CHAPTER 21 – BRADEN KINCAID

Uprising has been hard for me. Not because of the competition, even though I had to pull double duty and lost the Tag Team Championships to the ever-EVIL Diabolical Forces. No, this has a lot more to do with memory. Since I’m in the Uprising Gauntlet, I’ve had a hard time memorizing every guy’s names in it. Normally, I’d only remember the names of the big players that I need to get ahead of, or my own opponents on PPV, but considering both my matches have 21 other competitors involved, bummer! 21, that’s a lot of guys! I’m already pretty acquainted with the evil Mormon and Menonite, now that I lost the Tag Team Championships. But hey, I didn’t even get breathing time, after a huge first round win from the Uprising Challenge.

Now that was a challenge alright! I came in at #07 after watching the match on a monitor, the only thing I could do to avoid getting bored. Keeping up with the action was a little hard. Kenny started things off after beating some drill sergeant and two other guys with funny names. If only Miranda was here, I’d get to know they’re names for the obligatory 10 seconds, but she had to be out of town tonight of all nights! She also made sure I had to watch all the matches tonight too! Something about becoming better at what I do.. blah blah. Of course I had to! She hid the X-box till she was sure I did.

Then this huge guy Beast comes in and… wait a minute! That’s not X-Men’s Beast!!! Dammit, would have been fun to use sound logic against a guy like Kenny but brute force works too. Beast made quick work of Kenny and The Crippler, who looked nothing like the guy whose name was apparently erased from history. Tough break, now that guy was a killer… errr… wrestler. That’s when some nerd came up to tell me I was next.

ALRIGHT! Time for the “The Thriller” to dash his way to the ring. Good timing too as I had to teach this ‘Beast’ a lesson: never ever disappoint Braden Kincaid by pretending to be a Marvel character. While cleverly avoiding all of the heavy moves, I finally got caught by Beast in a bearhug, when I thought to use my head, literally! OUCH, that was one mean headbutt! Still, followed that with the Thrilling to the corner! Beast was on shaky legs as The Thriller hits the Thrill Ride for the pin. Next up, Jonathan Darkstar, one of those guys from the time I lost his North American Championship. Lucky for me, I STILL have THAT belt. SUCKERS! Next up was Sevyn, the guy who’s had big-time matches with the legendary Sean Taylor, and for having the neatest blue hairdo. Sevyn was tough though, as he brought in a lot of fight and almost nailed a Perfect Plex which I ‘thrilled’ out of into a Kincaid Klash for the pin! And with that the bell rang. Braden Kincaid wins!!! Wait, DAMN! There’s a round 2 too…

This is where things started going downhill. Picture this: I was sorta celebrating backstage high-5ing everybody. Went past this guy Lynch Garrison who wasn’t in the mood. Looks like he had a bad night. That when those EVIL Diabolical Forces jumped me from behind. Which was a bad thing since my Tag Title defense was next. 20 minutes later, I head down to the ring for the match. Should have just stayed in the ring and gotten ahead with it; now for half the match my partner Hawkeye had to go it alone. Finally made the hot tag, but with a little assist from Sevyn, the Diabolical Forces walked out as Tag Team Champions. Was I upset? You betcha! But not as upset as Hawkeye was, as he just left the ring without even saying anything. I did try calling him back but then I thought I’d prolly catch up with him in round 2 of the Gauntlet.

Sure enough, Round 2 started with me going head to head with Paul Doom. The Baddest Man from Australia, this guy was the International Champion and just beat Rocko Daymon to retain the belt. So he’s got the International Title, he doesn’t need the big belt right? Didn’t seem like it as this guy was big and tough. Almost about to go for a powerbomb but didn’t. I look around and see Daymon in the ring with a baseball bat. So he’s about to hit Doom with it right, and turns out, he hit ME in the gut! ME?! Why the f***?! This couldn’t be good, but then the bells rang and get this: Doom gets DQ’d! WTF?! Doom argues with the ref and then runs right after Daymon. So I’m still in it I guess, but dammit why am I taking all the hits here. The lights then go out, now what!? The spotlight hits the rafters and, uh oh…

Now this was scary. Here’s the guy that literally tore up that guy Garrison. Then it hits me its Lord Alucard’s turn now. And there he is, standing right there up on the rafters. Gotta admit, that jump to the ring thing he does is off the hook, and it could scare me shitless right now. But he’s just standing there. Waiting and doing nothing. Just tonight he beat up the Hazard in a brutal Cage match and it was all gloves off for that match. But with gloves like THOSE, it was better he kept them on! Then the light goes off and that’s… it? He doesn’t get in the ring and the next guy’s about to show up. Sad though, really wanted to ask him where I could get me those gloves.

Next up is AOD… not to be mistaken for POD, which by the way are awesome. This guy on the other hand looks like that sh*tty Twilight guy, which by the way is NOT awesome. Having a girlfriend is like a dream, which turns into a nightmare once she forces you to watch TWILIGHT! Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, AOD beat Alucard for the title before, so it’s his turn now. HEY! I just remembered an EUWC Fact! Miranda, if only you could hear me now. At least I had time to get my breath back from that stupid baseball bat shot. This guy AOD thinks he can old school me out… well it’s time to put pops back in his place. Wonder how the REAL AOD must feel about this guy. I mean seriously, hasn’t he ever heard of “Copyright Infringement”?

So while I have pops ready for another patented Kincaid Klash when he reverses and shoves me into the referee. Still doesn’t do him any good as he STILL gets the Kincaid Klash! Then… lights out?! All I remember then is something hit me on the head! A briefcase? The referee woke me up later to get me out of the ring. I couldn’t believe this guy AOD got the better of me, but wait what the f***!? That punk with the briefcase knocked me out in the match! Wait’ll I get my hands on him! And as for pops, he’s already got his hands full.

CHAPTER 20 – UPRISING

Fireworks explode all around the stage as Uprising kicks off! The Ford Field in Detroit Michigan is sold out as fans are excited to culmination of a wild June. “WE ARE LIVE from the Ford Field in Detroit Michigan! I’m Scott Marchman and with me is John Shaft.”

“And on behalf of EUWC, we welcome you to Uprising. Tonight is going to be history in the making.”

“That’s right, as tonight we’re gonna witness the first ever Uprising Gauntlet! 20 Men all vying for the right to challenge the World Heavyweight Champion, whoever that might be after tonight”

“Right to the point, as the reigning EUWC World Champion Dan Ryan, the ‘Ego-Buster’ takes on another veteran Sean Taylor.”

“It’s been a long road for Taylor and tonight is the night he gets his big moment. Taylor was one of the greatest Champions in the EUWC, and tonight he’ll look to regain the title.”

“Or become another has-been following STEALTH.”

“Hmmm, wonder if he’ll wanna do commentary?”

“HEYYYY!!!”

