horrowitz doesn’t look prepared to let him rest. As soon as he groggily meanders away from the ropes she strides over and places him in another headlock. Harrison is quick to turn the tide, though, taking her over and slamming her down with a belly-to-back suplex. Michelle attempts to roll away, but Wake is quickly over to her, following up with a pair of stomps. Von Horrowitz tries to squirm underneath the ropes and Wake grabs the top one, planting the soul of his boot against her abdomen and pulling down for leverage. Michelle hooks the bottom rope as the official starts his count for a rope break…

    Tim Coleman: “This time it’s Harrison Wake’s turn to release the hold at four, and that’s how he wants this match to play out. Ground and pound, hard-hitting offence… these are the hallmarks of the Backwoods Badass.”

    Michelle climbs back to her feet, and Wake is instantly over to her with a pair of knife edge chops, rocking her towards a corner. He proceeds to reel off a half dozen headbutts, and then Irish whips her into the opposite turnbuckle. He charges across the ring and hits a lariat, and then takes her over with a snapmare, proceeding to hit a stiff kick to the back.

    Jim Taylor: “Now Wake begins to get on a bit of a roll, slapping von Horrowitz in a sleeper hold and attempting to grind her down.”

    Tim Coleman: “It’s a sensible strategy, he has about a hundred pounds on her, this sort of offence is sure to sap away any advantage in speed that she might have.”

    Wake is content to let the energy slowly drain away from von Horrowitz, using his weight to force her down to the mat. Sensing the fall beginning to slip away from her, she hits a pair of weak elbows to his side, but he’s able to keep the hold locked in. Michelle uses her legs to roll Wake so that his shoulders are pinned to the mat…

    ONE… - - NO!

    Wake slides a shoulder up, but again von Horrowitz rolls him back down into a pinning position.

    ONE… TW - - NO!

    Harrison again rolls out of the pin fall, but the hold is now a little slacker. Von Horrowitz uses the respite to drive a pair of more powerful elbows into Wake’s ribs, and he moves into a kneeling position to block the angle and stop any more. MVH wraps her arms around him and drives herself up to a vertical base, her portion of the crowd stamping their feet to lift her. She backs Wake into the ropes, throwing him into the opposite set, thus releasing the sleeper hold. He charges back at her, and she takes him down with a drop kick!

    Jim Taylor: “Von Horrowitz needs to keep Wake at arm’s length, when they get to close quarters combat, Harrison is able to use his size and strength advantage. This is the sort of exchange that she can win.”

    Wake is quick to fight to his feet, but MVH strides over to him and hits an enziguri, sending him back to the mat. This time he needs a little help getting up, and she drags him there by the scruff of his neck, proceeding to place him in a front facelock. She charges over to the turnbuckle, going for her Rope Run Tornado DDT, but as she kicks off the top rope, Harrison pushes her off him. She lands on her feet and forward rolls away from Wake. She turns as she stands, charging at a cornered Wake, perhaps going for a running high knee… but Wake takes a couple of steps away from the turnbuckle and turns her inside out with a clothesline! He hooks the leg…

    ONE… TWO… - - NO!

    Tim Coleman: “I thought that was one-nil right there, Jim! Von Horrowitz was almost taken clean out of her boots…”

    As soon as von Horrowitz kicks out, Wake places her in a front face lock, using the hold to drag MVH up and wrench at her neck as he does. He hits a pair of forearms and then a head-butt, sending her back into the turnbuckle once more. He climbs to the second rope, beginning to reel off a series of fists as the referee attempts to get him to climb down. The crowd count along, Wake getting to sixteen before he finally gets bored, climbing down and putting von Horrowitz in a headlock. He charges across the ring and takes her down with a bulldog…

    Jim Taylor: “Von Horrowitz needs to change the momentum in this one and fast. Wake is beginning to slow down the pace, and you have to question how long she can handle this sort of attack.”

    Wake grabs von Horrowitz by the hair and drags her up to her feet. He keeps hold of her whilst he reels off three head-butts, Michelle falling down to a knee. Wake charges away from her, bounces off the ropes, and takes her to the mat with a big boot. He falls into another cover…

    ONE… TWO… - - NO!

    Harrison doesn’t let up for a second, instead lifting Michelle and backing her into the ropes. He hits four knife edge chops before Irish whipping her into the opposite set. He goes for a WILD clothesline, but von Horrowitz ducks it and continues her run. She bounces back at Wake, and he sends her overhead with an attempted big back body drop… but von Horrowitz is able to turn three hundred and sixty degrees and land on her feet… but then turns into an STO! Wake doesn’t go for the cover, instead lifting von Horrowitz into a seated position, proceeding to hit a series of a dozen elbows into von Horrowitz’s head. He throws her down to the mat and goes for a cover…

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!

    Jim Taylor: “This one is turning ugly, Harrison Wake showing us why he’s called the Backwoods Badass!”

    Tim Coleman: “And the bad news for von Horrowitz is that we’re still in the first fall…”

    Wake lifts her up to her feet using a head lock and just hurls her into a corner. He takes a deep breath before closing in, hitting a pair of knife edge chops, then a forearm, then a head-butt. He takes a few steps away before charging in with an attempted cornered clothesline… but von Horrowitz is able to lift up both boots into Wake’s face! The Backwoods Badass stumbles away from the corner, shakes his head, and then charges again… this time MVH leaps out of the way, Harrison Wake hitting the turnbuckles with his chest. He bounces off them, and the dropkick from von Horrowitz sends him over the top rope.

