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Twisted Experience and TCW - View topic - Friction in Chicago, Illinois (January 18 2009)
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 Friction in Chicago, Illinois (January 18 2009) 
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Post Friction in Chicago, Illinois (January 18 2009)

Tex: Hello everyone and welcome to TCW FRICTION, live from the sold-out United Center in Chicago, Illinois!!

The crowd surges to its feet as the NHFC's music plays.

Tex: It looks like we're going to start this show with a word from the stable who closed out Endgame!

Banter: Who wants to hear from these freaks anyway?

Cain: The fans in Chicago, by the sounds of things. A lot has been said about the NHFC, about their leader Darkness, but you can't deny that, together, they're one of the most dominant stables in the history of the sport.

Pyro erupts from the stage, framing four silhouettes at the top of the ramp.

Sammy Eubanks: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the ring: Stephen Hawthorne, Jason Dante, the TCW Bleeder Champion Freya and the 411fed and ECF Unified World's Heavyweight Champion Darkness...THE NEEEEEEEEW HEEEEEEEEEEEEELLFIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIREEEEEE CLUUUUUUUUB!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darkness leads his stable down to the ring, his two belts held low in his hands. He gets cheered by his (nominally) hometown fans, but seems relatively unfazed by the show of support. Freya has something of a skip in her step and slaps a few hands on her way down to the ring, while Dante looks angry about something. At the rear, Hawthorne follows the others, not looking at all comfortable with the proceedings.

Cain: The NHFC perhaps have a rather unusual dynamic here tonight. Does Hawthorne looked convinced by all this to you?

Banter: He looks like he'd rather be anywhere else...

Tex: I have to believe that that has something to do with his close friendship with Matt Strikmore who, at Endgame after their match, had some choice words for certain unnamed members of the roster. Later this evening, Hawthorne teams for the first time ever with Darkness and he will face his opponent at Endgame, the Transcontinental Champion Matt Strikmore and his tag partner, DeSean Blackwell.

Cain: Hawthorne may be in the middle of something he doesn't want to be.

The music dies down as Darkness lifts up his belts and then slides them onto his shoulders. He beckons for a microphone and Sammy obliges.

Tex: Does the World Champion have something to say?

There is a "DARK-NESS! DARK-NESS!" chant, and Darkness waits a moment for it to die down before he begins to speak.

"I'm afraid my accent will betray the fact that, truth be told, Chicago isn't really my hometown..."

There is a cheer at the mention of the city's name despite his words.

"But, for me and for my friends in the New Hellfire Club, returning to the Windy City is always a homecoming. For TCW, this is a homecoming – I won't insult your intelligence by attempting to stir up any misplaced jingoism, but even I have to admit that being back in the United States of America feels good."

Banter: I bet if he had his way, the USA would still be part of the British Empire! What a hypocrite!

"And now, more than ever, I am aware of the knife edge on which we all walk. All of our jobs are in danger, and this may be our last chance to wrestle in front of a hometown crowd. Some people have had things to say about that – wrestling, I mean – and about me. Some people are of the opinion that I and my NHFC stablemates are all flash and no substance. To them, I say this:"

Darkness holds up the ECF title belt in his prosthetic hand.

"Two years. Two years combined as the Unified World Champion. Over a year in this reign alone. I have nothing to prove to you, or to anyone else. I have reigned from Endgame to Endgame. If you disagree – if anyone disagrees – you're welcome to prove me wrong, and convince the record books that I don't deserve these accolades. I have no compunctions about letting anyone in the TCW locker room challenge for these titles, anytime anywhere. I am the most dominant force this industry has ever seen. If you want them..." he throws both belts down on the mat, "...come and take them."

The crowd cheer for Darkness's bombastic oratory. Dante is clapping, while Freya rolls her eyes. Still at the back of the group, Hawthorne still looks uncomfortable.

Cain: Strong words from Darkness. Some might call that arrogance, but it’s hard to deny the truth of what he says.

Banter: He talks like he's beaten everyone there is to beat – there's still guys in the back who could take him down.

Tex: No doubt. There are many hungry young stars who would be more than happy to take up Darkness's challenge.

"I have something to say."

It's Dante who speaks as he takes the microphone from Darkness.

"Darkness is too much of a gentleman to say what he really feels, but, unlike him, I'm not ashamed to whip up a little jingoism and say that, where I'm from – the U S of A – we say what's on our minds. It's a little thing called freedom of speech that we have over here. Darkness says 'some people', I say Matt Strikmore. You got a problem with the NHFC, Stikmore? You got a problem with the men and woman who have proved time and time again that they are TCW? Well, that gives me a problem with you."

Cain: Whoa, Dante is fired up!

Tex: I have a feeling he's been harbouring a grudge about this since Endgame. Strikmore made some valid points, I won't deny that, but he was a fool if he didn't expect a reaction like this.

"So, Matt Strikmore, I urge you to leave Darkness's challenge to one of your buddies in the back and instead take up mine. You want to wrestle? You want to prove a point? Why don't you prove it against me?! I'm Jason f'n Dante! I'm the most highly decorated champion in TCW history! If you can beat me, maybe you get the right to run your mouth about things you don't understand, but until then, you better show some damn respect for the people who built this house!"

He hurls the microphone down on the canvas as the fans take up a "DAN-TE! DAN-TE!" chant now.

Banter: I guess Strikmore hit a nerve, huh?

Tex: Jason Dante is a proud man; an honourable man. I get the feeling he was deeply offended by Strikmore's implications.

Cain: Undoubtedly, Dante is one of the great performers of our time. No one would deny his wrestling credentials, but perhaps he feels that Strikmore is undervaluing his contribution to the sport.

