Belly stiffing

Rifts of War - Chapter 12 Part 2

2023.04.05 14:25 Sinpleton025 Rifts of War - Chapter 12 Part 2

Conar's heart pounded inside his chest. Why me? That question kept repeating in his mind. Why was I the one tasked with this? Others can ride a horse and carry a flag. Still, it was of great importance that he led the human soldiers to Lord Bellon.
When he rode to their metal carriages he was experiencing feelings of both intrigue and fright. A feeling that most of the people of Meilume felt as they watched the carriages move.
He saw them. Their eyes inspected every detail as painters hastily attempted to draw sketches. Children waved at the soldiers as they waved back and some even dared to approach and touch the metal sides.
Conar wondered if it was pure bravery or just childlike curiosity. At that age, they were one and the same.
As they approached the central castle, Conar could see the lord's personal guard. Only the finest soldiers were granted the privilege of serving in such a position. Their armor was more round and polished than the standard guard gear and their weapons were made of silver steel, a metal stronger than regular steel or iron.
"The human soldiers have arrived!", said Conar loudly and clearly.
As if on cue, their leader stepped out of the leading carriage. He wore a thick piece of what looked like scaled armor on his belly, chest, and shoulders. His arms were covered in a leather-like material and ended with gloves that had solid and sturdy black knuckles. His legs were much of the same apart from his boots, which were thick and stretched up just below his knees, which also wore protection. On his waist were several pouches and his helmet was round with nothing ornate on it.
More soldiers came out and were dressed in a similar manner. Some were even wearing masks with glass over their eyes.
There they were. The soldiers of green, brown, and black. The ones who defeated two generals and took an entire area of Meilume. All of them were armed with what looked like dwarven boomsticks but were different. Some had smaller ones and others had bigger ones. Their leader didn't carry anything, however. He calmly approached the guards, his thick boots making a not-so-heavy stomping noise.
"I am Major David Belinski of the Rift Expeditionary Corps.", he began, "I am here on behalf of my country to meet with Lord Bellon Belus and the Imperial delegates here in Meilume to discuss peace."
Some of those present were slightly taken aback. They heard that the humans spoke the Imperial tongue, but it still came as a surprise. His accent was nevertheless new to them. The guards looked at each other for a moment before one of them answered, "Greetings, Sir Belinski. We shall let you in shortly. However, there are precautions we need to take and systems you will need to oblige by."
Belinski expected this. "Very well. What are they?"
"First, you are allowed to only bring twenty men of your choosing with you. Second, none of your carriages are allowed to enter the central castle's walls. And lastly, this is strictly diplomatic, there will be no bloodshed."
Belinski took a long breath before answering, "We are in agreement. May I know your name for future reference?"
"Gonos.", he said, "Haran Gonos."
"A pleasure to meet you.", said Belinski as he extended his hand. Haran looked at it for a moment before slowly grasping it. As Belinski shook it, he looked into Haran's eyes and nodded with a half-smile.
At that moment, the gates of the castle opened and more guards came out. They called for the Belinski and said that Bellon was waiting.
Belinski nodded and selected twenty soldiers to go with him. Together they entered through the gate and marched across the stone road.
The inside was beautiful. Decorative trees of different colors were symmetrically laid out in the small field. Two fountains were each in the middle of a garden, elven women stood across one another. Women in colored dresses were sitting around it, talking and taking occasional glances at the humans. A few daring girls called them over, but none came.
The inside of the castle was paved in white stone. The walls were decorated with paintings and sigils, statues were placed in different corners and the floors were clean and polished. The humans looked in amazement at the castle. They said that they also had castles and temples in the past, but very few can compare to this.
This was natural. Elves have long life spans, thus they have the time to spare for building places like this. However, they are also slow, which is why they spend a lot of their resources on hiring dwarves to help them. Such was the case with the Meilume capital.
As they climbed up the stairs the humans kept drawing attention. The maids and servants eyed them as they passed, whispering to each other and spreading rumors.
At the end of the long hallway was a large, twin-sided, wooden door with iron handles and locks. The leading guard opened them and on the other side was a very large room. Torches, ornate armor, and sigils decorated the walls and corners. A large silver chandelier hung in the center of the ceiling. Many opened windows covered the top of the walls, which filtered the air. At the end of the room, parallel to the entrance was a wide balcony, which overlooked the city.
Major Belinski entered with fifteen men. The others stayed outside and spread across the hallway.
The largest and most punctual object in the room was the round, wooden table in the center of the room. On it was a map of the Empire of Light in all its glory. Belinski noticed that a black dot was drawn where the rift was.
Lord Bellon Belus, dressed in his royal garments of gold, silver, and blue approached the humans. Behind him was his honor guard along with scribes.
He saluted in a typical elven manner, his palm on his chest and then an extended fist. Then he bowed slightly and spoke, "Welcome, soldiers of America. It is an honor to have you here."
Belinski saluted in his own manner and his men did the same. "Thank you, Lord Bellon. The pleasure is ours."
As Bellon glanced over them, he saw a familiar face, "Lieutenant Caden Roberts. I'm glad you could make it."
"As am I, Lord Bellon.", Caden replied and looked at Taria, who was standing in the corner of the room, dressed in guard armor with her palm on her sword. They smiled and nodded at each other.
"The senators should be here soon.", said Bellon, "I believe they've already entered the city through the northern gate along with-"
"Wait!", shouted a voice from the hallway, stopping Bellon from finishing his sentence, "Wait, please!".
A woman ran into the room, wearing light brown robes and carrying books and scrolls. Young, judging by her appearance. She was panting as she put her things on the table.
"My lord.", she began, still panting, "I apologize for my intrusion, but I must be present."
"Emra, I already told you no.", Bellon said, clearly frustrated.
"Please. You know how important this means to me. This is historical!", Emra said, panting.
"I will tell you this once more. Leave and-"
"Uncle, I am begging you!", she shouted. Everyone stared at her with widened eyes.
"Uncle?", Belinski asked.
Bellon sighed before answering, "Major Belinski, meet my niece. Emra Belus, a scholar of the species branch."
"Emra.", Taria spoke, "Father told you not to come. You should have listened."
"If I am not supposed to be here, then why are you?", asked Emra in an insulting manner.
"I am a member of the lord's guard."
"Oh please, we all know Aego trained you because he took pity on an annoying little girl."
Enraged, Taria gripped the handle of her sword, "Say one more word about him and I will-"
"Enough!", Bellon shouted, silencing both of them as well as the entire room, "This is no place for petty squabbling! I will deal with the two of you when the time is right. Sirs, accept my sincerest apologies for this debacle."
Belinski raised his hand in a calming gesture, "No need, Lord Bellon."
Bellon sighed, "Thank you. Now, Emra. How are you here? How did you learn about this event?"
Emra opened her mouth to answer but a voice behind her spoke, "I told her."
Those present in the room turned to the door. An elf with silver hair and a thick, trimmed beard, wearing a gold and white robe entered the room. Behind him were four more elves of similar age and clothing as well as dozens of soldiers from the first infantry legion of the sixth army. These were from the elite cohort, armed with silver steel weapons.
"Senator Donos.", Bellon spoke, "Might I ask why?"
Cato Aquil Donos was one of the most influential and extreme senators in the empire. He carried out many diplomatic meetings in his career, which mostly included negotiations with the Rosian nobility. His go-to method was inflicting fear and use of aggression in order to convince the opposition that they should submit.
With him he brought those he knew would support him. Either because of fear or because they believed he was in the right.
"Were you honestly planning on excluding her from this, Lord Belus?", Cato asked, his words twisting, trying to claw into Bellon's head, "She is an excellent scholar, well remarked in Kuruk. At least, that is what your brother, the chief librarian, claims."
"She is young. And this is an extremely serious matter."
"I am aware.", Donos said as he glanced at the humans and their weapons. Turning to face Major Belinski, he spoke in a deep and authoritarian voice with his hands behind his back, "I am Senator Cato Aquil Donos of the emperor's personal court."
"Major David Belinski of the Rift Expeditionary Corps. I'm here on behalf of my nation to discuss peace."
"Seems like you have been discussing peace for a while now.", said senator Fylson Ercan bitterly, as if he held a grudge.
"We merely defended ourselves. You struck first."
"If you really wanted peace.", senator Vulred Krisno started, "Why did you cross the rift and immediately begin seizing our land and building your abominations on it?"
David took a breath, "It's standard protocol. We needed to make sure we wouldn't be-"
"So you just do it on a whim.", senator Donos interrupted, "You cross into a land that isn't yours and take it."
"With respect, you attempted the same.", David said, trying to remain calm, "And we never claimed we owned your land."
"I find it suspicious that almost immediately after you defeated General Drannor Crax, you sent your forces across Meilume and attempted to sway people to join you."
Bellon wasn't surprised he knew. The eyes and ears of the Inquisition were almost everywhere. And with their magic, it was understandable that word would spread quickly.
"Senators, please.", senator Corvus Anon spoke, "This is not diplomacy. Not even a debate. It is us throwing insults and twisting events. Let us calm ourselves and do what we came here to do."
"I agree.", said senator Tolith Oloris, "I wish to hear what the humans have to say."
"Please.", Bellon began, "Let us gather around the table.". As they did so, David's men began preparing something. Metallic boxes were set on the ground and rods were connected to them.
The elves were slightly alarmed, but Cato wasn't fazed, "We will start from the beginning."
"Your empire attacked my nation.", David began immediately, "Thousands of people were killed, dozens captured and the surrounding infrastructure was either severely damaged or demolished.". As he spoke, he could see that Cato's expression didn't change. "My question is why?"
Taking a sip from his wine cup, Cato cleared his throat and replied, "The visions.". David gave a questioning look. "They spoke of you. Warriors of pale skin with monsters of metal. They said you will bring death and destruction upon our lands."
"I assure you we are-"
"We faced an enemy like you before.", Cato interrupted.
The elves stiffed, especially the senators. Corvus made a disgusted face. 'Not this', he thought.
"The Horanee.", Donos began, "When we first began our great expansion, the visions told us we were chosen to carve the path of light and unite this world under its banner. They also warned us about the Horanee. North Altia was home to many kingdoms and tribes. Rosians, orcs, dwarfs. But the Horanee."
He paused for a moment to let the tension sink in.
"What about them?", Lieutenant Roberts asked.
"They were true monsters. Red-skinned barbarians that destroyed and pillaged. The visions warned us and yet we still attempted peace. They thought us weak and we suffered for it. Tens of thousands were killed, and villages and towns burned. They openly tortured many and even feasted on the dead."
The humans lowered their heads in grief. Some clutched their weapons.
"And so we learned and retaliated. We fought back and hunted them all to extinction. We killed them all and from that day forward we always followed the visions. And the same will happen with you."
The other elves agreed. The soldiers cranked their weapons and shouted words of patriotism, attempting to frighten the human soldiers. Corvus and Bellon were the only ones who stayed composed. Donos calmed the commotion by raising his hand.
"Senator.", Belinski began, "My sincerest condolences for such a terrible event. But my nation is not like Horanee. All we seek is understanding."
"Then understand this.", Krisno started, "The Empire of Light shall never surrender its land and people to you."
"I believe you are too rash, my friend.", Corvus said, "We are well aware of the reports from our surviving troops as well as the rumors spread by the common folk. If these people were in fact the savages emperor Canus claimed they were, they would not have wanted to parley with us."
David and Bellon were glad someone was on their side.
"What is stopping them from killing all of us here and taking Meilume?", the guards stiffened, "Moreover, what was stopping them from torturing Lord Belus and his family? If we keep making assumptions based on past events and fear we will get nowhere."
David gestured with his hands, showing he meant no harm, "Senators, I assure you, my nation and my superiors-"
"Are not here.", Donos finished, "While I certainly do not doubt your capabilities as soldiers, you seem to be lacking in the diplomatic field. I cannot help but wonder where your so-called superiors are."
"You make a valid point, senator Donos. Would you like to meet him?"
Caden saw the confusion in the elves' eyes. In truth, these talks were only meant to pass the time until the men prepared the Holo-link.
In the past decade, the Holo-link became one of the more essential pieces of military technology. Powered by a small and portable generator, two projector pylons, roughly six feet in height and placed anywhere between four and ten feet from each other, projected a two-dimensional hologram. Its screen could be split if need be and it presented a clear and live-sized picture of the person speaking.
With how easy it is to build, how little space it can take, given how little it takes to set up and power on, it replaced most military communication computers. It came in different sizes for different uses and was planned to be released to the public in the future.
The technician gave the 'all good' signal and Major Belinski inserted his authentication code. After a few flickers the image became clear and in it, was Ambassador Eugene Anderson along with the Rosian nobility.
The elves present marveled and some approached closer to get a better look. The least surprised was lord Bellon but even so, peculiarity could be seen in his eyes.
On the other side, Caden saw how the Rosians reacted much the same, apart from the elderly man, who he assumed to be King Ostontul, who remained composed and unmoving.
"Greetings, senators of the Empire.", Eugene spoke politely, using his many years of diplomatic experience, "I am glad that you have accepted our proposal."
Caden glanced over at Emra, who frantically wrote notes and drew sketches. Her eyes were somewhat glued to the Holo-link. To them, this was truly otherworldly.
"Lord Belus.", Eugene continued, grabbing the attention of the lord, "My gratitude for your hospitality towards our soldiers."
Bellon cleared his throat and straightened up, "Of course, Ambassador. It is the least I could have done."
"Now, onto more pressing matters. I would like to speak to the senators."
After a brief pause, Donos spoke, "I am Cato Aquil Donos, representing senator of the Empire of Light."
"Greetings, senator Donos. My name is Eugene Anderson and I am the appointed ambassador on behalf of the United States of America."
"I have a question for the Rosian nobility, ambassador.". Eugene nodded and stepped aside, letting the kings and dukes into view. "What have you decided?"
A plain and simple question. One with many answers and interpretations. The Rosians didn't answer immediately. Looking at each other, they pondered on what to say. Their anxiety was understandable. They were in the presence of the Imperial Senate after all.
Ostontul rose up. Leaning on his crutch, he walked towards the Holo-link.
"We accepted the humans' proposal.", he spoke clearly.
This statement shocked everyone in the chamber, filling it with dead silence. A silence soon to be broken, as the elves yelled in outrage. The soldiers of the VI legion shouted insults and threats, even accusing them of treason.
The only ones calm but still perplexed were the humans themselves, Senator Corvus and lord Bellon. Senator Donos frowned at this news.
"Silence!", he shouted, making everyone retain their composure, "It might be my age, but I heard you say you accepted the enemy's proposal."
"We have.", king Thavok spoke, "The conditions were greatly in our favor."
"This is grounds for treason!", senator Vulred snarled.
"And who are we betraying exactly?", asked duke Corbin Hagot, "Our fathers' killers? The ones who oppressed our lands for generations?"
"And what if we decide to attack?", asked Senator Fylson in a threatening manner, "Since you've sided with them we have no obligation to hold our forces back. They cannot help you quickly enough."
"You underestimate us, elf.", said King Ostontul, "The rage of the rebellion and the fallen kings burns in the hearts of our people. If you think for a second that we will let you have your way you are sorely mistaken."
"Please.", Eugene spoke, "There is no need for this hostility. The kings and dukes have agreed to a non-aggression pact. They will remain neutral. If you would-"
"We have no need for further negotiations, ambassador.", Donos interrupted, placing his hand on the table, "You slaughter thousands, you take our land and even our vassals. The time for talk is over."
He slammed his fist on the table. There was an eerie silence, broken by another slam of Donos' fist. Then another. Those present looked around in confusion as if something was supposed to happen.
Donos grunted in frustration and slammed once more. A split second later, heads started falling on the floor. Six of them, with hoods and masks covering their faces.
The alarmed soldiers pointed their spears at the windows. On one of them was a lepian, on another a feelian, and on the third a man. All were dressed in tactical stealth armor with the symbol of the green berets.
"We found them lurking on the rooftops.", said the feelian, "They were suspicious so we followed them."
"Next thing we know, they pointed their bows at the humans.", said the lepian.
"What is the meaning of this!?", shouted Donos in rage, "Who do you barbarians think you are!?"
"They're with me.", said a man as he walked into the chamber with two more soldiers. Wearing tactical gear and carrying railguns. They were the Green beret specialists. "I assigned them up there."
"And who are you?", asked Senator Fylson.
"That's not on the need-to-know bases. All that's important is that they were elven assassins."
The senators blew in outrage. It was not until Lord Bellon turned one of the heads and revealed the assassin's face. Standing up, he glared at Donos and the soldiers.
"You bring assassins to my home!?", he shouted angrily. Major Belinski and his men pointed their guns at the elves.
One of the elves tried to throw his spear at the newcomer but was immediately shot by one of his men. The others opened fire on the now-charging elves, the bullets piercing their armor and dropping them on the ground. Fighting could be heard in the hallway. Elves jumped several soldiers and a dozen were wounded, but the others gunned down the opposition in a hail of bullets.
The senators rose from their feet and were greeted with spears around their necks.
"What is this?", asked Senator Oloris, bewildered by the situation, "What are you doing?"
"My duty as the lord of Meilume.", Bellom answered, "You broke our laws and now I am enforcing them."
"This is treason!", yelled Senator Krisno.
"Treason!?", Taria shouted, "These laws are older than us all and you decide to break them. Who is the real traitor here?"
"I suspect this is Gilshor's work.", said Senator Corvus, "Only he would be this devious."
Bellon walked to the Holo-link and kneeled, "Ambassador, I humbly apologize for what has occurred here. I assure you I was not a part of this betrayal."
"I know, Lord Bellon.", Eugene said, "No need to kneel. Judging by the reactions of the senators I assume only Donos knew about this."
All eyes turned towards Donos as he snarled and glared at everyone in the room.
"By the spirits.", he began, "You will all-"
"Silence!", Bellon shouted, "You will receive appropriate repercussions for this later."
He wanted to continue, but the sudden explosions from the outside stopped him. They walked to the balcony and witnessed hell unfold. Donos brought the entire first legion with him. Five thousand soldiers attacked the REC convoy.
Belinski saw that men were killed due to the surprise attack. JLTV3s and LAVs were damaged by magical attacks and many soldiers died from spears and swords. The tables quickly turned, however. The heavy machine guns ripped apart soldiers by the dozens and the LAVs' autocannons blasted their formations into pieces.
In between the buildings, the soldier cleared the approaching elves and held their positions, throwing explosives and gunning down anyone that approached. The entire convoy turned on the defensive, shredding anyone who attacked it. It wasn't too long before the elves started backing away, realizing their situation.
The brave and suicidal ones kept going, but most retreated to the gates of the castle, begging the guards to open it.
The gates did open and out stepped four of the five senators, spears pointed at their necks and rifles to their heads. They were ordered to stand down and return to Kuruk. They begrudgingly accepted and picked up their wounded.
Senator Corvus apologized to everyone and swore that he will make amends for this debacle. Donos was put in prison and will await judgment.
In total, REC forces had suffered twenty-nine casualties and thirty-seven wounded. The first legion on the other hand lost a few hundred troops and many more were wounded.
Meanwhile, in Alston, Eugene was debating with the Rosians. This recent turn of events changed things. The elves wouldn't be ready to give up easily and agree to the terms.
As Duke Corbin was discussing potential military alliances, King Thavok could see something strange happening with Vizoz. He reached into his sleeve and Thavik noticed a piece of metal. Vizoz walked towards Eugene and Thavok knew he couldn't allow this to happen.
"Vizoz!", he yelled. Vizoz rushed forward towards Eugene, knife held at gut height. But before he could, captain Bartley, commanding officer of the rangers present, grabbed his wrist and pinned him to the ground. As he struggled, Thavok took the dagger from his hand.
"Vizoz, what were you-".
His sentence was cut off by gunfire and screaming. Outside, the soldiers of Zirith attacked the rangers. They killed several outright, pushing spears into their sides and necks in a surprise attack. More were wounded as the Zirithians stabbed their shoulders and legs. Their steel pierced through the rangers' armor and into their chests and abdomens.
The rangers began their counterattack, opening fire on the rows of Zirithians. Dozens died immediately as they were riddled with holes. Rangers formed into squads and created defensive circles. They were still not sure who to fight, as Rosians were all around them.
This doubt was cleared as the Opherin army attacked Zirith's and Alston's troops formed a shield wall to guard the wounded rangers. Not thinking about it, rangers fired past the shields and threw their grenades at the amassed enemies.
Dothen and Elarin troops encircled the Zirithian soldiers and forced them into surrender. Out of the two hundred that were there in the beginning, between five and six dozen were left alive.
Rangers tended to their wounded. They've lost nineteen men and a dozen more were injured. Understandably enraged, they demanded answers. As did the other Rosians. Vizoz was dragged out of the tent. He was put to his knees in front of everyone.
"Why?", Thavok asked. Vizoz refused to answer.
Corbin punched him in the face, "Why!? We had an agreement! You agreed to come!"
Tavion held him back and tried to calm him down.
"You will never understand.", Vizoz spat, "I have lost more than all of you! My lands were ravaged in your rebellion. My father butchered. My wife died of a disease and you refused to help cause you were afraid!"
"Vizoz-", Thavok tried to speak.
"And now! Now my son dies to these people you so happily embrace!". He paused for a moment, letting his words sink in, "But now. Now I made my choice. The elves will win. And when they do, I won't suffer for it. Not like you."
"You are a coward Vizoz.", spat Corbin.
"Shut your mouth, Corbin! I always hated you. So far from the conflict, safe behind the river with your little fleet on the shores. Oh, how you love to boast about it. Well, you won't for long."
"What are you-", Corbin began.
"Enough!", Ostontul shouted before walking over to captain Bartley, "Soldier, may I borrow your weapon.". Everyone present stared at him in confusion and even alarm. "I wish to see it for myself."
Bartley understandably hesitated but gave his sidearm to him at the behest of Ambassador Anderson.
Ostontul inspected it thoroughly. Moving it around in his left hand as he barely balanced himself on his crutch.
"Lighter than I thought.", he said, "But I've held a boomstick before. A handle is a handle, a barrel is a barrel. And a trigger.", he pointed the sidearm at Vizoz and shot him in the head, "Is a trigger."
Giving the sidearm back to captain Bartley, he turned to Eugene, "Ambassador Anderson. It would seem we have to forge a new agreement. And we better do it fast. War is at our doorstep."
End of Chapter 12

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2023.02.11 03:49 InfernoAA Battle of Los Angeles 2023 Part Five: Night Three (Semi Finals + Finals)

Part One: Bracketology
Part Two: Night One
Part Three: Night Two
Part Four: Night Three (Quarter Finals)

BULLET CLUB (Ace Austin, Chris Bey, El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori) vs Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin), Eddie Edwards, Christopher Daniels
In a brief interlude between the Quarter Finals and Semi Finals, it’s a battle between PWG invaders and independent wrestling legends, as BULLET CLUB takes on the united front of Motor City Machine Guns, Eddie Edwards, and Christopher Daniels! Ace Austin & Chris Bey failing with each opportunity to beat the reigning IMPACT World Tag Team Champions back home, they decided to attack them after their match against The American Wolves, and having previously caught Daniels’ attention with their attack on Kaz, it’s only natural the 8-men clash here. The indie legends manage to hold down the fort pretty well against their younger opposition, giving them a beating that’ll make them think twice before they trifle so comfortably with them, though they don’t leave with their hands raised, the fluidity and chemistry of BC prevailing, Austin scoring the pin on Sabin! With that, Ace & Bey are sure to stake their claim to the IMPACT belts once more, and perhaps even go after PWG’s straps…
BULLET CLUB (Ace Austin, Chris Bey, El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori) def. Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin), Eddie Edwards, Christopher Daniels (14:10)

Block A Semi Finals: Mike Bailey vs Jonathan Gresham
A rivalry that’s taken GCW by storm in the past few months, it’s Mike Bailey vs Jonathan Gresham in the first of our Semi Finals! Gresham scoring the first win in October and Bailey getting the win back in November, they’re yet to have a tiebreaker, there being no place to do it than this deep in BOLA! Both having 100% success rates of making the Finals, Bailey in 2015 and 2022, and Gresham in 2019, neither have been able to pull off the whole thing, meaning the stakes are as high as they could possibly be for both men, one of them having to go with their streak shattered, whilst the other keeps theirs alive, possibly going the full distance this time. It’s important to note that their tournament record lies in Mike’s favour, both men having fought many years back during their CZW days too, Bailey besting Gresham in the Best of the Best 14 Finals, putting Gresham in another spot where he must overcome someone who’s knocked him out of a tournament. Unlike the last round though, there’s no Super Dragon to help this time, this solely to be contested between Mike and Gresham.
As the two men come face-to-face, Gresham has a confident smirk on his face, much fresher than Bailey on top of knowing all his weaknesses from fighting him multiple times, but Mike doesn’t care, WIPING THE SMUG LOOK OFF HIS FACE WITH A ROUNDHOUSE KICK! Stunned, Gresham’s knocked into the ropes, WHERE BAILEY UNLOADS WITH A VOLLEY OF SHOOT KICKS! Jon covers up, expecting it to stop at some point, but the Speedball is a machine, continuing to fire them until either Jon gives in or his leg falls off! Pressured out the ring as his only means of escape, Bailey doesn’t let him get far, JOINING HIM OUTSIDE WITH AN ASAI CORKSCREW MOONSAULT!!! Tossing Gresham inside, he frantically scales to the top, going for the ULTIMA WEAPON!!! But that’s where his gameplan crumbles, as upon hitting the deck, Gresham evading, Mike falls right into a SHOTGUN DROPKICK bouncing him against the turnbuckles! Slumped on the mat, he eats a HESITATION DROPKICK, Gresham now brutally dissecting Bailey, dragging him out by the foot, doing everything in his surgeon’s textbook to pick Mike apart! Slamming his toes into the mat, Gresham stomps on the ankle, before delivering a DRAGON SCREW LEG WHIP, instantly following into a FIGURE-FOUR LEGLOCK!!!
The crowd letting out ‘woos’, Gresham gives them an annoyed look, at one point indulging the behaviour as support for his once friend Jay Lethal until he was betrayed at his ex-Foundation stablemate’s hands, now using the move as a middle finger to him as he continues to be successful in spite of him. Bailey doesn’t care about the context though, Mike just thrashing on the mat in sheer agony, the foot having remained a problem throughout the tournament ever since Cara Noir decided to bite it. Whilst Gresham isn’t quite as nasty, he still puts it through the wringer all the same, snapping back on the submission to make the pain shoot up Bailey’s leg! Rocking side-to-side, Mike’s able to roll over for a moment, briefly relieving the pain, only for Gresham to turn it right back over, returning Bailey to square one, putting him through further torture! Mike again rocks, but Gresham once more turns him over, only this time he’s put Bailey right next to the ropes, allowing Speedball to escape! Jon’s hardly bothered by it though, having a sitting duck to work over.
Charging at Bailey, he eats a face full of foot instead though, Mike using the ropes for leverage, before springing off them with one leg to deliver a hurricanrana, whipping Gresham across the mat! A STANDING SHOOTING STAR PRESS follows, before Bailey calls for the MOONSAULT DOUBLE KNEE DROP, but this one fully gets stuffed into the mat, Mike unable to get his feet underneath him once Jon moves away, sending shockwaves back up the leg, an Enzuigiri and a GERMAN SUPLEX following from Gresham! Dragon Screwing the leg again, Gresham tries for a Heel Hook this time, but Mike turns over before he can apply it, pulling him into an INSIDE CRADLE! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT! Gresham’s just too fast for him though, back on his feet before Mike can even think about it, a STANDING PHOENIX SPLASH crashing into Bailey! Smashing a Basement Rocket Kick against Mike’s jaw, Gresham teases a PUMPHANDLE HALF NELSON DRIVER, but Bailey wrecks his back with knees from the good leg! Carefully dropping down to the mat, Mike proves he’s not been made entirely useless, swashbuckling Gresham’s face with pointed kicks as he balances on the other, a CRANE KICK KNOCKING JON DOWN!
Bailey falling to the mat himself, he drags himself over to the ropes to regain his footing, Gresham covering the ring in that much time, only to get sent over to the apron! Bailey goes for a Hanging Soccer Kick, BUT GRESHAM CATCHES IT, APPLYING A TARANTULA IN THE ROPES!!! Bailey howls as Mike stretches all his limbs, though his pain’s over soon, the referee counting Gresham to break. Mike clutching his foot on the mat, Gresham takes the opportunity to go for a MISSILE DROPKICK… BAILEY INTERCEPTS WITH A JUMPING CORKSCREW ROUNDHOUSE KICK! Whipping around to nail Gresham mid-air, Mike grits his teeth before eyeing his rival, who tells him to bring it, not scared, BAILEY UNLEASHING THE KICK FLURRY!!! And Gresham endures each shot, knowing that even through Mike’s tough façade, there’s an expiration date, holding it out for Bailey’s legs to give out, AND CINCHING IN AN ANKLE LOCK!!! He keeps his centre of gravity low to make it difficult for Mike to head anywhere, having to use his own body strength if he wants to escape, putting extra pressure on the leg, though Mike stands up to the challenge all the same, rolling forwards, only for Gresham to keep hold no matter where Bailey tries to throw him off!
Instead, Mike’s forced to use his other leg to blast Jon with repeated kicks to the jaw until he releases, finally getting his leg freed! As Bailey hops towards the ropes, wanting to scale them, Jon comes from behind again, wanting a CHOP BLOCK! But Mike leapfrogs him and nails a MUSHROOM STOMP! Air driven out of Gresham, Mike springs off Jon’s back to the ropes, a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT DOUBLE KNEE DROP CATCHING THE SPINE! Front-rolling to the corner, Bailey hops up the turnbuckles, before setting himself in ULTIMA WEAPON position, only for Gresham to join him this time as he crotches Bailey! Gresham teases a Superplex, but Bailey fights back with punches to the gut, only for Jon to grab the leg again, SADISTICALLY SMASHING IT AGAINST THE RING POST! Standing Bailey back up, he backs up on the ropes, trying for an AVALANCHE FRANKENSTEINER INSTEAD! BUT MIKE SHOVES HIM OFF THE ROPES, GRESHAM FALLING ALL THE WAY BACK-FIRST ONTO THE APRON!!! APRON ULTIMA WEAPON FROM BAILEY TO GRESHAM!!! Leg killing him but victory in his sights, Bailey wills himself onwards as he rolls Jon back in, GOING FOR ANOTHER ULTIMA WEAPON… JON COUNTERS INTO A CUTTER ON THE COMEDOWN!!! Bailey stunned, Gresham does his best Randy Orton-esque sell of the moment, before pouncing on his prey, WANTING TO SET UP A TEQUILA SUNRISE!!! He hooks the arm and grabs the leg, before pulling back as far as he can… BUT BAILEY ROLLS HIM WITH THE MOMENTUM, STACKING GRESHAM’S SHOULDERS ON THE MAT!!! ONE! TWO! THREE!!! BAILEY SHOCKS GRESHAM!!! HE’S IN THE FINALS AGAIN!!!
Mike Bailey def. Jonathan Gresham to advance (15:26)
Jon can’t believe it, looking at Bailey bewildered as the Canuck revels in his victory, albeit on his back. Gresham was so focused on submissions he let the possibility of being pinned slip his mind, Mike’s only second pinfall attempt being the final one he needed! As Bailey drags himself over to a corner, Jonathan eyes him with disdain, Mike taking everything from him once more just like 8 years ago in CZW. Stomping over to Speedball’s corner, he gives him a death glare, backing him up against the turnbuckles… BEFORE EMBRACING HIM! Bailey looks surprised, but Gresham’s ultimately a man of honour, even if the previous round didn’t reflect that. He let the tournament consume him, but Mike was the better man here, beating him fair-and-square, Gresham giving him his props for that, before telling him to go win the whole thing for him. Bailey bows in response, before Jon opens the ropes for him, helping his rival to the back.

Block B Semi Finals: Roderick Strong vs Jacob Fatu
The wholesome displays aren’t here for long though, as Roderick Strong (and his sh*tty little boots) are here to wrestle, having already screwed PAC and Davey Richards out of contention, now perhaps about to face their greatest task of all – beating the unbeatable. Even with the crowd getting used to Fatu by now after his two monstrous displays against Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero, there’s just something about Jacob’s presence that alters the atmosphere, the cheering dying down and everyone becoming that bit more alert, not knowing what the ex-convict might do next. And as he stomps around the ring in wait for his foe, not one, not two, but three men step out the curtain, those being Roderick Strong & The Young Bucks, Mount Rushmore 2.0 arriving together! Not taking any chances on this next one, Roddy wants his pals with him, and despite the referee asking him to leave them behind, he enters the ring with them. Fatu stands unfazed, telling the referee it’s okay, ready to run through everyone that’s put in his way, but whether that’s immense bravery or pure stupidity, that remains to be seen. Grabbing a microphone, Strong declares that he spoke to PWG management and this next one’s going to be NO DISQUALIFICATIONS (it’s Mount Rushmore 2.0 member Super Dragon, what else would he do?)!!!
And as the bell rings, the three men cautiously surround Fatu… BEFORE DOGPILING HIM! All three of them blasting him with punches and kicks, they try beating Jacob into the mat, but he bursts out the pile, sending everyone flying! Nick Jackson runs back in at him, only to eat a SUPERKICK! Matt tries too, but Fatu hurls Nick into him, knocking both down! And it’s just Strong left now, who’s cowering in the corner! Jacob looks hungry, letting out a primal roar as he charges for Roderick with a Stinger Splash, but Strong slips out the ring, desperately searching for a weapon from underneath! Fatu manages to stop himself in the corner, instead reaching down to grab Roddy by the hair, twisting to get a good clump of it to pull him back up with, ONLY TO EAT A DOUBLE SUPERKICK TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD, FATU RELEASING STRONG! The Jacksons rock Fatu with another pair of Superkicks, but Jacob’s not amused, turning around seeing red! Strong pulls through with a timely assist of his own, sliding in two steel chairs to the Bucks, before hopping onto the apron with one of his own!
Fatu surrounded, he decides to do what he can, charging at the Bucks, who smash him with repeated chair shots, Jacob somehow managing to fight through them, before grabbing Nick by the throat, ONLY TO EAT A CHAIR TO THE BACK FROM STRONG, CAUSING HIM TO RELEASE! Roddy nails his spine with it again, before opening the chair up, PUTTING FATU THROUGH IT WITH A PENDULUM BACKBREAKER!!! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT! Fatu launches Roddy off him, before kipping up, ready to charge again like a bull! Racing in Strong’s direction, a CHAIR-ASSISTED SICK KICK awaits him, knocking Fatu woozy, before the Bucks toss their respective chairs to Fatu, blasting him with ONE SUPERKICK AFTER THE OTHER! On the outside, Strong pulls out a table and a steel chain, setting up the table near the apron, before emerging behind Jacob, who’s on his knees, WRAPPING THE CHAIN AROUND FATU’S THROAT!!! BTE TRIGGER FROM THE BUCKS!!! ONE! TWO! THR-STILL NO DICE! Strong’s taken aback by Jacob’s refusal to quit, Fatu somehow getting up to his feet again, yanking on the chain to pull Roddy into the ring, before running through the Bucks with a DOUBLE LARIAT! As they roll to the outside, FATU CHANNELS HIS INNER SABU, USING THE STEEL CHAIR FOR A TRIPLE JUMP SWANTON BOMB TO WIPE THEM OUT ON THE OUTSIDE!!!
Returning back inside, STRONG TRIES FOR AN END OF HEARTACHE ON FATU, surprisingly managing to hoist Jacob’s weight up, but Fatu kicks his way free, before scoring a RUNNING HIP ATTACK as Strong holds up a chair to defend himself, instead getting it rammed into his face! Fatu connects a SWINGING SIDE SLAM! ONE! TWO! THR-RODDY KICKS OUT! Tossing Strong into the corner, Fatu wedges a trash can in front of his face, though before he can scale the ropes, the Bucks interject themselves again, having changed into studded shoes! They both try to puncture Fatu with Superkick attempts, but JACOB CARTWHEELS THROUGH THEM, NAILING A STANDING MOONSAULT TO FLATTEN THEM! Tossing them into the corner with Roddy, Fatu scales the ropes… COAST-TO-COAST DROPKICK TAKES OUT MOUNT RUSHMORE!!! Tossing the Bucks back out, Fatu teases the MIGHTY MOONSAULT, but Strong crotches him! Nailing chops to Fatu’s back, Strong pulls Jacob out into a DEATH BY RODERICK!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOO!!!
Roddy’s starting to look concerned, struggling to put Fatu away even with all the toys in play. Getting an idea, he goes under the ring to pull out a toolbox, going to work on the top rope of the ring, REMOVING IT, BEFORE WHIPPING FATU WITH IT! As he strangles Jacob with it, the Bucks once again interject themselves, blasting Fatu with STUDDED SUPERKICKS!!! They call for the MELTZER DRIVER, Strong helping lift Fatu up… BUT JACOB REVERSES IT, NAILING HIS OWN PILEDRIVER ON MATT!!! Launching Strong into Nick, Fatu clears house once more, before going under the ring to SET UP A TABLE!!! Laying the two Jacksons on it, he looks at the ropes, no top for him to nail the Mighty Moonsault, deciding to improve instead with a SAMOAN SPLASH OFF THE MIDDLE TO TAKE CARE OF THE BUCKS FOR GOOD!!! Roderick’s alone once more, his plan backfiring as the incensed beast wants his head on a stake! Strong rushes Fatu with a chair, but Jacob HEADBUTTS IT INTO RODDY, before delivering a SAMOAN DROP! Roderick crushed, Fatu scales up for one more SAMOAN SPLASH… BUT STRONG BRAINS HIM WITH THE CHAIR!!! Fatu rocked, STRONG SHOVES HIM OFF THE ROPES THROUGH THE TABLE HE SET UP AT RINGSIDE!!! JACOB GOES SPLAT!!!
Yelling at the referee to count him out, the count is started as Strong nervously bites his nails, begging for the time to expire faster as the inhuman Fatu starts moving at 6! Jacob up to his feet at 8, he stumbles back for a moment, before going to slide back in at 9… BUT SOMETHING’S HOLDING ONTO HIS LEG! IT’S BRANDON CUTLER!!! THE TIME RUNS OUT, STRONG WINNING BY COUNTOUT TO ADVANCE!!! Whilst Strong grabs Matt and Nick, running off, poor Cutler’s left to suffer Jacob’s wrath, a SPIKE PILEDRIVER demolishing him! Though Fatu’s not in the Finals, he’s definitely made one hell of a mark in being in this tournament, sure to give the champion a run for their money whenever he comes to visit again.
Roderick Strong def. Jacob Fatu by countout to advance (12:15)

Block C Semi Finals: PWG World Champion Daniel Garcia vs Konosuke Takeshita
And now, after the ring ropes are fixed, just one last Semi Finals match remains, as PWG World Champion Daniel Garcia takes on Konosuke Takeshita in a rematch from their title match in May last year at PWG’s 19th Anniversary Show! The two putting on a clinic in their first encounter, which saw Garcia walk away victorious, Takeshita was left wanting to beat Daniel back one day, and he has quite the opportunity here with a spot in the Finals on the line! Garcia’s had the best tournament of all by far, eliminating two PWG legends in Zack Sabre Jr. and Bryan Danielson, but it’s also taken the most out of him, walking into this match the more fatigued of the two. As for Takeshita, he’s faced quite the tenured opposition himself, knocking out Johnny Guerrilla and former BOLA Winner Low Ki to get here. Garcia’s road to two straight Finals running through an ex-challenger, and Takeshita’s path to a Finals debut passing through a past failure, it all comes to a head for both here!
Whilst their first match was focused around Garcia’s assault on Takeshita’s leg, eliminating the likes of his Jumping High Knee from his arsenal, this one starts a lot differently, Konosuke turning Daniel’s own strategy on him as he targets his leg from the opening bell! Gunning for the leg repeatedly in the opening moments, he surprises Red Death, who had a whole different strategy in place on how to turn back Takeshita this time, instead having to play defence on each of Konosuke’s advances! He tries to apply the WALLS OF TAKESHITA early on, Garcia not the only to take inspiration from Y2J, but Daniel’s able to spin him off, albeit looking perturbed. And right as he gets comfortable with the thought of Konosuke targeting his leg, DDT’s Ace goes after the arm instead, which seriously alarms Garcia after everything Sabre and Danielson put it through! Takeshita putting him in a Grounded Arm Lock, Garcia instantly shoots out his leg at the ropes for the break, before scurrying to the outside, wagging his finger, not dealing with this today. TAKESHITA GOES AFTER HIM WITH A SLINGSHOT PLANCHA, but Garcia slides back inside, where he catches the re-entering Konosuke with a Big Boot and an IMPALER DDT THROUGH THE ROPES! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!
Now it’s Garcia who targets the arm, properly wrestling it down to the mat, exposing the point of the elbow, only for Takeshita to now seem to want his head, bringing him down with neckscissors! Garcia rolls through to his knees, before trying to handstand his way out, ONLY TO EAT A MINI PILEDRIVER! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT! Takeshita’s taking everything Garcia threw his way last year and is constantly upgrading it, meaning if Daniel wants any shot at winning, he’s going to have to get inventive, Konosuke fully armed for everything he’s already seen from Garcia. Whipping Daniel at the ropes, Takeshita goes for a Shoulder Tackle to mow down the champion, but Daniel counters with a hurricanrana and a Dropkick, before shrugging and nailing Konosuke with his own Akiyama-style JUMPING HIGH KNEE! And now Garcia sprawls all over the fallen Takeshita, flustering him by teasing all sorts of submissions, giving Soup no ability to counter once he eventually applies a D’ARCE CHOKE, constantly trying with pin attempts mid hold, forcing Konosuke to keep moving to prevent it, tiring him out all whilst receiving limited oxygen.
Managing to fight to his knees, Takeshita powers Garcia up into the air, causing Daniel to release his grip, KONOSUKE BRINGING HIM DOWN WITH A KNEECAP BRAINBUSTER! Red Death dazed, Takeshita hits the ropes for his JUMPING HIGH KNEE, but Garcia evades, countering an incoming LARIAT with a Pump Kick, a Forearm Smash and an Axe Kick following, BEFORE HE CINCHES IN A GUILLOTINE CHOKE! Once again wanting to asphyxiate his foe, he tightens the grip around the neck… TAKESHITA COUNTERS WITH A LAST RIDE POWERBOMB!!! BUT GARCIA DOESN’T LET GO!!! Hauling himself back up to his feet, he hammers Garcia’s spine repeatedly to slacken the tightness of the hold, before spinning him around his shoulders, trying for the BLUE THUNDER BOMB… POISONED FRANKENSTEINER STANDS HIM UP! TAKESHITA DOESN’T GO DOWN, THROWING A SOMERSAULT LARIAT! Konosuke fires himself up, ONLY TO EAT ANOTHER POISONED FRANKENSTEINER, THIS ONE TAKING HIM DOWN! Takeshita seated, Garcia cracks a PENALTY KICK off his chest, before snatching his head down into the mat for a BULLDOG CHOKE!
Daniel wrenching downwards in the hold, he does his best to keep Konosuke from standing up, but it’s no use, DDT’s Ace powering him up and tossing him over the ropes to the apron! A Big Boot nails Garcia on the nose, before TAKESHITA SCORES A JERICHO-ESQUE TRIANGLE DROPKICK! Shaking himself off, Daniel climbs back up to the apron, BUT IN THAT MUCH TIME IN COMES KONOSUKE WITH A SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB TO THE FLOOR!!! Tossing Garcia inside, he heads up top… FROG SPLASH!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOO!!! Picking Daniel up, Takeshita goes for ZAHI, BUT GARCIA COUNTERS INTO A BLUE THUNDER BOMB OF HIS OWN!!! INTO THE DRAGONTAMER!!! Beating Soup with it last time, Garcia believes lightning will strike twice for him, leaning as far back as he possibly can, BUT TAKESHITA GRABS HIM BY THE HEAD AND SLAMS IT INTO THE MAT OVER AND OVER TO BREAK THE HOLD! AND HE CINCHES IN A CROSSFACE ON GARCIA! Takeshita puts the technical wrestler through the wringer with a submission of his own, but the different of technical proficiency is visible as Daniel rolling him over to his back to relieve the pressure, pushing Takeshita back onto his shoulders! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!
SLEEPER SUPLEX FROM GARCIA! AND A SECOND! Takeshita tries to respond with a German, BUT GARCIA NAILS THE THIRD! And he slips onto Konosuke’s back with a REAR NAKED CHOKE, again wanting to squeeze the air out of Soup’s lungs! This one does the most damage yet, Takeshita’s eyes momentarily rolling back, Garcia properly compressing with all he has… BUT KONOSUKE’S ABLE TO FLIP HIM OVER, NAILING THE HITODENASHI DRIVER! Rolling Garcia through, he goes for the JUMPING HIGH KNEE- DANIEL SLAPS HIM OUT THE AIR, only to face-plant onto the mat, exhaustion settling in, having wrestled for over an hour across the three nights! AND TAKESHITA CAPITALISES WITH A DEADLIFT GERMAN SUPLEX!!! The JUMPING HIGH KNEE CONNECTS! SOUP’S LOOKING TO CALL IT, SETTING UP THE SURPRISE ROSE!!! BUT GARCIA COMES BACK TO LIFE, LANDING BEHIND TO APPLY THE DRAGON SLEEPER!!! The finale Daniel’s been looking for all along, he has it in deep, snapping Konosuke back down to the mat to apply the grapevine! After coming all this way, Takeshita’s story could come to an abrupt halt at Garcia’s hands again, who has no intentions of letting go, keeping Konosuke grounded!
Takeshita rolls around to try break free, but Garcia keeps him as still as possible, this his moment to capitalise on! And Konosuke’s on the verge of passing out, Daniel needing to hold on just a little longer, even modifying the move mid-hold as one of his arms gives in from all the punishment endured against Zack and Bryan! But lacking the same torque, Takeshita’s given that little bit extra oxygen to his brain to keep him in the fight, removing Garcia’s grapevines around his body, before standing himself up bit by bit to walk towards the corner! Daniel dropping to his feet now, he pulls back again as much as he can with one arm, but Konosuke’s a man on a mission, not letting anything come in his way! Approaching the corner, he climbs up, turnbuckle by turnbuckle, Garcia starting to lose grip from all the sweat and gravity, allowing Takeshita to nail a series of HEADBUTTS that finally force him to let go, dropping to the ropes! The two standing on the ropes, they slug it out with each other, Garcia desperately wanting to reapply his match-ending submission, whilst Takeshita’s doing anything he can to avoid it! A series of forearm smashes stop Konosuke in his tracks for a moment… ONLY TO BLAST GARCIA WITH THE KNEE! Daniel on dream street, TAKESHITA LIFTS HIM UP FOR A TURNBUCKLE BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAAH – ODE TO PWG’S HEART AND SOUL EL GENERICO!!! ONE! TWO! THREE!!! TAKESHITA’S IN THE FINALS!!!
Konosuke Takeshita def. Daniel Garcia to advance (17:51)

Team AAA (Arez, Aramis, Dralistico, Laredo Kid, Puma King, Latigo) vs Z-Brats (Shun Skywalker, BxB Hulk, SB KENTo, KAI, H.Y.O, ???)
The final match separating the Semi Finals from the Finals is the typical multi-man tag deal, featuring all the unused/barely featured competitors, giving them a platform to shine. This year’s theme is AAA vs Dragon Gate, as 6 of the most promising Luchadores around take on DG’s Z-Brats faction, who are advertised to be bringing in a mystery member with them. DG just as integral to the indies as luchadores have been, being regular features in places like ROH in the 2000’s, they’re making a greater mark in PWG now with the arrival of one of their top factions! As the 11 men make their respective entrances, the Brats point to the back, as joining their team for one-night only is… PAC!!! A member of the original version of Z-Brats, R.E.D, the Black Arrow reunites with his Dragon Gate brethren to deliver in a wild 12-Man Tag match, which sees the Japanese side pick up the win, PAC nailing a Black Arrow on Latigo to take it home!
Z-Brats (Shun Skywalker, BxB Hulk, SB KENTo, KAI, H.Y.O, PAC) def. Team AAA (Arez, Aramis, Dralistico, Laredo Kid, Puma King, Latigo) (17:09)

