Saturday, January 24, 2015
HGW FREAKING ANNIVERSARY: THE GATHERING
HGW Arena - Atlantic City, NJ
January 24, 2015
(Camera fades in to an old sight: Dylan Whiplash, mid-ring, surrounded by 2500 cheering and applauding tri-state maniacs. Whiplash, 42, had all but given up on life as a professional wrestling announcer, settling down as an account executive in the Philadelphia area where he grew up. Tonight, however, his 'Whiplash' surname is dusted off once more, his face weighted by a lead-heavy grin a mile wide.
"H-G-DUB" rings throughout the old Arena, since repurposed as Lucky Spin, a hole-in-the-wall concert venue in what is now a decaying game and entertainment community. Whiplash basks in the endless love, not wanting to silence a second of it for his required spiel)
DW: "HELLO EVERYONE, AND WELCOME ONCE MORE TO THE HGW ARENA!"
(Louder applause erupts with a smattering of "WELCOME BACK!" for Whiplash, still bowled over by the reception.)
DW: "Welcome everyone to HGW's Freaking Anniversary: The Gathering! Where tonight, the stars and icons of HGW's long and disturbing history will come together once more to bring you the Hardcore Global Wrestling you remember: hard-hitting, relentless, balls-to-the-wall action that cannot be duplicated anywhere else!"
(Loud cheers echo that sentiment)
DW: "Because without HGW, the past six years have brought us to the point of a muscular Samoan reciting Looney Tunes catchphrases, so it's clear just how much wrestling's lost its way without this place to shine the light!"
(Fans erupt with cheers and laughs, spurring a sizable "ROMAN SUCKS" chant. Ironically, a few Daniel Bryan "YES'es" spring up, making Whiplash shake his head in mock disgust)
DW: "All I'll say is if tonight's show sucks, we'll understand if you hijack it with your disapproval! But here now, I'd like to bring out my long-time co-pilot, one of the all time greats in HGW's storied history, he is without--"
("Stress" by Godsmack blares, resulting in a deluge of boos, and a disbelieving Whiplash staring down the entrance way. Sure enough, Brandon Thornton emerges, dressed street casual, arms outstretched to take in the ugly sentiment. Now 36 and nearly a decade removed from the business, Thornton would be more recognizable as a convenience store clerk than as a competent wrestling star. Thornton hits the ring with a spring in his step, much to Whiplash's disgust. Thornton asks for the mic, but Whiplash balks at the request)
DW: "Oh no you don't. You've wasted enough of our time over the years with your lies and your tantrums!"
(The fans cheer wildly, but quickly turn to boos as a disbelieving Thornton backs the smaller Whiplash into the corner. Thornton leans in and attempts to bully the announcer, with a number of fans looking toward the entrance set for the likely run-in. Sure enough, cheers erupt as a suit wearing Bad Ass John, 55 and still training wrestlers in the Boston area, slides into the ring and covertly stands behind Thornton. Whiplash subtly points over the obnoxious Thornton's shoulder, goading the "One Man Revolution" to turn straight into a head-and-arm suplex by a still powerful John. John then floors Thornton with a hooking clothesline, and then a running kick to his temple as he tried to stand. With fans cheering wildly, John takes the mic from his broadcast colleague)
BAJ: "I'm declaring myself Commissioner once more, and I'm booking a match right here and right now! Brandon Thornton, I know you can't hear me at the moment, but you're gonna compete right here and right NOW!"
(The fans applaud this development, chanting "BAD ASS" knowingly. John, however, shakes his head with a wan smile)
BAJ: "No, no, I have nothing to gain by pinning this sorry motherfucker. Instead, Thornton, you're going to wrestle....."
(John slowly turns to the corner of the ring and the fans buzz)
BAJ: ".....Dylan Whiplash! Dylan, it's your first match, good luck!"
(The 2500 in the crowd explode while Whiplash temporarily freezes in the moment. A smirking John calls for the bell, to which Whiplash immediately covers the unconscious Thornton. John immediately bangs his hand three times with a quickened cadence, giving Whiplash the official victory, to the joy of everyone!)
"Time of the fall, five seconds, your winner....DYLAN WHIPLASH!"
(John raises Whiplash's hand to the cheers of everyone, spurring a "THAT WAS AWESOME" chant. Thornton absent-mindedly rolls to the floor while John and Whiplash soak in the reception, the proper way to begin a night of crazy HGW action)
(With Whiplash and John whisking themselves away to the commentary section, the fans settle in for the first 'legitimate' match of the evening. "Voodoo People" (Pendulum mix) by Prodigy hits, leading to some knowing cheers and claps. A strobe-light effect is created at the entrance way, with Spiker sliding out as the main riff blares. The Canadian high-flyer is the youngest wrestler on the show at age 28, having signed with HGW at age 18 back in 2004. Still boasting his trademark spiny mohawk, Spiker is now a regular on west-coast independents, occasionally apearing in the renowned Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
Spiker tags hands with a line of fans before leaping to the apron, and slingshotting into the ring with a showmanlike somersault roll. The sequence concludes with Spiker shooting a torrent of lime-green mist into the air, a callback to his time as a 'Ranting Raver'
"Hollow" by Alice in Chains follows, the theme of now-EVOLVE standout Travis King. King, 33, had a cup of coffee with TNA in 2011 during their short-lived attempt to kick the X-Division into high gear (performing under the name 'Ronnie Pierce', notably losing an Ultimate X qualifier to Low Ki) but has settled into this role as an indy darling. Now considered one of the best strong-style workers in the US indies, King is met with a hero's welcome by the HGW faithful, who once maligned him as an RWA sympathizer.
Bedecked in an NBA-style warm-up jacket and Maryland flag-print tights and knee pads, King storms the ring with a nuanced calm, playing the role less for more nostalgia and more as a chance to show off his wares as a world class wrestler)
"The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, in the corner to my left, from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, weighing 217 lbs, this....is....SPIKER!"
(Spiker receives a respectable amount of cheers and whistles)
"His opponent, in the corner to my right, hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, he weighs in at 231 lbs, he is "The Guru of Grapple" and "The Wrestler's Wrestler", he is....TRAVIS KING!"
(King removes his jacket and stoically surveys the cheering crowd. After handing the jacket to the ring attendant, King and Spiker begin circling at the sound of the bell. The jockeying slows down long enough for Spiker to offer a hand, which King shakes without incident, appreciated by the fans. The two lock up, with the stronger King going behind with a waistlock. Spiker tries to power out, but is lifted and taken down by King, who pumps on the abdomen)
DW: "Spiker's tendencies have always been to take the fight to the air, and King knows nothing's changed, keeping the daredevil on the mat."
(King floats over into a front facelock, which Spiker twists out of by wrenching the left arm and folding King into a hammerlock. Never one to be outdone, King works his way to his feet, and manages to judo throw Spiker over his shoulder. King misses a running forearm into the corner, which Spiker follows up by overshooting a springboard leg lariat. King tries for a roll-up, getting only two, only to have Spiker quickly roll King into a reverse cradle for another two. The duo spring to their feet simultaneously and freeze in a stalemate, allowing the fans to applaud enthusiastically)
DW: "Travis King and Spiker know each other so well. Even with their growth and maturity as world-class wrestlers, they understand their opponent's core instincts."
BAJ: "It's going to come down to whether or not Spiker can surprise King with some sort of convoluted move, something he's prone to inventing. He's got to play a card King hasn't seen before."
(King beckons Spiker with a knuckle-lock, which Spiker, against most wrestlers' best instincts, obliges. The two engage in a test of strength, King the dominator, sinking Spiker to a knee. Spiker, in his defense, rolls to his back and drapes his legs over King's forearms to try and lever him into a sunset pin, but King blocks. Countering, he dead-lifts Spiker off the canvas for a powerbomb attempt, only for Spiker to counter in mid-air with a startling hurrachanrana. King rolls under the ropes, leaving him prime target for Spiker to hit the ropes and sail between the top and middle, taking down King with a suicide dive. The fans cheer even louder when Spiker, first to his feet, prods them further)
DW: "Nothing can slow Spiker down, least of all gravity!"
(Spiker picks up a dazed King and slams him into the railing forehead first. Taking a few steps back, Spiker zones in on the reeling technician and charges in, only to be backdropped into the first row. Gathering his bearings, King pulls Spiker up by the spiny mane and folds the back of his neck over the railing, using the leverage to land some clubbing blows to the chest. Once finished, King lifts Spiker over his shoulder as if attempting an atomic drop, only to drop him face first onto the concrete with a whipping plummet. The smack of Spiker's body spurs a "HOLY SHIT!" chant)
BAJ: "That's the Travis King that we see today, but was absent in HGW. He's always been a fine wrestler, but this mean streak and the focus that goes with it have made him one of the best in the business today! And Spiker's in a really bad way here."
(King rifles Spiker back into the ring, getting just a two count. Following up, King rains down on Spiker with some stiff elbows and forearms to the side of the head. Looking to continue the beating, King corners Spiker and unloads with a stinging chop, followed by another, drawing resounding WOOs from the crowd. King then sends Spiker across with a hard Irish whip, bouncing Spiker chest-first off the turnbuckles, with King catching him on the rebound with a breathtakingly-vicious half-nelson suplex. Amazingly, it only gets two)
DW: "We've seen Spiker bounced around like a Superball on many occasions, but I'm mystified as to how much more he can take like this. King is just all over him!"
(King tries for a half-nelson DDT, shades of Prince Devitt, but Spiker blocks the lift and twists out, stunning King with a high kick to the chest. Spiker doubles King over with a middle kick to the abdomen, then rolls over Kings back for stylistic reasons and buries his foot into King's face with a reverse enzuigiri, getting only two)
BAJ: "I've often wondered what the cause is of Spiker's odd resilience, besides the obvious chemical answer!"
(Spiker pantomimes that he's going airborne, and proceeds to ascend the turnbuckle. King remains relatively prone on the canvas, as Spiker jumps. King rolls away from what turns out to be a 450 splash. Spiker, however, rolls through the crash landing, and charges at King in the corner, who backdrops him over onto the apron. Spiker lands on his feet again, and stuns King with a jumping kick to the face. Staggering, King shambles toward the middle of the ring, leaving him open for Spiker to springboard in and land a flying knee to the face of his former tag team partner. The blow knocks King toward the ropes, and he staggers between the ropes to the outside)
DW: "King really knocked for a loop after that knee strike, and I think he may have cut his lip on that. Either that or it's a nose blood, can't really tell with King favoring the lower half of his face."
(Once more, Spiker tries for a bold dive, only for King to catch him on the way down, and fling him with a belly to belly suplex on the floor. Both men lay hurt as the fans start up another "HOLY SHIT!" chant)
BAJ: "King's always thinking, even when you think he's out of sorts! Spiker rolled the dice and King was waiting for it the whole way. He knows when he goes to the floor, that Spiker's thinking a high-risk move! And King's guess is what pays off here!"
(Both men are slow to their feet, with King getting vertical just before Spiker. King unleashes a crushing forearm blow to the face, followed by an echoing chest chop. Spiker crumples over onto the apron, leading King to roll him back under the ropes. "The Guru of Grapple" lived up to his acquired moniker by contorting Spiker into a half-nelson lift and sheer reverse piledriver drop, scoring nearly a three count. Not yet frustrated by Spiker's refusal to stay down, King forcibly pulled him from the mat and attempted a German suplex, only for Spiker to block with his legs and roll through with a pinning combination for two. Spiker ducks an ensuing clothesline, and spins around King with a Christo armbar, surprising many in the crowd)
DW: "Are you kidding me?! Is Spiker really going to make TRAVIS KING submit? I mean, SPIKER as a submission wrestler?!"
BAJ: "Don't laugh, he's got that hold sunk in! King's frantically looking for an escape!"
(King works to avoid slumping to the mat, where escape is nearly impossible, and instead trudges toward the corner, where Spiker is planted into the buckles to force the break. King shakes the feeling back into his shoulder and goes to work planting lifters into Spiker's lower abdomen. King tries for a suplex, but Spiker immediately counters with a knee to the face to break it up. The high-flyer immediately tries for a hurrachanrana, but King keeps Spiker muscled up, and sends him flying back first into the turnbuckle. On the rebound, King spins his opponent and bridges Spiker painfully back with a tiger suplex for two)
DW: "Sooner or later, King has to be questioning what it's going to take to put this guy away."
(King hooks up Spiker and attempts his modern finisher, Royal Exile (an arm-trap vertical brainbuster), but Spiker instinctively cradles him for two. Both men rise to their feet, and King immediately drops Spiker with a running back elbow. With Spiker down, King tries for a rear-naked choke, only for Spiker to squirm free and roll away. King charges with another back elbow, but Spiker ducks and dropsaults King against the buckles. On the rebound, Spiker spots up King and brings him down with the Spike Bomb, getting just a two count)
BAJ: "I don't think Spiker really got all of that Spike Bomb; he didn't drive King down as vertically as he needed. Instead, King took more of a landing on the back, and managed to lift the head just before impact. Mark of a veteran."
(Spiker bounces off the ropes and tries for a headscissors, only for King to hold him up and drop him with a sickening Tombstone piledriver. Instead of going for the pin, King pulls Spiker to the middle of the ring and attempts a Neihan camel clutch. Spiker keeps his knees bent to avoid being laid flat with King jockeying to reposition him. Fans alternate "LET'S GO SPIK-ER / TRAV-IS-KING" chants. King can't muscle Spiker down, so he releases the hold, and pulls Spiker up into the King's Crown, his HGW finisher. Sensing victory, King bridges on the pin attempt, and is stunned when he only gets two)
DW: "Forget about Deflate-Gate! King's been trying to take the air out of Spiker and just can't do it! And now King's gotta be thinking Royal Exile, maybe three of em."