"Mother" starts to play as Dante stalks from the ring. Darkness seems unperturbed by his words, but Freya wears a concerned frown. Hawthorne, however, looks positively shaken. He remains standing in the ring a moment longer than his fellows, looking after Dante, before coming to his senses and swinging himself down to the floor.

Tex: I think Hawthorne just got a wake up call. Tonight, he will perhaps fulfil Dante's prophecy and take the fight to Strikmore on behalf of the NHFC alongside Darkness – but how can he forget that that man is his own best friend?

Banter: What's more important, winning or friendship?

Cain: I think we got the answer to that at Endgame, when those two left the ring together as brothers in arms.

Tex: It looks like the camera is heading backstage now... Hey, that's a nice office!

There is a knock at the door. Mr. Deng looks up from his desk. He isn't sitting, like an emperor presiding over his domain, but standing over many piles of paper, visibly at work. He allows himself a momentary frown and then gives a polite, "Come in."

The door opens and a well-built figure enters. His attire contrasts sharply with Deng's – in place of a tailored suit, he's in ordinary street clothes: a tight-fitting shirt that adheres to his muscular frame, jeans and a cap on his shaved head.

"Mr. Deng?"

"Yes, can I help you?"

The man extends a large hand. "I'm Cameron Jones. You might know me better as Plausible Deniability...or PD."

Deng lets the frown ghost across his face again. "No, I'm afraid I'm not familiar with your work." He takes PD's hand anyway. "You're a wrestler, yes?"

"Uh...right, yeah. Kind of a successful one actually."

Deng nods. "I'm sure I have your file here on my desk somewhere. Why don't you refresh my memory though?"

"Uh...well, I'm a former three-time TCW and ECF Transcontinental Champion, one time ECF Submission Champion, one time 411fed Intercontinental Champion, two time ECF Tag Champion, one time TCW Tag Champion, a founder member of Infinity and, oh yeah, former ECF World's Heavyweight Champion. That would be the white belt the kid in the black carries around these days."

He smiles, waiting for the adulation.

"I see. Yes, I believe Ms. Stern mentioned you. Something about a veteran anyway, which would fit your description. She recommended you as someone who would be useful in easing the transition here in TCW."

"Right. I think I'd be useful in any role – hell, I'll help put up the ring or something if I have to."

Deng smiles. "Well it's very nice to meet you, Mr. Jones. I'm sure we'll find something for you to do around here."

PD bobs his head and turns to leave.

"Oh and, Mr. Jones?"


"Never tell your employer you're willing to do anything. It gives them all the power in the relationship. If you're not careful, you may find yourself taken advantage of."

PD smiles. "The last guy who tried to take advantage of me ended up in a wheelchair."

"Is that a threat?"

"No, just a fact. I'm looking forward to working with you, Mr. Deng."

Deng gives PD a strange look as the veteran closes the door behind him.

Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:58 pm
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Post Re: Friction in Chicago, Illinois (January 18 2009)
Tex: And here's Izumi Matsushita backstage. After her victory at ENDGAME, let's see what she has to say!

The camera switches to Izumi backstage, dressed in street clothes, smiling.

"I'm on?"

"Yeah, go," says a production worker off screen.

"Kay!" She claps her hands together. "Promo time. I love promos. Don't you? It's the one time when I get to stand in front of a camera and express myself. I'm still a little new to this but I've watched enough wrestling to know how to cut a good promo. It's all about making a point. I'm here to make a point. But I've rambled enough. Here it goes: "

She pauses for a second, and reaches into her pocket for a card. She looks at it and then tosses it away.

"Right. Anyway. This is the Friction after ENDGAME, and I've come out of it..."

She hoists the Aftershock championship over her shoulder.

Cain: And as you all know, she's our new Aftershock Champion...

"With this shiny new belt. I'll tell you something, this is the greatest achievement I've ever accomplished. I never thought I could do it, wrestle competitively and win in the big leagues. It wasn't an easy task though. I'd like to thank DeSean and Red Barker for the good match. DeSean, if you want to invoke your rematch clause, feel free. I'll be happy to fight you again.

"But tonight, I'm going to try and do something ten times more amazing. Earth-shattering, in fact! Something that, to my knowledge, hasn't been done in the longest time. I'm going to defeat Freya. Dante may have beaten Freya at Endgame, but ask yourself: When was the last time a non-NHFCer defeated Freya?"

Cain: Hmm, where is she going with this?

"Can ya name one time? I sure can't...well, I can...but it was a loooooooooooooooooong time ago. Believe me, I've read the results of all the shows, all the way back. The last time Freya was pinned cleanly, it was by DeSean Blackwell, and that was in 2006, way back near the beginning of the 411fed/ECF merger. This company's come a long way, hasn't it? But I don't have any right to talk about the 'old days'. I'm not a veteran, I'm not the kind of person who can walk into 9/10ths of their matches knowing the outcome before the first bell is ever rung."

Banter: She sounds a little bitter...

"I'm saying Freya, Darkness, Dante...yeah, all of them, they've been coasting high for quite a while. I'm not saying they didn't earn their spots. They deserve every victory they've gotten. But...you know...it feels like, there's the 'unstoppable' NHFC, and then there's the rest of the locker room. And they win. Again, and again, and again. And now they've come back together. But I've been rambling again.

"The point is, I'm no veteran, I'm not Rocky Balboa either. I don't even care about the Bleeder title. I'm wrestling tonight for one reason only: To beat Freya. To prove that the NHFC isn't an unbeatable force. Freya has even pinned DARKNESS. She's that tough of a customer. Can the rookie defeat the veteran? I'll try. I don't expect a miracle tonight. Even if I lose, I'll learn from my mistakes, and become stronger in the end. But if I win...just pinning Freya tonight means more than the Aftershock and Bleeder championships combined. That's what this means to me."

Cain: Well... that was a bit of a lengthy promo, but she's made a strong point.