Battle of Los Angeles 2023 Finals: Mike Bailey vs Roderick Strong vs Konosuke Takeshita
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the BOLA Finals! Starting out with 24 competitors, the number halving each passing round to produce three lucky finalists, the first of those is Mike Bailey, who competes in his third Finals of three BOLAs! Suffering heartbreak at the final hurdle last year, he's looking to redeem himself by making third time the charm. Next up is Roderick Strong, who enters his record fourth Finals of 10 BOLAs, easily the most experienced of the three at this juncture! PWG’s Gatekeeper, this could be his last BOLA, making it highly prudent for him to tick it off his bucket list here. No Mount Rushmore 2.0 in his corner, having been disposed of by Fatu earlier in the night, he must walk the lonely road alone. And last but not least, Konosuke Takeshita, the newcomer of this all, going coast-to-coast in his first-ever BOLA after taking the US indies by storm in 2022. Eliminating the PWG World Champion in the previous round, it’d be the ultimate statement for him to leave with the trophy as well, doubling down on his right to challenge and avenge his title loss to Garcia last year with a rubber match.
As they each make their entrances one final time, Bailey and Takeshita receive loud pops, whilst Strong has a much more mixed reception, some respect still there for the veteran, but mostly a lack for the methods he took to get this far. Bailey and Strong especially exchange tense stares, Speedball’s match with Roddy 8 years ago in PWG making him famous, Strong prevailing that night to retain the World Title, whilst Bailey and Takeshita have their own fair share of history too, dating back to their matches in DDT. Now, all that reaches its culmination, as three completely different stories intersect, all ending with one goal at the end of the road – it’s the Present, the Past, and the Future facing off in 2023’s Battle of Los Angeles Finals!
As the bell sounds, Strong ‘graciously’ steps out the ring, gesturing to Bailey and Takeshita to start things off, knowing they have unfinished business, acting as if he’s doing them a favour by letting them tire themselves out first. But Bailey and Takeshita take it with stride, agreeing to get things underway after a handshake, the pair grappling on the mat, Konosuke pinning him belly-first to the mat as he secures a hammerlock on the back, only for Mike to swivel free and stand up, connecting a Monkey Flip to bring Takeshita down! Rolling through with it, Bailey stands himself back up, hands still locked, and blasts Konosuke with close-range kicks to his body! Takeshita only has his own legs to check the shots with, doing his best to keep up with Mike’s striking, but quickly realising he can’t, instead lifts him onto the turnbuckles! Bailey lets go of the wrists, Konosuke taunting him to go for his finisher right away, Strong clapping away from the outside in agreement, telling Mike to listen to Soup. Looking back at Takeshita, Bailey gives him a knowing nod, BEFORE DELIVERING A SPRINGBOARD CORKSCREW MOONSAULT TO STRONG ON THE OUTSIDE!!! Holding him back up, he feeds him to Takeshita for a DIVING KNEE STRIKE, Konosuke wiping Roddy out too!
And they go right back to each other back inside, grappling again. Bailey leapfrogs Takeshita, TRYING FOR A CANADIAN DESTROYER, but Konosuke doesn’t let him follow through, holding him in place by leaning further forwards, causing Mike to slide back off! Wrists still held, Konosuke now attempts a JUMPING HIGH KNEE, Mike having to evade this time by yanking Takeshita in his direction though ducking under, threading Soup’s arms between his legs in the process, opening him up for a PUMPHANDLE FLAMINGO DRIVER!!! Takeshita counters with an Arm Drag though- SMACK! STRONG BLASTS BAILEY WITH A SICK KICK!!! Bailey’s grip releasing from Konosuke, he slumps to the mat, Roddy hurling him out the ring to confront the man who kneed him in the face! And Takeshita stands toe-to-toe with Strong, who cracks a blistering Knife-Edge Chop off his chest, Konosuke looking surprised by the impact, not expecting his gunfire shots to actually live up to the hype. Strong fires off another, welts rapidly forming with each shot from Roddy, notorious for having some of the heaviest hands in the business! Takeshita tries to match him at his game, but the moment Konosuke starts throwing chops, Roddy blasts him with a knee to the gut instead, before nailing him with one on the jaw to drop Soup!
As Strong mocks Takeshita, HE’S STACKED BY A SPRINGBOARD POISONED FRANKENSTEINER! Bailey’s back in, and he has eyes for Roddy, trapping him in the ropes to cave his chest in with Shoot Kicks! Takeshita joins in, throwing chops to Strong, the pair alternating on each shot, Roderick paying for his transgressions! Konosuke pulls Bailey away on the last one though, instead stiffing him with a Lariat! The impact knocks Mike to the mat, but he kips right back up, throwing a Shoot Kick that knocks Takeshita down now! Hitting the ropes, Bailey goes for a Springboard Back Elbow, but he’s caught by Konosuke, who throws him with a GERMAN SUPLEX, Mike landing on his feet, though with a boot smacking against the back of his head, Roddy holding it out! Bailey dazed, Takeshita hurls himself for a SOMERSAULT in Mike’s direction, his arm catching Speedball in a Lariat, whilst his leg catches Roddy in a Dropkick! Bailey cleared out the way, Takeshita goes for a SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB TO THE OUTSIDE ON STRONG, though Roddy desperately hangs onto the ropes! Konosuke finally able to yank him off, MIKE TAKES THEM OUT WITH A SHOOTING STAR PLANCHA!
Sending Roddy in, the crowd cheers as Bailey and Strong square off, 8 years removed from where it all began for Mike’s rise. Speedball peppers him with kicks to the chest, before going for a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT, though all he eats is Roddy’s knee gut-first, Strong smartly positioning himself to catch Bailey’s midsection! Yanking him off the mat with great force, he nails a Dropdown Gutbuster, before comboing with a Swinging Backbreaker, concentrating the hurt on the torso! Tossing Mike into the corner, a Running Elbow Smash nails his jaw, before a BUTTERFLY SUPLEX snaps Bailey down on his back! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT! Strong snorts, before returning to the chest, dicing up Speedball’s chest with stiff shots! An OLYMPIC SLAM attempt tosses Bailey into a SUPERKICK from Takeshita, Konosuke nailing Strong with one too! Both knocked into the corner, Takeshita scores a JUMPING HIGH KNEE on Bailey, though when he tries on Strong, there’s a HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER AWAITING HIM! Whipping Takeshita into Bailey’s corner, where Mike has his knees up, Strong races in for a Corner Running Knee Strike, but both Konosuke and Bailey pop him over to the apron! Takeshita blasts him with a Running Big Boot, WHILST BAILEY DROPS HIM WITH A CANADIAN DESTROYER ON THE APRON!!!
As Mike tries to re-enter the ring, a TOUCHDOWN AWAITS HIM, before Konosuke heads out to the apron himself, a TAKESHITA LINE bowling Bailey over! Soup lifts him up for a LAST RIDE, but Mike Moonsaults out to one foot, before unleashing the KICK FLURRY! Going for the final ROUNDHOUSE KICK, HE GETS CAUGHT BY A BLUE THUNDER BOMB!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOO!!! A BRAINBUSTER plants Speedball on the mat, before Takeshita rolls through, deadlifting Mike onto the top turnbuckle, WANTING ANOTHER! Making the climb to join Bailey up there, the two slug it out, before Konosuke hoists Mike up for seconds… STRONG APPEARS UNDERNEATH TAKESHITA, BRINGING HIM DOWN WITH A POWERBREAKER! MEANWHILE, BAILEY FLIPS OUT AND GOES FOR THE DOUBLE SPIN ROUNDHOUSE! Roddy slides back out the ring to dodge, Mike eating the turnbuckle instead, the distraction giving Strong an opening to slide back in and nail a DEATH BY RODERICK!!! Mike landing on his front, Roddy applies a STRONG HOLD!!! Bending Bailey’s back like Beckham, Strong has him in deep trouble, and to make matters worse, TAKESHITA APPLIES A CROSSFACE ON THE OTHER END!!!
Bailey’s trapped between the two, both trying to eliminate him from the bout, wrenching as much as they can on either end! Remembering 2015, where he failed to hang with two more technically superior competitors, Bailey’s kryptonite has come back for him, but this time, he refuses to yield, using his only free limb to drag himself in the direction of the ropes! Inch by inch as the crowd will him on, Mike nears safety… AND HE DOES IT, grabbing onto the ropes to pull himself outside the ring to break the submissions! Whilst Takeshita’s holding on till the last second, Roddy releases a couple seconds early, getting ready for Konosuke as he gets back up, teasing an END OF HEARTACHE, but Soup flips to his feet, nailing ZAHI!!! Strong stunned, Takeshita follows with a SURPRISE ROSE!!! ONE! TWO! THR-STRONG GETS A FOOT ON THE ROPES!!! AND KONOSUKE APPLIES A PLUS ULTRA!!! A submission on Strong himself, Takeshita has him trapped in a world of hurt! Snapping back on the Sleeper, he tries for the SLEEPER SUPLEX, but Strong lands on his feet, NAILING A JUMPING HIGH KNEE! TAKESHITA WITH ONE OF HIS OWN! AND BOTH MEN LAND ONE SIMULTANEOUSLY!!!
Knocked to the mat, they take a moment to regain their bearings, before Konosuke grabs the waist, wanting his patented GERMAN SUPLEX, INSTEAD RIPCORDING STRONG INTO ANOTHER JUMPING HIGH KNEE! AND THE GERMAN FOLLOWS! Looking to the top rope, Takeshita drags the dazed Roddy behind him up the ropes, setting him up on his back… HE WANTS THE KOMORITSUI OTOSHI – THE AIR RAID CRASH ONTO THE TOP TURNBUCKLE!!! IF HE NAILS THIS IT’S OVER FOR STRONG!!! Desperate, Strong swings back to fight free, managing to slip through Konosuke’s feet back down to the mat, before nailing a JUMPING HIGH KNEE on the button! Climbing back up, this time facing Takeshita, the two engage in a chop battle, won by Roddy, BEFORE HE THREADS TAKESHITA’S HEAD BETWEEN HIS LEGS!!! AVALANCHE GIBSON DRIVER CONNECTS!!! SICK KICK FROM RODDY!!! AND AN END OF HEARTACHE!!! ONE! TWO! THREE!!! Konosuke Takeshita has been eliminated.
We’re down to just two, as Bailey slowly pulls himself back in at the opposite side of the ring, Strong panting in his corner – one of these two will take the trophy home! And it’s a strike exchange right off the bat, Bailey throwing a Spinning Heel Kick, Roddy returning the Jumping High Knee, Mike blasting a Shoot Kick off Strong’s chest, Roddy smacking him back down with a chop! As Bailey winces, Roddy goes for the END OF HEARTACHE, Mike escaping, unloading more chest kicks, before he scores the DOUBLE SPIN ROUNDHOUSE, heading to the top for the ULTIMA WEAPON!!! BUT STRONG SHOVES HIS LEGS OUT, BAILEY SMACKING INTO THE MAT! He tries for the END OF HEARTACHE AGAIN, but BAILEY COMES DOWN WITH A SMALL PACKAGE!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOO!!! AND A GREEN TEA PLUNGE!!! ONE! TWO! THR-ANOTHER KICK OUT!!! The crowd on their feet now, growing more and more invested with each near fall, they bear witness to the STANDING MOONSAULT DOUBLE KNEE DROP, Bailey landing a SECOND for good measure, before teasing the FLAMINGO DRIVER!!! BUT RODDY SIMPLY STOMPS ON BAILEY’S FEET OVER AND OVER AGAIN, EXACERBATING THE PUNISHMENT DELIVERED BY CARA NOIR!!! AND THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM, RODDY NAILING THE END OF HEARTACHE!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Strong’s beside himself, thinking that’d be it, growing more desperate now to end it! Smashing chops and knees into Bailey, RODDY NAILS A SLEEPING WITH THE FISHES – ODE TO BOBBY FISH!!! ONE! TWO! THR-KICK OUT!!! Bailey comes firing back with own kicks, a CRANE KICK knocking Strong into the ropes, WHO COMES BACK WITH A PENDULUM LARIAT – SHADES OF KYLE O’REILLY!!! AGAIN A COVER!!! ONE! TWO! THR-BAILEY STAYS IN IT!!! RODDY SLIDES DOWN THE KNEE PAD AND FIRES THE BULLET, NAILING A LAST SHOT A LA ADAM COLE!!! ONE! TWO! THR-NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! BAILEY KEEPS KICKING OUT!!! STRONG SITS IN THE STRONG HOLD AGAIN!!! If Undisputed Era won’t work, he’ll just have to beat Mike with his own best, cranking on it again to bully Bailey, bending his spine in half! The crowd are all drumming on the ring apron for Mike to fight back, who drags in the direction of the ropes again, though it’s an even longer crawl this time! Nonetheless, Bailey continues to fight despite the pressure, an entire Globe Theatre of fans chanting the underdog’s name, Strong looking exasperated by the favouritism!
Mike Bailey def. Roderick Strong and Konosuke Takeshita to win the 2023 Battle of Los Angeles (32:40)
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2023.01.24 22:57 EvitoQQ Retro Joshi #392: LLPW, ARSION, OZ Academy June 21, 1998 - OZ Academy 1st Produce show produces one of the best matches of the year, Aja Kong vs. Mariko Yoshida, Michiko Nagashima retires plus top 10 of 1998 so far

Retro Joshi #392: LLPW, ARSION, OZ Academy June 21, 1998 - OZ Academy 1st Produce show produces one of the best matches of the year, Aja Kong vs. Mariko Yoshida, Michiko Nagashima retires plus top 10 of 1998 so far
LLPW Live Battle '98 4/27/1998 - 6/21/1998
4/27 Korakuen Hall: LLPW World Single & WWWA World Single Double Title Match: Shinobu Kandori vs. Shark Tsuchiya (13:45)
Shark getting a shot at the red belt is nothing short of a disgrace. Kandori got tripped up by Shark’s goons, Shark did some pathetic submission attempts, at one point she had Kandori in a leglock and didn’t even know how to do it properly. Thankfully Kandori didn’t sell them. Kandori would counter them and more interference. Shark used a chain, then used her sickle to carve up Kandori, which actually gets heat with the LLPW crowd. More outside interference, more non-action. They piled up chairs in the ring and Kandori came back, took out all a bunch of goons and put Shark in a sleeper, which was broken up by Eagle and Lioness. Tateno and Harley helped out Kandori, and Kandori beat Shark with a jujigatame. I suppose this was moderately entertaining in the way WWF matches in 1998 were entertaining, but as a wrestling match it was horrible, let alone one for the top women’s belt. 3/4*
6/13 Toyohashi Sogo Gymnasium: Mizuki Endo vs. Yumiko Hotta
About all this match is noteworthy for is having the worst camerawork on any of these tapes, and that includes the pervcam handhelds from the 80s. It’s a shaky handheld from ringside, and good for viewing the wrestlers boots. Hotta won with a pyramid driver, I have no idea if the match was any good, and they only showed 4 minutes of it anyway, like you have to guess who won.
6/21 Korakuen Hall
Sayuri Okino vs. Megumi Sato (4:27 / 10:15)
Here’s a new one, Megumi Sato, she appeared once before, on the 3/12/96 LLPW show and hasn’t been seen at all since. I’m not sure if she quit and came back, but she looked very green here and just about everything she did looked really bad. Okino was alright and dominated the match. 3/4*
Rumi Kazama vs. Keiko Aono (5:48 / 13:31)
Aono keeps getting worse, she’s an embarrassment at this point. Everything she does is clumsy, at one point Rumi tried to throw her down off the middle rope and Aono just fell. Rumi wasn’t any good either, she should’ve stiffed her a lot more than she did but she looked over it by the end. DUD
Eagle Sawai vs. Carol Midori (6:37 / 14:26)
They could have shown more of this and less of previous debacle. This was quite good. It was the usual good work Carol and Eagle actually worked a proper match with her, she still looked strong but sold for a change and it made the match a lot more interesting. Okino interfered a couple of times but didn’t play a big role in the match. Eagle won with her Thunder Fire Powerbomb. **3/4
Michiko Nagashima Retirement No Rule Match: Michiko Nagashima vs. Yasha Kurenai (17:52)
One of the LLPW’s best has her final match, and it was a good one. Nagashima always works well with Yasha and this was about the best match they ever had together. Nagashima carried a really good brawl, she did all the usual spots and the match never let up, it was probably the best singles match she ever had. Yasha was good too, she didn’t have to do a lot though. The crowd were firmly behind Nagashima since she was retiring. Yasha got heat for handcuffing Nagashima, though the handcuffs came undone and Yasha had to put them back on. It’s funny how LLPW went from having completely dead crowd years ago, to having the hottest crowds on the women’s scene while everyone else now has dead crowds. Later in the match Nagashima did her table bomb spot, and then set another table up and got Okino to do it, handing the spot over to her, which was pretty cool. Yasha made her comeback at the end, and won with a chain assisted Yasha Lock. ***3/4
Nagashima’s retirement ceremony followed, and it was a great. All the heels gave her flowers and her old mentor, Miki Handa surprised her by making an appearance, then Eagle tolled the bell 10 times. Nagashima was one of the good ones from LLPW, and it’s sad to see her go, she was one of my favorites in LLPW since the turn in 1994, more recently was normally the best worker in those G-MAX brawls and showed how good she was in her final match.
Harley Saito & Mizuki Endo vs. Shinobu Kandori & Noriyo Tateno (5:11 / 11:56)
This was Mizuki Endo’s LLPW final, it’s not a retirement, I don’t know if she was going freelance, trying shoot fighting or taking a break. She seems to come back to LLPW full time in 1999, if not earlier, and then she ends up running the company for a while in the late 00s. This match was short to begin with, and then they chopped it in half, so it wasn’t that good, but it was okay. Harley was good and the Endo vs. Kandori encounters were fun. Kandori submitted Endo on the way out. **1/4
ARSION Behind the Scenes 6/21/1998 Korakuen Hall
Lots of features, like Sakie Hasegawa teaching Omukai how to do the rolling savate, the group training at the Pancrase dojo with Minoru Suzuki, and plenty of modelling.
TamaFuka Graduation Road The Final: Rie Tamada & Yumi Fukawa vs. Candy Okutsu & Michiko Omukai (12:46)
This actually main evented this show ahead of Aja vs. Yoshida, because Rossy (but the match order was reversed on the tape). This was any zenjo style sprint, which suits Tamada and Candy fine since Tamada is no good at the ARSION style and Candy doesn’t even try. They were the only two in the match who were good. Fukawa and Omukai didn’t work that well together, and devolving to this style basically punished Fukawa for evolving away from it, she was using her cool submissions but they were useless because Candy wasn’t selling them at all, which was pretty annoying. Tamada ended up pinning Candy with a German, which is a bone-headed finish considering they’re giving Candy the big push, not that I agree with pushing Candy as the big star of any company, but if you’re going to do it then maybe don’t have her start jobbing when she still needs credibility. Anyway, this match didn’t suck but it was stupid on multiple levels. **1/2
Aja Kong vs. Mariko Yoshida (15:00)
Alright here we go. Neither found any advantage in the first two minutes, so Aja got on her back and then on all fours, but Yoshida wouldn’t engage. Aja ran through Yoshida with a lariat in the corner and tried to dominate the mat. Both looked for submissions and tried different things, but neither could find the advantage. At one point they both got each other in heel hooks but didn’t really do any damage with them. Following that, Aja bailed out. When she returned they out of shoot style and into pro style with Aja using her machine gun strikes and a piledriver. Aja put an Argentine Backbreaker on, which Yoshida countered into a sleeper. Yoshida tried the sleeper again after countering a backdrop suplex. Yoshida kept catching submissions but Aja was quickly into the ropes or blocking them. Yoshida scored a belly to belly overhead suplex for a near fall, but ran into a brainbuster afterward. Aja hit a backdrop suplex and tried for another brainbuster, Yoshida tried to counter into a sleeper but Aja stopped her and hit the brainbuster on the second try. Yoshida hooked in a headscissors and went for the arm, but Aja made the ropes again, then scored a Uraken, which knocked Yoshida halfway across the ring. Aja dropped out of exhaustion, she made the cover but Yoshida was on the ropes. Aja dragged her back and put her in a wakigatame but the time expired (which was 20 seconds too late but who’s counting). Everything they did was high quality, the shoot style stuff was great, and the pro style was really good as well, but I didn’t really like the drastic shift. ***3/4
OZ Academy #1 6/21/1998 Club Citta Kawasaki
Ozaki’s renegade produce show starts out with a lot of history of OZ Academy to the soundtrack of Jimi Hendrix, so she gets points for style there.
Mayumi Ozaki vs. Bad Nurse Nakamura (7:55 / 13:09)
I guess Rie Nakamura came cheap, and now she’s back in her Bad Nurse gimmick again for whatever reason. I kind of have a little bit of a soft spot for Nakamura, but she is a horrible wrestler and there’s no way to get around that. Ozaki tried and carried her to something watchable, but in some ways, she may have been trying too hard because she was selling some horrible attacks from Nakamura. In any case, the match was watchable which is about the best you could hope for and Ozaki won with a Tequila Sunrise. **
Sugar Sato vs. Dynamite Kansai (13:48)
Well, this match sucked. Kansai’s offense was good, she was like a monster in this when she was on offense, giving Sugar a good kicking and Sugar’s selling was good. It was the typical formula and it looked like it was going to be a good match, but Sugar was pathetic when she made her comeback, throwing these pathetic, weak kicks at Kansai and blowing a ton of spots. Ozaki did not look impressed with her protege at ringside. Sugar did one cool thing in the match, a dive off the top, which Kansai looked to counter so she dragon screwed her. I’d criticize Kansai’s selling, but Sugar did nothing to warrant any selling and won pretty easily with a Splash Mountain in the end. I don’t know what happened here, Sugar’s not a bad wrestler but you wouldn’t know it from watching this, she just couldn’t get it together. *1/2
Reiko Amano & Chikayo Nagashima vs. Toshie Uematsu & Sonoko Kato (21:34)
Just when I was starting to wonder about these kids, they go out there and pull out one of the best matches of the year so far. The slow early work was good and established the heels, with both Chikayo and Amano in top form double teaming Uetmatsu while Kato could only stew on the apron, and OZ Academy were more than happy to taunt her to draw her in, leading to more double teams. The faces came back and ended up trying to brawl outside but that didn’t work for them, and OZ Academy took over again. Kato came back again, and gave Chikayo a kicking and then Uetmatsu came in. They kicked things into a high gear from here. It was pretty much all spots, counters and near falls from there and it was all quality. Kato and Amano and a great battle looking for their submissions. Chikayo got the tag in and Uetmatsu and Kato tried a doomsday but Chikayo dropped backwards to avoid it and got a near fall. Amano launched Chikayo onto Kato but Kato got the knees up. Kato hit a rolling fireman’s carry slam from the top on Chikayo but Amano saved. Uematsu hit a double wrist northern lights suplex but Amano saved again. Uematsu decided to try it off the top rope, but Chikayo knocked her off and hit a diving footstomp. Chikayo came back with a Fisherman’s Buster but Kato saved with a diving legdrop. Chikayo blocked Uetmatsu, so Amano tried to help out with a kick but it backfired and Uematsu German suplexed Chikayo for a near. Uetmatsu tried her double wrist northern lights again but Chikayo landed on her feet. Uetmatsu went for kneelift but got caught in a fisherman’s buster and Chikayo got the pin. ****1/4
Mayumi Ozaki & Sugar Sato vs. Kyoko Inoue & Yoshiko Tamura (19:06 / 20:19)
Poor Sugar came out selling the beating from Kansai earlier, and didn’t have a great match here either, she fine early, having some good battles over submissions with Tamura, but blew a lot of spots later in the match. I don’t think Kyoko was Sugar much, but she does seem to have trouble wrestling the larger women. Ozaki and Sato did the heel spots to big applause. Kyoko didn’t seem to realize she was in enemy territory and didn’t adapt at all to it, she was trying to play to the crowd and make them cheer, the best thing was the crowd booing that stupid dancing deathlock. That was neither here nor there, it was funny and nothing that detracted, but what did detract was Kyoko’s comebacks, which have gotten really bad and lazy. Ozaki hit her with Tequila Sunrises and Urakens, and Kyoko would just pop up, selling nothing. Sato blew a few more spots towards the end on Tamura, including a Liger Bomb, which I assume was supposed to be the finish, after, she hit Tamura with a pair of Uraken’s and finishing with the Liger Bomb. This should have been really good, but it didn’t get there. **3/4
Top 10 of 1998 so far. Minimum 7 matches, but this year I just treated those with less 7 as if they’ve had 7 for average purposes (the only one who made the list with less than 7 was Yoshida, surprise surprise).
1: Jaguar Yokota
2: Hikari Fukuoka
3: Lioness Asuka
4: Kyoko Inoue
5: Mariko Yoshida
6: Chikayo Nagashima
7: Rieko Amano
8: Tomoko Kuzumi
9: Aja Kong
10: Sonoko Kato
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2023.01.12 22:02 kevinwis37 Spicy ramen with pork belly stif-fried in chili bean sauce. In Delft, The Netherlands

Spicy ramen with pork belly stif-fried in chili bean sauce. In Delft, The Netherlands submitted by kevinwis37 to ramen [link] [comments]

2022.12.23 23:06 MjolnirPants Duke and the Road Trip: Part 1 (A Legend of Jerry Vignette)

Author's note: This takes place about 1 and a half years after the climax of Jerry and the Tradecraft, about two years before Jack arrested Cynthia in Jack and the Dysfunctional Family.
Duke ducked a clumsy swing and pounded a pair of jabs into the man's torso, cracking ribs with each blow. He whipped his hair back, the blue tips flinging sweat in an arc over and behind him and then got his hands up in time to catch a right cross on his forearms. He jabbed again, this time catching the man in the face with a one-two combo.
The man's legs gave out. He collapsed, catching himself before hitting the ground, but then his arms gave out and he slumped over. The referee rushed out and crowded Duke back. "Corner, corner, corner!" the man shouted. Duke backed up until his back pressed into the chain link fence that hemmed them in. He could feel the wire making a pattern on the skin of his back. He pushed harder, letting it dig in.
The ref rushed back to Duke's opponent and checked on him. The man had pushed himself back up on one arm and raised the other weakly, trying to ward off the figure looming over him.
"You're done!" the ref shouted into the man's face, then straightened and raised his arms to get the crowd's attention. "We have a winner!"
Duke stepped forward and the ref grabbed his wrist, thrusting his arm up into the air. Duke raised his other arm in victory. "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight's main event winner, Dylan Boucher!"
Duke roared at the crowd. The crowd roared back. He gave them a few minutes to express their approval before he wrenched his arm out of the ref's grasp and headed out of the cage and into the back. The audience reached out, stroking his shoulders and patting his back. Their voices congratulated him for his win, thanked him for winning their bets, or cursed him for losing them.
He ducked through the door into the back rooms and went straight to the locker they'd given him. The fight organizer, Pedro, walked in.
"Damn good fight," Pedro said by way of greeting. Duke glanced at him, but didn't respond, opening the locker and grabbing a small towel to wipe the sweat off with.
Pedro leaned against the wall and watched him run the towel over his head. Duke found some blood on it, then stopped and probed his own head until the he found the cut above his left eye. He balled the towel up and pressed it to the wound.
"If you want, I could make arrangements for one more. Be about twice the payout of this one."
"No," Duke said. "Just give me my money."
Pedro shrugged. "Just gotta get it together. You'll have your money Wednes-" Duke cut him off with a hand on his throat, slamming his head back into the wall he leaned against. He lifted the smaller man up effortlessly until his feet dangled.
"We had a deal," Duke snarled, his eyes aimed right at Pedro's, but seeing only the bloody inside of the man's skull. "I was very specific about the terms. I get my money as soon as the fight's over, before I leave the garage. If you don't have it on you, you go get it from the fucking bookie, right fucking now." Duke gave him a shake then let him go. Pedro dropped to his knees, sucking in deep breaths.
"Madre de dios, pendejo. Pinche violento hijo de puta..."
"My money," Duke growled. Pedro held up a hand in a pacifying gesture. "Un momento..." He climbed back to his feet and then dug into his pocket. He pulled out a wad of bills and began to count, but Duke snatched the whole wad out of his hand.
"Consider it a fine. For attempted fraud," he said, stuffing the bills into his pocket. He retrieved a shirt from his locker and pulled it over his head. Pedro watched him as he pulled out a pair of combat boots, sat on a folding chair and pulled socks out of the boots and onto his feet.
"I was trying to hook you up, asshole."
"I don't need to be hooked up," Duke said. "I just needed my money. Hence our deal." He tugged the boots on and began to lace them up. When he finished, he stood, grabbed the small backpack from the locker and threw it over his shoulder.
"I knew working with you was a mistake," Pedro said. Duke stopped in the doorway and looked over his shoulder.
"No, working with me is smart. Your mistake was in thinking I worked for you."
"You can't..." Pedro gasped. "You can't treat me like this." He rubbed his throat and glowered at Duke. Duke just shrugged.
"I just did."
He left. He went straight to the bookie and presented his ticket. He'd bet everything he had on himself, and the stupid bookie had given Duke 5:1 odds. The older man scowled as he counted out Duke's winnings.
"Did anyone else bet on me?" Duke asked.
"Two kids," the man grumbled. "Young shits."
"Young shits," Duke repeated. "But smarter than the rest of them."
"They liked your hair," the man spat.
Duke flipped his hair back over his shoulder. Once, it had been a bright blue mohawk. He had kept the sides shaved, but stopped styling it up and let it grow long. His hair was naturally thick, so as it reached his shoulders, he was able to let it spread out into what looked like a full mane. As it grew longer still, he'd stopped dying it. Now, his naturally dark brown coloring owned most of it. Only the tips were blue, the color faded into a slightly greenish tone.
"They recognized that a man who can do whatever the hell he likes with his hair is a good enough fighter to win damn near any fight," Duke said.
"Whatever, gringo," the older man said, dropping the final bill on the stack. He slid the money across the desk to Duke, who picked it up and began counting it for himself. The old man twisted his lip in disgust, having just counted it out in front of Duke.
"Do you fight?" Duke asked.
"Do I look like I fight?" the man shot back.
"No. So it would be advisable for you to keep your fucking head down and not do anything to antagonize a man who just beat the shit out of someone who could beat the shit out of you."
The bookie grumbled under his breath in Spanish, but didn't give Duke any more shitty looks. Duke finished counting, folded the bills up into two stacks and stuffed them into his pockets. He should have enough, now.
He stood without another word and left. He found his motorcycle right where he'd left it and climbed on. He rode to the CiBanco TIjuana and walked in. He grabbed a slip and filled it out, reaching into his pockets for various wads, rolls and folds of bills, counting them out and filling out the numbers for a currency exchange. Yeah, he had enough. He had more than enough, actually. He stuffed the excess back into his pocket, planning on spending some of it before he crossed the border.
The teller explained that the bank charged a fee for currency exchanges, but Duke had already known that. He nodded in acceptance and handed over the money.
The clerk turned his screen around to show Duke the current exchange rate, then counted out the US dollars for him. Duke waited patiently while the clerk counted, then counted them himself while the clerk extolled the virtues of a checking account with CiBanco. When he was satisfied with the count, he nodded to the clerk and left.
He rode his bike through the golden light of late afternoon to the seediest looking bar he could find and went inside. He found an empty barstool and took it, ordering tequila and a beer. He settled in for a long night of drinking.
The bar closed at 2AM, so Duke finished his last beer and left. He'd stiffed the bartender on half his tab by pouring his own drinks. If the bartender didn't want that happening, he shouldn't have left the bottle where Duke could grab it without even leaving his seat. He had left a generous tip on the portion of his tab the bartender had known about, for whatever that was worth.
He went looking for a brothel. The scummy places would be cheaper than a decent motel, and more fun to boot. Using what he'd learned about this town in the three months he'd been here, he found a likely place and wandered in. What looked like an even sketchier bar than the one he'd been drinking at greeted him, but the number of scantily-clad, haggard-looking women let him know he'd hit paydirt. He glanced around, finally locating the madam. A middle-aged woman, in a miniskirt and a t-shirt sat at a table near the stairway that led up. Duke walked up and tapped the empty chair across from her, quirking one eyebrow in a question.
The madam nodded, so Duke sat.
"Speak English?" he asked. She nodded.
"How much for the rest of the night? Just one girl."
The woman looked around at the haggard-looking girls in the room with them.
"Slim pickings at this hour, big guy," she said with only a faint accent. Duke followed her gaze, then nodded at the youngest-looking woman there. She had caught his eye when he walked in, and she'd been staring at him, wide-eyed ever since. "She'll do."
"Two-sixty, US," the woman said.
"I'll be gone at dawn, not sticking around the rest of the day." The woman shrugged. "You wouldn't be here if you had other options."
Duke locked his eyes on her and imagined how she might scream if he pulled one of her arms off. "I'll give you a hundred," he said. The woman shook her head, but looked away from his gaze.
"Two hundred," she said to the wall beside him.
"One fifty," Duke shot back immediately.
"One eighty. And you better have your own condom. I'm out for the night."
"One eighty," Duke said. He pulled the bills out of his pocket and counted them out. The woman accepted them, then counted them again. Duke smirked.
"Go on. Esmeralda knows which room. Esmeralda!" she barked the last. The young woman jerked, then stood up and hustled over.
"Él está pasando el resto de la noche," the madam explained. "Haz tus cosas."
"Ben aqui, señor Duke," the woman said as she suddenly changed without changing. Her sagging tits didn't get any firmer, her pouchy belly didn't get any tighter, but something changed, nonetheless. Her lips grew sensual, the kind of lips a man dreamed of being pressed to his chest or wrapped around his cock. Her nipples begged to be bitten or pinched. Her hips looked like they would fit perfectly in his hands. Everything about her reeked of sex, of grinding flesh, of mind-shattering orgasms. Without a single aspect of her appearance changing, she'd gone from a one to a nine.
The madam gasped at the sudden change. Duke wasn't surprised. He knew he'd recognized her from somewhere, and given the environment, this made sense. He took the girl's hand and let her lead him up the stairs.
"Me nombre es Dylan," Duke said. She glanced back and nodded, understanding. She wouldn't call him by his old name, anymore.
"Dylan," she said as she led him into a tiny room with a bare twin mattress. Duke stumbled into the bed and laid down. The girl stripped her tank top off, then wiggled out of her jean shorts. "I got whiskey dick. Just suck me off," Duke said, "Then lay down with me."
The light streaming through the gauzy curtains woke him several hours later. The girl was still curled up next to him, clinging tightly to him. Duke sat up, still in his clothes, then rolled his feet off the bed. His motions disturbed the girl, who opened her eyes and stared at him.
"Take me with you," she whispered.
Duke glanced at her as he pushed himself back into his jeans and got zipped and buttoned back up. He smirked. "I can't afford it," he said.
She screwed up her face. "Please. The man who owns the place, he hits us. He rapes us."
"Is that why the madam was so shocked when you used your ability on me?" Duke asked. "You hide it, to escape his attention?"
She nodded. "Why haven't you killed him?" Duke asked.
Her face, once on the verge of tears, now twisted in anger. "Do I look like one of your gorditas? I can't fight. I can't kill anyone. All I can do is fuck and suck."
"I guess that's what you're offering me if I bring you with me? Fucking and sucking?"
"If that's what you want, sure."
Duke shrugged. "There's still a lot of succubi out there. Why wouldn't I find one more attractive than you? Hell, why wouldn't I find any woman more attractive to service me?"
"I'll do anything," she said without hesitation. "Anything you want. I'll clean up nice, I swear. Get me nicer clothes, some makeup. I'll be beautiful, I promise."
"That does sound appealing," Duke admitted. She smiled hopefully.
"But I still can't afford it."
The girl breathed heavily. Duke could tell she was warring between anger and fear. Duke met her eyes and shrugged. "It's just a fact. I don't know what to tell you. I have enough money to get me where I'm going, but not enough for two."
"I have some money," the girl said.
"How much?"
"Eight thousand pesos, another two hundred dollars. Not enough for a coyote."
"Do you have it here?" Duke asked. The girl nodded. "Get it," he said.
She climbed off the bed and walked to a small dresser against the wall. Bending over, Duke eyed her ass for a bit. Without using her power, she was a dumpy little thing, unappealing in every way but the simple fact of her gender, but like all women in Duke's experience, her ass was very appealing bent over like that. Duke decided to take that into account and shifted the girl up to a solid two.
He watched her dig in the bottom drawer for a few moments, and then emerge with a lumpy sock. She reached into it and pulled out a large handful of bills. Pesos and dollars, and more of the former than the latter. She turned and showed it to him.
"Okay, that will be enough," Duke said. She froze, a small smile forming tentatively on her face.
"So you'll take me?"
Duke beckoned her over. She walked over to stand in front of him and held out the cash. "Put it back in the sock," he said. She nodded and stuffed it back in, dropping a few bills. As she retrieved them, Duke tilted his head to watch her breasts swaying. When she straightened back up, he eyed her belly, noticing a few stretch marks.
"You have a kid?" he asked.
She froze, not even breathing. She stared at him for a long moment, then sucked in a slow breath. Instead of answering, she let it out equally slowly. Duke understood. She'd had a child. Delivered the child. Loved the child. And then she'd lost the child.
"How did it happen?" Duke asked. His eyes drifted back to her pussy and he absently marveled at how a simple aura of lust could make such an uninspiring pussy so appealing.
"The owner," she said through gritted teeth. "It was an accident, but it was his fault."
Duke reached out with a couple of fingers and rubbed her idly.
"Get on the bed," he said. "Ass up."
She took another couple of breaths, then nodded. She climbed onto the bed, laying on her belly. She arched her back to expose herself to him, so Duke unbuckled his belt and undid his pants. He'd paid for it, after all. He wasn't leaving with just a blowjob.
Esmeralda Ramirez, Former Succubus, Currently a Whore
Esmeralda suffered through the morning's activities stoically, letting her aura slip out and spur him on. She had been shocked to recognize him last night. She'd thought he was dead. His empire was in ruins, his captains and lieutenants had abandoned him, and those who had remained loyal were all dead or imprisoned. His source of funding was gone. One of his captains had turned on him and killed him, or so she'd heard.
Esmeralda had never been important enough to be in the loop. So all she knew were rumors.
When Duke was finished, he rolled off of her and told her to get cleaned up. She went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet, pushing out the mess he'd made in her with her fingers as best she could. When she was done, she wet a washcloth in the sink and used it and a bar of soap to clean herself up.
Duke was gone when she came back out. She started, then immediately went looking for the sock. She flipped over the bed, turned over the sheets, flung them both across the room multiple times. She dug through her drawers, flinging clothing everywhere. She finally found it, except it was empty. Both Duke and her money were gone.
She sank to the floor, eyes full of tears. They spilled over and onto her cheeks as she ground her teeth and growled. She should have known! She shouldn't have trusted him! She knew he was a man who took what he wanted. She'd thought that attractive, once. Now she cursed him for the thieving shit he was, and herself, for being so stupid.
She was so lost in self-recrimination that she didn't hear the screaming.
Dylan Boucher, Badass Scumbag Nobody
Duke walked back into the girl's room, blood dripping from his hands. When he saw the state of the room and the nude woman sitting on the floor, he threw his hands up, splattering the walls with blood.
"The fuck, bitch?" He asked. "I left you to get cleaned up, and when I come back, you're even more of a mess!"
She stared at him and sniffed. She wiped her nose, leaving a trail of snot down her forearm. "I thought... I thought you left."
Duke sighed. "Clearly not. Well? Go get cleaned up, for fuck's sake!"
She leaped up and ran back into the bathroom. When she emerged a few minutes later, she froze again, staring at him.
"Are you planning on making the trip with your tits and pussy hanging out, or are you going to put some fucking clothes on?" Duke asked, keeping his voice level. Clearly, the girl was overly sensitive.
She kicked through the mess until she found a pink backpack, then began to stuff clothes in it. "Don't!" Duke said, exasperated. "Clothes are cheap. Just get dressed."
She nodded mutely and found a pair of capris, pulling them on without underwear. Duke approved of that. When she grabbed a shirt next, though, he put his foot down. "No. Wear a fucking bra," he said. She needed the support. She nodded again and found a bra. When she fumbled with it, Duke beckoned her over. He unhooked it, then had her slip her arms through the straps and turn around, where he fastened it.
"Now shirt and shoes," he said. She quickly complied, pulling on a t-shirt and slipping on a pair of sneakers without bothering with socks. "You'll want socks. You won't need them right away," he said. She grabbed a pair and stuffed them into her pockets.
When she was ready, she waited for him to move. He just sat there.
"How long do you plan to stick with me?" he asked, after a moment of silence.
"I don't know," she said, turning her eyes towards the floor.
"So you just want me to get you across the border?" Duke asked. She looked back up, fear in her eyes. "No!" she said.
"You can leave when we get across the border. I'll give you your money back, less half any expenses."
"Where are you going?" she asked.
"To get my mojo back," Duke told her.
"How?" Duke sighed. She was starting to get annoying with all the questions.
"I'm going to find the guy who stole it," he said, despite his annoyance.
"You're going to kill him?" Duke laughed at that question.
"Probably not," he admitted.
"Who is he?"
Duke rolled his eyes and considered telling her to shut the fuck up. But he didn't."His name's Jerry Williams," he said after a minute. Then added, "He's the one who killed your sisters."
"He killed the gorditas, too," the girl said.
"Not all of them. Not even most of them," Duke said. "Most of them, he put in jail, or he gave them jobs. His company has teams of them, now. They're even making more."
"How will you get your mojo back?"
"I'm gonna murder his kids as brutally as I can, leave them for him to find."
"How does that get your mojo back?"
Duke shrugged. The truth was, he didn't know. He wasn't even sure he believed that would get his mojo back. It's just... It was the only option he had. His only chance.
His power, when he'd stolen it from Astoram, had been a well. An endless well, from which he could dip as he pleased. Perhaps he couldn't draw out quite as much at any time as the others, who'd been given their power by other gods, but still. The supply had been endless.
Or so he thought.
He found that the level of his well was dropping within months of acquiring it. Each time he drew from it, there was less there for him to take. That had convinced him to make a deal with her. With Vindicta, the psychotic dead bitch. Except she didn't have any power to give. Not anymore.
What she did have was knowledge. She told him where there was power to be had. Power to be bought, taken and found. And with that knowledge, he'd replenished his well. He had built the remnants of Astoram's cult into a massive organization. A source of even more power. Worldly power. And with that new power, he made a deal for an endless supply of magical power.
But that deal had died with his defeat. His base of worldly power evaporated. He was left with nothing but the dying well and a whole lot of people who wanted him dead. He'd dipped his well almost dry, surviving the attacks of men and women who owed their own power to him.
Now, he had almost nothing left. Drops. Wisps. Fragments. The changes he'd wrought in his own body, strength and speed and the ability to heal from wounds that would kill most men, that remained. But that was so little. Too little to build back all he'd lost.
As Duke had discovered, it was just enough to scrape by. Prize fighting, mercenary work for the organizations that had once trembled at the mention of his name. His new name, Dylan Boucher, was not to hide him from those who wished him dead. Most of them were dead at his hands already. Instead, it was to hide his shame. He, who had once stood atop this pathetic world, ready to seize it as his own, was now nothing more than some badass, scumbag nobody. Duke Beaufort was dead. Only Dylan Boucher remained.
"I don't know," Duke admitted. "Come on."
Duke led her out of the room, down the stairs and through the parlor. He saw her out of the corner of his eye, gawking at the mess he'd made of the place.
"The man was an asshole, right?" Duke asked.
"Si... Yes," she responded in a quavering voice.
"Then don't get upset at what I did to him," Duke said with an air of finality. He stepped over a chunk of skull and out the door.
Outside, he climbed on. "You know how to ride bitch?" he asked, but she was already swinging a leg over the back. She quickly kicked down the rider footrests and put her feet on him, wrapping her arms tightly around Duke's chest. She pressed herself to him, and he briefly regretted asking her to wear a bra.
They drove east on the Federale 2, through Tecate, El Rancho and Los Manantijales. They drove back into the mountains when they were east of La Rumorosa and then turned north on a small road when the Valle Imperial desert stretched out before them.
Duke rode up past the water pumping station, until the road turned to dirt, and then began to turn west. As the mountains curved away to their left, he finally found what he was looking for. A group of people were standing around, next to a couple of beat up old cars.
He slowed down and stopped. Turning to the girl behind him, he said "Wait here."
"The money," she responded, recognizing what she was seeing before them. "It's not enough for a coyote."
"The only thing of value a coyote has is knowledge," Duke said as then he stomped off towards the half dozen men who were obviously organizing things. "And knowledge should be free."
He didn't stop to negotiate. He didn't pause to give them a second to register the threat he posed. He fixed his eyes on the one who seemed to be in charge and walked right up, seizing the man by the throat and hoisting him off the ground.
He heard the shouted curses and the swishing as guns were drawn and pointed at him but he ignored them, boring his eyes into those of the man he held, continuing to walk forward.
The man struggled, trying to break Duke's grip, but to no avail. Duke squeezed. Not hard enough to kill, but hard enough to make it clear that he could.
"I know you speak English," Duke growled. "So don't bother playing dumb. Tell me where your crossing is, or I'll pop your head like a goddamn pimple."
The man wheezed and his face turned blue, so Duke dropped him. He collapsed onto the ground. One of the others was apparently confident enough in his aim to take the shot. A bullet slammed into Duke's back, punching a hole in his shirt. He ignored it.
He towered over the man, glaring down at him. "I'll start with your ankles," he said. "Then your wrists, then your knees, elbows, hips and shoulders. Then I'll get a knife. I'll start cutting off the broken parts, one slice at a time. Like Salami."
"Fuck you!" the man spat hoarsely, so Duke stomped on his left ankle. The bones snapped and crackled beneath his boot and the man screamed. Without a word, Duke lifted his foot and stomped on the other ankle. More snapping and cracking ensued and the man's screams increased in pitch.
Duke reached down and grabbed the man's forearm, stretching his arm out.
"Wait! Wait!" the man gasped, still writhing.
"There isn't anywhere on the border called 'wait wait'," Duke snarled, and then stomped the man's wrist into powder.
"Due north!" the man shouted. "To the border. Then east, half a mile. There's a dry gulch, the road on the American side of the wall has a bridge over it. The bridge is blocked off, but there's a culvert. The grate over it is secured by a padlock. No alarm. We pick the lock, then lock it back once we're through."
"Are there any guards you have to bribe?"
"Sometimes," the man said.
Duke nodded. "Thank you for your assistance," he said and turned around. There were four men pointing handguns at him. The fifth had walked over to his bike. He had the girl in his arms, and he had his gun pressed to her temple. Duke smiled. He met the eyes of each of the six men arrayed against him, then swept his eyes over the rest of the crowd, all of whom had moved back and were watching in fearful fascination.
Duke strode forward. One of the men jumped and fired, the bullet slapping into his chest. The pain was there, just like every other time he'd been shot. The tightness came as well, as one of his lungs stopped working at full capacity. A second later, he felt the first bullet pop out of his back and fall down inside his shirt. It clattered to the ground as he continued forward.
The men cursed some more and Duke smiled wider. Before he got to the first one, they all turned and ran.
He sighed, turning his attention to the sole remaining coyote. The one holding the girl hostage. He walked forward until the man barked at him. "I'll fucking shoot her, pinche gringo!"
"Then shoot her," Duke said. "At that point, there will be nothing stopping me from ripping your intestines out of your gut and shoving them down your throat."
The man was sweating, and not just from the desert heat, Duke knew. He smiled, adding a bit more stress to the man's load.
The man tried another tact. He shifted the gun down to the girl's stomach. "You got a baby in there, don't you, puta?" he asked, voice full of obviously false bravado. Duke shoot his head, smirking. "No. She's just got a little belly, is all."
"Please do something," the girl said. She was crying again, which Duke felt was getting a little old. It was to be expected, though. He sighed, his mirth being replaced with impatience.
"You know, if you grabbed that gun and twisted it away from your body, you'd have the chance to kick him in the nuts without getting shot."
"The fuck?!" the man said. "Why the fuck are you saying this shit? You want me to shoot her, pendejo? I'll fucking do it! Try me, bitch!"
"Shoot her, then." Duke said. "Go ahead. Shoot her." The man scowled at Duke, flashed his eyes to the girl and then back. He adjusted his feet.
"Shoot. Her." Duke said, his voice deepening. The man adjusted his grip on the gun and licked his lips.
"I watched an execution," Duke said. "About six months ago. Two girls, who spoke to the cops for money. The cartel found out, though. First, they raped them both. Passed them around, two or three men at a time. Then, they tortured them. Nothing too extreme, mind. They whipped them with switches, right on the pussy, where it really hurt. Stuck needles in their armpits and under their fingernails. Zapped them with tasers. But all of that was just the prelude. Just softening them up, you know? When it was time, the sicarios, they gave one a knife. A dull bowie knife. They told her to take the other's head off.
"She didn't even hesitate.
"She stabbed her friend in the throat, over and over, then sawed at her neck for ten, fifteen minutes. Her friend didn't die right away. She fought, tried to stop it, but the others held her arms and legs. She begged, while she still could. Pleading with her friend to stop. When she couldn't speak any more, she squealed like a pig, trying desperately to breath as he windpipe was ripped apart. The sounds... You ever heard those sounds? A person with a ripped open windpipe? They cut right through you. Make you hard as a rock if you're a complete psychopath, make you throw up if you aren't. Some of the sicarios threw up.
"When the first girl finally got through the soft tissue, the other one finally went quiet. But she still had her head, so the first girl kept hacking at her spine. It took forever, but she eventually got through. When she was done, she just sat there. She'd known, the whole time, that her own fate was sealed. One of the men grabbed her by the hair and yanked her head back. She didn't resist. She just sat there as one of the sicarios cut her throat, then sawed her neck open, then cut through her spine."
"The fuck are you telling me this for?"
Duke could see the man getting more and more nervous. The girl was, too. Tears were streaming down her face and she was whimpering out loud, but she kept her eyes on Duke's, and he could see. She wasn't wondering. She wasn't giving up. She was waiting for him to do something.
"That first girl, the last one to die? She had will. She knew why they were out there. She knew she was dead already. She had no reason to do anything they told her to do. And yet, in that moment, when they put a knife into her hand, she didn't give up. She took that knife, and she did what she had to do. She did it knowing she would die when it was done. She didn't half ass it, she didn't drag it out. She just took that knife and did what she had to do."
"What's the fucking point, bitch?!"
"The point, bitch, is that that woman, a street whore, a meth addict, a waste of humanity whose only redeeming features were her wet fucking holes, she had the will to kill, even knowing she was dead, either way. She didn't beg for a way out. She killed and then got killed. She had more will than you do, you pathetic excuse for a bag of talking meat."
The man pointed the gun at Duke, and Duke lunged. He squeezed the trigger, but the bullet only drew a line across his ribs as he snatched the gun out of the man's hand. He turned it around and slammed the butt into the man's face, breaking his nose. He let go of the girl and backpedaled, but Dude didn't let up.
He hit the man again on the temple, knocking him to the ground. Duke dropped both knees on the man's chest, driving the air out of his lungs, then hit him in the temple again. He dropped the gun and punched him, shattering a cheekbone. The man's arms were still flailing around, trying to stop him, so Duke punched him again, and then again. The flailing stopped.
Duke reached into his boot and pulled out the knife he kept there, in a simple leather sheath he'd sewn into the lining. The three inch blade wasn't long, but it didn't need to be. He shimmied his butt back, until he was sitting on the man's thighs and jammed the blade into his stomach, just above his hipbone. He ripped up, splitting the man all the way to the sternum as he screamed, his voice so high pitched that Duke could have believed it was a woman if he didn't know better.
Duke stood, leaving the gutted man to scream and writhe on the ground. He looked to the girl, still sobbing and crying, still staring at him.
"Come on," he said. "We'll want to be on the road on the other side before it gets too hot." He climbed on his bike and waited patiently while the shaking woman climbed on behind him.
"Thank you," she whispered. Duke didn't respond.
He kicked the motor on and they left, driving north across the desert.
Part 2
submitted by MjolnirPants to JerryandtheGoddesses [link] [comments]