(King tries again for the Neihan submission and manages to get it better applied, with only one of Spiker's knees bent to prevent full impact. King wrenches back with a mighty roar, with Spiker refusing to submit. Then in a moment of invention, Spiker rocks his head back and pricks King in the face with his soft, but still pointed, mohawk spikes. The blow is enough to make King break the hold, clutching the space just outside his eye)
BAJ: "Organic weaponry, the most infuriating kind! And Spiker keeps creating opportunities for himself!"
(Getting steady, Spiker plants King with a standing dropkick, and then ascends the turnbuckle. With camera phones out surrounding him, Spiker performs a leaping turnaround and descends upon King with a reverse shooting star senton, dropping full weight onto King. Fans count along with the referee, and are as shocked as Spiker when King rolls the shoulder out at two)
DW: "Both men are so resilient, and they can't fathom the other being just as able to withstand all of this punishment! It's Spiker's turn to be bewildered, but he knows how tough Travis King is."
(Spiker pulls King to his feet, but the mat mechanic stuns him with a lifting palmstrike. King barrages Spiker with open-handed strikes, but misses the spinning backfist, leading to a Spiker high kick to the back of King's head. Spiker spins King back around and tries for the Raver Defacer, only to be soundly planted with an inverted atomic drop. The momentarily wave of pain leaves Spiker susceptible to the Royal Exile, expertly done by King, who cradles Spiker's limp carcass for the three count and a spontaneous burst of cheers and astonishment)
"Time of the fall, 10 minutes, 48 seconds, your winner....TRAVIS KING!"
(King took a moment to enjoy the victory, arms raised while sucking wind. After the mutual appreciation between he and fans alike, King helped up a dizzy Spiker and embraced his old friend and rival to a thunderous ovation. The two raised each other's hands as fans chanted "THANK YOU BOTH")
DW: "For all of the profound ugliness that HGW is not-too-sheepishly proud to present, there's moments like this of inspiration between two tremendous athletes of global-class. It epitomizes the truest spirit of HGW."
BAJ: "These are the guys that keep HGW alive year after year. They're forever associated with the letters, and the letters are forever done a service by being associated with them. An outstanding match!"
(King takes his leave first, playfully bowing to Spiker as he backs up the aisleway, and giving Spiker a chance to soak in the adulation alone. Humbly, Spiker gestures his gratitude to the fans before taking leave himself, kicking off Freaking Anniversary in grand fashion)
(After a lull, "I Fucking Hate You" by Godsmack plays, buzzing the crowd. After a beat, the monstrous duo of Hugo and Crimson Beast step through the curtain in black hoodies, Hugo in his trademark skull cap further framed by his protruding goatee. The real-life half-brothers remain global freelancers, winning the All-Japan Pro Wrestling Tag League in 2011 under the name Chicago Hellfire. Hugo, the final HGW World Champion, 35, has been on sabbatical after failing to beat Akebono for the AJPW Triple Crown in April, while Beast, 34, remains a competitor overseas, turning down a WWE developmental contract in 2013 to keep his lucrative international dates)
(The menacing monsters brush off the fans, hitting the ring with snarls and grimaces. Beast loudly grunts at the crowd, many of whom return his "BLARGH" volley. Hugo takes in the scene with an iron sneer. Not really taking in the festive atmosphere with a gleam or a twinkle, the duo await their opponents with an unmoved calm)
("Fireproof" by Pillar hits, with some knowing fans cheering. Out of curtain comes Amenza and El Chupacabra, Los Luchadores. Amenaza, 36, competes today in the El Rey Network's Lucha Underground promotion under a mask as Vibora (Viper), while Chupacabra, 34, wrestles on a part-time basis due to nagging injuries, namely concussions, suffered throughout his career)
(Amenaza hits the ring with a flurry, sliding in and striking a battle stance in front of the monstrous opponents, while Chupacabra methodically pulls himself up to the apron, removing his war mask to display a borderline-Satanic make-up scheme. The duo takes their place in the corner for introductions)
"The following tag team contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, in the corner to my left, at a total combined weight of 635 lbs, from Chicago, Illinois, here are "The Human Snuff Film" Hugo, and "The Unbreakable" Crimson Beast, they are....THE MIDWAY MONSTERS!
(Beast flexes a menacing pose while Hugo jaws at some heckling fans)
"Their opponents, from San Francisco, California and Monterrey, Mexico respectively, at a total combined weight of 440 lbs, the team of Amenaza and El Chupacabra, they are....LOS LUCHADORES!"
(Amenaza throws some shadow kicks while Chupacabra strikes a dominant pose to a wave of cheers)
DW: "I'm told Hugo's actually dropped about ten pounds since his last international excursion. And boy, I tell you, it's blindingly obvious. He's bordering on lithe!"
(Hugo and Amenaza begin the match for their respective teams, with the husky ex-con taking statue, waiting for Amenaza to make the first move toward rocking him. Amenaza snaps off a couple of quick kicks to the thigh, making Hugo wince a bit. Amenaza's third is blocked by a swiping right hand, which Hugo follows with an uppercut. Amenaza, off balance, tries using the ropes to stay up and is sent careening into the buckles by a Hugo shove. Hugo tries for an avalanche, but Amaneza manages to roll away and tag Chupacabra, who heads up top and comes off with a diving front dropkick that staggers Hugo)
DW: "Quick tags are the key here."
BAJ: "Yeah, but they mean nothing until you can get big Hugo off his feet!"
(Chupacabra adds a few kicks of his own to try and soften up the legs, going low with a basement dropkick that merely knocks Hugo to a knee. Chupa takes off of the ropes again, and Hugo spins him inside out with a devastating clothesline. A big elbow drop follows up, drawing just a two count. Hugo looks to continue the onslaught by sending Chupacabra into the ropes, only for Chupacabra to duck a clothesline, countering with a jumping forearm strike to the back of the neck, rocking Hugo forward)
BAJ: "It's an opening, but they still haven't dropped him!"
(Chupacabra tags Amenaza back in, and the two send Hugo teetering to the mat following a double superkick. Before Amenaza can even go for the pin, Beast reaches down and tags his dazed partner, providing a new obstacle for the smaller team. Beast subtly stomps toward Amenaza, daring him to try his kicks now. Amenaza measures the seething giant and strikes lightning-quick with a high kick to the chest bone that knocks some wind out of Beast. Amenaza clocks Beast even more with a speedy kick combo while Chupacabra ascended the turnbuckle. From there, Amenaza threw his illegal partner at Beast for a rocket launcher, with the big man catching him. Amenaza quickly threw a roundhouse to the back of Beast's legs, taking him down with Chupacabra landing on top)
DW: "It's taking both Luchadores, but they're finding ways to get the Monsters down! Can they follow up?"
(Chupacabra exits the ring as Amenaza lands two running legdrops to Beast, barely managing to get a two count. Amenaza can't keep Beast on the mat, despite working both sides of the torso and thighs with kicks. Beast ducks a buzzsaw kick, and shoves Amenaza toward the Monsters corner, where Hugo clocks the luchadore with a straight right hand. Beast gathers the limp Amenaza into a torture rack and draws considerable oohs after swinging him into a towerhacker bomb, with no pinfall attempt. Instead, Beast tags Hugo, to give him a few moments of brutal fun)
BAJ: "Beast is much more focused than the HGW crowds remember, and his move repertoire has expanded to compliment his might. Bottom line, he does more nowadays than just Gore his way through everyone."
(Hugo rubs salt into the wounds by scuffing Amenaza's eye area with the heel of his boot. Chupacabra watches on pensively while Hugo methodically stomps at the body of Amenaza. The "Spanish Menace" gets to his feet, only for Hugo to lift him by his throat and toss him against the ropes. Hugo clotheslines him up and over to the floor, the WILD Division regular ragdolling to the outside. Hugo ties up the official, allowing Beast to drop down and ground Amenaza with another charging clothesline. This brings Chupacabra around from the back, grabbing a steel chair en route, and slamming the steel into Beast's spine, dropping him down to a knee)
DW: "Oh my, and Chupacabra drops Beast with the heavy artillery! Hugo outside now, and it's turning into a melee at ringside!"
(Hugo jumps outside and gets into a skirmish with Chupacabra over the chair, and the referee jumps down to try and restore order. A pained Beast sends Amenaza back into the ring and Chupacabra runs back around to the home corner and try and receive a tag. Hugo quickly slides in and grabs Amenaza's foot to prevent any such occurrence)
BAJ: "Classic tag team wrestling, isolate the weaker man and just unload with the punishment. This is why the the Midway Monsters are feared on more than one continent, Dylan."
(Hugo attempts a splash, but Amenaza manages to roll away before impact. Chupacabra, along with the crowd, works to rally his partner, as Hugo tries again to prevent the tag. Hugo grabs the foot once more, but a front-flip kick with the free leg dazes the big man, and Amenaza tags Chupacabra unimpeded. The face-painted flyer takes to the top rope and manages to bring Hugo down with a front flip neckbreaker for two, broken up by Beast. Beast stays in, sending Chupacabra into the ropes, only to be sent sprawling into the post by a spinning heel kick)
DW: "El Chupacabra's changed the complexion of this match!"
BAJ: "Definitely, and he's taking on both Monsters himself!"
(Chupacabra ascends the turnbuckle opposite where Beast is leaned, and leaps all the way across the ring with a double-footed dropkick into Beast's chest cavity, inspiring an "HGW" chant from an astonished crowd. Immediately after, Hugo lifts Chupacabra and lays him out with a standing uranage for two, broken up by Amenaza. The match continues to break down with the referee feeling powerless to maintain order, with Amenaza now kicking away at Hugo, who catches a foot. Chupacabra quickly kicks Hugo in the back, causing him to relinquish Amenaza, who then immediately rocks Hugo with a jumping European uppercut)
DW: "I don't even recall who the legal men are; I just know that Hugo and Beast, despite their individual prowess, can't dismiss the attacks of Los Luchadores in tandem!"
(Amenaza and Chupacabra ascend the same turnbuckle as Hugo clears the cobwebs. The two fly off together, dropping Hugo with a combination Amenaza shoulder block/Chupacabra diving savate kick. Hugo was floored, but Beast re-evened the odds by Goring Chupacabra to the canvas)
BAJ: "The great equalizer, Crimson Beast can break a man with half with that Gore, my goodness!"
(Amenaza immediately engages Beast, who sidesteps the spinning heel kick and spots up for a Gore, only to miss and barrel into the turnbuckle. Amenaza leaps onto Beast's shoulders and manages to flip the gargantuan brawler into a reverse hurrachanrana. The shocked fans once again erupt with an "HGW" chant with all four men either out or trying to get to their feet. Amenaza is the first one up, immediately grabbed by Hugo who choke-tosses him over his head and to the bare concrete floor, drawing gasps and a few screams)
DW: "Amenaza sent up and over, and his night may be done! Hugo throws him like a bag of garbage, and here comes Chupacabra!"
(Chupacabra attacks Hugo in the corner, raining down right hands and chops as the battle comes down to sheer attrition. Chupacabra takes off from the other corner and plants two knees into the chest of Hugo, knocking the wind out of him. Chupacabra turned around, only to be knocked into next week with a lunging Beast's boot to the face. Hugo stumbled over and lifted the dazed Chupacabra across his shoulders, completing the sequence with Hurricane Hugo, and winning the match for the Monsters)
"Time of the fall, 7 minutes, 11 seconds, your winners...THE MIDWAY MONSTERS!"
(Hugo rolls under the ropes to the floor, meeting with Beast and raising each other's arms to a mix of boos and respectful cheers. Amenaza rolls back into the ring, holding his lower back, tending to the disarrayed Chupacabra. The Midway Monsters made their way up the aisle, willfully oblivious to the anger of certain fans)
DW: "Hugo and Beast, simply too strong in this one. Just when it seemed Amenaza or Chupacabra had the advantage, there was one of the Monsters to swing the pendulum back."
BAJ: "It's an old cliche, but you can't teach size. Hugo and Beast have been dominant for so long for that very reason, and as a duo, they're damn near unstoppable."
(Amenaza helps Chupacabra under the ropes to a respectful applause, with the less-wounded Amenaza acknowledging the reaction as he aids his partner toward the locker room)
(A considerable period of time sees six different combatants head down to ringside for a special multi-man bout, the competitors split between being in the ring and flanking the ringside area)
"The following contest is a six-way sudden-death challenge, scheduled for one fall to a finish. Introducing first, from Tel Aviv, Israel, weighing in at 245 lbs, this is....LITTLE BLUE SUPER JEW!"
(A somewhat portlier Jew, 39, removes his yamulke and acknowledges the cheering fans. Largely out of wrestling these days save for the occasional indy appearance in New York or Connecticut, Super Jew has found success as a web developer)
"Second, from Indianapolis, Indiana, weighing in at 238 lbs, this is....JARRED GILES!"
(Giles climbs to the apron and raises his arms to a respectable ovation. The former Thor, 35, continues his wrestling career, most notably with Billy Corgan's RPW promotion in Chicago, under his real name)
"Their opponent, from Parts Unknown, standing at 7'3" tall, weighing 448 lbs, this is....DROP TOP!"
(The Quarter-Ton Terror, 42, cranes his neck side to side at ringside, surveying the mix of cheers and boos. Retired nowadays from requisite back and leg degeneration, Drop Top runs a security company in Georgia)
"Their opponent, from Telford, England, weighing in at 247 lbs, this is....TOMMY DANGER!"
(Danger, 48, with graying hair and a debonair beard to match, humbly bows for a standing ovation after over a quarter century of globe-forged excellence. Danger still competes throughout the United Kingdom, and recently worked as a consultant on TNA's British Boot Camp)
"Their opponent, from Chanhassen, Minnesota, weighing in at 226 lbs, this is...."THE WILD CARD" SCOTT HARMON!"