“That’s right Fonzie, and speaking of Ryan, his associate Rocko Daymon challenges another veteran Paul Doom for the coveted International Championship!”

“Yeah tonight lightning will strike twice! Not only will Rocko beat Doom again, but the New Breed is going to flush down another has-been.”

“Funny how has-beens have title belts and you have a headset. And let’s not forget the man that Doom beat last month. I’m talking about Lynch Garrison, the Hazard, as he is in a weird predicament tonight against the man he seemingly injured.”

“Seriously, I cannot get it! I saw him break Alucard in half at Ultra Brawl. Alucard’s doctor said he wasn’t going to be competing for a long time, and right off the bat he comes back like nothing happened.”

“Well we’ll get to see what mood is Alucard in, as he looks for revenge inside a Steel Cage. Let’s head to the ring now for our first match…”

As the night began, Garrison had been tense. Surrounding the events ever since Ultra Brawl have made the Hazard look constantly over his shoulder. Things have gone from bad to worse as he’s lost his championship, his entourage, his state of mind. If he hadn’t been upset before, then coming back from the doctor’s office after his only associate Mac had been laid out backstage, left him with no peace at all.

This would be Garrison’s 3rd appearance on Uprising. He had represented the Regime in his first outing, whereas his last appearance was inside the Hades Dungeon Match. Fitting then that this night share elements common from the last two. Number 1: There was a steel cage involved. Number 2: Lord Alucard.

Garrison has spent the entire month frantically looking for Alucard; tracking him from his hospital but losing the trail. His surgeon’s also disappeared to Rio de Janerio, so the trails gone completely cold. Despite trying so hard to convince him otherwise, all signs point to the obvious that he’ll be taking on Alucard. As if Ultra Brawl and his vengeance never happened.

Confusion is the only thing that has warped Garrison’s mind. He’s been around the entranceway, where he saw a dejected duo leaving without their Tag Team gold. He watched as EUWC’s brightest up-and-coming star won the first round of the Uprising Gauntlet and still had 10 Former Champs to go through. He also had a wicked smile directed at him by Paul Doom, who obviously wasn’t just smiling after his match. Garrison knew he was being mocked, but he needed to change his mood.

The pills.

They worked perfectly at Ultra Brawl. They’ll work again. One dose and slowly, but surely, he starts feeling more aggressive and impatient. He can’t wait any longer as he heads out to the ring. The music plays but that’s not his focus now. The boos are only fuelling his anger and contempt. He grabs a mic from ringside and enters the ring.

“Lord Alucard! … NOW!!!”

No sooner he had said that the lights go dark. The anticipation among the audience builds as spotlights hover on the rafters, the only place where they can attempt to look. One spotlight finds a shadow but loses it just as easily. It’s only a matter of time before a figure descends towards the ring. Garrison has felt the chill of the black flash past his eyes, but with a heightened sense of aggression, this jump has just upped his state of mind.

He looks different.

Aside from the overcoat, there’s something different about him tonight. Its only when he takes it off that he reveals it. He’s sporting those very gauntlets he used a few weeks ago against Johnny Lao. Given the circumstances of the match, they were perfectly legal. His costume however, is different than his traditional attire; tighter but intimidating. It’s almost as if it is a second skin. More of an armor in fact. His mask is still firmly attached to his face, only showing his forehead and eyes.

The cage starts coming down towards the ring as he watches Garrison fuming to get started. The cage finally bolts down and the bell rings when Garrison pounces! He jumps right on with a Lou Thesz Press and starts hammering away on his face. Garrison picks him up and whips him for a clothesline but he ducks and comes back at Garrison with a reverse shoulder block! Garrison bounces off the ropes as he uses the big man’s own momentum to send him straight to the cage wall! As Garrison goes into the corner, he starts hitting the big man with full force of his hands and the strength of those gauntlets. He punches away at his chest, stomach and finally his head.

Garrison gets a sudden burst of energy and shoves him away. He runs back only for Garrison to get him with a shoulder back toss into the cage wall! Garrison roars into the crowd as he picks him up. Like a missile when he shot Paul Doom years ago, Garrison shoots him towards the cage. But he grabs on the cage like an insect, and flies off to hit Garrison with a roundhouse dropkick! He bounces off the ropes and drops on Garrison with a double kneedrop! He grabs Garrison by the throat and attempts to choke him out, using the pressure from his gauntlets. Garrison manages to kick him off and charges at him right into the cage wall! Garrison then scoops him up for a running powerslam!

Garrison then climbs up the ropes and measures him for a Terrarizer! Garrison flies off but meets feet to his face! He nails Garrison with a sharp uppercut; elbow jabs and a spinning back kick. He resumes his flurry or right hands but Garrison attempts to match him hand-to-hand. Garrison can’t believe the fury in him but his opponent isn’t sparing him at all. Garrison knew Alucard was tough and fast, but this is a lot more ferocious. This lethal combination of punches and kicks beats his usual moveset.

Garrison finally loses the upper hand as he takes in the ferocious hits from those gauntlets. Garrison finally stops him with a thump to the gut and grabs his throat for a Showstopper chokeslam. Garrison hoists him up but his opponent is a lot more agile as he grabs his head by his legs in a standing triangle choke. Garrison can only flay his free arm in the air as he tries to slap his opponent away, but eventually he comes down to one knee. Still in the choke, Garrison tries to get back on his feet and with one burst of energy, rams his opponent right into the corner, forcing him to break the hold.

Garrison recovers from the dreaded choke hold but when he turns around; he sees a demon flying at him in the air towards him. With extraordinary quickness, he takes down Garrison and pierces his claw-like gauntlets right into the Hazard’s skin. He tears off Garrison’s tank-top and starts punching with deadly ferocity at the big man. Garrison throws him off and finally feels blood running from his forehead. The Hazard starts feeling drowsy as he attempts to charge at his opponent, who swiftly moves out of the way to let Garrison hit the cage. He then grabs Garrison by the skull and scrapes his head with the cage. He watches Garrison attempt to stand with support from the ropes when he dropkicks his head to the cage. He watches silently as Garrison can barely stand, blood oozing from his head forming a pool around the Hazard. The crowd reacts as he hoists a staggering Garrison over his shoulders and drops him with a thunderous Einhander!

Upon impact, Garrison knew this was over. Garrison realized that this was something he couldn’t beat; a force he couldn’t comprehend. His thirst for vengeance was quenched at Ultra Brawl, but this was something that was beyond him. Garrison lay motionless on the mat, knowing that it was all about to end. Which is why he was surprised when he was lifted back up and into a military press. This was how it was going to end, he thought. Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth.

Garrison could only mutter, “You… you’re not… him… You can’t…be him. Go ahead… finish it. It’ll prove you’re not him…” Garrison didn’t know whether he could be heard or not but 5 seconds later, he fell back to the mat. Garrison was saved from another coup de grace as he saw his opponent look right down to his face.