Sammy Eubanks: The following non-title match is scheduled for one fall...introducing first...

The lights dim as Izumi's music begins, the arena going dark...and when the lyrics begin, she comes out in a white spotlight, flashing a peace sign to the crowd as a small pyro erupts from the stage.

Sammy: Introducing first...from Kyoto, Japan...she is the TCW AFTERSHOCK CHAMPION...IIIIIZUUUUUUUUUUUUUMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cain: Izumi captured the Aftershock Championship at Endgame, and she looks very proud to be the belt's new holder.

Tex: Izumi may well be on the fast track to a great career here in TCW, and right now she has a chance to prove herself against one of our top stars in the form of the Bleeder Champion, Freya.

Banter: Women's wrestling? Booooooooooring.

Izumi runs full speed to the ring, and works the crowd for a little bit, raising her belt on top of the turnbuckle as the lights come on.

Sammy: And her opponent...from Oxford, United Kingdom...weighing in at 143 lbs...she is the TCW BLEEDER CHAMPION... FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Freya walks out onto the stage, lifting one hand above her head to acknowledge her many fans who are in attendance tonight.

Tex: At Endgame, Freya was defeated by the man who is now once again her stablemate, Jason Dante, but she was able to hold onto the Bleeder Championship.

Banter: Only in this place could you get beaten on the biggest show of the year without losing your belt, and then join a stable with the guy who beat you at the end of the night.

Freya rolls into the ring and lifts her hands, getting a cheer from the crowd. Izumi watches her very carefully and lifts up her belt. Freya lifts her eyebrows and gives her a dubious look as she unfastens her own title and hands it off to the referee without a glance.

Cain: No titles are on the line – at least, not yet...

Izumi moves carefully, advancing slowly with her hands raised. Freya puts her hands on her hips as Izumi walks towards her and then charges in, dropping her with a clothesline. Izumi goes down holding her face and Freya lands a jumping knee on her. Immediately, she pulls the smaller woman into a cover...


Tex: Freya has the size and experience advantage in this match. I don't think it's far-fetched to say that she is the favourite going into this.

Cain: Not at all. Freya has proved time and time again that she is one of the top stars in TCW.

Banter: This might be the weirdest commentary for a women's match in the history of wrestling.

Freya rolls Izumi to her feet and whips her across the ring. She ducks down for backdrop, but Izumi grabs her by the hair and drives her head down into her knee. Freya staggers back and Izumi kicks her in the side, then winds up and goes for a clothesline, but Freya gets underneath her and lifts her over the top rope. Izumi lands on the apron and, as Freya turns, springboards off the top rope and crashes into her with a crossbody.

She holds on for the pin...


Tw...Freya kicks out!

Cain: Izumi nearly had her there! It would be an upset, I believe, but Izumi is the Aftershock Champion and perhaps is on her way to a very bright future in TCW. What a boost a win here would be for her.

Tex: That's right. So much of a wrestler's success is governed by momentum – not just in a match, but over the course of a career. If Izumi can score a pin over the Bleeder Champion tonight, there might be nothing that can stand in her way on her journey to the top.

Banter: Darkness's glass ceiling might...

Izumi runs the ropes and looks for a rolling senton, but Freya moves out of the way and Izumi lands hard on her back. Freya picks her up and lifts her into a vertical suplex, but Izumi twists out and lands on her feet. She jumps up into a sleeper hold, but Freya counters with a snapmare and then underhooks her arms from behind. She twists around, pinning Izumi's shoulders to the mat...



Thr...and Izumi just kicks out in time!

Tex: A rare technical flourish from Freya there. We've seen that from her recently – in her matches with Dante, she favoured a fujiwara armbar and a lot of other impressive holds.

Cain: To my mind, Freya is just coming into her own as a well-rounded wrestler, and this would be the match to showcase that. Against most other opponents, she has the speed advantage, but now she's in the unusual situation of being the larger, more sluggish competitor.

Freya gets to her feet and grins as she rolls her shoulders. She stalks Izumi as she gets to her feet and then brings her down with a chop block from behind. She jumps forward onto her back and smashes her face into the canvas before putting her in a camel clutch.

Izumi struggles for the ropes as Freya wrenches back, but then changes her tactics and jabs Freya in the eye with her thumb. Freya yelps in pain and Izumi jabs her again, drawing a warning from the referee, but it causes Freya to let go anyway. She stumbles back as Izumi rolls over and then kips up into a hurracanrana that spins Freya into the ropes. Freya disentangles herself, but then walks right into an armdrag. She jumps up, then Izumi takes her down with a drop toehold.

Banter: I think Freya might be in trouble.

Cain: Izumi is quite the student of the game. She has an impressive array of moves, and I have a feeling she's just getting started.

Izumi puts on a side headlock and pulls Freya up. She tries to flip her over into a headlock takedown, but Freya plants her feet and flexes back into a back suplex. She holds on for the bridge...



Freya gets up and hits a low dropkick on Izumi, sending her rolling towards the ropes. Freya keeps up the assault, stomping her out of the ring and she drops out to the floor. Freya signals and vaults over the ropes, but Izumi throws herself clear and she crashes into the mat. Izumi takes a moment to recover against the apron and then advances on Freya, only for the Bleeder Champion to trip her to the floor and scramble on top of her, flailing at her with rights and lefts.

Tex: Freya is attacking furiously! I think she's had enough!

Banter: I never liked chicks with a temper. I prefer them more submissive.

Cain: Or even unconscious.

Banter: I'll take what I can get!

Freya rolls back into the ring and stands up. She watches Izumi crawl to her feet and then gingerly climb into the ring too before kicking her in the stomach and spinning her around with a tornado DDT. She covers...



Not enough!