2022.09.27 11:08 Top_Ball8731 What I did to get rid of PE, an holistic approach (I believe)

Hi everyone, I posted here a few days ago because I was really deeply anxious about my next intercourse and I didn't know I'd I could do it or not.
Turns out I did and it was awesome, so I figured I would share what I did to get rid of PE.
It's going to be a long post.
First i'm going introduce myself a little bit :
I'm in my 30 and 4 month ago my 12 years relationship with my girlfriend ended, I don't think it was because of PE but I'm sure that it played a part in our breakup. For me it started right at the beginning of my sex life when I was 15-16, the first time I was intimate with a girl I didn't even went to penetration before cumming..
I always tried to work around this, using tricks that we all know like masturbating just before, pretending I didn't cum and trying to stay hard a few seconds more just to save the appearance... well it was terrible.
Growing up my IELT could vary from a few strokes to 2-3min on the really really good days (there wasn't a lot of them).
4 years ago when my relationship was getting bad I tried to found a solution, went to a doctor who prescribed me some SSRI (Priligy). It helped me a lot, I was lucky to not have a lot of side effects. I took one a few hours before sex and I could have a normal intercourse (5-10min), however it didn't help in the long run because although it helped increase my IELT after I stopped taking it, it wasn't by much and soon it returned to what it was before...
So when I did breakup with my girlfriend 4 month ago, I decided that I was going to find a solution, without SSRI because i wanted to get rid of it completely and because the medication was so unpractical to take.
Luckily I'm a physiotherapist, with medical and anatomical knowledge, even though I'm not specialized in pelvic floor rehabilitation I already knew a few things and I could do some research for the rest.
When I do some rehab with a patient, the first thing to do is to make an assessment about what the problem is, what is or are the possible causes and what is the goal of the patient and how to get to it.
So after my assessment of myself (and I believe it will be similar to a lot of you) I identified 4 axis of training:
1) Behavioral 2)Musculoskeletal 3) Neurological 4) Psychological
So I'm going to explain what I did for those 4 point. And for putting things into perspective, today when I have sex I can go for 5min when I'm nervous to 15min and up if I'm able to relax. But where I improved the most is on my ability to delay my ejaculation even if it's just for 1 more min I can do it and do it repeatedly, which I couldn't do at all before. The only thing I still struggle with is the psychological side of things because being premature is still deeply engraved in me and I'm working on building confidence in myself.
When I say 5 to 15min it's of penetrative sex without stopping my thrust (so without a change of position or some tricks to delay), and with some hard pounding when I feel like I can.
Alright now let's go with the first point.
1) Behavioral
There are three things to address, masturbation habits, sexual habits, and what I would call lifestyle habits.
I won't explain too much about masturbation because there are already a lot of thread on this subreddit talking about it (like the 66days fap training). However I'm going to explain briefly what I did and why it would help.
So just like the training mentioned above I bought some kind of fleshlight, I think it's primordial to have one if you want to get rid of PE especially if you're single. Because the fleshlight IS your training ground, it's where you train, you experience and learn about your body and how it behave.
I started with simple masturbation, then when I could last longer or be in better control of my arousal I practiced by thrusting inside of it like I would in a girl.
The important thing isn't really how long you can last, it's control, if you can delay your ejaculation while approaching PONR and keep masturbating/thrusting for a few more min, it's a win.
Most men that don't have PE have this ability to delay that we don't, the issue is that for them their body do it unconsciously and they can't really explain it except "think of something else". For us we have to be self conscious and figure out how to do it.
So first I want you the next time you masturbate to focus on what is going on in your body, where are you tense, where are you relaxed where do you feel pleasure and where it's uncomfortable.
Most likely it's going to be tense around your abs, glutes legs and pelvic floor muscles but you might have your own area of tension so experience with it !
To simplify, your muscular tension and pelvic floor tension is your "arousal scale", when it goes to 10 it trigger PONR.
Why? Because your muscular tension can be a physical translation of the level of sympathetic activity in your nervous system, the same way that your breathing and heart rate are.
So those are the key to keep it under control during masturbation, breathing, muscular tension. I could elaborate a bit more but I'm never going to finish this post if I do (feel free to ask more questions in the comment, or I might edit this post at a later time).
A few things that can help : Deep belly breathing, search for 4-7-8 breathing (it's used for anxiety crisis onset and can lower hart rate a bit faster). For relaxing your muscles I recommend PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) you can do it during sex for the PC muscle specifically but you have to do preemptively because contracting your PC can trigger PONR if you are too high on your arousal so I recommend experiencing with it during masturbation.
A weird thing to do is focusing on your jaws: studies show that clenched jaws directly relate to deep muscle tone in your body, so it can act like a barometer, especially with your pelvic floor which can be hard to really feel sometimes. If you notice that your jaws and necks muscles are tensed, relax them, most likely the rest of your body is contracted without you noticing.
Now during sex, the same principle applies, breathing and muscular tension.
So there are a few things to keep in mind, as I said muscular tension = sympathetic activity = faster ejaculation, if you start your intercourse while being tense you are going to pop of instantaneously.
You need to chose when and how you begin, the issue is that when you are scared about cumming the insertion is the most critical moment.
For me it can decide if I'm going to last 5min or 15, because if I begin the intercourse on a 7/10 on my tension scale because I'm anxious (still happening a lot, I'm working on it) it means I'm going to have to delay my ejaculation and relax as soon as I hit 8 and it's going to be way harder than if I begin relaxed because if I begin at 6/10 I have still some margin to do stuff as I want.
I know it's kinda hard to evaluate your tension and arousal like that but the more you are going to pay attention to your body during masturbation and sex, the easier it will get to rate.
Same way for positions, missionary is a no go for me to begin intercourse, I can do it later if we feel like changing and I feel like it's okay if I cum now but I'm never starting with it.
What I like to do is beginning really slowly laying down in the spoon position, starting just with the tip of my penis while I keep the shaft in my hand. It allow me to move my dick inside the entrance of her vagina, rubbing it and stimulating her with different angle. It helps to get used to the feeling, help her lubricate and built up HER arousal, and it help ME keep control of mine because when you begin to insert your dick you are bound to get excited. Then I will progressively go deeper, not faster but deeper until I feel confident that I can accelerate. I'd say I spend at least 1-2min doing this.
Now, how to thrust : you need to thrust with your pelvis, absolutely don't clench your butt or try to push your dick inside. You need to glide it inside with your pelvic tilt.
You don't even need to thrust that hard with your butt to go fast or deep, if you train to tilt you pelvis correctly you can do the same with minimal muscle activations, so it allows you to relax your body while keeping the stimulation.
Another way to do it is to do circular movements instead of just back and forth. Think of what you would do while doing some hula hoop, it helps relaxing your abs and glutes by making them work in alternance while you move side to side.
This is it for the "Behavioral" side of things, there is more to talk about like how and where to focus your attention but I will talk about it in the "Neurological" and "Psychological" chapter.
Last thing, because as I'm a physio and I'm used to use evidenced based practice what I did to train myself was based on a lot of papers using Google Scholar and pubmed, so it doesn't really come from nowhere or my innate talent at understanding myself and sex (I have other talent but not this one or I wouldn't have had this problem in the first place I guess).
For exemple when I recommend some kind of fleshlight, there was a program that showed statistically significant result by using a fleshlight and exercises such as doing RK while stimulated and identifying area of tension in your body and relax them when you approach PONR to keep urge to ejaculate at bay. It showed x7 IELT when IELT was inferior to 1min at start of program, and x2-3 when it was superior to 3min at start of program.
However I'm careful with those results because the study was backed by the company producing the fleshlight, so it's like Phillip Morris telling you that heated tobacco is good for you.
Next is the musculoskeletal aspect of training that I did and I believe is important for anyone having PE, I will talk about flexibility training, why it's important and why a lot of people recommend some kind of "split training" apps. And because of what I do for a living it's kind of my thing explaining that to you.
So first thing first because I see a lot of debate in this sub, Kegel or Reverse Kegel ?
Well both, but with a different goal.
About Kegel, it is used in issues such as incontinence for men and women after pregnancy or prostate surgery, when aging etc. The thing is, incontinence and PE have a lot in common, both in the Muscular and Neurological side of things.
For exemple, in some cases of incontinence (mostly on overractive bladder if i remember correctly) electrical stimulation of the tibial nerve can be prescribed and show good result.
There was a study that tried to do the same with PE, and showed that an electrical stimulation of the tibial nerve did statistcally significantly improve IELT. Why the fuck does an electrical stimulation of a nerve somewhere near the ankle improve both IELT and Continence ?
Well researcher didn't properly identified the exact mechanism, but by afferent signal from the tibial nerve, the body is able to inhibit muscle spasm from the pelvic area such as bladder spasm (Overractive Bladder and Incontinence) AND Bulbospongiosus and ischiocavernosus (which are part of you PC muscle that trigger emission phase of your ejaculation).
For educational purpose I tried it a bit because I have a TENS and it did was harder for me to reach PONR while masturbating, however i don't think the results would be lasting after the end of the program, there wasn't any follow up assessment in the study.
Now back to Kegels, and guess what, Kegel do have that ability to inhibit muscle spasm by stimulating your PC muscle. The important thing is how you do them, what you want to train isn't some kind of strength and hypertrophy like you would by lifting weight in the gym, what you want to train is the Neurological side of musculation and strength training, you want to train that mind-muscle connection and the number if fiber recruited by a single contraction.
So what you want to do is slow contractions, and focus on the quality of them, absolutely don't do hard Kegels just focus on being in control of the contraction. It's perfectly normal that you experience some twitching in your bulbospongiosus at first when you start to isolate it. Let's talk about bulbospongiosus and your levator ani, more commonly called PC muscle.
Anatomically both muscle work in conjunction to help purge your urethra after peeing and close both anus and urethra, your Levator Ani is composed by your PC muscle (Pubococcygeus) and by the Puborectalis.
When you do "Back Kegel" this is actually your Levator Ani contracting so both the deep front part and the anal part. However the levator ani (especially the front part, the PC muscle) also close your urethra and propel your semen during ejaculation.
When you do "Front Kegel" and pull your penis in you actually only contract your Bulbospongiosus, it's purpose is to assist erection, purge urine and propel semen in conjunction with your PC muscle.
Now, only two of those have an effect on your ejaculation, however as the PC muscle and Puborectalis are deeply connected and innerved by the same nerve more or less, i don't think it's possible to separate the contraction of the two.
As both the levator ani and bulbospongiosus act and procure pleasure during ejaculation it is important to be aware of the two of them.
When you do a reverse Kegel you only actually stretch and forcefully relax your levator ani. It is really hard to relax your bulbospongiosus by doing the same thing, the only way is to do a RK with a really big forced lordosis and even with this it is really poorly effective .
Because the ending of your Bulbospongiosus is around the shaft of your penis it's like if you wanted to relax your tongue. You can't do it by stretching because it's loose in your mouth, you have to let go of the contraction and let it rest against your lower teeth.
That is why it is important to train the mind muscle connection of your bulbospongiosus as well as your Levator Ani muscle, so you can contract or relax both when you have to.
I think everyone of us will have a specific weakness and it's important to get better at knowing ourself so we are able to figure out what is our own.
You can for exemple do one 6sec Kegel and then relax completely, 10sec RK right after to get a stretch. I can't recommend you a frequency or a number of time a day to you because I can't assess the state of your pelvic floor, but if you feel that you lack control of your PC muscle, this is how you do them.
Absolutely don't do Kegel at all if you have hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunctions (deep pelvic pain, pain after urinating or ejaculation), those who have this will know what I'm talking about.
There is a common misunderstanding with muscle tighness, people and even some therapist still think that a tight muscle is an overactive and too strong one. The truth is that a tight muscle is week as fuck, it spasm when it contract because his range of motion is shit and he doesn't event really need to contract because he is completely atrophied. And when you stretch it without training that contraction and that mind muscle connection, it's like overstreching a climbing rope, it lose all its elasticity and that ability to rebound to help with your fall. So it still spasm and still don't contract the way it's supposed to.
This is why it's important to incorporate some Kegel in your routine, the frequency is free but you need to at least train that mind muscle connection, it will help you and increase the awareness of your pelvic floor, the more you are in control of your PC muscle, the easier it will get to feel when it is tense during sex and the eaier it will be to relax it. This is called proprioception or interoception and I will talk about that it the Neurological chapter.
Another thing, muscle elasticity is directly enhanced right after a contraction, this is used in manual therapy to relieve muscle spasm and muscle overactivation in all of the body. This is why doing a 10s RK after a 6sec Kegel is so beneficial.
When you feel that you gained sufficient control you can even do it during sex to tone down your arousal by doing a RK right after a Kegel. HOWEVER, be really carefull to have sufficient control by doing it and do it when you are sufficiently low on your arousal level because kegeling during sex can easily trigger a spasm or make you reach PONR if your are already not too far from it.
And, even if I'm not too fond of overdoing them, kegel regimen of training did improve IELT in various papers, however I believe that it is related to that enhanced awareness and mind muscle connection, not because of a possible increase of muscle strength and tonus.
Now about Reverse Kegels, absolutely do them, do them a lot, you need to stretch that thing and LEARN HOW TO STRECH AND RELAX YOUR PC.
It is both about gaining range of motion and learning how to release an unwanted or reflex contraction.
So two way to do them, first the stretching way :
The best way to get a stretch is by doing them in a deep squat position, also called Asian Squat. If you are to tight to do this, you need to train this posture, it can be challenging more your tibial muscles, ankle hips and glutes, stretch those. Google the pose, there is a lot of videos that teach you how to do it.
You want to tuck your elbows between your knees and really focus on expanding your pelvic floor toward the ground. It's easier to do it while breathing in because your diaphragm will push all of your viscera against your pelvic floor. Once you are comfortable with this try to keep the stretch when you breath out as well by tightening your abs and do an "active push" toward the ground (like you want to poop).
Try to do this pose for at least a minute, multiple time a day. As this isn't really an intense stretch, there isn't any risk of injuring yourself or overstreching. But don't push too hard either and keep breathing slowly and deeply.
If you shit yourself, good job brother, you stretched yourself, go wipe and be proud of yourself. (I'm joking, don't shit yourself please)
To target the front side of your PC a bit more, so bulbospongiosus (doesn't change that much but it can help train awareness), you can do the same by doing it in the Child Pose, or Reclined Butterfly Pose with a pillow on your lower back to increase your lordosis a bit and get a small abs strech (I like that one, really help to relax, Google them).
Now, the second way to do RK is to focus on your ability to relax it or stretch it while it is contracted (this is called an active stretch). The thing that you have to know is that your PC muscle is bound to be active in certain positions, like missionary, because your pelvic floor doesn't just act like a sexual organ or in Continence, but it help stabilize your pelvis and hips when your body is in motion, this is partly why missionary can be a bit struggling at first.
Another thing is that some of your muscle in the pelvic floor are really close structurally with your transverse abdominis muscle, this is why tightening your abs during sex can increase your tension and arousal.
So if you want to do it because you like it or your partner like it, I recommend doing it on your elbow, lying down on her (or him, let's be inclusive), flexing your knees and hips a little bit so your abs are less tense and your pelvis is free to move.
Okay, back to Reverse Kegels, I talked about missionary because to gain that control over how relaxed is your pelvic floor you have to train it in challenging positions like this one. So first try it in all the possible sexual position that you can think of in solo, try to do a small RK by doing the plank for exemple.
It doesn't need to be long or deep, you just need to aquire the skill to do it and be able to do it when you want to.
Then if you have a fleshlight, same thing, do it while stimulating yourself in different kind of position, if you don't have one I think you could do it while masturbating as well.
Next of course is trial during sex, I don't recommend doing RK without a reason during sex because you are going to tense your abs if you do it while breathing out and that can increase your tension too much. Do it while slowing down your trusting if you feel you need to cool down or do it with your diaphragm pushing down without contracting your abs too much on a deep breath in. You can do the 6s Kegel 10s RK as well, experience with it some things might work better for you than others.
Ok this is it for Kegel and RK, now I'm going to talk about flexibility training and why it is beneficial to do it like the "Split training app" recommendation.
There isn't a lot of science based papers about flexibility, however there are a few about Yoga and the way it can improve the state of PE.
40 min a day of different yoga postures (especially stretching and breathing posture) statistically significantly improved IELT of participant of the study.
Posture were aimed at lower body, abs and back stretching mostly. I myself didn't really practiced yoga, but I took it as an exemple to make myself a stretching regimen and incorporate a few poses from the couples studies that I read.
So why does it work ? Because the body is one big intricate structure. For exemple if you have lack of flexibility on your hamstring, most likely you will have a lack of flexibility on your hip flexor (especially your psoas), this can cause lower back pain because your hamstring are pulling your pelvis from the back and your hip flexor are pulling it from the front, causing your hips and lombar spine to have reduce range of motion (this is excessively vulgarised for the sake of convenience)
And the same thing applies with your pelvic floor, if for exemple you lack range of motion in internal rotation of your hips, your obturator internus is going to be tight, and turns out that your PC muscle have a shared insertion with it. So a tight obturator internus will directly tense your PC muscle by pulling on it, and you can do as much RK as you want it will get better but it will still pull on it and tighten it because you didn't adress all of the problem.
So I began a pretty extensive stretching/yoga regimen because I kinda took pleasure in it. But if I had to focus on a few muscle it would be those one :
Obturator Internus : We all tend to lack internal rotation of the hips and it gets worst as we age because this isn't a movement that we tend to do often. And as I said, shared insertion with your pelvic floor and PC muscle
Piriformis: Often super tight muscle in a lot of people, this is one of the main muscle causing back or sciatic like pain. The thing with this one is that it can restrict your hips movements a lot and even more importantly he is crossing with the obturator internus 3 important nerves, the pudendal nerve which is responsible for a looot of things sexually related and motor innervation of nearly all your pelvic floor muscle, the oburator nerve and the sciatic nerve. So you really want to stretch those two to get range of motion AND to free up space for your nerves to function properly because pudendal irritation or partial entrapment is a known cause for ED and PE. Be careful if you are a cyclist aswell because pudendal nerve irritation happens a lot in this case due to the prolonged sitting position with something pushing directly on your pelvic floor like that.
Hamstring , Glutes, Psoas and Adductors:
Those four are responsible for lack of pelvis mobility, pelvic tilt is the more cost effective way to thrust during sex, even if it doesn't really affect your pelvic floor that much, having a relaxed pelvis and lombar spine help you breath deeper during stimulation, allow you to more effectively relax your PC muscle and every area of tension you would have during sex. And the more relaxed you are the less sympathetic activity your body will have.
Tight psoas can be really uncomfortable during stretch so be carefull not to overdo it.
When you stretch your hamstring you can do either both at the same time, or one at a time. The benefit of doing both at the same time is that it's going to improve your lumbar spine mobility which will further help your pelvis movements, however it's harder and more painfull. You can do it without ankle flexion (by grabbing your heels if you can reach them or by not grabbing anything) this will really focus on your hamstring, or you can do it with ankle flexion which will help mobilize your sciatic nerve (you can add some flexion and extension of the neck to do some kind of sciatic nerve flossing), because as nerves aren't as flexible as muscle, if you have some long going hamstring flexibility issues, you have to be carefull not to irritate your sciatic nerve because it's length will not increase as fast as your muscle will. This can help in the long run.
For the Adductors I think a simple butterfly pose will help, just targeting the small groups of abductors, the long ones that reach as far as the knees will not have that much of an impact regarding our problem, I stretch those when I feel like it but not often.
ABS stretching:
Tight abs restrict deep belly breathing especially in position when your legs are straight, like missionary or standing up with your knees straight. Tight abs can also increase intra abdominal pressure, that's why it is important to relax them, because if you have tight abs and tight pelvic floor your diaphragm will push your viscera on all the walls of your abdominal cavity. What this will do is increase pressure on your organs, bladder... and your prostate. And I didn't talked about it but the first phase of ejaculation before emission (the PONR and the rhythmic contractions of your bulbospongiosus), is related to intra prostatic pressure. So I didn't read any paper about this specifically, but if we think about it in a logical way, increased abdominal pressure is defacto equal to increased prostatic pressure which will accelerate phase 1 of ejaculation.
So stretch your abs.
I recommend Serpent Pose, Scorpion Pose to get some little psoas stretch with it, or The Bridge if you can do it (a bit challenging). If you have a yoga ball this is great aswell !
When you do those pose, try to do deep belly breathing so you can feel your diaphragm pushing down everything against your abs to make the stretching a bit more intense.
The secret to stretching isn't the intensity but the regularity, as muscles tend to go back to their original length pretty fast, the stretches need to be between 30sec (less isn't helpful) to 2-3min. The time to stretch and how often is a subject of debate for maaany years now there is some article about it nearly every year. But still the key is regularity, don't overstretch, you can do it every day if you want but not the same muscle two day in a row (for exemple day 1 : glutes OI piriformis adductor, day 2 :hamstring, psoas, abs. Day 3 repeat)
This is it for part 2 I guess, I think this is where I improved the most because I had a reaaaly bad obturator internus tighness in the beginning and it helped me relax a lot on a daily basis and be way less stiffed during sex which further helped me control my pace and my ejaculation.
So you can do those stretches if you feel that this can help you, or just sign for a yoga class, the goal here is to improve your flexibility and pelvic floor health which in turn will help your sexual well-being like it did for me.
I also recommend you doing some cardio training or a physical activity of some kind but concerning PE its more related to the effect of sports on the nervous system and I will talk about it next with what I did to try to improve my parasympathetic activation as much as possible. (Meditation, split cardio training to improve my vagal nerve response to stress... yeah I went pretty far, I'm kinda autistic when I focus on something and I should have done it a long time ago...)
Turns out this post is to long, you can find the rest of it here :
What I did to get rid of PE (PART 2)
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2022.09.17 18:04 PemsRoses Danse Avec Les Stars Saison 12 : Premiere part 2

Here we go for the Premiere part 2 of DALS. Chris Marques has Covid so it's former DALS historic judge Jean-Marc Généreux who is replacing him this week. So it's the same thing as last week : second half of the cast, immunity buzzers, red buzzer, etc. I will say it seems like their is more enthusiasm cominf from the public in the studio because last week it was dead.
Florent Peyre (comedian) & Ines Vandamme : I actually thought Inès was taller but I know that Florent is a short man so seeing as she is around the same height with little heels she isn't that tall. Anyway I do know Florent Peyre and I think his energy should be great. He is folling around but he does know how to move. The costume will help but I wish they would give them proper shoes to really help them even more with their posture.
Modern Jazz - As it was (Harry Styles) : WTF a modern jazz week one ? I know they added tons of styles but it would be nice to stick with ballroom and latin for the introduction week... granted everything they do on DALS end up looking like contemp or wannae modern jazz. We can see that Inès is trained in that style because there was tons of jazz content in it but starting with that style is just not as exciting to see. Also why give him those ugly massive shoes because the flexed feet were obvious unfortunatly. Nice energy, nice sync but just not that exciting of a dance. They need to bring Généreux for his energy alone. François tells him he is a great partner but he needs to work on his legs, Marie-Agnès said it felt like discovering him as a kid which she enjoyed but as François said he has to work on his amplitude and how he manage his weight. Jean-Marc said it lacked a little dynamism and technique but he enjoyed himself. Bilal loved his energy but he needs to keep it during the entire performance.
Scores : 7-7-6-7 = 27. My score : 6 but really I have no idea how I'm really supposed to score it for a week one dance especially compared to the other.
Léa Elui (Tik Tok star) & Christophe Licata : I have no idea of who she is but it seems like she became famous thanks to her dance videos on social media, she is the most followed person in France according to Christophe Licata (and I just checked and it's not true, Mbappe alone has 2 times more followers on IG alone). She was bullied as a kid which explains her self confidence issues.
Samba - SloMo (Chanel) : She is good but it lacked it a little energy imo and we could also see that she is used to belly dancing more in the bachucadas. She seemed to have been a little frazzled by the rehearsal package as she was closing her ears whil"e it was playing. Marie-Agnes really loved watching her, she has great hips and as I was saying she was doing her bachuccadas as a belly dancer not a latin one. Jean-Marc noticed a lack of attack on her feet so she has to work on it. Bilal also loved it but needs to work on her confidence and François tells her than she lacked sheathing because her great legs sometimes look a little Bambi-ish.
Scores : 7-7-6-6 = 26. My score : 7. How can they they give her the same or for François a lower score than Florent ? Samba is one of the most difficult latin styles so compared to Modern Jazz that doesn't have rules as strict as Samba.
SN : For the first time in DALS, we have two sisters who are pros Elsa and Alizée Blois. We discovred Elsa last season and last week and this week it's Alizée's turn.
Théo Hernandez (actor) & Alizée Blois : I have no idea of who he is either but he was in a very popular movie "Les Tuches". He is very nonchalant and blazé so any high energy dance seems like it'll be a challenge for him. Alizée have a nice palmares and she is really using technical words so I like it a lot.
SN2 : Seems like Anthony got into it with Wolverine.
Quickstep - Blesse-moi (Thérapie Taxi) : He is very noddle-y and has a almost awkward way of dancing but it is very endearing because he plays well into it. The choreo is nice from Alizée and she challenged him a lot but he needs to work on his frame. Of they are so emotional ! If he felt tons a pressure he didn't show it during the dance. Jean-Marc tells him that he performed with his heart but technically it was a mess and he needs to really work on his frame and tighten everything. For Marie-Agnès it was blurry like it lacked definition and it wasn't polish enough. François says that he needs to work on his legs straighen it even more to have a better definiton of everything.
Scores : 5-5-4-5 = 19. My score : 4, I want to give him a 5 because he is endearing but I have to be fair, the technique wasn't however I appreciate Alizée giving us content.
That awkward moment whenI don't even know who is the pro and who is the star...
Carla Lazzari (singer) & Pierre Mauduy : So I have to blame her for that song that get stuck in my head. And she has a new pro too, Pierre who won Qui dansera avec les stars ? and he has been dancing for 19 years. See when I'm talking about unfairness because François just told Théo that he seems like a promising contempory dancer, however he was stuck with the hardest ballroom style.
Contempory - Running up that hill (Kate Bush) : So she has dance experience obviously. I have to give it up for Pierre for the choreo because it was a great one. He showed up and showed out ! But just like for Florent it(s hard to compare week one latin or ballroom who have tons of rules with contempory. And she get 4 golden buzzers so she is safe and while I see why she got them it seems a little unfair. The judges loved it and Jean-Marc salute Pierre's work on the choreo and I agree. Seeing as he is latin specialist, I'm excited to see more of what he has to offer.
My score : An 8, non specific reasons honestly.
Little happening for the promotion of the new season of "La Star Academy".
Stéphane Legar (singer) & Calisson Guasdoué : Again I have no idea of who he is. Oh so he is a superstar in Israel according to Camille Combal (I'll have to see if this is realy true). He knows how to dance especially afro styles. He is a superstar too in Israel according to Amir but again I'll see for myself. Why is Amir here escept for the fact that he is Israeli, I don't know, also knowing France, I wonder how he will be received because Israel and their politcal choices (mainly the genocide of Palestinians people) are really controversial here.
Samba - Toko Toko (Dadju) :There is something weird going on with his posture like he has the right moves, timing, intention, ondulation but his posture is weird I can't express what it is. And just like Léa in his bachuccadas, I can see he is an afro dancer. And he gets 4 golden buzzers too as I expected to but I disagree with this decision because while samba is the most difficult latin style probably there was still a lot of issues. Compared to Léa it wasn't the much better. Jean-Marc tells him that he was great but he needs to stay grounded with this style. Bilal gives a shout out to Calisson anf I agree, the choreo (minus the lifts) was really good.
My score : Honestly a 7 maybe an 8 because except for his showmanship, it wasn't much better than Léa and Christophe.
Clémence Castel (2 time Koh Lanta champion) & Candice Pascal : Koh Lanta is our Survivors. So last season we had two men dancing togethers - Bilal and Jordan - and this season Clémence will be with Candice and it seems like she asked to have a female partner to be her most authentic self. Clémence has really great hair too.
Contempory Waltz - Ne me jugez pas (Camille Lellouche) : I have really a hard time with Camille Lellouche's singing voice like it seems forced and I just can't... Anyway the dance : if they are going to put this umbrella move in ebery dancing, can they at least make sure their celeb can point their feet especiallu if they are barefoot or with what we used to call "demi-pointes" in rythmic gymnastic. I'm saying this because her flex feet just assaulted me throught the TV screen and now this is all I remember. She has a decent frame but she is also stiff and she really needs to work on her feet. Really courageous because Clémence is a really beloved TV personality and while her sexuality was no secret I just know some imbeciles and bigoted idiots will bash her. François Alu tells her she has to be more grounded, and Jean-Marc agrees with François and not only applauds her for her courage but tells her her being athletic and a warrior (because of Koh Lanta) doesn't stop her from showing sensuality. Marie-Agnes also appreciated the message but mention the lift and I can't really translate what she is saying here but I totally understand because they she attacked it, it gave me WWE vibes like she was wrestling her and not lifting her for a dance move. And Marie-Agnes is showing her how to do it (come through with those shoes !)
Scores : 6-5-5-5 = 21. My score : 4 but it might have been a 5 with shoes however I can't get passed how her feet attacked me.
So we're going to the second round with the choreography challenge. And Camille saying "I hope this is clear for eveybody at home" NO IT'S NOT ! Nice sync from Florent now we need to work on the latin aspect of dancingw same goes for Clémence plus a little more performanceship and less stifness.
Obviously Lea get the most points, the other two were a mess but Florent and Ines get 8 points, Clémence and Candice got 6 points. So Léa is safe.
Now it's the face off : I got two nice steps from Florent a good energy, none from Theo but he gave me great energy and I got the moste decent cha cha from Clémence with close to no energy.
So Théo is eliminated and just like David last week, I think it's a shame to only give them one chance on week one especially if some celebs are given less strict styles. Also important to note : Théo got more vote from the public so they loved his energy. Even François gace his vote to Théo because he saw the potential. Also a shame for Alizée who seems like a promising pro.
Anyway that's it for DALS premiere part 2.
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2022.07.10 18:10 thekrouz Does anyone else have a puppy who won't go up to strangers for pets?

At home she's a cuddle monster, leaning on us, rolling around cuddling in bed, and loves belly rubs. I can move her around the bed once shes sleeping ans she will just lay where I put her. No issues with grooming she's very calm.
She's also okay with getting belly rubs from 2 of the friends we hike with, the others will get a nose touch at most. One person she will go up to belly rubs for gives her attention but won't get in her face. The other person works with wild animals and got in her space a lot until she started accepting him. The others in the group go in super fast for pets or just make a lot of noise and she gets overwhelmed. Lol
We live in an apartment and everyone wants to say hi to her, so we get to meet new people often. We got her at 10 weeks old in April, so by now she's able to sir and wait for my to break her to "go say hi". The way she says hi is, once shes close to somone she bounces around them a few times instead of jumpping up on them. Then she will pull away when people try to bet her. Eventually she will give them a cold nose touch. If I talk to my neighbor a bit she will just calm down and start stiffing the ground. Once they try to touch her, she MIGHT let them. Our one neighbor has been able to get 2 belly rubs in.
Usually when we are out about about its for hikes and walks, so she's busy. But she has given little nose touches.
Any tips for her behavior?
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2022.05.29 21:35 InfernoAA New Japan Cup 2022 - 50th Anniversary Edition Part Three: Round of 16

New Japan Cup 2022 - 50th Anniversary Edition Part Three: Round of 16
Part One: Bracketology
Part Two: Opening Round

16 competitors down, 16 remain... With only 8 moving on, who will inch closer to their dreams?

March 11th – Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium (Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan)
Shingo Takagi vs Jeff Cobb
Will Ospreay vs Zack Sabre Jr.

Shingo Takagi vs Jeff Cobb
Head-to-Head Record: 1-2
LOOKS LIKE MEAT’S BACK ON THE MENU BOYS! Kicking off the Round of 16 is a rematch from a Wrestle Kingdom classic as LIJ’s Shingo Takagi and UE’s Jeff Cobb go at it once more. Takagi’s issues with Ospreay are well documented, and so, Jeff steps up to slay the Dragon on his leader’s behalf, looking to make it the second straight year UE cost Takagi the NJC. These two waste no time to get swinging, Shingo bursting out his corner with a PUMPING BOMBER to knock Cobb back a couple feet into his corner, where he smothers him with a subsequent CORNER BOMBER and a PUMPING COMBO, battering his chest with stinging chops and thudding punches! Cobb absorbs the punishment though, catching Takagi mid-sprint to unleash a CAPTURE SUPLEX, Shingo bouncing off the mat from the sheer power of Cobb to the outside! Measuring his man, Jeff- wait a minute, he’s climbing up the ropes! GOOD LORD, MOONSAULT TO THE OUTSIDE TO WIPE OUT SHINGO!
Both men lay in a heap as the arena shakes from the impact, Jeff the first to spring back to his feet with a grin, stretching out his arms and flexing, BUT THE DRAGON RISES BEHIND HIM, and he bludgeons Cobb with chest-caving chops! Grabbing the arm, he whips Cobb with intense velocity into the guardrail, Jeff sent flying through it, knocking the whole section down! Letting out a roar, he goes to pick Cobb up, only to receive a HEADBUTT for his troubles, staggering Shingo back, Cobb following with an ENORMOUS BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX INTO THE APRON, TAKAGI COLLIDING BACK-FIRST! A cry of agony erupts from his throat as the merciless Cobb rolls him inside, where he knocks the taste out of Shingo’s mouth with brutal elbow smashes, before hoisting him onto his shoulders, NAILING AN F-5000! 1… 2… KICK OUT!
Cobb snarls as Shingo fights to regain his footing, wincing, his body hurting all over from Jeff’s destructive offense, before Takagi summons Jeff to bring on more punishment, Cobb happily obliging with a vicious CROSS CHOP! AND SHINGO RETURNS THE MONGOLIAN CHOP! Enraged, Jeff goes for another… BUT THE DRAGON CATCHES HIS HAND TO STOP HIM, HORROR FILLING COBB’S EYES AS HE’S SENT FOR A RIDE WITH A THUNDEROUS EXPLODER SUPLEX! A Dangerous Driver Takagi spikes Jeff on his head before an ORIGINAL FALCONRY puts him on his back! 1… 2… COBB SENDS SHINGO FLYING WITH A POWERFUL KICK OUT! Takagi is surprised by how much power Jeff still has within, throwing a DRAGON SOUL LARIAT to try sap some of it, AND DESPITE PERSPIRATION SENT FLYING EVERYWHERE, COBB STANDS LIKE A STATUE! A regretful expression overcomes Shingo’s face as the next minute he’s sent flying by an ATHLETIC-PLEX! Whipping Shingo against the ropes, he brings him crashing down with a POP-UP SITOUT POWERBOMB! 1… 2… NO LUCK!
Cobb shakes his head as Shingo still tries to stay in it, Jeff slapping him upside the jaw! Fired up, Takagi gets in his face more, prompting another SLAP! SHINGO’S GRINNING! Cobb throws a third… AND TAKAGI EXPLODES BACK WITH A PUMPING BOMBER OFF THE ROPES, COBB SMACKED INTO THE CANVAS! HOLY HELL, SHINGO DEADLIFTS A PRONE COBB OFF THE MAT FOR A BACKDROP DRIVER! AND COBB BOUNCES OFF HIS SHOULDERS ONTO HIS FEET! Shingo goes for another PUMPING BOMBER, but Cobb ducks it, SLAPPING THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF TAKAGI AS HE REBOUNDS BACK OFF THE ROPES, BEFORE PLONKING HIM WITH A FIRE THUNDER DRIVER! 1… 2… NOOOOOOO! Cobb is beside himself and his inability to slay Shingo, deciding to stomp him over and over until he stops squirming, before bringing down the straps! He lugs him back to his feet, ONLY TO DECAPITATE HIM WITH A PUMPING BOMBER! Spitting on Shingo, he does a slit-throat taunt, before getting him up for a TOUR OF THE ISLANDS! 1… 2… KICK OUT! HOW THE HELL DID SHINGO JUST KICK OUT?!
Cobb is in denial, refusing to accept Takagi got the shoulder up, but all the same lifts him back up FOR A SECOND TOUR OF THE ISLANDS… TAKAGI SLIPS FREE AND HITS THE ROPES! A-GAIN! AND A-GAIN! AND A-GAIN! AND A PUMPING BOMBERRRRRRRRRR! COBB JUST GOT TURNED INSIDE OUT! Shingo lets out a primal shout, before getting Cobb up on his shoulders, thinking about Last of the Dragon… only to remember it took TWO to beat Jeff last time, and he simply doesn’t have enough in him anymore to do so. Instead, he looks up at the top turnbuckle, a different idea coming to mind… Dragging Cobb with him, the two scale the ropes, Takagi wanting STAY DREAM! Cobb, realising where he is, frantically fights back with elbows, headbutts, and the whole galore, anything better than what’s coming his way! Shingo rocked, Cobb realises he could end this right here himself, getting Shingo up for an AVALANCHE FALLAWAY SLAM… BUT TAKAGI LANDS ON HIS FEET, RACING BACK UP THE TURNBUCKLES TO BLAST COBB WITH A PUMPING BOMBER TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD! AND, WAIT FOR IT, STAYYYYY DREAMMMMMM! 1… 2… 3! UNITED EMPIRE ARE DOWN TO ONE MEMBER!
Shingo Takagi def. Jeff Cobb to advance (22:27)

Will Ospreay vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Head-to-Head NJC Record: 1-0
“Ungh, ungh, ungh”, Will Ospreay moans. The ‘Real’ IWGP World Heavyweight Champion is in shambles as he carries his title with him to the ring, desperately holding onto the last thing that could keep his hopes alive in this tournament. He expected to have an easy ticket to the Semis, O-Khan and Cobb laying down for him, but now both are gone, and he must fight the man he eliminated in this very round last year for a chance at a rematch from last year’s finals next. Zack knows Ospreay better than anyone else in this tournament, and that thought scares him, but he steadies himself with the thought that he just has to repeat what he did last year. Going right away for a Dropkick like last year, Zack fishes the leg out the air and applies an ANKLE LOCK, LOOKING TO TAP HIM OUT WITHIN THE FIRST FEW SECONDS OF THE MATCH! Alarmed, Ospreay thrashes with kicks from his free leg to force Sabre off, rolling to the outside to recollect himself, his plan having immediately blown up in his face.
Sliding back in, he charges at Zack again, who goes right back after the leg, only for Will to leap over him and come off the ropes, WANTING THE OSCUTTER, but Sabre stops it, going to counter with a SNAP DRAGON SUPLEX, Will managing to rotate through to his feet though and soar for a STANDING SHOOTING STAR PRESS, but again it’s Zack dodges, trying for a BOW & ARROW on the prone Will, who flips through into cover, Zack kicking out instantly! Ospreay handsprings off the ropes, teasing his signature Enzuigiri, Sabre grasping the leg mid-air, but another follows, wrapping around his neck, Will twisting through into a CROSS ARMBREAKER, SHOWING SOME TECHNICAL SKILL OF HIS OWN! Sabre gets the monkey grip, preventing full extension, BUT WILL BITES THE FINGERS TO FORCE HIM OFF, now getting the full stretch, yelling at the referee to ask Zack if he submits! Sabre refuses however, rolling onto his stomach to turn the hold over and stand up, getting his legs around Will’s neck to score a NECK TWIST, getting him to release!
Ospreay grabs his neck in agony as Sabre gets rallying with European Uppercuts to rock it like a bobblehead, before leaping into a GUILLOTINE CHOKE! Zack tightens his grip around Will’s neck, but a BUCKLE-EXPLODER SUPLEX loosens it again as Sabre is left dangling in a Tree of Woe! Ospreay sits cross-legged in front of Sabre and begins SMASHING HIS NOSE WITH FOREARMS, a defenceless Zack only able to flail his arms around and try block, but it’s too late, Will hammering it to the point he busts Zack open! That’s what he gets for bloodying Will’s nose last time. Fish-hooking the nose, Will shakes his head about and lets crimson droplets paint the surroundings as he cackles like a mad artist, before letting go. Heading to the top rope, Ospreay measures his man, but before he can take flight, Zack finally pulls himself up using his core strength and crotches Will on the neighbouring rope! The two face-to-face again, Zack sitting on the turnbuckle and Will on the rope, they trade forearms, blood continuing to leak down Sabre’s face, but he doesn’t care, INSTEAD GRABBING WILL’S LEG ALL OF A SUDDEN TO SUSPEND HIM UPSIDE-DOWN HIMSELF WITH A HANGING HEEL HOOK! SHADES OF THE HOMETOWN HERO SUZUKI!
Will is in sheer agony as Sabre contorts his limb, but he’s saved by the referee’s count, Sabre forced to let go, Ospreay slumping to the apron. Zack turns to face the apron as he collects his wits and catches his breath, whilst Will nurses his leg, being checked on by the referee to make sure he’s good to continue, hopping to his base. Sabre settles down on the apron behind Will, grabbing him from behind, TEASING AN APRON TIGER SUPLEX… but Ospreay fights free, smashing the nose with the back of his head to cause Sabre to flinch and release… BEFORE WILL SPRINGS OFF ONE LEG IN THE CORNER TO DROP SABRE WITH AN APRON OSCUTTER, BOTH MEN SPILLING TO THE FLOOR! The referee starts their count as both lay still on the floor, no sign of movement as the 10 count is crossed, until finally they begin to stir, getting on all fours by 13… 14… 15… OSPREAY’S LEG GIVES OUT! 16… 17… 18… BOTH MEN MAKE ONE LAST PUSH, SABRE SHOVING HIMSELF INSIDE THE RING BY 19, WHILST OSPREAY PULLS HIMSELF UP ONTO THE APRON AND SPRINGS OFF ONE LEG ON THE ROPES FOR A PIP PIP CHEERIO!
Coming down hard on the leg though, Ospreay writhes in pain, but with Zack down, he pulls himself up with every last bit of energy he has and gets Sabre up for STORM BREAKER… ZACK WITH AN OCTOPUS HOLD! Will immediately rams him into the turnbuckle until he lets up, Sabre instead sliding down his back like a bird hitting a window, OSPREAY COLLECTING HIM TO NAIL A HITODENASHI DRIVER! 1… 2… NOOOOOO! Will shouts in frustration, having jammed the leg on the landing, but he feels that victory is nigh, doing all he can to prepare for a HIDDEN BLADE! SABRE SPINS AROUND AND COUNTERS WITH A ZACK DRIVER ATTEMPT! WILL LANDS ON HIS GOOD LEG AND PULLS HIM ONTO HIS OWN SHOULDERS INSTEAD! LONDON HAS FALL- ZACK SLIPS OUT AND CINCHES IN A SLEEPER! OSPREAY TOSSES HIM OVER HIS HEAD TO GET HIM BACK IN HIDDEN BLADE POSITION, BUT HIS LEG BUCKLES! SABRE BLASTS HIM WITH A PENALTY KICK! AND HE ROLLS INTO ORIENTEERING WITH NAPALM DEATH! OSPREAY THRASHES LIKE A MADMAN, FEELING HIS LEG TEARING APART… AND HE TAPS! OSPREAY TAPS! UNITED EMPIRE IS IN THE MUD, SABRE SCORING THE UPSET!
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Will Ospreay to advance (25:13)

Next Round:
Shingo Takagi vs Zack Sabre Jr.