“I’m not him. I’m a lot more — and a lot worse.”

He exits the cage from the door as the referee calls for the bell. He re-enters the cage to look at a fallen Garrison. He climbs up the cage and stands on top to look at an elated crowd, all cheering for him. He can feel the electricity in the air as they chant the name he’s heard several times. He can feel it’s him they’re calling out to, and he realizes it is true now.

He is the one.

He is dominance.

He is Lord Alucard.

CHAPTER 19 – SHRIEK

The night is now a distant ocean through which his eyes and mind swim, floating and weightless, above a forest drenched in dark wonder and secret sin. It is a place long since cursed by a flood from heaven, and forsaken by true light.

His abode in the mysterious Crystal Lake has seldom seen any more visitors since he disappeared. The cabin itself has been plagued by dust both inside and out. It was cleaned on a daily basis but for nearly a month that has not happened. Even though he’s been at this house more frequently, he preferred not to touch anything there. He simply took in the dwelling for what it was and allowed his mind to lose itself in it.

He felt a sort of clarity he had been denied for a long time now. He stands on the roof, a dark angel on spread wings. He watches in the distance as the cold blue waters call for him. He years to dive in, all the way to the bottom; the only one willing to descend deeper in order to have all his pain and stiffness washed away by the sea. He wishes to be lost in a part of his mind he no longer knows, as he seeks…

He goes back to Mainframe, where he fought a stalemate with Jay Smash till the contest was interrupted. He knew things were far from settled and that was the same thought in Jay Smash’s mind as he was approached backstage. He felt the presence of the ‘Disease’ near him as he hid in the darkness, preferring not to be disturbed. However, ‘disturbing’ was only the least that could be said about Jay Smash.

“That was SPECTACULAR! You truly are full of surprises aren’t you! I mean, after I faced you that one time, you were something else. And tonight, you were something else, ENTIRELY! The way you made your move on Big G tonight was crazy man. And I should know crazy. After all, I’m crazy about, umm, well hey, I’m just crazy! Every now and then I have the feeling I’ve totally lost my mind. And you know what, it’s a great feeling.”

“To tell ya the truth, sometimes it’s only madness that makes us what we are. People think it’s an obsession, a compulsion; like an irresistible impulse to act. But for me, it’s never been like that. I chose my life. I know what I’m doing. Being The Disease, being with W.A.R., it’s whatever my mind can conjure up. And I can see in your eyes or from the looks of that mask that you’re no different from me at all. You and I could be the next Casablanca.”

“In fact, you wanna know a secret? I think you’re crazy, and so does everybody else! Oh wait; in that case… it’s hardly a secret anymore, right?”

He feels the thoughts fading away as he remembered turning back at Smash, looking him in the eye, as he had listened intently; processed what the Disease had infected him with. And then for the first time, he remembers what he said…

“I’ll tell you something I never admit, even to myself: I AM confused. I don’t know exactly who I am, or what my place in this world is. But I am sure of one thing… I am nothing like you.”

The ocean recedes now, replaced by bracing wind. It clears his mind of the dreamlike trance. His eyes open, alert, out of the ocean; breaking out of his shell a new creature drying in the biting air. His overcoat grabs the wind, stretching apart and fluttering in the cold breeze. It’s almost ready to let him ascend into the unforgiving sky.

He hears it as he stretches his arms apart, simulating the feeling of gliding; It’s soft at first, still distant and echoing; almost haunting in fact. Then it rises: a sound not unlike a damsel’s scream, reaching higher and louder and closer till it fills his heart with its unearthly thrill. It is the wild night, screaming for his soul.

He is still marveled on the creation, feeling the new second skin as he stretches out to fill this new outfit he tailored without thinking; somehow knowing it was right. It is something born only when nothing else matters, filling him now, even as his mind soars higher, the wind beats on his perfect cast forged in a fire he never felt. He only feels stronger, better, tougher.

He knows it waits for him out there, the brute force, which broke the old and created the new. It holds an end, promising a beginning… one for each of them.

He yearns to meet Lynch Garrison. “The Hazard”. Find him, remove him, and he will have finally taken his place. And become a darker heart, feeding the rest, the new center holding it all.

And then finally, it pours as he looks up in the sky. Rain. Perfect. The flood from heaven finally pours. He removes his mask to welcome the drops on his face, a silhouette in the dark.

The roar of thunder. And his dark heart pounds, as the wild night shrieks louder.

CHAPTER 18 – JAY SMASH

Looking around him, all Jay Smash can think is “Its Smashing Time”.

For weeks, Jay Smash has had pent up aggression literally waiting to come out. He looks at his association with Wake All Reverie and thinks its Sleeping All Reverie. Ever since Bloodbath, where they made major impacts after winning the Tag Team Championships and the Money in the Bank, they’ve made little to no impact that could lead somewhere. Sure they had a battery of attacks on Nero, Mike C, Kincaid and Hawkeye, but what was the end result?

Post Ultra Brawl X, they no longer have the Tag Team Championships. They’re not even in contention now that the Diabolical Forces challenge Hawkeye & Kincaid. Nero, who was at the end of their attacks, finally derailed Beast. Since then, he’s also beaten their prized Mr. Money in the Bank Cobris Grayson. But what really gets to Smash is their level of effectiveness. Their interferences in several key matches have hurt Smash’s understanding of their overall agenda. They cost Beast a shot at the Gold Rush tournament, he personally defeated Braden Kincaid in a singles match, but it wasn’t marred without interference either. They allowed Nero to steal a victory over Grayson, this time ironically not interfering.

It’s not just the lack of successes, but Smash feels it’s almost as if the group could amount to so much more but just doesn’t want to. Smash feels as if they’re the goths in high school: always brooding in a corner and trying to scare away the jocks. Smash had let his frustrations be known after he left his group in the ring after an unsuccessful rematch for the tag titles.

So who does he blame? Is it the ever expedient Angel of Death? Is it the deceptive Black Widow? Is it the careless Beast? Or is it the hazardous Lynch Garrison standing in front of him.

Wait, what’s wrong with this picture?

Smash shakes off the trance state to notice Lynch Garrison in the “W.A.R. Room” as it were. Maybe Garrison will be his fodder for Smashing Time, he’ll soon find out as Garrison has come with a proposition.

“Look, I know you guys don’t like me, and honestly, I don’t like any of you either.”

“Nice way to start a proposition”, AOD quickly remarks, earning the smirks of everyone except Smash.

“Ha ha. Very droll.” Garrison still serious. “Look Angel, I need your help, and W.A.R.’s. The fact is I’m ending up short on resources here and I have this menace that I need to get rid of.”

“You mean Lord Alucard?” Jay Smash finally breaks his silence.

“HE IS NOT ALUCARD!!!” Garrison now red in the face. “He can’t be Lord Alucard!”