    Jim Taylor: “Shades of the climax of the Wrestle Royale match there, with von Horrowitz dropkicking Wake all the way out of the ring…”

    She charges across the ring, bouncing off the ropes and running towards the rising Wake. She hits a baseball slide, sending Wake reeling into the barricade. Michelle keeps up the momentum, taking Wake and hitting a Russian Leg Sweep into the steel railing, Harrison sinking down into a seated position on the concrete. Mia Walsh watches on with horror. Michelle drags Wake up by the scruff of his neck and rolls him under the bottom rope, breaking up the referee’s count at six. She climbs up to the top rope, perhaps sensing that Wake is in position for her 450 Splash… but Wake is quickly up to his feet. He charges across the ring and hits a forearm to von Horrowitz, who is stranded on the top turnbuckle, and then climbs up to meet her…

    Tim Coleman: “Harrison Wake looks like he’s going big, here, perhaps looking for a top rope superplex…”

    Michelle fights him off, first hitting a pair of stiff right hands to his abdomen, and then nailing a head-butt of her own, sending Wake off the top rope. The Backwoods Badass lands on his feet, and von Horrowitz steadies herself, leaping off the top rope with a cross-body! Straight into a cover…

    ONE… TWO… - - NO!

    Michelle looks disappointed, staring at the referee and breathing in heavily. She’s still a little dizzy from Wake’s onslaught earlier in the match, but she shakes away the cobwebs and then puts Harrison in a full nelson. She drags him to his feet, before showing impressive strength in lifting Wake over with a Regal-plex! She bridges for the cover…

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!

    Wake drives the shoulder up, but von Horrowitz places him in a cross-face chicken wing, wrapping her legs around him in a body-scissors!

    Jim Taylor: “Wake is sundered in the middle of the ring here! He may have to tap out to conserve his energy for the second and third falls!”

    Tim Coleman: “I wouldn’t bank on it, Jim. Harrison Wake has said that submission moves ‘are for men too weak to knock a guy out’. I don’t think we’ll see him tap out tonight…”

    Harrison looks close to tapping, his hand hovering above the mat… but with a last ounce of strength he rolls onto his front. Michelle stays on top of him, the cross-face chicken wing still locked in, but Wake drives a pair of elbows into her ribs. Von Horrowitz senses the hold is slipping, so she manoeuvres his arms and rolls through into the Cattle Mutilation!

    Tim Coleman: “Just look at her wrenching those arms! That’s got to be an incredible amount of pressure on the shoulders…”

    Jim Taylor: “Michelle von Horrowitz has the hold bridged, right there in the middle of the ring! Harrison Wake surely has no choice…”

    Tim Coleman: “The referee’s asking him the question as von Horrowitz goes on pulling at his arms!”

    Jim Taylor: “But listen to Harrison Wake refusing to submit! He’s screaming his answer in the referee’s face!”

    Tim Coleman: “I think he’d rather pass out than submit to Michelle von Horrowitz. That’s not sensible strategy…”

    Michelle is beginning to think this, too, so she releases one of Wake’s arms and uses the other to drag him over into a crucifix-style pin…

    ONE… TWO… TH - - NO!

    Again Wake manages to get his shoulder up! Von Horrowitz slams her fists onto the mat as she remonstrates with the referee, demanding he count faster, before she returns her attention to Harrison Wake. She takes him by the scruff of the neck and simply throws him out of the ring…

    Tim Coleman: “A rather unceremonious exit for Harrison Wake, there…”

    Jim Taylor: “I’d question the strategy behind that move, Tim. This gives Wake time to recuperate.”

    She waits in the ring for Harrison to get to his feet, but the Backwoods Badass is busy untangling himself from beneath the ring apron. When he finally has, she bounces off the ropes, charging at him. She goes for a suicide dive… BUT HARRISON WAKE THROWS A CHAIR INTO HER FACE OUT OF NOWHERE! Von Horrowitz slumps to the outside as the referee calls for the bell…

    Lindsay Monahan: “The winner of the first fall… by disqualification… Michelle von Horrowitz!”

    Harrison Wake reclines against the ring apron with a huge smile on his face. He drops the chair and rolls beneath the bottom rope, sucking in deep breaths as he attempts to recover from Michelle’s flourish of offence.

    Tim Coleman: “Odd strategy from Harrison Wake, but he does gain some separation and the momentum has surely shifted in the opposite direction now…”

    Jim Taylor: “The pair of them have a thirty second rest period between falls to recover, but you’d have to imagine that Wake will be the fresher of the two when the match starts up again.”

    Michelle shows no sign of life, and after thirty seconds pass the bell is rung again. Wake climbs out of the ring and picks her up, throwing her beneath the bottom rope and goes for a cover…

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!

    Harrison rises to his feet, circling around von Horrowitz and reeling off a series of Garvin-style stomps. She eventually gets to her hands and knees, and Wake first sends her rolling over with a kick to the ribs, and then hits a low drop kick. He looks to go for another cover, but von Horrowitz scrambles under the bottom rope to evade it. She climbs up on the apron gingerly as the official tries to enforce a clean break… but Wake simply brushes him aside and suplexes her back into the ring!

    Jim Taylor: “Wake is beginning to hit his stride now, settling into a groove and staying on von Horrowitz.”

    Tim Coleman: “Yeah, he might have essentially forfeited the first fall, but he’s firmly in the ascent during the early stages of the second fall.”