(The 33-year-old grins through some kidding boos, and jaws with some old fans out on the floor. Harmon remains active in the Minnesota and Great Lakes indy scene, and even faced Jerry Lynn in one of his final matches in early 2013)
"And last, from Raleigh, North Carolina, weighing in at 234 lbs, this is...."THE CRIPPLER" CHRIS ANDERSON!"
(Anderson's all but retired at age 53, primarily training wrestlers (namely son Jayden, a Carolinas mainstay) while making the regular convention appearance. Anderson's introduction is the strongest of the match, drawing deafening cheers. Danger, Thor, and Super Jew pay respects with a sequence of handshakes. The bell sounds, with Thor and Jew gamely rushing at each other, while Anderson and Danger engage in a lock-up that quickly turns into a scrum. Thor and Jew jockey over a lock-up against the corner while Anderson and Danger tumble to the mat, reversing each other's attempt to establish the dominant position)
DW: "With it being one fall to a finish, we've got such aggression out of the gate; and nobody's particularly gaining control."
BAJ: "Check out this opportunist here!"
(John notes Scott Harmon sliding in and waistlocking Giles, only to eat an elbow to the face from the multi-time Tag Team Champion. Harmon stumbles into a right forearm smash from Danger, who parts with Anderson to get in on the attack. Harmon goes through a pinball ringer, taking a right hand from Super Jew, followed by a blistering chop from the hand of Anderson. The strike sequence continues for a bit, ending finally with Thor dropkicking Harmon through the ropes and to the floor. That's when Drop Top finally entered the match, stepping over the top rope, and swatting a charging Anderson)
BAJ: "Obviously, Drop Top ain't getting bounced around like some game of Pong. They need to gang up on him!"
(Drop Top catches Jew coming in and plants a hard headbutt into his skull. Danger and Giles charge, but are quickly grasped by the throat each. Drop Top forces them backwards sending them over the top rope with a double thrust, sending the two out by Harmon. Anderson tries to turn the tide with a series of chops, but Drop Top sends him rolling backward to the mat with a shove by the head. Undeterred, Anderson springs up and throws a torpedo headbutt at Drop Top's abdomen, doubling him over. Jew then jumps off of a prone Anderson's back and plows into Drop Top, sending both men over the top rope)
DW: "Look out below! Drop Top crashes to the floor of the HGW Arena, with Super Jew serving as human dodgeball!"
(Immediately, Danger and Giles attack Drop Top as he tries to regain his balance, and Super Jew joins in. The clubbing blows are a mere appetizer to Anderson, in his fifties, scaling the ring post and plunging to the floor with a crossbody, taking out the pile in a dramatic visual, leading to a thundering "HOLY SHIT" chant)
BAJ: "Chris Anderson knows that age is just a number, Dylan! No regard for his own safety or well-being, caution to the wind, just as he's always done it! This is what he does!"
(Ever the opportunist, Harmon grabs Anderson and rifles him back into the ring, planting a snap forearm smash for two. Working quickly, Harmon pulls Anderson back to his feet and drops the legend with a snap suplex, floating over into a two count, broken up by Danger. Danger clubs Harmon with some overhand rights, then pulls him into a short-arm clothesline for a count of two. Danger doesn't relent, wrenching the arm, folding it into a hammerlock, and then leg-sweeping Harmon to damage the arm)
DW: "Unconventional legsweep by Danger, a man who's created more moves than many wrestlers ever learn! The gears in his mind always turning!"
(Danger tightens an armbar, but Drop Top reaches into the ring and clubs Danger with a large right hand. The big man pulls Danger under the ropes, lifts him by the legs, and runs him back first into the ringpost, drawing a hiss of "oooh" from the HGW Arena crowd. In that instant, Giles slingshots himself into the ring with a splash on the prone Harmon, covering for another two count, broken up by Drop Top once more)
BAJ: "Drop Top playing brother's keeper for Harmon here; they were allies in The Payroll after all, with the big man assigned to protect Harmon's WILD Title at all costs."
DW: "At great expense to Michael Killjoy, a man who shouldn't be allowed to spend money."
(Drop Top re-enters the ring and goes to work striking Giles, cornering him with knee lifts and body lunges to take the air out of him. Super Jew sneaks up behind and leaps onto Drop Top's back with an attempt at a sleeper hold. Drop Top manages to shake him loose after a couple of snap contortions, but the diversion allows Giles to spring off the middle rope and drop the big man with a hooking clothesline/reverse bulldog, bringing many fans to their feet. Anderson and Jew begin putting the boots to the downed leviathan, maintaining control of the situation until Harmon runs up behind Anderson and plants him with a back suplex for two, broken up by Super Jew)
BAJ: "And there it is in reverse, Harmon coming to Drop Top's rescue, not joining in on the beatdown! There's some collusion here, it's obvious!"
(Jew slugs Harmon, repeating with right hand after right hand with a rhythm, before taking him off his feet with a discus clothesline. Giles runs up behind Jew and gets a quick crucifix for two. Danger finally makes his way back under the ropes, holding his back, only to be immediately attacked by Drop Top, the man who busted him up. Drop Top tries lifting him over his shoulder, only for Danger to drop down. Giles and Anderson quickly double clothesline Drop Top over the ropes, taking him out of play once again. Danger, so appreciative of their help, clocks Giles with a Rainmaker strike)
DW: "Heh, well, it is every man for himself. No time for gratitude in this one!"
(Anderson and Danger begin firing knife-edge chops at one another, with Anderson getting the upper hand and spinning him into a German suplex, held onto in an attempt to add on another. Jew hooks Anderson from behind and manages to pull him off, bridging The Crippler into a dragon suplex for two, broken up by Harmon. Harmon tries pulling Jew into the Harmonizer, but Giles breaks it up. Giles and Jew collaborate on a double front suplex on Harmon, but Danger clocks Jew with a corkscrew European uppercut, sending him through the ropes and to the outside. Harmon manages a desperation roll-up on Danger, only getting two. The fans, living on every pin attempt, grow merrily exhausted counting each)
BAJ: "This is the part where everyone is breaking down, there's so much happening at once. The pinfalls will be increasing, because everyone senses it's just about over."
(Harmon sends Danger into the ropes and ducks the head, only for Danger to kick him in the face and follow up with a stiff lariat, knocking Harmon to the apron. Giles grabs Danger from behind, and sits him out with a devastating blue thunder bomb, scoring only two when Anderson breaks up the pinfall attempt. Anderson pulls Giles to his feet and lands a German suplex, followed by a second, and then ultimately a third, bridged into a pin for a count of two, broken up by Super Jew. Jew tries a magistral cradle on Anderson, who kicks out on two. Jew misses a clothesline and Anderson tries for a German, only for Super Jew to go behind and land a spinning heel kick to the back of Anderson's head, knocking him through the ropes, and leaving Jew as the only man inside. He reaches out to the floor to grab for Anderson, only to get nailed right in the throat by the lip of a chair, courtesy of Drop Top. Jew staggers backward as Harmon runs into the ring and gets a reverse cradle, scoring the pin)
"Time of the fall, 6 minutes, 36 seconds, here is your winner....SCOTT HARMON!"
(The fans booed the finish out of the building, with Harmon dismissing it all with a self-indulgent celebration. A few water bottles miss their intended target of Harmon's person, all the while "The Wild Card" skipped gaily around the fallen Super Jew. The stoic iceberg that is Drop Top glacially made his way into the ring, calmly walking over to an oblivious Harmon, holding out his hand to pantomime a demand of payment. Harmon paused while catching his breath, and then began going into his boot for presumed retrieval of what Bad Ass John had suspected, some payola. Drop Top waited and absently looked around, only to block Harmon's suddenly-homing fist. A bewildered Drop Top pulled a pair of brass knuckles off of a ghost-white Harmon's fingers, and the big man shook his head at him angrily. By this time, Anderson, Giles, and Danger had returned to the ring, helping a dazed Super Jew to his feet.
Drop Top shook his head in sour disappointment, and then threw the hapless Harmon at the feet of the remaining opponents. Gesturing dismissal, Drop Top stepped over the ropes, leaving the quartet to beat Harmon down to the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd. Danger and Anderson applied a double Crossface submission, each scissoring an arm while Giles and Jew put the boots to Harmon's back and legs. After a period of unremitting pain, the four let up and left Harmon laying, with the crowd approving)
DW: "Scott Harmon wins the battle, but uh....pretty clearly loses the war in this one."
BAJ: "Well, you don't welch on payment, especially when the freelancer you hire is the size of a tow truck. Next time, Drop Top should know to ask for a down payment!"
(Anderson, Danger, Jew, and Giles casually leave Harmon a crumpled mess on the canvas, with the referee trying to ease him out and toward the locker room)
("Victory Parade" from the Ben-Hur Soundtrack kicks up, with some sarcastic fans standing still like Centurion guards in the aisle way. From the curtain emerges Invictus, The Lord of War. Strolling calmly with deliberate steps, the imposing warrior surveys the jeering fans at the HGW Arena, his fixed glare moving not an inch. Now 33, relative youngster Invictus signed a contract with TNA in early 2011 to serve as a bodyguard for the Immortal faction, only to sit at home and collect checks until he was summarily released by a disorganized promotion. Subsequently, Invictus performed in Mexico's AAA promotion as Lance Nemesis)
(Invictus continues his show of defiant attitude with a ceremonial entrance oblivious to the boos of the Atlantic City crowd. As one of the last new stars before HGW's closing, the powerhouse never became a true juiced-in star, in spite of his obvious presence)
("My God is the Sun" by Queens of the Stone Age plays, unfamiliar to some in the HGW crowd. The theme heralds the arrival of Eric Omega, 29, and worlds away from his time with the promotion. Omega shed some muscle mass en route to becoming a sought-after star on the independent scene, nowadays with both Ring of Honor and EVOLVE, still as Omega. In mid-2011, Omega was signed by WWE and sent to what was then FCW, where his old biker gimmick was repurposed with the name Troy Jetta, based clearly on Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy. However, a failed Wellness Policy test in April 2012, followed by a clash with Steve Keirn, led to his release that July. Since then, Omega's cleaned up and trades on his improved wrestling acumen)
(The energetic Omega tags hands with the fans around ringside before springboarding into the ring. He and Invictus broke into the business together around a decade ago, and this match is fitting for this event)
"The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, in the corner to my left, from The Lost Empire, weighing 318 lbs, this is "The Lord of War"....INVICTUS!"
(Invictus remains stoic as the fans rain down boos, and a smarmy "RUSSELL CROWE" chant makes the rounds)
"His opponent, hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, weighing in at 244 lbs, this is....ERIC OMEGA!"
(The lanky Omega jumps to the middle turnbuckle and soaks in the adulation from fans that have grown to appreciate his evolution as a performer. The "YOU GOT FIRED" chants from some indy fans in 2012 and 2013 have long since faded)
(Omega tosses his t-shirt into the crowd and circles with the monstrous Invictus, now with more of a size advantage than ever. The two lock up and Invictus rushes Omega back into the corner, making the advantage more obvious than it already was. Invictus doesn't break, keeping the collar-and-elbow cinched tight just to make Omega squirm in his grip. Invictus slowly breaks and smirks broadly at Omega, an obvious head game)
DW: "Invictus was usually more straight forward, didn't leave much time for taunting or anything of the sort. But he's never really liked Omega, or at least is hyper-competitive with him, going back so many years."
(The two lock horns again and this time, Invictus wrings the arm, unexpected wrestling from such a reputable brawler. Omega nearly drops to a knee from the torque on display, with Invictus really twisting against the elbow. Omega, acting quick, handsprings to his feet and twists Invictus' arm, following up with a high kick to the chin to break the chain altogether. Omega takes off from the ropes and takes Invictus down with a leaping pointed elbow to the face, scoring just a two count. Invictus rolls outside to gather his bearings after that sudden exchange)
BAJ: "I don't think Invictus quite remembers Omega being this quick. That's what happens when you don't properly scout an opponent."
(Omega quickly follows to the outside and manages to stun Invictus with a running right hand to the temple. Not letting up, Omega slams Invictus face first into the guardrail, where appreciative fans cheer, some shielded back by security guards in this increasingly lawsuit-happy era. Omega grabs a fan's water bottle and flattens it against Invictus's face, sending a geyser of water shooting skyward. A small "HGW" chant makes waves as Omega leads Invictus to the timekeeper's table, where "The Lord of War" is forcefed the flat surface)
DW: "It's all Omega as he takes the fight to Invictus, and the ringsiders are getting the action in a view better than HD!"
(Omega sends Invictus back into the ring and ascends the turnbuckle. Measuring the bigger opponent, Omega flies off with a missile dropkick, getting a two count. Invictus begins to recover quickly, so Omega begins to take off for another charge, only to be dropped by Invictus pulling him down by the nape of his hair. Invictus misses the ensuing elbow drop and Omega begins his charge anyway, only to be kneed in the gut as Invictus' defense. The Lord of War stomps away, and then drops down to choke Omega as he lay prone)
BAJ: "Momentum's a funny thing, and now I think Invictus is thinking about how he's going to pay Omega back for that water bottle to the kisser."
DW: "He's full of bad intentions, the Lord of War, and he's scouring ringside for his next idea!"
(Invictus drops outside and begins grabbing steel chairs, throwing a couple in. Omega was still gathering his wits when Invictus took one chair and slammed it across Omega's back, dropping him in serious pain. Invictus rattles off two more sickening smacks with the metal weapon, and then turns Omega over with a scooping motion, choking his rival with the lip of the object)
BAJ: "Puts a bottle of water in perspective, doesn't it? Invictus believes in the scorched earth method of retaliation."