“Look G, stop pretending it can’t be. The truth is right in your face. If it’s not Lord Alucard, who could it be?”

“It can’t be!” Garrison responds. “I broke his back. He should be in a hospital somewhere now. He was transferred to somewhere I can’t locate him.”

“Don’t take us for fools Lynch.” AOD responds. “We know full well your vendetta against Lord Alucard has depleted your ranks. You’re now looking for more fodder and you came to us. True we have our disagreements with Alucard, but we’re not going to be pawns in your problems. We have our own agendas.”

“And what would those be?!” AOD and Black Widow now turn their attention to Jay Smash, whose outburst couldn’t be ignored. “What has been our agenda, or agendas, or whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing? Of late, the only thing we’ve been doing is sitting as silent spectators, watching things happen without us. We formed this group to take control of the EUWC, to become the major power. But so far, all we’ve done is get embarrassed by the likes of Mike C and Nero and Kincaid and Hawkeye and Kincaid and Mike C and Nero… all this time I’ve been tempted to break out of this cycle, were it not for the fact that I still think this group can be a better ice cream company.”

“Ice cream?” AOD looks puzzled.

“You heard me right! It’s time we took charge around here. And for real this time! How long do you expect the goth treatment to work? This isn’t high school AOD! I’m sick of staying on the sidelines and having to wait while the globe spins round and round.”

Everyone else in the room is confused. Smash then turns his attention to Garrison.

“And as for you… you just want us to get Alucard to you on a silver platter. Well like AOD said, we’re not gonna be replacement lackeys. But you just gave me an idea. Tonight, I stand alone. One man against damnation. Let ‘em come!”

And with that, Smash doesn’t remember what he did next. It must have been important, as he’s now facing Lord Alucard in the ring. He obviously must have left the room, went to Matt Pickstock, got a match signed and is now in the ring facing Alucard in a wrestling match. Or he could have simply teleported to the rafters and brought Alucard down to the ring in a mystical elevator. It could be one of countless possibilities, as Smash considers his memories to be nothing more than “Multiple Choice” scenarios.

Still, there was no argument that he was in a match. Lord Alucard, his nemesis from a whole list of nemeses. He’s had several other challengers that have been his greatest challenge ever, but Alucard was definitely up there. Right with all the others. Only a few months ago did he face him one on one to settle an old score. Something with how the student finally overcomes the teacher, or how the hunter actually becomes THE hunter.

But there was something different this time. Previously he had beaten Alucard after a grueling match. Alucard then was much more controlled, effectively timed, and more precise. The experience he had over the years turned him into a more effective and precise competitor and a veteran no less. This time however, Alucard appeared wilder, more uncontrolled, fiercer, and more tenacious. Smash really couldn’t put his finger on it. If it weren’t for the clothes and appearance, he could feel he was wrestling someone else entirely. Either that or Garrison’s assault had inadvertently caused a chain reaction in Alucard’s DNA, giving him enhanced speed and ferocity. Another possible scenario in a multitude of choices. The vast array of chops, kicks and faster movement in the ring were something Smash hadn’t anticipated. And he liked it.

Alucard had Smash on the run indeed, as he took him down with a spinning back kick. Smash would have wanted to follow-up, but his sights led him to the ramp way where his W.A.R. compatriots had started coming down. Smash may have hallucinated, but he also felt Alucard had paused to see the new developments as well. Smash got back to his feet as W.A.R. was now at ringside. Both competitors paused as Smash had to ask his comrades just what the hell were they doing here. No sooner had he asked when he looked in the titantron to see Garrison enter the ring from behind and knock down Alucard! Smash turned around puzzled to watch Garrison stomp away on Alucard in the corner.

At this point, Smash could have left the ring and let Garrison & Alucard settle this. But he was enjoying himself in the match. Alucard had fought him like a rejuvenated man and had him excited for the last 15 minutes. Smash had already given his comrades a lot of flak for interfering in matches. And he didn’t like another interruption, by Garrison no less. Sensing his rage boil, Smash grabbed Garrison and shoved him aside. Garrison retorted with a shove of his own till Smash started hammering away on Garrison! Smash nailed him with an elbow jab to the head and finally threw him over the ropes and outside. Oh Garrison, if only you were still Big G.

“The Disease” then turned about face to notice his comrades attacking Alucard, but Alucard also fighting back. That did it! He’d already made an example of Garrison, and still these guys don’t get it. Smash shoved Cobris away fast and easily and knocked Beast out of the ring. Cobris went out as he saw his mentor face to face with his uneasy partner Angel of Death. It then dawned upon Smash that the ring now had three former World Champions in it, in fact, the history started from Alucard to AOD and then Jay Smash. The irony may have just dawned on Smash, or the other three, or everyone else, as the commentators never failed to put forth any fact. Smash didn’t hear anything around him, just the sounds in his head that told him more filtered stuff. Particularly how he had the advantage over these two in the Uprising Gauntlet on Sunday.

Smash wanted to see someone twitch. Someone, anyone! He saw Alucard take the first kick, right to Garrison who was just about getting on the ring apron. The kick hit right at the jaw, and knocked Garrison out of the picture.

“That looked like it hurt.” Smash thought. “Wait, why am I guessing…? I know it hurts.”

The sound of boos then caught their attention as Matt Pickstock appeared on stage with a microphone in hand.

“All right that’s enough!” Pickstock shouted. “W.A.R., you’ve made your point yet again about how you wish to be a nuisance in the EUWC. Well this Sunday at Uprising, you two, AOD and Smash, get the chance of dominating in the Uprising Gauntlet. So I’d save my breath for that match if I were either of you.”

Jay Smash couldn’t help but smile at the prospect. He would finally get to settle the debate of W.A.R. in the Gauntlet, considering how he had a much better chance than Angel of Death to last in the match.

Pickstock continued, “And as for Lynch Garrison and Lord Alucard… well I’m kinda spooked as to how you’re here Alucard. But that obviously means Garrison screwed up. So since you’re obviously out for revenge, I’ll give you your chance to face Lynch Garrison one-on-one at Uprising, inside a STEEL CAGE!!!”

Smash could interpret that look in Alucard’s eyes. The look that told him that he was pleased as hell. He could also tell Garrison was pi$$ed, but so could everyone else considering how he smashed stuff around ringside. Smash stared at his comrade AOD and at Alucard. He saw AOD looking with that angered face; the one that expressed disappointment. The one that wanted to settle this ‘partnership’. He looked at Alucard, at how hungry he was. For vengeance anyways, but it would be interesting as to how he conducts in the Uprising Gauntlet.

Who knew Smashing Time was going to be so much fun now?

=======================================

CHAPTER 17 – DESCENT

Martial arts have never been his preferred method of combat, but that statement may not mean much as he tactfully evades a roundhouse kick from Johnny Lao.