    Jim Taylor: “And he’s entering slightly unfamiliar territory here, steadying himself on the second rope… before dropping von Horrowitz to the mat with a double axe handle!”

    Wake circles her, his breathing still hampered by earlier exertion, before grounding her with a handful more stomps. He eventually takes her by the hair and throws her into the corner. He charges in and hits her with a lariat, and she stumbles forward, but Wake takes her by the hand. He looks to be whipping her into the opposite corner, but holds onto her as he reverses his momentum and sends her hurtling back into the same turnbuckle. He repeats this three times, the whiplash effect sending von Horrowitz’s eyes rolling back into her head, and on the fourth he pulls her towards him, into a fireman’s carry, and then down to the mat with a Samoan Drop! Wake hooks the leg…

    ONE… TWO… - - NO!

    Jim Taylor: “Incredible resiliency shown here by Michelle von Horrowitz!”

    Tim Coleman: “But it all means nothing if she can’t mount some offence. Harrison Wake is firmly in control of this match-up, and – as he drags von Horrowitz to her feet once more – he has her at his disposal.”

    Wake lifts her up into a fireman’s carry, walking around the ring with her in the hold, before he throws her off with a Death Valley Driver! She hits the mat hard and he instantly hooks the leg in the cover…

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!

    Wake takes a moment to stare a hole into the referee, who timidly tries to argue that it was a two count, before he lifts her up to her feet. He goes back to the well again, hitting a second Samoan Drop. He thinks about going for the pin fall, but instead lifts her up once more, taking his time before hitting a second Death Valley Driver! He goes for the cover, hooking the near leg….

    ONE… TWO… …. …

    … and von Horrowitz gets the far leg up onto the bottom rope! The referee notices at the last moment and stops the count.

    Jim Taylor: “Harrison Wake looks a little bit frustrated, he thinks he had the three after that series of high impact moves.”

    Tim Coleman: “He did have the three! Von Horrowitz is almost out cold!”

    Jim Taylor: “But she showed great ring awareness in using the ropes to break up the count…”

    Harrison Wake climbs out of the ring, reaches under the bottom rope and drags von Horrowitz out onto the concrete floor. The referee begins his count towards ten…

    ONE… TWO…

    Wake lifts her up, pushes her back into the apron and hits a series of knife edge chops. He then looks as if he’s going to Irish Whip her into the barricade, but instead lifts her up and drops her on it with a flapjack!

    THREE… FOUR…

    Wake takes a second to bask in the support of his section of the crowd, who are chanting for their ’BACK-WOODS BAD-ASS’. An M-V-H chant is offered in response, but it’s timid, her fans staring at defeat. Walsh applauds her client as he takes Michelle by the scruff of the neck….

    FIVE… SIX…

    Wake carries her around the ring, tunnelling in on the steel ring steps, and hurls his opponent into them! She flies over the top and lands in a heap…

    SEVEN… EIGHT…

    Harrison slides under the bottom rope to break up the count, and then rolls underneath them again. He takes a few moments to catch his breath as he wanders over to von Horrowitz. She’s climbed up to her hands and knees, and Wake begins to casually scrape the bottom of his boot against her face, mocking her inferiority with his hands lifted.

    ONE… TWO…

    Tim Coleman: “Harrison Wake is truly showing his dominance now, he can beat von Horrowitz whenever he wants to. This is similar to their last encounter, where neither combatant wanted to win the match by count-out.”

    Jim Taylor: “And they spent long periods of that match on the outside, our announcer’s table destroyed in the process.”

    Tim Coleman: “Don’t remind me. We still have a lot of matches to go. They need to stay away.”

    Michelle von Horrowitz is crawling away from Wake, and he lifts both hands in the air in a premature celebration of victory. She uses the ring steps to steady herself as he begins to meander towards her…

    THREE… FOUR…

    As Wake goes for her, von Horrowitz manages to drag him down with a drop toe hold, his face again hitting the top of the steel steps! She rolls away from him, desperately trying to claw her way to her feet. She manages it just as he charges her with an attempted lariat, but she ducks it and hits a Samoan Drop of her own on the outside!

    FIVE… SIX…

    Von Horrowitz rolls into the ring, lying flat on her back and sucking in the oxygen. Mia Walsh comes over to check on her client, who has rolled onto his front and climbed to his hands and knees. Michelle stands up unsteadily, uses the ropes to get her balance…

    SEVEN… EIGHT…

    MVH climbs out of the ring to break up the count again, and takes Wake in a headlock. She hauls him to his feet and then onto the apron, forcing him into the ring. He rolls a yard or two as she climbs onto the apron, entering the ring with a slingshot leg drop. She hooks both legs…

    ONE… TWO… - - NO!

    Jim Taylor: “Now finally von Horrowitz can mount some offence. It’s been a long time coming, and you’ve got to wonder about the long term effects of that lengthy period of dominance for Harrison Wake.”

    Michelle waits for Wake to get to his feet, and then reels off a pair of stiff kicks to either side of his abdomen. She doubles him over with a boot to the midsection, bounces off the ropes, and slams him down with a running neckbreaker! She retreats to a corner, willing Wake to get back to his feet, her section of the crowd emboldened by the shift in momentum and an ’M-V-H’ chant egging her on. Harrison eventually gets up, and she charges at him, looking for a Busaiku Knee Kick… but Wake dives out of the way!

