The arena's entrance.
A black Cadillac Escalade with tinted windows pulls up, and the door swings open, to the dismay of the audience, as the boos begin to echo. EPW World Heavyweight Champion and reigning King of the Cage, "Triple X" Sean Stevens steps out of his vehicle, right arm in a sling, with his wrist wrapped in a bulky white cast, dressed for success in a black "Ralph Lauren" suit, white dress shirt, black tie with grey trim, and matching black Alligator skin shoes -- his EPW title draped over his shoulder. As he shut the car door behind him, he took a second to glance around, and take everything in. There was something about his surroundings that just didn't feel right. As Sean entered the arena, he nodded in the direction of one of the security guards, while continuing his journey to the safety of his personal dressing room.
Coming down the end of a narrow corridor, a slight noise startles the champion, as he turns his attention to a dark, unlit area, where peering at him is none other than "Stalker" Jason Reeves. Walking slowly out of the shadows he looks at Sean grinning.]
Stalker: Well.. Well... If it isn't the champion of Empire Pro Wrestling himself, "Triple X" Sean Stevens. I can't believe you are here so early. Man I guess The Champion never can take a day off can he?
[Taken aback by the sudden appearance, Sean took a moment before answering, giving Reeves a once over, before clutching his title belt tighter with his good hand.]
Stevens: Like ... seriously ... do you literally just hang out in closets until the people you want to talk to or attack just show up? Dude, that sh_t is so not cool. You really live the gimmick, don't you? Can I help you with something?
Stalker: Straight to the point I see. Just like I remember you. You do remember me don't you? Wait.. it doesn't matter. What does matter, as you know, is what is going on concerning that belt you are clutching so tightly. If you haven't figured it out already, you have multiple people gunning for that belt of yours. You got Ice Tre, JA, Kin Hiroshi, Rocko Daymon and who knows who else is pining at Ryan's door for a shot at your gold. The question is do you truly realize the war that is going to unfold surrounding your gold?
Stevens: Why do you care? And, furthermore, do you realize how I GOT this belt?
[Stevens raised the title in the air.]
Stevens: I didn't get it by being talentless like Ice Tre, and I sure as hell didn't bribe anyone with blueberry muffins, ala that Hiroshi fellow. I'm not half the comedian that JA is, and I don't b_tch about being a True Professional without ever proving it like your boy. ...and, his wife for that matter. I won this title by going through every single wrestler on the EPW roster. I won battle royals, I won cage matches, and I beat the people that wrestlers like you idolize. I don't give a damn about a war. And, more importantly, I could care less about YOU. Because, I know that at a moments notice, once the opportunity presents itself, you'll crawl out of some broom closet, swinging a f'cking Stop Sign, like the lunatic that you ARE, and try to take my title as well. TRY being the key word.
Stalker: Whoa whoa.. Sean.
[Parting his hair from his face Jason looks at the title closer and then back to Sean.]
Stalker: I think we got off on the wrong foot. Rocko is not my boy, just like he isn't yours. We both hate his guts and to be honest I think that makes us more friends than enemies. Basically you are alone on top of that mountain, and if you look at past champions you'll realize none of them were alone. Troy had her fans, Melton had his brother, who do you have? You need someone to watch your back and I AM willing to put aside my desires for that belt for our combined effort at taking down the people we want taken down most. So you have to ask yourself, is your paranoia over my desires for the belt really worth not accepting an act of friendship considering how much is at stake?
[Stevens stepped in closer, he and the Stalker were now face-to-face.]
Stevens: Make no mistake, you're not my friend. I sit at the cool kid's table, you sit at the bottom of turnbuckles. You lurk in the shadows, I ... put b_tches heads in toilets in their hotel bathrooms. I am everything that you HATE, simply because I have everything that you want. If I shake your hand, if I decide to make you an ally, it's only a matter of time before you stab me in the back, because you WANT this... [He points to the title.] ...as badly as I NEED it.
And, don't mistake the amusement I get out of making Rocko look like an idiot time and time again with hate.I don't hate Rocko. He's not important enough for me to hate. If aligning myself with you means I have one less person trying to kill me, for the moment ... then that's what this thing is all about. If something should happen to Rocko Daymon along the way? ...so be it.
[Trip extended his hand.]
Jason looks at his hand and grins as he shakes it.]