It was only a few moments ago that he was high on the rafters, watching over the match between Nero & Johnny Lao. He had watched a splendid night full of action, but it was just after an hour that he made his presence felt. He roams only to help the good fight, against any wrong. He saw a wrong when Garrison had tripped Nero.

Though it wouldn’t be fair if he didn’t think Johnny Lao was a gifted competitor. He had given Nero a tough time with his array of martial arts moves and kicks, combined with the added agility & ferocity of a Shaolin master. Nero was not slouching either as he had been the resident martial artist in the EUWC. That could change with Lao here. He watched as Nero had finally taken the reigns using wrestling prowess after Lao had expanded his offence. A former World Heavyweight Champion, Nero had no intention of being outclassed by a newcomer. His arsenal was experience coupled with arrogance, which Nero had in buckets.

After finally getting Lao down for the count, Nero signaled for the patented Nero Kick when Garrison had pulled Nero down by the hair as the referee was distracted. He knew this was wrong and the perfect moment for him to make his presence felt. Lao was about to hit a rising Nero with a powerful roundhouse when the spotlight shone on him for all to see. Lao was now struck with fear as he intimidated the martial arts master. Lao could only stand in awe as Nero turned him around for a picture perfect Buzzcutter to seal the victory and make an exit.

He knew he had cost Lao his chance at becoming the EUWC’s only Shaolin import. He knew Lao was frustrated enough to actually call him out. HE remembered his call as Lao now focuses on a flurry of punches to his stomach.

“Alucard!” he recalled as Lao had called him from the ring. “YOU COWARD! You dare cost me my chance at the EUWC! I will put you in your place! Come down and face me like a man!”

He knew Lao would be out for blood. But he couldn’t let Lao be fearless. He had to make his impact. He had to make the leap. He had struck fear in the hearts of many before him as he made his descent from the rafters and to the ring. He had done it many times before, but this time it seems it would be the first time he did. He recalls the sensations as he made the descent. The wind flowing through his hair, his eyes nearing the center of the mat, the sound of the crowd ringing in his ears. He feels the impact as he lands perfectly on his feet. He rises in full form, looking at an astonished Johnny Lao and a confounded Lynch Garrison.

He had arrived.

Johnny Lao would have looked to finish him early. Injured or not, he was still standing and Lao had an axe to grind. Yet even after sparring with him at Ultra Brawl, there seemed something different. Lao was focused but he was focused even more. Lao had speed, but he could match it quite adequately. He moved differently than he did that night. Even with his coat on, he blocked several kicks and punches as if he had studied Lao well. Garrison was amazed outside as he evaded a perfectly executed roundhouse kick that could have knocked him out.

He knew Lao was ferocious. He knew Lao was agile. Therefore he would have to do more. He matched him kick for kick, toe to toe, as he ducked a heel kick, but took a straight spinning back kick to the chin. He watched as Garrison was elated with glee and Lao waited intently for Alucard to get back up. He heard the fans cheer as he hopped back onto his feet to the surprise of both Lao and Garrison. Lao charged with a running shoulder tackle that he changed to a powerslam! He saw Lao get up again when he ran off the ropes to hit Lao with a running big boot! He turned only for Garrison to take him down with a shoulder block as the crowd booed.

He quickly rolled out of the ring as Garrison pursued him. He disappeared under the ring apron as Garrison frantically searched for him. He had expected Garrison to finally blow the lid and he came prepared for this very eventuality. He spent quite some time designing the gauntlets, took care to add effectively sharp blades at the sides of the forearms. He climbed up the apron and pounced on an unsuspecting Garrison, who turned around in horror. The claws for fingers were indeed terrifying and the sharp edges on the forearms glistened in the lights.

He took down Garrison and started hammering away on the Hazard; till Lao tried to help his mentor but was spotted early. He took him down with a spinning back kick and started hammering away at Lao with those claw-like gauntlets, ripping Lao’s shirt in the process. He looked for Garrison but the Hazard had already high-tailed it up the ramp.

He had “the Hazard” on the run. He had dismantled one of his lackeys. He had the abilities and skill to defeat Lynch Garrison.

He had struck!

CHAPTER 16 – NERO

Sunday nights on Mainframe always meant one thing in particular; Sunday Nero LIVE! Self proclaimed “Great & Almighty” Nero spent a great deal of time and effort to make SNL a feature presentation of the show, almost as special as any main event. Hosted with his witty and sarcastic presentation style, Nero knew how to dazzle a crowd, let his feelings be known, and address any important issues in the EUWC by having guests over.

Of course, Mainframe on Mondays has meant the overall concept of Sunday Nero LIVE has taken a back burner. Its only once a while that Nero brings SNL out, and this week will be one of those times as the inflatable couches and disco lights adorn the ring. Nero, ever the flamboyant persona, has a microphone and ready to roll.

“EEE YOU DOUBLE YA SEE… WAT-UP!? Welcome all to SNL! Or “Work In Progress”, or “Someday Nero LIVE”. I dunno, Mainframe keeps changing days and going on hiatuses so many times, I can’t even keep track. Still, you can’t have Mainframe without the Great & Almighty one gracing you all with his presence, and getting record ratings in the process every week. And since we’ve had the show running for a few weeks now, guess they wanted to get the extra paydirt already.”

As always, the crowd takes Nero’s arrogance as both cheerful and annoying.

“So a lot of you have been wondering where I’ve been all these weeks. Well I had to get some stuff done, get a new place, trade in the Stang for that new one, getting rid of this guy name Beast that’s been bothering me, which I finally did at Ultra Brawl. But most importantly, I had to figure out some way to get to my number one priority in the EUWC, and that is to once again become the Great & Almighty WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!”

Nero smiles as the crowd offers him another mixed reaction.

“Thank you, you’re all too kind. Now since this Beast guy, er, thing, ruined a lot of my shots at the title all the time, I got the upper hand in a petition I was working on. See as I’m the enterprise that launched SNL and turned Mainframe into the highest rated wrestling show today, I came up with another brilliant idea for you, the FANS to be entertained! And for me to get back the gold again, but mostly for you FANS! And the gold.”

“So anyways, Uprising is coming up in a few weeks, but management thought there wasn’t anything huge. Sure we got Roidos defending the title against Bookbrain Taylor, and Stonos goes up against Goon. But what we REALLY needed was something new, something innovative, something NEROOOOOOO!!! So being the innovative brainstorm machine that I am, allow me to introduce to you the “Uprising Gauntlet Match!”

The fans are now excited with the announcement and the commentators are pumped up. Nero knows he’s got them by the strings now.

“Here’s how it works. There will be 20 competitors in one single match, which starts off with 2 at a time. Once one of those two is out by pinfall, submission, DQ or countout, the next guy comes in and so on and so forth. The first 10 guys will be selected by Prickstock obviously, while the last 10 will be former World Heavyweight Champions currently under contract. The former champ that held the gold previously will be the last entrant. And the winner at the end gets a guaranteed World Title shot at Summer Sizzler!”