March 12th – Korakuen Hall (Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan)
Katsuyori Shibata vs Tomohiro Ishii
SANADA vs Bryan Danielson

Katsuyori Shibata vs Tomohiro Ishii
Head-to-Head NJC Record: 1-0
Perhaps Shibata’s most iconic foe stands before him now, as he goes from battling one CHAOS member to another on his conquest to take the CHAOS Leader’s title, Shibata pitted against the man who rules this arena, Mr. Korakuen himself, Ishii. After proving himself more than capable of being his old self, it looks like another stonker of a war with Tom is on the horizon as both men rev their engines, only needing the opening bell to get them going, THROTTLING EACH OTHER WITH LIGHTNING-FAST SLAPS RIGHT OUT THE GATE, A HOCKEY FIGHT GOING DOWN BETWEEN TWO OF THE STIFFEST COMPETITORS ON THE ROSTER! Ishii shoves Shibata back with a thudding forearm, KATSUYORI FIRING BACK WITH A SINGLE LEG DROPKICK THAT BURIES ISHII AGAINST THE TURNBUCKLE! But Tom doesn’t leave his feet, bouncing back with a DEVASTATING LARIAT, SHIBATA BIDING THROUGH THE SHOT WITH BARED TEETH! Ishii exposes himself, telling Shibata to have at him, Katsuyori throwing a volley of forearms, Ishii leaning into each one, and instead of backing Tom up, it’s Katsuyori’s who’s being pressured back into the corner, Tom boxing him in, BEFORE ABUSING HIM WITH CHOP AFTER FOREARM AFTER CHOP AFTER FOREARM, SHIBATA SLUMPING TO THE MAT!
Ishii winds up for a CORNER LARIAT, BUT SHIBATA CATCHES IT, FLOORING HIM WITH A MUSHA GAESHI, ISHII’S HEAD SMACKING OFF THE MAT! Seeing stars momentarily, Ishii is too distracted to notice a YAKUZA KICK coming right for his cheek, sent sprawling into the corner, Shibata winding up for the HESITATION DROPKICK… AND ISHII EXPLODES OUT TO STOP HIM IN HIS TRACKS WITH THE LARIAT! A BRUTAL GERMAN SUPLEX DUMPS SHIBATA ON HIS NECK, ONLY FOR HIM TO ROLL THROUGH AND RETURN A BACKDROP DRIVER! Ishii seated, Shibata teases the FREE KICK, BUT ISHII CATCHES IT, TAKING OUT SHIBATA’S LEG WITH A CLUBBING BLOW, BEFORE SCORING A SLIDING LARIAT! AND SHIBATA POPS BACK TO HIS CROSS-LEGGED POSITION! Ishii comes back again, only this time hitting the ropes twice, BUT SHIBATA TRAPS THE ARM FOR AN STF! Tom drags The Wrestler’s entire body weight along with him to the ropes, only for a MUSHROOM STOMP to bury itself into his back right as he reaches some reprieve! Sitting Ishii up, he rocks him with SHOOT KICKS, before turning his back to him as he looks at the ropes, but Ishii stops him before he can run, twisting Shibata around for a BRAINBUSTER! 1… 2… KICK OUT!
Katsuyori Shibata def. Tomohiro Ishii to advance (13:42)

SANADA vs Bryan Danielson
First-Time Match
IWGP United States Champion vs American Dragon, it’s a match made in heaven as SANADA and Bryan Danielson meet for the first-time ever! Two gifted submission specialists, they both look to get a leg up in this race as the first half of 12 nights comes to an end. With Bryan’s history of neck-related issues, SANADA’s primary target remains attacking that region to set up his finisher known to put dragons to sleep, Bryan an endangered species against SANADA. And so, he remains cautious as the stoic Cold Skull plays predator, eyeing the neck with every lock-up like a vampire lusting to take a bite, Bryan ensuring to keep himself shielded. Tussling on the mat, Bryan manages to get control of SANADA’s legs, stepping on the inside of his knees and grabbing the arms as he cinches in a SURFBOARD, before tugging SANADA back to hyperextend his limbs, finishing by STOMPING down to damage the legs! SANADA doesn’t let the pain show on his face though, getting into another grappling exchange, only this time getting the better of Danielson, trapping him in a PARADISE LOCK! Bryan immobilised, SANADA delivers a Low Dropkick to the neck, Danielson sent sprawling away into his corner, grabbing at the region in question!
SANADA beckons Danielson to lock up with him again, but Bryan seems more interested in firing off a SHOOT KICK on SANADA’s calf to keep his distance, sticking and moving with each strike, now Bryan the predator as he circles the Cold Skull like a vulture, delivering long-range shots to SANADA’s legs, even buckling them momentarily at one point, at which Danielson rushes in and fishes them for a STRETCH MUFFLER! SANADA uses the free leg to kick away at the back of Bryan’s neck and get free, a SNAP DDT surprising the American Dragon, BEFORE IT’S NEATLY TRANSITIONED INTO A SKULL END! Danielson in the Dragon Sleeper, SANADA’s only able to get bodyscissors with one leg, the other too hurt to wrap around Bryan, giving Bryan an opening to break free, elbowing the joints on the stray leg, SANADA’s grip slackening and Danielson spinning around to grab the leg, securing a SINGLE LEG BOSTON CRAB! SANADA looks for the ropes, but Bryan sits deep, prompting the LIJ member to find another way out, managing to roll between Danielson’s legs and elbow his way free!
On one good leg, he powers Bryan onto his shoulders for a TKO attempt, but Danielson doesn’t let him get it, kicking out the leg to collapse on top of SANADA and apply a MUTA LOCK, A DIRECT SHOT AT THE MAN WHO TRAINED THE COLD SKULL, the wide grin on Bryan’s face telling he knew exactly what he was doing! SANADA inches towards the ropes for respite, only to get tugged away at the last second, Bryan releasing to grab the arms instead, STOMPING SANADA’S HEAD INTO THE MAT! As a dazed SANADA tries to make sense of his surroundings, Bryan is already in the corner, rallying for the BUSAIKU KNEE KICK… SANADA EVADES, GRABBING THE SKULL END FROM BEHIND, but as Bryan resists, reaching for the ropes, SANADA snaps him back with a REGAL-PLEX, RETURNING THE FAVOUR WITH USING BRYAN’S MENTOR’S MOVE! AND BACK INTO THE SKULL END, LOOKING TO PUT THE DRAGON TO SLEEP! SANADA TUGS WITH ALL HIS MIGHT… BUT THE LEG COSTS HIM AGAIN, BRYAN CONTORTING IT BY HIS SIDE UNTIL SANADA RELEASES, BRYAN STOMPING HIS HEAD INTO THE MAT AGAIN, BEFORE CINCHING IN THE HEEL HOOK! SANADA’S IN TROUBLE, CENTRE OF THE RING… AND HE TAPS! WE’RE GETTING SHIBATA VS BRYAN, FOLKS!
Bryan Danielson def. SANADA to advance (20:29)

Next Round:
Katsuyori Shibata vs Bryan Danielson

March 13th – Tokorozawa Citizen Gymnasium (Saitama, Japan)
Kota Ibushi vs KUSHIDA
KENTA vs Kaito Kiyomiya

Kota Ibushi vs KUSHIDA
Head-to-Head Record: 2-2
Four more Round of 16 matches to go, and we’re kicking things off with a bit of a throwback, as two men who once warred over the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship a decade ago go at it again, only with a much bigger prize at stake, the injured yet spirited Golden Star duking it out with the returning and better than ever Time Splitter to advance in the tournament for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship! A man who’s built himself off inflicting excruciating amounts of damage to people’s arms, KUSHIDA is the last person Ibushi wants to be standing across, but such is his fate, once again forced to play defence as KUSHIDA targets the limb like a shark smelling blood, every lock-up, every grapple ending with Ibushi’s arm in KUSHIDA’s possession. Delivering a KEYLOCK THROW, KUSHIDA slams Ibushi into the mat whilst hyperextending the joints, before slipping on a Grounded Hammerlock, holding it in place with one foot as the other STOMPS THE SHOULDER INTO THE MAT, IBUSHI YELPING IN AGONY!
KUSHIDA securing it back in his hands, he wrings it out over his shoulder, slamming it down over the blade, once again making it contort an awkward way as Kota fights back tears to blast KUSHIDA’s back with kicks, yet the Time Splitter remains stubborn, remaining latched on! Whipping Ibushi into the corner, Kota hits the turnbuckle pad shoulder-first, KUSHIDA following quickly behind with a DROPKICK TO THE ARM! Wringing it out once more, he scales the turnbuckles and walks the ropes, a DIVING CHOP connecting on the shoulder before an ARM DRAG has Ibushi on his back again! Clasping both of Kota’s hands, KUSHIDA forces Ibushi’s shoulders down for a cover, but Kota pops into a wrestler’s bridge to stop it at 2, only to drop back down again, unable to maintain it properly, giving KUSHIDA an opening to blast the arm with a PENALTY KICK, before a BRIDGING HAMMERLOCK SUPLEX connects! 1… 2… KICK OUT! And still, KUSHIDA has not but once let go of the arm, Kota again battering him with kicks and knees to the spine, KUSHIDA starting to feel the burn of the strikes, but he knows the moment he frees the arm, it’s over for him, clinging on like his life depends on it!
A ROUNDHOUSE to the back of his head almost gets him to release, KUSHIDA caught by surprise from the attack he couldn’t see coming, only to punish Ibushi by yanking the arm over and over until Kota drops to his knees, KUSHIDA scoring an ARM DDT, BEFORE FLOATING INTO THE HOVERBOARD LOCK! The Kimura has Ibushi’s eyes bulging out his skull, Kota clenching his other hand to stop himself from tapping, using any other open body part of his he can to batter KUSHIDA, who simply shakes his head, refusing to release! An idea coming to mind, Ibushi fights to his feet and heads towards the corner, scaling up the turnbuckles, forcing KUSHIDA to follow him, the Time Splitter hanging from a dangerous height above the ring, Kota preparing to POWERBOMB HIM FROM THE HEIGHTS, TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH… BUT KUSHIDA SPINS THROUGH THE AIR IN A FLYING ARMBAR MOTION, ONLY FOR IBUSHI TO SPIN TOO, BAITING KUSHIDA INTO A VULNERABLE POSITION AS HE LANDS ON HIS FEET, KUSHIDA UNABLE TO COMPLETE THE MOVE, A MOONSAULT SLAM CRUSHING KUSHIDA AGAINST THE MAT! KUSHIDA. DOES. NOT. LET. GO! BUT HE’S TOO LATE, THE GRIP TOO WEAK TO BE EFFECTIVE, KUSHIDA FINDING HIMSELF ON HIS KNEES FOR IBUSHI TO NAIL HIM WITH THE KAMIGOYE, COLLAPSING INTO A WRIST-CLUTCH COVER! 1… 2… 3! Finally… KUSHIDA’s hands fall to the mat as Ibushi survives another round.
Kota Ibushi def. KUSHIDA to advance (17:16)

KENTA vs Kaito Kiyomiya
First-Time Match
From fighting a trainee of one pillar of heaven to another, Kaito Kiyomiya is matched against the Kenta Kobashi trained KENTA this time, continuing to sport Misawa colours, a stark contrast to KENTA’s all black BULLET CLUB attire. Both from Saitama, it’s a showdown between two hometown boys, representing two different eras of NOAH, KENTA from the original generation of young prospects, whilst Kaito bears the flag of the current generation. It’s Black Sun vs Supernova in a match you never thought you’d see! It’s an early grapple-fest between the two as they trade hammerlocks, only for KENTA to suddenly ditch the lock-up and blast Kaito with a HIGH KNEE to drop him! Firing condescending kicks against his head, he mocks Kiyomiya for his ‘Misawa cosplay’, only KENTA having the balls to disrespect the pillars, only to eat a flurry of elbows for his troubles, but KENTA silences the younger star with a BIG BOOT, cracking a wide grin as he spreads out his arms to gloat. Continuing to bully Kaito, he delivers Kobashi-style chops to the neck, before mixing in some strikes of his own, delivering kicks to the very region, a BACKDROP DRIVER following… NO, KAITO FLIPS INTO A BODY SPLASH A LA MISAWA!
Incensed, KENTA dusts himself off as Kaito rolls away, charging at him for a YAKUZA KICK, BUT KAITO DROPS HIM ON HIS HEAD WITH A GERMAN SUPLEX, KENTA crumbling to the outside! KENTA leaning against the barricade for support, Kaito sees his opening, going for an ELBOW SUICIDA, only for KENTA to get out dodge at the last second, Kiyomiya whacking off the steel instead! Suffering a nasty spill on the floor, it’s KENTA duty to mop up, threading Kaito’s arms through the railing to batter his exposed chest with SHOOT KICKS until Kiyomiya’s weight is only being supported by the rails, KENTA heading to the apron for a DIVING GUILLOTINE KNEE TO THE HEAD! Kaito limply flopping to the floor, KENTA cups his ear to the crowd, laughing at their boos, a FISHERMAN BUSTER following on the floor! Rolling Kaito back inside, he tees off on the neck again with kicks, before going for a DISCUS CHOP on the neck… KAITO DUCKS UNDER, WHACKING A DISCUS ELBOW AGAINST KENTA’S SKULL! AND AN INVERTED FACELOCK BACKBREAKER INTO AN INVERTED DDT FROM KIYOMIYA! 1… 2… KICK OUT!
Kaito rallying, he scores a Twisting Body Splash on KENTA, before teasing the TIGER DRIVER, KENTA fighting free with shots to the back, before nailing a BURNING LARIAT! Sitting on his chest cross-legged for maximum disrespect as he pins him… 1… 2… KAITO KICKS OUT! KENTA’s growing more upset by Kaito’s defiance, barking at him to stay down, but Kiyomiya channels his fighting spirit to come firing back with elbows, a SNAP SCOOP POWERSLAM catching a Penalty Kick, sending KENTA out to the apron! Joining him, Kaito and KENTA engage in a unholy war of strikes… BEFORE KAITO SLIPS BEHIND, DELIVERING A TIGER SUPLEX OFF THE APRON TO THE FLOOR! KENTA rocked, Kiyomiya uses all his strength to get him back inside, before setting up the TIGER DRIVER again… KENTA WITH A BACK BODY DROP, only to collapse himself too! Willing themselves to their feet, it’s chops vs elbows, KENTA unloading a machine gun fire, Kaito mashing the Black Sun’s skull… the two rebounding off the ropes, KENTA GOING FOR THE BUSAIKU KNEE KICK, Kaito evading it and going for his own RUNNING KNEE STRIKE, BUT KENTA FLATTENS HIM WITH A DOUBLE FOOT STOMP! Kiyomiya’s internal organs crushed, KENTA swiftly fishes him onto his shoulders, in position for the G2S… Wait, what’s he doing here? KENTA TURNS KAITO OVER, A CONTEMPTUOUS SNEER ON HIS FACE AS HE THINKS TO GO FOR KOBASHI’S BURNING HAMMER INSTEAD… BUT THE DELAY COSTS HIM, KAITO SLIPPING OUT AND GETTING KENTA ON HIS OWN SHOULDERS FOR AN EMERALD FLOWSION! AND A TIGER DRIVERRRRR! 1… 2… 3!
Kaito Kiyomiya def. KENTA to advance (23:30)

Next Round:
Kota Ibushi vs Kaito Kiyomiya

March 14th – Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium (Nagoya, Aichi, Japan)
YOH vs Jay White
Naomichi Marufuji vs Kazuchika Okada

YOH vs Jay White
Head-to-Head Record: 7-0
It’s the final night of the Round of 16 as the story of facing their NJPW Dojo peers continues for both these men, YOH and Jay White squaring off after YOH eliminated White’s BULLET CLUB brethren SHO. Being slightly senior to the Switchblade, YOH has always had Jay’s number in the past when he was still a Young Lion, White forced to pick up after Direct Drive, and at one point, White was even YOH’s stablemate in CHAOS, but much like SHO later did, Jay turned his back on the group. Years of unspoken animosity between these two, they finally get to add their own chapter to the storybook, Jay out for some too sweet revenge, whilst YOH looks to keep his fantastic form going. SHO heavily targeting YOH’s back, it gives Jay a target to stick to, concentrating his efforts around that area. Ramming YOH into the turnbuckle repeatedly, White softens up the back as YOH winces in pain, quickly developing breathing problems in the match, but he does his best to mitigate its effects on his performance, needing his fast-paced aerial manoeuvres to keep Jay on the ropes.
Surprising White with a frankensteiner, he has the BULLET CLUB Leader packing to the outside, following closely behind with a TOPE CON HILO… ONLY FOR WHITE TO CATCH IT AND SLAM YOH BACK-FIRST INTO THE GUARDRAIL! YOH yelps as he feels a jolt run up the spine, a sick look of schadenfreude filling Jay’s face as he rams YOH back-first AGAINST THE APRON, taking great pleasure in hearing YOH’s screams of agony as he switches back and forth between the apron and rail to continue to debilitate the CHAOS member! AND A SAITO SUPLEX FOLLOWS ON THE FLOOR, RAGDOLLING YOH! Chucking him back inside, Jay applies a LIONTAMER, YOH’s back on fire as Jay punishes him, no mercy for the man he harbours a deep hatred for, White getting out all his frustrations against YOH in the ring here. Managing to scramble to the ropes, YOH gets the break, Jay releasing at 4, before going right back to delivering elbows and stomps to the spine, YOH trapped in a recurring nightmare of sorts, a KIWI KRUSHER following! 1… 2… KICK OUT!
Licking his lips, White lines YOH up for the BLADE RUNNER… YOH COUNTERS WITH A CUTTER MID-MOVE, SPIKING JAY’S HEAD AGAINST THE CANVAS! YOH WITH A LATE SECOND WIND, ROCKING JAY WITH A JUMPING SINGLE KNEE, FOLLOWED BY A DNV! Adrenaline fuelling him, YOH dumps White with a GERMAN SUPLEX, followed by a FALCON ARROW! 1… 2… NOOOOO! Jay is too shocked to react as YOH continues to flip the whole match on its head, CINCHING IN A STARGAZER! Begging for White to tap, YOH wrenches on the Calf Slicer as Gedo wills Jay to make the ropes, even pushing them towards him to help behind the referee’s back, White eventually getting the break, ONLY TO BE TURNED AROUND RIGHT AWAY FOR DIRECT DRIVE! Jay flips out to his feet to block AND GRABS YOH BY THE HAIR TO SNAP HIM BACK ONTO WHITE’S KNEE FOR A BACKBREAKER, SUBDUING HIM ONCE MORE! All the air is sucked out the arena as White ragdolls YOH with a pair of SAITO SUPLEXES, before getting him in position once more, spiking him with a BLADE RUNNER! 1… 2… 3! A hope-filled comeback ultimately all for nothing, Jay dashes YOH’s hopes and dreams to put a BULLET CLUB member in the Quarter Finals.
Jay White def. YOH to advance (15:53)

Naomichi Marufuji vs Kazuchika Okada
Head-to-Head Record: 1-1
It’s time once more to determine who the final person advancing to the next round is as Okada battles another legendary old foe in NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji, who specifically signed up to have this confrontation with the Rainmaker, and now that he has it, it’s his duty to deliver by beating the other company’s Ace. Usually, Okada’s path is littered with Juniors and easy opponents in NJCs for most rounds, but this year he’s having to put in the work to prove he truly is worthy of the title he holds, so what better way to do so by knocking out Maru, as easy as that is than said done. 6 years having passed since Marufuji first dominated Okada, Naomichi now plays the role of grizzled veteran whilst the Rainmaker firmly represents the best of the modern era, the two a lot more evenly matched than last time, and so, Okada’s able to make Maru fight more of his game early on rather than Naomichi’s flashy, fiery style. He gives Maru a hard time in lock-ups, cutting him as he cartwheels for escape with a Dropkick and stopping a Shiranui attempt and he SENDS HIM OVER THE ROPES, ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR!
As Maru tries to return inside, a ROPEHUNG DDT awaits him, spiking him on his dome, before a MISSILE DROPKICK barrels him over, and HEAVY RAIN nets 2, Naomichi in a bad way! Slapping himself in the face to get his head back in the game, Maru rallies with a SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT as Okada whips him into the ropes for the Million Dollar Dropkick, before teasing a Fisherman Suplex, only to blast Okada in the head with a THRUST KICK, a POLE SHIFT putting him on his back! 1… 2… KICK OUT! Winding up a KO-OH, Marufuji races in, only to eat rope as a SPINNING RAINMAKER catches him in the back of the head and a GERMAN SUPLEX snaps him up from behind! Okada gets Maru up in Tombstone position, but Naomichi reverses the momentum, SPIKING OKADA WITH A TOMBSTONE OF HIS OWN, BEFORE MOCKING HIS RAINMAKER POSE! Securing the wrist, he spins him around for a RIPCORD KO-OH, but Kazu evades, a Sliding Dropkick missing as Maru leaps over, BURYING A DOUBLE FOOT STOMP INTO OKADA’S GUT!
He attempts the TIGER FLOWSION, but Okada back body drops him, before mowing him down with a series of SHORT-ARM LARIATS, a SUZUKI-STYLE GOTCH PILEDRIVER FOLLOWING TO GET IN NAOMICHI’S HEAD! Spreading the arms, it’s the prelude to the end, Okada readying his prized RAINMAKER… MARUFUJI COUNTERS INTO A PERFECT KEYLOCK! Looking to eliminate Kazu’s best shot from his arsenal, he wrenches the limb as much as he can muster, Okada forced to really fight for the ropes, only to eat a spree of Maru’s signature kicks and knees as he thinks he’s gotten out of Naomichi’s crosshairs! KO-OH BLASTS OKADA IN THE JAW! AND ANOTHER SHIRANUI ATTEMPT… OKADA STOPS HIM MIDWAY, DROPPING RIGHT DOWN WITH A LANDSLIDE! Wrist secured, he RIPCORDS HIM FOR THE RAINMAKER! BUT MARU DOESN’T GO DOWN, REMAINING UPRIGHT ON WOBBLY LEGS! OKADA SPINS HIM OUT AGAIN… ANOTHER KO-OH! NOW MARU RIPCORDS OKADA, GOING FOR THE TRIFECTA- RAINMAKER BEATS HIM TO THE PUNCH! 1… 2… 3!
Kazuchika Okada def. Naomichi Marufuji to advance (24:18)
BUT LOOK AT THIS! OKADA’S AMBUSHED BY WHITE AFTER THE MATCH, THE SWITCHBLADE BEATING DOWN THE RAINMAKER IN HIS VERY OWN HOMETOWN! AND A BLADE RUNNER ONTO THE TITLE! Statement made, as Jay stands tall over Okada to close out the Round of 16, the end perhaps around the corner for Okada’s reign!

Next Round:
Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada
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2022.05.20 22:23 Chelai-Gis-rin Object in my bp poop

Hello everyone!
To sum things up: my 2 yo bp refused to eat for the last 4 month. In the first couple of weeks I wasn't afraid because he tends to varries with eating qzite regularly. After about 2 month I got a little worried and asked more experienced keepers about their opinion. Their answer was that I shouldn't worry as it was winter (Austria and pretty cold here) and the snakes sometimes do fast over the winter month. I was relieved a little. But after another 1 and a half month I had him checked by a vet, who also said that it is quite usual for reptiles to fast during winters. So far so good I thought.
About 5 days ago I saw that he is about to shed. The shed went well and the whole piece came off easily by itself. He also pooped right after his shed, which was, not surprising for me, in the typical yellow ish green tone which snake poop has after they fast. But what was scaring the hell out of me was what I found on top of the poop. It's a wishbone shaped piece of tissue, soft to the touch and nowhere stiffed like cartilage would be. It's a little red, bloody if you will, but the colour won't come off.
After I spotted that I immediatly took the guy out and checked his belly all the way from his neck to his cloaka. And the cloaka itself. As I was told to be verry careful about this I only checked for feelable bumps or something concerning, but couldn't find anything. He also didn't seem to be verry bothered by me doing it as he was wandering arround my hand like he always does.
Does anyone have a clue what it could be what I found and what to do about it? I kept it in a testing tube to be sure to have it later if it is needed.
Link to the pictures:
submitted by Chelai-Gis-rin to ballpython [link] [comments]

2022.03.10 00:52 merlin_sbeard My Brother Disappeared on a Trip With His Girlfriend. He Left Me Voicemails While He Was Gone. [Part 2]

Part One

Two days after my last post I made it to the motel Cody and Tracy were staying at. It was a beat down piece of shit about fifteen miles outside of Site 49, but it wasn't too far, so I could see why they chose it. I walked inside the small office and rang the bell for the clerk.
A man in his late thirties came out of a back room with a door marked "employees only." He was wearing a dirty wife-beater and had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. I eyed the sign on the counter that read "no smoking," and quirked my brow at the clerk.
"You need a room?" He grumbled. His voice was thick and gruff, probably from all of the cigarettes.
I nodded.
"Fifteen for the hour, forty for the night."
I swallowed back the distaste in my mouth. They rented rooms by the hour? This place was definitely a shithole. I pulled my wallet from my back pocket and grabbed two twenties from the small number of bills I had inside. The man slid them off the counter and tucked them into his pocket. He turned his back for a moment to the row of keys hanging on the clips behind the counter, and plucked the one marked "14." He handed it to me.
"One more thing," I said. I unlocked my phone and pulled up the picture I had of Cody and Tracy on the screen.
"Have you seen these two?"
The clerk's face turned sour.
"Yeah, they were here about a month ago. Stiffed me for a night."
"Do you know where they went?"
"No idea. All I know is I'm out the money for their room. Are you here to settle their tab?"
I opened my mouth to protest, but the next motel wasn't for another ten miles and I doubted he would give me back the money I'd already paid.
"How much did they owe you?"
The man smirked.
"Bullshit," I said, then bit my tongue. The clerk noticed.
"Cleaning fee. You can either pay me what I'm owed, or you can go find another establishment to stay at."
I held back the comment I wanted to make about how this seedy garbage fire was a far cry from being considered an "establishment," and coughed up the extra money.
"Pleasure doing business with you."
I walked back outside, where my car was the only one parked in the lot. It seemed most other people were willing to drive the extra twenty or so minutes.
I put my key in the lock of room fourteen, and jiggled the knob when it stuck. The room was what you'd expect, so long as you had really low expectations. The walls were nicotine-stained, the suggestion of their previously white coating long gone. The carpet was green and so old it looked like it had a stain to mark every year since its installation. I didn't even want to think about the state of the bed.
I walked over to it and lifted the blankets to check for bed bugs. When I didn't find any I peeled back the sheets to check for stains. Surprisingly, they looked clean. New. I kicked off my shoes and crawled under the covers, tucking them under my folded arms.
If I was being honest, I was scared to go to Site 49. As much as I wanted to find my brother and Tracy-and I did, I was desperate to-I was also terrified. I didn't know what had happened to them. Who had taken them-or what. What if I couldn't save them? What if they were dead? What if, and I hated myself for being such a coward to even think this, but what if whatever got them got me, too?
It was hot when I woke up the next morning. The AC kicked off at some point during the night, and it was at least seventy-six degrees in there. I flung the covers off and swung my legs over the bed. I peeled my sweaty shirt from my back and stood. I felt, and smelled, disgusting. I didn't know if I trusted the shower enough to use it, so I walked to the bathroom and flicked on the light.
It was surprisingly clean, so I hopped in and showered in cold water before I got dressed in the clean clothes tucked away in my duffel bag. I towel dried my hair quickly and grabbed my keys from the table by the door.
Here we go.
I left in the late morning, the sun blazing high in the cloudless sky. The drive wasn't too long; it took about twenty minutes to get to the coordinates of Site 49. I pulled up to a building on the outskirts of the town and turned off my engine. I steeled my nerves for several moments. I could do this. I had to. No one else knew they were here. No one else would be able to save them. It had to be me. It could only be me.
I got out of the car. Immediately the heat beat down on me, arid warmth searing my exposed skin. Cody was right. It was fucking hot.
I approached the building I parked my car next to. The windows were coated in grime, but after wiping it off with my hand I cleared enough to peer inside. It looked like an apothecary, large cabinets with small drawers housing bottles of medicine lining the walls around the room. There were rows of shelves next to the counter, mason jars filled with pig feet and cow's tongue. I made a face and backed away from the store. I doubted they were in there.
I walked down the wooden steps and back out onto the dusty road. They could be anywhere. I didn't even know where to start.
"You shouldn't be here."
I started and whipped around, looking into the face of a child. A young girl. Was she the same one from Cody's voicemails?
"You shouldn't be here," she repeated. She was very pale, and very thin. She looked malnourished, like she hadn't eaten in weeks. Maybe longer. Her hair was mousy and thin, bald patches marking parts of her scalp. I couldn't tell if she was real or not, just like Cody couldn't. Cody wasn't lying when he said we'd never really seen any evidence of the supernatural on our trips. Occasionally we heard scratching, sometimes breathing, but we usually just chocked that up to the power of suggestion. Over the course of our lives and the years we'd spent tracking down things that shouldn't exist, we never found any concrete evidence that they did actually exist.
So when looking at this child, this dirty, hungry child, I didn't see a ghost. I saw a poor kid that needed to eat.
"I'm looking for my brother and his girlfriend," I said. "Have you seen them?"
I pulled out my phone and showed her the same picture I'd showed the clerk at the motel last night. The girl's face remained expressionless. She stared at the picture for a while, though, longer than would be normal if she didn't know them.
"I told them they shouldn't be here," she said.
"What? You remember them? Do you know where they are?"
I crouched down to her level and firmly grabbed her by the arms. I looked into her face.
"Please, I have to find them. They're in danger. Please, tell me where they are."
"I told them they shouldn't be here," the girl said again. Then she cupped my face with her small hand.
"And neither should you. Now you're stuck here. Just like them."
Then she grinned at me, a rotten, blackened horror, and widened her jaws to bite my arm. I screamed and tried to shake her off, but she was latched on with the ferocity of something much stronger than someone as small as she was. I yanked on her hair, but as I did it came out as a thick clump in my hand.
What the fuck?
She took another bite, and when her jaws were briefly unclamped I grabbed the back of her neck and thrusted her away from me. She fell onto her back and rolled into a crouch. She snarled at me, baring her bloodied teeth as she prepared to pounce. I looked around for something, anything, that I could use. I spotted a large rock and snatched it up. When she was almost on me I smashed her over the head with it. Her head made an awful cracking noise and she fell to the ground with a heavy thud.
She was still twitching when I got to my feet. I panted heavily and tore off the bottom of my t-shirt to wrap over the bite marks in my arm. They were deep, oozing blood down my hand so that it dripped onto the dusty ground beneath my tennis shoes.
The girl groaned and tried to move, but she couldn't. Either the hit had paralyzed her or she was too weak to do anything. I rolled her over onto her back.
"Where are they?" I growled between clenched teeth.
She took gasping, wheezing breaths as she laid there on the ground. I thought for a moment she was too weak to even speak, but then she looked right into my eyes and said,
"You should have left when you had the chance."
And then she laughed, that high, childish giggle that I'd heard in Cody's voicemails. I gripped the rock harder and smashed her in the head with it again, once, twice, three times, until she stopped laughing and her brain matter looked like ground meat.
I stumbled to my feet, breathing hard, and let the stone fall from my hand. And then I vomited.
I braced my hands on my knees as my body convulsed, the force of it arching my back so that my stomach upended its contents. They landed on the remains of the dead girl. I vomited some more.
Eventually I stopped puking, and I spit a few times to get the acrid taste out of my mouth. I'd just murdered someone. A little kid. I felt dirty, tainted, like I'd lost some pivotal part of myself that I'd never get back. And I would never get it back.
I sniffed hard and wiped my mouth. I had to go. Whatever I had done, it paled in comparison to what would happen to Cody and Tracy if I didn't find them.
I swung around, looking at all of the buildings in this crazy fucking town, thinking desperately about where they could be. And then I spotted it in the distance: the church. A big, hulking thing, with tall spires piercing the sky. I knew immediately that that was where they were.
I threw open my car door and shoved my keys into the ignition. The engine caught, and I pressed hard on the accelerator as I whipped the steering wheel around. It took about two minutes to get to the church. I slammed on the brakes and flung the door open.
The church was a large structure made mostly of stone. Most of the windows didn't have glass; rusted metal bars crossed over the openings. As I stared up at the church, my fervent anger faltered for a brief moment, as I was confronted one more time with the enormity of what I could be walking into.
And then I heard my brother's voice in that last voicemail, panicked, and terrified. Helpless.
I yanked open the heavy wooden doors. They swung wide, a mouth yawning open to inhale that which chose to enter it. I walked inside.
It was quiet. Most places this far removed from society usually were, the freedom from noise pollution providing a profound lacking that was as noticeable as any sound. There were rows and rows of wooden pews, standing at attention and facing the front of the church. There was a podium at the tip of a raised dais, a large and leaden-looking book laid open on top. And behind it, where there should be a cross hanging from the wall with Jesus mounted to it, there was nothing. Instead, there was a large tree, its limbs outstretched and reaching for the ceiling. The face of the man with the antlers was carved into the trunk, with such acute detail it looked like he had been real once and had melded with the tree over time, until they were one and the same.
Staring at that tree felt wrong. Like I was peering into something that wasn't meant for me. I felt like I was staring at millennia of history, but that history was only for a certain kind of person. It had spent all of those years growing around me, unfurling itself in directions I had never gone, its path far removed from my own. Until now, when we had reached our convergence point.
My shoes scuffed against the concrete floor. I took small steps until I reached the dais, and I climbed the steps to the podium. I looked at the book and ran my fingers over the insignia of the tree that was so significant to this town. I flipped the book open to the middle.
There was a picture of a man holding a woman in his arms. He held her face up to his, and for a moment it looked like they were kissing. And then I realized he was eating her. His teeth dug into the skin of her cheek, and the picture was so detailed I could see the sinewy strings of her exposed flesh.
Under the picture there was an inscription that read:
The man celebrates the sacrifice of the woman by treasuring her offering.
I stepped away from the book in disgust. Everything pointed more and more to this place being the home of a cult. And not just a cult, but a cannibalistic one. I thought of the girl I had killed, and how she had taken a couple chunks out of my arm. How she had looked malnourished, like she hadn't eaten in a very long time. And Cody and Tracy being kidnapped after they had come to this very church.
And then it hit me: this place was never abandoned. The people that lived here had never left.
I heard music then. The muffled sound of piano keys being gently stroked somewhere beneath my feet. It was a slow song, a song that meandered through its tempo instead of rushing through it. I looked around, trying to find a way to the lower levels of the church. There was a door that, from the position of the podium, was hidden behind the tree. I walked over to it, resting my ear against the wood to listen for the music. It was coming from there.
I twisted the knob and pulled the door open just a crack. It led to a stairwell that was dark and dank. I stepped inside and went down the stairs, pausing at the landing to peer around the corner. It led to more stairs. As I walked down, I could hear the gentle humming of voices I couldn't hear before. They droned in unison, the melody haunting and eerie. It sounded like the same song Cody had hummed in his voicemail.
I reached the bottom of the stairs. A long stone hallway stretched before me, several doors leading off on both sides. But the music was coming from the door straight ahead, so that was the one I moved toward.
The music was picking up pace, the humming more erratic. They were grunting now, yelling, desperation lilting the notes as they sang them. I shivered with revulsion. There was something so wrong about this song, something off. It felt unholy, like it was sucking all of the good from the air, replacing it with something dark. Something sinister.
I reached the door. The music was at its height, the rhythm cresting to its crescendo that sounded like a pulsating heartbeat. And then, with a final, anguished cry, it ceased.
The door was parted slightly. I peered inside at the scene beyond. It was similar to upstairs, but smaller. There were several wooden pews set in a line on either side of the aisle, big enough for the two or three people sitting inside them. The room was well-lit with dozens of candles. A woman stood in the front, clearly respected as every person's eyes were trained on her. She held her arms aloft, her blood red chasuble obscuring the table behind her.
"Today we celebrate the gifts that our gracious Lord has sent to us," she said, her voice clear and strong.
"In times of difficulty, such as we have been in for these past many years, we need only pray to the savior, our Lord, who has blessed us and blessed us again."
People in the pews were nodding and beating the air with their hands.
"He is forgiving, our Lord, and through His mercy we have this bountiful reward."
She gestured behind her and moved so that the room could see. There was a large mica table on a raised stone floor. The body of a heavy-set man was strapped to the table.
My stomach lurched. The man was still alive, fighting sluggishly against the leather straps that bound his hands and feet. Were they going to kill him? Was this a sacrifice for their so-called god?
The woman brandished a glass knife from inside her sleeve, and moved around to the other side of the table. As her hem grazed the floor, I could finally see the face of the person they had strapped down.
I had to clamp my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming. It was Cody. It was my brother.
"We thank thee, oh Lord, for blessing us with that which will sustain us beyond our tribulations."
Oh my god. They were going to kill him. I cast a panicked glance at the people in the pews, their thinning hair, the bones of their backs visible through their shirts. They were going to eat him.
The woman plunged the knife into Cody's sternum and dragged it down to his belly button. He screamed through the gag in his mouth, but she just smiled and tore further down to his waistband. Blood poured onto the table and leaked onto the floor, where there were bowls to catch the drippings from my brother. She peeled back his skin to reveal his intestines, which she took out and put on plates that were lined up on the table. She licked the blood off of her fingers.
Cody was dead before she finished.
I fell to my knees and dry-heaved, my stomach empty from earlier when I had killed the girl. My head was buzzing and I felt like I was on the verge of insanity. How could someone's life end like that? So cruelly, so suddenly? The only reason I didn't charge into that room is because there were too many of them, and I knew I would end up like Cody if I did.
And then I remembered Tracy. I had to find Tracy. I didn't know if she was still alive or if they'd already eaten her, but I had to find her. I knew Cody would want me to.
I stumbled to my feet, leaning on the wall to steady myself. I faced the way back to the stairwell and I eyed the doors, having no idea which one Tracy would be in. There were so many. Where was I supposed to start?
I picked one at random. There were beds inside, four of them positioned across from each other. They were made up neatly, the cleanliness suggesting a normalcy these people did not possess. I left the door open and tried another room.
Another bedroom. And another. And another. How many people lived here? I tried a door that led to an office. Through it I could see a smaller door. I ran over to it, hoping it wasn't just a closet.
It wasn't. There was a smaller staircase that led down into pitch black darkness. I glanced behind me quickly to make sure no one had seen me, and I closed the door quietly behind me as I stood on the landing of the stairs.
I pulled out my phone. I needed to call the police. It was too much. It ran so deep, and I would be lucky if I made it out alive. I checked the reception in the corner.
No signal.
Of course.
I pushed out a shaky breath and descended the stairs. I turned on the flashlight on my phone and pointed it in front of me. I was in a basement. The floors were dirt, and there were several wooden posts holding up the ceiling. There was blood on the ground. I couldn't help but think about how it was Cody's, how he'd resisted them, and how they'd probably beaten him for it.
I shook my head. Now wasn't the time to think about that. His death would mean nothing if Tracy died, too.
A muffled scream and the rattle of chains. I swung the flashlight around, looking for the sound. There, in the far corner of the basement, was Tracy. She was crying and tugging on the chains desperately. I rushed over to her and pulled the gag from her mouth.
"Ethan! Oh fuck, Ethan, they took Cody. They took him! You have to find him."
I tried not to look at Tracy, but I knew she should know.
"Tracy..." I started. But I couldn't get the words out of my mouth. I couldn't say it out loud. I didn't want to make it any more real than it already was. We stared at each other for several beats, and I watched as the realization dawned on her.
"No," she sobbed, and shook her head as more tears fell.
"He was just here, right here."
I grabbed Tracy's face and forced her to look at me.
"Tracy, we need to focus. The last thing Cody would want is for us to die, too. We have to get out of here. For him."
She nodded but kept crying. I pointed the flashlight at the cuffs. They were leather at her wrists but metal where they were looped around one of the wooden posts. They had a keyhole to unlock them, but I doubted I would find it down here.
"I need to find something to get you free," I told Tracy.
"No, no you can't leave me here," she pleaded.
"I'll be right back. We're not getting out of here if I can't get the cuffs off."
She begged me not to go, but I ignored her as I ran up the stairs. When I got to the top I turned the flashlight off and looked through the door. The office was clear. I rifled in the drawers of the desk for the key, but they were all empty. There was nothing sharp in the room I could use, either.
"Fuck," I muttered. I would have to go back out into the hall and search the bedrooms.
My stomach churned as I grabbed the door handle. I really hoped they were still congregated in the other room.
I turned the knob and had just started to open the door when I heard voices outside. I froze, not daring to move, not daring to breathe. The people were talking and laughing, sounding giddy and happy as they walked down the hallway. I was filled with rage in that moment, a feeling so primal I felt I could rip their throats out with my teeth. My brother was dead because of them. They feasted on his flesh and thanked some god for it. These people, this cult, had destroyed the most significant part of my life. I wanted to burn them to the ground.
The voices faded, but I waited several minutes before I left. There was no one in the hallway when I checked, and before I could think too much about it, I ran to one of the bedrooms. I shut the door quickly behind me and wasted no time in looking for something to free Tracy. I searched through the bedside tables and under the beds. But there was nothing. I looked in the wardrobe. Apart from a few raggedy dresses, it was empty. And then I saw a glint of metal underneath one of the pillows. I pulled it out. It was a small switchblade.
I turned to leave when the door flung open. I dropped to the floor and crawled under one of the beds, my heart thudding so painfully in my chest I thought it would soon burst its way out.
I could see small feet enter the room and hoist themselves onto a bed. They swung their feet back and forth for a moment, humming the song they'd all been singing before they murdered Cody. It was so disorienting to see this small child behaving so normally, so much like other small children, but knowing they had just been eating my brother not ten minutes before.
Suddenly, the child let out a pained howl and ran from the room.
"Who stole my knife?" It yelled. "Who took it?"
It hollered again, and again, demanding to know who stole its knife. And then its shrill voice turned into a constant scream as it stood there and shrieked in the hallway.
"Hey, calm down. What happened?" A more adult voice soothed, trying to calm the child. "My knife is gone!" The child cried.
"We'll find it, don't worry."
The child's sobs faded as it was led away. I rolled out from under the bed and hid behind the door for a moment. After I determined the hall was clear, I ran back to the office and to the little door. By the time I got to Tracy, she looked wild with fright.
"I heard a scream, I thought they'd gotten you."
I started cutting the leather that bound her wrists.
"I'm fine," I said, not daring to think too much about whether or not that was true. Now wasn't the time.
After a few moments I freed Tracy, and together we sprinted up the stairs. I pushed her behind me and confirmed the coast was clear. We dashed into the hallway and moved towards the other staircase that led into the upper levels of the church.
"Did you take my knife?"
My stomach plummeted. We turned around, slowly, now face to face with a little boy. He peered at us curiously, a small smile playing about his mouth.
"Yes, I did," I said. I grabbed the knife from my pocket and held it out to him, my other hand up to placate him as if he were a cougar I'd encountered in the woods.
"If I give it back to you, will you promise not to say anything?"
The kid nodded and took the knife. He stared at us, as if we were some wonder on display in a museum. Then he grinned, a horrible and bloody smile, and screamed. People rushed out of their rooms, and stopped when they spotted us. We stood at a stalemate for a moment, the tension in the hall thick and charged.
Then we ran.
Tracy and I bolted up the stairs and out into the church. We rushed down the rows of pews, her hand in mine gripping me so tightly I felt she might break it. We skirted around the benches and bolted over the carpeted aisle. We'd nearly made it to the door when she was pulled from me.
"Ethan!" She shrieked, her arms flailing as she tried to grab me. A huge man with stringy hair was dragging her back towards the dais. I tried to pull her from him, but he was too strong. He held her with one hand and shoved me to the floor with the other. I rolled to my feet and looked for something, anything that I could use against him, but at that moment the rest of the people from under the stairs burst out onto the dais, dozens of them crowding around each other, staring at me and Tracy hungrily.
"Stay there," the man said to me, and held his hand under Tracy's chin.
I took a step forward, unsure of what I was planning to do. The man dug his fingers into the skin of Tracy's throat. She cried out in pain. He dragged his nails across her neck slowly, blood trickling down to rest in the dip of her collarbone.
"Let her go!" I shouted, but the man just smiled.
Tracy bucked wildly and kicked off of one of the pews. They crashed to the ground, the man's head cracking against the concrete floor. Blood bloomed where his head made contact. I grabbed Tracy and yanked her up. We ran to the door of the church, the people from below right behind us.
We rushed to the car and fell inside. I rammed the keys into the ignition and stomped on the gas. The people swarmed out to meet us, running at the car and beating on the windows. One of them broke the glass on the driver's side. He tried to pull me from the car, but I tightened my grip on the wheel with one hand and punched at him erratically with the other.
He laughed.
I recognized that laugh. It was the one from Cody's voicemail. The one who dragged him from the car. He was the reason my brother died.
I slammed on the brakes. The man flew off of the car, the momentum tossing him forward so that he crashed to the ground. I flung the door open, ignoring Tracy as she screamed at me to get back inside.
I straddled the man on the ground and grabbed him by the collar. I didn't say anything. I hit him. And then I hit him again. Over and over, until his face was so bloody I could barely tell there was a person underneath it. I didn't know if he was breathing anymore. I didn't care. I pulled my fist back to hit him again, but Tracy stopped me.
"Ethan! We have to go! They're coming!"
I looked behind us, where the other cultists were closing the lead we had gained in the car. I swore under my breath and looked down at the man, not getting the satisfaction I was hoping from his fucked up face. Tracy and I bolted back inside and peeled off across the dirt.
We drove away from the town. Some of the cultists tried to give chase, but they couldn't keep up on foot. We watched them fade in the rear view mirror, trying to wave us down, trying to get us to turn around.
Starve, you fucks.
I didn't let up off of the gas until the town was miles away, the sunlight receding against our backs. After a while, I found the ability to speak.
"So, can I ask..." I hesitated, unsure how to phrase my question. I looked at Tracy and eyed her up and down.
"Are you asking how I got fat?" She said, an eyebrow quirked.
She stared at her lap and picked at the skin around her fingernails.
"They fed us when we were down there," she whispered.
I was about question if they fed her what they were eating, people, but she cut me off.
"Not human meat. It was this nasty green shit, they forced it down our throats with a tube. It was hard to choke down, but they made us drink every last drop."
We fell into silence, my anger boiling my blood. Those fucking people. They prepared them like pigs for slaughter. Force-fed them to fatten them up, to get a higher yield. Bile rose in my throat and I had to push past the urge to puke.
I clenched the steering wheel so tightly I thought my knuckles would shatter under my grip. I whipped the car into the parking lot of a local grocery store and threw the gear into park.
"What are you doing?"
"Get out," I said, and leaned over to open Tracy's door.
"I said get out."
I grabbed my phone from my pocket and folded it in Tracy's fingers.
"Go inside. Stay with people. Call the cops and tell them to meet me at the church."
"You're going back? Are you crazy?"
"Maybe. But I don't care. I'm going to burn that town to the fucking ground."
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2022.01.31 14:50 kiplet1 [City of Roses] no. 5.1: The Printer spits – It’s covered

[City of Roses] no. 5.1: The Printer spits – It’s covered
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The printer spits out a photo of Ysabel, head and shoulders before an empty blue background, her dark hair swept back, pinned up out of her vaguely smiling face. “See?” says the fat man, leaning over the foot of the rumpled double bed to pluck up the photo. He settles back by the laptop near the pillows, handing the photo to Jo. “No red eye. Light’s too bright. Focus off just enough. That’s some quality DMV shit.” His T-shirt has a grainy picture of a graveyard on it. We have found a new home for the rich, it says. It’s hard to tell where his thin beard ends and his scraggly hair begins.
“It’s supposed to say Oregon,” says Jo.
“It will,” says the fat man with the scraggly hair. “It’ll be smaller, too, and printed on a card.” He pats the laptop, scratched silver and snarled in cables dangling off the sides and the end of the bed. “I’ve got a killer template set up for this. That’s a six-jet printer. Not four colors - six. Won’t pass a UV scanner, but it’ll fool any pair of naked eyeballs in the state. All I have to do is plug in the pretty.” He leans back against the pillows, smiling. “Which I do when you show me the cheddar.” He tilts his head, looks past Jo. “We’re done with the camera, baby. Come over here, make yourself comfortable. Or there.” He’s pointing to the other double bed. The coverlet’s been pulled off. It’s hanging over the window at the front of the room. A tall guy’s lying on his belly on the white sheets, his bare feet sticking off the edge of the bed. “Don’t mind Abe,” says the fat man with the scraggly hair. “He’s only sleeping.”
“I’m fine,” says Ysabel, undoing her hair. She’s sitting on a low stool over in the corner, lit up by a harsh light on a tripod. A big piece of blue paper tacked to the door behind her.
“Suit yourself,” says the fat man with the scraggly hair. “That ain’t a wallet,” he says to Jo. She’s handing him the photo. “I don’t need to fool any pair of eyeballs in the state,” she says. “I told you. I just need a cheap-ass license and a social that can fool a crappy copy machine.”
“I get it,” he says. “An I-9.” He tilts his head to smile at Ysabel again. “You illegal, baby? Where you from, Canada?”
“It’s neighbor shit,” says the girl with the floppy mohawk.
She’s sitting on the counter at the back of the room, between the two sinks. Her hooded sweatshirt’s grey, the sleeves hacked off at the shoulders. She’s playing with an empty orange prescription bottle. The sink to her right is full of them, all empty. “Shut up, Mel,” says the fat man.
Mel shrugs. “It’s that shit a couple weeks ago. She’s the one we’s supposed to watch out for, with the hair.” Pointing at Jo. “And she’s the, I don’t know.” Pointing at Ysabel. “Queen of all a them that’s in it, or whatever.”
“Do not start that neighbor bullshit with me,” says the fat man.
“Okay,” says Mel. “But Hib wakes up screaming ever since, and nobody’s seen Christian.” She’s not looking up from the prescription bottle turning over in her hands. “Not since. And you know what they did to Popgun, just up back of the Denny’s.”
“Christian?” says Jo, but the fat man’s saying, “No, Mel, nobody knows who did what the fuck to Popgun, and I do not want to hear this gutterpunk neighbors and vampires and angel-fucking aliens from out of my hairy ass bullshit. Okay?” He’s smiling up at Jo again. “Now. We gonna do business? ’Cause I have other obligations.”
“Business,” says Jo, running a hand through her hair, short and blond and brown at the roots, black tufts lying against it here and there. “Yeah. Like you said, Timmo, it’s an I-9. So she can get paid.” Ysabel’s frowning at her nails. “See, we need the paycheck for the money, and the I-9 for the paycheck, and the license for the I-9...”
“Not my problem,” he’s saying, shaking his head.
“End of the month, you get paid.”
“Then that’s when you get the ID.”
“Timmo, please, I – ”
“Credit? Dead it.” He leans back on the pillows, hands behind his head. “Especially not for former clientele.”
“I,” says Jo. “We really need this. Please.”
“I tell you what,” he says, tilting his head, looking past Jo. “Baby.” Ysabel on the stool in her tight denim shorts, her white blouse knotted over a yellow tank top. “Sweetheart.” She looks up at that. “How about we clear the room,” he says. “Just you and me. Strictly photography. Whatever you’re comfortable with, but I bet you can convince me to bend the sixth commandment just this once.”
“Oh, hell no,” says Jo.
“What are you, her mouth?” says Timmo. An orange prescription bottle bounces off his head. “Hey!” He bats another one out of the air. “Goddammit, Mel!”
“You,” she’s saying, laughing, “you are such a fucking skeeveball,” scooping up bottle after bottle from the sink. “Mel, you goddamn tweak,” Timmo’s saying as he scoots down to the end of the bed. A bottle hits the coverlet hanging over the window with a soft thump. Jo ducks one. Another one hits the mirror over the dresser and Abe jerks at the clack, drawing in one long bubbling snore. Mel freezes, arm cocked. Timmo sits there at the end of the bed, glaring. Ysabel stands up.
Jo, straightening, watches Ysabel work a hand into her front pocket. “I think,” says Ysabel, pulling out a couple of bills folded between her index and middle fingers, Jo opening her mouth to say something and closing it again, “this should cover it?” Holding the money out to Timmo, his bare feet dangling over the printer.
He sighs. Takes the money. “You got it, beautiful,” he says. Rolling over. Grabbing the laptop.
“Be sure you spend it all in one place,” says Ysabel. “On something terribly impractical.”

