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Thread: CWA: Gold Rush [NIGHT FIVE RESULTS!]

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    CWA: Gold Rush [NIGHT FIVE RESULTS!]


    We join the footage in a large theatre, a young woman already stood in a ring that has been erected upon a large, raised stage. The young woman in the ring, we are reliably informed by an on-screen graphic, is Meg. She enthusiastically waves at the camera with a smile on her face as the announcers introduce the evening’s show…

    Jim Taylor: “Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Launch-Pad! It’s very nearly time for Night Five of the Gold Rush tournament, when we’ll finally learn the names of the four men going to Vanuatu for finals night… but first, we have two Launch-Pad matches for you, both designed to look ahead at that huge South Pacific event…”

    Tim Coleman: “And first up we’ve got Meg in the ring already, and I was talking to this young hopeful from the ‘I’m New Here’ Battle Royal earlier on tonight… Meg told me that she had watched the other Launch-Pad matches involving her South Pacific opponents during this tournament, and that she’d demanded Noah Hanson put her in a match tonight against anyone on the card from the Vanuatu event!”

    Jim Taylor: “It’ll be interesting to see who Hanson decides to put Meg up against tonight… she certainly looks enthusiastic!”

    Meg has climbed onto the second turnbuckle in an attempt to whip up the audience, who - dressed rather smartly given the location of this final night of action - politely applaud her efforts. Meg gives one more wave at the camera before hopping down into the centre of the ring….

    And then the lights go out…


    There’s a hush in the arena as the song starts, the theatre completely black as smoke begins to appear from beneath the curtain at the top of the central aisle. Before long, a dark, hooded figure walks out onto the staging area, slowly and solemnly continuing on her way towards the ring…

    Jim Taylor: “When Meg asked for anyone on the South Pacific card… I don’t think she quite meant this!”

    Tim Coleman: “It’s the former CWA World Heavyweight Champion, Jim! The Herald of Darkness… The Mother of Ravens… The Woman in Black… It’s Lilith!!”

    She continues on her slow meander down to the ring, climbing up the steps and through the ropes before standing across the squared circle from Meg. Meg suddenly seems less enthusiastic, and has backed herself all the way into the corner, a look of sheer apprehension on her face. Lilith takes down her hood and stares, unblinking, across the ring at her apparent prey. The official stands between them and, with a fair amount of apprehension himself, calls for the bell...

    The Launch-Pad: Singles Match.
    Lilith vs. Meg.

    … there’s no real need to dress this up; or not put it bluntly; Lilith moves slowly forward, stepping into the center of the ring, to meet Meg, and… what follows is an unmitigated slaughter. Meg gets absolutely nothing, as Lilith just picks her apart like a lion slowly eating a gazelle… Discus Big Boot... Judas Kiss…. a single foot placed on meg. The count….
    Result: Lilith defeats Meg by death at 00:38.

    The ref attempts to raise Lilith’s hand, but one death glare from Lilith sends the man dressed like a Zebra scurrying from the ring in a hurry as Lilith stares coldly into the camera. Not moving. Never blinking. Just staring.

    Tim Coleman: “I think we can call that a statement of intent…”

    Jim Taylor: “And I’m sure Michelle von Horrowitz will be watching somewhere backstage… but that will be a much more fitting opponent for The Mother at Ravens at South Pacific…”

    Tim Coleman: “It seems as if Lilith has something to say…”

    … But yet she doesn’t leave, she just motions lightly with her hand, gesturing for a mic which she gets rather quickly… because… well… are YOU going to tell her no?

    Lilith: “Patience is power… Patience is not an absence of action: rather it is "timing". It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles. and in the right way. I do believe I have showcased more restraint… Restraint that many simply do not possess. It takes time for seeds that are planted to bloom… To sprout into trees. Yet for all my patience, for all my waiting. I find my tree barren, I find myself relegated and forgotten. I find myself waiting for the arrival of a so-called dragon slayer that cowers within the halls of his own insecurities. I find myself waiting for acknowledgement from those in my path. Patience is indeed a virtue, but we’re not standing in the den of the virtuous. No longer will my voice be a mere echo across the hearts and minds of the Gold Rush. No longer will I be ignored, For I am always here. Even when you think I’m gone, even when I fall silent I’m always lying within, and I invite you to come and seek what you wish. Come and find the place where restless souls lie. Come and find me waiting… in the Heart of Darkness…”

    The camera has slowly been zooming in on Lilith’s pale face, and when she lowers the microphone we are in full close-up. She is unblinking as the camera fades to black...

    ...

    ...

    We cut to the backstage area and Michelle Kelly, dressed in a long and glamorous cocktail dress that is black in colour and plunging in neckline, has a smile on her face and a microphone in her hand. Next to her, in a black suit with a white shirt and narrow black tie and with an even-wider-smile than the interviewer, is John Duncan. Michelle looks at the lens before entering into her opening gambit…

    Michelle Kelly: “Welcome to Vladivostok, ladies and gentlemen, for Night Five of the Gold Rush tournament, and I’m standing by with a man whose client has all but wrapped up his business here in the pool stages. I’m talking of course about Jon Snowmantashi, who - with seven points amassed out of a possible eight - is already through to the Final Four in Vanuatu. Mr. Duncan… does that affect your client’s preparations for his match tonight with Chubby Carlos?”

    Duncan shakes his head and lets out a chuckle, and it does seem slightly derisive and aimed in Kelly’s direction. He keeps smiling, though.

    John Duncan: “Michelle, if this is Night Five, then this is the fifth time that I’ve told you the same thing: there are no preparations. Jon Snowmantashi is a force of nature. He simply is. If you simple are, you do not need to become... meaning, you do not need to prepare. The storm does not prepare for the village: it simply consumes it.”

    Duncan pauses, rocking back onto his heels with a satisfied look on his voice, almost bordering on the smug.

    Michelle Kelly: “Well, now that you have booked your place in the Final Four… is it finally time to take a look at the names in Pool B? Who is Snowmantashi most eager to face?”

    The smile takes a turn for the knowing.

    John Duncan: “This is where I talk about Jonathan McGinnis, isn’t it? About how Snowmantashi will put an end to his silly games, if nobody else has the will or the ability to do it? Well, I’m not really one for predictions, Ms. Kelly. I stand here as clueless as you as to who will walk out under the bright lights… well, bright sunlight… in Vanuatu to face the kaiju. McGinnis, maybe, to settle old debts and perhaps shake some sense into him… or Savage, the lesser half of the least of all teams… or maybe it’ll be Shawn Summers, the phoenix rising from the flames, dragging the Russian crowd onto his side like an ageing boxer with a speech impediment… even Jackson, a man I know virtually nothing about beyond his proclivity towards sobriety and his uneven, unimpressive record in this tournament…”

    Duncan looks at the lens and shrugs.

    John Duncan: “Doesn’t matter! The smart ones amongst this quartet will realise that a date with Jon freaking Snowmantashi in Vanuatu is nothing to look forward to. McGinnis. Summers. Jackson. Savage. None of them have what it takes to stand next to Snowmantashi, let alone defeat him. This tournament is his, Michelle! We might as well give it to him now…”

    It looks as if Snowmantashi’s manager is about to leave, but Michelle Kelly brings the microphone back to her mouth before he can quite get away…

    Michelle Kelly: “Well, Mr. Duncan… if Chubby Carlos is victorious tonight over your client… it’ll be Cyrus Truth that waits at South Pacific.”

    Duncan smiles, and then shakes his head...

    John Duncan: “You really haven’t been listening at all, have you?”

    Duncan walks out of shot, and we cut back to the arena...


    We return to the arena just in time to hear The Wallflowers’ theme music and the loud pop that accompanies it, XYZ appearing from behind the curtain and into the theatre. He slaps some hands of front row fans as he walks down the central aisle, locking eyes with the man already in the ring who he is to face. It is FaZe, one of the twenty two currently announced competitors for the upcoming “I’m New Here” Battle Royal. FaZe is decked out in a dirty black t-shirt and ripped denim jeans, and sullenly paces this way and that in the ring, looking on at XYZ and listening to the applause his appearance is generating…

    Jim Taylor: “The last time we saw XYZ, he was competing in the High Voltage Tournament back at ‘One Night Only’, eventually losing in the final to Michelle von Horrowitz. He’ll return to action at South Pacific, Tim, and will be looking to return to winning ways as well…”

    Tim Coleman: “That starts tonight with this match against FaZe, and it’ll be interesting to see what the newcomer from Parts Unknown can do against a more established star in XYZ.”

    XYZ climbs up onto the apron and into the ring, standing across it from FaZe as the referee conducts his final checks and then calls for the bell.

    The Launch-Pad: Singles Match.
    FaZe vs. XYZ.

    This one starts off as a real clash of styles, FaZe trying to engage XYZ with his brawling style but the former Interim High Voltage Champion evading and eluding the newcomer using his unconventional style. He ducks underneath a lariat attempt, catches an attempted mule kick before throwing the foot away, and repeatedly blocks FaZe’s right hands. Eventually, after becoming frustrated, FaZe throws XYZ into the ropes and goes for a standing dropkick… only for XYZ to hold the top rope to check his momentum, leaving FaZe to splat onto the mat! XYZ goes to work from there, locking in a headscissors for a lengthy period of time. FaZe manages to fight back to his knees whilst in the hold, and then eventually forces a break… but when the two stand up, XYZ takes him down with a headscissors takedown! And then he locks in the headscissors again!

    As XYZ keeps the move locked on in the centre of the ring, the camera cuts away to one of the boxes in the theatre. It appears that its occupant for the evening is finally arriving, and a cheer goes up when he is recognised: Johnny Vegas is here!

    Tim Coleman: “How did he get a VISA?!”

    Johnny Vegas waves politely to the CWA audience before he, and the woman that he is with, take a seat. They begin to watch the action, the camera cutting back to the ring as FaZe fights onto his knees again in the hold…

    Jim Taylor: “Of course, Johnny Vegas will share the ring with XYZ, Clint Shepard, and Billy Hatcher at South Pacific… I'm sure Vegas has come early tonight to scout one of his Vanuatu opponents…”

    He’s arrived just in time to see FaZe do a handstand in order to alleviate pressure from the headscissors… and then he pops up out of the hold and delivers a dropkick to the seated XYZ! XYZ scrambles up to his feet but he is met with a lariat, and then a punch, elbow… discus forearm takes XYZ off his feet!! FaZe is feeling it now, which is more than can be said for the assembled Vladivostok crowd… he circles XYZ at a distance, and then psyches himself up, ready to deliver the killer blow…

    He goes for the FaZer, his Razor’s Edge finisher, managing to hoist XYZ up over his head…

    … but then XYZ struggles out! He lands on his feet, and FaZe turns around into a leg sweep! Followed by a quick leaping elbow to the chest!! FaZe tries to scramble to his feet, but he eats a kick to the midsection… XYZ hits the ropes and nails a swinging neckbreaker!

    Jim Taylor: “XYZ is building up a head of steam now! He’s climbing up to that top rope…”

    Tim Coleman: “We’ve seen him do this before…. He tightrope walks across the top rope… and now a springboard front flip leg drop! FaZe can do nothing about it!”

    Jim Taylor: “XYZ hooks the leg…”

    ONE… TWO… THREE!
    Result: XYZ defeats FaZe by pinfall at 8:15.

    As XYZ stands up and looks down at his opponent, we get another shot of Johnny Vegas in his executive box raised above the stalls on the dress circle. He is clapping and smiling, but his eyes are hidden behind his sunglasses…

    Jim Taylor: “Well, who knows what Johnny Vegas thought of that victory… but it’s nothing but a good thing for XYZ to wipe away the ring rust before South Pacific…”

    Tim Coleman: “It’s been a long time since Johnny Vegas has stepped foot in a wrestling ring. That’s a return I’m excited for!”

    The official lifts XYZ’s hand into the air in the ring, The Wallflowers again beginning to play out around the theatre and another ovation going up for the victor.

    Jim Taylor: “Ladies and gentlemen, that’s it for The Launch-Pad this evening… but that’s not all for the CWA! We’re only just getting started!!”

    Tim Coleman: “This is the night that we’ve all been waiting for, folks! We’re in Vladivostok… it’s The End of The Line... which can mean only one thing…”

    Jim Taylor: “It is the fifth and final night of The Gold Rush… and it’s LIVE…. RIGHT NOW!!”


    As the music begins, day turns to night in front of Yaroslavsky Station, Moscow. An audience can be heard applauding, but we can’t see them yet…

    Footage is shown of an official looking from his left to his right. It is in black and white. We cannot see the wrestlers, but we observe the official calling for the bell…


    A train pulls out of the Moscow Station. It is morning. The sun pokes its head from behind clouds. An opening bell rings…

    In black and white, Jon Snowmantashi and Michelle von Horrowitz stare at one another from across the ring. Cyrus Truth looks on as Jonathan McGinnis begins to circle him at the start of their match. We see Krash and Alyster Black bringing it together with a collar and elbow tie up…


    The train moves through increasingly dense forestry in jump cuts, and as it does it begins to snow. It gets progressively worse, the powder clinging onto the trees as day turns to night and then back to day again.

    Intercut with this, we see Dan Maskell throwing Chubby Carlos over a set of steel steps…

    Nate Savage slamming Humanity down with his Nasty Bomb as the twenty minute time limit expires all the way back on Night One in St. Petersburg…

    Michelle von Horrowitz slamming a chair over Jon Snowmantashi’s head in Yekaterinburg, ready for their encounter at Olkhon Island...


    Onwards the train goes. It is colder, now. More remote. Mountains begin to emerge to our north and to our south, but the large hills are still smothered with the same forestry that has accompanied us for days.

    Alyster Black is shown with his head in his hands following his third defeat, Dan Maskell celebrating in the background…

    Humanity is hit with Christopher Jackson’s ‘Breaking Habit’ finisher, and then the official counts to three…

    Michelle von Horrowitz looks on as Jon Snowmantashi rolls onto his front, the clock counting to zero…


    The mountain. The train climbs and climbs, weaving its way around the jutting earth through day and through night. The snow comes every now and then in large dumps, lining the hill and the trees and the train itself. A provodnitsa emerges at one backwater stop, knocking ice from the train’s undercarriage with a long, steel pole…

    And Jon Snowmantashi hits the Hailstorm, time and time again…

    First Dan Maskell, then Alyster Black, and Krash, and finally Michelle von Horrowitz…

    All of them laid out, and Jon Snowmantashi standing victorious, already within reach of the promised prize…


    The train winds through the night, and as it does we see Cyrus Truth. Only snippets of his impervious run, but it’s enough…

    The Exile’s Edge delivered to Christopher Jackson…

    Nate Savage is taken down with Memento Mori…

    Wanderer’s Wrath for Humanity…

    … and finally Jonathan McGinnis succumbs to Journey’s End…


    As we see a city begin to appear through the trees, rearing up before us like something long promised but never quite believed, we see short glimpses of the other competitors still alive in the tournament…

    … Krash is first seen connecting with the One-Hit Kill on MvH… then Dan Maskell hits his Big Ben Bash on Alyster Black… finally, Chubby Carlos connects with FastFood on Black Jesus …

    … Intercut with the train approaching a station is Nate Savage stomping a hole into McGinnis, coupled with The Indy God maniacally laughing and then nailing Shawn Summers with Something Light… we cut away from this to Der Basterd himself, who is shown nailing The Prophecy on Humanity… finally, Christopher Jackson hits Breaking Habit on McGinnis… the identical finishers are shown in unison, until we are back in colour and in a station…


    VLADIVOSTOK VOKSAL. A foot steps down off the train and onto the platform, and then the screen goes black.

    It comes back again slowly, but surely, and we can see the Pacific, as viewed from the Eagle’s Nest, the vantage point up in the hills of the city…


    The camera slowly turns to the left, the sun going down in the distance as it settles on the Marinskiy Theatre, the setting for tonight’s show…

    And suddenly we are inside it, the music coming to its close as the audience - almost exclusively well to-do people in smart clothes (suits and cocktail dresses and the like) - give loud applause to the show’s title card appearing on the big screens…



    NIGHT FIVE.
    Live from the Primorskiy Stage of the Marinsky Theatre in Vladivostok, Russia.

    Jim Taylor: “Ladies and gentlemen… welcome to our coverage of Night Five of the Gold Rush tournament… and I for one cannot believe that we are finally here! Twenty four matches have already taken place… six more are to come here in Vladivostok tonight… we’re about to find out who makes the finals in Vanuatu, Tim!”

    Tim Coleman: “That’s right, Jim: Cyrus Truth and Jon Snowmantashi occupy two of those final four slots. We know that much for sure. But who’s going to join them? Seven other wrestlers still have a fighting chance tonight, and there’s only one way to find out!!”

    Some of the bolder members of the audience are on their feet, cheering, and the camera quickly scans across them before returning to a wide shot to take in the whole theatre. We are in the Primorskiy Stage, which is set out like a regular theatre but grand and massive and elegant. There is a dress circle and a grand circle above that, as well as some executive boxes at the end of each circle. The stalls are separated into two halves by a long central aisle, which leads to the back of the theatre and a staging area set up at the back of the room. A curtain separates the stage from Gorilla position behind it. At the other end of this central aisle is a raised stage, just like you’d find in any theatre, and two sets of steps - one on the left and one on the right - lead from the floor to the stage. Beneath it, an orchestra sits ready in the music pit, but more on that later…

    Jim Taylor: “This is our fifth and final show here in the Russian Federation and what a backdrop it’s been… now, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, we get ready to settle some scores and gear up for the last push to Vanuatu, and to South Pacific!!”

    Tim Coleman: “A lot is on the line in Vanuatu, but there is no prize bigger than the one Brayden Bridges has finally agreed to defend again. And we’ll find out who will challenge Bridges for the CWA World Heavyweight Championship at the climax of this tournament. The Rush is on!”

    The ring is on the stage itself, taking up position in the middle of it with enough space around it for action to take place there as well. There is a barricade on the edge of the stage (except for at the top of the two sets of steps) to separate the ring from the audience (and orchestra pit) below. The curtain is already pulled back in expectation. There are two screens: one mounted on the wall behind the ring, and the other up in the grand circle directly opposite it...

    When the show’s opening theme music comes to a close, we note that there is one man standing in the ring, a microphone in his hand. There’s a wide smile on his face, its source the overwhelmingly positive reaction that the beginning of the show - his show, after all - is eliciting. When his face is projected onto the big screen above the entrance, though, the mood shifts drastically and dramatically. The cheers instantly cease, and are quickly replaced by wide-spread boos and jeers. The good will with which the show has been greeted is not extended to its organiser, it seems…

    The reaction doesn’t bother Noah Hanson one bit. He knows that ticket sales have exceeded expectations for all five nights of the Gold Rush tournament and indeed for the upcoming South Pacific event. He knows that the pay-per-view buyrates for the shows have been strong, and that his organisation is the talk of the pro-wrestling world. They can boo all they like: he was the fucking man. And this was his moment to flex his muscles and assert his authority.

    Slowly, still smiling, Hanson lifts the microphone up to speak.

    Noah Hanson: “Ladies and gentlemen… I welcome you to the fifth and final night of the Gold Rush tournament!”

    There are cheers for the event’s climax, but the audience is reluctant to award Hanson credit for it.

    Noah Hanson: “What a tournament it’s been. With one night of competition remaining, two of our finalists have been decided. But there are still seven other men with a chance of qualification to The Final Four at South Pacific. Krash, Dan Maskell, and Chubby Carlos will seek to join Jon Snowmantashi as Pool A’s qualifiers, whilst Jonathan McGinnis, Shawn Summers, Christopher Jackson, and Nate Savage are in the hunt to finish as runner-up behind Cyrus Truth. And tonight is the night where we get our answers…”

    More appreciation from the fans: it’s been a long tournament, and the climax is finally within reach. Anticipation for Night Five and The Final Four at South Pacific is high amongst the assembled fans in Vladivostok.

    Noah Hanson: “But questions pertaining to the Gold Rush tournament, and to the final two qualification spots available, are not the only questions that have emerged recently. Lake Baikal was… unfortunate…”

    As he talks, clips are shown of the end-of-show brawl between six of the top teams in the Clique Wrestling Alliance. The Echo are displayed interrupting the end of the Pool A match between Dan Maskell and Chubby Carlos, delivering superkicks to those involved in the match. The Division are shown trading blows with the Connor Brothers, and then McGinnis throwing Summers onto bare rock face with a big back body drop. We see The Undisputed Alliance being waylaid by Murder, Inc., and snippets of the tavern brawl between Noah Stocke and The Gang Stars. We finish with the three-on-one Indy Club assault of Shawn Summers, as well as the climactic stand-off between the champions and The Division…

    In the ring, Noah Hanson shakes his head. The audience, on the other hand, are going wild…

    Noah Hanson: “What happened on Olkhon Island was a disgrace. A disgrace to this tournament, to this company, and to this industry. And of course, I have to take a large amount of personal responsibility for these events. The tarnishing of our main event between Dan Maskell and Chubby Carlos is one thing. The wanton destruction of property upon Olkhon Island and the ruining of CWA’s reputation amongst its people is another entirely. And so, I find myself in a position where action must be taken. I have come to a series of decisions, for the good of the Clique Wrestling Alliance and our upcoming spectacular on the island of Vanuatu…”

    There is something of a hush now within the theatre. The audience seems to be collectively creeping forward onto the edge of its seat.