    Tim Coleman: “He has her well scouted. These two know each other so well, it’s going to be hard for them to hit their signature spots…”

    Von Horrowitz climbs to her feet, but she turns around into a fireman’s carry. Wake looks as if he’s going for another Death Valley Driver, but Michelle drives the point of her elbow into the top of his head. He’s forced to drop her, and he turns around into the Busaiku Knee Kick! Harrison hits the mat, and MVH is slow to get to her feet, but when she does she stumbles over to the corner and begins to climb the turnbuckles…

    Jim Taylor: “Von Horrowitz looks like she’s going for the big finish, here! This would mean a two-nothing victory if she manages her 450 Splash…”

    Tim Coleman: “But it’s taking her an age to get up there, and steadying herself looks like an issue as well. She’s still dizzy from everything Wake’s thrown at her so far!”

    Eventually, she does manage to steady herself, and she goes for the 450… but Wake lifts the knees! Von Horrowitz almost bounces off him, rolling forward and struggling to get to her feet, and when she does she’s rocked by the Sucker Punch! Wake’s trademark blow to the back of the head sends her to the mat! He rolls her onto her front, perhaps looking for the cover…

    Jim Taylor: “But von Horrowitz wisely rolls beneath the bottom of the rope, taking refuge on the outside of the ring!”

    Wake has his hands on his knees, staring up at the ceiling and shaking his head at his bad luck. He gets to his feet and climbs out of the ring, lifting von Horrowitz up and throwing her at the steel ring post. She bounces off it and hits the concrete floor again. Wake hits a handful of stomps before he takes her up in a fireman’s carry, dropping her onto the apron and rolling her back into the ring. He slides in after her, circling from afar and weighing up his next move. He begins to stalk her, hands on his knees, breathing heavily, looking for the big finish. Michelle staggers upwards, using the ropes to steady herself, taking a few moments to shake away the cobwebs before she turns around and stumbles towards Harrison. He lifts her up, going for The Timber Bomb… but Michelle rolls through into a sunset flip…

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!

    Wake kicks out and slowly climbs to his feet, charging on relentlessly at von Horrowitz… but she rolls him up again, this time with a small package…

    ONE… TWO… TH - - NO!

    They’re back up again, and this time Wake attempts another big clothesline, but Michelle ducks it and seems to be looking for a back-slide pin attempt. Harrison uses his strength to block it, and then hits a pair of elbows to the side of her head to cause separation. MVH stumbles away from him… Wake goes for the Superkick!!! NO! Von Horrowitz catches his foot, and drags him down into an ankle lock!

    Jim Taylor: “Another submission hold locked in, this time von Horrowitz’s ankle lock! She submitted many opponents with this hold, especially in the early stages of her CWA career.”

    Tim Coleman: “And again Wake is in the centre of the ring! MVH looks like she’s trying to grapevine, but Wake squirms and rolls, reaching out for those bottom ropes…”

    Jim Taylor: “And he gets there! The referee comes in to enforce a rope break, and once more von Horrowitz takes every one of those four seconds before letting go!

    Von Horrowitz takes a step back as Wake clutches his ankle. She stares at the referee, and then strides away from him to the opposite turnbuckle, busying herself in undoing the cover. The referee sees it and makes his way over, but MVH throws the cover to the outside. The official goes to retrieve it and, after a pair of stomps to Wake’s ankle, von Horrowitz uses the distraction to remove a second turnbuckle cover. The referee doesn’t see it, and MVH lifts Wake to his feet, looking like she’s going to hit a Russian Leg Sweep onto the exposed turnbuckle… but Wake blocks it, and then takes her down with a Samoan Drop! He hooks the leg… but the referee is still re-attaching the first turnbuckle cover! Eventually, as the audience’s count reaches six, he turns around and slides into a count of his own…

    ONE… TWO… TH - - NO!

    Jim Taylor: “Michelle von Horrowitz stays alive in this second fall!”

    Tim Coleman: “Come on, Jim! You saw that! That was like a nine-count! This should be one-each!”

    Wake lifts von Horrowitz to her feet and rocks her with a head-butt… and she fires back with a European Uppercut! Wake hits a second head-butt, and MVH hits another uppercut, and then follows up with a forearm smash. She takes Wake by the scruff of the neck and attempts to hurl him head first into the still-exposed turnbuckle, but Wake reaches out with his arms to block it. MVH takes a few steps back to shake away the after-effects of those head-butts, and Wake’s momentum draws the official’s attention to the second exposed turnbuckle… He charges over to it with a ”hey! hey! hey!”, but Wake runs at von Horrowitz, who ducks his clothesline, and when Harrison steps towards her again she sends him face first into the exposed steel ring with a drop toe hold! The referee calls for the bell!

    Lindsay Monahan: “The winner of the second fall… by disqualification… Harrison Wake!”

    Jim Taylor: “And the match-clock ticks on past thirty five minutes, Tim, and neither one of these two has pinned or submitted the other as of yet!”

    The thirty second rest period gives Wake a chance to see the thin line of blood that’s been drawn from his forehead, and von Horrowitz backs away from him. The referee uses the time to re-attach the turnbuckle. She keeps loose, bouncing from one foot to the other, staring across the ring at the Backwoods Badass as he returns to his feet and Mia Walsh shouts instructions. When the half-minute is up, the referee calls for the bell…

    Jim Taylor: “Michelle may have hoped to get away with that, but now she’s lost the fall she’ll certainly want to take advantage of it.”