“It’s gonna go down like this. 10 guys first, followed by the oldest reigning champion on the roster today, which (Nero pulls out a list from his pocket and reads) is… aw crap! Paul Goon. The next will be Bored Alucard, followed by the Angel of Death who’s still alive, making him the worst Angel of Death EVER! After that will be a mystery champion who even I don’t know and they won’t tell me! He’ll be followed by @$$y Mike C, and then “Your’s Truly”… wait I’m not supposed to, oh wait, sorry false alarm. It’s that third guy with Stonos and Roidos, the one who says “Yours Truly” all the time. Don’t remember his name right now, but WHO CARES! Following that is Gay Smash and then Queereye, which should make an interesting ‘hook-up’. The second last spot goes to ME, THE GREAT & ALMIGHTY NERO! And last is the former World Heavyweight Champion, STEALTH!”

The fans start cheering after hearing the lineup. Nero has done it again. It took a large effort to pitch in the match and get it approved. It even took a lot of sneaking around to get to be the first person to break the announcement. The idea works for him perfectly still, even if he’s second last in the match.

“But hey, I’m not done yet. Now that I’ve made my major announcement that is SURE To be the best thing since, well, the last best thing I ever came up with, allow me to introduce you to my guest tonight. He’s the former International Champion, and my former buddy; please welcome if you must: The Buzzard, Big ‘G’, Garrison, whatever he’s calling himself now!”

The music hits and Nero watches his old partner walk alone to the ring. Nero thought he’d bring his entourage out, but it didn’t look too much of a group after that other roid-freak guy got cut last week. Garrison enters the ring and grabs a mic as Nero welcomes him.

“Howya doin big buddy? You don’t look too good right now. Where’s that bunch of rookies you brought along with ya?”

“Yeah I don’t look too good, ‘pal’”, Garrison responds, still not in a pleasant mood. “As for where my boys are, well I got a surprise for you. See, since you made your big announcement, Matt Pickstock decided he had to reward you too. The reward is that tonight, you face one of my boys for his contract in the EUWC. Tonight, just like last week was for Martinez, you get to face Johnny Lao!”

Nero looks the least bit worried as the crowd boos. “Oh sure, I get to face another one of your guys who, judging by experience, will lose! Not just his experience, but also coz I’m AWESOME! But enough about me, for now. Let’s talk about you! Up until Ultra Brawl, you had it all man. You had the International title, you got rid of Bored Alucard and you were just bad-@$$. But now, you lost the International Title, Bored Alucard is back, and you look like you just got owned by everyone in the building. What’s happening big man? I thought you got broke Alucard’s back or something.”

“OF COURSE I DID! I heard the crack myself! Lord Alucard should be in some private ward in a hospital somewhere. And that’s where he is cause this guy coming around these few weeks is NOT ALUCARD! IT CAN’T BE HIM!”

Ah he’s on his nerves already. Nero loves it when he manages to get under anyone’s skin this easily.

“Well see, you say that, but then we have this…”

Nero points to the titantron where footage from 2 weeks ago shows Alucard kicking Garrison in the face to knock him down and cost the International Title. The clip is followed by another from last week where Alucard was spotted twice on the rafters.”

“So ya see G, he’s got the size, the hair, the same “Look at meeee!!! I’m boring you all from waaaaay above here” vibe. All that’s different is the mask, which seriously, is totally him, coz it’s even MORE BORING!”

“ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!” Garrison retorts, with Nero smiling as always. “You actually believe this guy is Lord Alucard?!”

“Has to be. I swear I fell asleep the instant I saw him. Of course, everything else other than NERO makes me go to sleep anyway so…”

“WELL ITS NOT! You and everybody else are too blind to notice, but I BROKE ALUCARD! His doctor stated himself in a press conference that Alucard is out of commission for a long time! There is no way this guy magically healed himself and he’s back in top form, jumping around the ring like he’s a spry kid. No way, no how! Read my lips. Alucard is BROKEN!”

“Not this Alucard…” a chilling voice proclaims.

The arena suddenly goes dark as only the ring is lit up. The crowd is electric as both Nero and Garrison freak out.

“HEY! HEY! You can’t do this on MY SHOW! YOU WERENT INVITED!!!”

Both Garrison and Nero look up in the rafters where spotlights frantically search for the obvious source of the voice. Without locating anything however, the voice continues.

“You beat a man at the end of his rope. You picked off the pieces of a hunt already preyed upon. You won’t do that again. You will fall to me.”

The lights come back on as the crowd cheers.

“THAT’S IT!” Nero finally breaks the silence. “I am this close from banning the both of you from SNL. But I’ll do you one better when I stomp a big one right into your boy tonight! In the meantime, you can stay in the ring all you want, get a chair and telescope lookin’ around for Alucard. Tell him I said “RETIRE” when ya see him. Right now, I gotta order pizza for after I beat your boy tonight.”

Nero then exits the ring leaving Garrison behind none happier. He’d done what he wanted to. Had his show play once again, get to make the announcement about the Uprising Gauntlet, and even pi$$ed Garrison off in the process. Of course, contrary to his expectations, there wasn’t a damned smile on his face though.

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CHAPTER 15 – OVERSEER

He remembers the view from up here, almost as if he’s been here before. He remembers the chill, the darkness, the clarity he receives on top of those rafters. He feels himself at one with the darkness surrounding him, as he’s blended into it perfectly.

He gazes on as the night progresses. Nero picks up a surprise victory over Cobris Grayson with a handful of tights. No time for celebration as Nero slips away from the ring before W.A.R. invades it. He watches an irate Jay Smash, looking at his comrades, obviously bitter about them not interfering now of all times, when they actually needed to.

He watches as the new tag team champions pick up yet another successful title defense against the Darkstar Brothers, only to be assaulted from behind by the Diabolical Forces. Mammon and Molloch spared no time to destroy both Kincaid & Hawkeye to cement their campaign for the titles. He watches, but doesn’t leap just yet. The EUWC does need Lord Alucard, but he needs to wait for a much opportune time.

He’s also apprehensive. It’s almost as if he’s never jumped off before. He’s managed to stay on the rafters as the night went on, yet all he’s been thinking about is if he could make the jump. Not that he needed to tonight, but what if the opportunity presented itself. He had made an impact last week. His attire exuded the air of a man that commands dominance. The muzzle mask on his face was obviously there to strike fear but also hide the scars of his injury. Though he’s not sure how bad the scars are, for he’s never seen any on his face.

The boots had been padded specially with harder heels for maximum effect. They proved their worth when he had to kick Garrison in the face. Though he must admit, while the heel did its part, he was much too quicker for his own good. He appeared and disappeared as quickly as a flash, which is faster than usual. He’s not sure if he should bring it down a notch or keep it, which is strange because usually he was confident of his decisions.