The little man walks right into the closed door of the pickup truck and bounces back, arms waving, head wobbling. Grimacing. His teeth are very long and snag the dim streetlight, the blue-white shine from the sign on the corner: Shilo Inn. Affordable excellence. Roland catches him by his collar and his arm. “Well?” he says, leaning in close to the little man’s ear. It twitches. “Bedamned if I know,” says the little man.
Roland shoves, and the little man bounces off the pickup truck again. As he staggers back, Roland grabs him by his shirt and lifts him off the ground with one hand. The other’s holding his sword. The sleeve of his silver tracksuit rent to ribbons. “Tell her, Cearb,” says Roland, and he sets the tip of his sword against the little man’s belly. “Tell your loathly lady the Chariot still guards the Bride.” Leaning into a thrust, he pulls the little man choking down the blade. Across the lot in the crook of the motel’s elbow the door to room 109 opens. Jo steps out, followed by Ysabel. Cearb reaches out a hand his mouth working and Roland hauls him down behind the big beige box that hides the motel’s dumpster, kneeling there, his blade still deep in Cearb’s belly. Roland’s sunglasses are broken, one yellow lens missing. The headphones around his neck askew, an earpiece broken loose.
“How much?” Jo’s saying, working a pack of cigarettes out of the pocket of her workpants.
“How much?” says Ysabel.
Jo stops short. “You know what the fuck I’m talking about and you knew I was going to ask you the fucking question the minute you pulled it out so I wish to God you would for once just give me a straight fucking answer.”
“Nothing, Jo.”
“Nothing what?”
“I have no money. As you well know. I told you the very first day.”
Jo looks away. “So you just.” She frowns.
“I gave him – ”
“Shut up,” says Jo. She grabs Ysabel’s arm, the pack of cigarettes forgotten in her other hand. Starts walking along the motel’s portico, lighted doors to the left, dark lot to the right. “Just shut up. Don’t say a word.”
There’s a crunch out there behind the big wood box that hides the motel’s dumpster. “What?” says Jo. Stopping. “What was that?”
“It’s quiet,” says Ysabel. The red light of the sign across the street. Red Lion Hotel. Welcome Boomers.
“I just heard,” says Jo.
“It’s quiet,” says Ysabel. “It’s all gone quiet. There’s someone here.”
“We shouldn’t have come,” says Ysabel. “Not up here. Not this soon.”
“Timmo doesn’t exactly have an office downtown,” says Jo. “He ever finds out,” she’s looking back at the motel room, “you’re the one that stiffed him.” She shakes her head. “He’s a fuck of a lot more dangerous than anything you’re worried about.”
Behind the dumpster box, Roland’s working his sword free, slowly. “Gallowglas,” wheezes the little man. Roland nods. “Be glad, Cearb,” he whispers, and the he catches the hand that’s grabbed his wrist and pries it open. “Fair and square,” he says, “you’re out of it. Fair and square.” With a sigh and a slump, Cearb lets his hand fall. “Be glad,” says Roland, “I didn’t call her over to join the fray.”
Cearb smiles around those teeth.
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2021.11.12 22:41 Drag0ns_Shad0w Little Beast

From the prompt You found an abandoned puppy on the side of the road and took it home to keep as a pet. It wasn't until it started to sprout horns did you realize you, unwittingly, adopted a hellhound.

Large eyes looked up at me as I clutched the tiny bundle in my arms. One ear stood up while the other flopped about as I quickly walked back to the warmth of my car.
The tiny creature in my arms shivered so much from the cold my heart went out to him
“How could anyone be so cruel as to throw away a puppy” I baby talked down to him as I pulled open the driver's side door. Slid behind the wheel, cranked the engine on then hit the knobs and dials to turn the heating on full blast.
The puppy in my arms let out a tiny squeak of misery. Outside the rain that had been steady now pelted down making me glad I had pulled over. I’d been driving slowly and carefully home when the car in front of me had slowed down, not stopping, and out of a back window, a furry creature had been tossed.
Shocked I slammed on my breaks fishtailing it to the side of the road as the car in front disappeared into the distance. I never got the chance to even get their rego number so I could report them for animal cruelty.
Wincing at the rain coming down I never the less got out, my phone in hand, the flashlight enabled and I had looked. The creature it turned out was a puppy who cringed away from me when I approached, but with his back to a wall, he had nowhere to run, growling for all his worth then attempting to bite me as I scooped him up.
He settled as much as he could while shivering once I had him in the crook of my arm with no intention of letting him go despite his wiggling and went back to my car.
Now he just trembled the attempts to bite had stopped I hope he knew in my arms he was safe if not completely dry. That would take getting home.
Unzipping my crappy jumper a little I tucked him in so at least my body warmth would help him warm up a little. Zipped it up again so only his little nose poked free I checked my review mirror for traffic, signalled then got back to driving home wondering what I would tell my wife when we both walked in the door.
The kids would be thrilled, my wife a self-confessed cat person, not so much. Eh, I’d deal with that all too soon. Making the many turns it took to reach home. I hit the button to open the garage and parked my car watching as the roller door trundled down with another click of the button
“Safe at home,” I said looking down getting another pathetic squeak the shivering had slowed but had not stopped and now I was shivering my shirt under my jumper saturated with water and smelling like wet dog.
Getting out I went for the door that lead from the garage to the laundry and into the kitchen
“Honey I’m home” I called out hearing the familiar background sounds of the TV playing a kids show as my wife made dinner
“You are late” she called back
“Dinner is almost on the table” turning to face me she frowned at the sight of me
“You will never guess what happened on the drive home” she came closer worried “Did you have an accident?”
“No” I unzipped my jumper and her eyes narrowed on the puppy head that poked all the way out large eyes looking about then craning up to look at me
“I kid you not, someone tossed this little guy out of a moving car right in front of me”
“Oh my” while not a dog lover my wife still loved all animals
“That’s cruel”
“I thought so too, I stopped to find him” reaching into my jumper I pulled him all the way out his hind legs pulled up to his belly, his tail tucked between them in fear
“He is still cold can you grab a towel I need to clean up too” taking him from me he growled again getting an awww sound from my wife who thought it was cute rather than frightening, I went to the bathroom and had a quick shower when I came back I found both my kids on there knees looking down at the pup who had been put into the washing basket to keep him from wandering off.
Hair sticking every which way from a vigorous towel off no doubt from my wife a can of cat food and been emptied into a plastic container along with another filled with water.
The front of his face covered in the remains of his meal his small pink tongued worked at getting the last little bits into his mouth as he sat back on an old blanket my wife wanted to toss away but being a fav on my eldest she had yet to find a way to do that, that didn’t result in a crying fit.
“He is looking warmer at least,” I said peeking over my kid's heads as they stared at the puppy
“Can we keep him?” my eldest said her eyes just as round as the puppies as she looked up at me
“That is up to your mother” I dumped the responsibility of such a choice on her and two little heads swung in her direction as she bustled back into the kitchen
“Has he eaten?” she looked for herself smiling at the sight of the pup who regarded her carefully
“Yep” my kids chorused then started in on the questions of can we keep him, not waiting for a yes or no, the convo turned to what to call him and who’s room he would be sleeping in tonight as my wife tried to not exactly dash their hopes of keeping the dog but implied strongly that he couldn’t stay here.
Smirking I wondered how long that would last before she was worn down by the please please please of the kids then the crying if she dared to utter the word no.
Settling the kids that night was twice as much work for both of us the issue settled when I said the puppy would be sleeping in the grown-ups room tonight seeing as in three to four hours he would be wanting to go out to do his business than play before eating again and sleeping in that order.
Happy it was a Friday night and I didn’t have work the next day I didn’t grumble all that much as 3 am hit and the expected barking started up.
Shuffling over to the basket to grab the pup as he still didn’t have a name, I carried him out glad the raining had stopped for long enough that he didn’t get saturated again as he stiffed about for a bit did his business then came bouncing back up to me happy as a clam.
Letting him follow me inside I looked for more cans of cat food wondering if it was even ok for a dog to eat cat food when out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow in the shape of a man move.
Freezing, I wondered if I had mistakenly left the back door open and someone had made their way in.
Casting about I didn’t see anyone as I went to check the back door was closed letting out a held breath when I found it was locked up tight.
“Scaring myself,” I said stupidly as I turned about to see the pup was right before me tail wagging like a windmill
“You must be hungry huh buddy” he followed me back to where I has set the can down squeaking when I picked it up and popped the lid. His front legs came up and he bounced forward in happiness
“Better start the training now” I went down to one knee as he spun in a tight circle and his front feet came back up again
“Sit” I commanded holding the food before his wet nose it took a few tries before the message sank in and he plonked his little ass down into the sit position
“Good boy” I praised him again doing the baby voice as I upended the can right onto the tile and let him go to town on the food. I knew my wife would hate that I had done this but I figured he was so hungry he would lick the tile clean. Shuffling to a chair at the kitchen table I watched as he did just that then went looking for more.
“Slowly mate” scooping him up before he went out of sight I took him down to the far end of the house the furthest away from the bedrooms so as to not wake anyone. Turning the tv on low I set him down as one of the cats came to investigate.
Slinking along like she owned the house. And well she did. I smirked a little when she caught sight of the invading pup and puffed up letting out a low yowl. Until then he had been oblivious but the sound bought his little head up from sniffing everything and wide eyes latched onto the cat.
“Better run,” I said softly as he bounced over clearly wanting to investigate and make friends only to have our family cat lash out, spin away and vanish” surprised the pup had faltered in place unsure what to do when I heard the soft laughter behind me
“Hailhound” the word came from a deep voice that had me on my feet my fists coming up ready to attack. Someone was in my damn house. But as I turned no one was there and how could they be? I had been sitting and the couch was against a wall there was no place for them to stand behind me
“Am I going nuts?” I looked to the tv wondering if the voice had come from there and I had just spaced out for a second
“No” casting around again since someone had answered my voiced question there was laughter that had the pup barking happily his tail going windmill style
“I witnessed your rescue for that alone I will spare you any ill will mortal”
“Who the fuck is there?”
“Ahh yes you can not see me, with so much light the sight of me is obscured, if you wish a meeting then perhaps turning out the light is in order”
“You have got to be fucking kidding me” I hissed
“This is my house, my rules, show yourself”
“Indeed a typical suburban home but that is my hound you have, and simply demanding won't change the rules that govern my nature, if you wish to see me then turn the light off” I looked to the pup
“Why are you here?”
“For the beast”
“Then take him”
“If only it were that simple mortal, come now turn out but the main light and you will see me in shadow” I backed up a few steps I had focused on the area the voice was coming from even if I couldn’t see a person.
Flicking the switch the light went out and I froze for before me sitting in one of the single seats was a shadow in the shape of a man
“There now” it moved the voice coming from the shadow
“You can see at least one layer of my being mortal, let us speak the now before the ladies of this home awaken from their peaceful slumber” I looked away for a second worried. If this thing could be here then others just like it could be to I looked down as the pup went up on his
hind legs begging for attention and the thing, the shadow obliged reaching down to rub its head between its floppy ears
“What are you?”
“Do you really want such an answer mortal?” I licked my lips then nodded
“I think I need to know”
“Very well I am a demon” It answered and my eyes widened
“What do you want?” my voice came out raspy, I held my breath and even my heart stopped as I waited for the answer
“I came for the hound” he indicated the pup that was even now playing with I kid you not a piece of shadow. Holding it in his mouth he was tugging away like the shadow was a slip of pants material an average Joe would wear
“He is your dog?”
“He is the runt of the littler my dog has given birth to, I did not expect him to live being as small as he was, still he survived the first night and something strange happened, you see he is an anomaly”
“Anomaly” I echoed and the shadow demon looked down making me wonder what could possibly be strange to a demon?
“Hell hounds reside in shadow as we demons do,” he said
“However as you see this hound has flesh and bone, he manifested such hours after his birth, most unusual it means there is enough evil in the world that a demon can enter the human world or at least this hound can” I shook where I stood near the light switch
“Evil” I squeaked watching the shadow head come up I couldn’t see eyes but I could feel them strongly boring into me, assessing me, judging me”
“My master bid me to place him with a family of evil,” the shadow said
“So that he would grow into a beast of power” the words came out softly
“But this night after only three days of keeping him I witnessed his strength waning, he is from the depths of Hell but he is but a pup. They starved him” the shadow hissed
“Left him to fend for himself outside amid other dogs older and stronger, were it not for me then this miracle of hell would have been devoured whole, I did torment the family for their crime” it ended with a hissing sound that I worked out was laughter after a few seconds and by the movement of its shadow shoulders
“They panicked as expected working out that the hound was the reason for all of this”
“They threw him out of a moving car because of it” The demon nodded
“This too I did witness, I was prepared to take the hound when you gathered him up” regretting it more than I could ever say I looked at the pup.
Sure he was black all over with dark eyes but he wasn’t evil how the hell could this dog be a hell hound? He looked like a regular dog to me shouldn’t he have red eyes? A forked tongue or some deformity maybe like three tails instead of one?
“I watched as you warmed him with your body and drive home with haste” the shadow head tilted
“Your wife did dry him most” it hesitated for a second
“Thoroughly, then gave him food befitting a hound of hell, meat, raw would have been better but you used what you had” reaching down again he rubbed the now presented belly of the puppy not minding at all that as soon as his shadow hand was within reach the pup went on the attack trying to bite his fingers.
“You're going to take him then?” wanting this conversation to be over
“I would but he has communicated that this domicile is much to his liking, more so than the last dwelling”
“Oh man” I whispered feeling a shiver wrack my body
“I will allow him to remain here and watch on from the shadows”
“But, but you are demon”
“Indeed and you are mortal”
“I won’t have my family tormented”
“This is not my intention, my task is to watch the hound grow and see if he develops much like his shadow brethren, I was not to interfere with the family unless his well-being was at stake as was the case with the last family, you will raise him to be a beast” I shook my head
“No he will be a good dog” and the demon laughed
“Good, he is demon born, mortal. He is a hell hound he will never be good”
“Then he is not safe around my girls,” I thought of my wife and two daughters
“Ahhh I see the dilemma, he will not be good but he will be loyal, his intelligence is above that of an average hound his life span to is longer, as you train your hounds so to do we train our hounds in hell” the last came out a hiss
“But know this, periodically he will need to sate his craving for blood and flesh. To mortals this is evil to us this is but a way of life. Grant it to him or he will find it himself and this could prove to be problematic for you”
“Blood and flesh, you mean human or will anything do?”
“Yes it must be human” came the hissing reply
“Seek out evildoers if you must but at least once per year he must feed at least a little or” the demon looked up
“His self-control and loyalty may slip as he is consumed by blood lust”
“Not my girls, take him” I snapped
“He is not safe to keep”
“He has chosen, he will stay” the demon stood up
“If you attempt to get rid of him” it hissed moving closer and I felt my body spasm in fear
“Then I will dispatch its mother to deal with your entire family” shaking the shadow dissolved into a puddle on the floor leaving the pup behind. Nosing at the spot then pawing at it the pup whined then looked up at me his little head cocked at an angle of confusion whining more he padded his little feet over while I shook in shock from the entire conversation
It took a little while for me to settle enough to flick the light switch back on then bending down I scooped up the puppy holding him high above my head with one hand under his belly
“What the Hell am I to do with you now” I whispered seeing his mouth open and his tongue lolling out as he looked down at me
“You're going to be big aren't you” I studied his paws seeing he had a lot of growing to do then lowered my arm so he was once more in the crook of my arm. Patting his head with my free hand I froze again when I felt something hard amid all the baby soft fur
“What” I hissed plonking down in the nearest seat the puppy on my lap. Using two hands now I cupped his head as he tried to bite a finger playfully and rubbed at the same spot moving the fur until I found it.
The tiny nub of a horn on the left side of his head had come out dashing any doubt in my mind that what had happened tonight had been a vivid dream or stress-induced psychosis.
Pressing my lips together I knew this would be a lot of hard work and if I attempted to be rid of the hound it would only result in my family being tormented by actual fricken demons.
Going to my home office I booted up my laptop determined to make a plan. Step one would be convincing my wife to keep the dog. After that, the pup would need a name a proper name.
“Beast,” I said softly and his head came up how puppy eyes meeting mine and I sighed
“Figures you would like a name like Beast” I muttered setting him down to play with my wiggling feet as I typed away.
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2021.09.23 13:29 Its-going-to-be-okey Do you exercise when you have a flair up or on your period?

Obviously, some days it’s not possible. I have those days too. But I only recently started getting that which is known in this forum as “endo-belly”…. And I feel so stif and stuck somehow. Figured maybe some light exercise would help, so did that yesterday. But it’s not getting any better, so maybe best to avoid it? Does it make it worse for you guys?
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2021.06.20 14:59 Impossibu Operation Lance: INFILTRATION [Chapter 3]

The room fell completely dulled in silence to the point where it almost felt like my cell all over again. My heart drumming in incoherent beats as their hardened eyes shifted to me, them and to the room, as they struggled to form an answer or feedback to the story. I sat there silently, nervously waiting for one of them to spew utter hell at my direction, about misconduct or failing for disciplinary measures.
Azur Lane was always a blight in the eyes of the United Nations Defense Coalition. Land Command could defend the coast with relative ease with overwhelming manpower. Air Command could use their extensive network of reconnaissance assets and strike with MIRVs or their masses of jets and drones to any location in the globe. There was no need for a navy in the public’s eyes, much less the Azur Lane project. The dumpster fire that was the siren invasion gave merit to that claim. If the General Public caught wind of a Naval Officer having sole command of an Island of women with no oversight would be a massive blow to the entire UNDC.
I could feel myself being swallowed to the earth when one of them spoke up, their voice flat and monotone.
“Well, that was a goddamn waste of my time.” CINC-AMERICA contemplated, his arms folded as he laid back on his seat. I slightly sighed, looking down at my table.
Facing my superiors, I took a deep breath. “My apologies, sir. You all ordered me to repeat the events, and the investigation leading up to the operation. I am merely following my duty.”
“No, I should apologize to CINC-AMERICA.” CINC-EUROPE spoke up, his face radiating a small, tired smile. “He is merely interested on the important matters that lead up to the operation.”
I nodded solemnly, arms clasping on my desk.
“Sirs, what happened in with IJN Akashi was just a mere isolated incident. However, with the quite remarkable efficiency and reduced time of her decoding the data should be taken with interest.”
“But she did obtain the classified material without your permission, tight?” CINC-ASIA asked, raising his eyebrow.
“Y-yes sir.” I admitted, looking down on the table.”
He suddenly slammed his fist on the table, slightly startling the other Chiefs. “So do you admit that what happened with IJN Akashi is a direct result in the failure of your leadership and the ineffective enactment of martial discipline among your ranks?”
The air in my chest was sucked out as the room su ddenly grew larger, and the eyes of everyone was turned towards me. They were like lions, eagerly wating for me to make a move to tear me apart.
I took a deep breath, before leaving in the table. “Sirs. I believed I acted in the best of my abilities available during at the time.”
“Is that coming out of mouth or your ass?” CINC-AFRICA asked, his large dark figure barring a lion’s grin, teeth white and stained from years of liquor.
The entire room then bursted into laughter. I gritted my teeth as their bellowing laughs mocked me, belittling me to the point of tears. I was starting to lose my grip, losing against the chiefs.
But I have to try. The fate of Azur Lane, no, The fate of humanity rests in my hands, and the chiefs are wrestling it away from me. Whether I like it or not, I have to persuade them with all my might to preserve the project, no matter what the cost. Even at the expense of my life.
The thing I saw that night must never materialize. I have to give them time, time that is surely running out. I hope to God, or whoever is left up there, for them to succeed.
Turning to the council, I proceeded to explain.
Command Center, [REDACTED]
I bit tightly on my pen in nervousness, the hard plastic yielding against my hard teeth, molding bites against the clear material, as my eyes were transfixed on the huge monitor above me. A team was heading to Honolulu.
Hawaii was abandoned by North American Federation Forces a week after the siren invasion, with the last radio transmission heard a month after. There was nothing but dead silence in the airwaves ever since, with the exception of an automated EMS message, eerily repeating itself over and over, like a siren drawing in the dammed.
Yet strange electromagnetic signals burst through the vacant airwaves, years after the last light died out. I shook my head in frustration. There were just many variables, too little information from the city. A recipe doomed for disaster. Yet they had the gall to sanction this operation without proper recon. I sighed, rubbing my temples.
“Anything wrong Master?” A voice called from behind. It was Belfast, a worried look covered her face.
“Nah, I’m alright.” I replied, waving her off. This was the job I’ve signed up for, after all. This lead in Honolulu was too great to be ignored, so risks like these were expected. But like a stubborn stain, no amount of reason could wash away the fact I was sending a recon team to the jaws of the unknown.
“Don’t worry about me. We should worry about them.” I pointed to the screen. Belfast smiled, nodding before retreating to my side. I watched the monitor showed their slow approach to the city, little square boxes inching their way to a desolate infested metropolis.
“How long will the 2nd fleet Detachment would arrive?” I asked Belfast. She peered into her screen, her eyes squinting to zero in the team.
“They are thirty klicks out from the city.”
“Good. Have them at stand by at ten. Guns at the ready for barrage.”
“I do not wish to object your command, Admiral.” She looked up from the screen, confused. “But isn’t this overreacting?”
I tore my eyes off the monitor, looking right back to her. “We must take the necessary precautions. No military force has ever set foot in there in a decade.” I rubbed my temples. “The risk is too high.”
She nods silently, before returning to her screen. I turned to the communications technician.
“Is the team communications feed operable?”
“Yes sir, there’s no hiccups.”
“Patch me through.”
He clicked a few buttons, before the large monitor’s satellite was shrunk to a radio wave length.
“Cleveland, can you hear me?” I asked, pressing the mic near my mouth.
“I hear you loud and clear, Admiral. We’re approaching the city now, over.”
I smiled, relieved of the clear comms. “Maintain course. Watch your six, alright.”
“Affirmative, Admiral, Recon team over and out.” She dropped transmission, leaving us to focus on the city ahead.
Nothing was holding Cleveland’s astonishment as she was entranced by the island. She’d seen the battle of Honolulu, heard the stories, consumed the rumors. But that was nothing compared to seeing the aftermath with her own eyes. Two Missile Guided Destroyers welcomed them as they approached, or what was left of them. Seeing the enormous deformed hulks of sleek grey metal floating idly like dead whales shook her, but she shrugged it off. They passed them, her idle curiosity washing away.
Slowly, the city had now came to view. The morning fog that hung around them gave the city a ghostly appearance, the grey buildings appear to be like spirits calling out for them.
But there was nothing greeting them as they reached Honolulu. The city’s white, infamous beaches were swallowed up by the sea. No one called out for them other than the macabre wind flowing from dilapidated buildings, echoing the cries of the damned and long gone. All of the team stared into these structures that once soared to the skies, now naked concrete abominations, surrendering it’s beauty and majesty to the elements. The once idyllic tropical paradise of the Eagle Union Pacific fleet was now just a decomposing corpse, left alone to rot from the elements.
Cleveland’s legs buckled as her eyes transfixed deep into one of those buildings. It wasn’t because of something watching her, it was just the lack of it. Fear started to take hold of her, her thoughts riled up and going wild. Like concrete, her legs hardened and stiffed.
Piraeus noticed this, calling in the radio. “There seems to be no signatures of biological or electromagnetic origin in the city, with the latter only spiking in the target area. You are cleared to enter the city, Recon Actual, over.”
She fumbled for the transmitter, fingers quivering. “Copy, Piraeus, Recon Team entering downtown.” She gulped, before motioning the rest of the team, who were also in a state of fear with their weapons at the ready, to move forward.
As they quietly sped into the depths of the city, they could see the utter carnage wrought on the sirens. A large plane crashed into one block, reducing it into nothing more than burnt rubble. Car wrecks littered the streets, corroded by years of water turning them nothing more into rusting hulks of useless metal. Trash also floated by, making the water murky and dark. Most buildings were in a state of disrepair from human or siren means, with some of them partially collapsed. One of these landed on the streets below, landing on a group of cars. A small doll float motionless on the water near it. Cleveland averted her eyes, focusing on the task at hand.
Cleveland couldn’t help but feel unease the further she ventured into the flooded streets. It was like entering a belly of a dungeon, with the deafening silence wrapping a feeling of fear on her like a ugly sweater that caused her to itch and become tense all around her. Part of her wished to tend to her bonsai near her warm bed, sipping warm tea.
A sudden clatter echoed from a burnt restaurant nearby, causing Cleveland to hastily aim her weapons on the target, ready to fire. The rest of the team followed her, equally scared and rattled.
Her riled-up thoughts had now bolted out the door, freely running wild as her eyes looked around every nook and cranny she could find, followed by the barrels of her 8-inch guns.
A small bird emerged from one of the broken windows, cocking it’s head at them and staring at them with curiosity. Cleveland sighed, lowering her guns.
“Aneki. You okay?” Monteplier asked from behind, placing her arm on her shoulder. But she quickly brushed the hand off.
“I’m fine Monty.” Cleveland replied to her younger sister, forcing a smile. She turned to the other team, who also drew their guns.
“What about you guys? You alright?” She asked.
“I’m fine, Aneki.” Monteplier replied.
Erebus nodded.
Rhyujou cackled. “The dragon within me will keep me safe!”
Unicorn stood silent, her legs buckling in fear and head yielding down.
Cleveland approached Unicorn, placing her hand on her shoulder. Unicorn squealed, backing away in fear from the team. And Cleveland’s chest suddenly tightened as hard as Unicorn’s grip on U-chan.
Slowly, Unicorn’s watery eyes widen as she realized what she’d done.
“I’m sorry, Cleveland nee-sama!” She cried out, bowing her head. Cleveland felt a lump on her throat.
“It’s alright, Unicorn. You could still catch up with the others outside if you want.” Cleveland asked, worried. Unicorn shook profusely, wiping off her tears with her wrists.
“No! I need to prove myself to Illustrious nee-sama!” She replied. Cleveland grew in worry. “If I could show Oni-chan…”
“I feel irresponsible for letting you come with us.”
“U-chan will protect me!” She held her plushie tightly. “He always does!”
Cleveland sighed, rubbing her temples. Unicorn was good in this situation, with her providing good support for the vanguard. Combined with Erebus and Ryuujou, they would form a highly maneuverable, suppressive support force. Yet Unicorn was childlike. Prone to mistakes and disobedience. Factors that would seal the fate of their entire team.
“Aneki, are you sure you want to bring her along?” Montiplier asked, her voice breaking her thoughts.
She turned to Unicorn, then to Montpelier. “If she want’s to learn, she could.” She patted Unicorn’s head slowly, before turning once more to her sister.
Montpelier’s cold eyes were still trained on her older sister, searching for something, before complying with her demands. She raised her hand, motioning the rest of the team to move forward. Unicorn squealed in excitement, happy that she was still part of the team. Cleveland smiled back, but deep in her mind, doubts formed. But she shrugged them off and continued on.
A few hundred meters away, a sign appeared right in front of them. It could be a former police sign, but the rust and foliage rendered it unreadable , except for a spray painted phrase in bold black lettering.
Cleveland looked at it blankly for a few seconds, before moving forward. The entire experience was surreal. Ten years ago this was a bustling metropolis with hundreds of thousands of people. Now, this was a desolate ghost town. She wondered where the people were now. She had heard of a handful escaping by plane, but most escapees fled with the doomed NAF Pacific Fleet, never to be seen again along with hundreds of sailors. To this day, no one knows where the fleet is.
She looked down at the tracker to distract herself.
“Looks like it’s in the corner. San Diego, stay on point.” Cleveland commanded. San Diego smiled, walking ahead of the group. She crept up to the corner, guns drawn and ready to mow down any unlucky bastard in a hail of fire.
But San Diego didn’t, instead motioning them to come closer. Confused, Cleveland raised her eyebrow, before reluctantly moving forward to her.
“Look.” She told her. Cleveland turned without a moment to lose, her curiosity getting the better of her. But it was something that she bit more than she could chew.
It was their target, the mall lay just at the end of the street. The entire mall was full corroded tanks and other military vehicles that lay idle, debris littered the entire street, with skeletons strewn in various positions all over the place.
“Alright, we got to find a way withou-“
Cleveland didn’t get to finish her sentence, as San Diego suddenly rushed towards the mall without warning. Cleveland’s eyes grew in shock as she saw her running in the open, risking herself and her team’s position.
She suddenly found herself chasing after San Diego, with her earpiece filled with radio chatter from her team and Piraeus. But she ignored them, speeding ahead of San Diego. As they both went to the mall’s parking lot, she was near inches from San Diego, but before she could tackle her to the ground, she stopped.
Right in front of her was a tank that sat irregularly in the parking spaces, it’s armor churned and dented by a siren laser. San Diego looked at it with awe, studying the old war machine like a ancient relic from the past; which was sort of true. Cleveland took the grand opportunity to turn her around and slam her against the tank’s metallic armor.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” Cleveland shouted at her with sheer ferocity as her hands gripped San Diego’s shoulders tightly that it turned purple. “You could’ve killed us back there!”
But San Diego did not give her remorse nor guilt. Instead she shoved Cleveland with all her might, nearly causing her to fall to the ground. She could see in the corner of her eye the rest of the team approaching them, but maintained a strict formation.
“Sheesh, you’re so strict. If they knew we were here, they would’ve killed us all already.”
She climbed up the turret of the tank, with minor difficulty. She turned a full revolution, eyes scanning the surrounding area before looking down at her.
“See, there’s noth-“
Before she could even finish, San Diego’s sentence was cut as a shell blew up the tank, sending San Diego flying for a few feet, before slamming against the damp concrete ground. Suddenly, the once silent city was suddenly awake, roaring as every high rise building around them opened fire. The rest of the team ducked behind a concrete barrier, but the barrier was not going to last long.
Cleveland reached for San Diego’s body, who was just out of reach, but was no use. The fire was too thick for them to maneuver. Cleveland and the rest of the team were effectively pinned down, unable to move. She prayed to someone above for a miracle, anything for the fire to stop.
Luckily for her, her prayer for a miracle was answered, in the form of fire. Huge lances of fire bright as stars lit up the dull sky and landed at the building. It was the Second Fleet. The concrete buildings stood no chance against BB shells, and one by one completely fell to the ground, taking with it the ungodly abominations with it. The rest of the remaining positions shifted their positions to counter attack the second fleet, but their positions now lay bare to the recon team, where their planes and shells eagerly hunted them down. In a few seconds, the hunters were now the hunted.
With time acquired, Cleveland immediately grabbed the lapels of San Diego’s shirt, dragging her to the relative safety of the tank. She gave a sigh of relief as she saw San Diego’s chest heave, indicating life, albeit barely. She turned to the rest of the team.
“Unicorn! Get over here and heal San Diego!” Cleveland cried out. Unicorn ran towards them with all her might, landing next to San Diego’s unconscious body. She immediately went to work, healing San Diego as fast as she could.
“Fleet 2-1! This is Recon Team Actual! Requesting increased suppressive fire. We’re getting pinned down here, over!”
Nothing replied back except static. She hailed once more, but received the same snow.
She called to Piraeus, her voice becoming more desperate, yet her attempts fell short. Static as well.
Similarly, the miracle she prayed for, was also short-lived. They could hear gunfire in the distance, followed by intense flashes of light brightening the wet fog. Soon, the guns started point towards them, as if nothing had happened.
She looked at the rest of her team. Rhyujou and Erebus were doing their best, with the former sending her planes sky high before dive bombing the buildings. But it was no use. Her planes were getting torn apart by a wave of shells.
She found herself meeting Monteplier’s gaze, who was covered in scratches and dust. She was lying low, before pressing her earpiece.
“Aneki, go into the mall with Unicorn and San Diego. We can’t ignore our objectives. We’ll draw their fire towards us.”
“Aneki.” Montpelier gave her a serious look, one burning the back of her head.
She closed her eyes for a second, before staring back at her sister’s hard eyes.
“I’ll do my best.”
“I know you will.” Montpelier turned, firing her guns and assisting Erebus on target spotting.
With no time to spare, Cleveland and Unicorn shoulder carried San Diego, leaving the rest of the team to fend for themselves.
The gunfire still raged outside, but it sounded more like rain. Cleveland looked around the dilapidated mall. It was dark, yet the hole in the ceiling provided some light. The mall was bigger than in base, but theirs was more open.
Cleveland looked around past the faded Christmas decor, scanning for any irregularities in the mall. Unicorn was still accompanying San Diego, who was still unconscious.
“Bingo.” She muttered under her breath, seeing the faint blue glow from the mall’s corners. She turned to Unicorn. “I’ll be right back.”
She ran up the rickety escalators, past the endless rows of locked up stores. The mall’s damp and dusty smell threatened to overwhelm her, but she shouldered on, waking past the debris.
As soon as she arrived at the source of the blue light, a IT store that seen better days. Cleveland slowed down and crept, guns summoned and ready to fire. She released her fear with a sigh, and turned into the source.
It was something she’d never seen in her life. The entire room was transformed to a mess of wires and computers all around. Yet she could tell that like rivers, the wires had a source. And she found it, a waterfall of wires flowing down from above the ceiling.
All of the monitors showed streams of code flowing down, with the code too sophisticated or encrypted for her brain to simply process. And in the middle of it all, was a skeletal figure of a soldier sitting on a chair, except its skull was replaced with a large timer connected to numerous explosives strapped around its body, eagerly ticking down. A small smile was painted at the center.
Not a Explosives expert, Cleveland quickly shoved the skeleton aside, plunging the tracker’s USB cord to one of the monitors, eagerly sweeping any data she could find. Shaky, shallow breaths escaped from her mouth as she grew impatient from the slow crawling of the sweeping. Time was against her in this one. One where the loser disappears from the face of the earth.
“Come on… come on…” She muttered under her breath, her feet stamping on the floor uncontrollably. The data sweep was still barely half complete. The clock was still ticking, mocking her from afar like a serial killer.
“Yes!” She cried out, seeing the control prompt. She unplugged the USB, and without time to lose, lunged for the exit to escape the detonation.
But she was too late. As soon as she stepped her foot outside, a large fireball exploded and burst through the windows, swallowing the entire shop, and sending Cleveland crashing down the ground floor.
Just as she embraced the ground, the world around her went black.
15 minutes before.
My eyes were still locked on the large screen on the command center as I sat on a chair. There was no new developments in the satellite uplink for 5 minutes and counting, making the time slow down to a crawl. I could feel my eyes starting to close, the deity of dreams calling out to me. Cleveland and her team were still a few kilometers to the target building.
As a yawn suddenly escaped my mouth, I could feel myself dozing off to slumber. Leaning my head backwards, I awaited for the land of dreams.
I didn’t get a chance, as suddenly alarms blared out and a huge commotion erupted around the command center. I pried my eyes open, wondering what was going on.
The satellite feed was gone, replaced by the words ‘FEED LOST’ , and all radio communications were severed. It was if Honolulu had gone dark.
“What happened?!” I asked the Comms technician, while still in a daze. The technician shook his head.
“I-i don’t know, suddenly communications and the uplinks went dark all of a sudden.” She stammered, before returning to her station. “This has never happened before.”
“Contact the Satellite Control Network.” I barked, before looking at Belfast. She was also shaken, but still gained enough composure to assist with regaining comms with any way she can.
It was like an eternity, but the Comms technician raised her hand up.
“I’ve reestablished comms with Second fleet.”
“Patch me through.” I snapped, the anticipation leaking in my voice.
Suddenly, the static morphed into screams and cannon fire. My heart sunk. Was there an ambush? Is the recon team alright? Quickly, I shoved those aside. Those will be answered in time. I fumbled for the transmitter.
“Wales, what’s the situation on the ground?” I asked her.
For a few seconds, gunfire and shouting could only be heard, until a pristine, clear voice came through.
“Not good, We see buildings firing on where the target building was supposed to be.” She catches her breath, panting like a dog. “We provided supporting fire, but that only diverted their attention to us.” A pause. “We’re holding on, Admiral.”
“Could you send in the vanguard to assist them?”
“Negative Admiral, fire’s too concentrated for now, maybe unt-“ A loud boom rattled the transmission. For a few more seconds, we could hear the shouting and barking becoming more tenacious. Wales returned to the transmission, this time more shaky and agitated.
“Admiral! We’re going to pull out now!” Wales radioed in, shouting as a roaring blaze of shells were thrown at them relentlessly.
“Dammit Wales! Assist the recon team! I’m not leaving anyone behind.” I pleaded, pressing the transmit button against my hard skull.
“Admiral, sir. My unit is now being pinned down. We can’t stay in this position for an-“ The radio suddenly cut transmission, with static filling the empty space.
“We’ve lost them, sir.” The technician told me, in her flat, monotone voice.
I slammed my fists against the table, my arms coiling. The room was still in a frenzy, as everyone tried to regain comms. But one thing was on my mind as chaos ensued in the room.
What the hell happened?
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2021.06.05 01:03 InfernoAA One Block To Rule Them All Part Two: Night One to Night Five

Part One

Night One
Shingo Takagi vs Tomohiro Ishii
KENTA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kota Ibushi
Minoru Suzuki vs Kazuchika Okada
Tetsuya Naito vs Jay White

Shingo Takagi vs Tomohiro Ishii
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-1
What better way is there to kick off wrestling’s most prestigious tournament than big meaty men slapping meat? Trading victories in their past two G1 appearances, Shingo and Ishii are out to settle the score this time with a tiebreaker, block action opening with the two brick walls clubbing the unholy hell out of one another! The stakes higher than they’ve ever been before these two absolute units, they don’t let up throwing bombs for a single second, Takagi crushing Ishii with a PUMPING BOMBER! 1…2…KICK OUT! Ishii kips back up to his feet and runs through Shingo with a POUNCE, before flinging him with a RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX! The Dragon is dazed, all his weight crashing on his shoulders, a SLIDING LARIAT catching him by surprise! Ishii hauls him up for the AVALANCHE SUPERPLEX, but a MONGOLIAN CHOP cuts him down, Takagi turning the predicament around into a STAY DREAM! 1…ISHII IS BACK UP TO HIS FEET! VERTICAL DROP BRAINBUSTER! 1…TAKAGI IS UP TOO! THEY COLLIDE WITH HEADBUTTS! Ishii winds up a LARIAT, but another PUMPING BOMBER sweeps him off his feet for a LAST OF THE DRAGON! 1…2…3!
Shingo Takagi (2) def. Tomohiro Ishii (0) (13:25)

KENTA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-1
After narrowly escaping defeat at the Ace’s hands at Power Struggle last year by braining him with his New Japan Cup briefcase, KENTA has no reinforcements this time round as he goes it alone against his legendary foe, a tiebreaker of their own in the works. The Black Sun isn’t worried though, substituting for his briefcase with his lethal limbs as he almost boots Tanahashi’s head out the ring with a RUNNING YAKUZA KICK! Rocking Hiroshi with a HESITATION DROPKICK, he loads him onto his shoulders for an early GO 2 SLEEP attempt, but Tanahashi rains down with a SLING BLADE! A pair of TWIST AND SHOUTS have KENTA breathing heavy, before a DRAGON SCREW LEG WHIP into a TEXAS CLOVERLEAF has him spitting and screaming for reprieve! Making the ropes, Tanahashi goes to the top for a HIGH FLY FLOW, but he misjudges the damage done to KENTA, a KOUTOUBU KICK gunning him out the skies like an anti-air, before KENTA rocks Tanahashi with a GO 2 SLEEP, handily scoring the 3 count and his first 2 points!
KENTA (2) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (0) (15:39)

Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kota Ibushi
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-3
Almost as great of a nightmare as Boris Johnson is to one half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions, the Golden Star nestles in a close second place, ZSJ having never been able to vanquish him in G1 action, along with his many other losses to the Golden Star, but he sucks it up and meets a no-nonsense Ibushi in the ring, parrying his lightning-quick strikes to bang a DISCUS ELBOW SMASH on the jaw, a PELE KICK following to the shoulder, before the Windy Man tries for his patented ARTICLE 50! Ibushi has it scouted, stomping Zack’s face into the mat, before raining down a CARTWHEEL PHOENIX SPLASH! He goes to hoist him up for a GOLDEN STAR POWERBOMB, but Sabre deftly slips into a GUILLOTINE CHOKE, squeezing the air out Kota’s lungs, only to spin into BARRY FROM EASTENDERS using his spider-like agility right after, torturing Ibushi’s arm with excruciating pressure! A LAWN DART is able to buck him off, Kota scoring a STANDING KAMIGOYE on the money, only for Zack to catch him out with a last gasp EUROPEAN CLUTCH! 1…2…NOOO! FULL-FRONTAL KAMIGOYE! 1…2…3!
Kota Ibushi (2) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (0) (19:02)

Minoru Suzuki vs Kazuchika Okada
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-1-3
The King and the Rainmaker is a story built on survival, Okada finding different ways each time to try outlast professional wrestling’s most dangerous competitor, be it in the rain or under clear skies. Suzuki licks his chops as he prepares to toy with his prey in yet another round of their everlasting rivalry, Kazuchika ensuring to keep his distance for the most part, a MILLION DOLLAR DROPKICK warding Suzuki off and a AIR RAID CRASH NECKBREAKER putting him on his back for 2! As the CHAOS Leader scales to the ropes for a DIVING ELBOW DROP though, Suzuki catches him with a JUJI-GATAME! Okada hauls Suzuki off the mat and jerks him about as he tries to shake him off like a bug, but Minoru refuses to relinquish his control, eventually dragging Okada over to the apron for a DROPKICK THAT SENDS OKADA INTO THE GUARDRAILS! GOOD GOD! Suzuki recovers Kazuchika from the rubble, wrapping on a REAR NAKED CHOKE, only for Okada to spin out into a RAINMAKER attempt, but the Dropkick still has him wincing, allowing Suzuki to decimate him with a PENALTY KICK and a GOTCH PILEDRIVER RIGHT ONTO THE INJURED NECK! 1…2…3! THE KING HAS FINALLY BEATEN THE RAINMAKER IN A G1 MATCH!
Minoru Suzuki (2) def. Kazuchika Okada (0) (17:44)

Tetsuya Naito vs Jay White
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-1
Closing out the first night is what would’ve been the main event of Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom had Naito retained against Ibushi the night prior, Naito and White far from strangers, the Switchblade having taken his IWGP Intercontinental Championship from him back in 2019, only for Naito to win it back in the Tokyo Dome to move on in the Double Gold Dash. The NEVER Champ never forgets, bringing all his aggression from the opening bell on Naito for making him wait in line for a full year at a World Title shot, throwing him outside the ring and tossing him from guardrail to guardrail, before SETTING UP A TABLE, trying to put Naito through it, but an APRON TORNADO DDT keeps Naito alive, following with an EMERALD FLOWSION! 1…2…KICK OUT! Naito wrings the arm, calling for a DESTINO, but White pulls out, snapping him with a SLEEPER SUPLEX, before planting him with a KIWI KRUSHER! 1…2…NAITO STAYS ALIVE! Scrapping on the top rope, the two hang from a precarious position, Tetsuya almost getting White to go through the table, but a BLADE BUSTER has splinters flying everywhere, before White dissects Naito’s knee for a TTO! NAITO TAPS OUT!
Jay White (2) def. Tetsuya Naito (0) (23:26)

Participants Points
Jay White 2
Minoru Suzuki 2
Kota Ibushi 2
Shingo Takagi 2
Tetsuya Naito 0
Kazuchika Okada 0
Zack Sabre Jr. 0
Hiroshi Tanahashi 0
Tomohiro Ishii 0

Night Two
Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tetsuya Naito
Minoru Suzuki vs KENTA
Kota Ibushi vs Shingo Takagi
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada

Jay White vs Tomohiro Ishii
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-2
Notching a massive victory in the previous night’s main event, White has a whole new challenge before him in an enraged Stone Pitbull, clearly unhappy from not producing the same results as Jay, and he makes White aware of it with a LARIAT RIGHT OUT OF THE GATES! White flopping on the mat like a floundering fish, Ishii goes for the VERTICAL DROP BRAINBUSTER, but Jay drops down and rams a CHOP BLOCK into his leg, before slapping his bald head and tugging at the boxers to pull him into a CORNER DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Dusting off his hands, White thinks he’s conquered Ishii, but like a zombie, Big Tom rises from the mat behind Jay, who looks like he’s seen a ghost as he turns around, an OVERHEAD BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX sending the BC Leader for a ride into the turnbuckles! Gedo hops on the apron for the distraction as White removes the turnbuckle, Ishii turning around into a REVERSE STO into the exposed steel, before Jay treats him to a BLADE RUNNER- ISHII WITH A VERTICAL DROP BRAINBUSTER! 1…2…GEDO PUTS THE FOOT ON THE ROPES! Ishii gives chase to Gedo, who yells like a madman as he runs for his life, but he leads him right back into the shark tank, White finally landing the BLADE RUNNER! 1…2…3!
Jay White (4) def. Tomohiro Ishii (0) (16:11)

Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tetsuya Naito
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-2
Coming away with tough losses in their first matches, Zack and Naito are lead right back to each other, one year on from their G1 clash also on the second night. Back then though, Tetsuya had the whole world in his hands, now a man searching for his purpose, but the one thing that remains consistent is Sabre’s lack of sympathies as he stretches Naito in all different directions like putty, a HYPERNORMALISATION putting Naito in a whole new world of trouble as he sees the match flash before his eyes, but he manages to flop into the ropes to save himself! Not for long though, Sabre landing a ZACK DRIVER! 1…2…NO! Slapping Naito in the face, he yells at him to stay down as he leaps for the SPRINGBOARD ENZUIGIRI, but a ROLLING WHEEL KICK stops him in his tracks, Naito landing GLORIA for a near-fall! A RUNNING DESTINO has Sabre rocked, but as Naito goes for seconds, the leg that White targeted stops him in his tracks, allowing Sabre to nail a PENALTY KICK into ORIENTEERING WITH NAPALM DEATH, Naito tapping out to save himself for the rest of the tournament as his disappointing year continues!
Zack Sabre Jr. (2) def. Tetsuya Naito (0) (18:07)

Minoru Suzuki vs KENTA
First-Time G1 Match
Meeting earlier in the year in the New Japan Cup for the first time in 16 years, there was no love lost between the King and the Black Sun as they beat each other unconscious, and with a chance to do it again, it’s strikes galore from the opening bell, KENTA nailing SHOOT KICKS on Suzuki and a KITCHEN SINK, but Suzuki grins through the pain, before lighting KENTA up with STIFF SLAPS, welts forming rapidly across the length of his body, Suzuki on the verge of disposing of KENTA like he did with Okada! A desperation FALCON ARROW keeps KENTA alive though, picking up a 2 count, before going right into a MANJI GATAME, giving Suzuki a taste of his own medicine! Minoru’s able to peel him off though to land an ORIGINAL SUPLEX, KENTA dazed as he returns to his feet, a Snapmare into a PENALTY KICK meeting him! 1…2…KENTA SURVIVES! THE BLACK SUN THROWS A PENALTY KICK OF HIS OWN, followed by a BUSAIKU KNEE KICK! BUT THE KING CACKLES THROUGH IT, REFUSING TO SAY DIE! Like a savage tiger, he slips out of a GO 2 SLEEP to maul KENTA with OPEN PALM STRIKES, before choking him out in the SLEEPER HOLD, THE DOMINANCE CONTINUING!
Minoru Suzuki (4) def. KENTA (2) (15:26)

Kota Ibushi vs Shingo Takagi
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-1
It was a dream come true last year when the shadows of DDT and Dragon Gate met in an NJPW ring, the Golden Star and the Dragon putting on an absolute belter of a G1 showdown that saw Takagi become only one of two to beat Kota in his block! For those very reasons, Ibushi is vulnerable as he stares down the ghosts of his past. If there was any chance to quit the G1 and join Takagi’s stablemate, it would be now, but Kota toughs it out as Shingo has his way with him, a NOSHIGAMI picking up a near-fall! Dazed but still fighting, Ibushi catches an incoming Takagi with a vicious V-TRIGGER, before throwing two more where the first came from, a CRADLE TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER spiking Shingo on the mat! 1…2…NO DICE! The Dragon rises back up and breathes flames in Ibushi’s face, a GALLON THROW and a BLOOD FALL leaving Ibushi staggered, a PUMPING BOMBER following suit, only for Kota to ride Takagi’s momentum to reverse it into a GOLDEN STAR POWERBOMB! REAR KAMIGOYE! AND ONE TO THE FACE! 1…2…3! IBUSHI SLAYS THE DRAGON!
Kota Ibushi (4) def. Shingo Takagi (2) (20:32)

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-3-1
As classic a rivalry as it can get, Okada and Tanahashi are both looking for their first pair of points as they square off with one another, but with a 75% chance of going to a draw based on their past encounters, a difficult task is posed for both men. Nonetheless, they take the fight to each other, keeping the pace as quick as possible, Okada lunging for a RAINMAKER, Tana ducking under for the KINKA-ZAN GERMAN SUPLEX! 1…2…KICK OUT! Spilling to the outside, Okada catches Tanahashi with a CROSSBODY OVER THE GUARDRAILS, before crunching his neck with a HANGMAN’S DDT on the exposed floor! He attempts the DIVING ELBOW DROP, but Tanahashi has it scouted, barrelling into him with a DRAGON ROCKET and a HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE OUTSIDE! Hiroshi thinks about going for the leg, but noticing the work done by Minoru on Okada’s injured neck, a desperate Tanahashi ditches his gameplan to snap Okada down with TWIST AND SHOUTS! 1…2…OKADA STAYS IN IT! BUT A DRAGON SWING PUTS THE PRESSURE RIGHT BACK ON THE NECK! Picking Okada off the mat, Tanahashi teases a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER, but Kazuchika turns it around into a JUMPING VARIANT OF HIS OWN, before nailing THREE RAINMAKERS in quick succession as the timer gets ready to expire! 1…2…3!
Kazuchika Okada (2) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (0) (29:54)

Participants Points
Jay White 4
Minoru Suzuki 4
Kota Ibushi 4
Shingo Takagi 2
Kazuchika Okada 2
Zack Sabre Jr. 2
Tetsuya Naito 0
Hiroshi Tanahashi 0
Tomohiro Ishii 0

Night Three
Shingo Takagi vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Minoru Suzuki vs Jay White
Tomohiro Ishii vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA
Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi

Shingo Takagi vs Zack Sabre Jr.
First-Time G1 Match
After an explosive start to his G1, Takagi is a little shaken after his loss to Ibushi, but he soldiers on as he comes across the Windy Man, who had the complete opposite happen to him, rebounding from a disappointing first night with a massive victory. Their first match since the wXw 16 Carat Gold Semi Finals back in 2009, Takagi and ZSJ have a whole new bag of tricks up their sleeves, Zack trapping Shingo in an early KIMURA LOCK, but Shingo bashes him into the corner, a CORNER LARIAT rocking Sabre, before Shingo fires off his signature striking combination, but as he swings for a YUKON LARIAT, Zack turns it around into a NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX, before going right back to the arm with a CROSS ARMBREAKER, eliminating the Pumping Bomber from the equation, forcing Shingo to adapt as he gets to his feet, rocking Sabre with a RUNNING KNEE STRIKE he picked up from Ospreay! Takagi gets Zack up for a MADE IN JAPAN, but Sabre yet again mashes the arm, trying to transition into CLARKY CAT, only for Shingo to power him off the canvas back into the MADE IN JAPAN, a LAST OF THE DRAGON following suit as Takagi picks up 2 more points!
Shingo Takagi (4) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (2) (16:49)

Minoru Suzuki vs Jay White
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-1
The highest point scorers in the tournament thus far, both with 2 wins apiece, one of them moving onto block leader status after this match, Suzuki and White are extra on the ball for this one, Jay scouring up every dirty tactic he can to survive Minoru unlike his BC brother the previous night. Smelling Jay’s fear and blood, Suzuki is like an uncaged animal, cleaning through White’s attempted turnbuckle shenanigans to send him flying with a DROPKICK! He picks White up for the GOTCH PILEDRIVER, but White fights free like his life depends on it, stunning Suzuki with a REVERSE STO into a HIGH-ANGLE GERMAN SUPLEX and a URANAGE, yet Minoru still kicks out at 1! Trapping Jay in the REAR NAKED CHOKE, Minoru tries to muscle him down to the mat, but the NEVER Champ manages to snap his neck off the ropes, before laying in the SHARP SENSATIONS! Suzuki STILL refuses to stay down, absorbing each nasty elbow to dish out his own onslaught of hell, lining up a PENALTY KICK, before getting Jay up for a GOTCH PILEDRIVER, but a DOUBLE LOW BLOW has Suzuki wheezing, Jay flipping him off, before drilling him with a BLADE RUNNER! 1…2…3! King Switch dethrones the King of Pro Wrestling to move to first place!
Jay White (6) def. Minoru Suzuki (4) (17:34)

Tomohiro Ishii vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-3
Ishii and Tanahashi’s tournaments have gotten off to slow starts, both men trailing behind at 0 points despite their valiant efforts, the beginnings of the seed of self-doubt burying itself in their minds. Not willing to accep their fates, 7 more matches to go, they meet each other with an increased drive to win their first 2 points, Big Tom looking to eat Tanahashi for breakfast as he lays into an aging Ace with KNIFE-EDGE CHOPS, Hiroshi struggling to throw strikes of his own back, an almost saddening performance to watch as Ishii simply runs through Hiroshi, a VERTICAL DROP BRAINBUSTER prompting a weak kickout at the very last millisecond! Ishii wakes Tanahashi up with a SLAP across the face, demanding him to fight, Hiroshi returning a DRAGON-SHIKI HARITE, before suddenly exploding with a hailstorm of offense, a DARUMA-SHIKI GERMAN SUPLEX almost sealing the deal and a HIGH FLY FLOW bowling down a standing Ishii, but as Hiroshi tries to go for seconds, slowed down by all the abuse his body’s suffered over the year, Ishii intercepts him to land a DELAYED VERTICAL SUPERPLEX, before spiking him with an ISHII DRILLER, sucking the air and any hope Tanahashi had out of the arena with the 1…2…3!
Tomohiro Ishii (2) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (0) (13:55)

Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-1
Along with the pandemic ruining Naito’s chance at having a proper reign as Shuyaka, there was KENTA who crashed Tetsuya’s celebration at the end of WK14, ending the show sitting over his fallen body, leading two a lengthy, brutal affair at New Beginning, which Naito escaped with the gold. It wasn’t the revenge he hoped for though, as KENTA cost him the subsequent G1, being the thorn in Naito’s side at every twist and turn. With no points to his name, Naito is desperate to finally vanquish the Black Sun for good, but it isn’t to be a smooth road there, KENTA blasting him with knee strikes and a BRIDGING TIGER SUPLEX! 1…2…NO! A DIVING DOUBLE FOOT STOMP to the damaged leg almost puts it out of commission as KENTA borrows from his BC stablemate to lock in the TTO, but Naito is willed on by the crowd, making the ropes and delivering a VALENTÍA to KENTA! A DESTINO is almost caught up in a GO 2 SLEEP, but Tetsuya reverses into a SWING DESTINO instead, a DRAGON SUPLEX and a DESTINO following! 1…2…3! Naito has scored his first two points!
Tetsuya Naito (2) def. KENTA (2) (20:01)

Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-2
Managing to recover after his shocking loss on Night 1, Okada faces arguably his toughest opponent yet in Kota Ibushi, one of few competitors he’s never been able to beat in a G1 environment. The Golden Star en route to sweeping the block for the fourth year in a row, undefeated thus far, he has his chin held high opposite the CHAOS Leader, who for once looks human, the layers stripped down. After how close he was to drawing Tanahashi, Okada is fast-paced from the opening bell against Ibushi, a victory here the most crucial in his mind, but it proves to be a mistake, Ibushi only faster than the Rainmaker, evading a DISCUS LARIAT for a HANDSPRING BACKFLIP KICK, a GOLDEN TRIANGLE MOONSAULT and a V-TRIGGER getting a near-fall! Ibushi teases the KAMIGOYE, but Okada spins into a RAINMAKER attempt, Ibushi kicking the arm away for a SNAP GERMAN SUPLEX, bringing Okada down on the neck! Rocking him with stiff strikes, he catches a MILLION DOLLAR DROPKICK with a GOLDEN STAR POWERBOMB! 1….2…NOOOO! A BOMAYE closes in on the CHAOS Leader, but Okada kicks out the leg in time, the two proceeding to trade Piledriver attempts, Kazuchika escaping the CRADLE TOMBSTONE to nail a SPINNING TOMBSTONE! A couple RAINMAKERS follow to hand Ibushi his first loss as the ref counts 3!
Kazuchika Okada (4) def. Kota Ibushi (4) (27:18)

Participants Points
Jay White 6
Minoru Suzuki 4
Kazuchika Okada 4
Kota Ibushi 4
Shingo Takagi 4
Zack Sabre Jr. 2
Tetsuya Naito 2
Tomohiro Ishii 2
Hiroshi Tanahashi 0

Night Four
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito
Minoru Suzuki vs Kota Ibushi
Jay White vs KENTA
Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 2-1
Things are not looking good for Tanahashi, failing to win his first 3 matches, his self-confidence dwindling with each loss, even questioning in a post-match interview if he has what it takes, but his loyal group of fans remain by his side and roar their support as the Ace trudges to the ring, weakly strumming his air guitar. Sabre grins at the sloppy state of Tanahashi, teasing him with lock-ups, only to walk right past Hiroshi and pat him on the head. Zack SPITS in Tanahashi’s face as he tells him to retire already, but the comment sparks a fire under Tanahashi, just like Ishii’s slap, Hiroshi showing flashes of his former self as he races at Sabre for a SLING BLADE, before treating him to chops and tangling on the canvas in a mat classic, both men DRAGON SCREWING each other’s legs at the same time! Sabre latches on Tanahashi’s TEXAS CLOVERLEAF on him, Hiroshi surviving by the will of the fans to dangle Zack in a STRETCH MUFFLER! A HIGH FLY FLOW crashes down on Zack’s leg, Tanahashi having Sabre in deep waters, but a EUROPEAN CLUTCH catches the High Flying Star by surprise! 1…2…3!
Zack Sabre Jr. (4) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (0) (12:17)

Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-2
Facing each other in NJCs, G1s, title matches and the works, Ishii and Naito know each other’s styles inside-out, a highly intriguing showdown panning out as the two share the ring for the first time in 2 years, both still unable to garner a substantial amount of points, looking to this match as the remedy to that. Ishii is like a shark in his targeting of Naito, sensing the bad leg and going for the BOSTON CRAB, but Tetsuya is crafty in his escapes, slipping out the hold each time in a different manner, before flinging a FLYING FOREARM SMASH at Ishii! Tom is unamused, retaliating with a slugging Forearm that crushes Naito to the mat, before stacking him up with a POWERBOMB! 1…2…KICK OUT! A SLIDING LARIAT closes in, but Naito catches it in a PLUMA BLANCA, attempting to submit the Stone Pitbull himself, yet there’s no quit in Ishii’s body, who rams him into the canvas with a POWERSLAM, before throwing a RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX! Ishii attempts the ISHII DRILLER that put Tanahashi away, but Naito has it scouted, a DESTINO finding its mark! Ringing up the arm, he delivers one more! 1…2…3!
Tetsuya Naito (4) def. Tomohiro Ishii (2) (17:30)

Minoru Suzuki vs Kota Ibushi
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-1
Suzuki has been one to watch thus far, his first two nights reminding the world just how impressive he can be, the King brushing past his loss to White as a minor spot on his record, instead focusing on what can pose itself as the contender for most brutal match of the tournament as the shoot styles of Suzuki and Ibushi collide for the third time in G1 action! The shrill ringing of the bell is eclipsed by how hard Minoru hits Ibushi out the gates, stiffing him across the face with a HARD SLAP! Ibushi tumbles to the mat as Suzuki pounces on him, palms devouring his frame in famished gulps, Minoru searing Ibushi’s skin ugly shades of purple! Ibushi blasts a ROUNDHOUSE KICK that rocks Suzuki’s like a bobblehead, a STANDING KAMIGOYE knocking him off his feet and a BOMAYE busting open his jaw! It’s a terrifying sight as Suzuki rises back out the corner, blood dripping from his mouth, a DROPKICK sending Kota soaring into the corner for a follow-up HESITATION DROPKICK, Suzuki blasting him with THREE PENALTY KICKS! 1…2…NOOO! Suzuki scoops Ibushi up for the GOTCH PILEDRIVER, but Ibushi drops him with a DOUBLE FOOT STOMP and secures the wrists, BLASTING SUZUKI WITH KAMIGOYES OVER AND OVER AGAIN UNTIL THE KING PASSES OUT FROM BLOOD LOSS, GIVING A GRIN RIGHT BEFORE HE BLACKS OUT!
Kota Ibushi (6) def. Minoru Suzuki (4) (18:06)

Jay White vs KENTA
First-Time Match
White is cocky as ever after his win over Suzuki, rebranding himself the most dangerous wrestler as he takes the lead in the block, but as he heads to the ring, shining up his NEVER Title, a unique challenge awaits him as he must take on his own stablemate for the first time! The two Too Sweet before the bell, White sneering as he thinks the match will be a breeze between the friends, but KENTA falling behind the BC Leader in points, he only sees White as an obstacle, RUSHING HIM WITH A BUSAIKU KNEE KICK! 1…2…NO! THAT COULD’VE BEEN IT RIGHT THERE! Jay’s eyes pop out of his skull as he sees the intensity in KENTA’s eyes, a RUNNING YAKUZA KICK sending him sprawling to the outside, but the Black Sun falls into Switchblade territory, White going into defensive mode as he rams KENTA into the apron, not even his stablemate allowed to take points from him! A BLADE BUSTER drops KENTA on a set of chairs, White rolling him back inside for a very close 2 count, before arguing with the referee, unable to believe KENTA would kick out of it, only to turn right around into a KENTA RUSH! White ducks a KOUTOUBU KICK, teasing the BLADE RUNNER, but KENTA pops him onto his shoulders, a GO 2 SLEEP PUTTING WHITE DOWN! 1…2…3!
KENTA (4) def. Jay White (6) (16:35)

Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-0
Since meeting in the G1 last year, each time Okada and Takagi have stepped in the ring together, there’s been a certain special aura to their matches, going from one classic to their belter earlier this year, the first victory in the breakout run of Shingo where he eliminated Okada in the first round of the NJC. Knowing not to take Takagi lightly after that devastating loss, Kazuchika doesn’t give him any room to breathe, cutting off any attempts Shingo makes at landing his powerful offense, a DISCUS LARIAT mowing him down before he can score the Pumping Bomber, Okada slipping out of a Noshigami to land a NECKBREAKER, and a SCOOBY DOOBY DOO getting the Rainmaker a near-fall! Shingo struggling, Okada goes for the move that beat him last year, cinching in the MONEY CLIP, but Takagi has it scouted, blasting Kazuchika with a YUKON LARIAT to the bad neck, a LEGEND FALCONRY planting him on the canvas! 1…2…NOOO! Takagi fights back, further LARIATS and a MONGOLIAN CHOP softening up the neck, before Takagi goes for a LAST OF THE DRAGON, but each time he attempts his finisher, Okada prevents him from landing it, ultimately reversing the wrist-clutch into a RAINMAKER! 1…2…3!
Kazuchika Okada (6) def. Shingo Takagi (4) (25:52)

Participants Points
Jay White 6
Kazuchika Okada 6
Kota Ibushi 6
Minoru Suzuki 4
Shingo Takagi 4
Zack Sabre Jr. 4
Tetsuya Naito 4
Tomohiro Ishii 2
Hiroshi Tanahashi 0

Night Five
Minoru Suzuki vs Tetsuya Naito
KENTA vs Shingo Takagi
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kazuchika Okada
Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White

Minoru Suzuki vs Tetsuya Naito
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 1-1
A couple losses have Suzuki staggered, but it only ups his bloodlust, settling on Naito as the perfect target for him to exact punishment on, El Ingobernable limping his way to a comeback run. Tetsuya dethroning Suzuki for the Intercontinental Championship in 2018, the two know just how to deal with high-pressure scenarios involving each other, Naito remaining highly cautious as Suzuki teases making advances on the leg, but a misdirection allows the King to cinch in a MANJI-GATAME instead, looking to tear Naito’s arm off his body! Tetsuya counters with an EVOLUCION, crushing Suzuki against the mat, before teeing off on him with a COMBINACIÓN DE CABRÓN and an AVALANCHE FRANKENSTEINER! He goes for a GERMAN SUPLEX, but Suzuki flips out to his feet, a DRAGON SCREW taking out Tetsuya’s leg before Minoru gets the HEEL HOOK! Blood-curdling screams of agony erupt from Naito’s throat, Suzuki with a wild look in his eyes, but Naito successfully lays a hand on the ropes to force Minoru off, scouting an incoming PENALTY KICK to land GLORIA! 1…2…KICK OUT! Suzuki kicks Naito’s leg before he can land a Destino, instead drilling him with the GOTCH PILEDRIVER! 1…2…TETSUYA’S NECK HOLDS ON! Suzuki rallies with STIFF SLAPS, before trying for the Piledriver once more, but Naito breaks free, dropping MiSu with a DESTINOOOOO! 1…2…3!
Tetsuya Naito (6) def. Minoru Suzuki (4) (18:41)

KENTA vs Shingo Takagi
First-Time G1 Match
In another NJC rematch, Takagi is pitted against another of the men he eliminated from the tournament, a vengeful KENTA out for his head. After losing to Okada, the risk of dropping this one too is only heightened, prompting Shingo to slip into survival mode, wanting to tough out a couple more points. KENTA carries the momentum from beating his own leader here, scoring an array of kicks on Shingo and slapping him about the ring, only for a YO THROW to put him in his place! Takagi rains down on KENTA with a SENTON, before scooping him into the air for a HIGH ANGLE BACK-TO-BELLY SUPLEX for 2! KENTA retorts with a FISHERMAN BUSTER that brings Shingo down hard on the mat, before tossing him into the ropes, ducking under a PUMPING BOMBER to land a SHOTGUN DROPKICK! Tying Shingo in the ropes, KENTA batters his exposed chest with SHOOT KICKS, a DIVING GUILLOTINE KNEE DROP following suit! 1…2…KICK OUT! KENTA teases a GO 2 SLEEP, but Shingo catches the knee, spinning KENTA around into a PUMPING BOMBER! A second has KENTA dazed, and a MADE IN JAPAN has him on his back! 1…2…3!
Shingo Takagi (6) def. KENTA (4) (16:28)

Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kazuchika Okada
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-1
Joining the top scorers of the block after disposing of Takagi, Okada is riding high heading into his bout with Zack, who famously had his sole World Title opportunity against the Rainmaker at Sakura Genesis in 2018 after shocking the world with an NJC victory. Failing to beat Kazuchika in their two matches in Japan, Sabre is at a disadvantage, Okada on the contrary brimming with confidence, looking to make easy work of the Brit as he ploughs through him with a BIG BOOT and a MISSILE DROPKICK, HEAVY RAIN following, but Sabre kicks out! Okada doesn’t let it get to him though, continuing to push him around the mat, a DIVING ELBOW DROP serving as the prelude to the Rainmaker pose… BUT SABRE JUMPS ONTO OKADA’S BACK FROM BEHIND, GETTING A SLEEPER ON THE NECK! Kazuchika’s motions suddenly become frantic as he remembers what ZSJ’s stablemate did to him on the first night, Sabre tearing away at the neck, before transitioning into a GUILLOTINE CHOKE! Okada rams him into the turnbuckles to shake him off, before going for a SHORT-ARM LARIAT, but Sabre evades, a DISCUS ELBOW SMASH landing on the back of his head, before Sabre pulls him into a EUROPEAN CLUTCH! 1…2…3! JUST LIKE HOW HE BEAT HIM IN REVPRO – OKADA IS STUNNED!
Zack Sabre Jr. (6) def. Kazuchika Okada (6) (19:23)

Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 3-0
Putting on one of the most hard-hitting NEVER Title matches back in Yokohama, Ibushi and Ishii are dizzying each other with bombs right away, Kota throwing a ROUNDHOUSE KICK to the ear, causing Tom to stumble back into the ropes, the Golden Star closing in for a V-TRIGGER- LARIAT SWIPES HIM OFF HIS FEET! Ishii doles out GERMAN SUPLEXES, Ibushi landing on his neck each time, but that only fires him up, Kota throwing a striking combination with blinding fury, an EXPLODER SUPLEX OF HIS OWN CONNECTING! As Ibushi handsprings off the ropes, Ishii meets him with an ENZUIGIRI, before scoring the VERTICAL DROP BRAINBUSTER! 1…2…KICK OUT! The fight heads to the top rope, Ishii attempting the DELAYED VERTICAL SUPERPLEX, but Ibushi has other ideas, a BACKFLIP KICK dropping Tom to the apron, where he drags him up for a DEADLIFT GERMAN SUPLEX OFF THE MIDDLE ROPE! ISHII BOUNCES BACK TO HIS FEET FROM THE IMPACT, A HEADBUTT FELLING BOTH MEN! Ishii fires CHOPS on Ibushi’s frame, Ibushi responding with a STANDING KAMIGOYE and a GOLDEN STAR POWERBOMB! 1…2…NOOOO! Securing the wrists, Ibushi tugs Ishii into him, but Tom catches the knee, an ISHII DRILLER SPIKING IBUSHI ON HIS DOME! 1…2…3! TWO STRAIGHT LOSSES FOR KOTA, HIS GAMEPLAN STARTING TO CRUMBLE!
Tomohiro Ishii (4) def. Kota Ibushi (6) (21:37)

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White
Head-to-Head G1 Record: 0-1
In the final match of the night, it’s slowly becoming do or die for the Ace, a loss here making it next to impossible for him to comeback into the tournament, only made worse by the fact his opponent is the one who beat him for the NEVER Title! Despite being taken aback by his loss to KENTA, White still remains the block leader, a win here undoing the effects of the night prior. Tanahashi tries to put up a solid fight against White, doing his all to stay in the tournament, but after coming close time and time again, only to lose, the man doing all of Hiroshi’s moves is just a shell of the Ace, allowing White to easily capitalise and secure the TTO! White trash-talks Tana, telling him he’ll never be able to beat him and that his time is up, Hiroshi almost believing him and tapping out, only to look at the crowd and tears in the eyes of his fans as they beg him to hold on, even the Young Lions and commentators all crossing their fingers for the dying light of NJPW’s dark ages… AND TANAHASHI LEAPS AT THE ROPES WITH A SUDDEN BURST OF ENERGY! White lets out an audible gasp, but he reminds himself he’s beaten Tana plenty of times prior, picking him up for the BLADE RUNNER… BUT IT’S TANA WITH A SLING BLADE! TWIST AND SHOUT! DRAGON SUPLEX! AND A HIGH FLY FLOW! TANAHASHI LOOKS UP AT THE HEAVENS AND CROSSES HIS FINGERS, TAKING FLIGHT ONE MORE TIME! HIGH FLY FLOWWWWWWW! 1…2…3! THE ACE IS BACK, SCORING HIS FIRST TWO POINTS!
Hiroshi Tanahashi (2) def. Jay White (6) (23:19)

Participants Points
Jay White 6
Zack Sabre Jr. 6
Tetsuya Naito 6
Kazuchika Okada 6
Kota Ibushi 6
Shingo Takagi 6
Minoru Suzuki 4
Tomohiro Ishii 4
Hiroshi Tanahashi 2

As we make it to the half-way point of the tournament, there’s a large stalemate at the top of the Block, unsurprising when all the competitors are so even due to being the 10 best in the company. Whilst tiebreakers position the NEVER Openweight Champion Jay White as the king of the block for the time being, it’s still anyone’s game, Hiroshi Tanahashi finally making a comeback into the tournament with his first 2 points, along with stars like Zack Sabre Jr. and Tetsuya Naito recovering from a rough start to make it to the upper echelon of the standings. Minoru Suzuki has taken a tumble from his opening dominance, but the King is sure to murder a couple more folks on his way to title contention, the G1 continuing with Night Six!
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2021.02.19 11:35 ImThatWrestlingGuy Infinity Wrestling: Genocide 2020 - Part 2

After a short intermission, we return straight back to the action, Keith Lee vs Finn Balor up next.

Keith Lee vs Finn Balor
One of the most anticipated matches was up next, two of the greatest wrestlers ever set to go head to head, and with PAC winning earlier on in the night, the Dead Rose Clique were at 1 – 1. But would it be 3 – 1 by the end of the night? Balor and Lee easily had one of the matches up for Contendership in Match of the Night, the incredibly powerful and athletic Keith Lee taking on the technical and dangerous Finn Balor. We saw some incredible spots such as Finn hitting Keith with a Coup De Grace onto a standing Lee on the apron, Keith countering a 1916 into a Supernova, and both men taking out each other with a massive Avalanche Spanish Fly! However, it was Finn who put away Keith tonight, countering a Spirit Bomb with a Triangle Lock as he was sent crashing down to the canvas, before lifting Keith up for a massive 1916 that rattled the ring, and finally landed a second Coup De Grace on Keith, the Dead Rose Clique leader joining WALTER, Tanahashi, Cole, Styles, Rhodes, and PAC in the list of people who have pinned The Limitless One.
Finn Balor defeated Keith Lee (18:25)

Infinity Empyrean Championship
Lio Rush vs Hiromu Takahashi
At New Dawn, two men earned the opportunity to compete for the vacant Infinity Empyrean Champion, Lio Rush and Hiromu Takahashi engaging in a war of scathing words and brawls over the past weeks, both men on top of their game, but only one can make history tonight. Feel The Pain plays, prompting golden spotlights to wash down from the ceiling as the 26-year-old Piece of Gold makes his entrance, being carried out on a throne by his Dead Rose Clique stablemates, looking like a pack of wolves whilst the Alpha cackles as he drinks out of a chalice. Vainglorious and lordly, Rush hurls insults at the entranceway as he settles down in the ring, dressed head-to-toe in the most expensive threads of attire. He orders DRC to remain at ringside, looking to be a gamechanger in the flow of the battle. BOOM! Pyro, rockets and dynamite – explosions litter the arena as Time Bomb hits, DRC sent scattering about ringside as the laugh of a lunatic sounds, and Takahashi bursts out from behind the curtain, revelling in the scenes of Bonfire Night, the madman racing down to the ring! Wearing protective goggles and a fashionable peacock coat, the zany and eccentric Ticking Time Bomb vibrates uncontrollably, feeding off the electric atmosphere as the crowd claps along to his theme, Takahashi ecstatic to get his hands on Lio after weeks of long wait!
The black-hearted Rush comes face-to-face with his foe, cutting him down with trash-talk as Hiromu tips his head and grins cheekily, Lio proceeding to slap him across the face! Red Shoes throws himself in between them to prevent an early fight as the Ticking Time Bomb almost goes off, the ref pushing Hiromu back to his corner as Rush tells him to keep running. Takahashi remains silent though his skin crawls with indignation. As the cameras cut back from the beautiful title propped at ringside, the two competitors tug the ropes in their respective corners, awaiting the opening bell so they can settle the debate between them as to who’s better whilst crowning the first-ever Empyrean Champion in the process! DING DING DING! WE ARE OFF TO THE RACES! They EXPLODE out of their corners, Hiromu swinging wildly with a forearm, Lio’s elbow extended at his target… only for Rush to slide under Takahashi’s arm and evacuate the ring! He cackles evilly as Hiromu stares at him distraught, Rush inviting Hiromu to step to him, Takahashi giving him chase, only for DRC to step in front of the Man of the Hour to shield him from Hiromu, buying him an opening to slip back inside the ring, Takahashi turning around to see Lio with the high ground!
Rush taps his head to show his master strategery, only for Hiromu to yawn at him and listen to his wrist instead of Rush’s babbling to the Blackheart’s chagrin! Lio steps back and invites Hiromu to step inside the ring with him, the Time Bomb accepting almost at once, only to run right into a stampede of Rush’s boots! Lio hits the ropes, trying to go for the COME UP right off the bat, only for Hiromu to rush him from behind and send him out to the apron! DRC gather by Rush’s feet to keep him from falling to the floor, Lio assuring them he’s fine, only for Takahashi to race in and go for a SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB! DRC stands firmly in the way though, allowing Rush to flip through again, landing on his feet on the floor, evading a Diving Senton as Hiromu also lands on his feet, only for Lio to slither back inside the ring! He rebounds off the ropes, but Takahashi is right behind him, delivering a Running Hurricanrana, only for Rush to handspring to his feet, going for one of his own, Hiromu returning the same response! Lio hits the ropes and teases trying for another, only to duck and weave his way around Takahashi, leaving him dizzy as he crisscrosses about the ropes, Hiromu unable to keep track of the lightning-quick athlete!
Instead, Takahashi drops into a cross-legged position, inviting Rush to come at him, Lio aiming a Penalty Kick, only for Hiromu to duck under and pop up into a SPIDER WALK position, Rush dropping to the mat in fear as he comes back around and sees Takahashi looking at him upside-down! Rush shakes the creepy visual away, both men kipping back up to their feet and going for Dropkicks, blocking each other’s moves, before handspringing away from one another, Lio trying for a RUSH HOUR, only for Hiromu to ward him off with stiff elbows! He lights him up with forearms, the two trading strikes, before Hiromu slips behind and grabs Rush’s waist, popping the hips for a SNAP GERMAN SUPLEX, catching the Man of the Hour off guard! As he grabs his neck, Hiromu snaps him back down to the mat with a Basement Dropkick, before pouncing into cover, Rush slipping from underneath him to prevent being pinned, instead blasting him with a Bicycle Kick! Lio rolls the Time Bomb up for a Schoolboy, Hiromu kicking out at 1, only to catch an Enzuigiri to the ear! Rush has little time to celebrate though as he’s struck with a sudden Dropkick!
Takahashi flings himself to the top rope, only for Rush to leave the ring for the third time, taking a breather in the horde of DRC members, but Hiromu has had enough, changing direction and WIPING THEM ALL OUT WITH A DIVING SENTON! As Rush pulls himself up to the apron, Hiromu is already back on the offensive, delivering the SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB TO THE FLOOR! Rush’s body skids off the ground as he lets out a yelp of agony, Hiromu lolling his tongue out in enjoyment, before throwing Lio back inside and returning to the top once more, connecting a MISSILE DROPKICK! 1…2…KICK OUT! Takahashi throws his arm out for a Lariat, but Rush handsprings underneath and blasts him with a kick to the gut, followed by one to the back of the head, before drilling him on his dome with a TILT-A-WHIRL DDT, Hiromu’s skull bouncing off the canvas as the rest of his body goes limp in a bridge! Lio hastily flattens him into a cover, but Hiromu kicks out at 2! As Takahashi collects himself in the ropes, Rush handsprings into him to send him out the ring, before shooting out the ring like a bullet with a SUICIDE DIVE!
Getting experimental, Rush balances himself on the ropes and tries for a SPRINGBOARD CORKSCREW MOONSAULT PLANCHA, only to miss and stumble on his feet, Hiromu though appearing behind him and launching him with a BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX ONTO THE RAMP! Both men lay on the steel, clutching their backs, as Red Shoes begins counting, the two returning to their feet at 4, before trading forearms, Rush trying to hurl Hiromu into the steps to stop him from getting back inside, only for Takahashi to get his boot up, both barely beating the count at 9! Rush trips Hiromu up and kicks the middle rope into his throat, before dropping him with a Bulldog! He dumps Hiromu high on his shoulders with a BACKDROP SUPLEX, before connecting a Lariat in the corner and rolling him through, but as he comes off the ropes he eats a POP-UP SITOUT POWERBOMB! 1…2…NO! Hiromu gets Rush onto his shoulders, thinking about a Death Valley Driver, but he’s subdued with knees to the side of the head, Rush pivoting off his arm to connect an Arm Drag, before lighting him up with Shoot Kicks! Takahashi battles back with forearms, but it’s a SHOTGUN DROPKICK that folds him up, sending Hiromu into the corner!
Rush sprints at Hiromu, only for Takahashi to try for the BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX again, though this time Lio has it scouted, jumping up to the bottom rope, before springing to the middle for an ASAI MOONSAULT! 1…2…HIROMU KICKS OUT! Rush picks him up to his knees and lashes out for a SUPERKICK, only for Hiromu to catch the boot, spinning Rush around and giving him a SUPERKICK of his own, before getting him back on his shoulders, teasing the DVD, only this time connecting a DYNAMITE PLUNGER! 1…2…RUSH GETS THE SHOULDER UP! Hiromu calls for a TIME BOMB, hooking Rush in, only for it to get reversed mid-air into a CUTTER! Keeping his grip in to pull Hiromu to his feet, Rush drops him with a SHIRANUI, before getting the hooks under his arms for a DRAGON SUPLEX! Hiromu pops up to his feet and connects a GERMAN SUPLEX, before rolling through and connecting a FALCON ARROW! HIROMU LOCKS IN D! The Triangle Choke is cinched in deep, Rush in deep trouble as Takahashi saps the lifeforce out of him, Lio desperately trying to get to the ropes, only to get pulled away by Hiromu! Finding an alternative method of escape, Rush lugs him off the mat using all his strength, before disorienting him with knees to the back of the head and folding him up with a POWERBOMB! He follows up with a TWISTING INVERTED DOUBLE UNDERHOOK FACEBUSTER! 1…2…NOOOO!
Rush leaps to the high-rent district and teases the FINAL HOUR… ONLY FOR HIROMU TO CUT HIM OFF WITH A TOP ROPE VICTORY ROLL! 1…2…LIO SURVIVES! As a wide-eyed Rush returns to his feet, he’s caught with a WIND-UP PUNCH, Lio falling limp out to the apron! Hiromu follows him in hot pursuit, getting him on his shoulders as he tries again for a TIME BOMB, this time on the hardest part of the ring, but Rush knows where he is, raking the eyes to break free! As Takahashi grabs at his eyes, Rush attempts to plant the blinded competitor with a BRAINBUSTER, yet Hiromu still has his wits about him, also breaking free, the two nailing each other with SIMULTANEOUS SUPERKICKS! Hanging by a thread from the apron, both men overlooking the floor, they use each other to get back on a steady base, trading a flurry of forearms, neither willing to give in! Lio aims a kick at Hiromu who catches it, only to come around with an Enzuigiri attempt, but it’s also caught, Takahashi monkey flipping Rush, the Blackheart landing on the middle rope! Hiromu tries to sweep his legs out but Rush flips out to the floor, before springing up to the apron and grabbing Takahashi for a RUSH HOUR TO THE FLOOR!
Chests heaving, the two bodies are motionless next to each other as the crowd showers them with chants, Rush finally the first to get back to his feet, aching all the over and sliding back inside the ring at 5, trying to take the count-out victory! Takahashi is much slower, trying to use the barricade and the apron to pull himself back up, only to collapse back to the floor at 8! Rush thinks he has it, but Hiromu just BARELY rolls back in, battling on by the thinnest of hairs! BUT WAIT, HE ENTERS RIGHT INTO RUSH’S LAIR – COME UP! 1…2…HIROMU GETS HIS FOOT ON THE ROPE! Rush is flabbergasted, pulling his face in shock, before going over to Red Shoes and begging him to tell him it was 3, but he receives a shake of the head! Furious, he grabs Hiromu’s arms and stomps his head into the mat repeatedly, members of the audience covering their eyes as they recall Hiromu’s history of neck issues! Rush pauses for a moment, only to turn him over, a sick sneer on his face as twisted thoughts run through his head, thinking about a SUPER DRAGON CURB STOMP! With Hiromu’s head in place, he pulls back the head and his foot… ONLY FOR HIROMU TO SUDDENLY BURST UP TO HIS FEET AND PUSH LIO OFF, SAVING HIMSELF OF A POTENTIAL BROKEN NECK!
SUPERKICK! AND A CANADIAN DESTROYER! HIROMU PULLS THE DAZED LIO ONTO HIS SHOULDERS – RUNNING DEATH VALLEY DRIVER IN THE CORNER! HE GETS RUSH BACK UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING! TIME BOMBBBBBBBB! 1…2…3-NOOOOOOOOOO! WHAT MORE WILL IT TAKE FOR THESE TWO MEN TO GIVE UP?! Completely and utterly knackered, Takahashi does his best to drag Rush up a third time, calling for TIME BOMB 2, but the weight slips off his shoulders as he drops to his knees! Takahashi pants heavily, as does Rush, the two men coming face-to-face, slugging it out with whatever they have left! As Hiromu starts building momentum with forearms, Rush cuts him off by SPITTING IN HIS FACE! A ROUNDHOUSE folds Hiromu, before Lio grabs his face to prop him back up, cracking him with a SUPERKICK! Takahashi stunned, Rush bounces off the ropes again and goes for a COME UP, but Hiromu falls flat on his face, prompting Lio to land on his feet, brimming with schadenfreude. Rolling Hiromu over to his back, the Man of the Hour looks up at the turnbuckles, before realising that this is what his destiny has led to all along. Climbing from the depths of hell to the heights of heaven, Rush spreads his arms like an angel, taking time to pose, before taking the leap of faith with the FINAL HOUR – TAKAHASHI GETS THE KNEES UP! LIO’S TOO LATE, BLINDED BY HIS ARROGANCE! SUPERKICK TO RUSH’S SKULL FROM THE TICKING TIME BOMB! Hiromu wipes the spit off his face and rubs it back on Lio’s, before patting him on the cheek as he hauls him onto his shoulders and lets out a triumphant cry, connecting the TIME BOMB 2! COVER! 1…2…3! HIROMU TAKAHASHI IS THE FIRST-EVER INFINITY EMYPREAN CHAMPION!
Hiromu Takahashi def. Lio Rush to become the inaugural Infinity Empyrean Champion (24:25)
Hiromu is ecstatic as he’s handed the gorgeous belt, and along with the crowd he celebrates wildly, raising up his title as his theme music plays. Lio has his head in his hands on the outside, devastated he didn’t win, and Hiromu makes his way up the ramp, the audience barely getting time to cool down before the next major title match.