    Noah Hanson: “And the first decision is directly related to that spectacular’s main event, and the opponents that The Gang Stars will face at South Pacific…”


    Overwhelming negativity from the Vladivostok audience as Jonathan McGinnis and The Conner Brothers walk out onto the stage. McGinnis is pleased and spurred on by the widespread jeering. He nods his head as he and his boys begin the walk down the central aisle of the theatre.

    Jonathan McGinnis: “I know that this is meant to be a tag team summit... well, that’s what the morons in the back have been calling it, anyway… but it would be remiss of me to not show my face and double down on what I said last week.”

    The three have come to the end of the aisle and look up at Hanson, standing inside the ring that is mounted upon the stage. The Indy Club each head to the left-hand set of steps up to the stage, Ethan leading the way and Drew coming up the rear.

    Jonathan McGinnis: “I would already be qualified for the finals if it wasn’t for the braindead official you gave the responsibility of calling my match to last week. You can dress a chimp in a black and white shirt, but a chimp it will remain. I meant what I said, Hanson: any more attempts from you or your idiot employees to derail my progress through some misplaced sense of honour or integrity… and this tournament ends on our terms.”

    Strong words from Johnny Mc. He passes the mic on to his Indy Club brother Drew, which he takes with gusto, slamming the palm of his hand against the mic, causing a “THUD” sound to (fine; I’ll say it) echo around the building. Ethan, as always, leans back in the corner idly, dangling his own mic. He is detached and vaguely annoyed looking whilst Drew takes the lead as normal.

    Drew Connor: “We know what you’re about to say... No, really we do.”

    Ethan Connor: “Grand momma Connor was a mystic… or high most of the time on bath salts, one or the other...”

    Drew Connor: “And we get it... really we do... that big DRAMATIC stare down between the Gang Stars and The Division at the end of the last show? I mean...”

    Drew raises his free arm and gestures to it. He lets out a faux-shiver that shimmies through his shoulders, as if suddenly cold.

    Drew Connor: “Chills. We know what you’re thinking, but we’re not going to scream, and rage and beg...”

    Ethan Connor: “We’re not even going to corner you in your office and threaten you in a weirdly homoerotic way.”

    Drew Connor: “No, we’re just going to do what we always do; drop facts. Hey, that’s all we’ve ever done. And the facts are these; at One Night Only-”

    Ethan Connor: “That name became fucking ironic…”

    Drew and Ethan share a look before Drew holds up his forefinger and thumb and positions them in such a way they were almost touching.

    Drew Connor: “I was THIS close to grabbing those belts. I was literally touching them before falling twenty feet through a table.”

    Ethan Connor: “He’s fine, by the way.”

    Drew Connor: “Yeah, thanks for asking! Ethan fell off a balcony! And not even a card?”

    Ethan Connor: “WHERE THE HELL WERE MY GET WELL FLOWERS, HUH?!”

    Drew Connor: “Point is… we got closer… MUCH closer than the Division ever did to those titles last year. We spent the whole match whipping Noah Stocke and Trevor Ocean’s pale flabby one dimensional “pure wrestling” asses all over the building…so I assume… LOGICALLY... we’re the ones to get the shot. Unless you need more reasons why we’re number one contenders? Huh? Is that it? You want more?”

    Ethan Connor: “I think he needs more Drew…”

    Drew Connor: “Ok, how about being three-time... three-time... THREE-TIME... CWA Tag Team Champions. How about defending those belts more than any team that has ever held them? How about being two goddamn years undefeated. Hey, E?”

    Ethan Connor: “S’up?”

    Drew Connor: “Did I just make all that up? Is that bullshit?”

    Ethan Connor: “Nope. It sounds like undisputed cold hard facts to me.”

    Drew Connor: “Oh, how about this! How about the fact that we’ve never sold out and joined the dark side? When every other team, every other wrestler dropped their pants the second Daddy FWA came-a-calling... WE stayed loyal to this place. You wanna know why?”

    Ethan Connor: “This part is the one you wanna pay attention to...”

    Drew Connor: “The reason those belts are so valuable? The reason they’re main event worthy? Is because of US. Those belts are a part of us; without the Echo, there is no tag division! Before we came along tag team matches were just bathroom breaks, and we dragged tag team wrestling kicking and screaming all the way to the main event!”

    Ethan Connor: “WE did that. Not the Division. Not the Gang Stars. The Echo!”

    Drew Connor: “And now what? You wanna shove us back down to the piss break match while two dork filled teams piggyback on OUR life’s work? After everything we’ve done for this company?! We gotta win the right to be number one contenders?! Like we haven’t earned it a thousand times over?!!”

    Ethan Connor: “Funny. I don’t remember The Division winning a number one contender match.”

    Drew Connor: “You know what’s even funnier, Ethan?”

    Ethan Connor: “What’s that, Drew?”

    Drew Connor: “Uncle Noah thinks he can make us be his midcard bitches...”

    Drew’s eyes narrow just a little as he takes a threatening step towards the GM. Ethan hangs back, leaning against the corner, smacking gum around his mouth with an ever so smug look about him. Jonathan McGinnis has a self-assured look on his face, and nods his head at every sentence that falls out of Drew’s mouth.

    Drew Connor: “Let me spell it out for you: we’re in that title match. It doesn’t matter if it’s just us. Hell, you can make it a three-way. There’s a five-star classic right there! But the fact of the matter is: WE get that title shot. Because we deserve it. Because we’ve done our time in the mid-card… and we ain’t going back.”

    Ethan Connor: “Look; just give us the match will ya? This place fucking sucks and everyone smells like shit. The sooner you say the words, the sooner we get the first plane out of this bullshit country, before the Russian Mafia tries to kidnap us and sell our hair on the black market.”

    Drew Connor: “Private plane.”

    Ethan Connor: “We don’t trust Russian pilots.”

    Drew Connor: “Why would the Russian mafia want to sell our hair?”

    Ethan Connor: “Who fucking knows what those morons want.”

    Drew Connor: “Did you just insult the Russian mob in Russia?”

    Ethan Connor: “Fuck ‘em”


    Almost on cue with Ethan Connor’s last words, Gimmie the Loot breaks through the boos and jeers directed towards The Echo as the attention of everyone turns towards the entrance. Trevor Ocean walks through the curtain and onto the staging area wearing a black “Elite DVSN” shirt, black jeans and classic white and black converse sneakers. He walks with a purpose down the central aisle towards the Indy Club and Hanson - his partner, Noah Stocke, is noticeably absent. Trevor accepts a microphone from Noah Hanson, walking past McGinnis to stand in front of the Connor brothers.

    Trevor Ocean: “You two don’t get it, do you? No one takes you two seriously. No one views you two as one of the great tag-teams of CWA or professional wrestling in general. You’re just two kids that like to run their mouths until someone finally pops you in em. You remember the last time you two ran your mouths to me and Noah, right? Las Vegas… the after party for the PRIDE event. You two remember that event, yeah? It was the event that Noah and I beat the hell out of you two at and took the tag-titles. You two left Las Vegas without your tag-titles and you ended that night having gotten your ass beat in the ring and then having gotten your ass beat backstage for popping off like you always do.”

    Trevor slowly begins to walk around Drew and Ethan, a look of disgust on his face as he raises the microphone to his mouth again. McGinnis is still leaning against the ropes, smiling at the whole scene.

    Trevor Ocean: “You two… well, three now... don’t learn your lesson, do you? You think this is a game and that because you talk louder and throw a tantrum when things don’t go your way people are supposed to pay attention to you and put you on a pedestal that you don’t belong on. Let me tell you WHY you aren’t getting a tag-title shot. In your last THREE CWA tag-team championship matches, you two have lost. You two ran the CWA tag-team division when it was at its absolute weakest. You did a good job of adding filler for the shows. You fulfilled your purpose, but, now, it’s time for the real tag-teams to take center stage, and the pretenders to fight for the opportunity to be humbled by one of us. If you two want a shot at actually winning tag-team championships...I advise you to head to FWA. I’m sure you two would thrive there in a tag-team division built on jokes on people desperate to add a championship reign to their resume. You’re not cut out for the tag-team wrestling of C.W.A.”

    Tervor has entered the ring, and stands menacingly across it from The Echo and Jonathan McGinnis. The Indy God stands behind his two goons, still smiling but now shouting at Ocean in an unintelligible manner beyond a few references to Shawn Summers. Noah Hanson stands in between them, his eyes darting back and forth between the two units as he internally ruminates on the possible manners in which this summit can be kept civil…

    Noah Hanson: “Now, gentlemen, this sort of discourse is just great... but…”

    There is nervousness in Hanson’s countenance, in his body language, and in the delivery of his words. But, to his credit, he remains somewhat firm and resolute.

    Noah Hanson: “The last thing that I want is a repeat of last week. That is precisely the opposite of what I hoped to accomplish with this summit. But it’s a good thing that all of you are out here, because I have something to say to each of you. I want to start, as I said, with the main event announcement for South Pacific…”

    The fans creep forward on their seats again, and even Trevor and The Indy Club simmer down momentarily as Hanson gears up for his announcement.

    Noah Hanson: “The way in which The Echo has acted over the past two weeks should not be rewarded. Even if your talent and your ambition is commendable, and worthy of a place in this match, to greet your insubordination and downright disrespect of this tournament with acquiescence would set a dangerous precedent. And I find it telling, somehow, that you have come here to ask to be ‘added’ to a match that hasn’t even been made yet. Even you know it is true: the match that the world wants to see has to go ahead… without The Echo, and, of course, without Golden Rock…”

    The implication is greeted with cheering. Trevor nods his head knowingly. The Echo begin to foam at the mouth.

    Noah Hanson: “And that’s why… at South Pacific… it will be Krash and Alyster Black of The Gang Stars against Trever Ocean and Noah Stocke of The Division for the CWA Tag Team Championships of The World!”

    Before the audience can give the announcement its due reaction, Drew Connor is back on the microphone…

    Drew Connor: “No, no, no, no, no no no no, no, NO, NO, no, no!

    Ethan Connor: “This is BULLSHIT---!!!! AND YOU KNOW IT!!”

    Drew Connor: “You’re going to reward them?! THEM??!!? They’ve spent their entire career picking up scraps like vultures and while thinking they’re alpha predators, and normally… Well, we don’t give a shit, but NOW?! Now they're taking a main event pay day away from us. So now we got problems! With Team “We Beat The Echo”!”

    Ethan Connor: “Really? They beat us? I had no idea! They’ve only ever mentioned it every time they’re on the screen...”

    Drew Connor: “And hey, if you REALLY want to talk about that? If you guys want to go over that period… you’re the only person that wants to remember that... you know why? Because [NO ONE ELSE CARES, BECAUSE YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE THAT WANTS TO REMEMBER THOSE CWA DAYS! BECAUSE WE COULDN'T WAIT TO GET OUT OF THERE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! BECAUSE CWA PRIDE SUCKED AND YOU WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE TO BENEFIT FROM IT, FORCING YOUR SHIT WRESTLING ETHOS ON AN ENTIRE COMPANY WHO DIDN’T WANT IT!! Of course we lost to you! Why the fuck would we want to carry the torch of PRIDE wrestling?! So yeah… We gave you the torch we were carrying for YEARS and we said... ok, this company isn’t ours any more this is in THEIR image, so here; here’s the titles. Lets see if you can handle carrying this division. Lets see if you could handle being the aces… And what happened?! Three weeks later CWA died! It took us years to build a company up! It took less than a month for the Division to bring it down!”

    Ethan Connor: “These are the people that KILLED CWA with their bullshit while we were keeping it alive! These are the people that used Krash for their poster child like a little performing monkey! “LOOK AT HIM! HE’S THE PURE CHAMPION” These are the peo…”


    “Goodbye Sober Day” interrupts Ethan Connor and out through the curtain come the reigning CWA Tag Team Champions of the world. The Heartbeat of the CWA and his masked compatriot. The titles are slung over their shoulders, freshly polished, golden and reflecting the light that hits them. They make their way down to the ring, microphones in hand. Climbing the steps one after the other, they don’t speak until they’re in the ring, face-to-face with their rivals. Alyster and Krash pose up, standing beside Trevor, it would seem they aren’t a fan of the numbers advantage the Indy Club have, even if it means standing by an enemy.

    Krash: “Alright, Ethan, Drew, you’re at a nine, I need you to tone it down to at least a four.”

    Alyster Black: “Which means shut the fuck up you whiny bastards”

    The crowd pops, because of course they do. Someone told The Echo to shut up, that’s worthy of a standing ovation. Krash clears his throat and speaks up again.

    Krash: “Thank you Al. My word, that brawl last show got out of hand, didn’t it?”

    Alyster Black: “It sure escalated quickly.”

    Krash: “We were just drinking in some seedy tavern…”

    Alyster Black: “More specifically, drinking in celebration of me kicking your ass.”

    Krash: “Yes, that. Humble as always, Aly. When all of a sudden a wild fistfight fell into our laps!”

    Alyster Black: “It was like a dream come true.”

    Krash: “It's a miracle any of us made it here alive.”

    Alyster Black: “And a damn shame you three did.”

    He waves his hand in the direction of the Indy Club, indicating them as the (obvious) target of his barb.

    Krash: “Look, lads, I’m not going to get into the final days of CWA. There’s a lot of mixed thoughts I’d rather not dredge up right now-”

    Alyster Black: “Y’know, I never really hear you reminisce about being the CWA Pure Champion.”

    Krash: “You’re not helping, Alyster.”

    Alyster Black: “I’m not trying to.”

    Krash: “But the point is, CWA is gone. It’s not coming back. All we have are memories. And these, of course.”

    The Gang Stars tap the faceplate of the CWA Tag Team Championships.

    Krash: “And I’d much rather float with the good memories than drown in the bad ones. The Pure stuff was… Not my thing. I won’t lie. But fuck, I tried, y’know? I tried to be what was needed of me. Evidently, it wasn’t enough.“

    The Flatline of the CWA hangs his head in shame. His masked partner offers some condolences in the form of a few pats on the back and a comforting ‘there-there’. After a brief moment with everyone in the ring seemingly at a loss for words, Alyster speaks up again.


    Alyster Black: “As for South Pacific, and who we’re facing - The Division? Trevor here and his shitlord of a friend?”

    Krash: “Sounds about right.”

    Alyster Black: “And what do we think of facing off against those two jerks?”

    Krash: “Eh. Yeah, sure. Why not? Trevor, correct me if I’m wrong, but you and Noah weren’t really into the whole triangle ladder match we had with The Echo, right? It wasn’t ‘proper wrestling’ or ‘pure fighting’ or whatever?”

    Trevor Ocean nods.

    Krash: “Then consider this to be your match. No gimmicks. No schtick. No excuses for when you and Noah stand up to us and promptly fall back down. The ball is in your court, Trevor. Doesn’t mean we’re not going to score.”

    Alyster Black: “Where is Stocke anyway? I wanna deck that bastard in the shnoz.”

    Before Ocean can interject, Noah Hanson lifts a hand to stifle any responses other than his own.

    Noah Hanson: “I think we have enough combustible elements out here already, Alyster. But there is more that I need to say this evening. And I am glad, Ethan, Drew, that you have found it upon yourself to come down to this ring. I find it amusing, really, that you consider yourselves worthy of a championship shot at South Pacfic based on past failures and your current warpath. These actions are not more likely to throw you into a match with our champions and their now-designated challengers. In fact…”

    His eyes fall upon The Indy Club. Ethan is pacing this way and that, intermittently scowling. Drew is mouthing off to a group of front-row fans. McGinnis stands in the corner, tapping his foot against the floor and staring directly at Hanson.

    Noah Hanson: “In fact… they make me question whether you’re deserving of the opportunity I had already offer you for Vanuatu…”

    The audience begins to increase in volume, showing their support at the suggestion.

    Tim Coleman: “Is Hanson saying he’s thinking of removing The Echo from their number one contendership match?!”

    Jim Taylor: “Certainly seems that way, Tim! Drew and Ethan look apoplectic…”

    The Connor brothers are conversing with each other and with their leader, but before they can formulate any sort of response to Hanson…


    GET ON YOUR KNEES AND BOW DOWN!

    “Bow Down” hits and The Undisputed Alliance step out, Savage looking fierce as always while Fenix is acting like his usual, arrogant self. Savage is looking directly ahead at the ring as they make their way down, meanwhile, Fenix is taunting and flaunting for his “adoring fans”. They finally make it to the ring and both of them are handed microphones.

    Jackson Fenix: "Everybody, shut up right now!”

    Off microphone, Krash can be heard saying that they weren’t talking.

    Jackson Fenix: “Especially you, you and your stupid-looking mustache!”

    Krash looks a little hurt but he does his best to hold it together.

    Nate Savage: “Hanson, before you do anything rash and say what I think you’re about to say: don’t do it. Don’t you even think about removing those two nitwits from the number one contender’s match!”

    The Echo nods in agreement at Noah Hanson and tells him to listen, despite being referred to as nitwits.

    Nate Savage: “After the stunts that they’ve pulled, I want nothing more than to rip their heads off and then shove them up their asses! As much as I would love to see them have this opportunity ripped away from them and then they throw a hissy fit worse than my five year old daughter, I want to beat the holy hell out of them and be the one to deny them the opportunity to challenge for the tag team championships! I don’t want them squirming their way out of that.”

    Jackson Fenix: “Exactly! I couldn’t have said it better myself Nate dawg! These two snot-nosed little brats think they can jump us and just get away with it?! WRONG! That’s not how things work around here! Much like Nate here, I would LOVE to see you goobers have your title shot ripped away from you, but I would also absolutely LOVE to superkick your teeth down your throats and in order for me to achieve that goal you have to be in that number one contender’s match!”

    Nate Savage: “We beat you and we beat Murder Inc…”

    Jackson Fenix: “Murder Inc? Who is that?”

    Nate Savage: “Murder Inc: Kendrick Lethal and Jermaine Creed.”

    Jackson Fenix: “...oh yeah, those guys, the token…”

    Savage puts his hand over Fenix’s microphone before he can finish.

    Nate Savage: “What I was saying... after we beat the hell out of you and Murder Inc at South Pacific, we then earn our shot at those CWA Tag Team titles that the masked goof and mustached dork currently possess. Alyster, I couldn’t help but overhear you mention how Krash doesn’t talk much about the Pure Championship days, maybe it’s because I beat him black and blue and took that championship from him, thus becoming the last ever CWA Pure Champion! I can’t say that I blame him from wanting that memory erased from his mind, and he knows that if you guys beat The Division and remain champions, while we WILL defeat The Echo and Murder Inc and then we will go on and take those titles from you.”

    Jackson Fenix: “Or… you know, it might be The Division that beats The Gang Stars and becomes the CWA Tag Team Champions again… YAWN! BORING! No one wants to see that. Hell, no one wants to see any of you geeks be the champions! The Division as champions again, there’s a reason that this company tanked in the first place and it isn’t because of us! Trevor knows and his buddy Noah knows that’s why he won’t even show his ugly face here tonight! Gang Stars as champs? I mean, we’re experiencing it right now and I have to say, it sucks. I mean, sincerely I absolutely hate you both. Krash, your stupid mustache, and Alyster you’re a stupid piece of shit that I hope dies someday of alcohol poisoning.”

    Fenix is working himself up into a furore, and even Nate Savage is smiling behind him as his partner goes on.

    Jackson Fenix: “The Echo? Been there, done that! Nobody wants that again. Besides, if the pressure becomes too much again you’ll just take your balls and go back home to that trailer in bumfuck Georgia! Murder Inc? I, uh...I don’t know what to say about them to be honest. I mean, they’re probably only in this match because CWA is trying to be diverse and we need a…”


    Just as soon as the raspy voice in “GANG” blares through the P.A. system, the voice of Lethal cuts through it as soon as their out on the stage.

    Kendrick Lethal: “Cut the music. Cut it. We don’t gotta play that right now, let’s leave it for South Pacific.”

    The pair don’t bother saying anything else, allowing the crowd to get a momentary break from the barrage of monologues, but only for so long. Murder Inc eventually hits the ring, glaring at each and every other face in the ring, McGinnis and Hanson included.

    Kendrick Lethal: “Imma be straight up because that’s something that’s lacking with y’all. Imma keep it real honest. Real succinct. Y’all gon get a chance to hear us talk, but that’s gonna have to wait till South Pacific’s out the way. So here it is, five years ago, we stepped into a CWA ring, and we couldn’t cut it. You motherfuckers…”

    He points to the Echo…

    Kendrick Lethal: “Proved we weren’t ready. Now, I could come out here and run y’all down one by one and pretend, like The Undisputed Asscracks are pretending, that we got anything to back that up, but we don’t. We don’t. We stepped into this ring five years ago, and we lost. That’s just the truth. So we ain’t here to chat shit. We ain’t gotta lie to ourselves bout all that. If y’all wanna talk shit, be my guest. Don’t matter to us. Chat your shit. This tag team summit don’t mean anything to us, the date’s already set and ain’t NO ONE changing that.”