Freya goes to pick Izumi up, but she drops into a jawbreaker. Izumi jumps right on top of Freya. She grabs her by the arm and hooks one leg around her head before twisting around and sitting out into a triangle choke!

Tex: Izumi from nowhere with that triangle choke! She calls it the Sankaku-Jime, and it's an impressive and dangerous hold.

Cain: This will be all, unless I miss my guess!

Freya writhes back and forth on the mat, trying to fight her way free, but Izumi has a tight grip. Freya tries to inch towards the ropes, only for Izumi to pull back and drag her back towards the centre of the ring. The two women struggle back and forth in a stalemate, until Freya is able to push herself up off the canvas and roll Izumi up onto her shoulders...



Izumi rolls her shoulder up, but the change in balance allows Freya to flip over onto her feet and slam her knee into Izumi's head.

Tex: Freya gets a very unorthodox counter, and she may yet survive the Sankaku-Jime.

The Japanese girl yelps as Freya keeps kicking and finally releases, rolling away across the ring. Freya shakes out her arm and massaged her neck. She approaches Izumi and tries to lift her, but Izumi punches her in the stomach and then charges, hitting her with a spinning heel kick.

Banter: Oooh,,,that looked painful!

Cain: It sure did – she caught her right in the mouth and...hold on a second, it looks like Freya could be bleeding! The kick split her lip!

Banter: You're kidding...

Freya stands up slowly and then instinctively dabs at her lip. Izumi's eyes go wide and she gets the referee's attention, pointing towards Freya. The Bleeder Champion frowns at her crimson finger where the blood from her busted lip has stained it. The referee crosses the ring and beckons Sammy over.

Sammy: Ladies and gentlemen, because the Bleeder Champion is bleeding, this match is now for the TCW BLEEDER CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

Tex: And now the stakes have been raised!

Banter: All she did was cut her lip a bit. Look, it's already stopped bleeding.

Cain: Nonetheless, the rules of the belt state that if the Champion bleeds, the title is on the line.

Banter: Hey, I just realised something. You know how the Bleeder Champion is female? Well, does that mean that five days out of every month...

Cain and Tex: NO!

Freya's eyebrows try to climb up her head as she backs away from the suddenly revitalised Izumi. The Aftershock Champion lifts her hands across her face, ready for an attack but Freya keeps backing away, going down into a defensive crouch. Izumi flies at her with a flurry of martial arts strikes and then kicks her in the gut. She backs up and then spins Freya over with a running neckbreaker. Quickly, she jumps into a cover...


Tex: The momentum of this match has suddenly changed, and now Freya is defending against the furious attacks.

Cain: It just goes to show you how a title on the line can alter everything. If Izumi wins this match now, she'll become the first person to ever simultaneously hold the Bleeder and Aftershock titles.

Freya gets to her feet, but Izumi is on her again, this time with forearms, fighting her back towards the ropes. She goes for an Irish whip and then charges in looking for a high knee, but Freya reverses into a running schoolgirl, pulling Izumi down into a cover, but she kicks right out.

Freya tries to get her rhythm back, going for a clothesline, but Izumi ducks and hits a hard knife edge chop. Freya stumbles back into the corner and Izumi follows her in with a knee lift. She grabs her by the head and smashes her into the mat with a bulldog then jumps out onto the apron.

Banter: Where's she going?

Tex: I don't know, but I don't think it's going to work out well for Freya.

The Bleeder Champion climbs to her feet, wondering where her opponent is, then turns around and walks right into a springboard clothesline. Izumi covers again...


Two...not enough!

Izumi slams both hands into the mat and jumps up to her feet. Despite the toll the match has taken on her already, she seems completely refreshed. Freya picks herself up much more slowly and gets a dropsault for her trouble. She bounces back against the ropes and Izumi lifts her hand, signalling with two fingers in the air. Freya staggers forward and Izumi strikes, driving her fingers into Freya's chest. The Bleeder Champion freezes with a sick look on her face and, with a smile, Izumi jumps up and delivers a hard enziguri that knocks her down to her knees. Freya remains kneeling for a moment, then flops down to the mat, apparently unconscious.

Cain: What an enziguri! Freya may be out cold, and if Izumi can capitalise, we'll have a new Bleeder Champion!

Banter: That would be quite an embarrassment for the NHFC. One show after they reform, and they're already dropping belts. Darkness will be next.

Tex: Perhaps – though of course that will depend on who his next challenger will be.

Izumi moves perhaps more quickly than she ever has before, turning Freya over and hooking her leg...



Thr...NO! Freya kicks out!

Cain: So close! So close!

Tex: I thought for sure we had a new Champion there. My God, Freya may have met her match – I bet she wasn't expecting this.

Izumi doesn't let her failure to put Freya away this time get her down. She is up on her feet quickly and signalling to the crowd for a big move. Freya rises with agonising slowness and Izumi attacks from behind, jumping up onto her shoulders. The two women waver in that position for a moment, Izumi leaning back in an attempt to pull Freya down into a move, Freya bracing herself against the momentum. They hold for a moment, then Freya manages to pitch forward, hotshotting Izumi off the top rope. The Aftershock Champion staggers backwards, holding her throat, but then trips forward and lands hung up on the second rope.

Banter: How convenient...

Cain: Freya may be about to do what she does best and hit the OX4! If she does, we may see an abrupt reversal in fortune for the Bleeder Champion!

The crowd come alive for Freya and she looks out at them for a moment, but then as an angry look passes across her face, instead hauls Izumi off the ropes, jumps up and brings her crashing down into the Lung Blower.

Banter: That move always makes me wince.

Tex: Indeed. Freya just lets gravity do all the work – a deceptively simple move, that has proved utterly devastating time and time again.

Cain: Freya was in no mood to showboat. She wants to walk out of her with the Bleeder Title still around her waist.