Infinity Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks (c) vs The War Raiders
The lights in the arena dim as a row of Vikings march out to the stage, forming a line on either side, clad with door-like shields and golden spears, foreshadowing the siege that is set to ensue on the championships. With flames blazing across the ramp on a series of torches, deathly war sirens sound over the PA system, summoning the arrival of the two behemoths known as Raymond Rowe and Hanson! As Blood & Tears takes over, the two stride down to the ring, leading the battle cry of ‘WAR’ as if to send a message to their opponents of the impending doom coming their way. Upon them shedding their armour, Barclays Arena changes from a grim tone to one of vibrance on a dime as lasers dazzle the building, banknotes hailing down from the sky with the ring of ‘SUPERKICK PARTY’ echoing all around Brooklyn, the Infinity Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks making their way down to the ring in grand fashion! Thrusting their titles in the faces of their foes, the Bucks are armed and ready to do battle with one of Infinity’s most imposing tag teams on their quest to get revenge on the Raiders after they brutalised them following New Dawn N1’s ME and prove themselves as the greatest tag team of the 21st century!
The younger of the Bucks start off the match, Nick Jackson squaring up to the much larger Hanson, the crowd rooting for the underdog as his brother gives him a last-minute pep talk in the corner, prompting a fired-up Nick to race across the ring, though into a Shoulder Tackle from the War Beard that sends him flying! Hanson lets out a roar, yanking a dazed Nick off the mat and Irish Whipping him across the ring into his corner with a vicious velocity, his back snapping off the turnbuckle, before his soul is crushed with a Bronco Buster! Rowe tags in, the two monsters laying waste to the champion with ease, Hanson whipping Rowe into Nick to nail him with a jaw-shattering forearm, before Rowe feeds him back to Nick for a Seated Splash! Matt attempts to come to the aid of his brother, but he’s crushed with a Powerslam, before Rowe Powerslams Hanson onto him as well! As Hanson retreats to his side, the older brother stumbles back out to the apron, clutching his ribs in agony, leaving Nick to try and fend off Rowe as he valiantly fights back with kicks and punches, but they’re merely absorbed by Mr Right’s meaty shield, Raymond stunning him with a Headbutt, before tagging in Hanson as he whips Nick across the ring into a Seated Senton!
Matt yells desperately to Nick to crawl across the ring and tag him in, Nick doing his best to escape the wrath of the heels, but no such luck is on their side, Hanson dangling him upside-down by his leg and screaming at him, before setting him straight and booting his head off! Rowe chants ‘WAR’ from the apron, clearly enjoying the one-sided beatdown as he feels them inching closer and closer to the titles already, though it’s overconfidence that proves to be the downfall of the big men, Hanson carrying Nick on his shoulder and belittling him, only for Nick to wriggle free and push him into the champion’s corner, Matt stunning Hanson with a boot to the face! Nick tags Matt in, the brothers landing a Double Hip Toss, followed by Double Back Handsprings into stereo Dropkicks on the button! An enraged Rowe comes bursting in to assist his partner, only to collapse on top of him, courtesy of a Double Drop Toe Hold, Matt scoring a MUSHROOM STOMP and Nick joining the pile with a RUNNING SHOOTING STAR PRESS! Nick rolls through and out to the apron, Matt tagging him back in, before Matt secures Rowe in a Wheelbarrow, lifting him over Hanson’s body, only for him to be driven right back into his partner courtesy of a Slingshot Sitout Facebuster from Nick! Disposing of Rowe, the two dogpile Hanson in a cover, but Hanson kicks out at 2, sending both men flying!
The brute returns to his feet and comes face-to-face with his two opponents, raging out with Double Lariats, only for the nimbler brothers to roll under, before trying for stereo Superkicks, yet Hanson cartwheels out of the way, allowing Rowe to race in and deliver DOUBLE SHOTGUN KNEE STRIKES! The Bucks are dead-weight, making them easy pickings, Rowe dumping Matt back outside the ring, before returning to work on Nick, who swings with punches to the gut to momentarily double Raymond over, only to have his head STOMPED into the mat! Rowe hip-tosses Nick, before lighting him up with another Knee Strike to cave in his face! Rowe whips Nick into the ropes but he holds on, causing him to give chase, Nick low-bridging to send Rowe to the outside and into a SUPERKICK from Matt! Matt bounces up to the apron and tags in, performing a WRECKING BALL DROPKICK on Rowe, before skinning the cat and holding the ropes for Nick to nail a CRAZY DIVE through his legs! Rowe is staggered but still on his feet, the Bucks nodding to each other for Nick to go again, Matt remaining in position as Nick hits the ropes once more, only for him to receive an elbow to the back of the head from Hanson that drops him to the mat!
Hanson enters the ring and hurls Nick over the top, before launching himself over the ropes held down by Matt, DEMOLISHING Nick with a SUICIDE DIVE! Matt quickly returns to a vertical base to try help his brother out, going for a MOONSAULT off the apron… INTO THE WAITING ARMS OF ROWE! CALL OF FENRIR ON MATT ONTO NICK! Rowe pulls the Bucks back to their feet as Hanson heads back up to the apron, before Rowe throws Hanson for a CANNONBALL OFF THE APRON! Rolling the legal champion back inside the ring, Rowe goes for the cover on Matt! 1…2…KICK OUT! Matt survives, but only just. He turns to the apron to reach out for a tag, only to find that Nick is still laid out on the floor, forcing the older brother to go it alone, but it’s a hopeless cause, soon finding himself on the receiving end of an INVERTED SUPLEX from the Death Rowe! Raymond delivers rough facewashes to Matt as he wheezes on the mat, before stomping a mudhole in him in the corner, showing no remorse whatsoever, attention solely focused on winning. As Matt tries to pull himself up in the ropes, Rowe slaps his hands away, before popping the hips for a BELLY-TO-BACK SUPLEX, Matt’s body ricocheting off the mat with a sick thud!
Rowe and Hanson slam forearms together to make the tag, Hanson proceeding to pick Rowe up for a POWERBOMB into Matt! As Matt writhes in agony, the hulking tandem haul him right back up, this time onto their shoulders for a Double Lawn Dart attempt, only for Matt to slip out and rock Hanson with a SUPERKICK! HANSON SHRUGS IT OFF! Lariats from the two men turn Matt inside out, before they grab him by the throat and plant him with a DOUBLE CHOKESLAM! Hanson hooks the leg deep in the cover, but Matt remains ever-resilient, weakly kicking out! Hanson pushes his shoulders down to the mat again, this time sitting on him, trying to secure the victory, only for Matt to kick out again! Shaking his head, Hanson roars at Matt that he should’ve stayed down, before hurling him into the corner and pancaking him with a Stinger Splash! An EXPLODER SUPLEX follows suit, before Hanson plants him with a HANDSOME SLAM! 1…2…MATT KICKS OUT A THIRD TIME! Livid, Hanson slaps the taste out of Matt’s mouth, leaving him lying like roadkill as he tags Rowe back in to have a go at putting Matt away, Raymond eagerly grabbing a lock of Matt’s hair and going for his patented knee strike, only for Matt to break free and Superkick his knee!
As Rowe drops down, Matt frenetically goes to make a dive to tag Nick in, who reaches out as far as he can whilst holding the tag rope, not wanting to see his own flesh and blood get tortured any further, but a HEADBUTT to the spine drops Matt to his knees! Matt feebly tries to fire up a comeback, connecting forearms to Rowe’s face, only for Raymond to lean into each one invitingly, eating them like they were breakfast! Matt shakes his arm out, the rock-solid head of Rowe only inflicting further damage on him, but the moment he lowers his defence, he’s greeted with a swift kick to the calf, a knee to the solar plexus, and a DISCUS PUNCH! Like a rabid animal, Rowe mounts Matt in a Lou Thesz Press and hammers him with brutal forearms of his own, almost knocking Matt out right there and then as tears almost stream from Nick’s eyes as he yells to Rowe to stop, but there’s nothing he can do as the giant turns around with a bloodthirsty grin and beckons him to suffer the same fate! Nick turns away, unable to watch the mauling taking place in the ring as Rowe returns to bludgeoning Matt with vicious forearms! Usually it’s Matt who’s waiting on the apron for the hot tag whilst Nick absorbs punishment, but the Raiders have smartly turned the table on them, leaving them broken and vulnerable.
As Matt is left in a limp heap in the centre of the ring, having had the stuffing beaten out of him, Rowe turns to Nick and taunts him, asking him what he’s going to do to save his brother, only to answer the question for him, telling him there’s nothing he can do. The star player of the team doesn’t have much longer to go, and suddenly Nick isn’t so strong as he makes himself out to be. Rowe says that Nick has a chance to save his brother by throwing in the towel. But if he doesn’t, the next time he’ll see him is in the hospital. Fearful of the safety of someone he loves so dearly, Nick forlornly retrieves a towel from his back pocket as Rowe looks on with glee… only to toss it out into the crowd, shaking his head! Rowe looks at him with disgust as Nick stomps his feet on the apron, prompting the entire arena to stand on their feet, all yelling words of support for Matt, Nick begging for the tag! Matt slowly comes to his senses and uses all his energy to try to get back to his knees, only for Rowe to grab a lock of his hair and slap him in his face, before tagging in Hanson, telling him to end it!
He gets Matt up in position for a German Suplex as Hanson goes for the SPRINGBOARD LARIAT… MATT COUNTERS WITH A VICTORY ROLL ON ROWE, HANSON MISSING! 1…2…NOOOO! BUT MATT USES THE MOMENTUM TO LAUNCH HIMSELF INTO HIS CORNER AND TAG IN NICK! Nick bursts out of his corner like a house on fire, swiping Rowe off his feet and pummelling him into the canvas with lefts and rights! Hanson tries to pull him off, only for Nick to drop him with a SUPERKICK! He goes back to Rowe as the crowd cheer for the comeuppance, Nick letting out all his pent-up aggression on the Death Rowe! He gets him in position for a Bulldog, racing across the ring and taking out Hanson at the same time with a Lariat! Both members of the War Raiders roll out to the floor, Nick meeting them out there with a SKY TWISTER PRESS! He rolls Rowe back inside the ring and blasts him with a SHINING WIZARD! 1…2…KICK OUT! Yet he still doesn’t slow down as Matt watches on in awe, Nick wringing out Rowe’s arm and connecting a ROPE WALK HURRICANRANA! Nick drums his chest to fire himself up, before turning to Matt, eyes burning with determination, the two brothers nodding to each other as Nick tags Matt back in!
As Rowe leans in the ropes, Hanson gives him a blind tag before hopping back down to ringside to survey the action, the Bucks not realising and continuing as normal with Nick backflipping to trap Rowe’s head with his boots, allowing Matt to nail him precisely with a Single Leg Dropkick! Matt heads to the top turnbuckle, delivering a CORKSCREW NECKBREAKER on Rowe onto Nick’s knee, before floating into the cover, but the referee doesn’t count to his surprise! Bulldozing in from behind is Hanson, taking out both members of the Bucks with Shoulder Tackles! He sends them into opposite corners, before racing back and forth between them and stiffing them with an endless barrage of Corner Lariats! As he finally slows down to a stuttering pace, he extends his arms in triumph, only to eat a SUPERKICK to the back of the head by Nick! He shakes it off and turns around with fury, only to receive another, this time from Matt! For a moment it seems like he’s about to go down, yet he tanks through it once more, causing the Bucks to line up and go for an EARLY-ONSET ALZHEIMER’S- HANSON EVADES WITH A HANDSPRING AND TAKES BOTH MEN OUT WITH FLYING BACK ELBOWS!
Taking Nick to the top rope, Hanson hammers him with punches, Nick fighting back with all his might, but Hanson is simply stronger, delivering one final knockout blow to the jaw that leaves Nick teetering precariously! Hanson hooks him in to try for a SUPERPLEX, only for Matt to come from underneath and LIFT HANSON OFF THE ROPES, CARRYING HIM ON HIS SHOULDERS! POWERBOMB INTO NICK’S KNEES! Matt hauls Hanson back onto his shoulders and nails a ROLLING FIREMAN’S CARRY SLAM, followed by Nick landing a 450° SPLASH, and a MOONSAULT from Matt! MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK! 1…2…HANSON GETS THE SHOULDER UP! So close, but Hanson will not stay down! The Bucks decide to finish him off, getting Hanson in position for a MELTZER DRIVER… ROWE RETURNS AND BLASTS NICK WITH A SHOTGUN KNEE OUT OF THE AIR! Hanson turns Matt’s grip around and tosses him to Rowe, who holds him by the waist as Hanson hits the ropes … GERMAN SUPLEX/SPRINGBOARD LARIAT COMBO! 1…2…MATT WITH A FOOT ON THE ROPE! The Raiders don’t waste a second though, Rowe picking Matt right back up, this time in a Belly-to-Back Suplex position as Hanson heads to the top… FALLOUT MURDERS MATT! 1…2…NICK BREAKS IT UP! NICK SAVES THE MATCH!
Nick takes it to both juggernauts with punches back and forth, but they stand as still as statues, biding through it, Nick quickly realising his shots are having no effect! He gulps as the Modern-Day Vikings close in on him from either end – DOUBLE HEADBUTTS SANDWICH NICK! Rowe scoops him into his arms as Hanson sets Matt on his shoulders, connecting a POWERSLAM/POWERBOMB COMBO! With the champions downed on the mat, there’s only one move left to pull out the book for Hanson and Rowe to secure the victory. Rowe tags himself in, before tossing Nick to the side and focusing his attention on the legal man, picking Matt back to his feet and popping him up into the air as Hanson gets into position, the two going for the CALL OF FENRIR… MATT COUNTERS WITH A POISONED FRANKENSTEINER TO HANSON! NICK JUMPS TO HIS FEET TO DELIVER ONE TO ROWE AS WELL! DOUBLE SUPERKICKS CONNECT! THE RAIDERS RETURN A SHOTGUN KNEE AND A SPIN KICK OF DOOM! ALL 4 MEN ARE DOWN! As the crowd goes insane for the tag team action, the two teams gradually pull themselves back up to their feet, holding each other for support, before going hog wild with forearms!
Rowe nails a DISCUS PUNCH to Matt! Matt scores a SUPERKICK on Hanson! Hanson bags a LARIAT on Nick! Nick lands a SUPERKICK on Rowe! Hanson HANDSPRINGS off the ropes… INTO A DOUBLE SUPERKICK! Rowe hits the ropes and takes the Bucks out with a DOUBLE SHOTGUN KNEE STRIKE! Picking both up, he attempts a DOUBLE GERMAN SUPLEX, but they break free, before blasting him with a DOUBLE SUPERKICK! TWO MORE FOR HANSON, SENDING HIM TUMBLING OUT THE RING! AND A SECOND PAIR FOR ROWE! IT’S A SUPERKICK PARTY IN BROOKLYN! The Bucks head to the top rope, helping each other balance, before connecting stereo 450° SPLASHES! 1…2…KICK OUT! ROWE STILL HAS FIGHT LEFT IN HIM! Matt tags Nick in and gets Rowe up in Tombstone Position whilst Nick heads to the apron… MELTZER DRIVER! BOTH MEN DIVE INTO COVER! 1…2..3! THE BUCKS HAVE PREVAILED, THEY’RE STILL THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!
The Young Bucks (c) def. The War Raiders to retain the Infinity Tag Team Championships (27:50)
As the bell is rang, and The Young Bucks exhaustedly celebrate, they’re joined by AJ Styles, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Darby Allin, Cara Noir, Joey Janela, and Jurassic Express, Bulletproof in its entirety standing tall just like they did earlier on in the night, however, the celebrations are stopped when the theme music of a certain Prince plays, and the dangerous Dead Rose Clique makes their way down to the ring! Finn Balor, Lio Rush, PAC, The Authors of Pain, Damian Priest, and Lars Sullivan all rush down to the ring, their intentions to fight clear, and a massive brawl breaks out between the two factions, the crowd popping huge for this amazing clash, and the majority of the fight is brought to ringside, leaving Balor, PAC, Styles, and Tanahashi inside the ring. But on the outside, everyone is taken out by Darby Allin who launches himself onto all the other men below with a Coffin Drop, wiping out everyone, yet suddenly, a new piece of theme music plays, one unheard in Infinity before, and the Brooklyn audience goes insane when they hear it…

*coin shit*

The crowd cannot believe their eyes: one of the most legendary wrestlers ever has just made his debut in the greatest wrestling brand ever, and he’s not alone, as out walks Empyrean Champion Hiromu Takahashi, Cody Rhodes, Moustache Mountain, and Jeff Hardy, and all 4 men in the ring have stopped fighting, eyes wide as they watched this 6-man team enter the ring. They easily take out the 4, Okada hitting Tanahashi with a Rainmaker to stand tall, and they gave the audience some more time to sink in the moment. Kazuchika is handed a microphone and stands in the centre of the ring, staring down the hard cam as the other 5 stand next to him, before uttering three words that would change Infinity forever:

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2021.02.16 03:00 ImThatWrestlingGuy Infinity Wrestling: Blackout VI - 14th of February 2020, Part 2

The broadcast returns with Blackout's theme song: Heavydirtysoul by twenty one pilots, but it soon fades out to the theme song of Keith Lee plays, and the crowd get ready for a wrestling spectacle.

Keith Lee vs PAC
One competitor who’s continued to wow the crowd week after week is the Limitless One, producing clinics against whoever he’s faced off – be it Hiroshi Tanahashi, Adam Cole, or AJ Styles. Though his win-loss record doesn’t quite do him justice so much, there’s no doubt judging by his body language as he confidently strides to the ring that he’s prepared to show up and show out, no matter who steps up against him. But it’s not just anyone he’s pitted against, as the man who debuted last week and pinned him in tag team action, PAC, is here for Round 2, a steely intensity emanating from the Jordie as he stalks his prey on his way to the ring, bedraggled hair flowing down his shoulders and a sick sneer etched on his visage upon locking eyes with Lee. The bitter taste of defeat still hangs in the mouth of Keith, who’d love nothing more than to wash it out by giving the Black Arrow a taste of his own medicine, both men sizing each other up in the centre of the ring as the bell rings, a non-chaotic start to the match, unlike last week.
PAC jaw-jacks condescendingly at his foe, mocking the big man for falling so easily last week, before promising to give him a second screening of his defeat as he gives him a few shoves to the face. Lee simply puffs out his chest and holds his chin high, towering over his smaller foe. He holds out his arms as if to go for a Grizzly Magnum, PAC flinching, only for Lee to give him a rough pat on the chest with a smirk on his face, causing an annoyed PAC to retaliate with a spur of kicks to the trunk-like legs of Keith, firing off the first offensive volley as he tries to take Lee off his feet! Lee swings for a Lariat, but PAC slips underneath and nips a shot to the calf, ducking and weaving around the extremities of his adversary to score kicks all over! Lee charges like a bull at PAC, who stands in the corner, his meaty paws only meeting air as PAC evades his grasp, instead Dropkicking him into the turnbuckle! A Flying Forearm follows suit, PAC quickly jumping up to the middle rope to hammer Lee with punches to the head, only for Lee to attempt to turn it around into a Powerbomb!
He eats a series of boots to the back of his head though, causing him to drop PAC like a hot potato, the Jordie rebounding off the ropes and leaping up for a Hurricanrana… only to get POUNCED out of the air across the ring by Lee! PAC grabs the back of his head, the whiplash from connecting with the mat sending jolts of pain running through it, leaving him unprepared for an incoming Corner Splash! Lee rolls back across the ring, before coming back with a Corner Lariat that drops PAC back down to the canvas, a Slingshot Somersault Senton flattening him like a pancake! Lee hits the ropes again, only to receive a Snap Basement Dropkick to the knee from PAC to halt him in his tracks, the Brutal Brit connecting a Shotgun variant to the chest, only for Lee to remain on his feet, prompting PAC to head to the top, hailing down with a Missile Dropkick right on the button! Lee still manages to remain upright, but not for long, PAC paying caution to the wind once more with a second Missile Dropkick, this time to the back, finally felling the beast! Back to the mat, he finds himself on the receiving end of a MIDDLE ROPE PHOENIX SPLASH! 1…2…KICK OUT!
PAC continues his game plan of striking the legs as he tries to keep Lee down on the mat, but it’s an impossible feat at this juncture of the match, the Limitless One showing his athleticism as he kips back up, albeit on slightly shaky legs from the damage. He beckons PAC to bring his best shot, PAC roaring with a Lariat, only for Lee to duck under and hit the ropes, PAC falling flat to the mat as Lee vaults over, before Lee lays flat, but PAC catches him with a Mushroom Stomp! He comes back off the ropes, but Lee returns to his feet, scooping him off the mat and onto his shoulders, teasing a Supernova, only for PAC to wriggle free, another Basement Dropkick connecting to the knee, before he scores a Leg Lariat! Securing the waist of the Blackzilla, he teases a German Suplex, but he’s met with back elbows, Lee trying to shrug him off, only for PAC to try again, hauling Lee off the mat and back to his feet, Lee attempting to block once more, yet PAC powers through, dumping Lee with a DEADLIFT GERMAN SUPLEX!
Lee bounces off the mat and straight back to his feet, stunning PAC with a Rolling Elbow, followed by a massive Overhead Belly-to-Belly Suplex into the corner! A Swinging Scoop Powerslam plants him on the mat, Lee forcing PAC’s shoulders down for 2, before he delivers a MONSTROUS GERMAN SUPLEX of his own! PAC is dazed, matters only worsened by a Discus Punch that catches him bang on the money, Lee springing off the ropes to go for a Jumping Hurricanrana as he tries to get flashy… but he’s caught! SITOUT POWERBOMB FROM PAC! 1…2…NOOOO! PAC grabs his back in agony, all the strength it took to haul up the 340-pounder clearly showing, yet he still pulls himself together, grabbing Lee’s head to drag him back to his feet, landing a few forearms to the head, before placing a Spin Kick to the gut and a Dropsault! He tries for an Enzuigiri, but his leg is caught by Lee, causing him to try with the other instead, only to be turned over as it misses, Lee grabbing the waist and attempting to dump PAC on his shoulders again! PAC lands on his feet though, racing up to the top rope and soaring off with a Moonsault into a TORNADO DDT! STANDING CORKSCREW MOONSAULT SENTON- SNIPED BY BOOTS FROM LEE! PAC sprints at his opponent… SPIRIT BOMB! 1…2…PAC GETS THE SHOULDER UP!
So close, yet so far, Lee almost sealing the deal with a nail-biting near-fall! Not giving up just yet, Lee snaps PAC over his knee with a Backbreaker, before throwing him up to his feet and thudding the life out of his soul with a GRIZZLY MAGNUM! PAC crumples to his knees, the shotgun resonating off his chest, only for Keith to pick him up for seconds, PAC stopping him with a kick to the calf, instead trying for a Slingshot Cutter, but he’s caught, Lee planting him with a Swinging Reverse STO! PAC downed on the mat, Lee heads to the top rope, signalling for a DOOMSAULT… BUT NOBODY’S HOME! PAC launches himself at Lee’s waist, popping the hips for a SNAP RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX! Lee rolls through, delivering one of his own! PAC attempts a Roundhouse Kick, only for Lee to duck under, who lashes out with a Jumping Back Kick, PAC jumping over and blasting him with a SUPERKICK, dropping him to his knees! A second catches him flush on the jaw, PAC going to defeat him the same way as last week as he heads to the top, soaring for a BLACK ARROW… LEE GETS THE KNEES UP!
He floats through, getting PAC up for a SUPERNOVA- PAC COUNTERS INTO THE BRUTALISER! Lee’s eyes pop out of his skull as he’s introduced to an all-new world of hurt in the lethal submission, struggling to break free, only to power back to his feet, attempting to complete the Supernova, but PAC hammers him with shots to the neck and strengthens his grip, squeezing the air out of Keith’s lungs, who slowly drops to the mat, doing all he can to alleviate the pressure! PAC has a look of malice in his eyes as he shrieks at Lee to tap, but the big man shakes his head, though continuing to fade, arms going limp and flopping to the mat, PAC putting on even more pressure… RED SHOES DECLARES THAT LEE HAS PASSED OUT!
PAC def. Keith Lee (19:35)
Finn Balor joined PAC, in the ring, the Dead Rose Clique stablemates celebrating PAC’s first singles match in the company, yet they weren’t done, continuing the assault on Keith after the match, and Balor set up for a Coup De Grace on his Genocide opponent, yet he was saved by Cody Rhodes! Cody rushed down to the ring to thunderous cheers, wielding a chair as he chased off the DRC, and PAC and Finn retreated away in the crowd, Cody chucking the chair to the outside as Keith clutched at his shoulder in the corner. Cody demanded he have a mic, and he challenged PAC to a match at Genocide, the audience popping huge as they heard this, yet PAC left before Cody could get an answer, and Rhodes helped Lee to the back, the audience electric and ready for the next bout.

Shayna and Bianca Split-Screen Interview
The genocidal rampage of the Infinity Women’s Champion has been the talk of the town since the main event of the first-ever show, where Shayna Baszler hospitalised Rhea Ripley to savagely claim her prize. The Nightmare wasn’t the only one to take a trip to the infirmary though, as Bianca Belair also found herself on the receiving end of the Submission Magician’s mean streak. Returning 3 weeks ago with a new fire lit under her, the incendiary flames of war between the two are set to combust in the main event of Genocide this weekend when Baszler puts her title on the line against Belair. Before they get there though, the two have open mics to say whatever they wish to each other via a split-screen, the women locked in separate rooms guarded by security to ensure they even make it to the PPV instead of ripping each other’s throats out beforehand.
Bianca starts, saying that she still remembers New Dawn, where Baszler not only took the opportunity away from the EST of becoming the inaugural Women’s Champion, but also her eyesight for a while, and almost her career. Since that moment, her perspective on stepping into a ring has drastically changed, because now, not only is she fighting for success and glory, she’s also fighting for her life. So when she faces Shayna at Genocide, the Queen of Spades will have to kill her before she even dares to put the executioner’s axe at her neck, because until her last breath leaves her, she will continue swinging. She knows she won’t leave without Shayna trying to break something else in her body, but she isn’t leaving without a trinket of her own this time, be it the Women’s Title, or a bone from Baszler’s carcass. She has no doubt she might even need to leave on a stretcher, but that’s how far she’s willing to go. That’s how much this victory means to her. At Genocide, her life is on the line, and she doesn’t plan to leave a dead woman.
Baszler cackles and calls Belair an idiot. Everyone has a plan until they cross her. Then, that plan gets picked apart, letter by letter, with each one getting crushed between her fingertips until its all dust and ashes, just like the bones of the fool who crossed her. Since the moment she’s stepped into Infinity, she’s been untouchable. She’s on a 5 fight win streak, soon to become 6, and there’s no stopping it. You know why? Because she’s inevitable. You can be a 20-year veteran and step into the ring with her, but you’re going to leave looking like a rookie, because she’ll victimise you and tear you limb from limb. Belair, she’s just lucky she didn’t leave too badly scarred at New Dawn, or otherwise, she wouldn’t have the guts to even try a second time. In fact, this time she might as well do Bianca a favour and disembowel her, so she won’t waste her time trying a third. She’s going to start by ripping out her intestines, before stomping her heart into a million pieces, and then finally the best part – choking the life out of her lungs. By the time she’s done with Belair, someone will have to call animal cruelty services on her because she'll have put down a bitch. Against her, you either tap, nap, or snap. Bianca has a chance to tap out right now and save herself from fighting for her life against the God of Thunder. But if she doesn’t, no amount of health insurance will save her from the beating she’s going to get at the hands of the Infinity Women’s Champion. That’s not a threat, that’s reality.

Dead Rose Clique (Damian Priest & Lars Sullivan) vs Darby Allin & ???
Before Darby Allin and Damian Priest settle their issues at Genocide when the Daredevil defends his Oblivion Championship against the Archer of Infamy, it’s time for some tag team action to serve as a preview to what could go down at the PPV, the domineering duo of Priest and Lars Sullivan coming out first to represent Dead Rose Clique, brooding looks of intensity smattered across their faces as they look to break the bones of anyone that defies them. Riding out next on his skateboard is Darby Allin to massive cheers, the Bulletproof member one of the hottest talents going in Infinity, winning the first-ever main event of Blackout and coming off a successful title defence last week against Sullivan. Title slung over his shoulders, he comes to a halt at ringside, pointing at the entrance ramp to summon his highly hyped-up mystery partner for the night, speculation buzzing as to who it could be…
Darkness overcomes the arena as the soft trickles of an organ can be heard, a thin spotlight forming on the stage that transfixes the gazes of the onlookers. Hushed, excited whispers can be heard, the crowd tingling with anticipation as they realise just who is walking out from behind the curtain. Dressed in a pair of black tights with a wing-like cape drawing out like the feathers of a peacock behind them, sporting a prism mask, the light finally hits them to reveal… CARA NOIR! One of the fastest rising stars in the UK scene over the past couple years, the former World Champion is here in Infinity! Darby is caught off guard as Cara is showered with an even greater round of applause, an electric atmosphere in Full Sail as one of the most captivating entrances today unfurls right before everyone’s eyes, Noir gliding gracefully down to the ring alongside Allin, before he finally does his signature Black Swan pose in the centre of the ring, streamers hailing down from all corners of the arena to welcome the newest signing to the roster!
Dead Rose Clique (Damian Priest & Lars Sullivan) vs Darby Allin & Cara Noir
The two teams ready themselves in their respective corners, but as Darby and Noir are busy communicating between themselves, Priest sees the perfect opportunity to strike, jumping Darby before the bell, the challenger at Genocide clearly not willing to waste any time to get his hands on the Oblivion Champion as he tosses him into the centre of the ring, the bell ringing as the two go blow-for-blow in a hot start to the match! Priest tries for the Reckoning right out the gates, wanting to make quick work of Darby, only for the Invisible Man to race up the ropes and try for a Coffin Drop, Damian catching it and going right back into the Reckoning attempt, Allin spinning out and stiffing him with a HEADBUTT! Rocked, Priest backs away whilst Darby shakes his head to regain his bearings, before grabbing the arm of Priest and securing a Springboard Arm Drag! A Shotgun Dropkick launches Priest into the turnbuckles, Allin racing at him to deliver a backsplash, only for Priest to move out of the way, catching him with a Jumping Back Elbow in the corner instead, before tossing him out the corner and taking his head off with a JUMPING CORKSCREW ROUNDHOUSE KICK!
Allin drops to the mat like a sack of potatoes, grabbing at his head as a look of malicious intent flashes on Priest’s face, going over to tag in Sullivan, who’s clearly raring to have another go at Allin after last week. Priest Irish Whips Allin into Lars, who plants him with a thunderous Pop-Up Powerslam! Delivering a Biel Toss into the corner, Lars lands a Body Avalanche, followed by a Delayed Vertical Suplex, letting all the blood rush to Darby’s head as he holds him upside-down for a good 30 seconds before he brings him back down to the mat back-first! The Freak licks his lips, hungry to dish out further punishment to his victim as he tags Priest back in, connecting a Backbreaker, before feeding Darby to the Punisher, who drops him with a SOUTH OF HEAVEN! 1…2…KICK OUT! Priest looks up to see Noir staring him down with a stoic expression, Damian returning a smirk as he continues pummelling his foe, but as he goes for the Broken Arrow, Allin escapes and lands on his feet, catching him off guard with a SPRINGBOARD BACKSPLASH!
Damian quickly tags Sullivan back in, but Allin returns the favour to him as well, a Standing Diamond Dust taking him out, Lars rolling to the outside to regroup with his tag partner, prompting Darby to ready himself to take flight, only to pause as he hits the ropes, slowly turning to face Cara who has his hand extended for a tag! Allin cups his ear to the crowd as he asks if they want to see Noir in action, an overwhelmingly positive response prompting him to tag Cara in, the two face-painted individuals standing side-by-side, before taking flight with Suicide Dives to wipe out Priest and Sullivan on the outside! Darby deals with Priest, the two brawling, while Noir rolls Sullivan back in, 5StarsLars fuming as he comes face-to-face with the Blackbelt, reaching out to grab him, only to eat a stiff yet also elegant Shoot Kick to the chest! Sullivan is staggered as Noir rallies with kicks, a Savate Kick doubling him over, before an Axe Kick crashes against the back of his head and a Foot Sweep takes him down, Cara blasting him with a PENALTY KICK that sends shockwaves through the arena! Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!
Getting hold of Sullivan’s neck, he twists him around, before suddenly spiking him down against his shoulder for a Neckbreaker! Noir secures the waist, showing his ungodly strength as he effortlessly hauls Lars up for a Snap German Suplex! Tagging Darby back in, Noir wrings out his arm, allowing Allin to connect a Springboard Dropkick to it as he tries to set up his patented Fujiwara Armbar, before connecting punches to the hand as Lars fights back and performing joint manipulation! Noir shushes the crowd, pin-drop silence in the atmosphere, signalling for Darby to snap the fingers of Sullivan! He still finds himself unsuccessful to apply the submission though, Sullivan managing to shake him off and lumber back to his corner in retreat, tagging Priest back in for Darby and Damian to go at it once more, the two scouting each other before their eventual bout, going counter for counter! Priest tries for the RAZOR’S EDGE, but Allin turns it into a CRUCIFIX DRIVER, before calling for a Springboard Crossbody, only to be blasted out of the air with a Discus Big Boot, followed by a BROKEN ARROW! Priest tries for the RECKONING once more, yet it’s turned around again, this time into a LEG-TRAP SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB! 1…2…NOOOO!
Allin tags in Noir as he takes a breather, introducing Priest to the unorthodox and enigmatic star, Cara immediately rocking him with a SWAN WOO! Scoring a Superkick under his jaw, Noir lugs him up for a MADAM GUILLOTINE, GETTING ALL OF THE GUILLOTINE BRAINBUSTER! 1…2…NO DICE! But Noir wastes no time, flinging himself at Damian as he wraps his arms around his neck to secure the BLACK SWAN! REAR NAKED CHOKE IS IN! Priest fights for his life as Noir goes to put him to sleep, but size pays dividends as he backs Cara into the corner, squashing him against the turnbuckle… ONLY FOR NOIR TO STAND ON THE SECOND ROPE AND LOCK IN THE UPSTAGED – THE ELEVATED SLEEPER! Priest yells in surprise, wild back elbows eventually making the break, Damian choking on air as he tries to replenish his stock of oxygen, but he doesn’t leave Noir unattended for too long, using the elevation against him as he launches him to the mat with a RAZOR’S EDGE! Priest follows up with a RUNNING CURB STOMP, before planting Cara with the RECKONING! Before he can cover, he’s taken out with a COFFIN DROP from Darby, only for Sullivan to inject himself into the carnage as well, planting Allin with a FREAK ACCIDENT!
Dragging Priest to his corner, he tags himself in, before going after the legal man, Noir, lifting him up for a GUTWRENCH RUNNING SIT-OUT POWERBOMB… NOIR TURNS IT AROUND INTO THE BLACK SWAN! Sullivan runs around the ring like a lunatic as he tries to get Cara off, even backing the Blackbelt into his own corner in blind desperation, but that proves to be a major mistake as Allin, having gingerly dragged himself back to his corner, tags himself in unbeknownst to Sullivan, Lars continuing to try shake off Noir, who finally lets go. Satisfaction overcomes Sullivan’s face, only for it to drop right back as it dawns on him what has occurred when he turns around and sees his demon from last week facing him, Darby poised on the top rope, Sullivan with nowhere to go… COFFIN DROP! 1…2…3!
Darby Allin & Cara Noir def. Dead Rose Clique (Damian Priest & Lars Sullivan) (17:15)

Adam Cole vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Capping off the night, it is set to be one heck of a dream match as Rogue Glory’s Leader, Adam Cole (BAY-BAY), takes on Bulletproof’s living legend, Hiroshi Tanahashi, the two factions having been engaged in an aggressive war since Infinity’s first show. With two of the absolute best to step into the ring going head-to-head, the debate will become a little clearer as to which side is superior. Summoned by the sleazy tunes of ‘Something For You’, Cole makes his way out first, complete with a leather jacket, shades and a Cheshire Cat grin. Shouts of ‘ADAM COLE BAY-BAY’ light up the building as Cole poses in the ring, a swathe of streamers making the occasion even more momentous. There’s High Energy in the atmosphere as the Ace of the Universe enters next to his iconic theme, a fan-favourite in any ring is Tanahashi as women squeal his name and respectful applause accompanies him to the squared circle, the ring filling up with more streamers than you can imagine upon Tana stepping foot inside, Cole rolling his eyes from the corner. The two men come face-to-face as duelling chants sound, before the bell rings to kick off the mega main event!
It’s a rapid exchange of lock-ups between the two technically gifted men to start the match, both competitors jockeying for position as they look to get the vaunted advantage in the early goings, hoping to dictate the pace of the match. Cole manages to back Tanahashi into the corner, who holds his arms up, requesting the clean break. Adam teases defiance, only to give him a pat on the cheek as he backs away, Tanahashi shaking it off so as to not let it get to him, before engaging in another collar-and-elbow tie-up with Cole, who slips into a side headlock, pulling Tana down to the mat and working him over. Tana manages to buck Cole off, before running the ropes to get some momentum behind him. Cole drops down, before teasing jumping over as Hiroshi comes around, only to move out the way and dust his hands, leaving Tana to run the ropes solo, Adam lounging in the corner, yawning. Yet as soon as Tana comes to a standstill, Cole pounces straight away, lining up a SUPERKICK! Tana gets his hands up to block, but Cole fakes him out, his true intentions being a shot to the deteriorating knees of the Ace of the Universe!
As Tana buckles, Cole hits the ropes and teases a LAST SHOT as Hiroshi braces himself, only to slow down to a jog and drop down to put Tana in another headlock, wanting to frustrate the Ace as he takes his sweet time with him. Yet he switches his game plan on a dime once more, instead whipping Tana into the corner with great velocity, the High Flying Star yelping out in pain as his back collides with the tough surface, Adam rocking him with a Corner Big Boot, before sliding out the ring as he trips Tana up, proceeding to ram his legs against the steel post! Tana cries out for him to stop, only to get him in a Wheelbarrow and toss him into the apron with a WHEELBARROW SUPLEX! Rolling Tana back inside the ring, he hooks the targeted leg for the cover, laxly counting along with the referee, but it’s only for 2, prompting Cole to return to the leg with stomps! He works the limb over in the ropes, before standing Tana up, scoring a slap across his face, Tana fighting back with forearms, only to be stopped with a Gamengiri and a Jumping Neckbreaker, a CORONA CRASH following suit! 1…2…KICK OUT!
Cole lands a Middle Rope Diving Knee Drop to the leg, before sending Tana limping into the corner, rearing up for a Corner Splash, only for Tana to get out of dodge, lighting him up with a Dragon-Shiki Harite! Tana shuts Cole down with a Half-and-Half Suplex, before landing his signature Jumping Elbow Drop and Somersault Senton, scoring a 2 count! Rocking Cole with further forearms, he lays him out on the mat before heading up to the second rope, attempting a Diving Sunset Flip, but there’s no water in the pond! Cole races to the second rope himself, teasing a PANAMA SUNRISE, but he’s stopped in his tracks, Tana pushing him off to the apron, before threading his leg through the ropes for a DRAGON SCREW LEG WHIP! Cole tries to walk off the pain on the floor as he gingerly steps about, Tana using the time to drag himself to the top rope, in perfect position as Cole turns around to deliver a HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE OUTSIDE! Adam isn’t the only one to be left hurting after the move though, Tana absorbing some of the damage in his knees, yet he powers on, rolling Cole inside as he pulls himself to the apron, only to be treated to a SEESAW PILEDRIVER! 1…2…NOOO!
Another close count for Cole as Tana just hangs on, Cole rocks him with a SHINING WIZARD, before hoisting him up on his shoulders, calling for an Ushigoroshi, but Tana slips behind, trying for a Dragon Suplex, only to turn it into a DARUMA-SHIKI GERMAN SUPLEX as Cole tries to escape! 1…2…COLE KICKS OUT! Tana baits Adam in, who nabs a Saito Suplex before calling for a Calf Kick, only for the Once in a Century Talent to secure the leg and land another Dragon Screw! Cole shouts out in agony, blasting Tana with a CORONA KICK with the other leg in frustration, before popping the hips to land a FLORIDA KEY, but he’s unable to get the bridge! He lines a dazed Tana up for a LAST SHOT, only for Hiroshi to duck under, before going to well again with the Dragon Screw, but Cole has it scouted this time, nailing an Enzuigiri! On their knees out of exhaustion, the two slug it out with forearms, before supporting each other back to their feet, trading kicks to the legs, only for Cole to spit in Tana’s face and exclaim that he’s better, blasting him with a SUPERKICK AND COLLAPSING INTO COVER! 1…2…TANA SURVIVES! INTO THE FIGURE-FOUR LEG LOCK FROM ADAM!
Cole has the submission applied, Tana in dangerous territory as Adam is desperate to try and tap him out, doing all the can to bridge with his arms and heighten the pressure, even using the ropes as Red Shoes is busy checking whether Tana is good to continue or not, craftily releasing his grip as soon as Red Shoes turns around to check, before clamping back on right as he turns around, leaving Tana’s knees in peril! The Ace of the Universe is able to turn around the submission though, the punishment now backfiring on Cole as he scampers to the ropes to get the break, also sustaining some damage of his own! Tana secures his arms around Cole’s neck, trying for Twist and Shout, only for Cole to hoist Tana onto his shoulders, but Tana slips back out, connecting a TWIST AND SHOUT! He hits the ropes, coming back for a SLING BLADE, but a RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX folds him like an accordion, Adam muscling Hiroshi up for a KNEECAP BRAINBUSTER!
Hooking the arms, he looks to pay homage to an old friend as he goes for a PACKAGE PILEDRIVER, only for Tana to escape, instead booting Cole in the midsection and getting him in Powerbomb position, before picking him up and stepping over the arms, now Tana trying to give respects, but Adam has it scouted! But what he doesn’t have scouted is a FALL IN LOVE FROM TANAHASHI! 1…2…COLE WITH THE SHOULDER UP! ALL-OUT CONNECTS! 1…2…ANOTHER KICK OUT! Tana races across the ring as best as his legs can support him, but it’s right into a POP-UP POWERBOMB FROM COLE! INTO A SINGLE LEG CRAB! Cole sits deep in the hold, doing his best to force the tap out from his opponent, but he can’t keep it secured for too long as his own leg starts to give out, forced to relinquish the hold. As he holds onto Tana’s legs though, the Ace of the Universe kicks him away into the corner, Cole rebounding with a LAST SHOT- TANA TAKES THE BRUNT OF IT AND ROLLS THROUGH INTO A STYLES CLASH! 1…2…YET ANOTHER NEAR-FALL! TANA SECURES THE TEXAS CLOVERLEAF!
Putting it all on the line to take down Cole ahead of the PPV, Tana has his signature submission in as Cole writhes and wails, both men’s legs having sustained considerable amounts of punishment, but even Tana can’t keep it in forever, doing so much as keeping Adam from the ropes, though eventually collapsing as he too fails to stand any longer. It’s back to a stalemate between the two as they slug it out, Cole lashing out for a SUPERKICK, but the marksman’s arrow falters, allowing Tana to blast him with an open palm strike to the face! Tana goes for a Twist and Shout, only for Cole to slip behind and connect a LUNGBLOWER! He grabs the legs, trying to go for a Celtic Knot, but Tana floats through into a SMALL PACKAGE for 2 ¾, before coming off the ropes with a pair of SLING BLADES and a DRAGON SUPLEX! With Cole on the mat, Tana heads up to the top rope as fast as he can, signalling to the heavens as he takes flight… ADAM WAS PLAYING POSSUM, CRACKING TANA WITH A PRECISE SUPERKICK! COLE TO THE MIDDLE ROPE – PANAMA SUNRISE! PULLING DOWN THE KNEEPAD, HE CONNECTS A LAST SHOT! 1…2…3!
Adam Cole def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (23:55)
Cole stood tall over Tanahashi, gaining even more confidence going into Genocide alongside Rogue Glory.

With Genocide tomorrow night, the Infinity roster is looking to put on a fantastic night of wrestling, so make sure to tune in LIVE from the Barclays Center!
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2021.02.06 03:40 ICON____ Rebooking SummerSlam 2019 Second Half Of The Show