    Lethal glares at Hanson.

    Kendrick Lethal: “We got our calendars set straight. We don’t need no shortcut to those belts. At South Pacific, we know what we gotta do. We beat you motherfuckers…”

    He points once again to the Echo, then he chuckles, glancing at Fenix and Savage.

    Kendrick Lethal: “We ain’t even worrying about y’all. Then whenever Noah opens his pockets again, don’t matter if it’s the Gang Stars or the Division, don’t matter if you go give those belts to some brothers next door, don’t matter if we gotta choke the life outta y’all with a ladder or with our bare hands, those belts are ending up with us. That’s all there is to it. We’re not worrying about nothing else. We’re out here for one reason, so y’all remember when we made this promise. We missed once five years ago, we ain’t missing again. If Murder Inc needs to kill some motherfuckers to get the job done, Murder Inc… will kill some motherfuckers and get the job done…”

    The audience applauds the sentiment, and Kendrick lowers the microphone as if to signify that he’s done.

    Jim Taylor: “Well, quite a number of these men are making good use of the relaxed censorship afforded to us here on HBO!”

    Tim Coleman: “It seems like Noah Hanson isn’t done!”

    Hanson looks around his surroundings, at the ten men arranged into five units (and Ocean’s implied unit-of-one) about him in the theatre. Slowly, for dramatic effect, he lifts the microphone up one last time.

    Noah Hanson: “I had a feeling that you four might say that, once you’d decided to show your faces. And if that’s the way you want it, that’s the way it will be…”

    The crowd give a cheer, and we cut first to Kendrick Lethal and then to Nate Savage. Both are nodding their heads appreciatively at the announcement.

    Noah Hanson: “But… you raise a valid point, Jackson. You say that you want to get your hands on The Echo… in an environment where escape is not an option. These Brothers Connor have already made it quite clear that they think very little of this match, and are not against the idea of sabotage. What’s more, just as important as keeping everyone in... we must consider how we are to keep unwanted guests out...”

    Hanson allows his eyes to rest upon McGinnis. The Indy God rolls his eyes. Suddenly, the lights in the arena begin to dim, and then the large screen erected in the grand circle opposite the ring stirs into motion…


    A wrestling ring with black ring ropes, standing empty in the middle of a beach, appears on the screen …

    … men - large men, men of work, South Pacific Islanders who are no strangers to labour - begin to toil around the ring …

    … large metallic meshing is soldered onto a heavy iron frame …

    … the cage is tall, wide, encapsulating the ring and an area a couple of metres in width around it. The steel steps are inside the structure, the sun beating down on it as the men continue in their work upon scaffolding …

    … heavy chain links are pulled together around a convex octagonal frame, machinery eventually employed to hoist it up and onto the top of the structure to constitute a roof …

    … the men sit back and look up at the unforgiving cell that they’ve just put together. We view it from behind one of their shoulders, as the man in the foreground of the image lifts a well-earned beer to his lips. He nods his head in appreciation of his own work …

    Noah Hanson: “Ladies and gentlemen, Murder, Inc., The Echo, and The Undisputed Alliance will go at it for a shot at the CWA World Tag Team Championships… in the first ever Jailhouse Blues match… !!”

    The audience again cheer as the lights come back up, the rules of the forthcoming match replacing the imposing image of the structure on the screen.


    Noah Hanson: “Two non-aligned men will start in the match for a five minute period. Then, a third man, drawn entirely at random, will enter the match. Every three minutes thereafter another randomly drawn competitor will enter the match. Pinfalls and submissions can ONLY take place when all six men have entered the match. Only when BOTH members of two teams have been eliminated will the remaining team be named the number one contender… and go on to face the winners of The Gang Stars and The Division at CWA’s fall extravaganza...”

    He looks directly at the camera as we cut away from the graphic…

    Noah Hanson: “More on that... VERY soon!”

    We cut away from Hanson and first to Kendrick Lethal and Jermaine Creed. They are smiling approvingly, as is Nate Savage when we go to him. Jackson Fenix looks less sure of himself. He’s more confident than The Echo, though, who have gone a little pale in light of the announcement of the stipulation…

    Noah Hanson: “And Drew… Ethan… Jonathan…”

    McGinnis is patting his Indy Club brothers on the back, as if to psyche them up. Ethan and Drew are having none of it. Ethan hasn’t really come around after seeing the structure, whilst Drew is now mouthing off in Noah’s general direction.

    Noah Hanson: “If you didn’t like that, you’re really not going to like this… I said at the start of this program that tonight is, after all, about the Gold Rush tournament. It is about finding out who is going to join Jon Snowmantashi and Cyrus Truth at South Pacific. With that in mind, if any of you ten men…”

    Hanson turns momentarily to Trevor Ocean…

    Noah Hanson: “Or Summers or Stocke, for that matter… involve yourself in ANY match tonight, other than the one you are scheduled to compete in, you will lose your spot in Vanuatu. You’ll be on the next States-bound flight, connecting through Moscow tomorrow morning!”

    The audience politely applaud the announcement, preparing themselves for six fair, conclusive, and even match-ups to come…

    Noah Hanson: “But it is apparent that Ethan and Drew do not particularly care for their South Pacific engagement, anyway… and that’s why special attention must be paid towards you and your exploits. Mr. McGinnis will have to remain here in Vladivostok due to his commitments with Humanity later on in the evening… but Mr. Connor, Mr. Connor… I think it’s about time you went on ahead to Vanuatu…”

    Drew is apoplectic, damn near foaming at the mouth as he lunges towards Hanson. It is all McGinnis and Ethan can do to hold him back, though they themselves are enraged by the suggestion…

    Noah Hanson: “Security… get them out of here!”

    Suddenly, eight burly Russian men climb up onto the apron and into the ring. They come towards The Connor Brothers, who now quickly hide themselves behind Jonathan McGinnis…

    Drew Connor: “You can’t do this, Hanson! This is fucking bullsh - -”

    He can’t quite finish the thought, one of the security men grabbing him by the wrist and beginning to usher him out of the ring. Ethan Connor holds his hands up, calmly climbing out of the ring and coming to his brother’s assistance. He separates Drew from the security guard, who has him in a hammer lock, and the two begin to walk a few paces ahead of the security detail as they march The Echo up the central aisle. McGinnis has climbed out of the ring and is following his comrades from a distance, trying to shout ahead to them…

    Jim Taylor: “Well, this audience certainly enjoyed that announcement! Just listen to them! The Echo are being ejected from the theatre… and ostensibly the city of Vladivostok?!”

    Tim Coleman: “It looks as if Jonathan McGinnis is going to have to go it alone tonight against Humanity… and that’s not all… The Division versus The Gang Stars at South Pacific!! The first ever Jailhouse Blues match in CWA history! And we’re only just getting started!”

    The Undisputed Alliance, at the bottom of the ramp, have followed the detail and McGinnis, the Indy God now having disappeared out of the theatre as well. They stop at the top of the central aisle by the staging area, where Murder Inc still stand. The four enter a brief stand-off and then, after jawing a little and nodding his head at Jackson Fenix, Kendrick takes Jermain Creed by the arm and pulls him through the curtain. The Undisputed Alliance follow them out of the theatre.

    Jim Taylor: “And look at this in the ring!”

    Tim Coleman: “A near repeat of Olkhon Island… only without Noah Stocke!”

    Trevor Ocean, to his credit, does not back down, stepping up to the current CWA World Tag Team Champions. Noah Hanson stands between them like a proud boxing promoter ahead of his marquee fight. He smiles, nods his head, and then we fade to black…


    What follows is a short announcement for the next series of upcoming CWA shows, scheduled to take place in the fall of this year. The third and final of these is the largest, entitled I Left My Wallet in El Segundo and accompanied in its promotion by images of Californian beaches and the titular city. It is supported by two smaller shows in locations up and down the Pacific coast, City Lights in Seattle and Modern Times in Portland…

    Three action-packed nights on the West Coast in late September!!

    Night One. Seattle, Washington.
    “CITY LIGHTS.”

    Main Event.
    CWA World Tag Team Championships.
    TBA (1/60).

    Night Two. Portland, Oregon.
    “MODERN TIMES.”

    Main Event.
    TBA.

    Night Three. El Segundo, LA, California.
    “I LEFT MY WALLET IN EL SEGUNDO.”

    Main Event.
    CWA World Heavyweight Championship.
    Brayden Bridges [c] vs. Gold Rush Tournament Winner (1/60).
    ...

    ...

    When we come back to the arena, we are with Jim Taylor and Tim Coleman at the commentary booth…

    Jim Taylor: “Well, another HUGE announcement there for the Clique Wrestling Alliance! It appears we will be returning to the United States in 2021. We’ll be LIVE on the West Coast… and California will be the location of our fall extravaganza!”

    Tim Coleman: “And already we know that the CWA World Tag Team Championships will be on the line as part of that West Coast tour, the two winning teams out of the five featured at the head of the program facing off for the gold in Seattle at the City Lights event....”

    Jim Taylor: “And what’s more, Brayden Bridges will return to action in California, defending the CWA World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in more than three years… against the winner of the Gold Rush tournament… and I think it’s about time we spoke about the tournament!”

    Tim Coleman: “Delicately poised is the word as we enter the final night of the pool stages. We’ve already discussed that Jon Snowmantashi has qualified from Pool A, whilst the same is true of Cyrus Truth in Pool B. Let’s talk about Pool A for a moment. Here’s the standings heading into Night Five…”

    [POOL A - START OF NIGHT FIVE STANDINGS]

    Jim Taylor: “You can see Jon Snowmantashi highlighted in dark green, indicating that he’ll appear in Vanuatu. Chubby Carlos is currently occupying second spot, one point ahead of both Dan Maskell and Krash. Those two, former tag team champions together, will go one-on-one in the third match-up of the evening, so at least one of them will jump ahead of Chubby Carlos before he competes in our fifth match-up…”

    Tim Coleman: “And who should he face? The currently undefeated Jon Snowmantashi! You can see that Carlos is fresher than Snowmantashi, by virtue of the twenty minute war we saw him compete in against Michelle von Horrowitz on Olkhon Island. If Carlos can defeat Snowmantashi, something nobody has done, he will not only qualify but qualify as group winner by virtue of a superior head-to-head with the kaiju.”

    Jim Taylor: “Chubby will be watching the match between Krash and Dan Maskell VERY closely, I’m sure. And the stakes are just as high in Pool B…”

    [POOL B - START OF NIGHT FIVE STANDINGS]

    Jim Taylor: “Cyrus Truth has been truly dominant so far, picking up four wins out of four and already booking his place at South Pacific’s Final Four. What’s more, he’s through as Pool B winner, even if he loses in tonight’s main event against Shawn Summers…”

    Tim Coleman: “Shawn Summers looked down and out after two defeats in his first two matches, and it’s important to remember who those two losses were against: Jonathan McGinnis and Christopher Jackson, the other two men who are on four points. If either of them win tonight, Shawn Summers CANNOT move above them due to an inferior head-to-head record.”

    Jim Taylor: “Jonathan McGinnis will take on Humanity in our fourth match, whilst Christopher Jackson goes head to head with Nate Savage in match two. Really, the ball is in McGinnis’ court: he holds a superior head-to-head against both Summers AND Jackson, his two victories so far in the tournament coming against those men. If he beats Humanity, he is through to South Pacific.”

    Tim Coleman: “Shawn Summers is really asking a lot tonight. He needs Savage to beat Jackson and Humanity to beat McGinnis before we even get to our main event… and then he would need to beat the only man with a perfect record in this tournament! That could end up being an exhibition before it’s even begun…”

    Jim Taylor: “And it’s important to remember that Nate Savage, currently sitting in fifth on three points, can still qualify too. A victory against Jackson in our second match-up of the evening would see him leapfrog three men into second, and then waiting on other results. Only Humanity is eliminated from Pool B, and will look to play spoiler against The Indy God. His chances, doubtlessly, have increased thanks to Noah Hanson’s ejection of The Echo earlier tonight…”

    Tim Coleman: “I think you’re right, Jim… but I also think it’s time to stop talking about The Gold Rush and get to it! It’s time for our first match-up of the evening: Alyster Black versus Michelle von Horrowitz is next!!”


    Loud boos go around the theatre as Michelle von Horrowitz walks out onto the stage. She doesn’t survey her surroundings, instead making a b-line for the central aisle and meandering down it towards the ring. Her face looks very passive, as if all emotion and fight has been drawn away from it by the events of the tournament so far.

    Jim Taylor: “This tournament has hardly gone how MvH expected or hoped, Tim… she made a mockery of the early matches, getting herself disqualified or counted out in an effort to preserve energy for a show-down with Jon Snowmantashi… a match which went the distance at twenty minutes during Night Four on Olkhon Island…”

    Tim Coleman: “MvH has been out of this tournament for a while, Jim, but after the match with Snowmantashi I think all of her investment in this thing has disappeared completely… It will be interesting to see how von Horrowitz approaches this match against Alyster Black.”

    Jim Taylor: “Black Jesus is also eliminated from the tournament, but the tag team champion is a dangerous opponent. I would wager that MvH wants to emerge from this Russian tour with at least one victory, but that isn’t going to be a small accomplishment. Black defeated The White Wolf at Lake Baikal, and will be looking to continue that hot streak tonight at von Horrowitz’s expense…”

    She gets into the ring and moves to a corner, taking a seat with her head propped up against the second turnbuckle. She looks on patiently as her music fades out...


    Alyster Black walks out onto the stage to a much more positive reaction, his CWA World Tag Team Championship belt around his waist. Some of the bolder front row fans reach towards him for a high five, but he does his best to ignore them as he makes his approach to the ring.

    Jim Taylor: “We’ve already mentioned Black’s victory last week, as well as his, well, non-existent chances of progressing to the Final Four… but Alyster will be at South Pacific, and we found out earlier tonight that he and Krash will be defending those championships in Vanuatu against Trevor Ocean and Noah Stocke of The Division…”

    Tim Coleman: “Alyster Black will surely have one eye on that encounter already, given that he and MvH are meeting here in the wooden spoon contest.”

    Jim Taylor: “Part of me thinks a certain amount of professional pride will be at stake in this one, Tim, if nothing else…”

    Black climbs in and stands opposite from MvH, who pulls herself up to her feet using the top rope when his music has finally faded out. Monaghan stands between them with a microphone in her hand, ready to get us underway on Night Five...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “The next contest is a Pool A match-up, with a twenty minute time limit. Introducing first: in the corner to my left… she hails from Rotterdam in the Netherlands… weighing in at sixty seven kilograms… she is a Wrestle Royale winner and a one-time CWA High Voltage Champion… ‘Dreamer’... Michelle… von… Horrowitz!”

    Another chorus of boos for MvH, but she pays it no mind. Instead, she is shuffling her weight slightly from one foot to the other, staring across the ring at Alyster Black and weighing up her first moves.

    Lindsay Monaghan: “And her opponent, in the corner to my right… from San Dimas, California… he weighs in tonight at two hundred and twenty pounds… he is a three-time, and one half of the current CWA World Tag Team Champions… he is ‘Black Jesus’... ALYSTER BLACK!”

    Black removes his belt and hands it to the official, who organises its transportation from the ring to the time-keeper’s area. Black enters into a standoff with MvH as the audience cheer the match’s antihero. The official goes about making his final checks as Lindsay Monaghan climbs out of the ring, and finally we get underway!

    Pool A. Night Five. Match Twenty Five.
    ALYSTER BLACK vs. MICHELLE VON HORROWITZ.

    The bell rings, and the match begins.

    Alyster steps up, ready to lock up, full of hype and energy. MvH, less so. Alyster gestures, egging MvH to bring it on, and MvH... MvH just shoots a dispassionate wordless glare at him.

    Jim Taylor: “MvH showing a lack of enthusiasm to start this out, and I think we all know why.”

    Tim Coleman: “Michelle's one goal in this event was to get her hands on Jon Snowmantashi and score the victory that has eluded her for years. To have it be ripped from her grasp due to a time limit expiry, of all things, is surely a blow to her morale.”

    Jim Taylor: “Especially since at this point in the rankings, it's downright impossible for her to make it to the finals with the score she has.”

    Tim Coleman: “At this point, Michelle has to be wondering why bother, right? What's the point?”

    Jim Taylor: “Well, the same could be said of Alyster I guess…”

    Alyster glances around, makes a dramatic eye-rolling motion, and drops his fightng stance. MvH pauses, quirking an eyebrow, only for Alyster to step forward, grab her fist, and not-so-gently strike it with his own in an unconventional fistbump. The two seem to exchange words, unheard by the ringside microphones, and after a brief few seconds, Alyster raises his own fist again. And this time, MvH fistbumps it of her own accord. The two separate, and Alyster once again motions for a lock up. The expression on MvH's face is unreadable, with perhaps the barest hint of a smile, before she surges forward for the lockup.

    Jim Taylor: “Interestingly enough, Alyster might've just given Michelle a reason to go forward. We don't know what was said, but it was apparently enough to get MvH into first gear.”

    Tim Coleman: “I'm not familiar with any kind of bond between Alyster & Michelle, but what I do know is that infamous report of the two conducting some sort of drinking contest with each other months ago, the winner being unknown. Nothing brings people together quite like booze, after all.”

    Jim Taylor: “You might be right, Tim. Is that why you have a flask of alcohol next to you? Because you want to bond with me?”

    Tim Coleman: “It's to help me get through the night with your incessant chatter by my side, Jim.”

    Alyster Black & Michelle von Horrowitz struggle for opening supremacy, and it's MvH who gains the upperhand, using her nimble agility to slip around Alyster in a rear waist lock, grapevining the leg to trip Alyster forward, roll over, and forearm him right in the jaw! Alyster responds with a forearm of his own, because of course he does, and the two quickly exchange a brief flurry of forearms!

    Jim Taylor: “Well, there was a sliver of a technical start, right before they switched to a more traditional brawl. Considering both are more likely to brawl than they are to get technical, this isn't surprising.”

    Tim Coleman: “The thing is though, when it comes to all-out brawling, I'd give Alyster the nod. I think if MvH wants to brawl, she'll have to rely on her higher speed and agility to stay ahead of the game.”

    Indeed. MvH makes the mistake of playing the brawling game too quick, too early, and Alyster gains the upper hand, forcing MvH onto the backfoot as his strikes land hard and accurate. He backs MvH into the corner, switching from forearms to elbows, to pure slaps. This is Alyster's Game, we're just along for the ride. MvH uses her agility to avoid a wild haymaker, ducking through the ropes and catching Alyster with a high knee to the jaw. She follows this with a snap hurricuana and a thrust kick to the chest. Not letting him catch a moment, she nails a swift double-foot stomp to the gut, driving the air out of her opponent, then as Alyster sits up, she nabs him in a butterfly lock, drags him to his feet, and nails a beautiful butterfly suplex!

    Jim Taylor: “Case in point, Tim. MvH's quickness will be the difference maker. Wild blows and the odd grapple here and there can keep her ahead, as long as she utilizes her agility advantage.”

    Tim Coleman: “That being said, Alyster can be deceptively fast and equally destructive, a master of brawling, especially if the action falls outside of the ring. All it'll take is a handful of seconds at Alyster's hands, and MvH's advantage can be gone.”

    MvH glances at the clock - seven minutes have passed. Not wanting a repeat of her incident with Snowmantashi, she's being keenly aware of how much time she has available. But taking her eyes off the game for even a second is enough for Alyster to rip the advantage from her grasp, and strikes with a headbutt to the chin. With MvH stunned, Alyster nails a snap Russian leg sweep - the Russian variation earning a quick pop from the Russian crowd.

    Jim Taylor: “Usually we see that move being employed by Michelle von Horrowitz, but here it’s Alyster Black who uses it to a cheap pop from this audience in Vladivostok…”

    Tim Coleman: “Alyster Black’s been using that move for many years! And now it’s allowing him to settle into complete control…”

    Indeed, Black enjoys dominance in the next portion of the match, first keeping Michelle grounded with a triangle choke. Von Horrowitz eventually manages to squirm to the ropes to force a break, Black Jesus doing so only at four, but whilst she’s using the ring ropes to pick herself up to a vertical base Black is straight in and on her again. He nails a half-dozen forearms, followed by some clubbing blows to the back which send Michelle to her knees. Black hits the ropes and nails a swinging neckbreaker, going for an arm bar immediately and again forcing MvH over to the ropes. At various points, he’s successful in hitting a snap suplex, a belly-to-belly overhead release, and two consecutive devastating Death Valley Drivers. He covers her and gets a two-count…

    Jim Taylor: “We’re certainly seeing a different MvH in this match… she’s certainly more committed to the outcome…”

    Tim Coleman: “I guess Alyster Black has drawn it out of her…”

    Jim Taylor: “Well, with no Snowmantashi match to save herself for, there’s no real reason for MvH NOT to engage.”