(Invictus begins to wedge one of the chairs in between the top and middle ropes, set in place as a tightly-braced target. Invictus picks Omega off the canvas and tries to whip him into it, only for Omega to reverse it, sending Invictus into the chairless corner. On the rebound, Omega tries for the O-Wringer, his acquired finisher (a half-nelson DDT), but Invictus manages to push away)
DW: "Omega almost had him there, and Invictus at least knew to get out of harm's way. I don't believe he's ever been on the receiving end of an O-Wringer, a devastating move to say the least."
(Invictus resurfaces on the apron, and Omega spots him up, charging, but misses a through-the-ropes spear, flying through on an Invictus sidestep. Omega barrels to the apron, saved (sort of) by his knees and the middle rope. Invictus gathers him on the apron and clasps his throat. Lifting him, Invictus drops Omega with a chokeslam onto the concrete floor, startling the crowd, and earning a "HOLY SHIT" chant while Omega writhes on the bare concrete)
BAJ: "Omega hits hard, you could hear that smack! He's moving his legs, but that's just instinct! Invictus has got Omega in position to be polished off!"
(The Lord of War collects the dazed Omega from the concrete floor and adds a few right hands to keep him good and softened up. An Irish whip sends Omega careening into the steel guardrail, moving it back about eight inches off of its alignment. Following up, Invictus grabs a crutch from a first-row fan, and cracks across Omega's back, splintering the wood and leaving an immediate welt on his opponent. Invictus tosses Omega back in, measures him and drops a simple elbow across the sternum, scoring just two off of a lazy cover)
DW: "Hate or no hate, Invictus has to know he's not pinning Omega with that sort of arrogant cover. He has to know that."
(Invictus grabs the remaining chair in the ring and opens it into its sitting position. With cruel thoughts coarsing his brain, Invictus bashes Omega's face onto the seat, and then pulls his head through under the back rest. With Omega collared, and the crowd buzzing with apprehension, Invictus circles around and clasps Omega's waist for a potential powerbomb, which would crunch his neck between slates of metal. Fans openly pleaded and yelled, but it was for naught; Omega freed his head and stunned Invictus with a right hand to the abdomen. Sensing an opening, Omega grabbed Invictus by the hair, stepped onto the seat of the chair, and landed a modified DDT, throating Invictus across the chair lip. Fans added another "HOLY SHIT" chant to the soundtrack, with both men on the mat, Omega sore and Invictus gasping for air)
BAJ: "Omega's gotta make the cover, he may have crushed Invictus' windpipe! What a gamechanger in a moment of need!"
(Omega pulled himself toward the agonized body of Invictus, hooking the leg hastily for a two count. With momentum back on his side, Omega took the chair, went to the opposite corner, and throw it like a basketball chest pass into Invictus' face, sending him sprawling backward to the mat. Omega covered once more, only to earn another two count)
DW: "Give Invictus credit for his resiliency; the man does not lay down easily. I'm amazed he's still able to breathe after that DDT!"
(Omega heads to the top turnbuckle looking to apply the coup de grace, but was paid back for the chair toss by one from Invictus, who crowned Omega, dropping him to a seated position on the buckle. Invictus, creative as always, opened the chair back up and placed it mid-ring. With Omega prone atop the rope, Invictus returned to the middle rope and hooked his head. The fans could only watch as Invictus superplexed Omega onto the chair, crushing it underneath the Pittsburgh native's back and upper thighs. Fans watched in horror as Omega spasmed all over the canvas, but Invictus was unable to immediately follow up)
BAJ: "How much more can these men take, Dylan?! They're mutilating each other with no regard for their own well-being!"
DW: "It's Eric Omega's turn to lay in pain after that devastating superplex onto the chair, and Invictus is finally getting to his feet. He could be calling for the end!"
(Indeed, Invictus invokes a throat-slash gesture, indicating it's time for the Fall of the Empire (Razor's Edge swung into a Dominator). Invictus plants Omega's head between his legs and tries to muscle him up, but Omega kicks his legs to weigh down the attempt. Another try is blocked, and Omega backdrops his way free out of desperation. Omega drops to his knees, still coping with the strain and possible fractures in his back. Invictus makes it to his feet and goes to attack, only for Omega to find his second wind and begin unloading with rights and lefts. Omega propels off the ropes and takes Invictus down with a leaping hooking clothesline, but doesn't follow up with a pinfall attempt)
BAJ: "Omega's making a mistake here; he needs to hook that leg the first chance he gets!"
(Omega literally shakes his head to try and bring his mental faculties around. Hooking up Invictus, Omega makes a more earnest attempt at the O-Wringer, but is pushed off. On the rebound, Omega flies into Invictus, hitting a complete shot, and quickly covering for only a two count. The frustration in Omega's face is highly evident, with Invictus refusing to bite the bullet. Omega tries again for the O-Wringer, but Invictus gets the hand up and rakes Omega's face. That's followed by a thunderous spear tackle, which amazingly gets just a two count)
DW: "Seesaw battle, you sense one more big move is going to end this. I'm surprised the spear didn't get the job done!"
(Invictus gathers the wreckage of the crushed chair and sets it dead center in the ring. Invictus sets up Omega for what appears to be the Fall of the Empire, with the chair remnants as ground zero. Omega blocks, so Invictus clubs the lower back several times to try and break his will. On the next attempt, Omega grabs Invictus by the front of his tights and drops back, sending Invictus crashing face first into the chair still suspended in the far corner. The shot sufficiently rings Invictus' bell, so that Omega can drag him to the center of the ring and deliver the O-Wringer onto the second chair wreckage. That's enough for Omega to hook the leg and defeat his arch-nemesis, to a deafening cheer)
"Time of the fall, 9 minutes, 24 seconds, here is your winner....ERIC OMEGA!"
(Omega drops beneath the ropes and leans against the rail, receiving pats on the back from numerous excited fans. An "OMEGA" chant is his reward, with the battered youngster making his way up the aisle with a limp in his step, but an undeniable grin on his face, with which he offers up a battle yell for the cheering fans)
DW: "Eric Omega victorious after a car wreck of a match! I don't know what the series was between he and Invictus beforehand, but I think this win alone nudges Omega slightly ahead."
BAJ: "Somewhere, in some part of the world, Invictus is going to regroup and seek revenge, but on this night, the win goes to Omega, and deservedly so."
(Invictus struggles to stir in the ring, still feeling the effects of the cranial trauma from the last two moves. For now, it's back to Mexico, until the next time these two meet)
("A Shogun Named Marcus" by Clutch plays, signaling the arrival of a long-time HGW favorite. Making his way out to the frenetic strains is "Iceman" Mark Andrews, 40, still in solid shape for a worn-down veteran working an infrequent schedule. The fans stand and wildly applaud Andrews, who seems just as happy to see them in turn. These days, Andrews works the odd indy booking in the Philadelphia area, and up until the fall of 2012, had been assisting Jim Cornette with production in Ring of Honor, during Cornette's run as head booker)
(Andrews flings his classic "ICEMAN COMETH" t-shirt into the fifth row, showing a leaner but less-defined build than what HGW fans were accustomed to. Still in decent shape athleticaly, Andrews scales over the top rope and appeals to the crowd from the middle strand. Being back home has always had an effect on the greatest technician in the history of the promotion)
("Aerials" by System of a Down follows, and the fans in the HGW Arena begin buzzing excitedly. For over six years, the enigma known as Riaz has remained out of the public eye, seemingly falling off the face of the Earth. When the song gets to Serj Tankian's powerful vocals, the absence comes to an official end, with Riaz emerging through the curtain to a deafening ovation. The only difference being a shorter hairstyle, Riaz, 32, appears to have missed not a solitary beat during his self-imposed exile into the private life)
(Riaz cooly strides toward the ring, barely taking in the gallery of flashing phones and screaming onlookers, skipping up to the apron and springboarding off the top rope with a backflip in one motion to even more cheers. As if savoring the moment for a split second, wrestling's boldest escapee takes his place in the corner, his music stopping but the raucous noise otherwise not subsiding)
"The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first in the corner to my left. From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, weighing in at 226 lbs, this is...."ICEMAN" MARK ANDREWS!"
(Andrews raises his fists vertically, receiving a stand ovation and a smattering of "ICEMAN" chants from the adoring crowd)
"His opponent, hailing from Richmond Hill, New York, weighing in at 220 lbs, this is....RIAZ!"
(The crowd explodes for Riaz, who merely looks at the fans, moving his head side to side, virtually placid in the wake of the HGW Arena nearly blowing apart. "WELCOME BACK!" chants are sang in lieu of his name on loop. Riaz calmly removes his hooded vest and deposits it to a ring attendant before locking eyes with his best friend and long-time rival)
(The bell sounds and the two begin a slow circle, Andrews in crouch and Riaz moving with a quickened step. The two work to out-quick each other before coming to a dead stop and engaging in a collar-and-elbow tie-up. The two work to outmuscle each other, with Andrews twisting the arm and hammerlocking the world-class athlete. Riaz reaches between his legs, hooks a foot, and trips Andrews, only to be kicked into the rope with the other foot. Riaz jumps over a downed Andrews on the rebound, ducks under a clothesline, and comes back with a twisting hands-free rana for two. Still in the mood to impress, Riaz hits the ropes again, trying for a headscissors, only for Andrews to drop him across the top rope. The Iceman reverse-cradles Riaz for two, getting pushed off just before three. Both resetting, Andrews gets a headlock takeover, which Riaz breaks with a simple head-scissors. Andrews kips up, only to be leg-swept by Riaz, who covers for two, a game Iceman bridging out. The two come to a stand-off and 2500 fans applaud enthusiastically)
DW: "An early display of fireworks from Andrews and Riaz, and you and I both know, John, that the one-upsmanship is only going to continue from here."
(The two revert back to a lock-up, with Andrews taking the upper hand with a waistlock. Riaz tries pushing down on the wrists to break the grip, but Andrews shoves him toward the ropes, pinning him between him and the strands. Riaz tries to throw an elbow at Andrews' head, but the veteran ducks and unloads with a few body strikes. Andrews short-arms Riaz into an elbow to the face, and follows with a quick fist drop, getting a two count. Riaz manages to struggle to his feet, taking a quick clothesline from Andrews, knocking him to the outside)
BAJ: "Andrews still packs some pop in those strikes, and the rust is evident on Riaz. This could be over before we expected it."
(Riaz tries to slingshot back in toward Andrews, who deftly catches Riaz in a side headlock, grounding him to the canvas in a nice counter. Riaz rolls Andrews onto his back, scoring only two, as Andrews tilts back into the desired headlock hold. Riaz tries to slide himself loose, while Andrews tightens the grip, really wrenching with the biceps. Riaz slowly works his way to his feet, rifling Andrews into the ropes and dropping him with a single leg takedown, floating over into his own side headlock, bridging back to add torturous pressure)
DW: "A little gamesmanship by Riaz, always subconsciously trying to outdo his opponents, but here, he's literally trying to outdo Andrews with a simple weardown hold."
(Riaz ratchets up the torque on the head, with Andrews forcing him to his feet, trying to counter with a back suplex, only for Riaz to take him over with a headlock throw after counterweighting. Riaz maintains control for only a brief moment, with Andrews kneeing him in the back several times to break the hold. Andrews, in the split second after the headlock was broken, pulls Riaz down face-first with a Fujiwara armbar. The Iceman works to embed Riaz into the canvas by pulling as far back on the arm as he humanly can. Riaz uses Andrews' stretch to maneuver him into a roll-up for two, which does force a break of the hold. Both men return to their feet and Iceman twists the arm, which Riaz immediately responds with a kick to the chest. With Andrews caught off guard, Riaz follows up by twisting Andrews' arm)
BAJ: "There it is again, Riaz's pathological need to try and outdo his opponent in every possible way. I don't know if he's going to psyche Andrews out though."
(With Andrews coping with the arm twist, RIaz ups the ante by springing up the ropes in the corner, slingshotting into a back flip, and hip-tossing Andrews over in a beautiful visual. Riaz goes to make the cover, but Andrews double kicks him in the chest to force him away. Iceman regains his vertical base and takes Riaz over with a hip throw. His own pinfall attempt is thwarted by a double-kickout, and Riaz quickly shuffles to his feet. The aerialist takes off from the ropes and tries for a hurrachanrana, only for Andrews to shift so that Riaz is sitting on his shoulders facing the same direction. Riaz quickly spins his body halfway around and takes Andrews over with a hurrachanrana anyway, getting just a two count, and Andrews rolls to the outside to gather himself. The fans cheer madly at the exchange of athletics)
DW: "Mark Andrews looks to be just a step behind Riaz at this juncture; is he bewildered by Riaz performing so well after a six year layoff?"
BAJ: "Riaz surprises no one, least of all Iceman Andrews. He has come to expect the impossible from his peer."
(Not one to let the rhythm die out, Riaz springs off the middle turnbuckle, and twists into a somersault plancha onto Andrews, temporarily off his guard. That prompts more cheers, especially after Riaz lands on his feet effortlessly. Andrews is tossed back into the ring, and Riaz covers for barely a two, Andrews instinctively throwing the shoulder up. Riaz sends Andrews into the ropes and ducks the head, with gives Andrews the opening to hook him around the waist and fling him with a gutwrench suplex. Still holding the lock, Andrews demonstrates rare power by deadlifting Riaz off the mat and landing a gutwrench powerbomb for a count of two. The show of strength draws some surprised applause)
DW: "How about that? Andrews with a display of strength that would make even Crimson Beast proud!"