Izumi writhes in pain on the canvas and Freya yanks her into a cover...




The crowd cheers as Freya releases Izumi and lets her roll away. She stands up, breathing hard, and takes her belt from the referee. She lifts it up above her head and blows a curl that has escaped from her ponytail and flopped down across her face out of the way. The cut on her lip is now invisible.

Tex: Freya looks relieved to have retained her belt. She almost lost control of the match, but was able to pull it back at the last moment.

Banter: Ain't no one getting up from the Lung Blower.

Cain: No indeed. Izumi put up a great fight though, and I suspect there may be many more opportunities for this young woman to accumulate further accolades. Izumi will not leave Friction as a double champion, but she can leave it with her head held high.

Freya swings herself out of the ring and shoulders her belt as she walks up the ramp. Izumi is left in the ring, still recovering.

Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:00 pm
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Post Re: Friction in Chicago, Illinois (January 18 2009)
Cain: And now we're ready for our next match and...

The screen cuts out.

Everything goes black.

Gradually, shapes resolve themselves, revealing that this is not a problem with the feed, but merely one of the shadowy nooks deep in the bowels of the arena. Distant light reflects off rusted pipes and cobwebbed corners, just enough to frame the space in front of the camera – however it got there.

"The way I see it, things would be better if I stayed out of your way, and you stayed out of mine."

"That shouldn't be too hard. I had no plans involving you."

"Even after what I did last time we met? You bled from every orifice – even the bad ones."

"I've had worse done to me."

"I know. Better than you think."

One of them moves, and the light picks up enough: long black hair, face paint, two belts. It's him.

"Why are you even here?"

"Think of my coming here as a...vacation."

"I wasn't aware your kind took those."

"Everyone needs a break, Darkness. I was human once too – I know what it is to let go. I wonder...do you?"

"You know what would happen if I went on vacation."

"You can't be Atlas forever. One day, you'll learn to let someone else shoulder your burden."

"Maybe. Not today though."

There is a pause.

"Are you here to have a match?" Darkness asks.

"I was. Plans changed. I'm disappointed, but life is made up of highs and lows."


"I was human once. I already said that. No, those children...what is it they call themselves? The ones with the substance abuse problem?"

"Better weed than souls. You mean Ghetto Grass."

"That's them. They got cold feet. As for the other one...he's an old friend, and I guess he finally realised what he was up against and decided to cut his losses."

"Are you talking about Cage?"

"I believe that's what he goes by now, yes. Either way, he won't be playing tonight. So I guess I'll wait for someone who has the courage to meet me in the arena. Tell me, Darkness, are you ready for the rematch yet?"

"I thought we'd just agreed to stay out of each other's business?"

"Yes, for now. But I wouldn't want you to rule out the match that people who should know better are aching to see. I wonder what kind of fool would really want to see Armageddon televised?"

Darkness remains silent.

"Perhaps those fans of yours who cut themselves and cover it up with grease paint, hm? The ones who want to be you."

"The difference is that I didn't do this to myself."

"Maybe not directly..."

"I don't know what drives men like them."

"I wonder if that's the problem? Perhaps...perhaps you'll have to learn what lies in their heads before you can do what's necessary."

"And what would that be?"

"Save them from yourself."

"I think this conversation is over."

"Me too. Good luck in your match – don't underestimate him."


"Any of them."

The shadow that is Darkness turns around and leaves the cramped space. His companion is left alone, motionless in the dark. After a moment, he gives a rasping chuckle and turns to the camera. His features are still hidden by the gloom, until he reaches forward and turns off the device, revealing himself for a split second.

Black ice eyes. Switchblade smile.

Everything goes black.

Sammy Eubanks: The following tag team contest is scheduled for one fall...introducing first...

The arena lights turn black and blue, the Twistedtron shows a limo driving through the streets, it stops in front of the arena and the door opens and out steps DeSean decked out in his trademark wrestling gear. After a 2 seconds of silence the beginning drums of Oasis Supersonic begins to play, DeSean walks through the curtain head down, with his hoodie covering his face.

Sammy: From Greesnboro, North Carolina...weighing in at 221 lbs...DESEEEEEEAN BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAACKWEEEEEEEEEEELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I need to be myself

DeSean flips the hood back and outstretches his arms

Tex: DeSean Blackwell lost his Aftershock Championship at Endgame, but he seems prepared to move onto bigger and better things tonight as he goes up against the newly reformed New Hellfire Club.

Banter: Well, two of them anyway...

Cain: And I wonder just what kind of team these two will be.

I can't be no one else
I'm feeling supersonic
Give me gin and tonic
You can have it all but how much do you want it?

Syncing his steps to the beat, DeSean stops and forms a cross with his fist, he then outstretches his arms, pyro shoots off behind him.

You need to find out
Cos no one's gonna tell you what I'm on about
You need to find a way for what you want to say
But before tomorrow

DeSean walks down the ramp arguing with some fans while clapping the hands of others, he hops on the apron and and slowly walks down the side. He stops, leaps on the top rope and backflips in. He pumps his fist and raises his arms getting a mixed reaction but mostly cheers, he yells "I'm back baby" and pumps his chest screaming this is "my show."

Cos my friend said he'd take you home
He sits in a corner all alone
He lives under a waterfall
Nobody can see him
Nobody can ever hear him call
Nobody can ever hear him call

The arena lights dim as the screen screen is covered in silent static. The opening riffs of "We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan" begin as the static starts to dance in tune. As the lyrics begin, the entrance ramp is showered in green light as Matt Strikmore rushes out, pausing to look over the crowd.