    Tim Coleman: “Yeah, history repeats itself from earlier on in this match-up, and we’re all square at one apiece!”

    MVH charges across the ring at Wake as soon as the bell is rung, hitting a charging forearm and then putting Wake in a headlock. She runs across the ring and drives him down with a bulldog. He valiantly fights up, but Michelle hits two stiff kicks to his right side, and then a forearm smash, and finally a European Uppercut that sends him reeling into the ropes. Wake bounces off them and she kicks him in the midsection to bend him over… and then drives him down with a Double Underhook DDT!

    Tim Coleman: “Why isn’t she going for he cover?! Wake is spent!”

    Jim Taylor: “I think these two know exactly how far they need to go to pick up a win tonight!”

    MVH instead waits in the corner, willing Wake back to his feet. He eventually climbs up, clearly dizzy, and she charges him with a Busaiku Knee Kick! She isn’t done there, wrapping up his legs in one of hers, taking his wrists, and then slamming his face into the mat with a Dragon-Style curb stomp! She takes a moment to compose herself, sensing that the end is drawing near, and she begins to climb towards the top rope. She steadies herself as Wake rolls onto his front…

    Jim Taylor: “450 Splash! Picture perfect!”

    Tim Coleman: “Von Horrowitz hooks the leg!”

    ONE… TWO… … THRE - - NO!!!!

    Tim Coleman: “Harrison Wake kicks out at the last possible second!!”

    Jim Taylor: “I can’t believe it! And neither can these fans! And neither can Michelle von Horrowitz! She just gave him damn near every high impact move she had and Harrison Wake kicks out!”

    Von Horrowitz stares at the referee in open disbelief, before climbing unsteadily to her feet. She slowly walks over to Wake, takes him by the head, and begins to drag him up. When he’s on his feet she supports his weight, breathing in a last breath to compose herself before lifting him into a torture rack, perhaps preparing to hit her last resort Burning Hammer finisher… but Wake manages to hit an elbow to her head… and then a second, and he slips out of the back. Michelle turns around into the Throatbuster! The elbow smash takes Michelle down to the mat! He falls down and hooks the leg…

    ONE… TWO… TH - - NO!

    MVH gets a shoulder up, and Wake doesn’t give her a single second to recover. Instead, he lifts her to her feet and rocks her to the corner with three head-butts. When she’s propped up against the turnbuckles, he reels off half a dozen more, dizzy himself when he stumbles away from her… before running and hitting a running head-butt in the corner! Michelle staggers out and hits the mat, allowing Wake to charge over and hitting a diving head-butt! Michelle rolls onto her front, shaking her head to uselessly try and rid herself of the aches, whilst Harrison stalks her. He hits a pair of stomps, and she has to use the corner to drag herself up to her feet.

    She stumbles out of the corner, going for a lazy clothesline, but Harrison lifts her up, and sends her face-first into one of the turnbuckles with a flapjack. MVH staggers around the ring, not going to the mat but in no condition to mount offence, and Wake picks her up and sends her into a second turnbuckle with another flapjack. A third one follows, and his section of the crowd is chanting for ONE MORE TIME! when he drops her on the final pad. Michelle falls to one knee, using a hand to keep something of a vertical base… and Wake takes her down with a Super Kick!!!

    Tim Coleman: “Wake almost kicks her head off with that one! He falls into a cover!”

    ONE… TWO… … … THRE - - NO!!”

    Jim Taylor: “This time it’s Michelle von Horrowitz’s turn to get a shoulder up at the last moment, and this third fall rolls on!”

    Wake can’t believe it, and he rolls off the cover, sucking in oxygen and staring down at the spent MVH, who makes no attempt to climb to her feet. Wake sums up his options, and then he stares over at a corner. He gets up from his knees and walks over to the turnbuckles…

    Jim Taylor: “Unfamiliar territory again for Harrison Wake! He looks like he’s going all the way to the top rope!”

    Tim Coleman: “I’m not sure if this is a good idea…”

    Harrison takes what seems like an age to steady himself on the top turnbuckle, staring over at Michelle’s prone body. After a deep breath, he leaps off, going for a top rope diving head-butt… but von Horrowitz rolls out of the way! Wake hits the mat hard and both competitors lie exhausted on the canvass!

    Tim Coleman: “I told you that wasn’t a very good idea.

    Jim Taylor: “The referee begins his count towards ten, and I don’t know if either wrestler will be able to answer it…”

    ONE… TWO…

    Jim Taylor: “… This canvass is stained with Wake’s blood, I don’t know how he’s even still in this one.”

    THREE… FOUR…

    Tim Coleman: “It’s nothing more than sheer adrenaline, Jim. Neither of them wants to lose this war!”

    FIVE… SIX….

    MVH rolls onto her front, reaching over to the bottom rope, as Wake begins to climb to his hands and knees….

    SEVEN… EIGHT…

    A few more droplets of blood drip from his forehead onto the mat before he drives himself up. Von Horrowitz has her hands on the top rope and uses it to pull herself to a vertical base. They turn towards one another again… Wake goes for another Super Kick! No!! MVH catches the foot again! She pulls his leg around her head and drags him down into the Stretch Muffler! Wake writhes in agony again, and von Horrowitz compounds it with a series of stomps to the back of his head!

    Jim Taylor: “Again Michelle von Horrowitz with a submission move! She seems obsessed with the idea of making Harrison Wake tap out!”