(Andrews gathers the sore Riaz, sits him up, and begins planting rapid-fire knees into the center of the back, his opponent grunting at the impact of each. After seven of them, Andrews lays Riaz out and plunges a big knee drop between the eyes, sending Riaz flopping around on the mat like a fish out of water. Measuring Riaz, Andrews follows up with a diving forearm smash to the face, getting a two count)
BAJ: "And this is what Andrews needs to do, keep it methodical. He can't beat Riaz if Riaz is allowed to take to the air and run in circles around him. It's all about keeping him grounded, and making flight difficult."
(Andrews sets up Riaz in the corner and drills him with a stinging chop, drawing the expected WOOs. Riaz is due to be whipped across, but reverses and sends Andrews in. Riaz misses the body press charge, and Andrews is immediately on him, locking on a full nelson and sending Riaz end over end with a release dragon suplex. The impact bounces Riaz off of his head, and sends him backward like a Slinkee over the bottom rope and to the apron)
DW: "Beautifully executed dragon suplex by Andrews, and Riaz may be out on his feet, if he could even *get* to this feet!"
(Andrews pulls Riaz up on the apron and blisters him with another chop, with a one-handed grip on the top rope the only thing keeping Riaz vertical at this moment. Andrews grabs Riaz by the head and tries to slam him into the turnbuckle pad, but Riaz blocks and reverses the smash. He follows up with an attempt to springboard in, but Iceman forearm smashes Riaz in the abdomen, dropping Riaz back to the apron. Andrews goes to try and suplex Riaz in, but Riaz blocks and immediately counters by suplexing Andrews over the top and to the concrete below, both men landing hard to the shock and awe of the entire crowd)
BAJ: "I don't know who got the worst end of that, both men are barely moving! Riaz looks to be stirring first, though!"
(Riaz begins crawling away from Andrews, around the ringside area, trying to use the ring apron to get to his feet. Andrews stirs, sitting up but still racked with pain. Riaz maneuvers to his feet, and begins sneaking around the perimeter of the ring, looking to come around to the back of Iceman. Riaz jumps to the apron three-quarters of the way into his trail, just as Andrews manages to get to his feet using the guardrail. Riaz runs up to the top rope and before Andrews can even react, Riaz comes down with a missile dropkick, sending Andrews flying back first into the railing. Riaz took a bit out of himself, but this time clearly got Andrews much worse)
DW: "Andrews has become slow on the draw; Riaz is making this his kind of match, and he's forcing the pace."
(Riaz smashes Andrews into the ring post to assert his dominant motif, and shoots him back into the ring. With Andrews still prone on the mat, Riaz slingshots in with an elbow drop, covering for a mere two count. Undaunted, Riaz pulls Iceman to his feet and hoists him up, dropping him with a textbook brainbuster for another count of two)
BAJ: "That's Riaz's nature, big move, go for the pin, big move, go for the pin. He very rarely strings together more than two moves without trying to put the man away."
(Riaz pulls Andrews up and blisters him with a hard chop, milking a yelp out of a worn-down Andrews. Riaz whips Andrews across the ring and goes to charge in, with Iceman again moving. Riaz instead lands with both feet on the middle rope and extends a kick outward, getting Andrews square in the jaw. Riaz drops back down to the canvas and pulls Andrews onto all fours, landing some machine-gun kicks to Andrews' face with sickening remorselessness. Riaz sits Andrews up and pelts him with a kick to the chest, followed by another, and then introduces a new wrinkle: a kick to the back of Andrews' head with the right foot, only to kick him square in the face with the left as he fell to the mat)
DW: "Riaz may have Andrews out, but going against what you said, he's not going for the pin! Andrews appears to be busted open as well!"
(Indeed, Andrews oozes blood from his mouth as Riaz pulls him into a seated position with RIaz springing off the ropes with a basement dropkick for a count of two. Getting just a bit frustrated, Riaz pounds a fist into the mat. Collecting himself, Riaz pulls Andrews to his feet and lands a front slam toward the northwest turnbuckle. Riaz climbs to the top rope and measures his former partner, but misses Paranoia, his 1080 degree triple somersault splash. Andrews needs the use of the ropes once more to pull himself to his feet and finds himself wiping away a little more blood. Riaz is slow to his feet and Andrews charges in, missing a clothesline, and getting nailed with a savate kick that knocks him through the ropes and to the outside)
BAJ: "Andrews can't even take advantage of a gift opening there; he had a golden opportunity, and Riaz maintained control of the match. Andrews has GOT to be dazed to the point of almost no return!"
(Riaz eschews the traditional dive to the outside, instead conserving his strength and stepping through the ropes to continue his attack. He pulls up Andrews and Irish whips him into the railing, Andrews landing seated on a timekeeper's chair knocked away in disarray. With Andrews too tempting a target, Riaz sprints in his direction, drilling Andrews with a Heluva kick that nearly knocks his head loose. The awws give way to an "OLE OLE" chant from the devoted fanbase, while Andrews sinks to the concrete floor, completely out of sorts)
DW: "Andrews taking a serious beating that I don't even know he can come back from! I know what you said, John, about Riaz being prompt with pinfall attempts, but he may just be toying with Andrews now!"
(Riaz beckons Andrews to his feet, sucking wind himself after a hard-hitting ten minutes of action. Andrews is unable to get up without Riaz stepping in and aiding the lift. Riaz sprawls Andrews out back-first against the apron and knocks the wind out of him with an elevated kick to the chest cavity. Then Riaz turns and springs off the guardrail for a leg lariat, but Andrews drops down and Riaz whacks his leg on the ring apron, finally giving Andrews a solid opening)
BAJ: "Riaz has given Andrews everything he has, and now he's given him a golden opportunity with that mistimed kick! We know how much damage Iceman can do to a leg if you allow him."
(Riaz hobbles around ringside trying to work out the kink his leg. Andrews has yet to notice what has transpired in his own incapacitated state, and Riaz is back on the attack after sufficiently working out the leg to his liking. Riaz pulls Andrews up and sends him back into the ring, although it's become clear how much the knee and lower thigh are bothering him. Riaz gamely pulls himself into the ring and keeps the attack simple, punching down on Andrews' head with rights and lefts, trying to further open the wound in the mouth)
DW: "You notice that Riaz didn't instinctively go to the top rope, as is his predilection. That leg must be knotting up quite a bit for him to go straight for ground and pound."
(Riaz ends the sequence with a vicious right hook that crosses the mouth of Andrews, who spits out a glob of blood onto the canvas. A few fans in that direction audibly groan at the blood and mucus, though Riaz ignores the spill, landing a double stomp on Andrews' face. However, Riaz crumples to the mat, favoring the left leg. Andrews is still oblivious as he instinctively rolls to his stomach to avoid a pinfall attempt that never comes)
BAJ: "Man, Riaz needs to get that knee in order because if Andrews sees it, he's going to town on it in a heartbeat!"
DW: "But is Andrews even in the condition to do anything about it?"
(Riaz needs to finish and begins the winning sequence, trying to pull Andrews into the Double Feature. Riaz goes for the lift, but the leg buckles just a bit. Andrews is right there, hooking the leg and ripping Riaz to the canvas with a dragon-screw leg whip. Riaz cries out in pain with Andrews unable to follow-up for the time being. Riaz pulls the knee pad down to try and increase circulation, and the act allows Andrews a second to leap over and begin pounding the leg with forearm smashes and right hands. Riaz writhes as Andrews scissors the leg and pulls back on the toe, stretching the ligaments to their ripping point)
BAJ: "I don't care if Mark Andrews has one fiber of living left; you let him work your leg and he's rejuvenated, a second coming!"
(Riaz goes to the eyes out of desperation to escape the basic leglock, and tries hobbling to his feet, only for the blown tire to give out from under him. Andrews is slow to his feet, and quickly kicks the back of Riaz's leg out from under him. In a moment of invention, Andrews goes to the floor and pulls Riaz's legs over to the ring post. Riaz lays prone on his stomach as Andrews folds Riaz's legs into a deathlock, wrapping a form of a Sharpshooter around the ring post. Andrews pulls down on the elevated foot, hyperextending the left knee to its maximum, with Riaz flailing in pain, unable to break free. After about ten seconds of unremitting agony, Andrews lets go out of the legs, the damage being done)
DW: "It's Riaz now that may be past the point of now return. With one leg, it's going to be hard to put away Mark Andrews, no matter how much he's been cut down!"
(Andrews grabs the left knee and smacks it into the post for good measure, sending Riaz rolling toward the middle of the ring in serious pain. Andrews spits out more blood to the concrete floor, and goes in to capitalize, trying to lock on the Ice Pick. Andrews finds it difficult to wrap the legs together, with Riaz squirming for his very life. Riaz rifles off a hard kick to the face with his right foot to break up the attempt. Andrews is temporarily stunned and Riaz struggles to his feet, landing a jumping sidekick to the mush that knocks Andrews back to the mat)
BAJ: "Both men are so resilient and can still endure inhuman amounts of pain, but it can't go on too much longer, not even with these two."
(Riaz pulls himself up and, bracing himself on his bad leg, kicks Andrews across the head as he sits up. Andrews does it again and Riaz, barely able to stand, field goal kicks Andrews with the toes of his right boot. A weary Andrews sits up once more, spitting a blood-filled gob toward the face of Riaz, maddening him to the point of diving onto Andrews and hammering away with right hands. Andrews manages to roll him over into his own mount and clubs away with rights and lefts, the fans cheering wildly for the uptick in aggression and competitive fury)
DW: "I don't even know where they're getting all of this energy, but I know that both Riaz and Andrews are trying to run forever on empty! This is incredible!"
(Andrews pulls Riaz up and snap suplexes him, floating over into a pin attempt for two. Andrews then rolls onto Riaz's legs and tries for some sort of hold, only to be kicked in the side of the head. Riaz propels himself into a magistral cradle, turning Andrews over into another two count. The fans applaud the efforts of both, as Riaz goes for a backslide, only to be muscled over Andrews' head. Iceman scoop lifts into an attempt at a Spinechiller, but Riaz drops down and applies a rear naked choke. Riaz tries to pull Iceman to the mat with all of his remaining strength, but Andrews reaches around the back and scoops him off the mat. From the now-front hold, Andrews manages to swing Riaz into Frost Fusion, and both men are laid out while the fans go wild)
BAJ: "It could be that the next big move wins it. Andrews isn't able to capitalize, and Riaz has taken the brunt of the punishment for about five minutes now."
(Andrews stirs first, attempting to crawl over for a pin attempt, only for Riaz to wrap him up quickly with a front triangle choke. Bad leg and all, Riaz forms a tight seal on Andrews's neck to try and force a tap out. Andrews forward rolls as a counter into a jackknife pin, with Riaz relinquishing the hold and kicking out on two. Riaz tries for a dragon sleeper immediately after, with Andrews throwing a back elbow at Riaz's leg to prevent the hold. Riaz hobbles around, and Andrews follows with a chop block. Andrews follows that with an elevated half-crab around the back of his neck, contorting Riaz into an uncomfortable position. The hold is short lived however, with Riaz kicking Iceman in the face with the right boot)
DW: "You sense that if Andrews had somehow neutralized that right leg, this match with be over. No one can withstand an Iceman submission hold for an extended frame of time."
(Iceman shakes off the kick and misses a clothesline, with Riaz countering with a Pele kick, knocking Iceman down in the corner. Riaz musters the strength to carry on, running into the corner with a somersault cannonball, and both men are clearly winded after it. A dueling "LET'S GO RI-AZ / MARK-AN-DREWS" chant fills the Arena, with neither man able to break focus long enough to acknowledge it. Riaz pulls Andrews back to the middle of the ring and piles on with a standing moonsault, to his own painful detriment, for a count of two)
BAJ: "Riaz may be getting a little too fancy here; I'd stick with those hard kicks if the left leg doesn't totally give out holding him up."
(Riaz pulls Andrews to his feet and flips over his back, dropping into a neckbreaker for two. Riaz can only shake his head at Andrews' refusal to stay down, and continue onward with an attempt at a Koji clutch. Andrews quickly twists his head free and snares the legs, bringing the crowd to their feet by twisting Riaz into his trademark Ice Pick submission hold. Andrews wrenches back on the legs while Riaz shakes his head vigorously, resisting concession. Iceman lowers his weight and tries to bend Riaz in half while wrenching the injured left knee. Riaz tries to push up and out, only for Andrews to thud his weight, dropping Riaz back to the canvas. Riaz continues to be racked with pain, with Andrews screaming "TAP!", blood trickling out from his lips. Riaz pushes up again and somehow manages to flip Andrews over onto his back to break the hold)
DW: "How demoralizing; Riaz was virtually finished, Andrews slaps on a hold designed to augment the damage done, and Riaz breaks free! I can't believe it!"
(Riaz rolls to the floor to try and cope with the pain, while Andrews goes back on the attack, reaching through the ropes to grab a handful of hair. Riaz gets jerked to the apron and Andrews unleashes a pair of right hands. Riaz responds with a headbutt to the face that stuns both men, and then follows up with a jumping sort-of Pele kick that knocks Andrews to the mat. Riaz ascends the turnbuckles with Andrews out, being careful of his wounded leg, and plummets onto his friend with the Paranoia splash, hitting his target dead center. The fans explode to their feet with a sea of flashing devices while Riaz tries to drag his body over onto Andrews. He manages to get the arm across, only scoring a two count, Andrews barely rolling the shoulder)
BAJ: "These two never cease to amaze me, Dylan! I've seen a thousand matches from each, and their determination is always a thrill to see!"