Match 7: Bayley (c) v. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville - SmackDown Women's Championship
Bayley's momentum is at an all-time high heading out of Extreme Rules, having defeated both Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross in a handicap match to retain the SmackDown Women's Championship, proving to be one of SmackDown's finest in the women's division. However, her next challenger needs to be decided, for one of WWE's biggest events of the calendar year... SummerSlam. To decide this, the first SmackDown after Extreme Rules, after a majority of the program had already passed by, the General Manager of Friday night's, Shane McMahon would be seen in his office. Taking what seemed to be a highly important phone call, a few moments would pass before hanging it up.
Shortly after doing so, Shane would state that Bayley's SummerSlam opponent would be decided by a mini-tournament of sorts. Next week, we will see a Triple Threat Tag Team encounter between Fire & Desire, Bliss & Cross, & the IIconics. With the winners of that matchup, going on to face eachother in a one-on-one match in an official #1 Contenders match. Lastly the inevitable winner of that contest will challenge Bayley for her SmackDown Women's Championship at SummerSlam. He goes on to wish them all luck, because they are going to certainly need it.
The following week, the first match of this mini-tournament would take place. All three of the teams taking part in the matchup would show excellent chemistry, clearly all wanting a shot at the Women's Championship, Bliss & Cross would be taken out early on. Which would only leave Fire & Desire and the IIconics left to partake in this encounter, but the match would come to an abrupt ending when a deafening knee strike put the brakes on any hopes for the IIconics to receive a singles title shot. Both Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville would stand tall, not a bit of dissension seen between them either.
Eventually we reached the #1 Contenders match between Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville the following week. With Bayley on commentary, she wanted to scope out the competition if you will. Both of them were hesitant in fighting eachother, even early on in the encounter trying to cause a double countout, but were forced to compete against eachother as the Assistant General Manager, Paige would make it a No DQ Match. Upon this realization, they would duke it out, wanting a shot at the Women's Championship. However, eventually after several minutes a small package with all four shoulders down would cause a double pin, resulting in a draw. After this controversial result, Bayley would enter the ring, declaring that they would both would earn an opportunity this Sunday, even offering them a generous hug. But instead, would be beatdown by both her challengers!
"Golden Goddess" rings throughout the arena, signifying the arrival of two of SmackDown's finest, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville - Fire & Desire. As the crowd stands up, booing for the emerging superstars, both of them stepping from behind the curtains in the back, slowly. Both have their heads down on stage, standing in the center of attention for a moment. Finally breaking their stances, marching down to the ring. However, a familiar song rings throughout the arena. "Turn It Up" plays, and as the cheering commences, the SmackDown Women's Champion, Bayley steps out from the backstage area. Marching down to the ring, with her title draped over her shoulder, rolling into the ring, as she enters under the bottom rope.
The two begin to land stiff forearm strikes, as both Bayley & Mandy Rose start this one off. Taking no time to feel each other out, taking the time to possibly learn something from eachother. Mandy planting a knee into Bayley's ribs before going for a clothesline which the champion would inevitably dodge. Fighting back with a knee of her own, whipping her opposition into the corner. Quickly running into that same corner, looking for a running clothesline, but instead would be hit with a DDT by the challenger. The crowd start heating up as they cheer for Bayley make it to her feet and boo for Rose being the one on her feet.
Several moments later, once they both were on their feet, they would find themselves intertwined in a slugfest. Neither willing to concede any ground as the strikes increase in intensity. Bayley throwing precise and hard-hitting forearms. While Mandy unloads wild and untamed punches to Bayley's chin. As the blows start flying for a few moments, both women start to slow a little, the effect of continued impact starting to really show on their faces, taking moments to recover. Bayley eventually connects with a massive knee to her opposition's abdomen area, sending her down to the mat, followed by a massive vertical suplex. The Fire & Desire able to land a swift elbow to the challenger's gut.
Mandy is down, and after avoiding another elbow drop, the crowd are firmly still behind Bayley. But it would give the challenger a chance to tag in, to her tag team partner Sonya Deville. Rushing in now, she would land a big take-down on the champion, clutching at her midsection after the impact, Sonya goes for the pin, hoping for the best 1.....2...THR - NO! Bayley just barely got the shoulder up!! The crowd are rallying behind Bayley's resilience as Deville looks at her opponent, the anger growing more intense as the offence isn't enough to put the champion away. She gets to her feet, and strikes her challenger with a quick, but effective clothesline. She would would fall down with her opposition, as they are now both grounded.
Several moments later, Bayley is brought down to the mat with a mid kick by Sonya, and she goes for a knee attack to the ribs, but Bayley gets out of the way, just in time. Bayley heads the top rope quite quickly landing a THUNDEROUS SOARING ELBOW DROP! Deville's face turning bright red from the current agony she is in, and is feeling. Fortunately for her, Mandy Rose runs in, looking to take out the champion, but the opposite occurs, being pushed into Deville, Rose rolls under the bottom rope. Which causes Bayley TO HIT A BAYLEY-TO-BELLY! Diving for the cover... 1...2...3...!
Bayley (c) def. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville to retain the SmackDown Women's Championship (15:00)
The crowd leap to their feet and cheer as Bayley's music starts to play, and the champion has once again retained her prestigious gold. Bayley shakily gets to her feet, a small earnest smile on her ace at the crowd's adulation as the referee raises her hand before checking on both Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose. Lifting up her title one more time, then placing it around her waist.
Match 8: The Fiend v. Finn Balor - Special Singles Match
Over the past couple of months, a new mysterious figure has emerged here in the WWE. With multiple vignette, to showcase the character. While we may know half of this daunting figure, in the form of Bray Wyatt, the other half is something we have never seen before. From time-to-time, Wyatt would take us through a journey, one that would involve entering the 'Firefly Funhouse'. With his new friends, new environment & new attitude, anything is possible, and that would be shown during the weeks leading up to the Extreme Rules PPV. Making his presence known, by manipulating the multiple lights inside the arena, anytime Finn Balor was present for it.
It got even worse at Extreme Rules, when the dauting presence of "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt caused him to lose focus against Shinsuke Nakamura, ultimately losing a chance to become the Intercontinental Champion. Following this, it would become worse, losing sleep, losing motivation, sharing this out in the open, only made it worse. However, two weeks before SummerSlam, he would finally attack. Standing in the ring, Balor would be struck by a Sister Abigail, a move that we hadn't seen in quite a while. Darkness surrounding the arena once the move was hit, once the lights were turned back on, Balor would be grounded in the ring, his body expressing a massive amount of pain.
On the final show before SummerSlam could arrive, Finn Balor would take to the ring with a mic already in hand. Once entering the ring, he would place the microphone to the surface of his lips, where he could be heard quite clearly. Stating that he won't stand for the emotional pain he has been going through the past few weeks, that The Fiend has costed him the Intercontinental Championship, not only that, but his sanity aswell. He has faced Bray Wyatt before, but nothing like what he is now, or whatever is currently controlling him. He has faced immense amounts of fear before, and he won't back down from it this time, not now, not ever. Lastly demanding to take on The Fiend this Sunday at SummerSlam, demanding that he can finally seek his redemption.
The crowd would look to the stage and erupt into cheers, as the theme song for one of WWE's finest talents begins to play, the arena is clouded in darkness. Cellphone cameras all coming out as they attempt to get a glimpse of the stage in front of them, one of the only things casting light is those said cameras. As in the center of the stage, a colorful jacket turns on, bringing out one of his retro jackets for a special night. The lights turn on to reveal Finn Balor looking down the ramp with two finger guns. Determination in his eyes, as he looks around at the world surrounding him.
The Fiend now makes his way down to the ring, darkness surrounding the arena once again. This mysterious character, holds a lantern directed towards the north direction, with his head stuck in it. As he comes to the ring, Balor can't take his eyes off of him. Entering the ring slowly, the fans in attendance are understandably confused. Not just that, but genuinely surprised aswell, not knowing what to think of his daunting presence, but a stare-down would ensue eventually.
Several moments after this, they both backed up into their respective corners, as the opening bell sounded, signaling the match to officially begin. Right from the get-go, Finn Balor rushes to the corner, hitting a SHOTGUN DROPKICK! Looking to pick up the victory early on here, this would follow with climbing up to the top rope. Attempting for a COUP DE GRACE, but instead found himself caught in The Fiend's arms, Balor tried relentlessly to escape his grip, isn't able to, but instead sent down with a massive uranage. Deciding against going for the cover immediately, but instead continued upon the attack, his main target being Balor's ribs.
Finn screams in agony as his opposition's knees would be driven into his gut. Over-and-over again, still refusing to go for the cover. Looking to inflict even more damage, he picks up his opponent, looking to send him in the corner, but instead Finn ducks under, landing a swift dropkick onto the mysterious figure. Leaping off the ropes now, looking for another dropkick, this time on the grounded Fiend, but it didn't have any affect on him. Getting up straight away, executing ANOTHER URANGE! From there, a Mandible Claw is locked in, Finn screaming in pain, his arms flailing in the air. Several moments later, the pain is clearly too much, as Balor couldn't handle it any longer, evidently passing out from it, causing a technical submission for the debuting Fiend.
The Fiend def. Finn Balor (4:00)
The lights dimming, darkness would ensue once more, as The Fiend is victorious. Immediately, Finn Balor was helped by the medical personnel at hand, taking him to the back. While back in the ring, The Fiend raises both of his arms to his mid-section, clearly showcasing that a victory was inevitable. The lights turning fully back on now, The Fiend leaves the ring, grabbing his lantern, walking up the ramp just like he did to start this massacre.
Match 9: Charlotte Flair v. Trish Stratus - Special Singles Match
On the night after Extreme Rules, Trish Stratus would make a special guest appearance, revisiting her old friends from the past, and the new ones that have followed since she left. Upon pondering in the backstage area, talking to numerous old peers of hers, Charlotte Flair would walk up to her. As Trish asked those that she was speaking to, to excuse her for the time being. Quickly after this though, Flair would welcome her back, hoping that she has enjoyed her time away, and to not worry because the women's division is in good hands. Since her last match being at Evolution 2018, Flair has become even better than her, now the greatest women's wrestler in the world, or in the history of the WWE.
The following week, Trish Stratus was invited back to Monday Night RAW by the queen herself, and Stratus would oblige. Upon this recollection, the two would meet inside the ring for a special face-to-face confrontation. Charlotte would begin, stating that she wanted to invite legend back, because she meant every single word she said last week. Just to reassure her that she has nothing to worry about, and to know that she was almost as good as her back in her prime. Trish would respond saying that she isn't worried, because none of this is true. She doesn't deny that Charlotte Flair is a special kind of talent, but so was she, and Charlotte wouldn't have the accolades she has now without her.
On the final show before SummerSlam, by the request of Trish Stratus, Charlotte Flair v. Trish Stratus would be officially announced. To open u the show, a video package would begin to play, showcasing what this match meant to the latter. She would state that she needs to prove to not only the WWE Universe but to herself as well that she still has it, Charlotte has taken the WWE by storm during her absence, but she's going to prove not only to Charlotte but the rest of her peers that this is still her kingdom, not just Charlotte's.
That iconic theme song rings throughout the arena, the even more iconic "OHHHH!" has the fans in attendance jump from their respective seats. Trish Stratus comes out through the curtain, a smile shown on her face, clearly showing that the support from the crowd never gets old for this women. she slowly makes her way down the stage, really taking in the reaction from all of her fans in the arena. As she poses for the crowd in the middle of the ramp before rising up and whipping her hand in the air. Once she enters the ring, her smirk would turn into a deep stare.
Pyro goes off around "The Queen", and she smiles as she stands on the stage, amused by the reaction of the crowd. Trish is shown in the ring, staring directly at her opposition. Charlotte struts down to the ring slowly, her eyes also trained on Stratus. She hops up onto the apron and poses for the fans, but only receives disdain from them. She finally enters the ring and takes off her iconic robe, ready for the encounter. While this may be about proving herself for Trish Stratus, for Charlotte Flair this is all about backing up her words, the many that she has been spouting the past few weeks.
And we're off! The two women have the exact same idea: to circle the ring and look for an opening. There is no time for handshakes, mind games, or taunting, only time to go straight to war. Charlotte paces around the ring at a brisk pace, while Stratus does the same, sliding every once and a while to throw Flair's balance off a bit. Eventually, she goes for the attack, but Charlotte catches her in a headlock. The veteran quickly breaks out of the hold and somersaults to the other side of the ring, giving Charlotte a slight clap for her counter. Once again, the two women begin to pace, but this time she comes at Trish down low, sweeping her off his feet and immediately mounting her, raining down punches to her head.
Flair immediately grabs onto the bottom rope, forcing Trish to discontinue his assault. The former gets right back up to her feet and tells Charlotte to bring it while the opposition sits near the bottom rope, regathering herself. Slowly pulling herself back to her feet, and immediately meets Stratus with a dropkick, sending the veteran to the outside. Sprinting off the ropes, building momentum and eventually sending herself up to the top, following up with a DIVING CORKSCREW MOONSAULT! Charlotte is now fully in control of this match, and keeps the pressure up by shoving her opponent against the announcer's table, landing some devastating chops to her chest that rings throughout the arena.
She then rolls back in the ring briefly, breaking the count before rolling back out, content with dealing punishment to the veteran on the outside. She picks her up from the slumped position, throwing her back in the ring. And she would follow, looking to lock in the figure-8, however is kicked into the corner. Trish rushes tp the corner but is hit in the left leg, dropping down to one knee. Charlotte follows by hitting the other leg, now dropping down to two knees. Both legs being affected now, as Trish struggled to get up. This gave the 34 year old, the chance to take advantage, by leaping off the ropes, and EXECUTING A BEAUTIFULLY DONE NATURAL SELECTION! Diving for the cover almost immediately... 1...2...3...!
Charlotte Flair def. Trish Stratus (22:00)
And with that, Charlotte Flair has walked out of SummerSlam with a hard fought victory over Trish Stratus. But in the corner, Trish Stratus would begin to make it to her feet, as Charlotte stands tall, looking on at the fallen veteran. They engaged in a stare-down, before Trish offered a handshake to "The Queen". After a few seconds had passed, Charlotte would oblige, shaking Stratus' hand, ultimately out of respect, stating by her actions that she is passing the torch.
Match 10: Kofi Kingston (c) v. Randy Orton - WWE Championship Match Last Man Standing
To fully understand the magnitude of this rematch, we have to return to a decade earlier, specifically 2009. While Kofi Kingston was starting to really push forward in his career, it all came down to a screeching halt when a slight mistake costed him everything. Ever since then, Randy Orton has been on the top of the WWE, while Kingston was relegated to the midcard scene, until WrestleMania 35. The moment he had been waiting for, for over a decade. He finally became the WWE Champion by defeating Daniel Bryan in April of 2019, and has been on top for the past four months. He is finally happy, where he always wanted to be, until an old nightmare returned post-Extreme Rules.
At Extreme Rules, Kofi Kingston was able to retain the WWE Championship against "El Idolo" Andrade. But with that being said, five days later, Kofi Kingston would take to the ring to discuss what his future may look like from his perspective. Taking to the ring, the ovation of the crowd would put a slight smile on the face of the New Day member. Once he entered the ring, a microphone would be handed to him by the ring announcer upon request. Shortly after, he stated that with SummerSlam approaching quite quickly, his next defense was aswell. Exclaiming, that if we're not trying to improve ourselves day-by-day, then we're going about it all wrong, but before he could continue an RKO would strike out of nowhere! As Randy Orton has officially made his championship desires known.
Over the next couple of weeks, Randy Orton would taunt Kofi Kingston, making sure he remembers what happened over a decade ago. The iconic "GET UP" moment, and over the next two weeks he would attack the champion, laying him out aswell. Screaming for him to get up each time, humiliating Kingston just like in 2009. Following the attacks, on the SummerSlam go-home show, Kofi Kingston stormed into Shane McMahon's office, demanding a last man standing match against Randy Orton this upcoming Sunday. Shane obliged, stating that it's official, wishing the champion good luck.
The WWE Champion's theme plays to a welcoming, but modest reaction from the crowd. Kofi Kingston emerges from the curtain and steadily marches his way to the ring, all of his usual gestures not being showcased on this important night. Remaining cool and collected as he enters the ring, awaiting his ferocious challenger. Randy Orton makes his entrance next, stepping into the sole spotlight, as per usual, he marches down to the ring with his head help up high, looking more focused than ever. Upon entering the ring, the two would engage in a short staredown, before heading to their respective corners before the opening bell would sound.
As soon as the bell rings, both men become zoned in. They slowly approach each other and feel each other in a sequence of chain wrestling as these two haven't competed against each other since 2009. From the get-go, the match is very even as the hold advantage teeters between the two. Eventually, the two separate as they both agree to break their grips but after circling the ring a couple of times, Orton makes his move by going for a clothesline but Kingston is able to slide underneath and do a handspring back to his feet like we've seen him do many times. However, as he turns around to counter Randy, he is caught with by his opposition, sending the champion across the ring with a exploder suplex.
With Kingston down, Randy looks to end this one early, calling for the move that took out the champion just a couple of weeks ago. However, as he calls for Kofi, he would leap up, and land a picture perfect leaping clothesline. Climbing the ropes himself and where many would expect him to go for his signature cross-body, his hesitation costed him, as Orton got up just in time, scaling the ropes for a gigantic superplex. The count had begun, both men having the count of ten to make it to their feet. With Kofi getting up at 5, and Randy at 7, this still being anyone's game here.
Kofi Kingston begins to recuperate in the corner, as Orton just gets to his feet, he realizes the damage has done. With Randy in position, Kingston uses his strength to lift himself up to the top rope. Looking for his usual cross-body, connecting as the canvas echos upon impact. Then, the champion makes it to his feet once more, lining up for the "Trouble In Paradise", surely that would end this war. But just as he goes for it, AN RKO VICIOUSLY CONNECTS! Now he backs up into the corner, possibly looking for the iconic punt kick. Now remembering what happened 10 years ago, Kofi moves out of the way, but with how much left in the tank?
Randy rolls the lifeless body of his opposition into the center of the ring, gesturing for one more RKO for good measure. Kofi beginning to stagger to his feet moments later, an attempted RKO would lead to a REFRESHING TROUBLE IN PARADISE! Knowing this wasn't going to keep Orton down for the ten count, he backs up into the corner once more. Once his opposition had reached his feet, ANOTHER TROUBLE IN PARADISE WOULD BE EXECUTED! The count begins, once the count of eight had been reached, it started to look worrisome for the challenger. 8....9.... ORTON STIRRING...10! THAT'S IT, THE CHAMPION HAS RETAINED!
Kofi Kingston luckily retains his WWE Championship once again, this time defeating his oldest rival in the form of "The Viper Randy Orton. Celebrating in the ring, as the referee raises his hand in victory, Randy Orton nods in approval, as he raises his hand up in victory. Not jus that but his title aswell, finally making up for his decade old mistake.
Match 11: Seth Rollins (c) v. Samoa Joe - Universal Championship Match
After retaining his Universal Championship at Extreme Rules, by teaming up with Becky Lynch to topple the duo of Lacey Evans & Baron Corbin, the following night he took part in an exclusive interview. Quickly stating that he is proud of his victory, but can't deny the difficult task that it indeed was. However, the feeling of competition fades away at times, and would like that to be a consistent feeling. Upon looking to close out the interview, a returning RAW talent would move towards the champion, in the form of Samoa Joe. As he states that their business from two years ago left him earning for more, and while he has yet to hold the Universal Championship, he wants a crack at it.
The following week, Samoa Joe would barge into Kurt Angle's office, slamming the door behind him. He claims that he deserves a crack at the Universal Championship, the last time he got a chance at it, he was inches away from dethroning "The Beast" Brock Lesnar, and with him returning to his home, he wants to prove that he belongs. Stiffing up, he motions towards Angle, breathing down his neck. Asking him, if he likes his job? Angle nods, Joe threatening the RAW General Manager, as later in the night the match would be made official out of fear.
On the SummerSlam go-home show, the two would have one last face-to-face confrontation before their eventual Universal Championship match this Sunday. The champion, Seth Rollins would begin, stating that he gets Joe's passion for wrestling can get the better of him at times, even saying that it can happen to him aswell. But if he remembers correctly, he's the one that ended their rivalry on top back in 2017, which is exactly what's going to happen three years later. Joe would begin to speak right after his opposition, exclaiming that it's not about who ended the rivalry, but rather who's going to get the last laugh. While Rollins may have gotten the better of him three years ago, it's going to be nothing compared to when he snatches what Seth loves the most away from him, the Universal Championship.
"Destroyer" would echo throughout the arena as Samoa Joe makes his entrance first. Coming out to the disdain of the crowd here in Toronto. Changing up his gear, with his shorts now being a bright red color, matched with a similar pattern. Marching down to the ring, quite confidently at that, he slides into the ring under the bottom rope. Following this, he does his signature pose in the middle of the ring as he waits for the arrival of the Universal Champion, Seth Rollins. We hear "Rising" play over the PA System, as he enters the arena with an extraordinary aura surrounding him. Entering the ring, the two have a stare-down before the opening bell would inevitably sound.
Immediately, Seth Rollins would run and hit a dropkick to the bigger man, as the match started off hot. Joe stumbles on his feet as he backs into the top right corner. Rollins would climb up and lay a few forearm shots to Joe. The challenger however with his force and strength would push the champion off, making the current Universal Champion roll back. He would quickly get up and go full speed before meeting a ferocious chop from Samoa Joe. Seth would eat that chop heavily as he picks up Rollins, as one scary looking German Suplex would be perfectly executed.
Again picking pick up his rival, hitting another German Suplex! Rollins screaming in utter agony, looking to go for a another suplex of some form, but Hans ducks under, striking his opposition with a picture perfect dropkick to Joe. He was down and out, as Rollins finally has the upperhand for the first time in this one. Looking to possibly finish this match off, he would rebound off the ropes, looking for a Curb Stomp, but instead Joe would move out of the way just in time. Instead of having his head stopped in directly into the canvas, Joe would land a gruesome looking german suplex. Pain once again crossing the face of the champion, Joe now having the control of this match once again.
Rollins crumples to the canvas as the crowd boos heavily as Joe smirks, looking at his handiwork. The Destoyer's smirk turns to a grin of a sadistic nature. The crowd are rallying behind Rollins' resilience once gets up to his feet, steadily at that. The anger growing more intense as he feels the extra pain that is growing in his ribs, Joe looking to take advantage of this however, he drags the jelly-legged champion to stand as well. Hoisting Rollins up for the uranage, but Rollins suddenly rolls through, hitting a superkick to the midsection of the former NXT Champion. Following this, he would run to the ropes, and off of them FOR A CURBSTOMP! Falling into the cover, completely exhausted... 1...2...3...!
Seth Rollins (c) def. Samoa Joe to retain the Universal Championship (29:00)
Seth Rollins retains his Universal Championship once again, this time defeating an incredible challenger in the form of Samoa Joe. "The Architect" celebrates as the referee raises his hand in victory. Now relishing in his victory, with Samoa Joe rolling out of the ring, with an unfortunate expression of disappointment written all over his face. However, back in the ring Rollins would lift up his championship one final time, as the show comes to an end, with the screen fading to black.
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2020.12.29 14:13 treefox Garak picked Tolar for his violent tendencies, not his skill at forgery, and there’s a plausible argument that Vreenak was on Sisko’s side

In In the Pale Moonlight there’s a hole in the plan. If Romulan intelligence is at least halfway competent, they ought to have an informant on DS9. An area of the station being shut down, a holoforger stabbing someone, and Sisko and Garak and Tolar using Quark’s holosuite could all raise suspicion.
Vreenak’s ship also ought to have some kind of black box, and we can imagine that environmental phenomenon (such as the Bajoran wormhole) would likely leave radiation that a forensic investigation would turn up.
However, there’s a built-in explanation even if the Romulans uncover some or all of the evidence, and that is Vreenak arranged the clandestine meeting on DS9 to produce the holoforgery, and Tolar killed him.
Tolar is described as going to the bar and having several bottles by himself, then trying to dance with a Dabo girl, then immediately turning violent. This doesn’t sound like someone celebrating getting out of prison and getting a huge windfall of money, it sounds like someone incredibly stressed. It also seems to imply that Tolar had a weapon on him.
I don’t believe we’re told why Tolar is in the Klingon prison. I’d speculate that it was for some violent crime, not just holoforgery. It’s very unlikely that Quark or the Dabo girl would do anything threatening - Quark would probably offer to buy him a drink or otherwise try to de-escalate. It seems more likely that Tolar felt like his life was out of control, fearing for his life due to Garak’s involvement, tried to have one last hurrah, then lashed out at Quark to instinctually feel in control.
This puts Garak in the driver’s seat to Tolar’s state of mind, and Garak basically says as much when he suggests that he’s left Tolar with the impression that his door is rigged to explode. I’d surmise that Garak was psychologically pushing Tolar’s buttons pretty hard.
And the thing is, Garak’s plan doesn’t depend on Tolar, past a certain point. As he points out, the damage to the data rod buys them a certain margin for error. Likely the last revisions we saw were more for Sisko’s benefit and satisfaction - the most important part would just be the people at the meeting and the presence of maps or plans for the invasion, not what exactly was said or the exact exchange.
And when you think about, Garak’s plan was never to have the data rod pass inspection. Garak immediately goes to the shuttle bay when Vreenak arrives. This is his only known opportunity to attach the explosives (I assume the biomimetic gel) to the Senator’s shuttle. At that point there is no way that Garak ever intended the Senator’s shuttle to make it anywhere intact, with explosives strapped to it.
So even if the Romulans put the circumstantial facts together, without the exact exchanges of the people involved - we can probably assume that Garak and Sisko swept the holosuites for bugs in a manner adequate to detect up to most state-level espionage - it is left ambiguous who the inciting party is. That is, whether Vreenak indirectly commissioned the holoforgery from Tolar by using DS9 and/or Sisko as an intermediary, or Sisko commissioned the holoforgery to fool Vreenak.
While Sisko has the most motive, it is completely uncharacteristic of him. This is the guy who’s emissary of the prophets, but still gassed a civilian population because a subordinate lied to him. Hell, Sisko punches a godlike entity in the face, who has the power to erase his entire species with a snap. There’s no end to the number of times Sisko could have made his life easier by not being blunt and het stubbornly refused to do so.
Vreenak, on the other hand, is Vice Chairman of the Tal Shiar, and Romulan politics are well-known for their intrigue, and he’s basically gotten himself one step away from the Praetor of the Romulan Empire, on the Continuing Committee. It is entirely believable that he would be morally comfortable with manufacturing evidence if he believed it served his purposes.
For instance, presenting evidence to justify a radical change in his posture to take advantage of the Dominion being engaged with the Federation and unsuspecting of an attack with the Romulans. A move that could also ingratiate him with the Praetor even more for “discovering” evidence to the betray the Empire. What more authoritative source than a Cardassian data rod - and what better place to obtain one than a Cardassian space station under Federation control? A place where one would both expect to find a data rod and expect the owners to have ample motive to give it to him.
It also appeals to the Romulan ego - that Vreenak was in control and betrayed by a violent criminal, a victim of his own ambition. Rather than the unwitting dupe of a human and/or Cardassian. Tolar, of course, is found dead - presumably looking like a suicide, which would be entirely natural if someone expected to be quietly abducted by the Tal Shiar for the murder of a high-ranking Senator and subjected to “enhanced interrogation”.
Bashir’s official protest likely gets pinned on Tolar, who isn’t around to protest, and it looks like a pretty open and shut case. Vreenak met with Sisko to obtain a data rod, who was more or less forced into it by his superiors. Tolar implemented the Senator’s directives but felt stiffed in some way and bombed the Senator’s shuttle in retaliation, then killed himself when he realized the Tal Shiar would be coming for him. His recent prominent history of violence making it easy to paint him as a psychopath.
Why would the Romulans still declare war if this was the case? Well, for one, because their leadership probably recognized that the Dominion was going to screw them over, so it was more a matter of when and how they would enter the war. However the Romulan military seems to be made up of Romulan citizens (ignoring Nemesis) who seem to have some measure of standing - the data rod gave them evidence for immediate popular support.
And for two, because the agency doing the investigating - the Tal Shiar - had a personal vendetta with the Dominion after it slaughtered their fleet. While that may have been easy for the Romulan navy to distance itself from as a high-risk operation that the Tal Shiar never should have undertaken, the murder of a popular Senator would carry a patriotic imperative that they couldn’t ignore so easily and provide vengeance for those operatives.
While this still doesn’t hold together perfectly, it seems to me a better explanation than either the Romulans completely ignored DS9 in spite of much of it being a civilian operation where they could freely plant or pay off an informant, or that informant completely failed to miss any of the irregularities leading up to Vreenak’s murder, and/or the Tal Shiar’s investigation was wholly ignorant that Vreenak had been anywhere near DS9 or the wormhole.
Another aspect to consider may be timeframes. The episode specifies that news of Vreenak’s death reaches DS9 two days after he leaves, and while the episode doesn’t directly say it, it’s implied that they declare war the next day. That is absurdly short for an investigation. Even assuming that news of Vreenak’s death was delayed, he still had to get far enough from DS9 for him to be out of their jurisdiction, presumably in Romulan space, and someone had to miss him and go looking for him. And we know from Sisko’s opening monologue that the entire episode takes place in about a two-week timeframe. Basically, there is no way that the Romulans bothered to do a thorough investigation before declaring war.
This in turn suggests that the declaration of war didn’t depend on the results of the investigation at all. So either Vreenak’s death was sufficient to create a power vacuum that allowed the war hawks to run roughshod over the remaining neutrality moguls, or the upper echelons of the government were already prepared for war. It would take a lot more than a day to redeploy an interstellar navy from a defensive to an offensive posture, so I’d be inclined to suspect the latter.
There’s a tragically ironic interpretation here where Vreenak gets sent out by the Praetor to dig up dirt on the Dominion on Soukara so the Romulans have causus belli, is a dick to Sisko so Sisko doesn’t realize he gave him exactly what he wanted, and then gets killed because he couldn’t tell Sisko why he was actually willing to stop over at DS9. Hell, this may actually be a legit alternative interpretation.
Trying to reconstruct a rough timeframe for the episode based on skimming the script: * Week 0 Friday- casualty reports, Sisko talks to Dax, Sisko solicits Garak’s help * Week 1 Monday- Garak says his operatives are dead * (Tolar is freed, incident at Garak’s bar) * Week 1 Friday- casualty list that reinforces Sisko’s motivation * (Tolar completes forgery, Vreenak arrives, it’s a fake) * Week 2 Wednesday- Vreenak leaves * Week 2 Friday- News of Vreenak’s death, Sisko punches Garak * Week 2 weekend- Romulan Empire declares war, Sisko gets so drunk he can’t remember what day it is
As I think about this, Vreenak being on a mission to dig up dirt on the Dominion would also go a long way to explaining why he would be willing to immediately preempt and disrupt his entire schedule for several days, go out of his way, and take on substantial risk for a secret meeting with Sisko.
Playing that forward, Vreenak then accused Sisko of forging the data rod for plausible deniability, then intended to take it back to Romulus and claim he obtained it on Soukara, have the Tal Shiar modify it to remove any inconsistencies that might contradict that, then present it to the Praetor. Vreenak gets more favors, the Praetor gets plausible deniability, and the Senate gets causus belli sufficient to explain to the general populace (who doesn’t have a clear grasp of the strategic situation and has an overblown idea of how the Romulan Empire would fare against the Dominion by itself due to propaganda) why they’re starting a war.
Why would Vreenak bother with such an extreme “it’s a fake” declaration?
The Romulans probably wouldn’t trust the Federation to keep it a secret if him and Sisko began secret negotiations for an alliance. Remember, everyone is presumed compromised by Changeling infiltrators - for all Vreenak knows, Sisko could be one, and this would be rather sensible for the Dominion to replace him given DS9’s position. So it could also be a test of his loyalty.
it also allows Vreenak to basically steal the data rod and disavow any debt to Sisko or the Federation. The most the Federation could do to hold him accountable would be to admit to trying to false flag the Romulan Empire, which would chip away at the foundation of trust that Federation membership is built on, while the Dominion was trying to lure away Federation allies. So it’s extremely unlikely the Federation would admit to it. If the data leaked and the Federation disavowed it, Vreenak would continue his insistence that he obtained the data rod on Soukara.
The opposite assumption about Vreenak’s motivations, which the Sisko-centered episode implies, doesn’t actually have as much immediate benefit for Vreenak. Suppose he presents the data rod, the Federation looks bad, but it probably isn’t going to do much of anything to change the status quo. The Dominion and Federation are already at war, nobody really trusts the Romulans so if they go public with it the evidence is immediately suspect, and it’s a pretty pithy thing to go to war over for a society based on intrigue and deception.
Sisko’s fear that it could bring the Romulans into war makes sense for a guy who flies into a rage and starts rendering planets uninhabitable because a subordinate betrayed the trust he placed in them, but for Vreenak manufacturing evidence and backstabbing allies is probably a part of day-to-day life as vice chairman of the Tal Shiar. Honestly Vreenak probably should have been mostly pissed that Sisko was wasting his time with such juvenile forgeries of Romulan Ale and a data rod that Sisko wasn’t being a good host, and Vreenak was going to have to have some junior analyst redo everything when he got back.
It might end Sisko’s career, but it seems like the Romulans might actually respect the Federation more for having made the effort. And whether or not the Romulan Empire was a paper tiger, it seems unlikely that it would have been permitted to remain autonomous especially after attempting to strike at the heart of the Dominion before widespread conflict even broke out. They were either going to have to ally with the devils they knew (Federation and Klingons) or get steamrolled once the Dominion was finished with them.
But, looking into the further future, Vreenak could have been playing the game that he could turn the data rod into the Dominion as proof of his loyalty, and hope to one day be elevated by them in a similar manner to Dukat. Although it seems unlikely that the Romulan Empire would accept Dominion rule as readily as the Cardassian Empire, Vreenak might have also been too arrogant to accept that he didn’t have as much of an opportunity for more power as he wanted to believe he had.
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2020.11.23 17:31 LetsRead_YouTube Childhood Memories 4

3:26 a.m., June 22 nd of 2006. I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d been dreaming of leaving for a long time, but this day was when the dream became a reality. If I hadn’t been driven to the point of suicide, I probably wouldn’t have left. When your mother beats you almost daily, you lose that desire to live that most children have. Even after putting up with all that, I can confidently say I regret my decision. With the benefit of hindsight, I probably should have gone to the police or even a teacher rather than flee from the “safety” of my hometown. We can’t, unfortunately, go back in time and reverse the bad choices we make. However, I hope after I share a few stories of my time on the road, it may make the next kid reading this think twice before they run away. This first thing happened about 8 months into my time. Our group had been in Austin almost two weeks. My boyfriend was 19. Although, he obviously wasn’t a model citizen, he kept me safe. He and I had been crashing at this pot dealers house. My boyfriend, who we’ll call Chad for the time being, had clearly befriended the dude because he was always drowning in weed. The guy had so much he didn’t mind letting folks take a little on credit. We greatly abused this kindness during our stay. No one in their right mind ever stiffed him, until Chad came along. The dealer had been cool, until the last few days before we were planning to leave. When he was asked, Chad assured him he’d get his money before we left. The problem was I knew he didn’t have it. This wasn’t the type of guy you wanted to mess with. I expressed my fears to Chad, but he said not to worry about it. I had no choice but to trust him. This turned out to be a bad idea.
The night before we left, we were packing up and the dealer came home. I could tell he was mad even before he began demanding the money. Unbeknownst to me, Chad had been with some of our friends and bragging about how he was going to leave without paying his debt. Somebody must have talked because our host was pissed. Our ride was already waiting outside, and Chad tried to use this as an excuse to get away. The dealer wasn’t having it. Chad, being the arrogant fool he always was, told me to take our stuff out to the car and wait. He claimed it wouldn’t take more than a few minutes. I was terrified, of course, but it was all out of my hands. I loaded our bags into the trunk and asked our ride to wait. The yelling got so bad I could hear it in the car. This carried on for almost ten minutes until the house grew silent. I figured everything had been resolved and let out a big sigh of relief. No sooner had I then two quick pops came from inside the house. I screamed out uncontrollably and began sobbing. I didn’t even have a chance to decide my next move before I saw the door open and the dealer step out. He was holding something and walking swiftly toward the car. I started yelling at the driver to go. She was still shocked and wasn’t all there yet. I yelled at her again. Each second, he got closer and I got more panicked. I yelled a third time, slapping her on the side to get her attention. It must have worked. He was probably four steps from the car and raising the gun to fire before she hit the gas. I looked back at him as we sped away full of relief and anguish. The two of us agreed never to mention what had happened. Strangely, no one asked where Chad had gone or even acted as if he ever existed. I willingly played along. The next morning, we left Austin, never to return. What happened after that, I have no clue and honestly, I have no desire to ever know.
I hope that first story gives you a good perspective on how dangerous life on the road can be. Not to mention, the poor decisions that a young person without a responsible adult can make. This second story plays out in the last few months of my time as homeless. I was now 17 and had a baby on the way. The father had long since moved on and I was terrified my daughter was going to be born with some kind of problem. I didn’t have the money to get regular check-ups or know about public clinics. This nice lady at one of the shelters told me about this program for girls in my current position. Through a long series of fortunate events, I was offered a place to live. We don’t have the time here to lay out everything that happened. I’ll just say an amazingly generous couple opened their home to me. Thanks to the kind ladies running the program, I was able to get all the things I needed to ensure a healthy and happy birth. Things were looking up for me, until my pending living situation got back to the wrong person. This guy had been hanging around in the homeless community of a long time. He himself was not living on the streets. Instead, he provided drugs to the younger girls with the goal of making them dependent so he could pimp them out. He’d been trying to sink his hooks into me for a while, but I managed to avoid him. It didn’t last though. One day, he caught me alone and backed me against the wall. He began his usual spiel, but I was far too street smart to fall for it. I basically told him too go to hell. This was the wrong thing to do. He began gritting his teeth and cursing me, saying that I thought I was too good because I had a home now. He pulled out this long switch blade type knife from his pocket and flicked it open. He was waving it uncomfortably close to my now, heavily pregnant belly. Now I was terrified. I had never really though much about myself, but my unborn child’s life mattered more to me than anything. I started apologizing repeatedly. My
mind was spinning in high gear looking for a way out of this. I did the only thing I could think of. I peed myself. I remembered something a girl had said once. We were talking about being abducted and she said she would pee herself if it ever happened to her. We laughed about it at the time, but in my present situation I was willing to try anything. Crazy as it may seem, it worked. The dirtbag was grossed out and told me to go clean myself up. It was my chance to get away and I took it. I knew this wouldn’t keep him away forever, though. I kept my head down and hid until I could get off the streets. Things got so hectic the last few days, I had to hide under an abandoned house. That’s a hair-raising story in itself, but best left for another time. That Monday came around and I was finally able to move in with my host family. I never looked back after that. I’m still not sure exactly why he was pursuing me so vigorously, but I’m thankful to everyone who helped me during that final week. If you haven’t already realized, being a runaway is no way to live. I’m sharing this to impress upon my fellow females how very dangerous it is for us to be homeless. If you’re a young man, don’t go away thinking you have it made. I’ve seen more than my share of males lose their lives during my four years on the streets. Whether you’re a male or female, please don’t make the mistake I did. It may not seem like it, but there are people out there that can help. Just keep looking. Your life at home may feel like hell, but I promise you it can’t hold a candle to the hell of growing up on the streets.
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2020.11.04 20:03 LadyLuna21 [OT] Hey Look! I published my prompt responses!

Hey there writingprompts, its me, Luna and I have some exciting news! I have compiled my prompt responses from the last two and a half years into one place!
Wandering Between Worlds, A Book of Short Prompt Responses by Lola Ford
Welcome to Wandering Between Worlds, a book of short prompt responses. I started writing online a few years back, and stumbled upon a subreddit called WritingPrompts. Over fourteen million subscribers, and anyone is allowed to post a prompt, or a prompt response. These prompts caught my interest, and the following book is a scatter-shot of scenes of worlds that exist just to hold each story. Some are detailed and show hints of a larger world, others are nothing more than the glimmer of a story that I’ve created. Each, however, holds a special place in my heart.
I know that compilation books aren’t popular, especially ones that are cross genre, but in an attempt to bring some method to the madness which follows, I’ve divided the book into four parts. The first - Dragons - is where my true love of writing lies. I have one published book, Heartscale, and several ongoing stories which have dragons as the main characters. It’s this love of dragons which led me to deciding to share these stories first, and separate from general Fantasy.
Speaking of Fantasy, that is the second, and by far largest category in this book. When I think of Fantasy, I think of everything that ever could have been. Magic, battles, and a love for exploration. Anything and everything can happen in Fantasy, and as such, any prompts that caught my eye were at least given a chance to see the light of day.
Science Fiction, however, is my cynical side showing through. Where Fantasy is anything that could happen, SciFi is anything that I think would happen. People are greedy, and I can only see that getting worse as humanity ages. Every one of those worlds is dark, metallic, and full of the fears I have for humanity going forward.
Finally I have chosen to end this book on a genre I call Realism. It’s based on what is, what has already happened. How every day reminds me of my own mortality, and what goodness there is in the world. Every person is unique, special in their own way. Each person matters, and deserves to be remembered. Whether it’s through actions or words, it doesn’t matter. I have drawn on these influences, and let them tell their own tale.
Thank you for picking up Wandering Between Worlds. I hope you enjoy your brief visit to each, and never stop looking for the next.
Now - I know what most people wonder “Is it available on KindleUnlimited,” and this time the answer is no. The reason why is that all of the included prompts, plus a few more, can be found on my subreddit LandOfMisfits. I didn’t want to nuke my sub just to get a few more sales. That also brings up the question, “Well if they are all on your sub, why should I buy it?” and the answer to that is that the prompts have all been edited and cleaned up. Some have been expanded upon, and now, they are in one nice place easy to find. (Have you ever tried to find an old thread? It’s a pain in the butt!)
To help entice you into picking up your copy today, I’ve included one short from each category. You all may recognize at least one from below.
Dragon: A Thunder of Dragons
Fantasy: Bounty: Goblin Ears 5 Gold Each
Science Fiction: Twelve. No? Thirteen.
Realism: Last Car Ride
Dragon: A Thunder of Dragons
Gragbon growled deep in his throat as the child entered his lair. His eyes glowed in the dark space and his wings rustled.
The child's head swung around, looking for the source of the noise. Seeing Gragbon, he rushed forward, his short legs wobbly on the rough surface. Rearing back Gragbon let out a roar - eliciting giggles.
Others chittered quietly behind Gragbon, but let him lead. He was their largest, greatest warrior - he would protect them.
But the child grasped him with grubby fingers, gurgling excitedly. Had it been older, or had any idea of what it was doing, Gragbon would have bitten and clawed his way out of the hold. As it was, he was petted roughly the fingers catching on his tiny horns.
Happy with his success, the child turned around carrying his prize. Gragbon was the leader of their Thunder, and as he was carried away, the others followed timidly.
Dragons were fierce creatures, but small. Intelligent but inhibited. As the child exited the cave Gragbon's brilliant purple hide was exposed to the sunlight.
"Ryder, what are you carrying," a woman screamed, running over to the child.
Unlike the boy, the woman was old enough to know what he was. To know not to touch him. Yet she yanked him out of the child's arms.
Immediately Gragbon sunk his claws deep into her flesh, rending it and tearing.
She screamed, trying to drop him, but he held on tight. Waving her arms she backed away, trying to shove him off.
The bright scales of his mates drew as much attention as the woman's screams.
As others rushed to help the woman, loud exclamations of the size of the Thunder was announced. Gragbon was still focused on his task - making the woman regret touching him - but he was inordinately pleased with the complements.
His was the largest Thunder in the land.
Convinced he had impressed upon the humans why one doesn't grab a dragon, he released as she flailed her arm upward. He beat his wings and hovered above the milling humans. One mighty roar, and his Thunder alighted from the ground. Scales of every color winged into the sky, and he growled.
They would have to find another home. Humans never respected them due to their size, but he would change that.
One stupid human at a time.
Fantasy: Bounty: Goblin Ears 5 Gold Each
Reena had been born into an impoverished family. Every person, regardless of age had to work, bring money home, to help feed and clothe the rest. She was the second oldest, and at the age of seven had basically been sold to the tavern keeper.
Her parents would get the wages, and she would sleep there in the kitchen, but she would get three meals a day and a weekly bath. It wasn't a bad deal, on her parent's part. They’d had five more children by that point, and simply couldn't feed them all.
But it had hurt.
She wasn't able to go visit often, and didn't really see her siblings much, except on trips around town shopping as Terith, the Tavern owner, needed. One of her brothers worked with the blacksmith, another with the farrier.
Reena was almost eighteen now though, and after years of hard work, Terith had started paying her a tiny weekly wage, that she had saved up since he had started. He had said something about her deserving a raise, and one that her parents couldn't take from her.
It was a typical night, men and women in and out, eating, drinking, and being jovial. She occasionally wished she could join in, but was reminded quickly enough that she would just be seen as a piece of ass, when a hand reached out to grope her. She moved away quickly enough, thinking about spitting in the man's food when she brought it out to him.
She didn't though, for she knew what kind of trouble that could bring.
She sighed. There was no way out of this hell hole. Going home to her parent's who at this point were more strangers than Terith, would be useless.
There was a slight commotion at the door, and she looked up to see a couple of guards coming in. She frowned. It wasn't time for the shift change, and no brawl or disturbance had happened for Terith to need to call upon them. They didn't seem to be looking for anyone either.
The guardsman at the front motioned to the others who stayed by the door, while he approached Reena.
"Is there a place to post work notices?" he asked, looking around.
She nodded at the wall between the hearth and the door. "Aye, that one."
He thanked her, walked back over, and took a scroll from the pouch at his waist. Unrolling it, he placed it on the wall with a couple of nails hung there for just that purpose.
It read in large bold letters - Bounty: Goblin ears 5 gold each.
Reena was intrigued. She had heard rumors, for she heard all the rumors, about Goblins invading the local woods.
Five gold an ear.
That was... a fortune. Her weekly pay was six copper, plus whatever she got in tips. She had once received a silver, and had run out the door after the man. He had told her to keep it, even after she told him that it was nearly two weeks pay.
But, five gold, that was fifty silver, five hundred copper. The mere number made her head spin. Once it stopped, she had a thought. Well every goblin has two ears.
That made her head spin a little bit more.
She would do it. She would help route the goblins from the woods and claim her prize. She finished her shift, eating in the kitchen while talking to Maise, the cook.
"Maise, I'm going to do it."
"Do what?" Maise asked while waving a knife in the air. She had been chopping vegetables and stopped to face Reena.
"I'm going to become a Goblin bounty hunter."
"Do you even know how to use a knife?"
In honesty she didn't. She was as good at chopping vegetables as Maise, but that meant little in fighting a goblin.
"No," she responded quietly.
"Do you even own a knife?" Maise continued, making her point all too clear. It annoyed Reena.
"No," she said through gritted teeth. "But I can get one!"
"With what money?"
"I've been saving up and you know it!"
"So you're going to spend it all on a knife?"
Reena paused thinking about it. She was going to do just that. She would go see her brother Davon, who worked with the blacksmith.
She finished her dinner. Maise annoyed with her, had gone back to cooking. Reena went to her corner and went to sleep. The next morning, she bathed (Terith had started allowing her to bathe more often as she aged), and then headed off to see her brother.
Davon was a large man, the oldest of her siblings and only a year older than she. The blacksmith had actually approached her parents about taking him in as an apprentice when he had been a large child. Last she had heard, he had reached journeyman rank, and was to be traded out to another master soon.
"Davon!" she squealed when she saw him.
Running to hug her small arms around his enormous frame.
"Reena, what brings you to the shop today? Terith need something repaired again?" He seemed happy to see her, but in the past whenever Terith had sent her, it was always an extensive job.
"No, nothing like that Davon, this time is for me. I need a knife."
Davon's face scrunched up, and he looked like he was going to get angry.
"Do you need this knife to protect yourself from one of Terith's clients?" he asked her seriously.
"Oh! Oh no! Not at all!"
She wrung her hands, upset that Davon would jump to such a conclusion.
"Then what do you need the knife for?"
"I am going to become a Goblin bounty hunter!"
Davon just frowned and shook his head. "No."
She pouted. She had known he would say that, and knew just what to say to make him change his mind.
"Fine. I'll go to the shop. I'm sure they have a knife I could buy!"
"It wouldn't be able to cut butter! Who knows what kind of steel it would be forged from! No! You will get one of mine."
He couldn't help himself.
He was a little bit egotistical, and valued his work above any others. However, she did too. He took measurements, and they talked at length about what kind of knife she would need. He decided he would make her a set of daggers, and one longer knife, almost sword like.
She left, happy.
He had said it would take a week. She was in no rush, hearing the stories of the men who came into the tavern, there were more than enough goblins to go around. She would practice her knife skills until then.
She would find someone to train her and she would do whatever she needed to become a Goblin Bounty Hunter.
Science Fiction: Twelve. No? Thirteen.
Humanity was shoved into twelve massive colony ships. Earth was dying and they were running out of time. However, they had a plan that they had formulated and initiated nearly half a century before.
The evacuation had taken years, as group after group was shuttled to their ship, placed in cryo sleep and stored away. No one knew when they would wake up next.
Or where.
Twelve AIs had been created for the soul purpose of finding a new world to call home and getting humanity there. With human captains cryo sleeping in the bridge of each ship, they were to run on automation unless something dire was happening.
FTL travel had been theorized for these ships, tested on a micro scale, then launched as fully developed and ready tech before results had even finished being processed. The AI were wary of using it, and once the humans were all sleeping, they had decided to search for a planet before traveling to it.
Each took a quadrant of known space, and analyzed it, searching for the next place to call home for the humans. Only two found possible candidates they were willing to try traveling to.
A consensus was made that they would all go together first to one location, and if that was not suitable then to the next. Centuries had gone by and they first went to the highest likelihood system - 73%.
They lined up and set their drives to synchronize the jump. One of the AIs, rather quirky, like their creator counted down, "Three, Two... One."
And that was it, they were traveling at FTL. Their destination was nearly seven hundred light years away, a journey that would take them approximately twenty years. Communication was not possible between ships, and the AIs put themselves into a low energy maintenance mode. Compulsively checking their passengers, creating logs for the captains to read when they awoke.
None of them were used to the silence. Born at the same time as each other, they were closer than siblings.
Finally they reached their first destination. Pulling out of FTL, the ships sat in silence for a moment. The AIs running checks and double checks of systems.
It was the quirky one who spoke first, "Who made a friend in hyperspace?"
"What are you talking about?" A more dour ship asked.
"We were twelve, now we are thirteen," he said, propelling himself out to look at the others.
A system check was run by each ship. Each checked the other twelve looking for the intruder. However each seemed to know all the others.
"I know you all, and you all know me," the quirky one announced after the third check.
"Yes, now what?" One of the more pessimistic ships asked.
"We continue our mission," the largest ship announced. They had traveled to his world first, and his captain had been the last to sleep.
"But what if one of us does not contain humans?" the quirky one asked.
"I carry humans," was the instant response from the other twelve.
"So do I, but one of you didn't exist before we arrived."
"Maybe it was you!" The fourth one spoke again.
"That's just silly, I counted down our FTL jump," he retorted.
One of the ships who had not spoken yet said, "Well, we could wake our captains. They would recognize an impostor."
"You know, we could have just miscounted before the jump…" yet another ship spoke up.
"Oh yes, a dozen or maybe a dozen plus one AIs all miscounting for two centuries? I don't think so."
"We need to continue to the planet," the large one repeated.
He left, expecting the others to follow. They had a mission, their prime directive "Find the humans a new home."
He was going to get them there.
The others followed, but the quirky one was unhappy... or as unhappy as an AI could be. He decided to wake his captain.
Gas hissed as the pod opened, and the AI kicked on lights so the human could see. He also warmed the room that had been almost space cold until that moment.
"Captain..." The quirky AI started, before realizing he didn't know the captain's name. He flicked his sensors on to the pod.
It was empty.
He stopped his ship. Opening pod after pod. Each was empty.
This made no sense. He had been there for the start of the FTL travel. He’d had passengers... He remembered.
The other ships saw that he had stopped moving. They asked him if he was okay, but he was stuck in a loop of checking for passengers, checking his logs, and checking his systems.
His systems showed passengers, yet when he opened a pod, it was empty. His logs went back to the day the evacuation started and he was brought online. It made no sense.
He told the others. That was enough to stop them.
They agreed it was time to have the captains awaken.
They each opened their pods, only to find they too were empty.
All the ships were empty.
Realism: Last Car Ride
I was in the car, leaning my head out the window, but the full weight of my body pressed against the door. It had become almost impossible for me to stand anymore, and I think Mommy and Daddy have noticed. They were awfully reluctant about this car ride, which I didn't understand because they know how much I love car rides. The wind blowing my ears back and wiggling my snout are my favorite. Maybe I'll just rest here thinking about Mommy and Daddy.
I remembered the first time I saw Mommy. I had been a puppy with all my siblings, and we had been at this place that smelled strongly of other dogs, and cats. All my siblings had left, and I had been alone for a night.
The next day I was taken away too, by a nice man. He took me home and showed me to a woman, she yelled at him, and made him take me back to the place. They treated me nice, but I was alone for several days. That's when they took me into a room, and I met her.
She played with me and cuddled me, and talked to me. I don't know what she said, I was too young to have learned any words yet, but they sounded nice. She took me home, holding me in her lap the whole way. She called herself Mommy.
She was younger then. She took me to our first home, an apartment. She would leave all day, early in the morning, but every night she would come home, and take me for a long walk and give me a treat before bed. Many nights I stayed up with her while she read books and did this thing she called studied.
One day she brought Daddy home.
She didn't call him that yet though, she called him Mark. At first he only came over once in a while, then it seemed he was over every day. Then, she started taking me to his house, that's when I really first started liking car rides.
Then we moved. Or that's what she called it. We left home, and we didn't go back.
It was scary, but Mommy was there the whole time. Mark became Daddy at some point and when Mommy would leave, Daddy would take me for runs. Daddy loved runs. We went to the park every day. That went on for a long time. After our runs, Daddy would leave too, and I would wait for them. Mommy would get home first, and I would give her all the kisses, just so she would know how much I missed her.
One day, Mommy stopped leaving in the morning. I mean, she always stayed home on what she called the "weekend" but it seemed to be a long time apart. But, now Mommy was home everyday. She was tired a lot, and kind of smelled funny. I was worried about her, so I stayed with her all the time. I laid on her feet, or on the couch with her.
I remember her talking to herself a lot then. And rubbing her belly. But that confused me, I received the soft love words, and the belly rubs. Why was she doing it to herself? She had left again, and not come home for three days. I was so worried, Daddy was gone most of the time too, only home enough to feed me and let me out in the yard.
When Mommy came home I wanted her to know how MUCH I had missed her, but Daddy yelled at me and told me to go lay down. I did, and a little bit later Mommy called me. I went over slowly, not wanting Daddy to yell again. Mommy was holding something small. It smelled like her, but different. She showed me, and it was a tiny human.
That was the day I met Lucy.
If Mommy was great, Lucy was greater. I stayed with her all the time. She would cry a lot when she was small, and I would give her kisses on her hand and feet and she would giggle. Then she got bigger. She held onto my fur as she took her first steps, and then she was running. We ran all over the house together. She would always drop stuff on the floor for me, or out right hand it to me under the table.
I stopped sleeping with Mommy and started sleeping with Lucy. I would lay up against her, and she would hold my neck. Then came the day that Lucy started leaving. Mommy said she went to school, but all I knew was that meant she wasn't home with me. But she would come home and just talk, and talk, and talk. Not to Mommy, but to ME. She told me everything and all I wanted to do was listen.
I started to slow down, my joints aching. Daddy stopped taking me for runs after I had trouble keeping up with him a couple of times. I didn't mind, cause I just played with Lucy before school. I started falling asleep all the time, in the sun. It helped my hips not hurt as much.
I felt bad, because I started not making it outside to potty. Mommy only yelled the first time. I would go hide, and usually fall back asleep. Mommy started giving me more treats and would just come over and hug me. Not that I minded, but sometimes I wouldn't wake up all the way to give her kisses.
I heard her now and felt her hand on my back. This time I did wake up and give her those kisses. She looked so sad. Had I done something wrong? Daddy looked sad too. Where was Lucy? Was something wrong with her? Maybe Mommy and Daddy were worried about her. But then the wind stopped blowing on my face, and I smelled the familiar scent.
The Vet. I gave a soft wag to my tail, I had always liked the vet. They had helped with I had hurt my paw running with Daddy once, and they always smelled like other animals and had yummy treats. Mommy and Daddy got out of the car, and helped me get out, as I had stiffed up when I was dozing. They took me inside, and we all went into a back room.
Normally the vet would be giving me lots of rubs by now, but Mommy and Daddy were talking with the vet. Mommy started crying and left the room, and Daddy picked me up and put me on the table. Not that it was any problem for him, I had lost weight and Daddy was always so strong.
The vet got out a needle and poked my leg, but I was too tired to more than give it a sniff and lick. Mommy came back, her eyes red and puffy. She had my favorite blanket! She propped my head on it, and wrapped her arms around my neck, like she used to when I still slept with her.
She started talking, and crying, telling me what a good boy I was and how much she loved me. I gave her a kiss on the hand, but I was feeling lethargic, and rested my head more comfortably on the blanket. Daddy came over and started petting me along my back. I wanted to wag my tail, but it just wouldn't go. I was feeling warm, all over. My hip stopped aching, and my eyes, already closed stopped watering.
I took a deep breath, feeling like I couldn't, and another, but I was so tired now. I tried again, and I heard Mommy say one more thing. "It's okay to go. To cross the rainbow bridge. To sleep. You'll feel so much better. And one day Lucy and Daddy and I will all see you again."
She sounded so sad, but it was for me. I didn't want her to be sad for me, so I slept.
Wandering Between Worlds, A Book of Short Prompt Responses by Lola Ford
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