    Wake claws his way, inch by inch, towards the bottom rope. Von Horrowitz continues the onslaught, driving her boot into his head over and over again…

    Tim Coleman: “That might be a lost cause! I don’t think Wake has it in him to give up! Look at him, crawling towards that bottom rope!”

    MVH senses that he’s about to use the rope to break the hold, and drags him back into the middle of the ring, unhooks his leg and puts him in the ankle lock! She falls into a grapevine, wrenching at Wake’s ankle once more! Harrison writhes in agony, lifting his hand up like he’s about to tap, but resists and tries to creep hand over hand towards the ropes. The grapevine is in tight, though, and Wake finds himself in the middle of the ring with nowhere to go!

    Jim Taylor: “This could be it, Tim! Michelle has him exactly where she wants him! The same ankle as earlier in the match!”

    Wake lifts his hand, looks like he’s about to tap… but then he clenches his fist, and kicks out with his free leg, catching Michelle flush in the face with the soul of his boot. She relaxes the hold, and he hits a second kick, finally causing a bit of separation. Harrison drags himself to the ropes, clutching at his ankle for the second time in the match. Michelle rolls away, checking the condition of her nose as Wake tentatively puts weight on his ankle. He stumbles into a corner, and MVH charges at him with a forearm smash. She puts him in a headlock, attempting to drag him out of the corner with another bulldog… but he pushes her off, instantly clutching at his ankle again…

    Jim Taylor: “Michelle has seriously weakened that vertical base, she needs to stay on offence now…”

    Tim Coleman: “Harrison HAS to fight through the pain, he’s come this far, he can’t afford to let his ankle become an issue…”

    Jim Taylor: “I don’t think he has much of a say in it, Tim. And no doubt there’s a big red bullseye on that ankle for MVH now…”

    When Michelle charges again, Wake goes for a lariat, still shifting most of his weight onto his good ankle. Von Horrowitz is able to duck it and doubles him over with a boot to the midsection. She puts him in a front facelock and hooks his arm over her neck. Michelle hoists him up, looking for her patented Psycho Driver… but Harrison Wake manages to slip out of the back! He lands with his weight on his good foot, and Michelle turns around into a Super Kick! Wake uses his good limb for a base and hits Michelle with his injured ankle, and the pain of the high risk move causes him to sink to the mat… The few seconds of respite it affords allows von Horrowitz to roll once more under the bottom rope, landing on her hands and knees on the outside…

    Tim Coleman: “Harrison is still struggling to put much weight on that foot, and although he can’t go for a cover he’s still given himself some time to try and get some life back into it…”

    Jim Taylor: “Once again, Michelle rolls under the bottom rope to escape a certain three count. This one’s going right the way to the wire, folks! Fifty minutes and counting!”

    Harrison hobbles over on that injured ankle grabbing for Michelle on the apron, and when he pulls her up she fires back with a forearm smash that knocks Harrison back enough to allow Michelle to re-enter the ring. Once back in she goes for her Burning Hammer, but Harrison blocks it and sends Michelle off the ropes looking for that Timber Bomb yet Michelle counters taking Harrison down with a hurricanrana! Harrison is hurled across the ring and Michelle has found a second wind as she's fired up now and quickly grabs Harrison hooking him in...BURNING HAMMER! She hits all of it and Harrison isn't moving as she slowly drapes her arm over his chest for the cover...

    One...two...THREE!

    Lindsay Monahan: The winner of the third and final fall, Michelle von Horrowitz!

    Jim Taylor: WHAT A MATCH!

    Tim Coleman: You said it Jim!

    Jim Taylor: These fans giving both competitors a standing ovation and rightfully so!

    Indeed they are standing and cheering for Michelle and Harrison. After what seemed like an eternity Michelle rolls to her knees and breathes heavily as she looks down at Harrison, who is breathing havily as well as his chest heaves up and down. She gingerly rises up to her feet using the ropes as leverage and soaks in the adulation for a moment before exiting the ring as Harrison is assisted to his feet by the referee and Mia Walsh.

    Volume 18: "Old Debts". (06/16/2016)
    Spoiler:


    Old Debts.
    vs. Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday, with Anzu Kurosawa [FWA Back in Business, May 2016​].


    As she tore another handful of bread away from the loaf and threw it onto the surface of the lake, she was only partially aware of the myriad of everyday scenes going on around her. A few yards to her left, a family did its best to restrain their youngest from diving head-first into the pond. Behind her, a boy tried to steal a kiss from a new girlfriend, though she was having none of it. Away across the lake, a pair slightly further on in their relationship ate sandwiches from a picnic basket, staring off into slightly divergent directions as if they'd ran out of things to say to each other. A man walked his dog along the western path. A youth bought a shit bag of shit weed from a muscular, bald man in a grey hooded sweatshirt. As a half-dozen ducks circled the latest crust that had been deposited into their lake, she was only partially aware of these everyday scenes. Michelle von Horrowitz was alone, but for her memories and the birds.

    She watched each ripple expand, gently forming a series of concentric circles that were propelled outwards towards the banks. They would die away before getting to their destinations, but the next piece of bread would form another set of hopeful waves that would eventually fade into nothing in turn. Each ripple was its own life, short and pointless like the rest of them. Concentrated into a few moments, they would rise and fall again like each human would over decades. Staring into them, with the cold, Berlin air pressed in tight against her skin, scenes of her own life began to disturb the surface of her mind.