    Black still has the upper hand though, and he first throws Michelle’s head repeatedly into the top turnbuckle, then into the middle one, and finally into the bottom one, before dumping MvH unceremoniously over the top rope. Black picks Michelle up and throws her not once but twice into the steel steps, rolling her under the bottom rope again and getting a two-count for his troubles. Black doesn’t get distracted, instead following up with a series of suplexes: first a butterfly, then a Tiger (bridging for two), and finally a German (again bridging for two). He picks Michelle up after she kicks out and she’s up in a fireman’s carry… no! Michelle slips out and rolls him up with a sunset flip!!

    ONE… TWO… TH - - NO!

    Jim Taylor: “Michelle almost had it there! Despite a lengthy period of dominance for Black, just one roll-up and that could be all for nothing!!”

    Both competitors are quick to their feet, and Black charges in for a big boot… NO! Michelle ducks beneath it… BACKSLIDE PIN!!

    ONE… TWO… THR - - NO!!!

    Again, Black powers out, and the two get to their feet… MULE KICK FROM MvH! Black is doubled over… snap DDT! Michelle’s not done there, lifting Black up to his feet… Russian leg sweep of her own! Delivered into the middle turnbuckle!!

    Jim Taylor: “And now, as we go past the fifteen minute mark, MvH is deciding to take this one up to the high-rent district…”

    Tim Coleman: “Probably thinking 450 Splash… the move that failed to put away Jon Snowmantashi… will it be enough for Alyster Black?”

    We don’t get to find out, at least not yet, as Black springs to his feet and rocks MvH with a forearm! She’s teetering on the top, and Black climbs up too… Soon enough, he is stood on the very top turnbuckle alongside von Horrowitz, and he puts her in a front face lock…

    Tim Coleman: “TOP ROPE SUPERPLEX!! Michelle HURLED across the ring!!”

    Jim Taylor: “And now Black goes for the cover…”

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!

    MvH gets a shoulder up. Black begins to stalk her from the corner, waiting patiently for Michelle to rise to her feet… boot to the midsection… GAMMA BOMB!! Black connects with the elevated power bomb!! He hooks the far leg…

    ONE… TWO… THR - - NO!!!

    Jim Taylor: “Somehow Michelle kicks out!”

    Tim Coleman: “This audience can’t believe it either, Jim!!”

    Black takes a moment to look at the official in disbelief. He stands up and looms over MvH, looking at her supine fom and shaking his head. Finally, he walks over to her, and busies himself in tying her legs up for his STF…

    … But Michelle kicks out at his shins! She deftly untangles her leg from his… SMALL PACKAGE!!

    ONE… TWO… THRE - - NO!!!

    Alyster is out and up… BUSAIKU KNEE KICK! Michelle takes him down!!

    And now it’s her turn to stalk Black… he gets up and turns around… mule kick… step-up enziguri… SHINING WIZARD! Black is laid out in the middle of the ring!!

    Michelle climbs out onto the apron… she’s heading up to the top rope… steadies herself… quick glance around the arena…

    Jim Taylor: “450 SPLASH!!”

    Tim Coleman: “NO!! Black’s knees are up!!”

    Michelle bounces off them and across the ring, and immediately Black is up and on her…

    Jim Taylor: “ONE SHOT KILL LARIAT!”

    Tim Coleman: “HE TAKES HER HEAD OFF!”

    Just for good measure, Black lifts her up one more time… front face lock… BRAINBUSTER DDT!!

    Jim Taylor: “He calls that Satan’s Spike!! And this one is over…”

    ONE… TWO… THREE!
    Result: Alyster Black defeats Michelle von Horrowitz via pinfall at 18:14.

    [POOL A - CURRENT STANDINGS]

    Black is slow to get to his feet, and he doesn’t allow the official to raise his hand in victory after the match. He leans over von Horrowitz, who remains down on her back for a moment, and mutters some unheard words before standing up straight and looking about himself. Finally contented that he’s got his balance, he climbs out of the ring…

    Jim Taylor: “A victory there for Alyster Black over MvH… it doesn’t mean much other than for professional pride, but I’m sure Black Jesus will be happy to take his points total to a more respectable four...”

    Tim Coleman: “I’m not sure he cares about that sort of thing at all, Jim… but maybe it will give him some much needed momentum as he goes into that CWA World Tag Team Championship defense against The Division at South Pacific…”

    Jim Taylor: “Black can focus his attention on that match completely now… which is more than can be said for his tag team partner Krash, whose Gold Rush fate still hangs in the balance!”

    Tim Coleman: “As for von Horrowitz, she’ll also be in Vanuatu, where she’ll take on former CWA World Heavyweight Champion, Lilith. The Gold Rush tournament has been an abject failure for MvH, who will have to put this behind her and focus on some huge matches coming up in her not-so-distant future…”

    MvH is up onto her knees, and she watches Black stomping up the central aisle and towards the curtain. The official offers to help her up, but she refuses the assistance and climbs out of the ring on her own…

    Jim Taylor: “I mentioned Krash’s Gold Rush hopes, Tim… he goes one-on-one with Dan Maskell a little later on tonight, and I think it’s now time to throw it over to Michelle Kelly in the back, who is standing by with The Heretic. Michelle…”

    ...

    ...

    Walking through the corridors with a camera crew in tow, Michelle Kelly looks to be quite anxious as she comes across a room with a door that has been kicked open. The door which is barely standing up on it's hinges creaks open as a sheepish Michelle wanders inside. Here we see an agitated Dan Maskell pacing back and forth. With a sleeveless hooded top over his black jeans and dark blue converse, Dan appears to be in the middle of warming up when he stops and glares at Michelle. Wearing her trendy, black cocktail dress Michelle appears to be slightly nervous of approaching Dan. Glaring directly at her Dan cannot mask his disgust as she walks towards him with a microphone in hand.

    Michelle Kelly: “Dan...:”

    Before Michelle can even get the sentence out, she is cut off by Dan.

    Dan Maskell: “What do you want? Is management sending you dressed like this my way to attempt to appease me?”

    Michelle Kelly: “Excuse me?”

    Dan Maskell: “You know for someone who prides themselves on asking questions. You sure don't actually know much do you. So let me give you a little history lesson. When it came to recruitment of warriors in the old days or the appeasement of one's forces. There was several ways for it to be done. One was a financial element but I'm already paid to be here. Do you know what the other one was? They'd round up some of the finest whores they could to appease them. Obviously with you here they had to make do, but at this stage I'll take it.”

    A disgusted Michelle takes a step back before she actually rears back her hand as if she's about to slap Dan. However Dan quickly catches her hand mid swing before he uses his free hand to take the microphone from her. Keeping his eyes firmly locked on her, Dan's glare is piercing while Michelle tries to free her arm.

    Dan Maskell: “It's OK my dear, you are safe here with me. In fact you can pass a message on for me. You tell management that if they want to send me an announcer to fuck. They send me the right one. Because I'd really like to turn that Toxic Rain into a Golden shower.”

    With that Dan let's go of Michelle's arm but he keeps the microphone much to her annoyance. Gesturing for the camera crew to come closer, Dan has his eyes locked right towards the lens.

    Dan Maskell: “So I take it that the reason for all of this is because you all want to know where my head's at. How I'm feeling about things. The answer is I'm not fucking happy right now! At the last show I had Chubby Carlos beaten. I'd finally got the main event I so rightly deserved. Yet in true CWA fashion, Every time I begin to get what is due. Someone decides to step in and take it from me! They think that I'll just stand back and constantly allow this disrespect. Let me give this little Indy Club some news, I don't give a fuck who you are. I couldn't give a shit how you struggled or where you lot came from. So what these people are invested in your stupid little story but it doesn't change the fact that this is an eco system and you are fucking beneath me! YOU ALL ARE!”

    Seething with rage, Dan snarls before shaking his head.

    Dan Maskell: “You boys think you're untouchable! You really do don't you? You think you can come into my domain and leave unscathed you entitled little set of tossers. Here is a reality check for you cunts. In this world there are two kinds of people. People like myself and people like you. People like me EAT people like you for breakfast and shit you out. You're nothing but vermin, a foul vile species and it's up to my kind to wipe your kind out.”

    Watching on Michelle Kelly motions for the cameras to cut but Dan snatches the cameraman and pulls him and the camera in close.

    Dan Maskell: “I'm not finished yet, because speaking of foreign vermin. That brings me to my former partner Krash. I don't know what I actually find worse about the situation I found myself in with you Krash. Was it the fact that you was a leech. A filthy, scummy parasite who clung to me for dear life or was it the fact that it took me so long to realize it. But don't worry Krash, while how I see you may have changed. What hasn't is the fact that you cannot beat me! See even now I bet you still think we are friends. That there is still some bond there. You're a pathetic, sentimental individual. Whereas myself, I never possessed that chip. I never understood what come from that except weakness and that weakness is what makes us different. Because it will always make me the winner and you the loser.”

    With that Dan shoves the cameraman backwards before he quickly storms out the locker room.

    ...

    ...

    Jim Taylor: “Well, I guess someone must have told Dan Maskell that we were live on HBO, and censorship was a little more lax…”

    Tim Coleman: “Whoever told him that is probably regretting it…”

    We’re in the theatre in time to hear...


    Christopher Jackson walks through the curtain to a positive reaction. He stands on the stage and nods his head as he surveys the well dressed crowd and begins to walk down towards the ring. The commentators recount his path to this point: his two losses and two wins that have left him in the chasing pack for qualification. Jackson climbs up the right-hand steps onto the stage, and then again up the ring steps to gain entry to the ring. He climbs up to the second rope nearest the fans, raising his hands above him and whipping them up even more.

    When he hops back into the ring, his music fades out and is replaced with...


    Nate Savage walks out onto the stage to a much more negative reaction, but he ignores the fans as he walks away from the curtain and down the central aisle of the theatre. Jackson Fenix is conspicuous by his absence, most likely due to the decree from Hanson earlier in the night that any South Pacific tag team competitor who involves themself in a Gold Rush match should lose their place in Vanuatu’s event. Savage is not daunted by the task ahead of him, walking up the steps onto the raised stage and then rolling into the ring to face Jackson.

    Tim Coleman: “A big Pool B match here with big ramifications for qualification, and implications for match-ups still to come later tonight. Christopher Jackson on two wins and four points faces off against Nate Savage, who is still in this hunt for that second qualification spot behind Cyrus Truth.”

    Jim Taylor: “Savage will have to pick up his second win of the tournament to have any chance of qualification, though, and even then he’ll need results to go his way later in the night. He will have to look back at that Night One tie with Humanity, where he struggled to put his opponent away as the time ticked away, and wonder if that will prove costly for Nate Savage’s qualification hopes.”

    Tim Coleman: “Christopher Jackson, too, still very much alive and in the hunt here. Those three men that are on four points in this group: Christopher Jackson, Jonathan McGinnis, and Shawn Summers… each of them will compete separately and in that order here in Vladivostok. Jackson has the first opportunity to draw away.”

    Jim Taylor: “But perhaps against the most dangerous opponent, Tim. Cyrus Truth is already qualified, and in first place. Humanity is already eliminated. Savage is the fourth man in Pool B with something left to fight for tonight, and Christopher Jackson would be well served remembering that…”

    With both men in the ring, Lindsay Monaghan climbs in to give her introductions...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “The next contest is a Pool A match-up, with a twenty minute time limit. Introducing first… in the corner to my left… he weighs in tonight at two hundred and sixty six pounds… he is a two-time CWA High Voltage Champion… from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania… Nate Savage!"

    There’s a mostly negative reaction for Nate Savage. He scowls and lifts his fists into the air, loosening up in his corner as Monaghan steps up again.

    Lindsay Monaghan: “And his opponent, in the corner to my right, weighing in at two hundred and twenty pounds… from Brooklyn, New York… he is a former CWA Continental Champion… CHRISTOPHER… ‘STRAIGHT EDGE’... JACKSON!”

    Jackson is more well received by the Vladivostok faithful, and he lifts a hand into the air as he nods his head in approval of their approval. There’s an easy manner about him and a smile on his face. It doesn’t dissipate when he locks eyes with Savage, the two stepping towards one another as Monaghan vacates the ring and the bell is called for...

    Pool B. Night Five. Match Twenty Six.
    CHRISTOPHER JACKSON vs. NATE SAVAGE.

    Predictably, this contest sees Nate Savage coming out with fire in his belly, seemingly taking out any pent up aggression he’d been storing up since being screwed over by The Indy Club and releasing it on Christopher Jackson. CJ doesn’t roll over and die, however, staying in there with the brute for as long as he can. After Savage targets and rips apart Jackson’s leg, the handicap constantly slows CJ’s offense, but he’s still competitive almost six minutes into the duel. Savage grows incredibly frustrated, wanting to end the match soon, but he’s stopped by Jackson NAILING HIM WITH AN ENZUIGIRI…THAT SENDS SAVAGE OUT OF THE RING!! A big chance for the straight edged one, launching himself through the ropes…

    Tim Coleman: "SUICIDE DIVE CONNECTING!!"

    Jim Taylor: "Both of these men laying it all on the line here. Either of these men could make their entry into the Final Four a reality with a victory here... and that's why we're seeing Jackson pull out all the stops!"

    The ref is counting both men out, the competitors taking a while to get to their feet thanks to the impact and Christopher Jackson’s bad knee. Jackson is still the first man to his feet and tries to pull Savage up, having some trouble with his lack of leverage, and almost rolls him under the bottom rope… only to have Savage come to life and POUND Christopher Jackson’s face off the ring apron! Savage then rolls Jackson back into the ring and climbs up on the apron himself, only to have Jackson recover and charge back…AND NAILS SAVAGE WITH A LOW DROPKICK! THAT SENDS SAVAGE'S FACE OFF THE RING APRON THIS TIME!!

    Jim Taylor: "It’s Savage’s turn to eat his environment, knocking him for a loop."

    Tim Coleman: "Jackson charges back at him looking for the BASEBALL SLIDE… NO! SAVAGE TRAPS JACKSON IN THE RING SKIRT!!"

    The pragmatic brute uses an old school manoeuvre and traps Jackson and starts POUNDING on the back of his neck and head. The referee’s count-OUT is restarted thanks to Jackson, but Savage wastes no time keeping his beating going before slinging Jackson back in. Jackson tries to spring back to his feet, but as soon as Savage rolls in, he takes Jackson and rocks him with a EUROPEAN UPPERCUT!! Savage shoves a forearm in Jackson’s face as he uses a lateral press...

    ONE... TWO... NO!

    Tim Coleman: "Nate Savage getting closer and closer to that three-count here... he can almost smell the beach!"

    Before the match continues, we’re shown a quick shot of ‘The Indy God’ Jonathan McGinnis. He is alone, The Echo having been ejected from the theatre, but he’s keeping a close eye on the action in this match from his locker room. There’s a knock on his door, and an assistant comes into the room with two pairs of hot pants on coat hangers. One of them is a plain khaki green print, whilst the second is camouflaged, and without a word McGinnis points at the pair on the right. He then continues to watch the action on the screen...

    Savage roars in Jackson face to ‘roll over and die’, but Jackson tries to get up, only to be hoisted on Savage shoulders for the sidwalker suplex…NO!! Jackson slides off a bit and adjusts his angle…FLOAT OVER DDT!! Jackson is still very much in this, driving Savage’s head down and following it up with a standing moonsault… that in hindsight seems like a bad idea because his injured knee begins to act up again. He has to tend to is for a moment before actually covering Savage...

    ONE... TWO... T - - NO!

    Jackson’s not done, wrenching Savage’s arm and going over for the OKLAHOMA ROLL!

    ONE... TWO... NO!

    Savage kicks Jackson out so hard, he unwinds and rolls under the bottom rope, but Jackson stays on and slingshots back in… with a SLINGSHOT OKLAHOMA ROLL!!

    ONE... TWO... T - - NO!

    Both men scramble to their feet, Savage going for a clothesline, but Jackson wraps around it and tries for a BACKSLIDE… but Savage fights it and using his weight advantage wins the tug of war by turning around and whipping Jackson into the ropes. On the rebound, Jackson tries a HURRICANRANA…but Savage holds on and then pulls Savage up over his shoulders… only for Jackson to keep flipping and try for a SUNSET FLIP… but Savage isn’t getting pulled over, standing over Jackson… AND DROPPING ON HIM WITH A RUNNING SENTON!! The hip drop lands right on Jackson’s chest, Savage just sitting on him and hooking a leg with his grin

    ONE... TWO... TH - - NO!

    Tim Coleman: "JACKSON USES HIS HOOKED LEG AS LEVERAGE TO PULL SAVAGE ALL THE WAY OVER INTO A SUNSET!"

    ONE... TWO... THR - - NO!!!

    Jim Taylor: "But AGAIN Savage kicks out!! Unbelievable action here from Nate Savage and Christopher Jackson!!"

    Tim Coleman: "Jackson came within a quarter of a second of winning but Savage got out of it!"

    The crowd deflates as they almost see Savage pinned but Savage shares none of this enthusiasm… he sees Jackson struggling to his feet and takes advantage with a HUGE CLOTHESLINE, dropping and hooking the hurt leg...

    ONE... TWO... THR - - NO!!

    Tim Coleman: "SAVAGE IS FURIOUS!! He really wanted to end it there, letting out an agitated cry before picking Jackson back up… and get HIT WITH A SURPRISE SUPERKICK!! JACKSON FELLS SAVAGE!!"

    Jackson falls to his hurt knee since he had to use it as a base, but after a second, Savage is still down and Jackson begins slowly climbing to the top rope, the crowd all kinds of behind him as he gets his balance… and sets... SAVAGE COMES BACK TO LIFE BY CLUBBING THE INSIDE OF THE INJURED KNEE!! Jackson collapses and leans over the top rope, but doesn’t fall, Savage bringing himself up to the second rope and finishing pulling London between his legs... POWER BOMB!

    Jim Taylor: "NASTY BOMB FROM THE SECOND ROPE FROM THE SECOND ROPE!!"

    Tim Coleman: "OHHH MY GAAAAD!!!"

    Jim Taylor: "Nate Savage with a brutal move there, and now its academic..."

    ONE... TWO... THREE!
    Result: Nate Savage defeats Christopher Jackson via pinfall at 12:41.

    [POOL B - CURRENT STANDINGS]

    Savage is panting somewhat as he climbs to his face, and when the official attempts to raise his hand in victory he is the subject of a glare from Nate that puts him right off the idea. Savage breathes in heavily still, looks down at Jackson, and then climbs out of the ring…

    Jim Taylor: “Nate Savage keeping his hopes alive with a hard fought victory there, Tim… he still needs results to go his way later in the night, but that loss means that ‘Straight Edge’ is finally eliminated from proceedings in this tournament…”

    Tim Coleman: “That’s right, Jim, but Jackson can be proud of his contributions to the Gold Rush, and came pretty close to securing his own place in the Final Four here tonight. Savage needs Shawn Summers and Jonathan McGinnis to both lose later on, but he’s done all that he can do in the hopes of ensuring he’s in at least double duty at South Pacific…”

    Jim Taylor: “Nate Savage is indeed already booked in a tag team match alongside Jackson Fenix as part of The Undisputed Alliance, but I’m sure his number one priority right now is fighting his way to Brayden Bridges and that CWA World Heavyweight Championship…”

    Savage is stomping up the central aisle of the theatre, barking at some of the front-row fans as he goes by and makes his way towards the backstage area. We follow him for a moment before fading to black…

    ...

    ...

    A pre-recorded video begins playing and we appear to be in a gym of some sorts. In the background we can see a ropeless ring. A young woman is standing in the ring, wearing pads on her hand, her brown hair pulled up in a tight bun, sweat beads dripping down her face as a well-built man throws shots at her. He is being instructed by a smaller man standing at ringside, his gruff Irish accent rings out and echoes across the gym as he shouts his commands. The focus, however, is on the striking-looking woman in a sharp, fitted dress and jacket combo. The black-haired woman begins speaking in a soft accent, a slight British twang to an otherwise neutral tone.

    ???: “For the uninitiated, allow me to introduce myself.”

    She pauses for a moment and there is a loud thud as the woman in the ring gets knocked on her back following a particularly forceful strike.

    ???: “My name is Tasha Albarn-Hatcher and I am the official liaison for all things pertaining to Billy Hatcher, his promotion and the Dos Vorbild brand. I am proud to be the representative for what, obvious bias aside, I consider the greatest pound for pound competitor to ever grace Europe.”

    The coach at ringside immediately turns around, revealing himself to be former two-time MMA World Featherweight Champion and ex-FWA competitor, Adam Bonnie. Always ready to say something, he swaggers over and cockily interrupts Tasha.

    Adam Bonnie: “C’mon Tasha, don’t be takin’ the piss outta these people. Billy Hatcher is the best competitor in the World. This is Das Vorbild we’re talking about here, don’t sell the man short.”

    Bonnie slaps his hand off the “Das Vorbild” logo on his zipped up tracksuit top.

    Adam Bonnie: “Das Vorbild conquered Europe and he’s gonna conquer the FWA, ye can take me word on that, that’s a guarantee.”