(Riaz lifts Iceman for an attempt at a suplex, with Andrews cradling him for a count of two. Both men reset, and Andrews flips Riaz inside out with a hard clothesline. Riaz manages to get to his feet first, although he's completely dizzy. Andrews hooks the waist and lands one German suplex, holding on to hit another. Before Andrews can land the third, Riaz blocks, elbows his way free, and tries for another Pele, only for Andrews to catch the feet. Iceman locks on an ankle lock to the left leg, but Riaz rolls forward, sending Andrews face first into the buckles. Riaz immediately rolls up and down his back with a sunset pin, getting just a two count)
DW: "Riaz senses the match is at hand, but Andrews kicks out just before three! Holy smokes, we've come down to the wire!"
(Riaz tries for another magistral cradle, but Andrews hooks the leg on the floatover and tries to lift Riaz into another Frost Fusion. Riaz flips out around the front and goes back behind with a roll-up, getting just a two count. Riaz leaps to Iceman's shoulders for a victory roll attempt, but Andrews drops down on the curl portion, scoring a two count themselves. The fans are just as exhausted, living and dying on every near fall. Andrews headlocks Riaz, but is set into the ropes and nailed with a picture perfect dropkick that takes plenty out of Riaz too. Riaz scores a two count, disbelieving it)
BAJ: "If he can somehow get Andrews up for that Double Feature, there won't be any kicking out. The endorphins are spiking, I think Riaz can use that leg to some degree now!"
(Riaz pulls Iceman up, but eats a hard European uppercut from a glazed-over technician. Andrews charges off the ropes and goes for a running knee, but Riaz side-steps and throws a hard kick at the side of Andrews' rib cage. Riaz then springs off the middle rope with a quebrada attempt, only for Andrews to catch him over his shoulder, landing a particularly lethal Spinechiller. Andrews immediately hooks the leg, scoring the pinfall after a scintillating bout)
"Time of the fall, 21 minutes, 28 seconds, your winner...."ICEMAN" MARK ANDREWS!"
(Andrews slumps to the mat next to the motionless body of Riaz. 2500 fans have come unglued, standing and applauding the spectacle and the efforts they've just witnessed. Andrews makes it to his knees first, acknowleding the cheers with a gentle nod. Iceman extends a hand and helps pull Riaz off the canvas, helping his partner up and hugging up to the loudest ovation of the night. The two share an extended embrace, with Riaz raising Andrews' hand in respect. The fans chant "THANK YOU BOTH!", which morphs into the default "HGW!" chant, both men turning to face each side of the ring)
DW: "Iceman Mark Andrews and Riaz once more raise the bar to unfathomable heights, tearing down the house with a performance for the ages. Some things, I tell you partner, just never change."
BAJ: "I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this was the greatest match in HGW's storied history. Not even a shame that it came so late in HGW's lore, at least it happened. My hat as always is off to Riaz and Mark."
(Riaz, pained as he is, holds the rope open for Andrews, who steps out and in turn, helps his injured friend set himself on the floor. The two walk, arms around each other, to the back bracing each other for support. Just before the entrance way, the two turn and raise their arms once more to one last mighty cheer, and an "HGW!" chant that echos well into the night. Intermission is inevitable after that battle, as everyone needs a few moments to gather their thoughts)
(Settling in following intermission, "All the Small Things" by Blink 182 hits, bringing out Blake Martin and Sean Eclipse, the Syndicate. Knowing boos rain down on the two, who jovially dismiss the disdain. Martin, 39, and Eclipse, 38, have both left the business, with Martin traveling locally with his own indie rock band, while Eclipse coaches high school football in southern New Jersey. The two were once dominant components in RWA, while struggling to make a dent in HGW, save for one Tag Team Title reign in 2003)
(The two hit the ring with a manic energy, laughing up their triumphant return to the wrestling world for one night. Martin takes the microphone and addresses the hissing occupants)
"The Syndicate is back, baby! And we're fixing to unleash a new member on the world! Nobody can stop us now, it's going to rain Syndicate colors all across the globe! Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you all the way from Stockholm, Sweden, the Creamsicle Rhapsody himself, he is....ORANGE VALKYRIE!"
("Drown Soda" by Hole plays, prompting some actual cheers and interest from the HGW faithful. Indeed, the Swedish Valkyrie, 35, makes his first appearance in the United States in close to a decade, plying his trade these days in Irish Whip Wrestling, based in, well, Ireland. Valkyrie sashays up the aisleway, as self-absorbed and flamboyant as fans remember. Once in the ring, Eclipse exaggeratedly points at Valkyrie, who engages in some bizarre dance ritual to herald his own arrival. Martin applauds frenzy-style, and the three all raise arms to a chorus of boos)
("Special Op" from the WWE library plays, drawing some confused chuckles and bewilderment from the crowd on hand. The confusion turns to merriment as Stephen "The Animal" Green, White Trash, and Robazeri Misawa appear in different parts of the crowd, wearing riot gear over their decidedly non-imposing bodies. Green, 43, remains a mainstay in several Georgia-based indies, while Trash, 44, is retired from the business, working as a merchandise vendor on Long Island. Misawa, 34, works for himself as a freelance computer tech support guy, unfortunately spending many hours helping Green and Trash erase the viruses caused by their copious diet of smut sites)
(As they were, Green Ambrose, Seth Robbies, and Trashin Reigns marched with purpose through the crowd, as "The Shamed" looks to add another notch to Gimmick Infringement's record of trio victories. The three men storm the ring and the fight begins immediately, with the opposition attacking)
DW: "And we're under way! "The Shamed", as I'm told they're called, are on the wrong end of the fight early on!"
(The tide quickly turns when Martin is whipped by Ambrose into Eclipse, and Reigns bashes their heads together to neutralize them. Ambrose and Reigns head over to assist Robbies with Valkyrie, clubbing away with a triple assault that brings him to his knees in a hurry. Ambrose clotheslines Martin up and over, while Reigns whips Valkryrie at him. Ambrose backdrops him over, giving the cue for Robbies to charge through the ropes with a head-first suicide dive onto both Martin and Valkyrie. The fans erupt with a cheer, as well as a "YOU STILL GOT IT" chant)
BAJ: "And he deserves this chant, unlike some people who get it merely for showing up in their old ring gear!"
(Reigns and Ambrose go to work on Eclipse, sending him into the ropes and planting him with a double press slam. Than Ambrose picks up Eclipse by the hair, and smears his face into the poor paint job done on Trashin Reign's left shoulder to represent his tribal tattoo. Eclipse staggers away trying to get the gunk out of his eyes, and Ambrose manages to nail him with Animality. Robbies sends Martin back in and heads up top, jumping off with a diving knee drop to the throat, sending the former "B-Money" back to the floor gasping for air)
DW: "One thing's for sure, these guys haven't lost an ounce of their tag team continuity. Gimmick Infringement is many things, and fluid *is* one of them."
(Ambrose reaches through the ropes and drags Valkyrie back in. He and Robbies set him up in front of Reigns, who emits a war cry to telegraph what's next: Valkyrie being lifted into a triple powerbomb with Reigns as the driving force. The three men make the cover and score the easy pinfall)
"Time of the fall, 1 minute, 54 seconds, your winners....GIMMICK INFRINGEMENT!"
(The trio of Gimmick Infringement raise their arms to celebrate the win, indulging themselves in cheers and jovial laughs from the fans. The Syndicate pulled the ravaged Valkyrie under the ropes and slinked away with him. As always, HGW's resident clowns didn't disappoint)
DW: "Think we'll have another reunion show so we can get a decent New Day mockery?"
BAJ: "As long as there's no paint involved, fine. Otherwise, I may have to step in...."
(Green tosses his Kevlar vest into the crowd, proudly showing off his sagging, hairy flesh which Trash takes delight in, but causes Misawa to recoil. Still, Steve's one of his best customers, so diplomacy should be used here)
(Without music, a three-piece suit-wearing Michael Killjoy makes his way through the curtain. Receiving mostly boos with a few ironic fans bowing in reverence, Killjoy smirks his way down the aisle, pausing to insult a few fans that get on his case. Now 31, Killjoy retired six years ago due to nagging back injuries, and actually served briefly as a social media worker for WWE up until mid-2014, after the stock plunge led to mass layoffs. Killjoy is going to school for his MBA, pretty much landing on his feet. Ever calmly, Killjoy enters the ring and takes hold of the microphone)
"I have to say, I never thought I'd see the day where I'd have to come back to *this* shithole again!"
(The fans boo, mostly through knowing smiles. A "YOU SUCK DICK" chant is only momentarily acknowledged by Killjoy, who continues his spiel)
"But I'm Michael Killjoy, and I go where I want to go. And tonight, I'm here to spoil your little party. Because you mongoloids and degenerates can't let go of the past, can you? I moved on! I got a cushy job with Vince McMahon and WWE, and I made their social media department what it is today! And it's because you low-income scumbags didn't buy the WWE Network like you were supposed to that I lost my job!"
(A chant of "YOUR APP SUCKS" is the response, leaving Killjoy partially flustered)
"But fear not, because the party *will* be ruined tonight! Because my best friend here is going to take your decrepit superhero, and reduce him into the pile of shit that he truly is! Ladies and gentlemen, coming all the way from the superior heights of New York City, he is a slimmer and trimmer 272 lbs, I give to you....HARDCORE X!"
("X Gonna Give it to Ya" by DMX blares, the pulsating beats summoning indeed a more lithe X from the locker room. X, now 39, took up mixed martial arts after the closing of HGW, competing in Strikeforce, among other companies, from 2009 to 2012, compiling a record of 6-4-1 with four knockouts. Most notably, X, as "Terminator" Joe Bauer, lost by decision to Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem in June 2011, suffering a rib injury that led to his downfall as a fighter. X now trains prospective fighters at X-Terminators Gym in Bellport, Long Island, and wears four-ounce gloves tonight to symbolize his change in career)
(X enters the ring in his X-Terminators print shirt and Anderson Silva-style tight shorts, high-fiving Killjoy before taking to his corner, getting loose for the match)
("Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains plays, and the fans know what's coming, heralding the arrival of Nickmaster, the foundation of HGW. Nick, who turned 46 last week, still performs irregularly for the love of the sport while living off the riches of his great career in posh New Rochelle, NY with his wife and kids. Accompanying Nick is protege Chris Rage, 38, who retired in 2008 due to injuries, much like Killjoy. Nick has remained in the spotlight, particularly with a Kayfabe Commentaries release for their Timeline series, "HGW - 2003", in which he was notably critical of Brandon Thornton and White Trash, while revealing that Crimson Beast inadvertantly gave him a life-threatening head injury during their World Title bout at Caged Heat on July 12 of that year)
(Nickmaster removes his traditional logo HGW t-shirt, looking barely older except for some gray hair around the edges. Still in remarkable shape for his age, he sizes up X across the ring, smirking confidently while the fans chant "NICK!" like old times)
"His opponent, accompanied to ringside this evening by Chris Rage, now residing in New Rochelle, New York, weighing in at 239 lbs, this is "The Extreme Franchise"....NICKMASTER!"
(A deafening ovation shakes the HGW Arena to its very core, with Nick looking around with pursed lips and a humbled gleam in his eye. Rage claps along with the fans while Killjoy does the jawing from the opposite corner. X remains the picture of calm, muttering some simple taunts toward Nick who just smiles back. Killjoy and Rage exit the ring, as X and Nick move close to do the classic pre-match staredown. X continues with his uttering of jive, with Nick now passively talking back. X leans back and goes to fire a right hand, but Nick blocks and the slugfest develops to start the match)
DW: "And here we go! Nickmaster! Hardcore X! It goes back over 12 years, and the two have engaged in many violent battles, tonight likely being their final clash ever!"
(Nick gets the upper hand, rocking X with some big right hands and backing him toward the ropes. Nick tries for an Irish whip, but has it reversed by the stronger X. X ducks the head and Nick responds with a kick to the face, following up with a clothesline that backs him toward the ropes. A second Nick clothesline sends X over to the floor, giving the cornerstone an early advantage. Killjoy yells encouragement at X, who's slow to get up. Once Hardcore's up, Nick reaches through the ropes, grabs the pair by their heads, and bashes them together, with Killjoy taking an exaggerated fall to the floor, while X is merely rocked)
BAJ: "Anytime I see Michael Killjoy fall on his ass, I'm filled with immense pride. He can't get knocked down enough, Dylan."
(X pulls himself to the apron, and takes another right hand from the wily Nickmaster. Nick sets up the bigger foe and suplexes him back into the ring for a quick two count. Nick rattles off a couple more right hands trying to keep the converted fighter on his back. Despite the clubing blows, X pulls himself to his knees, prompting Nick to hit the ropes, only to have his ankle hooked by Killjoy from the outside. Rage runs over to confront Killjoy, who professes his innocence. The distraction allows X to fly in with a body attack and a hard right hand to the short ribs. X wraps his arms around Nick and flings him over head with a belly to belly suplex. Nick winces as he pulls himself up in the corner, only for X to follow up with a charging clothesline that collapses Nick like an imploding building)
DW: "That little bit of distraction by Killjoy opens things up for X now, as Chris Rage tries to rally his friend and mentor. He's going to need more than just rhythmic clapping against this brawler."
(X sends Nick in the ropes, but misses a clothesline and Nick comes back with a leaping forearm smash. Nick quickly resets himself and prepares for the Sweet Nick Kick, which X quickly evades by rolling under the ropes and to the floor. Killjoy runs over to help his ally regroup, leaving Nick to rally the fans to their feet)
BAJ: "Choosing my words carefully after that Andrews/Riaz classic, but there isn't a more resilient performer in wrestling than Nicholas Mondi. He can turn a match around, even if he was on his deathbed."
(X re-enters the ring and circles with Nick, looking for an advantage of some sort. Nick tries for a double leg takedown, but X wraps up Nick around the chest and unleashes a few knees to the abdomen. X then grounds Nick and drives the point of the elbow into the neck and ear of Nick, incorporating some of that MMA skill into his wrestling game. X transitions into a full mount and rains down with punches on the side of Nick's face. Each time Nick tries to slide forward, X digs the leg hooks further in and continues to punish with brute force)
DW: "Nickmaster doesn't often submit, but X could well be the first man to draw a submission on him through actual strikes. I wouldn't bet on it, though."