He gazes on as Andre Martinez used brute force against Daymon’s technique and experience. Technique aside, Daymon was on the run as Martinez was definitely a force. As long as Martinez didn’t get his hands on him, Daymon had the chance of landing a flurry of offence. While Daymon used technique and wrestling offence to get near falls, Martinez would use pure muscle to get himself out of the falls. Vice versa, Daymon couldn’t offer much resistance to Martinez’ power, except for the resilience to kick out.

He also saw on both sides of the stage, the New Breed and the Entourage, occupying spectator seats as they rooted on their compatriots in battle. Apart from regulating a fair fight, Sean Taylor had exerted enough authority as referee to keep the two teams away from the ring. Taylor would need all the authority as another near fall attempt frustrated Martinez enough to get a steel chair from outside. Taylor did his best to stop, but Martinez shoved the referee down and attempted to strike a fallen Daymon. And that’s when he saw him…

He felt the warmth of the spotlight finally meeting him as Martinez, chair in the air, looked on high. He knew that Martinez was shocked as everyone else in the arena. The audience, the camera crew, both Entourage and the New Breed looked on top as they spotted him again. His attire exuded the air of a man that commanded dominance. The muzzle mask on his face did well to strike fear into the hearts of onlookers, both in the ring and out of it. The fact that he was standing high on the rafters was shocking to everyone, as they could swear he was in no physical condition to even crawl.

Rocko Daymon, unaware of what was happening, had other ideas as he turned Martinez around for a kick to the gut, and a Brain Rocker on the steel chair. Daymon did well to remove the chair and revived Sean Taylor to record the 3-count and his victory. Ever the opportunist, Daymon grabbed Taylor’s head while he had his arm raised in victory. Daymon looked for another Brain Rocker as a favor to Dan Ryan when he saw him for the first time. Daymon dropped Sean Taylor as he backed away in shock. Daymon hadn’t seen him up close last week, so it was surreal to see him standing up there again.

He could feel everyone had a lot of questions. It’s true that while Daymon mocked Garrison’s handiwork, the message from his doctor and even the impact of the back breakers at Ultra Brawl that Daymon saw should be concrete enough to label him a total cripple. Yet here he was, standing tall high on the rafters, as if that night had never happened. Save for the mask on his face, nothing seems changed at all.

As Daymon exited the ring, the Entourage entered with Garrison yelling at the rafters. The spotlights looked on again but he’s gone before they can spot him again. A chill emanates as voices are heard.

“Garrison…”

The audience cheers as the spotlight points in another direction. Garrison is shocked as he’s now on the opposite side of the arena, and much higher. He wants Garrison to know he is here. He wants him to know he remembers. He wants him to know, that he will strike.

He takes in the cheers, the chants, and the excitement of the crowd. He listens to the name on their lips.

He knows who he is.

CHAPTER 14 – ROCKO DAYMON

Call it superstition, hex, voodoo magic; even Rocko Daymon can’t help wonder just why is it he’s had a long string of bad luck. True he’s been a prolific International Champion and had stellar matches against Texas Lightning to back it up, Daymon has always remained shy every time he’s tried to come close to the big one. First, he had 2 unsuccessful Blood Bath matches, despite lasting a long time in both of them. Even after winning his third one to become Mr. Money in the Bank, he lost the briefcase to his partner Dan Ryan. Evidently this has been a huge turning point as Daymon now has to contend with Ryan as the new World Champion.

He had the perfect chance against STEALTH at the last Bloodbath event where he looked to not only become the World Champion, but also retire the legacy of STEALTH as a major force in the company. If there’s anything else that has driven Daymon and his friends Dan Ryan & Adam Benjamin, it’s his firm belief that the time for EUWC’s old guard has come to pass. It’s the era of the new breed of superstars that should take control of the EUWC. He’s already proven his point to the likes of Texas Lightning and Paul Doom. The night ended on a worse note as Daymon lost after apparently being incapacitated completely. The referee called the match in STEALTH’s favor as the opponent was in no condition left to compete. Daymon knows this defeat was more of a moral one than anything else.

At least his partner had accomplished the mission by defeating STEALTH, though Daymon knows that not only did he play a factor in the match, but it could have been him walking away with the gold. With STEALTH now taking a “leave of absence”, Daymon is pleased. Even if he’s on a cruise, that’s another old ‘fossil’ that stays away. Today, he looks forward to another Hall of Famer going down as Sean Taylor stepped in the ring for the official contract signing. Once the John Hancock was taken down, the title match at Uprising will be official. Matt Pickstock had finally returned to Mainframe after a week off to watch the proceedings. On one hand was Sean Taylor, former World Champion, the only person to hold both International & World Titles at the same time, a Hall of Famer and legendary for being the only person who follows the rules.

On the other, his opponent and World Champion, “The Ego Buster” Dan Ryan, his brothers in arms Adam Benjamin and of course Rocko Daymon. The contract signing had gone smoothly and without many words spoken. Both the competitors had stood to shake hands till Lynch Garrison’s music hit. The crowd erupted in boos as everyone in the ring watched “The Hazard” and his Entourage enter the ring. Garrison grabbed a mic and addressed the people in the ring.

“Congratulations to the both of you! You finally get your match at Uprising, now that this weasel Matt Pickstock shows up. But what I wanna know is where the HELL wer e you last week, when that jerk Paul Doom stole my title and…”

Daymon was about to interject when Dan Ryan did the honors. “Whoa hold on there, ‘Hazard’. You obviously have forgotten your manners. You’re in the presence of the World Heavyweight Champion and the winning team. Aside from the # 1 Contender and the CEO here, you really are out of your place now.”

Way to be the arrogant one Danny, thought Rocko Daymon. Once an Ego Buster, always an Ego Buster.

Garrison was none too pleased. “Yeah that’s pretty spiffy Champ, considering how you’re forgetting, if it wasn’t for me and my boys here, you three were pretty much dangling around doing nothing. You seem to have forgotten all the times I’ve helped your sorry little group get the upper hand on STEALTH. And this is how you say thanks?”

“Is that so?” Daymon finally interjected. “Because the way I see it, I literally had you on the ropes the last time we faced. And if it wasn’t for the fact that the whole thing was a setup, I could have knocked you down a lot faster.”

Daymon is smiling now that Garrison looks irate. “As a matter of fact, you don’t have the stroke anymore now that you’re no champion. And considering how you lost it to Paul Doom, a guy I already made an example of, you obviously are at the bottom of the food chain now.”

The crowd gives somewhat of a mixed reaction to Daymon’s tirade. “But you know what the worst part is? You can’t even get one single job done right. Like how you’ve been transitional International Champion 4 times already. I’ve had that title longer with a more dignified run pal. Or like how you “severely injured” Lord Alucard but only last week did he kick your nose in!”