    She was here for Anzu, of course, and nothing else. She had a sister in Berlin, but they'd seen each other a few months prior, when Bella von Horrowitz had visited New York during the weekend of CWA's Five-Star Attraction. She wasn't one for superstition, but she associated Bella's face and Bella's voice with the crushing defeat she'd been handed by Jon Snowmantashi. This visit was not to tighten familial bonds, but rather to pay old debts. Harrison Wake and the World's Strongest PPV would be waiting for her in America, but for now all thoughts lay on Anzu and Berlin.

    They had met back in 2008, when Michelle was just starting out in Japan. She didn't know anybody, not even Iwao, the man who'd guide her through life on the islands. She'd been working on the European independents for about eighteen months, and had been offered the opportunity to fly out to Nagoya to work a few shows for a regional promotion there. She'd won her match on the first night against some weak, green girl from Osaka, and was reclining in her corner of the large, communal locker room, basking in the glow of her glorious self. Suddenly, the great Anzu Kurosawa had barged in, screaming and blathering in her native Japanese.

    Michelle lit another cigarette in the Berlin park, watching the birds peck away at the last remaining crumbs. A larger, cleaner, almost prouder bird floated a few yards from the pack, refusing to debase herself in the scramble for food. Her mind was drawn back to Nagoya and 2008, and her first impressions of Anzu. As a veteran wrestler who had fought all around the world, Anzu was afforded her own private locker room with all the seclusion and comfort that came with it. She was visiting Japan on a homecoming tour, culminating in an appearance for Honshu Puroresu, one of the nation's biggest promotions. These dates in Nagoya for this shit-stain company were little more than warm-ups.

    Anzu had a tag team match scheduled, where she was due to team up with some newcomer to face Tsuki no On’nanoko, the promotion's 'Women's Champion', and her hench-woman Kurētā. According to a nearby wrestler who happened to speak French, Anzu's rookie teammate had failed to show up, and Kurosawa was ranting in pursuit of a replacement. Anzu didn't have the most ingratiating personality back then, so nobody was forthcoming and the veteran quickly disappeared again. She had a match against Tsuki for her championship in three nights time and something about her manner suggested she didn't like the idea of a handicap match. Michelle had quietly sauntered to Anzu's private locker room, knocked three times, and casually offered her sword. She wasn't usually one for allies, but she'd seen Kurosawa fight. Some allies are worth having.

    They'd won the match in about eleven minutes, Michelle hitting a 450 on the champion before the legal woman - Anzu - leapt on her for the cover. It's wasn't victory-theft or anything; the veteran had expressed nothing but gratitude, and had even gone as far as to offer Michelle her championship shot. She'd politely declined. Even that far back, Michelle saw little point or use in women's championships.

    After that night she didn't hear from Anzu for six months, until February of 2009. Michelle was still scrubbing out a living in her Nagoya backwoods promotion and making occasional appearances for Okayama Senshuken Resuringu (OCW), a company no bigger but with at least something resembling ambition. It was whilst at OCW that she first fought Iwao Karasu, in the main event of one of their fortnightly shows that sold two thousand tickets, her biggest audience to date. But Honshu Puroresu was always the eventual aim, and it was Anzu that helped her achieve it. She needed a tag partner for a series of five matches for a HPW tour, and Michelle was only too happy to escape the gymnasiums of Nagoya and Okayama.

    She'd been given a full time contract with HPW off the back of it, and had even been allowed to keep her OCW dates for a while. The partnership with Anzu had gone nowhere particularly exciting, and they sort of drifted apart when Kurosawa left again for Mexico or Colombia or whichever dessert she was set to appear in next. They had one more tag match in 2012, when Michelle had been desperate. She'd bitten off more than she could chew with a three hundred and fifty pounder named Osuushi, or the Bull, and her only option had been to call the closest thing to a friend she had in the business. Anzu had flown across the Pacific to help her that night, even in a losing effort. It felt only right to repay the favour; the Atlantic was the smaller ocean, after all.

    Inside the ring, the duo had never accomplished much. Outside of it, though, they could fill a library with memoirs. Most of it would only be interesting or even intelligible to those that were involved, but to Michelle it seemed that most of her Japanese memories took place during that four-week HPW tour. Anzu seemed to collect mugshots, and whilst Michelle was no stranger to a bar fight herself, their attitude towards them differed drastically. Michelle preferred solitude, especially whilst drinking, but was more than willing to defend herself if someone recognised her and fancied a pop or refused to take no for an answer. Anzu, on the other hand, openly courted confrontation.

    Michelle thought back to a night in Nagano, where she and Anzu had been drinking in some quiet bar near the arena after the fourth match of the tour. They'd decided to head into the city centre, and hit a place that had been recommended by a youngish barman who seemed to know what he was talking about. It was quiet (late on a Thursday), but a group of young, Japanese girls had gathered around a thirty-ish looking Latino with a pot belly, a greying beard, and sweat patches. He was holding court on some topic or other, and Michelle had attempted to drag Anzu into a quiet, shadowy corner of the room. Kurosawa had waved her off and taken position on a bar stool within ear shot of the group.

    "And when you're there in the ring, chicas," the man was saying as Michelle sheepishly sidled up next to Anzu at the bar. They ordered a pair of Jameson's as he's continued. "And you stare into the eyes of the bull? That is the only time a man can truly feel alive. At all other moments he is a ghost, a shell! When you are in the ring and you stare into the eyes of the Bull, that is when a man is a man. We matadors are a- -"

    Here, Anzu took her first sip of the amber, and instantly blew it back out of her nose onto the bar. She let out a thin, high giggle, and then shook her head. The man had stopped talking to stare over at the two of them.