Stalker: The best alliances Sean. The ABSOLUTE BEST ones are the ones that simply begin with two people who wouldn't trust the other as far as they could throw them. I believe that's where we are at right now. Now my only question to you is who do you want to win tonight?
[Jason says this grinning from ear to ear.]
Stevens: Does it matter? In the grand scheme of things, the person who wins this match wins the opportunity to LOSE to me at Blackdawn. And, if you've got my back, if you can really postpone nailing me with a Barbwire Baseball Bat until after Blackdawn, I'll destroy either one of 'em.
Flip a coin on it. Let fate decide who gets that magical date with destiny.
[Stevens dug in his pocket, tossing The Stalker a silver dollar. Reeves catches it.]
Stalker: Good idea.. both these guys don't deserve but someone obviously has to win.
[He flips the coin in the air, catching it, as it lands on 'heads'. Triple X smirks, backpeddling out of the camera's view.]
Stalker: Heads it is.
[Stevens turns and continues down the hall, finally coming up on his dressing room. He smiles confidently as he approaches the door. Even the sudden popping in of Mojo Massey doesn’t break his untouchable cool.]
Mojo!: Hey, champ!
Stevens: Sup, Moj?
Mojo!: Can I get a moment?
Stevens: Can’t. A little busy right now.
[Stevens walks by the interviewer and through the door to his room where his name is clearly labeled. The camera follows him in. The champion approaches the vanity mirror on the far wall… and suddenly stops in his tracks when he sees another figure in the room through the reflection. He slowly turns around…]
Stevens: JESUS, what’s with you people tonight?? What the hell are YOU doing in here?
[The camera follows his gaze, and falls upon ROCKO DAYMON standing in the blindspot behind the door. A quick nudge of his elbow closes the door, cutting off the lasting image of a curious-faced Mojo Massey in the hallway.]
Rocko: I think it’s time you and I had a chat.
[Stone faced, Stevens drops his bag and stands in a ready position.]
Stevens: This must be about what I did to your wife. Think I wasn’t ready to own up to this? Fine. Let’s go.
[Rocko doesn’t budge.]
Rocko: If I wanted to kick your ass, Sean, I’d do it in the ring, and with nothing but these hands of mine; no chairs, or stunguns, or sausages or anything like that. Nor would I try and fight you where you were at your most vulnerable… like here in your room… or right outside the curtain as you were coming back from the ring… or even in the privacy of your hotel room after a show.
I consider that sort of sh*t to be BELOW me. I have a little thing I like to carry around called “dignity”… something I don’t think a weak-minded camera whore like yourself could ever understand. That’s why every time they put us side by side and weight our every comparison and contrast, regardless of all your accomplishments and the names you’ve taken, they’ll always look at me as a man… and you as nothing more than a coward.
[Crossing his arms over his chest, a smirk forms over the champion’s face.]
Stevens: You get lost on your way to the utility closet, or are you here for a reason?
Rocko: Only to respond to your offer to “settle things” at the next Aggression.
Stevens: Yeah, and? You gonna man up to it, or what?
[Daymon steps forward, approaching just outside of striking range.]
Rocko: Consider your offer… declined.
[Stevens’ scoffs somewhere between amused and flabbergasted.]
Stevens: “Declined?” That’s IT? I give you the opportunity to stick to your guns and fight me in the ring like the BIG MANLY MAN you are, and you just REJECT it? Well fine. If you’re done wussing out on me now, you can get the hell out of here. There’s the door.
[Daymon doesn’t leave just yet.]
Rocko: Believe me, your offer is enticing… especially considering the LAST time you offered me a spot in a match, I ended up walking out with a World Title around my waist. But that’s not the way I want it to happen this time.
Don’t get me wrong, Sean… you and I will still meet in that ring. Only the venue won’t be Aggression, and it won’t just be any plain grudge match.
Somehow, some way, I’ll make it so that you and I meet at Black Dawn with the EPW World Heavyweight Championship on the line. You and I will finally settle it then and there. There won’t be a Muffin Man, Anglo Luchadore, Hardcore Legend, or Street K’ANG to stand in my way.
When all is said and done between us, and you’re on your back looking up at the image of me holding THAT title high over my head, it won’t be because it was given to me…
…but because I stepped up and took it on my own.
[Continuing to smirk, Stevens shakes his head. Rocko turns and heads for the door…and stops.]
Rocko: One other thing…
[He approaches the champ again, stepping into that comfort zone and standing nose to nose with his rival. Nearly identical to a similar face-off between the two at the last show.]