“SHUT UP!!” Garrison barely containing his anger. “SHUT THE HELL UP!”

“Enough both of you!” Matt Pickstock finally interrupts. “You’re wasting a lot of breath that’s leading nowhere. That’s where you should be thankful I still run things around here. Now since Garrison wants his rematch for the title, and Daymon made a good point, I’m starting to feel you’re not such a bankable champion Lynch. So tonight, you’re gonna have to prove you deserve the International title in a good ole Contenders match. And your challenger will be none other than… ROCKO DAYMON!”

The crowd has a mixed reaction as Daymon looks pleased. Garrison on the other hand, couldn’t be more pi$$ed.

“I don’t have to prove anything to anyone! I should have the match by default! I lost because someone interfered, and it damn sure couldn’t have been Alucard! I took him out! His doctor said he’s out for a year! There is NO CHANCE IN HELL HE’S COMING BACK!”

“That’s interesting Lynch,” Daymon just couldn’t help himself, “… considering that he IS back.”

Garrison doesn’t believe the audacity but Pickstock interjects before anything else happens.

“He does have a point Lynch. You are obviously a little troubled mentally right now to even thing about competing. So I’ll tell you what. You don’t have to wrestle Daymon tonight. But someone from your Entourage will. And if that person wins, he gets you the title shot. But if he loses, then Daymon challenges Doom at Uprising.”

“Wait wait wait WAIT!” Daymon and the others look towards the corner to see Sean Taylor still standing there, this time having his say on the mic. “Are you serious? You wanna put Garrison’s title shot on the line with one of those guys? Are they even contracted? They’ve been running around here competing in ‘matches’ on PPV no less, and for the life of me, I’ve never seen their profiles on EUWC.com. Matt, I know you have no clue about the rules, so let me give you a quickie one right now. An International Title contender cannot be determined if said competitor isn’t even hired. Don’t bother looking it up; it’s all in Greek to you.”

Daymon is enjoying this all more, and he knows so are Ryan & Benjamin. He thought Taylor was gone, but now he’s done it by outsmarting the boss yet again. This is entertainment at its finest.

“Okay wiseguy,” Pickstock responded. “Now that you brought it up, this match will also be a contract match too. And since you’re the high priest of the rules around here, I’m naming you the special referee for the match. So Lynch, tonight, if your boy wins, you get the title shot and he gets the contract. But if Daymon wins, your boy is gone and you lose the shot. However, since I’m such a nice guy, I’ll let you pick which member of your Entourage gets the spot.

“Then you don’t need to wait for my answer. Daymon, I got your opponent right here!”

Daymon stands still as Garrison brings the 6’8” 290 pounder Andre Martinez forward. Martinez stares hard at his opponent as Daymon doesn’t look intimidated at all. Even if he couldn’t get his hands on Garrison, he’ll prove his point by beating this beefhead tonight. He’ll go on to show his ‘friend’ Dan Ryan he’s no slouch as he takes back the International title. He’ll prove all the naysayers wrong when he beats back another fossil in Paul Doom yet again.

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CHAPTER 13 – RESURRECTION

The front row seats give an excellent view of the action in the ring. It takes a lot of effort to get front row seats these days, especially when they’re sold out weeks in advance. Either that or you need to know the right people to get one.

He’s been watching.

As long as he knew he had someone with the stroke to get him a first row seat, it was easy. He’s been here all night, watching. Watching the events on Mainframe unfold. He saw the challenge to Garrison by Paul Doom. He also saw a successful Tag title retention after the former champions cashed in the rematch clause. It even took a nasty turn when the self-proclaimed “Disease” had exhibited a lot of pent-up frustration after the match, when he left W.A.R. in the ring.

He watched as the fans ‘welcomed’ a new World Heavyweight Champion. They heckled as the New Breed entered the ring to berate the legacy of STEALTH, and cheered as Sean Taylor emerged as the new #1 Contender. He watched as Taylor and Dan Ryan stared each other down as the fans chanted for both.

He watched two behemoths collide as Paul Doom and Lynch Garrison faced off for the International title. He had seen earlier how Doom outwitted the champion to defend his title in a fair fight. Being on cloud nine as he is, Garrison restrained his Entourage backstage just so he could crush Doom’s pride on his own. He watched as both Doom and Garrison went at it pound for pound, tooth and nail, beating each other in a grueling fight. He knew to Garrison it meant glory, while to Doom it meant redemption. He doesn’t really know why, but he could feel it from their movements.

He is prepared.

The long leather overcoat provided to him fit his frame perfectly. The black wrestling attire felt almost like a second skin to him. The boots itched a bit before, but he hasn’t felt it anymore for an hour. The gloves were unnecessary tonight, and it only contributed to sweat from anticipation more than anything else. He’d been successful at keeping people near him away somewhat, but that was mostly because of the black muzzle mask he wore over his lower face. The other fans may have thought he’s more of an extreme fan or a goth, some didn’t notice because of the long flowing hair on his face. They may have noticed if there was a peep out of him, but for the entire night, they reveled at the in ring action, while he stayed seated and silent.

He is ready.

In the short time that he’s had to prepare, he knew he couldn’t flounder this. He had been waiting ever since the surgery. He had been told this was important for the EUWC and for him. He watched as both Garrison & Doom had scored two near falls against each other, the last one by Garrison earning the referee his anger as he shoved him to the corner in frustration. Garrison exited and re-entered the ring with a steel chair, waiting for Paul Doom to rise up.

He jumped the guardrail and on the ring apron with such quickness & speed that the announce team didn’t even notice till the fans started cheering. Garrison had no idea either till he looked at the titantron in horror. The Hazard turned around as the muzzled stranger jumped the top rope to a picture perfect heel kick to Garrison’s nose!

By the time Paul Doom recovered, he had disappeared into the audience just as quickly as he had arrived. Doom wasted no time to cover Lynch Garrison as the referee had recovered for a slow count 1…2… THREE!

The bell rang as the fans were jubilant. Paul Doom had beaten Lynch Garrison one-on-one and become the new International Champion. The fans however, cheered another name as the titantron replayed what happened earlier. It showed how he entered the ring, a man dressed in black with the trademark ring attire and long leather overcoat, wearing a muzzle mask with long flowing black hair, kick Garrison in the face and exit just as quickly. Doom watched intently on the ramp as did a recovering Garrison. There was no mistaking the attire, the appearance, but were it not for the great quickness and speed, they could swear it was…

“ALUCARD! ALUCARD! ALUCARD! ALUCARD!”

The fans didn’t care for minute details. They could tell what had happened. Garrison had lost the title. Doom was the new International Champion. And the impossible had just happened.

In the shadows, he wanders off unnoticed. He hides there till the dust settles and the smoke clears. His heart, which was pulsating like a bass drum, now returning to normal.

He knew he had accomplished his goal.

He knew he had done well.

He will be back.

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