Sammy: And his tag team partner...from Wildwood, New Jersey...weighing in at 220 lbs...he is the TCW TRANSCONTINENTAL CHAMPION... MAAAAAAATT STRIIIIIIIIKMOOOOOOOOOOOOREEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cain: Matt Strikmore; the triumphant Transcontinental Champion. At Endgame, he retained against his close friend and his opponent in this match also, Stephen Hawthorne.

Tex: And what a match it was. Some say it was the match of the night. I don't know that I’d go that far, but it was a major highlight for me and in a card that featured Freya against Dante and a main event featuring two World Champions, that is no mean feat.

Transcontinental Title wrapped around his waist, Matt points his right fist toward the ring, and grasps the underside of his forearm with his left, a large number of the crowd mimicking. Matt, smiling as he walks down the ramp, leans back into the guard rail and throws up the gesture again, the crowd behind him doing the same. Matt runs the rest of the way to the ring, sliding under the ropes and stands in the middle of the ring. Tossing up the gesture one last time, he slowly spins a complete rotation to see all of the crowd.

Banter: Look at these morons, lapping this stuff up.

Cain: I thought you'd be happy to be back in front of American fans, Banter.

Banter: American...yeah – what's more American than the most corrupt city on the planet?

Tex: Either way, Strikmore and DeSean looked pleased to be here. 'Technical Perfection', as I'm told they like to be called, are perhaps the most established and cohesive team on the roster. The NHFC are really going to have their work cut out for them.


Darkness strides out onto the stage, carrying his belts with Hawthorne following behind, looking less confident. Darkness keeps his eyes focused on his opponents as he walks down the ramp, framed in flickering flames and then climbs into the ring. Strikmore steps forward, unfastening his own belt and holding it up in the air. With a smile, Darkness lifts up his titles.

Banter: His are bigger – and he has two!

Tex: Nothing but pride is on the line in this contest though.

Cain: I think Strikmore is showing Darkness how much he values his title. As he said at Endgame, he considers the Transcontinental Championship to be the most prestigious accolade in TCW because of its association with technical wrestling.

Banter: Well let's hope he's got some fancy moves to put on Darkness then, or he's gonna look pretty dumb.

Tex: Like I said, this is about pride, about respect. There are some serious issues bubbling under here between Strikmore and the NHFC – and don't think DeSean isn't on the same page as his partner.

Strikmore steps away from Darkness as the bell rings and slaps hands with DeSean. Darkness doesn't even acknowledge his opponent and starts to move around the ring. Hawthorne looks a little put out and then steps through the ropes onto the apron.

Cain: I guess Darkness has decided that he'll be starting for the NHFC team.

Tex: Their reformation was a shock to end Endgame, but I wonder if it was quite the happy reunion it seemed. Remember, back when the NHFC first formed a couple years ago, Hawthorne was the last member to be added to the group and some said it was more due to him being Freya's tag partner than any real connection to the others in the stable.

Banter: And don't forget – Darkness was the guy who injured him in the Road to Glory!

Cain: Quite right, he was.

Strikmore and Darkness start things out and they circle in the ring for a moment. The crowd are hot for the match, anticipating the clash between the two huge stars. They lock up, and Strikmore immediately unbalances Darkness and brings him down to the mat with a fireman's carry. He looks for a chinlock, but Darkness rolls onto his stomach and trips Strikmore. He clambers on top and lays in a strike with the point of his elbow, but Strikmore shoves him off. He rolls up to his feet, then Darkness hits an arm drag. He tries for an armbar, but Strikmore gets up to his feet and underneath his opponent. He pushes Darkness up with a modified northern lights suplex and lands in a pinning predicament...

One...not enough! Darkness kicks out!

Tex: Darkness and Strikmore are taking each other's measure in the early going. It's so rare to see these two titans of the ring meet in combat. To the best of my knowledge, they have never been in one-on-one competition with one another.

Cain: What a dream match that would be.

Banter: Well if they just tell their buddies to stay out, we can see it right now!

Tex: I doubt either Hawthorne or DeSean would be satisfied with that.

Strikmore rolls the Champion up to his feet and whips him across the ring. He goes for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Darkness spins out and lands on his feet. He executes a jawbreaker and Strikmore staggers back, holding his chin. Darkness surges forward, but Strikmore dodges his spear and sends him out between the top and middle ropes.

Tex: Darkness heading out of the ring!

Darkness catches the ropes and lands on the apron. He rolls in under the bottom rope as Strikmore makes the tag to DeSean. DeSean is in and fired up, stomping Darkness down. The Champion tries to fight out, but DeSean lifts him and takes him down with a snapmare. He locks in a sleeper, and Darkness struggles to get free. He pushes himself to his feet and leans backwards, pushing DeSean against the ropes. The referee calls for the break but the momentum sends both men forwards and Darkness flips DeSean over his head to land hard on his tailbone. DeSean grits his teeth in pain, but Darkness doesn't let up, driving a knee into his spine.

Cain: Brutal move from the World Champion. He and DeSean had an amazing match a couple of months back – could they be about to pick up where they left off?

Darkness covers...



Darkness stomps DeSean and then hits off the ropes and gets a running elbow drop. DeSean rolls away but Darkness keeps on him with stomps and lifts him. He hooks him up for a vertical suplex but DeSean wriggles free and lands on his feet behind Darkness. He slams his forearm into the World Champion's back and then lifts him into a back suplex. He goes for a pin...



DeSean is up quickly, making the tag to Strikmore. Darkness gets up, but DeSean knees him in the gut and then goes for a suplex. He gets Darkness up as Strikmore kneels behind him and then drops him right down so Strikmore's knee impacts against his spine.

Tex: Incredible tandem move!

Cain: DeSean and Strikmore are showcasing some very slick teamwork in this match. They were rivals for so long, and I believe that has not only built mutual respect between these two men, but also a familiarity with their respective styles.

Banter: So the secret of a successful tag team is to hate each other first?