    Tasha purses her lips together, the brash coach was invaluable to the brand but his public relations approach left a lot to be desired. She speaks to the camera again.

    Tasha Albarn-Hatcher: “I can assure you, that for now anyway, Billy is accepting of the fact that he may have to take some low-profile fights to establish his brand in CWA. We have not come here with the intention of holding the company ransom or making demands. Billy is more than happy to let his actions do the talking and…”

    Adam Bonnie: “Ahh look, I get all that.”

    Coach Bonnie seems to be of a slight different opinion.

    Adam Bonnie: “But show the man bitta respect! Jesus Christ this is Das Vorbild. The fella practically owned the European fightin’ scene, he’s a ready to go World Champion, I’m tellin’ ya!”

    Tasha Albarn-Hatcher: “Granted … I can’t say I’m not of the same belief but there’s a way to do things. A pecking order. Billy is just focused on proving himself worthy of being at the top of that pecking order. Now that’s a guarantee I’m willing to make. He will prove himself.”

    Adam Bonnie: “Yeah, but…”

    Coach Bonnie really seems to be irked by something, unwilling to let it go.

    Adam Bonnie: “The best they could come up with was Clint Shepard, XYZ and Johnny Vegas? A has been, a freak and a never was?”

    Billy Hatcher has finally left the ring and he is approaching the duo, his training partner revealed to be former Black Widow competitor Nikki Albarn. Tasha softly tries to stop Bonnie.

    Tasha Albarn-Hatcher: “Adam …”

    Adam Bonnie: “No it’s bullshit! It’s a cop out. How can he be expected to prove himself against these three saps? Everyone knows he’s gonna kill them stone dead and don’t get me started on the four-way. Not only is he proving Jack by winnin’ but IF one of these fellas pin the other … he loses. It’s braindead.”

    Bonnie throws an arm around Billy Hatcher, who looks in brilliant shape, his muscles rippling through his tight under-armour training top.

    Adam Bonnie: “This man right here is a warrior. Prove himself? Fine. But give him a challenge. Give him someone from the Gold Rush.”

    Tasha Albarn-Hatcher: “ADAM!”

    Adam Bonnie: “Nah, for real, let him prove himself. What’s up Hanson, baby? You fallen outta love with money or somethin’? What about Jackson? That’s the one actually. Christopher Jackson. That’s the match. You won’t be long bookin’ this man for a World Title shot when he taps out one of your beloved Gold Rush com...”

    Billy finally interjects.

    Billy Hatcher: “I get what you’re doing here man but let’s leave it to Tasha, yeah? She’s got us here.”

    Bonnie still looks irritated by the development but just mumbles something to Nikki - who hasn’t so much as glanced at the camera - and they both retreat to the background of the gym, presumably setting up Hatcher’s next training exercise. Billy leans into Tasha and whispers something in her ear, her face lighting up with a smile. Billy glances briefly at the camera but then joins Bonnie and Nikki, restarting his training without another word. Tasha brushes her black dress jacket down before addressing the viewers again.

    Tasha Albarn-Hatcher: “I’ve just been asked to take this opportunity to make an official statement from Billy Hatcher. The Das Vorbild brand, as stated, is represented by me, Tasha Albarn-Hatcher. The comments made to Noah Hanson regarding Christopher Jackson was not an official statement from us. He has absolutely zero bones about coming to South Pacific and facing three other men. He believes his wrestling ability will soon speak for itself but in the meantime one of XYZ, Johnny Vegas and Clint Shepard will have to be content with being tapped out by Das Vorbild.”

    Tasha smiles widely and gives her parting line.

    Tasha Albarn-Hatcher: “And that last bit was from Das Vorbild himself.”

    ...

    ...

    We cut back to the arena, and for a moment the camera settles on one of the boxes in the dress circle. It slowly zooms in on the man seated inside, leaning over to a young and beautiful woman, whispering into her ear…

    Jim Taylor: “That’s Johnny Vegas there, attending his first CWA show in four years here tonight… I wonder what he’s thinking about Billy Hatcher’s comments…”

    Tim Coleman: “Well, the comments of his handlers, you mean? Doesn’t look like Das Vorbild does much talking himself…”

    Jim Taylor: “I guess he’ll be doing the talking in the ring at South Pacific…”

    We go back to a wide shot, just in time for...


    Krash walks out onto the stage to rapturous applause from the Vladivostok audience. He surveys them with pride and confidence before beginning his walk down to the ring, slapping the hands of some of the front row fans as he traverses the central aisle…

    Tim Coleman: “This is a HUGE match for Krash as he looks to steady himself. He made a strong start to this tournament, picking up a DQ victory over Michelle von Horrowitz before beating Chubby Carlos on Night Two in Red Square.”

    Jim Taylor: “The White Wolf couldn’t have asked for a better start to the tournament, but things got worse for Krash as we crossed the Urals into Asia. Back to back losses, first against Jon Snowmantashi in Yekaterinburg and then against his tag team partner Alyster Black on Olkhon Island, mean Krash needs at least a point here to have any chance of qualifying.”

    Tim Coleman: “Krash will have one eye on the match between Jon Snowmantashi and current second placed Chubby Carlos later on tonight, but he can’t look past Dan Maskell, a man he knows very well...”

    Krash stands in the middle of the ring as his music fades out, quickly replaced by...


    There’s a large amount of derision from such a small audience as Dan Maskell walks onto the stage, but he pays the jeering crowd absolutely no mind as he instantly begins stomping down the central aisle and towards the ring.

    Jim Taylor: “You alluded to it, Tim… Krash may now share the CWA World Tag Team Championships with Alyster Black, but once upon a time he held that gold with this man…”

    Tim Coleman: “I don’t think there’s any love lost between these two nowadays, though, and even if there was, this will be ALL about qualification to South Pacific. Dan Maskell is on four points too thanks to a victory over Alyster Black, a double countout with Michelle von Horrowitz, and a no contest in last week’s main event against Chubby Carlos… a main event that Maskell demanded, only to see it thrown out thanks to The Indy Club…”

    Jim Taylor: “That left a bad taste in Maskell’s mouth, but you said it yourself: he has to put everything other than thoughts of qualification out of his mind. Unlike Krash, he does not have a superior head-to-head record with Chubby Carlos. If Maskell and Krash were to tie tonight and Carlos were to lose, all three men would be on five points, and a special triple threat play-off match would need to take place tonight!”

    Tim Coleman: “The permutations in Pool A are endless and interesting, but Maskell looks focused on one thing and thing only: and that’s beating Krash.”

    Maskell has slid into the ring and stands in his own corner, staring across the ring at The White Wolf as his music fades out and the introductions begin...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “Ladies and gentlemen, the following is a Pool A match-up scheduled for one-fall, and with a twenty minute time limit... Introducing first, in the corner to my right: from Melbourne, Australia… he weighs in tonight at two hundred and five pounds… he is a Wrestle Royale winner, a Five-Star Attraction Tournament winner, a CWA High Voltage Champion, a four-time - and current, reigning! - CWA World Tag Team Champion, a two-time CWA World Heavyweight Champion… he is ‘The White Wolf’... HE… IS… KRASH!”

    A huge round of applause amongst the well to-do audience gathered within the theatre. Krash lifts his hand above his head and clenches it into a fist, the crowd cheering him on as he nods his head and takes a step towards Maskell. The Heretic only smiles back at him, shadow-boxing in the corner to warm up...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “And, to my right… from London, England… he is a former CWA High Voltage Champion, a former CWA World Tag Team Champion, and a former CWA World Heavyweight Champion... he weighs in tonight at two hundred and twenty five pounds… ‘The Heretic’... DAN MASKELL!”

    A huge boo sounds out again for Maskell. He rotates his neck and loosens his wrists, punching the air as the official goes about making his final checks. Lindsay Monaghan climbs out of the ring, and finally the official can call for the bell...

    Pool A. Night Five. Match Twenty Seven.
    DAN MASKELL vs. KRASH.

    The two men circle the ring, and it looks as if they’re going to come together in a collar and elbow but Maskell is quick to scoot underneath it and into a rear waist lock, proceeding to club at the back of The White Wolf, before turning him around and taking him down with a short-arm lariat. Maskell, who appears to be in a particularly foul mood this evening, uses the opening minutes of the match to wear Krash down with strikes. This mostly takes the form of stomps, forearms, and the occasional straight right hand, though a headbutt slips into the mix as well. Krash does his best to throw up a hasty guard or fire back, but it’s Maskell who is the more adept striker and he’s able to dominate the opening stretches in this manner.

    The tables turn in Krash’s favour at around the four minute mark when he’s able to duck an attempted clothesline and go into a rear waist lock of his own. He takes Maskell over with a German with a bridge which gets him a two count, and when Dan tries to scramble up Krash hits him with a famouser! A lengthy grounded headlock follows, but Maskell is eventually able to get up to his feet and back Krash into the ropes before firing him off into the opposite set… only for The White Wolf to take him over with a shoulder block! Maskell, clearly enraged by this, is quickly up to his feet… kick to the midsection from Krash… snap DDT! Krash gets another two count.

    The White Wolf locks in a hammer lock and wears Maskell down a little longer, but eventually Dan manages to get to his knees and he forces Krash’s shoulders down to the mat. The White Wolf kicks out at two, but is forced to relinquish his hold. Maskell is quick to try a headlock, but Krash wriggles out… school-boy roll-up! Maskell is out at two! Both men are up and Krash goes for a wild clothesline… Maskell ducks beneath it and hits a school-boy of his own! MASKELL HAS THE TIGHTS!! But Krash is again able to kick out at two! It’s Krash’s turn to attempt to scramble to his feet… and Dan Maskell punts him in the head!!! Krash hits the mat… and it’s all he can do to roll out of the ring to safety.

    Jim Taylor: “Krash may have just saved himself there by rolling outside of the ring! Lights out from that punt!!”

    Maskell sucks in a few lung-fulls of oxygen before following Krash out. He lifts him up and wears him down on the outside for a little while. He Irish whips him first into the barricade overlooking the orchestra pit… and then into the steel steps… and finally into the steel ring post! The referee is at five when Maskell rolls into the ring…

    Jim Taylor: “This is something we’ve seen very rarely from competitors in the Gold Rush tournament… Maskell seems content to allow Krash to be counted out here!”

    As Maskell stands up in the ring with a smile on his face, we momentarily cut away to the backstage area. Chubby Carlos is sat back in his locker room, his feet up on the bench in front of him, his arms folded as he watches the Krash versus Maskell match on a small monitor. He picks up a slice of pizza from next to him and bites into it as we return to the action in the ring...

    Tim Coleman: “A bit of carb-loading for Chubby Carlos, there… but yeah, often we’ve seen some of the more… chivalrous entrants throw their opponents back into the ring, or break up the ten-count, when really a countout victory earns you two points just the same as a pinfall one. Dan Maskell at least is smart enough to realise that!”

    The Vladivostok crowd don’t like it, though. They rain down the boos up until the moment when, at nine, Krash finally hurls himself under the bottom rope! The audience let out a cheer, but Maskell is straight over to Krash. He hits his XYZ Crash regal-plex, followed by a fireman’s carry gutbuster!!

    Tim Coleman: “He calls that The Hurt Locker! And now Maskell goes for the pin…”

    ONE… TWO… TH - - NO!!

    Krash gets a shoulder up and Maskell takes a moment to admonish the referee. Finally, he refocuses his attention on Krash, and it looks like he might be going for his Tramp Stamp northern lariat…

    Jim Taylor: “Dan Maskell is teeing Krash up here! Finally the CWA Tag Team Champion gets up to his feet… and he ducks the attack! Krash evades!! Maskell turns…”

    Tim Coleman: “ONE-HIT KILL!! Krash nails the running knee!!”

    Maskell hits the mat… but Krash can’t follow up! He is down to one knee, breathing heavily, and eventually when he’s able to stand it seems that Maskell is returning to life…

    … and The Heretic rolls him up with a small package!! Krash’s shoulders are down!!

    ONE… TWO… THR - - NO!!

    Jim Taylor: “I thought that was it! Maskell playing possum!!”

    Tim Coleman: “Both men are back to their feet… forearm from Krash! Maskell replies with a straight right hand! European uppercut from Krash! Knife edge chop from Maskell!!”

    Jim Taylor: “These two are just trading blows! Krash hits a forearm of his own… and then a step-up enziguri! Maskell is staggered… BUT FIRES BACK WITH A HEADBUTT!”

    Tim Coleman: “Now it’s Krash’s turn to teeter! Maskell backs up a step… he goes for a superkick!! NO! Krash ducks beneath it! AND THEN ANOTHER ONE-HIT KILL!!”

    This time Krash follows up instantly, first hitting a trapped DDT… and then straight into the guillotine choke!! He has Maskell all tied up!!

    Tim Coleman: “Maskell is in the centre of the ring, and Krash has Discordant Serenity locked in!!”

    Jim Taylor: “DAN MASKELL TAPS! He has no choice!!”
    Result: Krash defeats Dan Maskell via submission at 14:38.

    [POOL A - CURRENT STANDINGS]

    Krash releases his hold and takes a moment to lie down on his front and breath in some deep loads of oxygen. Maskell rolls away and under the bottom rope to lick his wounds, The White Wolf eventually feeling strong enough to push himself at first to his knees and then onto his feet.

    Jim Taylor: “Krash keeps his chances alive!”

    Tim Coleman: “He’ll still have to wait with baited breath, watching on as Chubby Carlos takes on Jon Snowmantashi in the final match of Pool A… but Krash has held up his end of the bargain!”

    Jim Taylor: “An impressive victory over his former tag team partner, and that’s Krash’s first since Night Two of the tournament! He’s come good at just the right time here in Vladivostok!”

    Krash takes a moment to celebrate his win with a raised hand to the fans, who greet him with polite applause again. He nods his head before climbing out of the ring and making his way back to the aisle…

    Tim Coleman: “That defeat, though, means elimination for Dan Maskell, who joins MvH and Alyster Black in Pool A as having completed all of their matches and finished outside the top two. Only Chubby Carlos can supplant Krash now…”

    The camera settles on The White Wolf, who looks back around the theatre one more time before disappearing behind the curtain. We enter a wide shot of the room, the ring visible as the central focal point.

    Jim Taylor: “It’s time for us to take a break from Gold Rush action now, ladies and gentlemen… Michelle Kelly is standing by backstage with a special guest. Michelle…”

    ...

    ...

    We cut away from the arena and to the side of the concourses that have been turned into the backstage area. Michelle von Horrowitz stands next to her locker room door, already in her street clothes and with her low-hanging rucksack slung onto her shoulders. She looks glum. It is fair to say that the Gold Rush tournament has not gone exactly as she’d hoped. Next to her stands Michelle Kelly, dressed in her best cocktail gown and with a microphone in her hand. She attempts to look soothing and positive, without gloating in front of the clearly rather downbeat von Horrowitz…

    Michelle Kelly: “I’m joined at this time by eliminated Pool A competitor, Michelle von Horrowitz… Michelle, thank you for joining me in spite of what’s been quite a difficult evening…”

    MvH: “For you and you only.”

    Michelle Kelly: “Any thoughts on the loss to Alyster Black earlier tonight? It’s not your first of the tournament, but it is your first by pinfall. What do you accredit Black’s success to?”

    Von Horrowitz seems to think about the question for a moment, awkwardly fumbling around in her pockets whilst she does her best to avoid the camera lens.

    MvH: “You’re right, it’s the first loss that really matters, unless you count Snowmantashi at Baikal. Which, of course, I absolutely do. But Black was just better than me tonight. He wanted it more. Perhaps he still felt he had something to prove. That this tournament wasn’t already a wash for him. I wanted to win, too: make no mistake about that. But Black was hungrier. I can take nothing away from him or his win.”

    Michelle Kelly: “One would have to think that it’s time for you to look ahead. You have two HUGE matches on the horizon. One is elsewhere, back in a continent we left behind after Night Three. The other is against Lilith in a continent still ahead. We saw your South Pacific opponent make short work of the… um… unfortunate Meg on The Launch-Pad this evening, and then she had some words about entering the Heart of Darkness on Vanuatu. What do you make of all of this?”

    Dreamer waits a moment before responding, looking over towards Kelly in glum fashion and blinking a couple of times to illustrate the nonplussed nature with which she greets Lilith’s actions.

    MvH: “Well, it was something, I guess. Make no mistake: Meg is not Alyster Black. We can all kill little girls and offer them to made-up Gods as sacrifices. As for South Pacific, this is my last contracted appearance for this company. A favour off the back of my invitation to the Gold Rush: something that was in doubt thanks to previous owners’ fast and loose interpretation of championship histories. I intend to go out with a win, even if it is somewhat meaningless to me. That Lilith has chosen to involve herself in my business, first at One Night Only, and now tonight on that microphone… using poorly lettered insults and thin, blunt barbs in a rather tiresome and, wouldn’t you say, overdone manner… is as bemusing as she is trivial. If Lilith it is, then Lilith it is. I haven’t anything more to say beyond that.”

    Von Horrowitz shifts her weight from heel to heel, pulls the straps of her rucksack up slightly, and then resolutely folds her arms. Kelly brings the microphone back to her lips, but there’s an unnatural pause before any noise emanates from them. MvH waits patiently, cocking an eyebrow as the pause goes on and on, and on, and on...

    M?ich?el?le K?e??lly: “Meaningless...Tiresome. Trival. Such petty petty words. I expected so much more from the fabled dreamer of dreams that should never be…”

    Um, what? That wasn’t Michelle’s voice. Michelle opened her mouth but it wasn’t her words, in fact she seemed frozen somewhat, her eyes rolled back into her head, and her posture loose like a puppet cut from it’s strings yet she holds the mic up to her mouth and speaks

    Mic?h?elle Ke?l?ly: “The blind woman does not see, yet she is so well spoken.You mock what you don’t understand and think yourself above it. To fear is the beginning of knowledge, to call that which you do not understand trival is not one born of bravery but foolishness. Such a prideful little dreamer you are. You call yourself free, and do what you please when you can not see the chains around your ankles, imprisoned by your own hubris. Desperate to quiet that little voice at the back of your head that whispers in your ear… you’ll never be good enough... If you truly believe what is to come is beneath you, then I can only advise you to stay away from South Pacific, return to lands you are more accustomed to, where you’re comfortable. Where you’re treated like a queen in gilded form. Savour in the gleaming glow of Gold and leave candle burning when the things you try to ignore begin to creep. For you are not ready to seek out the ravens and prove yourself worthy of being called the most dominant women in CWA history. But if you wish to truly find an equal, if you wish to know what happens to dreams that become twisted and haunted then I invite you to find me. You know where I dwell. In the realm where dreams and reality become one and sight and sound become meaningless You’ll find me; within the Heart of Darkness.”

    The lights flicker a little as Michelle’s head twitched as a ghost of a smile appears on her face

    M?ichell?e K?e?l?ly?: “Sweet dreams.”

    And just like that, Michelle’s head snaps back up, her eyes return back to normal, and she steadies herself blinking somewhat, like she has a headache but she quickly shakes it off and turns to mic to Michelle like nothing ever happens

    Michelle Kelly: “What are your thoughts?”

    Von Horrowitz blinks at the camera, and then we return to the arena...

    ...

    ...

    In the arena, the PA system stirs into life again...


    Humanity gets a cheer in Vladivostok as we return to the arena, and he walks through the curtain and onto the stage with a confused look on his face. The crowd continues to politely applaud him as he makes his way down the central aisle. They don’t go so far as to stretch hands out towards him, but he’s enjoying a more positive reaction than he’s used to…

    Tim Coleman: “Humanity shouldn’t look as bemused as he does right now. It’s important to remember who he is going up against tonight. Jonathan McGinnis has shown contempt during the second half of this tournament towards its organisers: perhaps not to the same extent as Michelle von Horrowitz, who didn’t seem to have any interest in progressing to the finals… but there’s little to excuse McGinnis’ actions at the end of Night Four on Olkhon Island…”

    Jim Taylor: “I’m glad you agree, Tim… The Echo are just as culpable in the false-ending to Chubby Carlos and Dan Maskell’s Pool A clash, and fortunately we WON’T be seeing their involvement in this Pool B tie between Humanity and Jonathan McGinnis. With just a Night One tie against Nate Savage in his points tally so far, Humanity can’t qualify for the finals in Vanuatu himself… but the whole world is willing him to play spoiler here tonight!”

    Tim Coleman: “The whole world except Jonathan McGinnis, and his Indy Club allies…”

    Humanity is standing in the ring, staring down at the curtain through which his opponent will appear. He nods his head, and is otherwise motionless, as his music fades out…

    The lights go out in the arena. Suddenly, the curtains on the stage - upon which, remember, the ring sits - begin to draw…

    Soon enough, the heavy red curtain has formed a barrier between the ring (and therefore Humanity) and the well to-do Russian audience sitting and looking at it…

    A spotlight shines on the red curtain, and we see motion behind it… Humanity suddenly appears from behind the slit, and he walks down the steps, staring up at the stage in utter horror and confusion…

    And then the music starts:


    The curtain pulls back, and on the stage there are sixteen Russian ballet dancers. They are all exquisitely dressed: the women in cocktail dresses of red and white and blue, and the men in sharp suits. Seven of the men are dressed in black, but the finest and most handsome of them - who steps up to the forefront as the music REALLY begins to swell - is all in white. On his chest are medals won from war service, and his hair is finely-styled and a brilliant blond. He dances with the tallest and most beautiful of the women, and whilst most of the others pirouette and arabesque and whatever else around the stage freely, he stays within reach of two of the other males: shorter and squatter and less comely than the rest, but clearly in high regard according to the man in white.