(X tries to transition into an armbar, but Nick manages to push away. Dazed, Nick finds it hard to stand, although X taunts him with a big smile, demanding he get up and fight. Rage gives X some choice words while "Franchise" uses the ropes to get to his feet. X moves in for the kill, only to walk right into a Sweet Nick Kick out of left field. The fans jump in elation as Killjoy watches in horror. Nick covers, but X emphatically throws Nick off of the pinfall on two)
BAJ: "I can't believe it, Nickmaster nearly had him so quickly into the match! Killjoy thought it was over, he just had a minor stroke at ringside!"
(X rolls to his stomach to try and shake the cobwebs as Nick jumps in on the attack, repeatedly ramming X's head into the canvas to keep him from getting back to his feet. Killjoy screams incredulously for X to get up, and Hardcore finally manages to create some space by kicking Nick off of him. Nick charges, but X drops him with a front spinebuster. X, however, can't capitalize, dropping to a knee while holding his jaw, still suffering the effects of that kick)
DW: "We've just about seen it all already in the early going of this match, and I'm surprised it's not over following that Sweet Nick Kick! Credit where it's due for Hardcore X."
(X pulls Nick to his feet and drops him with another textbook wrestling move, a side backbreaker, spasming Nick, who kicked his feet almost involuntarily from the force of the move. X drops an elbow across the back, and then heads to the floor looking for a weapon. He finds one in a steel chair and gently bangs it on the timekeeper's table to show his intent. Back inside, Rage tries to warn a reeling Nick, but to no avail as X slams the chair across Nick's spine. X desposits the chair to the mat and forms his trademark X pose with his forearms, prompting a chorus of boos)
BAJ: "No love lost here, X is enjoying hurting Nickmaster, and I kinda don't blame him. Remember when Nick tried to gouge his eye with a wooden shank? You don't forget things like that."
(X picks up the chair again and tries to hit a grounded Nick, who rolls away. Another attempt, and Nick scoots across the mat to avoid the strike. Making it to the corner, Nick yet again avoids the shot, the chair clanging off of the steel post. X discards the weapon and fires away with right hands on Nick, who can't avoid the strikes. X slams Nick's face skyward with an uppercut. X pulls Nick in and applies a Kata Gatame, forcing Nick to his knees as he applies as much pressure as possible. Rage shouts encouragement while X tightens the triangle, trying to force Nick to the canvas on his back, but the veteran manages to hold his vertical position)
DW: "X content to wear Nick down and squeeze the air out of him. We may end up getting a stoppage here, John."
BAJ: "The referee won't do that, Nick's a proud man. If he does, when he regains consciousness, Nick *will* be coming after him."
(X ultimately releases the hold and stomps Nick for good measure. With Nick grounded, X ascends the turnbuckle in a familiar sight. Marking Nick in his place, X goes for a flying splash, but Nick rolls away, X hitting nothing but canvas. Sucking wind, Nick pulls himself up in the corner, and grabs X, landing a textbook neckbreaker for barely a count of two. X reels from the move, but Nick stays on him, forcing him to the corner and hammering him with punches in the corner, going up to ten with the fans counting along. Nick plants X in the middle of the ring with a vertical suplex and rolls back, grabbing the feet with the promise of a Nickshooter. This brings Killjoy to the apron as a distraction yet again, allowing X to rear a foot back and almost impale Nick with a sharp kick in the gut)
DW: "Can someone get Killjoy out of here? That's TWICE now he's reared his ugly head into this match!"
(X scoops and slams Nick, following with a snap knee drop to the middle of the face, which hits its target dead on. Outside the ring, Rage begins making a move toward Killjoy outside. Killjoy implores him to stay away, but the infuriated Rage ignores the order, angrily pointing toward him with bad intentions. X takes a break from hammering Nick to jump to the floor and stand in front of Killjoy, daring Rage to take a step forward. Rage assumes a fighting stance with the crowd cheering him on. The battle doesn't come to pass, as Nickmaster leaps over the ropes, almost hands free, and flattens X on the concrete floor, nearly getting Killjoy as collateral damage. The fans erupt with an "HGW!" chant after that daring leap)
BAJ: "Nickmaster going airborne, I love it! Nobody told him he's 46 years old, or that he has too much money to be taking such chances!"
(Nick takes X on a tour of ringside, bashing his head into the ring post, and then picking up a chair, using it to whack the ribcage with the lip of it. Rage keeps an eye on Killjoy, who raises his arms and backs away, while Nick scoops X and slams him on the bare cement. Nickmaster then climbs to the apron and heads up the turnbuckle with X still laid out on the floor. Some fans actually beg him to be careful, the cautious buzz reverberating through the building. With a cry of "H-G-FUCKING-W!", Nick leaps off, driving a flying elbow smash into the black heart of X on the floor. Nickmaster rolls around in pain himself, while a thunderous "HOLY SHIT!" chant is his reward)
DW: "Nickmaster, throwing caution to the wind as he's done so many times before, comes off the top rope with a flying elbow smash! My goodness, that was over a nine-foot drop!"
(Nickmaster eases himself to his feet, favoring his hip, when Killjoy steps in, giving Nick a hard knee to the spine. Rage finally has enough and begins chasing Killjoy around the ringside area. As they turn the corner to get back to the scene of the dive, X springs to his feet and plows through a running Rage with a hellish clothesline, nearly knocking him out of his shoes. Killjoy puts the feet to Nickmaster, who remains down and pained)
BAJ: "If they don't get Killjoy out of here, I'm gonna personally get up and break my foot off in his ass! This is ridiculous!"
(Killjoy taunts the fans while X rolls Nick back into the ring. A quick cover yields only a two count, but X continues to punish, adding knees to the back. X pulls Nick to his feet and attempts the Highway to Hell, but Nick drops down. X hooks onto him and goes for a back suplex, but Nick drops out of his grasp, getting a roll-up for two. X misses a clothesline, and Nick responds with an old-school atomic drop. Nick then pulls X back, turning him into a simple DDT for another two count, with Killjoy watching the momentum shift in disbelief)
DW: "Nickmaster turning it around, but he's got to find a way to neutralize Killjoy as well. Otherwise, he won't be able to put X away once and for all."
(Nick tries for a simple suplex, but X counters with a suplex attempt of his own. Nick drops down and lands a hangman's neckbreaker. Quickly kipping up to a knowing cheer, Nick makes it to a corner and begins putting the stomp on for the Sweet Nick Kick. X slowly stirs, and Nick has him dead to rights, but Killjoy hits the ring and attacks, breaking up the kill attempt. Killjoy puts the boots to Nick in the corner, and X quickly joins in, the two-on-one assault overwhelming Nickmaster)
BAJ: "They're gonna steal this damn match, I can't believe this. That does it...."
(The sound of a headset being dropped is audible on the iPPV version, but before Bad Ass can interject himself, Chris Rage hits the ring with the steel chair and strikes X across the back. He and Killjoy begin exchanging right hands, with Rage getting control. Rage runs off the ropes and lands a charging boot to the face that takes Killjoy down. Rage quickly applies the Fit of Rage, strangling Killjoy as the fans egg him on. X breaks it up before it gets too painful, but Nick jumps into the fray, hammering X with big rights)
DW: "It's turned into a tag team match before our very eyes, and the referee's lost control of this one! You just knew it was going to break down eventually, no question!"
(Nick and Rage corner X and double team him, their first tandem beating in over a decade, much to the crowd's approval. The famed "Brooklyn Bombers" send X into Killjoy with an Irish whip, and Rage rocks X with a charging elbow after the collision. Killjoy rolls to the floor as Nick takes X by the legs and flips him into the Nickshooter. Not to be outdone, Rage slaps on the Fit of Rage for a double hold. The fans chant "TAP!" as X is contorted in half and summarily strangled. Before X can tap on command, Killjoy runs back in there and breaks up the complex predicament)
BAJ: "Kinda can't blame Killjoy there; he had to save X from being bent like a crazy straw. And how tough is X for hanging on?"
(Killjoy sends Rage into the post with a hard toss, and kicks Nick in the abdomen as he goes to stand. Measuring Nick, Killjoy tries for the Killcutter, but is sent hard into the post, and waylaid on the rebound with the Sweet Nick Kick. Killjoy hits the mat like a sack of potatoes, prompting Nick to slide him under the ropes and onto the timekeeper's table)
DW: "It'll be a while before Killjoy stirs after that, and thank God! Saved him from getting killed by you!"
(X makes it to his feet and nails Nick from behind, pulling him mid-ring and planting him with a sudden X-Termination. Hardcore hooks the leg, and is floored when Nick gets the shoulder up on two. Hardcore argues with the official and actually grabs him by the throat, only for Rage to save the man in stripes. Rage hammers away, but X nails him with a hooking right hand that nearly de-cleats him. Hardcore tries for X-Termination on Rage, but a woozy Nick breaks it up with a clubbing blow across the back. The two strike at X, knocking him to a knee, when Nick gestures to the timekeeper's table. They pick up X over their shoulders in a double scoop, walk over to the ropes, and dump him over through Killjoy and the timekeeper's table, leading to a massive "HGW!" chant, while Killjoy lay decimated in the wreckage)
BAJ: "No more anger here; this is my favorite match ever!"
(Rage hits the floor and lifts the limp X up, tossing him back into the ring. Nick asks the crowd if they want it, and of course they do. Nick puts the stomp on while X tries to get to his feet. Hardcore barely gets up when Nick charges up and blasts X in the chin with the Sweet Nick Kick. Nick falls on top, hooking one leg, and scoring the pinfall over his old rival. The fans cheer wildly, and all Nick's able to do is grin)
"Time of the fall, 15 minutes, 16 seconds, your winner....NICKMASTER!"
(Nick climbs to his knees and is embraced by Rage, who, along with the ref, raises Nick's hands before a cheering crowd. Nick embraces Rage again, with the chant turning to "NICK!" Nick takes a customary bow and continues his celebration before the very fans he's entertained for nearly two decades)
DW: "I began my wrestling career calling Nickmaster matches when we were both young men. Now we've both gotten quite old, and yet he's still one of the most captivating athletes I've ever been privileged to call the work of."
BAJ: "He went from hated enemy of mine to tremendous friend. He's everything he claims to be, and the heart and soul of HGW. We can't have an HGW event without him; he cements the authenticity of Hardcore Global Wrestling."
(Killjoy collects the battered body of X under the bottom rope, while Nick and Rage continue the celebration inside the ring. Nick steps up all four corners, acknowledging each section of the crowd. He steps off and heads to ringside, tagging hands with all of the front row fans, and anyone behind that can mob their way forward. With Rage in tow, Nick makes his way back up the aisle and acknowledges the crowd once more, his return to the Arena a triumphant one)
(Before the main event can begin, a series of ring-hands work in earnest to bring a series of deadly implements to the ring for what is to be an Extreme Death Match, pitting two teams of two. The first item carried out is a 4X6 section of plywood with coils of barbed wire stapled to it. That's placed in one corner of the ring, while two equally-sized panes of glass are brought into the ring, placed in the top right corner. Thirdly, two trashcans filled to the brim with various weapons go into the bottom right corner, while four bunches of light-bulb tubes, wrapped up in tape, go to the bottom left corner. Fans watch in awe, some sadistic ones rather giddily, at the sight of all of these torturous objects)
("I'm Your Boogieman" by White Zombie is the first song to play, bringing the twisted owner, Justin Henry, from the locker room. Missing his D-Ranged Dave make-up and prison jumpsuit, Henry/Dave is bedecked in a black sleeveless HGW t-shirt and black cargo shorts, with his fists and wrists heavily taped. The fans cheer the leader of their favorite band of freaks, 45, who now pens a wrestling column for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and has released his autobiography, "Blood Money: Lost Memories in a World with Plenty", in late-2013)
(Henry hits the ring and recognizes the love with a chest-pounding gesture in return. Henry examines the weaponry, and shakes hands with the referee, who wears heavy gloves and safety goggles in anticipation of the carnage ahead)
("Whiskey in a Jar" by Metallica is next, eliciting a loud cheer for Chris Ledbetter, 48, the most outspoken star in HGW history. Ledbetter, dressed in old blue jeans and a black sleeveless t-shirt, looks his age through a combination of 12-ounce curls and a lack of sleep over the years. These days, "Led" wrestles sparingly, co-hosting a wrestling radio show on ESPN 790 in Atlanta)
(Ledbetter tags hands with the ringsiders before entering the ring, hugging his good friend before they go to battle in what promises to be a war)
("Down With the Sickness" by Disturbed blares, with the lights dim and the crowd noise rising. A host of fans playfully harmonize the burgeoning drum beat, before summoning Andrew Costeal at the sound of Dave Draiman's guttural bark. Costeal looks every bit as intimidating as he did in HGW's heyday, despite being 40 and out of the business altogether. These days, Costeal's partnered with several hometown friends in Louisiana to open a few bar-and-grill restaurants, Dead Man's Kitchen, and lives happily off the dividends)
(The 6'7" Costeal strides toward the ring with his uneasy gait, leaving Henry and Ledbetter, usually his friends, to stare pensively. Costeal stands at the edge of the aisleway staring back, a thin smile betraying his menacing scowl. The lights re-illuminate at gesturing, showing him in his trademark all-black attire, complete with shoulder-extended trenchcoat. The fans awe once more at the spectre that is "The Living Dead Man")
("Scotland the Brave" by Scottish Clubland hits to end the sequence, leaving the fans standing to marvel at their homegrown star, "Red Mode" Rich Ashley. The music swells to a boil, bringing the red-headed pyromaniac out to greet his acquired people. Ashley, 36, still performs in the United Kingdom, most notably in Manchester's Grand Pro Wrestling, where he reigned in 2013 as Heavyweight Champion. Ashley also wrestled the only match of his career against Tommy Danger in late-2011, a chaotic brawl that resulted in Danger having his jaw broken)
(Ashley joins Costeal in the aisleway, sharing an eager nod with him, and the two take to the ring together, standing across from their old friends, with whom they share a respectful fist bump with. Chants of "RICH!" echo through the Arena, drowning out the remix of the Scottish anthem)
"The following tag team contest, scheduled for one fall, is an Extreme Death Match! Introducing first, from Sea Isle City, New Jersey, weighing in at 242 lbs, this is....JUSTIN HENRY!"