Rocko: Touch my wife again, and you’ll see first-hand what happens when I cast “dignity” aside and sink to your level. You won’t like it, Sean. I promise. When I get angry, I’ll do more than beat up on the same untalented Federline wannabe week after week.
I know you won’t want it to come to that… and to be honest, neither do I. That’s why I’m giving YOU an offer. Take what petty victories you have in this pride war with and walk away with the joy of having the last laugh. Until you and I hit the ring, whether it’s Black Dawn or a future date, whatever’s between us is on hold, for both our sakes.
In the meantime, I suggest that every night until then, you stay in this room until the assistant calls you to the ring. Don’t let me catch your face backstage for even a second, and pray you never cross paths with me or my wife again.
[Rocko opens the door and exits, followed out by the camera. Behind him, a poker-faced Sean Stevens disappears behind the closing door. Bearing no discernable expression, Rocko passes by Mojo, whose eyes nearly bug out of his head as he sees Daymon exit the room that Sean Stevens just walked into not more than a few minutes ago.]
Mojo!: Uh… Rocko?!
Rocko: Sup, Moj?
Mojo!: What just happened back there?
Rocko: Can’t talk right now. I’m busy.
[Rocko steps out of frame, leaving behind a rejected and somewhat flustered Mojo as we go to black.]
[CUE UP: "Imperial March" - Rage Against the Machine. A video montage plays, featuring smoke-wreathed images of various wrestlers, some of them leaving blurred trails as they move.
CUT TO: Beast nailing the Absolution on Adam Benjamin.
CUT TO: Shawn Hart coming off the ropes with a Quebrada.
CUT TO: Felix Red standing victorious in the ring.
CUT TO: JA delivering the Karelin Driver to Ron Artest
CUT TO: Adam Benjamin delivering a Shining Wizard to Karl Brown.
CUT TO: Joey Melton, mugging for the crowd.
CUT TO: Lindsay Troy dropkicking Beast.
CUT TO: Ice Tre flailing away as he falls from a cage.
CUT TO: JA and Kin Hiroshi locking up in the middle of the ring.
CUT TO: Rocko Daymon, mugging with Caitlyn.
CUT TO: “Triple X” Sean Stevens on the second turnbuckle staring out into the crowd with the World Title raised overhead.
CUT TO: Dan Ryan sitting sedately in a chair, staring into the camera.
CUT TO: With a clash of metal, a logo slams across the screen, its edges flickering.]
DT: Ladies and gentlemen welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada and Aggression 34!!! I’m Dave Thomas and with me as always are Dean Matthews and the one and only Mike Neely, who had a little bit of double duty lately….
DM: Yeah, what’s up with that Neely?
MN: Hey, the boss wants the best to represent the Empire in A1E. Who does he call? Me. He recognizes talent.
DM: Maybe he just figured if you got your head taken off it wasn’t really a big loss.
MN: Please. That’s not it at all.
[Thomas and Matthews just smile at Neely, whose **** eating grin disintegrates.]
MN: You don’t really think that’s it do you??
DT: Well, prerequisite needling aside we do have a pretty big show tonight. Everything going on lately with the ownership around here has in the very least set up some interesting matchups.
DM: Right. Well, Beast is taking on Felix Red tonight in a match dubbed “Felix’s rules” and having watched Felix compete in NFW over the last few years there’s really no telling what that will entail.
DT: In addition, the situation revolving around the #1 contendership to the World Title continues to get more and more complex as Rocko Daymon takes on Kin Hiroshi over that shot at the title, this time with Stalker as guest referee.
DM: Then in the main event, “Triple X” Sean Stevens goes one on one with one of the most successful men in EPW history….Adam Benjamin.
DT: Let’s go up to ring to Tony Fatora and our first match of the evening…
Ivan Dalkichev vs. Sanket Desai
[“10001110101” by Clutch grooves in over the PA to the sound of bubbling bong water as a large “CC” logo appears on the EmpireTron emblazoned over a red cannabis leaf. For mood effect, the lights dim. A fog appears over the entry-way. At least, we’re meant to think it’s a fog.]
TF: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, being accompanied to the ring by “The Escape Artist” Erik Black… fighting out of Indianapolis, Indiana, and weighing in at a TITANIC 496 pounds… he is the “RAGING RUSSIAN”… IVAN DALKICHEV… of the CHROOOONIIIIIIIC COOOOLLLIZZZZIIIOOOOONN!!!!