    "You are not a matador," she declared triumphantly.

    The man blinked at her, and stood from his seat. Only then did Michelle notice the two younger men either side of him.

    "I was the matador," he insisted.

    "I have lived in Mexico and Brazil and Cuba," she began, draining her glass and placing the empty in the bar. "I have watched the bullfights in Spain and Santiago. I have known matadors. I have loved matadors, and I say that you are not a matador."

    The young Japanese women that surrounded the man shuffled uncomfortably from foot to foot. They moved a lot faster when he lunged at Anzu. His friends followed, and Michelle was forced into the fray. Thirty seconds later, Anzu was sat on the matador's back, waving a red serviette in front of his eyes.

    "Michelle, my sword," she was shouting. "I've left my sword in the hotel!"

    In the park in Berlin, the ducks had lost interest in Michelle. She had no more bread to give them and they began to paddle away. The sun was creeping towards the horizon. Evening was beginning to take hold. With a sigh, she pulled her coat tightly around her and meandered off towards the address she'd been given. It was a small office space a few hundred yards from the park, and Michelle took one last deep breath amongst the greenery before she plunged out into the concrete maize that the city had become.

    ***


    She’d be forgiven for thinking that she’d come to the wrong place. The building looked unspectacular and unoccupied, as if it had stood without being noticed for centuries. She pushed open the door, expecting nothing but an ocean of cobwebs behind it, but what she saw was a clean, almost-sterile office space. There were a few unfortunate souls working away their Saturday afternoon, filing things away and standing at photocopiers, and when she asked at the desk for Anzu she did so with a sense that this was the wrong place. ”No,” she imagined the receptionist saying. ”We sell boxes, not anzus.” The old, sort of frumpish woman nodded and smiled, though, and led her to a room at the end of a short corridor.

    Inside the office, four people sat around a table. One of them was an old, white guy, face riddled with wrinkles, pockmarks, and the other clear signs of a long, hard life. The second was slightly younger but no less haggard. He was Japanese and the only one to look up when Michelle entered the room. There was also a younger, Chinese woman with a stern face and an ash tray full of cigarette butts in front of her. She was quietly working her way through another. Anzu was the fourth, sat in a bright, purple tracksuit with a foot propped up on the desk in front of her.

    “Ah, Ms von Horrowitz,” the oldest one said, still staring down at his newspaper. He waved his hand in the vague direction of his counterparts as he introduced them. “My name is Ethan Rose. This is Tatsuo Kawaguchi and Hua Ji-Shen. I believe you know Anzu Kurosawa. Please, take a seat.”

    Michelle did as she was asked. She exchanged a sheepish smile and an awkward wave with Anzu. She hadn’t expected this many people. She’d seen the handlers before, though they’d never formally been introduced. Tatsuo, the Japanese man, had been with Anzu when they’d met in Nagoya, and had translated their first conversation. Hua had been there during the HPW tour, and both of them had come to watch their confrontation with Osuushi. They hadn’t seemed to do much but skulk around the ring and take notes, but now – sat in what was essentially a conference room, complete with a spreadsheet chronicling Anzu’s matches, a flipchart listing audience trends, and a screen with a video paused on the FWA logo – she began to realise that Kurosawa’s relationship with them was a little more intricate than that.

    “I assume you’ve been told who you’re here to fight?” Ethan asked, turning over the page of his newspaper. Michelle noticed that it was written in German.

    Yes,” she said, meekly. She felt uncomfortable and shuffled her weight uneasily around her seat. “Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday.

    “And what do you know about Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday?” he asked.

    That their names are Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday,” Michelle answered, deadpan. Anzu smiled, but the others continued without response. Ethan read, Hua smoked, Tatsuo stared.

    “They are members of a stable with Dinorah Redgrave, a former FWA Women’s Champion and the number one contender to Bell Connelly’s title,” Ethan continued. Michelle had heard of Redgrave, and of course she remembered Connelly. No doubt Bell remembers me, too, she thought, the memory of an ankle lock and three taps on the canvass flooding back to her. “They are not afraid to break the rules, and aren’t above sneak attacks. They have a gang mentality about them. Toxic is the brawler, though Raquel is a vicious striker as well. Wednesday is more of a submission specialist. Toxic will just try to bludgeon you into defeat. But the most important thing about them is their loose morality. They won’t think twice to bend and break any rule that they can. And what do you think is the best strategy against such women?”

    I’m sure you have some ideas,” Michelle answered, sitting back in her chair. She intended to watch some of Toxic Wednesday’s matches later on in the day. She didn’t need some old man to tell her about strategy.

    “Taylor Toxic and Raquel Wednesday may be submission specialists who hit hard and play dirty,” Ethan replied, looking up from his newspaper for the first time in the conversation. His eyes were big and black, like a frog’s. “But so are you. Anzu’s career is at a critical point where messages need to be sent. You will confront Toxic Wednesday head on, fighting as they fight. You will wear them down and beat them at their own game, and when they are broken, then you can do as you will with the remains. Our strategy is simple; to do exactly what they do, only harder, more often, and better. Do you understand?”

    Michelle blinked. It was hardly an intellectual tour de force. She was sure she could keep up.

    I understand,</