    After he picks his girl up by her thighs and holds her high above his head, exerting strength and grace by keeping her in place before dropping her, catching her, holding her low towards the ground… she steps away from him, the two men at his side hoisting him up and placing him into the ring. He dances between the ropes and into the centre of it, the spotlight finding him as the music builds through its final crescendo. The woman slides into the ring, dancing before him, before the orchestra - live in the pit beneath the stage - fades out into more gentle, melancholic notes.

    The spotlight illuminates his fine figure as he looms above the woman, kneeling before him…


    The spotlight on the couple - DER BASTERD and his girl - in the ring fades out, but they are still visible in the dim. Around the ring, the stage is brightly illuminated, and the fourteen remaining dancers - paired up and regal - continue their synchronised dance around the ring. Eventually, seven more arrive, much more plainly dressed - in ripped clothes reminiscent of the garb of the proletariat. They dance in an ungainly but still rhythmic manner, but it is clear that the more well to-do performers think less of them than they do of each other. Soon enough, the new arrivals have taken up crouching positions on all fours, doing their best to reach out and touch the ankles of their superiors, forever just out of reach, dancing on by… Afterwards, more servants dance out with food that is placed onto the backs of the proles, the finely dressed dancers eating off them as the music stirs and quickens…

    Finally, one more man arrives. He is tall, but also fat, and his shirt barely covers his belly. He yawns and stumbles into the middle of the stage, clearly some sort of comic relief. His hair is long and ragged and falls in tangles to his shoulders. He looks down from the stage at Humanity, who has been watching the whole affair from the front row, and scrubs at his eyes as if he’s peering into a mirror. Then, the performer begins an inelegant dance around the stage, falling with style into the well to-do dancers as well as the peasant furniture and servants. He collects a glass of wine and downs it before leaping up and over the steel steps, landing with a thud on his behind…


    Eventually, the two shorter, swarthier dancers - still well-dressed but slightly more out of place than the dozen that they entered with - manage to corner this drunkard interloper, and he has nowhere to go but into the ring. DER BASTERD, in his fine white clothes, has silently been circling the young woman as the scene continued around him… as if a predator toying with his prey…

    But immediately, he looks up from the young woman and to the drunk man that has just rolled into the ring. Around the girl the two men dance, the man in white’s movements elegant but deceitful, the drunk’s inelegant, clumsy, but somehow raw and real. All the while, the woman kneels passively before them… until eventually DER BASTERD has the drunk man cornered, seated in the ring, his head against the turnbuckle, unable to look away as his counterpart approaches…


    When the music shifts again, the spotlights flicker on and off, and those that are already dancing on the stage look about themselves in confusion. They still move fluidly and elegantly (or at least those that are playing the role of the upper classes), but now there is an unknown and permeating sense of urgency to their movements. Those serving food and drinks, and those playing the roles of tables for the rich, begin to ready themselves, sliding props away from the ring as if to give themselves room…

    As the music rumbles, a large tank begins to roll out onto the stage. It is not a real tank, of course, but it certainly looks the part. Either side of it, soldiers march out onto the stage as well, and at their head are two particularly pretty soldiers with long hair and camouflaged hotpants. Immediately, as they appear, the more unseemly dancers already on the stage begin to dance in the general direction of the comely ones, who are quickly overwhelmed, and bid their retreat…

    The two soldiers at the head of the columns roll into the ring, and after engaging under the spotlight briefly with the drunk and DER BASTERD - who for the time-being at least seem to have put aside their differences - they comically lay the pair out with dual arabesques-into--superkicks…

    As the soldiers and the proletariat dance around the ring, the curtains pull over half-way again: they are now heavier and redder and emblazoned with a gold hammer and sickle. The sides of the prop tank begin to fall away, and standing in the middle of them is Jonathan McGinnis. He is wearing a long, dark green coat in old Soviet Style, as well as a matching hat at an angle on his head. He has sunglasses on, and a toothpick in his mouth to complete what is most certainly a look…

    The music swells for a final time, McGinnis walking up the steps and into the ring, the two soldiers in hot pants dancing around him as he stands in the middle of it. Around the ring, the thirty or so dancers that have overthrown the bourgeoisie revel in the moment, a final crescendo before the orchestra suddenly stops…

    McGinnis stands amongst it for a moment. There’s a wild smile on his face…

    And then come the boos…

    Jim Taylor: “I’m not entirely sure what I just saw, Tim…”

    Tim Coleman: “I mean… his entrance in Yekaterinburg was something, but…”

    Jim Taylor: “Did Jonathan McGinnis just win the October Revolution?”

    Tim Coleman: “I don’t think this Vladivostok crowd enjoyed it…”

    As the dancers begin to remove themselves from the stage, Jonathan McGinnis removes his coat and his hat. The audience rain down derision in his general direction. Humanity finally begins a slow walk up the steps, back towards the stage, shaking his head towards The Indy God as he goes…

    Jim Taylor: “Well, we wondered how The Echo’s ejection from the arena would affect McGinnis tonight… I guess he’s already had to make some casting changes for his entrance…”

    Tim Coleman: “I’m still in awe…”

    Humanity is in the ring, trying not to let the entrance faze him. Lindsay Monaghan has climbed in too, and she looks from man to man before stepping into the centre of the ring to make her introductions.

    Lindsay Monaghan: “Ladies and gentlemen the following is a Pool B match, scheduled for one-fall, with a twenty minute time limit! Introducing first, to my left… weighing in at two hundred and sixty five pounds… he is a one-time CWA High Voltage Champion and a two-time CWA World Tag Team Champion… from The Other Side... Humanity!”

    HUGE cheers for Humanity. He doesn’t quite know what to make of it, and so keeps on staring directly ahead at McGinnis...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “And in the corner to my right... from Montreal, Canada… he weighs in at two hundred and seven pounds… he is a one-time Ruler of the Ring winner, and a two-time CWA World Heavyweight Champion… ‘the Last Indy Darling’... Jonathan… MCGINNIS!"

    The Indy God smiles to himself and nods his head approvingly as the Vladivostok audience lets him know exactly how he feels. He beats his chest slightly as he steps forward towards the official and his opponent, allowing the referee to make his final checks. Monaghan leaves the ring and takes up her position near the commentators. The official nods his head and both men back away into their corners, waiting for this one to begin...

    Pool B. Night Five. Match Twenty Eight.
    HUMANITY vs. JONATHAN MCGINNIS.

    When the bell rings, Jonathan McGinnis looks warily across the ring at Humanity. He then checks the ringside area, and there seems to be some sort of peril about him as he recognises that his insurance policy - otherwise known as The Echo - are nowhere to be found. It takes him a moment to compose himself, and he looks over at Humanity, remembering who he is and then nodding his head confidently. He steps out of the corner, slaps himself on the chest, and then offers a test of strength to Humanity. Humanity walks out of the corner and takes McGinnis’ hand, and then the other… it looks as though Humanity is about to start backing McGinnis up… but The Indy God hits a drop toe hold! And then straight into a crossface! Humanity rolls over and McGinnis shoulders are down. The Indy God kicks up at two, and both men get up quickly. Humanity goes for a wild strike, but McGinnis catches his arm… and then pokes Humanity in the eye! Humanity is temporarily blinded and The Indy God backs him up to the ropes. He whips him across the ring… single leg high knee! Humanity goes down!

    Jim Taylor: “Well, we’ve already mentioned The Echo and their absence, and McGinnis has noted it too, but The Indy God is showing us why he’s a multiple time world champion here in the CWA…”

    Indeed, McGinnis dominates the next few minutes of the match. He hits a pair of snap suplexes and then a fisherman’s suplex with a bridge for another two count. He follows up by a rear chin lock, and Humanity eventually fights up to his feet, only for McGinnis to drag him down to the mat by the hair and then place him in a rear chin lock again! McGinnis wears Humanity down, and finally shifts into a sleeper to try and finish the job. Humanity is fading and the official is forced to check his arm, but he is able to stay in the match and the audience - usually on his back in a negative manner - is behind him, hoping that he can pull off the win here to give Summers a chance of qualification later tonight. Humanity fights up to his feet, and then begins to fight back with a series of elbows to the sternum… and then a belly-to-back suplex! McGinnis fights up but Humanity is quick to boot him in the midsection and apply a front face lock. He drags The Indy God into position by the ropes, draping his feet over the second one… rope-hung DDT! Humanity gets a two-count.

    Tim Coleman: “Humanity may be winless so far in this competition but he’s still a difficult opponent, and he’s showing exactly why right now. Humanity follows up that move with a series of strikes to the head, clearly trying to weaken him up for his Devil’s Whisper neckbreaker…”

    Indeed, Humanity targets the head and neck over the next few minutes. This is mostly through stomps, right hands, and wrenching headlocks, with Humanity also slipping a fist drop and a second DDT into the mix. After another two count, Humanity applies a grounded headlock, and McGinnis is forced to scramble to the ropes to get a break. The official starts the count and he’s released at four, and Humanity senses the end is near. He lifts McGinnis up into the fireman’s carry… but The Indy God kicks his leg to try and wriggle loose! Humanity holds him firm… McGinnis starts to unleash elbow after elbow to Humanity’s head!! Humanity is forced to drop him…

    Jim Taylor: “Heart punch from McGinnis! Then a mule kick!!”

    Tim Coleman: “He has Humanity doubled over, and now he puts him in position for Something Light! Can he gets Humanity up for that lung-buster powerbomb?!”

    Jim Taylor: “NO! Humanity lifts him up and over with a big back body drop!”

    Tim Coleman: “McGinnis fights to his feet and charges at Humanity… who tries to lift The Indy God up for a flapjack onto that top turnbuckle… OH GOD!”

    Jim Taylor: “That didn’t look good at all!”

    Tim Coleman: “Humanity overextended with that flapjack… McGinnis seemed to drop head-first onto the top of that steel ring post! He quickly hits the mat and rolls to the outside!”

    The Camera catches McGinnis, who rolls onto his back… to reveal a gushing gash on his forehead! The red is already streaming out by the time Humanity rolls out to meet him. He takes McGinnis by the hair… and unleashes right hand after right hand into that cut! McGinnis trying to protect himself but he can’t, and Humanity lifts him up to his feet by his hair. He throws The Indy God face-first onto the announcer’s desk! And then head-first into the post again!!

    Jim Taylor: “I think we need some help out here for Jonathan McGinnis! That blood is flowing fast!”

    Indeed, his face is the proverbial crimson mask when Humanity throws him back into the ring. He follows him in and then whips him into the corner. McGinnis takes a seated position and Humanity proceeds to unload with stomp after stomp to the head, before driving his boot into McGinnis’ face whilst holding the top rope for leverage. The official starts a count and Humanity is forced to release him. He picks McGinnis up and throws him into the ropes… big boot takes him down!

    Jim Taylor: “Humanity has really used this cut to his advantage. You’ve got to think McGinnis is light-headed, and that his visibility isn’t great, and maybe this is exactly what Humanity needed… He’s going in for the kill now, lifting McGinnis up into the fireman’s carry again… Perhaps we’re about to see The Devil’s Whisper?!”

    McGinnis can audibly be heard shouting NO! as he kicks his legs against, before driving the point of his elbow into Humanity’s face and head. Again Humanity is forced to drop him. McGinnis has wrist control… SUPERKICK! Humanity goes down!! McGinnis hooks the leg!!

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!!

    Tim Coleman: “I thought that was it! McGinnis almost punched his place at South Pacific!!”

    McGinnis can’t believe it either. He shakes his head before lifting Humanity up. He signals to the audience that Humanity’s time is up… and then goes for a boot to the midsection to set up Something Light…. Humanity catches his foot! Humanity shakes his head and then throws McGinnis’ boot away. The Indy God over rotates and goes for a spinning heel kick… Humanity ducks it and goes into a rear waist lock… GERMAN SUPLEX! McGinnis lands on the back of his head!!

    And now McGinnis is grabbed by the wrist, and Humanity pulls him up into a MASSIVE forearm! Followed by a short arm lariat! And then a ferocious headbutt! McGinnis is out on his feet… Humanity lifts him up in a fireman’s carry…

    Tim Coleman: “DEVIL’S WHISPER! He nails the neckbreaker!!”

    Jim Taylor: “And now Humanity hooks BOTH legs!”

    ONE… TWO… THREE!
    Result: Humanity defeats Jonathan McGinnis via pinfall at 15:25.

    [POOL B - CURRENT STANDINGS]

    Jonathan McGinnis is a bloody mess as Humanity stands up and looks down on him. The official takes one step towards the victor in order to raise his hand, but Humanity just walks away from him, taking a seat in the corner and breathing in heavily whilst looking at McGinnis bloody and beaten form. After maybe ten seconds of silent reflection, Humanity rolls under the bottom rope…

    Tim Coleman: “Well… it’s not ballet, Jim!”

    Jim Taylor: “That’s it, Tim! That’s the end of Jonathan McGinnis’ Gold Rush campaign! And I can’t say I’m sorry to see him gone!”

    Tim Coleman: “Well, I sort of miss him…”

    Humanity is shown leaving the stage and making his way to the central aisle, walking gingerly and slowly as if the exertions of the tournament have taken their toll. We cut away to McGinnis, who is just now rolling onto his front, his face a crimson mask and quite clearly struggling to get his bearings.

    Jim Taylor: “Humanity records his first win of the tournament and it couldn’t have come at a more important time for, well, both Shawn Summers and Nate Savage. This win for Humanity keeps both of those men in the hunt for qualification from Pool B…”

    Tim Coleman: “There’s just one more Pool B match-up to come, and that’s tonight’s main event between Shawn Summers and Cyrus Truth. Summers needs a point to qualify alongside The Exile, otherwise it’ll be ‘Nasty’ Nate Savage who maintains that second place berth…”

    Once more, we cut away to Nate Savage in the backstage area. There’s a smile on his face, and Jackson Fenix pats him heartily on the back...

    Jim Taylor: “Savage looking very pleased with this result, and why wouldn’t he be? The sensible money has to be on the undefeated Cyrus Truth…”

    We’ve cut away from McGinnis as he gets helped to his feet, and now the camera is settled on the suited-and-booted commentators at their desk. They stare into the lens of the camera as the audience’s anticipation for the final two matches builds…

    Jim Taylor: “We’re just moments away from Jon Snowmantashi versus Chubby Carlos in Pool A’s climactic battle, but first of all we’re going to take one more trip to see Michelle Kelly in the back, who is standing by with another of South Pacific’s scheduled competitors… a man that was offered a berth in this very tournament, but who turned it down in favour of an appearance on the big show in Vanuatu… Michelle Kelly is standing by with CWA icon… Clint Shepard! Michelle…”

    ...

    ...

    The show cuts to the backstage area where Michelle Kelly is standing by with a microphone in hand. Michelle is looking lovely and greets the camera and the CWA audience with a bright smile before she speaks.

    Michelle Kelly: ”Ladies & gentlemen, what a show we’ve seen so far tonight, and I’m sure that it will only get better. Speaking of getting better, my guest at this time will be competing at South Pacific in a four-way match; please welcome “The Icon” Clint Shepard!”

    Shepard walks into the frame dressed casually in sweatpants, a CWA “Gold Rush” t-shirt, and white sneakers. The crowd is cheering for the beloved legend; he smiles as he hears the reaction and turns to Michelle.

    Michelle Kelly: “Clint, I think that I speak on behalf of CWA fans worldwide when I say how excited I am to see you step back inside the ring at South Pacific!”

    Clint Shepard: ”Thank you, Michelle, and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to grace the ring once more.”

    Michelle Kelly: “How are you feeling going into that four-way match at South Pacific?”

    Clint Shepard: ”Well, Michelle, I’d be lying if I said I was as spry as I once was, but I feel exceptional. I’ve been training and working out in preparation for this match, and I feel confident enough that I will be more than capable of handling myself inside the ring still.”

    Michelle Kelly: “You’ll be squaring off with XYZ, Billy Hatcher, and Johnny Vegas. The last time we saw you in the ring at One Night Only, you, unfortunately, came up short against the XYZ, as mentioned earlier.”

    Clint Shepard: “Yes, it was unfortunate that I was unable to defeat XYZ, but I have the utmost respect for him, and he’s so someone that I enjoy sharing the ring with, so I’m anxious to get back in there with him and maybe, hopefully, get one back on him.

    Then there’s Billy Hatcher, who I believe had some battles with me many moons ago; forgive me, Michelle, but my memory is a bit fuzzy. The Billy Hatcher that I knew back then is different from the Billy Hatcher of today with taking a more systematic, technical approach. Deep down, the Hatcher old still resides, and I don’t have any doubt that he’ll try to resort to his old ways. Will it help him? It remains to be seen.

    This brings me to Johnny Vegas…”


    As Clint finally addresses Vegas, the camera cuts away from the speaker and shows the executive box in which Johnny is sitting. He is sat back in his chair, looking casual and confident as he talks to the woman at his side.

    Clint Shepard: “Johnny Vegas… with who I never got the opportunity to share the ring, unfortunately, but I had the chance to watch him while I sat at the commentary booth. He has a lot of heart and courage, and I look forward to taking him on. Now the question is, who will come out on top? Again, it remains to be seen. Only time will tell.”

    In his box, Vegas nods along, as if he agrees with the competitive sentiment laid out by one of his South Pacific opponents.

    Michelle Kelly: “Well, again, I think that I speak for everyone when I say how exciting it is to see you step in the ring again; good luck out there, Clint.”

    Clint Shepard: “Thank you, Michelle.”

    ...

    ...

    We’re back in the arena just in time to hear it explode as...


    There’s a HUGE cheer in the arena as Chubby Carlos walks out onto the stage, nodding his head and smiling… though perhaps looking a little less certain of himself than he usually does. He begins his walk down the central aisle, simultaneously slapping some of the hands of the younger fans whilst he loosens up…

    Jim Taylor: “Chubby Carlos was in second place coming into Night Five here in Vladivostok, but we knew he wouldn’t still be in that spot by the time he actually came out to wrestle, given that Krash and Dan Maskell were to go head-to-head earlier in the night. Krash emerged victorious against The Heretic and leap-frogged Carlos into second place, and now nothing less than a win tonight will be enough for Everyone’s Favourite Wrestler…”

    Carlos climbs up the steps and onto the stage, looking at the ring warily, taking a deep breath… finally he rolls into it and stands up inside the ring.

    Tim Coleman: “Krash’s superior head-to-head means a double countout or, God forbid, another no contest would mean Carlos’ elimination from the tournament. But we’ve got to remember that Chubby is about to face the ONLY undefeated competitor in Pool A… the longest reigning CWA World Heavyweight Champion of ALL-TIME… Jon Snowmantashi.”

    Jim Taylor: “You’re exactly right, Tim: Carlos is going to have to do what nobody else has done this tournament, and that’s BEAT Jon Snowmantashi…”

    Carlos stares directly at the entrance at the other end of the theatre as his music fades out, and is replaced by...


    There’s another huge cheer as Jon Snowmantashi walks through the curtain and immediately begins to walk down the central aisle. Behind him, John Duncan confidently walks, quite clearly pleased with how the tournament is progressing so far…

    Jim Taylor: “There’s a reason John Duncan has a smug look on his face tonight, Tim. Jon Snowmantashi has ALREADY qualified for the Final Four in Vanuatu. Tonight he will just be looking to assert his dominance and prove a point to those that go to South Pacific with him…”

    Tim Coleman: “This is true, Jim, but whilst Cyrus Truth guaranteed himself a pool winner’s berth at Lake Baikal on Night Four, a loss here tonight to Chubby Carlos would mean The Chubster goes through as the winner of Pool A… therefore setting up a clash between Cyrus Truth and Jon Snowmantashi!”

    Jim Taylor: “There are a huge number of dream matches that could be thrown up by those semi-finals, Tim: Carlos versus Summers, Summers versus Snowmantashi, Krash versus Truth… and we’re about to find out one half of the puzzle! What a HUGE match!”

    Snowmantashi has entered the ring, Duncan remaining on the outside and looking at Carlos from under the bottom rope in the kaiju’s corner. Once more, Monaghan climbs into the ring, ready to make the introductions for the very last Pool A match-up in the Gold Rush tournament...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Pool A match-up scheduled for one-fall, with a twenty minute time limit… introducing first, to my left, accompanied to the ring tonight by John Duncan... from Tokyo, Japan… he is a Ruler of the Ring tournament winner and a former two-time CWA World Heavyweight Champion... he weighs in tonight at two hundred and ninety pounds… ‘Inhuman’... JON… SNOWMANTASHI!”