[Camera cuts to a fan holding up a sign that reads “Formerly the Crimson Calling!” As the lyrics begin in the music, “THE ESCAPE ARTIST” Erik Black appears from the entry-way, releasing a powerful hit from “water pipe” affectionately named Geezer, and steps to the side to make way for his partner. Looming out of the mist behind him is the behemoth, “THE RAGING RUSSIAN” Ivan Dalkichev, sternly stepping onto the stage with a towel draped over his head and a nearly-empty bottle of vodka clutched in his hand. After a moment of looking into the audience, he downs the remainder of the liquor, SMASHES the bottle on the stage, and ROARS while pounding his chest like a raged animal! His partner leading the way, the big man makes his way down the ramp to the ring, where his opponent awaits.]
TF: His opponent… from the Bronx, New York… Sanket Desai!!
[Desai, in his corner, raises his arms as his name is announced, but is mostly overlooked as the audience watches at the antics of the CHRONIC COLLIZION!!]
DT: Well, fans, we have some singles action in just a few moments in what many would call a very unbalanced contest between two athletes.
DM: “Unbalanced” is hardly scratching the surface, Dave. Ivan Dalkichev is more than TWICE the weight of his opponent, Sanket Desai! We’ve got a real David and Goliath face-off here.
MN: This is gonna be like watching the Incredible Hulk fight the Flash… and not the real flash, I mean the cheap knock-off like Kid Flash, or something.
DM: Under normal circumstances, I would say that size is not always a determinant in every match. A well-versed wrestler could easily take down a man twice his size. However, in this situation, I’m not sure if I’ve seen enough in the newcomer Sanket Desai to be fully convinced he has what it takes.
DT: Regardless, I’m certain that Ivan Dalkichev is hoping to set a very clear message to the Proletariat tonight. Empire Pro’s first tag team champions are on an unstoppable path to reclaim their titles, and tonight may give the current champions something to consider.
[As Dalkichev climbs the steel steps to the apron, he briefly looses his balance and lurches back, nearly falling off save a supportive boost from Erik Black on the floor that sets the big man back on his feet, earning a laugh from the crowd. Ivan steps over all three ropes as he enters the ring, turning to the audience and tossing the towel into the sea of CC fans that have gathered at ringside. He makes a final pose for the photography enthusiasts in attendance before Desai, unable to wait any longer, jumps him from behind. The ref quickly cues the bell.]
DT: Sanket Desai, jumping the gun with a forearm to the wide back of Ivan Dalkichev!
DM: Smart move. He needs to get the early advantage.
MN: Yeah, but uh… is he even DOING anything?
DT: Desai, with a hammerblow across the large Russian-born wrestler’s back… and Dalkichev stands in place as though he felt nothing! Dalkichev now, slowly turning around to face his opponent… and Sanket Desai blasts him with a chop across the chest!
DM: …nothing, absolutely nothing! Ivan Dalkichev is just standing there with a SMIRK on his face!
DT: And now he’s telling Sanket to hit him again! Sanket Desai with ANOTHER chop… and Dalkichev finally showing some pain, but… no wait, now he’s laughing.
MN: It’s like watching a fly try to plow a hole through a brick wall.
DM: Dalkichev’s telling him to hit him again.
DT: Sanket Desai stepping back for a third chop—AND IVAN DALKICHEV JUST EXPLODES FORWARD WITH A CLOTHESLINE that simply LEVELS Sanket Desai on the mat! I’d call that decapitation by a giant club of Silly Putty.
MN: I think I can see Sanket’s face on Ivan’s bicep.
DM: Dalkichev peels Sanket Desai off the mat… and now the slaughter begins. Whip to the ropes, and Sanket runs straight into a BIG POWERSLAM that flattens him to the mat!
DT: Dalkichev follows with a pin… ONE… TWO… NO!! Desai managing to kick out, but only by the skin of his teeth. Dalkichev looks like he’s hardly broken a sweat, and Desai’s already showing signs of struggle. It doesn’t look good for this young, fresh Empire Pro talent.
MN: Hey, it’s a sink or swim business.
DT: Dalkichev bringing Sanket to his feet now… there’s the whip to the corner, and Dalkichev follows, and—OH MY GOD, BIG SPLASH from the nearly five hundred pound Ivan Dalkichev, and Sanket Desai was just BURIED under a wall of flesh!