Tex: Apparently so. Technical Perfection are living up to their name with this tandem offence and quick tags.

Strikmore goes right for the cover as DeSean goes back to the apron...



Th...Darkness just kicks out!

Strikmore slaps on an abdominal stretch on the mat. Darkness grits his teeth, resisting the painful hold as Strikmore places torsion on his trunk. He twists and pulls, cinching in the hold as tight as he can. The crowd come alive for Darkness, but there are a few Strikmore chants too. In his corner, Hawthorne pounds on the turnbuckle, pumping up his partner, but his heart doesn't seem to be in it. Strikmore wrenches back and Darkness roars in pain, but he also manages to get his feet planted on the mat and starts to push himself up. Strikmore tries to force him back down to the canvas, but Darkness's momentum is building and he gets to his feet and counters the ab stretch into a hiptoss. Strikmore lands hard on the mat and Darkness stumbles away, cradling his lower back.

Cain: Darkness is injured – will his opponents capitalise? We know that, in the past, Strikmore has enjoyed targeting the midsection of his opponents.

Strikmore is on his feet and forearms Darkness against the ropes. He whips him across the ring and hits the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, dropping right down into a cover...



Strikmore picks Darkness up and lifts him onto his shoulders. He turns, preparing to execute a big move, but Darkness pulls him down into a crucifix pin...


Two...Strikmore kicks out!

Darkness rolls away towards his corner. He slumps down against the ropes and finally tags in Hawthorne. The smaller man almost seems to leap out of his corner, going after Strikmore. He drops him with a clothesline and then bounces off the ropes, flooring him with a crossbody as he gets to his feet. He holds on for the cover...

One... And Strikmore throws Hawthorne off.

Tex: Hawthorne is a house of fire!

Banter: Yeah, but he lost to Strikmore at Endgame. Does he really think he can get revenge here?

Cain: I don't know that revenge is the right word, Banter. I think Hawthorne wants to prove to the fans, to Strikmore and perhaps also himself that he can hang in the ring with the likes of the Transcontinental Champion.

Tex: In my eyes, he proved exactly that at Endgame.

Strikmore bounces right up to his feet and dives at Hawthorne, but Hawthorne gets his hands up to grab Strikmore's and buries a foot in his abdomen. He kicks Strikmore away and, hands still linked with his opponent's, jumps up to his feet and then up into a hurracanrana. Strikmore is spun across the ring and Hawthorne dives right up to knock DeSean off the apron with a forearm.

Tex: Hawthorne is taking the fight to Technical Perfection! He really wants to prove himself tonight!

Hawthorne dropkicks Strikmore and covers...


Two...and DeSean dives in out of nowhere to break it up!

The referee admonishes DeSean, but he just hits a short clothesline and then returns to his corner. Strikmore struggles across the mat, looking for the tag, and Hawthorne does likewise. Darkness is clearly itching to get back in and leans down with his good hand outstretched. Hawthorne creeps closer and lunges across the ring for the hot tag. He makes it and Darkness surges through the ropes as Strikmore makes the tag too.

Cain: Both men in! DeSean and Darkness have history, and I think it's going to come into play right now!

DeSean and Darkness collide, the World Champion winning out with a big clothesline. DeSean staggers back upright and Darkness drops him with a throat thrust. He slumps against the ropes and Darkness slaps his thigh.

Tex: I believe Darkness may be signalling for the superkick! That's the move with which he beat DeSean in their last match!

DeSean sees what's coming and, before Darkness can move, drops out through the ropes and to the floor. Darkness falters, but now Strikmore is in the ring and he charges Darkness, smashing him into the canvas with a running facecrusher. Darkness holds his face as he rolls onto his back and DeSean dives right back in to pick up the cover...




Banter: Close!

Cain: Very close. What an upset that might have been.

DeSean lifts his hand, signalling for a big move. He lifts Darkness up and places him in position for the Hangman's DDT, but Darkness recovers and punches him in the gut. DeSean staggers against the ropes and Darkness grabs him by the throat with his prosthetic. DeSean's eyes go wide and he struggles free, kicking Darkness in the leg. He takes a run up and knees him in the temple then goes to tag in Strikmore. Technical Perfection confer for a moment, then both advance on Darkness as he gets up to his knees. With prefect synchronicity, they both jump into the air and hit him with a double enziguri.

Tex: Amazing! That might be all right there!

The crowd are cheering in spite of themselves as Strikmore goes for the cover, looking confident that this will be enough...



Thre...and Hawthorne breaks the pin up from nowhere!

Banter: Where'd he come from?!

Cain: Hawthorne makes the save. We may have had questions about his loyalties at the start of the show, and even going into this match, but he appears to be on the same page as his partner at this moment.

Tex: He just saved the match for his team, I know that.

Strikmore rolls away, holding his head as Hawthorne stands over Darkness. The referee tries to force him back to his corner, and reluctantly he heads back. Darkness claws his way upright using the ropes and gets his breath back for a few moments. Strikmore crouches in the corner, watching him carefully and, as he stands, charges in and drops him with a spear. He pounds on him with right hands on the mat and then jumps up. Holding the ropes, he stomps Darkness down, then leans across to tag in DeSean.

Cain: More quick tags. DeSean and Strikmore aren't allowing themselves to be worn down in this match, and that is exactly what they must do against the seemingly inhuman stamina of a man like Darkness.

Hawthorne wants in to the match again and leans across for the tag, but Darkness isn't going anywhere. Strikmore scoop slams him in the middle of the ring and then grabs DeSean's hand. He whips him into the ropes and then lifts him up into a back drop. DeSean rotates through the air and lands a legdrop across Darkness's throat.

Banter: Whoa!

Tex: What an unorthodox manoeuvre that was! I think these guys went into this match with a plan in mind.