    A huge cheer for Snowmantashi, who takes off his t-shirt and passes it out to Duncan. He continues to look at Carlos passively.

    Lindsay Monaghan: “And in the corner to my right... from Mexico City, Mexico... he weighs in tonight at one hundred and ten kilograms… he is a one-time Wrestle Royale winner and a former CWA World Heavyweight Champion… The Chubby One… The Fat Man… The Chubster… His Royal Chubness… El Chuberino… The Single Most Awesome Wrestler in CWA Today (or Yesterday)... Everybody's Favorite Wrestler… The Green and Black Attack… CHUUUUUBY…. CAAARLOOOOOOS!”

    A ROAR from the Vladivostok audience. Carlos nods his head and beats his chest, smiling widely but not quite willing to hold Snowmantashi’s gaze. The official looks at each of the men, shaking his head at the task before him. He waits patiently for Lindsay Monaghan to get out of the ring, and then finally he calls for the match to begin...

    Pool A. Night Five. Match Twenty Nine.
    CHUBBY CARLOS vs. JON SNOWMANTASHI.

    The two huge men stare at one another from across the ring for a moment when the bell rings, no movement immediately forthcoming as they prepare to do battle. Snowmantashi looks passive, his expression difficult to read (as always). There is a smile on Carlos’ face, which is no surprise, but in his eyes there is also hope, and determination...

    Tim Coleman: “This is the last match in Pool A, ladies and gentlemen, and the stakes could NOT be higher! Will it be Krash or will it be Chubby Carlos that joins Jon Snowmantashi in the finals in Vanuatu?!”

    Jim Taylor: “We’re about to find out, Tim! The penultimate match of the Gold Rush tournament could NOT be bigger, in more ways than one!!”

    Jon Snowmantashi takes a few steps out of his corner and Carlos follows suit, the two behemoths staring off from a metre away. Snowmantashi slaps his own chest, as if he is willing Carlos on, and with his grin widening Carlos draws back and hits a knife edge chop! The sound echoes around the arena and the audience communally winces, but Snowmantashi doesn’t move an inch. Instead, he tees up his opponent, and fires back with a knife edge chop of his own! Carlos does let out a short gasp, but soon his smile returns and he’s chuckling as he returns with an overhand chop! Snowmantashi hits as second knife edge chop, and then follows up with an overhand chop of his own… Carlos is staggered back, but then he fires off a forearm strike, and then three knife edge chops of his own! Carlos beats his chest, the audience roaring in approval, and then goes for a short-arm lariat…

    … no! Snowmantashi ducks underneath it and hits the nearest set of ropes… he goes for a SHOULDER BLOCK! He just THUDS into Carlos, and then both men take a step back, adjust their balance, but keep their feet…

    Jim Taylor: “And it looks like the kaiju is willing Carlos to return the favour!”

    Tim Coleman: “The Chubster is going to oblige, it seems! He hits the ropes… SHOULDER BLOCK!!”

    Jim Taylor: “But still both men are up!”

    The two bulls lock eyes… before both hitting opposite sets of ropes and BOTH going for a shoulder block… they hit each other again, the ring almost shaking with the impact, but both are still up!

    And then Snowmantashi fires off a HUGE headbutt! Carlos is staggered to one knee, and Snowmantashi hits the ropes…

    … but Carlos forces his way up to his feet and slams into Snowmantashi with a ferocious SHOULDER BLOCK!! Snowmantashi goes down!!! The crowd cheers as Carlos flexes before going to work, hitting Snowmantashi with a trio of stomps before following up with a senton splash! The kaiju fights up to his feet, and Carlos reels off with a half-dozen knife edge chops, each punctuated by a forearm, that succeed in backing Snowmantashi up into the corner. Carlos whips him HARD into the opposite set of turnbuckles… and then follows Jon into the corner with a big clothesline!! The kaiju stumbles out into the middle of the ring… Carlos hits a hurricanrana! He goes for the cover!

    ONE… TWO… NO!

    Jim Taylor: “Snowmantashi gets the shoulder up, but we’re not seeing him enjoying the same dominating form that we’re used to. Could it be the hardships of his most recent match against MvH, or perhaps the sheer size of Carlos is nullifying Snowmantashi here?”

    Carlos picks Snowmantashi up, and tries to back him up to the ropes. The kaiju fires back with a knife edge chop, though, and then a European uppercut… a forearm… another forearm… HEADBUTT! Carlos is rocked backwards, and Snowmantashi takes him off his feet with a standing dropkick!!

    Tim Coleman: “You were saying, Jim?”

    As John Duncan claps his charge from outside the ring, Snowmantashi goes straight back to work, locking in a sleeper hold and trying to wear Carlos down. Chubby senses that it’s a dangerous predicament to be in, and begins to fight his way back to his feet when the audience will him onwards…

    Jim Taylor: “Both of these men are hugely popular amongst the CWA fans, it’s difficult to say who they’re behind here!”

    Tim Coleman: “Throw Krash into the equation… only two of the three can reach Vanuatu… talk about conflicted loyalties!!”

    Carlos gets up to his feet and throws his elbow into Snowmantashi’s sternum. He repeats this three times and then backs JS up into the ropes, throwing him into the opposite set. Carlos is looking for another shoulder block, but Snowmantashi checks his momentum by holding onto the top rope. The Chubster charges at him… but the kaiju drops to the mat and drags the top rope down! Carlos falls over the top!!

    Jim Taylor: “Well, we’ve seen that tactic used many times on Snowmantashi. It’s sort of interesting to see him using it here on Chubby Carlos!”

    Tim Coleman: “Needs must, Tim! Snowmantashi is reaching down deep to address the challenge of Chubby Carlos right here.”

    Snowmantashi shakes away the cobwebs before climbing out after Carlos. He picks up El Chuberino and throws him into the barricade, proceeding to work the body with lefts and rights. He takes Carlos by the hand, trying to Irish whip him into the steel ring steps… NO! Carlos reverses it! He sends Snowmantashi over the steps! The kaiju lands in a heap and Carlos slides in and out of the ring to break up the count. He picks up JS and puts him in a front face lock, looking around the audience with a smile on his face before attempting to lift Jon up for a suplex…

    Jim Taylor: “I’m not sure if this is a good idea?!”

    Tim Coleman: “Jon Snowmantashi is NOT a small man, Jim! Carlos might struggle to get him up… I think he is struggling…”

    Indeed, Carlos can’t get Snowmantashi over, and the kaiju soon begins to fight out with right hands to the ribs. Snowmantashi tries to lift Carlos over with a suplex of his own… but Chubby is too big to lift, too! It’s Chubby’s turn to fight back with right hands to the ribs, and then he wriggles out of the front facelock… Carlos has wrist control, he goes for a big lariat… Snowmantashi ducks it and goes into a rear waist lock! GERMAN SUPLEX!!

    Jim Taylor: “Explosive power there from Jon Snowmantashi! Chubby Carlos dropped on his head on the outside!”

    Snowmantashi busies himself in lifting Carlos up and throwing him under the bottom rope, following him in and neglecting to go for a cover. Instead, the big man looks at the adjacent corner, and begins a slow, steady climb up towards the top rope. He is facing away from Carlos in the ring, who seems to be out for the count after the German on the outside. Eventually, with great difficulty, the kaiju is all the way up on the top!

    Tim Coleman: “We’ve seen Snowmantashi hit this move before, and when he does it INVARIABLY spells the end!”

    Jim Taylor: “We’ve also seen him miss it, though, Tim! A man that big isn’t meant to fly so high!!”

    Snowmantashi takes one look back at the supine Chubby Carlos and then leaps off the top rope, flying through the air with a picture perfect moonsault. Time seems to slow as he comes down towards The Chubster… who MOVES OUT THE WAY! He rolls over at the last second, and Snowmantashi eats the mat!!

    Jim Taylor: “Carlos is still alive!! And now he is fighting back to his feet!”

    Tim Coleman: “The McKick!! He nails the single running high knee! Snowmantashi is staggered…”

    Carlos nails him with a step-up enziguri!! Snowmantashi stumbles backwards, and Carlos applies a front face lock… snap DDT!! Carlos hooks the leg…

    ONE… TWO… NO!!

    Snowmantashi kicks out! Carlos can’t believe it, but he doesn’t waste any time complaining, instead backing into a corner and waiting patiently for JS to get to his feet…

    Tim Coleman: “FastFood!! He cuts him in half with the spear!! And now he hooks BOTH legs!”

    ONE… TWO… TH - - NO!!!!

    Jim Taylor: “Snowmantashi kicks out!! He kicked out of FastFood!! Carlos has his head in his hands!”

    There’s no smile when Carlos gets to his feet, and he seems fully focused on the task at hand. He looks at Snowmantashi’s body, and then he begins his own climb up towards the top rope. He steadies himself on the top, looks around at the theatre, the people on their feet…

    … and then he leaps of…

    Tim Coleman: “The Patty Melt!! Carlos gets ALL of that Senton Splash!!”

    Jim Taylor: “Surely now! Lateral press!!!”

    ONE… TWO… THRE - - NO!!!!!!!!!

    Jim Taylor: “He…”

    Tim Coleman: “He kicked out?!!?!”

    Carlos can’t believe it either, and he looks down at Snowmantashi with an expression of shock and confusion, and something resembling awe. After a few moments he gets to his feet and backs away from JS, and is surprised to see the kaiju stir back to life. As Snowmantashi rolls onto his front, Carlos backs away into a corner again, patiently teeing him up like he did moments earlier…

    Jim Taylor: “Carlos going for a second FastFood here! Surely that will be the end for Jon Snowmantashi?!”

    The kaiju stumbles up to his feet and turns around to see Carlos flying towards him…

    … and all that Snowmantashi can do is lift a knee up...

    … which happens to connect with Carlos’ jaw! He is staggered, and Snowmantashi follows up with a TORRENT of forearms and knife edge chops! Chubby goes to a knee… Snowmantashi hits the ropes… RUNNING HEADBUTT! Chubby Carlos hits the mat and, after almost falling over himself, Snowmantashi lifts him back up.

    Jim Taylor: “He’s got him up in that fireman’s carry… this is it!!”

    Tim Coleman: “HAILSTORM!!”

    Jim Taylor: “And that means the end…”

    Snowmantashi hooks the leg…

    ONE… TWO… THRE - - NO!!

    The crowd gasp as Carlos kicks out, and Snowmantashi slowly gets to his knees. He looks down at Carlos, and then respectfully nods his head…

    … before picking him up and hitting a SECOND Hailstorm!!

    ONE… TWO… THREE!!
    Result: Jon Snowmantashi defeats Chubby Carlos via pinfall at 13:38.

    [POOL A - FINAL STANDINGS]

    Snowmantashi is slow to his feet, the match clearly taking its toll on the big man. He adjusts his shorts and looks down at the fallen Carlos. Without so much as a word, he climbs out of the rings and onto the raised stage, Duncan patting Snowmatashi on his back as he makes his way towards the central aisle…

    Jim Taylor: “Jon Snowmantashi continues his near total domination of Pool A with his fourth victory of the tournament, ensuring he completes the pool stages undefeated and heads off to South Pacific as the winner of this group…”

    Tim Coleman: “And Chubby Carlos, alas, is eliminated… he is finally getting up to his knees in the ring after that second Hailstorm, but I’m not sure The Chubster really knows where he is…”

    Jim Taylor: “We all knew how much making it to Vanuatu and The Final Four meant to Carlos, but it isn’t to be… and Carlos’ loss is Krash’s gain. We now know one of the two semi-final matches: The White Wolf, one half of the CWA World Tag Team Champions, will take on the winner of Pool B in Cyrus Truth…”

    Tim Coleman: “But who will join them and Jon Snowmantashi in that Final Four? Will it be Shawn Summers or Nate Savage? We’re about to find out, Jim!”

    Jim Taylor: “But first, we’re going to have to take a break from the action, Tim... we have a camera crew on hand in the backstage area…”

    ...

    ...

    We cut to somewhere else in the back, and the camera rounds a corner before focusing on a door with a plain but important name-plate resides: ‘CYRUS TRUTH’. The crowd cheers when they see the name, and they double down when the door opens. The Exile himself emerges, loosening up his joints and in full ring gear ahead of tonight’s main event…

    Jim Taylor: “Cyrus Truth is about to go one on one with Shawn Summers in our very final match of these group stages, and here he is! Will Truth continue his domination of Pool B? Or can Summers leapfrog Nate Savage by beating him here in Vladivostok?”

    Tim Coleman: “We’re about to find out, Jim!”

    Truth begins to walk towards Gorilla position… but as he rounds the first corner, his momentum is suddenly stopped by a second man blocking his way. There is a championship belt around his waist and a smile - not an unkind one, either - upon his face. He has his hands on his hips, and his look is one of somebody greeting an old friend after a very long time apart…

    The second man is Krash. The audience pops again for the interloper, but Truth looks him up and down, slightly wary of his presence and his position within his path…

    Krash: “Cyrus…”

    Cyrus Truth: “Krash…"

    The atmosphere is electric, the audience within the theatre watching on in silence as they wait for one of the two semi-finalists to make something resembling a move. Eventually, Krash steps aside…

    Krash: “Just wanted to say good luck..."

    The White Wolf flashes Cyrus another smile and then walks out of shot. Truth watches him go, and then turns to walk in the opposite direction...

    ...

    ...

    We’re back in the theatre for…


    Due to nothing more than respect for the effort put in by Shawn Summers in the second half of the tournament - along with the hardship endured at the hands of perennially most-hated The Echo and McGinnis - he enjoys a positive reaction as he walks through the curtain and onto the stage. He doesn’t stop to pose or slap hands with fans, instead walking down the central aisle of the theatre towards the stage with his head bowed as if deep in thought…

    Jim Taylor: “Shawn Summers need a lot to go his way before we even got to this main event. He needed Nate Savage to defeat Christopher Jackson, and then for the already-eliminated Humanity to act as a spoiler against Jonathan McGinnis… well, both of those results have gone his way, and now the real work begins…"

    Tim Coleman: “We’ve seen shots of wrestlers watching other matches all night here in Vladivostok… but not Shawn Summers. I’m sure he’s aware that the cards have fallen in his favour earlier on in the evening, but his task hasn’t changed one bit because of this…"

    Jim Taylor: “A difficult start to the tournament saw Summers defeated by Jonathan McGinnis and then Christopher Jackson… though chalk up an assist in that one to McGinnis’ Indy Club running buddies. He’s steadied the ship, though, with back-to-back wins over Humanity and Nate Savage, and now he is just one win away from qualification to the finals…"

    Tim Coleman: “That one win, though, will have to come against Cyrus Truth… and Truth has been perfect so far in this tournament. Four matches, four wins. Even with The Echo at ringside and poking their nose into his match against Jonathan McGinnis, Cyrus still emerged victorious…"

    Jim Taylor: “It’s important to note, Tim, that because of Summers’ victory over Nate Savage at Lake Baikal, a time limit draw or indeed a double countout against Truth tonight would be enough to secure Summers’ place in the finals. He doesn’t necessarily have to beat Truth…"

    Tim Coleman: “He just has to survive him, and nobody’s even been able to do that so far…"

    Summers is now in the ring, standing in the middle of it, as his music fades out...


    Another loud ovation goes around the theatre as Cyrus Truth walks out onto the stage, a serious and focused look on his face as he moves away from the curtain and down the central aisle. He intermittently stares up at Summers in the ring on the stage as well as taking in his surroundings in the theatre itself.

    Tim Coleman: “We’ve already spoken about Cyrus Truth’s record, and with Jon Snowmantashi just punching his place in the finals of Pool A with an unbeaten - but not perfect - record, I imagine Truth will want to go one better and beat Summers here tonight…"

    Jim Taylor: “Well, I doubt it’s anything quite as petty as that, Tim, but I would whole-heartedly agree that Truth will want to win this match in spite of any sentimentality surrounding Summers’ run. We already know who Cyrus Truth will be facing first at South Pacific, by virtue of him winning his group and Krash finishing as runner-up in Pool A… this match is about deciding who gets the pleasure of meeting Jon Snowmantashi in the other semi-final…"

    Truth has climbed into the ring and stands across it from Shawn Summers. The audience begin a dueling chant, each of the competitors enjoying pockets of support from the assembled audience. Summers finally looks about himself at the crowd, nods his head, and then enters a stand-off with Cyrus Truth...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “Ladies and gentlemen the following is a Pool B match, scheduled for one-fall, with a twenty minute time limit! And is your MAIN EVENT!"

    The two men have walked towards one another, and are now almost nose-to-nose, the official and Lindsay Monaghan standing behind them. They are just as excited as the other CWA fans packed into the theatre...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “Introducing first, in the corner to my left… he weighs in tonight at two hundred and twenty five pounds… from Laguna Beach, California… he is a former CWA Pure Champion and a former CWA World Tag Team Champion… SHAWN SUMMERS!”

    Some cheers, some boos. Summers only has eyes for Truth now...

    Lindsay Monaghan: “And his opponent, in the corner to my right… he weighs in at two hundred and twenty seven pounds… from The Long and Winding Road… he is a two-time CWA World Heavyweight Champion… ‘The Exile’... CYRUS TRUTH!!”

    An overwhelmingly positive reaction greets Cyrus Truth’s introduction, and the two men finally step away from each other cautiously. The referee conducts his final checks whilst they are in their corners, Monaghan climbing out of the ring. The crowd are still engaged in their duelling chant, the official taking a look at the packed room before finally, for the last time in the Gold Rush tournament pool phases, calling for the opening bell...

    Pool B. Night Five. Match Thirty.
    MAIN EVENT!
    CYRUS TRUTH vs. SHAWN SUMMERS.

    There’s a feeling out process at the start of the match, Summers and Truth both circling it at a wide radius with their eyes fixed upon one another. They come together as if for a collar and elbow, but Shawn Summers slickly manoeuvres into a headlock. Cyrus backs him up into a set of ropes and throws him towards the opposite set. It appears that Truth is going for a shoulder block, but Summers checks his momentum using the ropes as he hits them. Truth charges at him, maybe looking to clothesline him over the top… but Summers ducks down and hits a big back body drop! Truth lands on the apron and Summers turns into a forearm strike that rocks him back to the middle of the ring. Cyrus quickly climbs through the ropes and charges at Summers… POWER SLAM! Shawn Summers nails Cyrus Truth, and goes for the first cover of the match…

    ONE… TW - - NO!

    Jim Taylor: “Cyrus Truth able to kick up at barely even two there, but that was about more than just a pin attempt. Shawn Summers gets the better of the opening exchange and now he’ll look to settle into a rhythm…”

    Shawn Summers slaps on a grounded headlock, but when Truth begins to wriggle towards his feet Summers moves into a sleeper hold. Truth senses danger, and fights up to his feet, going for a belly-to-back suplex when he has a vertical base. Summers is able to over-rotate, though, and he lands on his feet… Truth turns to face him and Der Basterd goes for a BIG clothesline… no! Truth ducks beneath it, he’s looking for a dragon suplex. Summers senses peril and fires off with a pair of quickfire elbows to the side of Truth’s head. It causes some separation and Summers grabs Truth by the wrist, pulling him in for a short-arm clothesline! Truth hits the mat, and Summers hits the ropes… but Cyrus darts to his feet and connects with a standing dropkick!

    The fans give the two competitors a polite round of applause as Truth gets to his feet, adjusting his shorts and breathing slightly heavily as he lifts Summers up. He whips him into the corner and follows him in with a clothesline. Truth then unloads on Summers, hitting a repeated combination of knife edge chops and elbow smashes to a cornered opponent. Shawn falls into a seated position, and Truth hits a handful of stomps before dragging Summers up to his feet. Truth hits a mule kick to double Summers over… and then he hits the ropes for a running neckbreaker! Truth hooks the leg....

    ONE… TWO… - - NO!

    Jim Taylor: “Shawn Summers able to get the shoulder up there, but maybe we’re seeing the result of a tough tournament for Der Basterd here. Summers struggling to get much going in the opening stretches of this one…”

    Tim Coleman: “Truth hasn’t had an easy time of it either, of course… but he hasn’t been the subject of The Indy Club’s attention for the most part. Those backstage attacks and sprawling brawls are taking their toll on Shawn Summers, in my opinion…”

    Truth circles Summers with a series of stomps before dragging him up to his feet. He is able to connect with a Tiger suplex, a hip toss, and later a snap DDT, the last of which earns him another two count. Cyrus punctuates these power moves with a series of strikes: mostly knife-edge chops and vicious forearms, but he also lands a step-up enziguri and a discus punch a various stages. He seems to have Summers right where he wants him, and is busying himself in lifting Summers up in an Argentine Rack as we near the ten minute mark in the match....

    Jim Taylor: “Maybe Cyrus Truth is looking for Exile’s Edge, here! This would be enough to finish most men, and I think Summers recognises his peril…”

    Summers struggles with all his might, and he begins to nail the side of Truth’s head with elbow strikes. Cyrus eventually has to give up on the Argentine rack attempt, but he takes Summers by the wrist and drags him in close for half a dozen violent forearms, which are enough to rock Summers down to a knee. Truth still has his wrist, and he pulls Summers towards him to connect with a headbutt! Shawn is rocking backwards, but Truth pulls him in close for a snap suplex! He hooks a leg…

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!