DM: The big man’s showing an uncanny amount of speed for a man his size and sobriety. Desai’s just getting tossed around like a rag doll… and now Dalkichev strips him out of the corner, puts him INTO THE AIR with a Military Press!
DT: Look at the POWER of the Russian-born Ivan Dalkichev as he pumps Sanket Desai into the air as though he weighed nothing! Dalkichev walking a circle in the ring and getting these fans worked up… and he just TOSSES SANKET DESAI OVER THE ROPES to the outside!!
MN: Nearly cleared the barricade and fell into the front row! I’m sure if Dalkichev were really trying, he could throw a guy like Sanket into the next zip code!
DT: Sanket Desai is on the outside, lying lifeless on the ground as Ivan Dalkichev plays up to the crowd… and folks, I don’t see him getting up any time soon. Dalkichev has just been a monster through this entire match.
DM: Wait a second, Erik Black getting involved in this match, as he peels Desai off the ground, and rolls him back into the ring!
MN: The match must continue, after all.
DT: Like leading a lamb to the slaughter, if you ask me… Dalkichev turns around as Desai makes it to his feet with the help from the ropes… the Raging Russian charges, and just DESTROYS the face of Sanket Desai with a running YAKUZA KICK, and Desai flips over the ropes to the outside once again!
DM: And once again, Erik Black brings the young Desai to his feet, and rolls him back into the ring!
DT: Dalkichev could end this match at any time, but the Chronic Collizion has other plans. They’ll stretch this out as long as it takes. They’ll break every bone in Sanket Desai’s body to prove a point to the current tag team champions.
DM: Ivan seems to be enjoying every second of it.
DT: The Raging Russian maintaining control… he takes ahold of Sanket Desai and brings him back to his feet… cross-arm hold across the next, transitions into a BIG Sambo suplex!
DM: Bit of a callback to his Russian roots. A lot of people talk about this man’s size, but few ever give him credit for his Sambo-style of wrestling.
DT: Dalkichev standing tall, and Sanket Desai is simply lifeless… and now the Russian-born athlete looks to his partner on the outside, and Erik Black gives him the thumbs down signal!
MN: Looks like it’s time to put this one away.
DT: Sadly for Sanket Desai, it won’t be a merciful finish! Ivan Dalkichev pries his nearly lifeless body off the mat… hoists him up over his shoulder by the waist… DRUNKEN RUSSIAN DRIVER in the middle of the ring!
DM: Picture perfect Sitout Thunder Fire Powerbomb! Sanket Desai is in another world, and… wait, it looks like Ivan Dalkichev is neglecting the pin!
DT: You’re right, Dean! Dalkichev back on his feet, pacing the ring while observing his beaten opponent… wait a minute, now he’s positioning himself over Desai’s upper body, and… Good Lord, he just SITS ON HIS FACE!!
MN: Sweet Jesus, he’s TEABAGGING HIM TO DEATH!!
DM: No teabagging in EPW!! Dan Ryan explicitly stated it was stupid!!
MN: I was told he changed his mind after getting married….
DT: The referee making the three count… ONE… TWO… THREE!!! It’s OVER, and Dalkichev remains sitting on the face of Sanket Desai!
DM: My God, imagine the sensation of having those rife, sweaty RUSSIAN CAJONES stuffed over your mouth and face!
DT: The referee finally pries him off, and Dalkichev stands victorious after a match that was seemingly too easy.
[The CC theme by Clutch plays as Dalkichev paces the ring again, raising his arms to pose for the fans as Erik Black joins him in the ring in celebration. The referee checks on the severely beaten Sanket Desai, who weakly crawls under the ropes and begins vomiting into the ringside area. The CHRONIC COLLIZION!! proceed to make belt gestures across their waists.]
DM: It’s an ugly sight at what’s become of Sanket Desai. One really has to wonder if he made a wise career choice when he came to Empire Pro.
DT: He certainly looked to be out of his league as Ivan Dalkichev just dismantled him in the middle of the ring. The Chronic Collizion continue to build momentum going into Black Dawn, and you just have to wonder what’s going through the minds of C.P. Nero and C.E. Augustus as they watch this.
MN: If you’re thinking “fear”, Dave, then you’re wrong. Communists fear nothing. Not even democracy.
DT: We’ve got more action on the way, fans, so stay tuned!
[Fade to commercial as Dalkichev and Black make their way up the ramp.]