Cain: Almost certainly. And somehow I doubt that Darkness and Hawthorne did the same. Darkness is, to put it politely, a singles specialist. He has been a part of some successful tag teams in the past: with John Doe, with Misfit and, ironically, with Freya, Hawthorne's tag partner, but he has found the majority of success fighting alone, on his own terms.

Banter: Which is why they call him 'The Man Who Walks Alone'. Very cunning.

DeSean covers...



Thre...Darkness barely gets his shoulder up!

Tex: So close!

DeSean pounds the mat in frustration. He signals for the Hangman's DDT again and waits for Darkness to stand. He knees him in the gut and then lifts him up onto his shoulders, but Darkness lays in punches and unbalances the former Aftershock Champion. He stumbles backwards towards the corner and Darkness is able to pull himself free and stand on the top rope. He kicks DeSean in the face, sending him into the turnbuckle and then bouncing out. He lands on the mat and flops over onto his back.

Cain: DeSean is vulnerable!

Darkness jumps off the turnbuckle, arcing back into a high moonsault. He lands hard on DeSean, then bounces off, clutching his stomach. He rolls across the ring towards his corner, and Hawthorne leans across and makes the blind tag. The crowd pops as Hawthorne jumps into the ring and goes for DeSean, who is still down. He drops a knee and picks up DeSean, setting him up for the Noir Drop, but the shoves him away. He points at Strikmore and beckons at him.

Banter: What's this all about?

Tex: I believe that Hawthorne wants to face Strikmore. He wants to conclude this match with his friend.

DeSean slumps back against the turnbuckle and obliges, lifting his hand so Strikmore can tag himself in. The two friends exchange a smile and begin to circle. They go for a lock up, but Hawthorne drops to one knee and picks Strikmore's ankle, tripping him to the canvas. He jumps on top of him, going straight for a cover...


But DeSean, who hasn't even left the ring yet, breaks it up with a stomp. He hauls Hawthorne up and lays in a forearm against the ropes as the referee admonishes him. DeSean knees Hawthorne in the stomach and then turns around to play to the crowd, but he finds Darkness in the middle of the ring, flying straight at him with his foot outstretched!

Cain: Superkick! Superkick!

With almost preternatural agility, DeSean telegraphs the kick and hurls himself to one side so that Darkness's foot smashes into Hawthorne's jaw, sending him reeling against the ropes again.

Tex: Oh no! Darkness's foot collides with his own partner's jaw! A disaster for this team!

DeSean rolls to his feet and gapes at the tableaux, but then Darkness bowls into him and then both tumble out of the ring together. Strikmore, seizing his opportunity, jumps up at Hawthorne and pulls him down into the Ring Slinger. He rolls him over and hooks the leg...




Cain: Technical Perfection walk out with a hard fought victory! Darkness's misstep cost the NHFC this match!

Banter: Hey now, DeSean was the one who moved...

Tex: I don't think Hawthorne is going to see it that way.

Strikmore rolls out of the ring as DeSean shoves Darkness back against the apron and beats a hasty retreat. Strikmore's music plays as the team walk backwards up the ramp, their hands raised in victory. In the ring, Hawthorne sits up, massaging his jaw.

Cain: Stephen Hawthorne was caught in the middle of the issues between these two teams, and he's the one who has taken the fall because of that.

Darkness climbs back into the ring and levels a finger at DeSean and Strikmore, mouthing off at them. He shakes his head, but Hawthorne is now standing, and he grabs Darkness's arm and spins him around, immediately getting in his face.

Banter: Uh oh...

Tex: Hawthorne looks pretty unhappy to me.

Cain: Well, to be fair, Darkness didn't mean to superkick him. This is just an unfortunate misunderstanding – the thing to take from this match is that Technical Perfection are a slick, polished outfit, but the NHFC – or at least this part of it – still has work to do.

Banter: Yeah, tell that to these guys.

Hawthorne is yelling at Darkness, slapping his hands together three times.

Tex: I think Hawthorne is asking why Darkness didn't break up the pin.

Darkness looks impassive, answering back calmly, but Hawthorne is growing increasingly agitated. Technical Perfection watch from the outside, with Strikmore looking increasingly concerned. As Hawthorne takes a step towards Darkness and stands nose-to-nose with him, he heads back to the ring and dives in.

Banter: Oh just what this situation needs – interference from a hostile party.

Cain: Strikmore is worried about his friend. He doesn't want him to be on the receiving end of Darkness's wrath.

Strikmore pulls Hawthorne away, drawing an accusatory glare from Darkness. The World Champion just shakes his head and turns away from Hawthorne, but he walks right into a kick to the gut from DeSean!

Tex: DeSean is in the ring! Now you may be right about that hostile party, Banter!

DeSean flips Darkness up onto his shoulders and brings him down into the mat with the Hangman's DDT. Darkness folds up and flops down to the mat. Strikmore stares at his partner and then advances on him, but he is held back – by Hawthorne.

Cain: What is this all about?

Over Darkness's fallen body, Hawthorne just shakes his head dumbly at Strikmore and pulls him away, stopping him from admonishing his partner.

Tex: I don't believe this...Hawthorne is the one holding Strikmore back. DeSean has just perpetrated a blatant sneak attack on his stable mate, but Hawthorne has no interest in taking him to task. What is this?

Cain: I have no idea, but I don't think it bodes well for the future of the NHFC.

DeSean still stands over Darkness and he looks up at Strikmore and Hawthorne. The three men all look at one another, none of them knowing quite where to go from here.

Tex: What does this mean? What does the future hold for the NHFC, for Technical Perfection, for Darkness and, most of all, for Stephen Hawthorne?

The camera closes in on Hawthorne's face as he nods slowly, his face unreadable.

Down, boy.

Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:06 pm
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