    Tim Coleman: “Summers kicks out again, but you’ve got to question how much longer he can take this level of abuse!”

    Truth lifts Summers up and again seems to be going for the Argentine rack… he has him up! But Summers latches onto the top rope and pulls himself over it, landing on the apron and causing separation. Truth lunges towards him, but Summers grabs him by the neck and pulls it down over the top rope! Cyrus stumbles backwards and Summers climbs down onto the stage area around the ring. He takes a little too long shaking the cobwebs loose though, because Cyrus hits the ropes… he connects with a baseball slide! Summers hits the ground as the official starts a count. Truth wastes no time in lifting him up to his feet…

    Jim Taylor: “MEMENTO MORI!!”

    Tim Coleman: “Truth connects, the one-handed choke into a leg sweep effective on the outside!”

    Truth rolls into the ring and out of it again, lifting Summers up and hurling him into the barricade that is erected on the edge of the stage, looming above the orchestra pit. It budges, and some of the front row gasp as they picture Der Basterd plummeting into the pit. Truth wastes no time in working Summers’ body with rights and lefts, and then he takes him by the scruff of the neck. He walks him towards the steel ring post… but Summers begins to fight back! He nails a pair of elbows to the ribs… and then throws Truth into the steel post!!

    The referee is on four when Shawn Summers hurls himself under the bottom rope, and for a little while he just lies on his back and stares up at the lights. The count is at five by the time Truth begins to move, and he rolls on his back at six and up to his knees at seven. He is shaking his head, the steel post clearly taking some of the air out of him, but he steps up onto one foot at eight and has a vertical base at nine, rolling beneath the bottom rope just before the official can hit ten…

    Summers is on him immediately, though, and he drops a double axe handle over Truth’s back. He continues to enjoy his best period of the match so far, first hitting Cyrus with a shining wizard, and then hoisting him up for an inverted lifting DDT which gets him a two count. Summers puts Truth in a headscissors, proceeding to strike at the head with the point of his elbow repeatedly, Truth not able to focus on reaching for the ropes and instead being preoccupied in throwing up a guard.

    Jim Taylor: “Shawn Summers focussing a lot of his offence here on the head of Cyrus Truth, perhaps looking to weaken him up for The Prophecy…”

    Tim Coleman: “It wouldn’t surprise me if that was his strategy, and it’s a sensible one. Truth is in a lot of trouble right now!!”

    Eventually Truth is able to make it to the ropes, but Summers gets straight back on him after the break is enforced. He places Truth in a front face lock and hits him with a brainbuster! He’s not done there, though, instantly taking Cyrus by the scruff of the neck and dragging him up to his feet again. He places him in another front face lock, lifting a knee into Truth’s sternum a half-dozen times before hooking the arm… and then delivers a second brainbuster! Summers hooks the leg, a look of desperation in his eyes…

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!!

    Jim Taylor: “Cyrus Truth gets a shoulder up! We’re getting towards the fifteen minute mark in this match, and Shawn Summers is closing in on victory!”

    Summers backs away from Truth and stands in the corner, weighing him up and judging his next move. Truth slowly gets up to his feet, and looks like he’s out on them when he finally has a vertical base. He turns towards Summers, who comes at him… boot to the midsection… he pulls Truth’s head between the legs… tries to hook the arms…

    … no! Truth rotates out of it, and he has Summers by the wrist… he pulls him towards him for a clothesline! Summers hits the mat hard, but fights up again… Truth hits the ropes… DISCUS PUNCH!! Summers goes down like a tonne of bricks! Truth takes a few moments to suck in some oxygen, before signalling for the end of the match…

    He takes Summers by his blonde hair and lifts him up to his feet… he has him up in the Argentine rack!

    Jim Taylor: “EXILE’S EDGE! Truth connects with the neckbreaker!!”

    Tim Coleman: “And now he hooks the leg!!”

    ONE… TWO… THR - - NO!!

    Jim Taylor: “Shawn Summers kicks out!!”

    The crowd gasps, and Truth takes a moment to look down at Summers before going back to his work. He unsteadily gets to his feet, and then he lifts Shawn up too. Fireman’s carry…

    Tim Coleman: “He’s looking for Journey’s End!! This will be it!”

    Summers desperately begins to kick his legs, and then again he lashes out with elbow strikes at Truth’s head. Cyrus stumbles, and Shawn manages to once more latch onto the top rope. He pulls himself over onto the apron as he did earlier in the match, and Truth tries to knock him off with a forearm. Summers blocks it… and he fires back with a straight right hand! Truth is staggered… and Summers goes to the top rope?!

    Jim Taylor: “What is Summers thinking?! We rarely ever see him up here!”

    Tim Coleman: “Diving cross-body!!! He connects! And now the cover…”

    ONE… TWO… T - - NO!

    Truth kicks out! Summers lifts him up… knife edge chop… forearm… straight right hand! And now he’s going for the arm! He’s looking for the cross arm-breaker!!

    But Truth is still on his feet… and he lifts Summers up in a fireman’s carry!!

    Jim Taylor: “JOURNEY’S END!! Truth nails it!!”

    Tim Coleman: “The sit-out piledriver connects! And now Truth hooks the leg….”

    ONE… TWO… … THREE?

    Jim Taylor: “The referee stopped counting! Summers has his foot on the ropes!!”

    Tim Coleman: “Truth can’t believe it!!”

    Cyrus lets out some more deep, laboured breaths, and then he picks Summers up to his feet. Truth is unsteady on his own, and he lifts him up into a fireman’s carry again…

    Jim Taylor: “Cyrus Truth going back to the well…”

    Tim Coleman: “But AGAIN Summers with those elbow strikes! Truth has no choice but to drop him…”

    Jim Taylor: “Summers lands on his feet… AXE KICK!!”

    Tim Coleman: “He’s down to one knee… SHINING WIZARD!”

    Truth is down, and immediately Summers pulls him up and in close… he hooks the arms…

    Jim Taylor: “PROPHECY!! Summers hits the kneeling double-arm facebuster!! Cyrus is in the middle of the ring…”

    Tim Coleman: “Shawn Summers hooks the legs…”

    ONE… TWO… THREE!!!
    Result: Shawn Summers defeats Cyrus Truth via pinfall at 19:31.

    [POOL B - FINAL STANDINGS]

    When Cola starts playing again, Shawn Summers finds he cannot move, and the introduction to the song rings out to the image of Der Basterd lying with an arm draped over Cyrus Truth…

    Jim Taylor: “He’s done it, Tim! Shawn Summers has booked his place in the Gold Rush finals!!”

    Finally, Summers rolls onto his back, staring up at the lights as his entrance song reaches its first chorus…

    Tim Coleman: “With less than thirty seconds left on the clock, Shawn Summers FINALLY manages to overcome Cyrus Truth! He’s got a date with Jon Snowmantashi set for Vanuatu!”

    The official is helping Summers to his feet, and when he is finally up to a vertical base the referee takes him by the wrist and lifts his hand into the air. The audience gives Summers the respect he deserves, Cyrus meanwhile rolling out of the ring to allow the winner of the match his moment in the spotlight…

    Jim Taylor: “Cyrus Truth, of course, had already qualified from Pool B, and he’ll meet The White Wolf, Krash, is the other semi-final match! We’re just three matches away from finding out the winner of the first Gold Rush tournament: Snowmantashi, Truth, Krash, and now Shawn Summers!”

    Summers climbs onto the second rope, surveying the audience as they show their support for his efforts. He nods his head, beats his chest, and then raises both clenched fists high about his head…

    Tim Coleman: “We’ll see you in Vanuatu, folks!!”


    As the upcoming South Pacific’s theme music plays us out, we are shown clips of the competitors who are scheduled to appear at the upcoming supershow, each match given its own focus in turn as the music swells towards its hopeful climax...

    CWA proudly presents: ”SOUTH PACIFIC”.

    MAIN EVENT
    CWA World Tag Team Championships.
    The Gang Stars (Alyster Black and Krash) [c] vs. The Division (Trevor Ocean and Noah Stocke).
    (1/60)

    Gold Rush Tournament: Final.
    Winner of Semi-Final #1 vs. Winner of Semi-Final #2.
    (1/∞)

    “Heart of Darkness” Match.
    Lilith vs. Michelle von Horrowitz.
    (?/??)

    CWA World Tag Team Championships: #1 Contendership “Jailhouse Blues” Match.
    Murder, Inc. (Jermaine Creed and Kendrick Lethal) vs. The Echo (Drew and Ethan Connor) vs. The Undisputed Alliance (Jackson Fenix and Nate Savage).
    (1/60)

    Fatal 4-Way Match.
    Clint Shepard vs. Billy Hatcher vs. Johnny Vegas vs. XYZ.
    (1/20)

    Tag Team Match.
    The Diamond Dogs (Ricardo Vance and Santino Dongarelli) vs. The DiMiaco Brothers (Paul and Joey DiMiaco).
    (1/20)

    Gold Rush Tournament: Semi-Final #2.
    Cyrus Truth vs. Krash.
    (1/∞)

    Gold Rush Tournament: Semi-Final #1.
    Jon Snowmantashi vs. Shawn Summers.
    (1/∞)

    Pre-Show:

    The "I'm New Here" 25-Person Battle Royale.
    Entrants: The Power, “Pretty” Billy “Mr.” Wright, Trevor Walker, Ratin Mikichin, Kung Fu Karl, Juan Tothrefor, “Lightning” Lamont Banner, Devour the Suffering, Violet Dreyer, “Squeaky Clean” Dick Washer, RetroJethro1984, FaZe, “Superstar” Shawn Primax, Kasey Conner, “TheTranceQueen” Luna Piper, Fiyero Lermontov, Tank Aikae, Jimmy Boom Boom, Meg, “Machine” Mikey Williams, KAOTIK, Sirviente, The Abominable Snowman, ???, ???.

    Singles Match.
    Dicky Zucko vs. Diego Gonzalez.
    (1/20)

    Noah Hanson's 'Next' Announcement.
    (w/ special guest Randy Ramon)
    -------

    CREDITS:

    Title and ‘Jailhouse Blues’ graphics: ComebackKid.
    Lilith vs. Meg and post-match segment: AON.
    Tag Team Summit segment: AON, ComebackKid, Jimmy King, cuddleywhiskers, Rawr Is War, and SmoothJazzWolf.
    MvH vs. Alyster Black: SmoothJazzWolf.
    Dan Maskell segment: Shade.
    Billy Hatcher segment: Tig.
    Clint Shepard segment: Jimmy King.
    Nate Savage vs. Christopher Jackson: AON.
    MvH and Michelle Kelly segment: SupineSnake and AON.


    Last edited by SupineSnake; 05-10-2021 at 03:01 PM.


  2. #2
    I'm a Stone Cold Lee Guy.
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    Re: CWA: Gold Rush [NIGHT FIVE RESULTS!]

    YES OF COURSE; I’M REVIEWING THE CWA SHOW BEFORE FWA. BIG WHOOP YOU WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT?!

    Hope Meg enjoyed her payday, So right here is where the show loses me; You had Aubrey Plaza smiling and waving to the crowd? No buys. That’s some bad writing, wow SS you let me down here. For shame for shame.

    Yeah, I was going to ask the same thing; how many times does Bid Dunc gotta tell you the same thing over and over again Michelle. At this point he just needs cue cards for whenever Michelle speaks to him.

    I do have a soft spot for XYZ. He has a very “Cult wrestling hero vibe” where he seems to whacky to fit in with main stream audiences but he’s wildly over in NXT like settings and he’s just a really fun character who-

    HEY JOHNNY VEGAS! HEY! IT’S THE MOST PERFECTLY NAMED BILLIONARE IN THE WORLD AND HE HAS A PRIVATE SEAT WAY TO LIVE THE GIMMICK.

    But yeah this was a fun way to reintroduce XYZ and intro Faze who absolutely should be a thing, you’re hearing me shawn?!

    Yessssssssssss. Long drawn out introductions segments take it to my veins, I don’t need to harp on about how well SS paint pictures, I know, you know we all know. It’s beautiful, honestly it is.

    Don’t like to comment on my own work but it was super fun to write with great writers.

    Ah, CWA and they’re artistic PPV names, at least LA is able easier to get to then Russia AND HEY. B DOUBLE IS TURNING UP. To be fair, he’s a champ and he knows what he’s worth “Russia?” A crazy witch lady after me?” “Naa, I’m good at home. Call me when it’s my home town”

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Ally Black is the underrated legend. First match after being fucking maimed alive, against the steam roller that is MVH. Does he falter? Does he ask for time off to recover from his horrible scarring? Does he fuck. He only beats MVH clean as a sheet.

    God Dan is an asshole.

    Nate is a savage, surprise surprise, I hope this isn’t the end of Jackson

    Huh, what a cool promo, that was really well done, quite honestly I’m loving this new direction for Billy and I’’m looking forward to seeing what might be coming next for him.

    HEY JOHNNY

    Krash and Dan match of the night=enough said.

    Holy fucking shit. I was not expecting that, honestly, bravo. Seriously, I popped so hard for this...the over the top build up, the dramatics and then BAM, Humanity wins. Hysterical. Well played..

    Always nice to see Clint.

    HEY JOHNNY!

    Yeah what a cool hard hitting match, that went back and forward but Jon is jon and jon does jon things. I will state for the record; however. This is probably my worst lost ever. I think I’ve had biggest losses, but this one absolutely hurts to lose, not that I’m saying Jon and Krash don’t deserve to go through just...damn this was the one. This was the one I wanted, I’d trade in all my FWA titles to get the duke on this one. I was emotionally invested in the CWA title more then I should be for personal reasons; I always associated Chubby losing the world title with the worst period of time in my life, and I was chasing that full circle slaying personal demon stories. So it goes. Ain’t no shame in losing; I think it follows my E-Fed career nicely; I never get what I want but sometimes I get what I need….sometimes…

    But most of the time I’d prefer to get what I want.

    And Now here’s Shawn to fill out the strong semi final where it can be anyone’s game.

    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

  3. #3
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    Re: CWA: Gold Rush [NIGHT FIVE RESULTS!]

    Heyo. Sorry this took a while. This was a long show!


    Find it a tad funny you still link the song before the spoiler xD


    Kudos to Meg for wanting a match. Unfortunately for her, the Mother of Ravens is basically unbeatable so RIP. As always, I’m a huge fan of Lilith. I love supernatural gimmicks no matter how much they’re hated in 2021 and I would love to book a character like that. MVH vs. Lilith should be a fun match, really excited to see how that turns out.


    Duncan low key making his claim for MOTY award with the nightly Gold Rush interviews. I think enough of us have said it already, but you’ve done an awesome job at capturing other peoples characters. I’ll repeat it again now since this is the final night of Gold Rush. I think Duncan has probably had a bigger presence here than he has had during the OG CWA Snowmantashi run.


    Strong win for XYZ. I’m not sure about Johnny Vegas but ever since the AEW pandemic shows, I’ve really enjoyed the use of “Wrestler in the crowd watching the match” to add easy story/heat to a match. Looking forward to reading TGO’s XYZ promo when I get the chance.


    Wonderful opening sequence and sweet concept. I’m not sure if listening to the Gold Rush opener totally VIBED with the train journey but I loved it nonetheless. Awesome job! The scene setting continues to be a show stealer for the Gold Rush series. A company just runnign regular shows in a building like this would be pretty spectacular… especially if it comes with an orchestra.


    Ouuuuuuuu, I dont like the Indy Club theme song, this is the first time I noticed it xD The Connor brothers go on forever about what they’re owed. I think we’re all waiting for someone to interrupt them throughout. For some reason I expected the Biggie song to be Gang Stars because it would’ve been perfect. Trevor Ocean comes out with some solid arguments, 3 straight losses in CWA Tag Title matches does not a strong contender make. But like Echo, he can’t help but shit on FWA to try and validate his place in CWA. Good attempt by Echo try and cover getting beat by The Division… but not quite? Lol’d at the shots at PRIDE/Pure wrestling. Popped at Krash/Black. When we were writing this, I did find the “CWA is gone. It’s not coming back.” Line weird considering *gestures at the entire Gold Rush series*. Aside from that, Black & Krash have as much chemistry as ever. Loved it. Enjoyed Jackson Fenix & Nate Savage bit, their desire to want Echo in the match still (well Savage’s desire) makes sense and Fenix was at his peak douche baggery. LOL’d at Jim Taylor commenting on the cussing xD After watching ECW I think I have even less restraint on that. The reveal of the Jailhouse Blues match (sweet unique name) is great. Glad we ended up having Noah Hanson reveal it. Solid ending to the tag team summit with Echo getting suitably escorted out.


    Wooooooooo. Never saw the announcement of the 3 events later in the year till now. Big hype!


    Enjoyed Alyster Black finding a way to motivate MVH for this match. Considering both their personalities, it makes a good deal of sense. Black gets a huge win in the end over MVH in a pretty hard hitting match. MVH comes out of this winless but still looks awesome all things considered which is credit to the booking. The question is, how will she fare against Lilith .o.


    Brutal & vile promo from Dan Maskell as always. The dude is unlikeable but I still really want to see him go head to head with the Indy Club or Jonathan McGinnis. Good stuff. Poor Michelle.


    “I Will Not Bow” vs. “Bow Down” - POETIC! The match itself held up to the theme song battle. Nate Savage desperately trying to keep Jackson down and Jackson working hard to keep going and getting some near wins at many points, but a super Nasty Bomb isn’t something you’ll kick out of. Elimination for Jackson but I think he’s looked solid throughout the tournament, meanwhile Savage has to cross his fingers the other competitors fail to make their matches count.


    “He’s gonna conquer the FWA” is this a mistake or are they saying they need to win CWA before going onto FWA? That aside, this was an interesting segment with what seems like a lot of internal conflict already being set up. Happy to see Nikki Albarn pop up and excited to get around to reading that Billy Hatcher RP once I get around to it. This was definitely a different sort of “debut” segment which I appreciate.


    Good match between Krash & Maskell. Krash ultimately manages to submit Maskell but as we know, Maskell is going to get his revenge later on in the FWA. Still enjoying the backstage shots of wrestlers watching the matches. In any case, that’s Maskell humbled out of the tournament now Krash just has to cross his fingers that Carlos cant beat Kaiju.


    MVH taking a slightly less heel-slant post Snowmantashi. If this is the last time MVH pops up on CWA, it’ll be unfortunate but it is what it is, and if she does win the FWA World title, one could argue it might be for the best, but I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if she came back in September. Michelle Kelly getting possessed was fun, and what’s looking like a Cinematic match will be cool to see executed.


    That McGinnis entrance is easily the most over the top entrance I’ve ever read xD Lordie. I think this would’ve been a good spot for McGinnis to lose in like 10 seconds. Either way, good victory for Humanity who finally gets a win off. The combustion of McGinnis at the end was near expected. I think he’s had a fun story throughout the tournament though, though it wouldve been fun to see if he mightve made the top 2 cut if Willis had shown.


    Good Clint Shepard segment. This whole N5 has done a solid job spotlighting that fatal four way and making it feel like less of a throwaway match. It’ll be cool to see who comes out of that one with a dub.


    Snowmantashi vs. Carlos HOSS FIIIIIIIIGHT! Love two big dudes being the shit out of each other. I know AON was devastated by the loss but classic Snowmantashi is upsetting heroic tales & destinies. A lot of my promos were built around “I know this is your perfect story, but I’m a force of nature, I dont care about your perfect story”. Though, something tells me Snowmantashi might not be so fortunate at South Pacific I wonder if AON is going to bring Carlos back in for the September shows. I could probably have pictured Carlos crying at the end of this match tbh if only because of the meaning it had for AON. In any case, sweet hard hitting match, love the idea of the Running Headbutt, I don’t know if I’ve seen that IRL.


    Krash vs. Cyrus HYPE!


    Shawn Summers completing his “face” turn as Mr. CWA. Big match between Shawn Summers and Cyrus Truth, nearly hitting the 20 minute mark but Summers is able to pull of a huge upset victory by the end of it. Arguably biggest win of Summers career? I could still see him going the whole way and upsetting Snowmantashi to beat either Krash/Truth (though obviously I’d love it if Snowmantashi put him down again haha). Interestingly, most of Pool B went at least 10 minutes over an hr where as only 2 guys from Pool A ended up reaching that amount. Probably not helped by MVH antics though.


    Fun show overall with two big matches to end the Gold Rush group tables between Chubby & Shawn Summers both staring down teh barrel of the unbeatable dudes in tehir group and getting desperate for a huge upset win.


    You’ve done an awesome ass job with the whole Gold Rush, SS. I know these shows probably take a shitton of time to put together, and the fact that you’ve kept this up while simulataneously being on the FWA staff & writing so many matches + keeping up your MVH duties is commendable. Also cheers to all the dudes who have been sending in segments & writing matches (the Wolfs/Tig/Shake/Jimmy/AONs/Shade/Mr. Franchise/etc.). Cant wait for South Pacific!



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