(Henry raises his arms to the crowd, getting a loud ovation from the faithful)
"His tag team partner, from Douglasville, Georgia, weighing in at 251 lbs, this is "The Straight Shooter"....CHRIS LEDBETTER!
(Ledbetter raises a solitary fist, getting a loud reaction as well)
"Their opponents, first, from New Orleans, Louisiana, weighing in at 288 lbs, he is "The Living Dead Man"....ANDREW COSTEAL!"
(A deafening cheer for Costeal, who is motionless, a stare fixed on his opponents)
"His partner, from Airdrie, Scotland, weighing in at 238 lbs, this is...."RED MODE" RICH ASHLEY!"
(Ashley turns and waves to the people, a relaxed smirk on his face that hints nothing of the brutality that lay ahead. The fans give him the loudest ovation of the four. After a moment of acknowledgment, the four break the pause by going at it wildly, exchanging right hands between the four of them. Costeal and Henry slug it out while Ashley and Ledbetter exchange right hands while brawling against the ropes. The referee looks to try and stay out of the forthcoming whirlwind, but has no place to go)
BAJ: "This is gonna get ugly in a hurry, Dylan, we may wanna head for even HIGHER ground!"
(Costeal wallops Henry with a big right hand, almost knocking him into the lightbulb tubes, but Henry avoids and rolls outside. Meanwhile, Ashley drops Ledbetter with a clothesline and goes to work with right hands on the mat. Costeal follows Henry outside and continues throwing punches, knocking his old boss into the railing. A clothesline sends Henry over, and Costeal follows him into the sea of humanity)
DW: "May have to take you up on that, because they might be headed our way!"
(Costeal walks with Justin through the crowd, smashing him into a chair held up by a fan. Meanwhile in the ring, Ledbetter has the upper hand on Ashley, beating him with a kendo stick that was in one of the trash cans. Ledbetter misses a shot however and Ashley takes him down with a cane-assisted legsweep. Ashley begins to forage through a trash can, and comes up with a staple gun, sending a wave of cringing anticipation through the wave of people. With Ledbetter seated on the mat, Ashley reaches down and plugs a staple into Ledbetter's eyebrow, causing him to twitch and flail all over the mat)
BAJ: "Ohhhh, Chris, I feel for you, man! I've never been stapled once in my career, but damn that has to hurt like I can't even imagine!"
(In the crowd, Henry turns the tables on Costeal with a chair to the gut, followed by an unprotected shot to the skull, echoing in a space surrounded by overzealous onlookers. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Ashley takes a format sheet off of the wreckage that was the timekeeper's table, holds it to a pained Ledbetter's forehead, and staples it in, sticking it to the skull while blood trickles out from the perforated indentations)
DW: "Ughh, Chris Ledbetter becoming a human pin-cushion, courtesy of Rich Ashley! And that's his friend! And he's enjoying doing it to him!"
(Henry makes his way through the crowd and back toward the ring to save his ailing friend. He's able to sneak in behind Ashley, grab the kendo stick, and whack Ashley in the lower back, dropping him to a knee. Another shot nearly breaks the stick over Ashley's head. Henry almost coldly rips the paper off of Ledbetter's head, leaving just the staple and a pinned chunk, which draws some gallows laughter from the crowd. Henry helps Ledbetter to his feet and points at Ashley, gesturing something to him. Henry grabs Red Mode off the canvas, while Ledbetter pulls one of the glass panes away. They hook him by the seat of his shorts and fling him through the glass pane remaining in the corner, sending shards flying everywhere in a horrifying explosion. "HOLY SHIT" chants are instantaneous, as Ashley lay bleeding on the canvas)
BAJ: "My God, Ashley just blew that glass pane into smithereens, and the American Violence Connection has him laying there in a pool of his own blood!"
(An unsatisfied Ledbetter puts the boots to Ashley, wanting him to pay further for the use of the staple gun. Henry joins in the attack with stomps of his own. Ashley bleeds from his back and one of his elbows, the points of impact. Costeal makes his way back over the railing, caught coming in by Ledbetter. Henry pushes Ashley to the floor with his foot, and runs over to help Ledbetter head off Costeal at the pass.
DW: "It's a divide and conquer match, and the AVC's taken Ashley out of the picture early. Let's see what they do now, isolating The Living Dead Man."
(Ledbetter positions the second glass pane in its original corner, then returns to help Henry try and launch Costeal through it. Costeal blocks, resisting the pull of both men, then twists their arms and runs through both with a double shoulder block. Costeal tips over the second trash can and grabs a metal tray, whacking Henry across the head with it. A follow-up shot takes Ledbetter off his feet, and now Costeal's in control of the ring. He grabs Ledbetter and drops him throat first across the top rope, but the momentum is quickly shattered by Henry giving Costeal a low blow)
BAJ: "If Ashley can't get back in there in time, this will be over fairly quickly. Costeal can't handle the duet of Ledbetter and Henry, I don't care how tough he is."
(Henry drops Costeal with a double-arm DDT, turning him over for a count of two. Ledbetter drops a leg across the throat while Henry forages through the overturned pile of weapons. He quickly settles on a barbed wire bat, which he tosses to Ledbetter with a twisted smirk. Ledbetter giggles with demented intentions, waiting for Costeal to stand. Henry 'helps' Costeal to his feet, leading Ledbetter to swing overhead, sticking the barbs in the scalp of Costeal. Fans shreik and react in horror as Ledbetter has to work to pray the barbs loose from Costeal's face)
DW: "Oh my, Ledbetter stuck the weapon in Costeal's head, and it was buried so deep they had to work to pull it out! This is getting repulsive!"
(Henry doubles over a bloody Costeal with a kick to the gut, and Ledbetter slams the weapon down on Costeal's back, raking it down with sadistic fury. Blood runs like conjoined rivers down the back of Costeal, who drops the ghoulish facade long enough to let out an anguished groan. Henry picks up the trash can and bounces it off Costeal's forehead, leading Ledbetter to make the cover for a count of two)
BAJ: "I worry that Costeal's delaying the inevitable. Here we see Ashley trying to stir....ooh, Henry just throws the trash can down onto him! Well, forget that."
(Henry picks up a random shank of balsa wood and begins digging it into the open wound on Costeal's head, gouging, trying to make it deeper than it already is. Ledbetter pulls a set of lightbulb tubes into the middle of the ring, spurring more fearful anticipation from the crowd. Costeal's blood stains the canvas, and the American Violence Connection aren't done. Henry pulls Costeal up and somehow muscles him over his shoulders, facing the lightbulb tubes. Ledbetter's waiting to catch him with Led Poison (completing their tandem move, the Downfall), when Costeal frees an arm and grabs Ledbetter by the throat. Costeal escapes Henry's grip, but Henry strikes before Costeal can chokeslam Ledbetter)
DW: "That opportunity snuffed out by the AVC, Ledbetter narrowly avoids a chokeslam straight into the abyss, and now Henry and Ledbetter continue their double team."
(Ledbetter goes to the middle rope and Henry sets up Costeal. He looks back to the lightbulb tubes and lifts Costeal, handing him off to the waiting Ledbetter. Together, they drive Costeal down with a superbomb onto the light bulbs, sending white dust into the air, while Costeal spasms on the mat in excruciating pain)
BAJ: "Jesus, Costeal took the brunt of it....my God, they've cut his back to shreds!"
(Ledbetter makes the cover, but Costeal somehow kicks out, hurting himself more as he twists on the broken glass. Costeal tries to make it to the ropes as Ledbetter and Henry kick away at his opened-up lower back. A vicious kick from Ledbetter knocks Costeal under to the floor, and the Georgia native follows him out there to further the punishment. Henry watches inside, unaware that Rich Ashley has snuck in behind him, armed with the barbed wire bat. Ashley lets out a warning shot of a yell, and Henry turns, only to have the weapon bounced off his forehead. Ledbetter jumps to the apron to try to save his partner, but takes the weapon to his face as well. Ashley is the lone stander)
DW: "Rich Ashley wasn't done after all! And this match, if it wasn't ugly already, is about to reach new lows!"
(Ashley goes to land a mighty killshot on the downed Henry, who out of desperation grabs a handful of broken glass and flings it into Ashley's face. Ashley drops the weapon and Henry, now bleeding himself to complete the quartet, spears Ashley to the mat and hammers with big right hands. He grabs the bat and chokes Ashley with it, the barbs coming dangerously close to his throat. Then for an encore, he presses the weapon into Ashley's forehead, drawing more blood, staining the canvas under his head)
BAJ: "And this is the guy that signs our checks! He was our professional leader! Granted, he's always treated *me* nicely...."
(Outside the ring, Costeal and Ledbetter exchange right hands while Henry hammers the open facial wounds of Ashley, tenderizing the cuts with his knuckles. He gives up on that for a moment, and grabs the kendo stick again. Ashley turns to his stomach, holding his head and face as Henry lines up a shot. Costeal backdrops Ledbetter on the outside, and goes to the apron, but Henry whacks him in the gut with the stick. He turns back to Ashley, now on a knee, and raises the stick, only for Red Mode to blow a fireball into the face of Henry, who falls to the mat, rolling around screaming as he unwittingly rubs his face into glass and other paraphernalia to get the 'burn' out)
DW: "Henry may have just had his face burned off! The referee's trying to assist him, but I don't think he wants to be touched! Henry doesn't want to give it up, but he's in a bad way!"
(Ashley drops an elbow across Henry while Ledbetter, perhaps oblivious to Henry's peril in the ring, sets up a table by one of the ringposts. Led drops a foot into the face of Costeal, still in a bad way following, least of all, that last cane shot from Henry. Ashley turns and dives through the ropes, taking out Ledbetter and knocking him away from the table he's just set in place. The dive keeps an already buzzing crowd on their feet, bowled over by the mass carnage)
BAJ: "Ashley's the only one sustaining anything at this time. That's good, because Costeal's been on his feet about once in the past ten minutes."
(Ashley picks up a chair and decks Ledbetter across the back with it before throwing it in the ring, nearly hitting Henry with it. Ashley throws a second chair into the ring and heads back in, dropkicking Henry in the face as he tries to stand. Ashley sets up Henry, and delivers a textbook piledriver, scoring only a two count. Ashley knows full well Henry's resilence in big matches, and continues to pile on, slamming one of the chairs across Henry's shoulder. He places the chair on Henry's face and heads to the top rope, bad intentions brewing. As Ashley slowly sets his feet, Ledbetter appears out of nowhere, bashing him with another light bulb cluster. The glass explodes into a million pieces, sending fragments into the crowd. Ashley teeters and falls off the turnbuckle, crushing the table Ledbetter had set up beneath him, creating the biggest "HOLY SHIT" chant of the night)
DW: "Jesus CHRIST! Rich Ashley may be knocked completely out! Look at the blood, just LOOK at it! Ledbetter almost shredded his face off!"
(Ledbetter slides back into the ring to check on the wounded Henry, both men already losing their share of blood. The badly-hurt Costeal tries crawling into the ring and Ledbetter goes to cut him off, but "The Living Dead Man" clasps his throat and flings him into the corner. On the rebound, Costeal clotheslines Ledbetter almost out of his boots. Now foraging among the weaponry for something, Costeal pauses and smiles evily at the crowd. Pulling out by a leather handle is his trademark Taipei glove, which has chunks of broken glass glued to it. The fans cheer the familiar prop, with Costeal sliding it on and beckoning the opponents to stand. Ledbetter is first up, getting cut up all over again by hard right hands, and a nice spinning backfist)
BAJ: "There's just no good that can come from Costeal and a Taipei glove, none whatsoever. This may be Ledbetter's first time feeling the effects of the weapon, and he won't wanna go through this again!"
(With Ledbetter down in the corner, Costeal rains down with right hand after right hand in a slow-burn effort to erase Ledbetter's mug. Blood pours like hot streaks down Ledbetter's face and down his shirt, Costeal remorselessly punishing his long time associate. Andrew Costeal pulls Ledbetter up and drags him toward the barbed-wire plywood, but Henry cuts him off. Costeal relinquishes Ledbetter and goes to strike Henry with the Taipei fist, but Henry beats him to the punch, locking in the D-Ranged Claw out of sheer desperation. Costeal is taken aback, and Henry pulls him to the mat, tightening his grip on the jaw as Costeal tries to fight his way out. Henry wraps his other arm around the side of Costeal's neck to tighten the lock and prevent escape)
DW: "Is this how it ends? Is Justin Henry going to force Andrew Costeal to submit?!"
(Henry maneuvers himself over top Costeal to get more downward pressure on the Claw, but has the hold broken by Rich Ashley, who brings the trash can in and slams it across Henry's back. Ledbetter stands and takes a bulldozing shot to the chest. Henry gets to his knees and Ashley brains him with the weapon. Ledbetter somehow gets to his feet, and Ashley essentially uppercuts Ledbetter with the can, knocking him over the top rope and to the floor)
BAJ: "I can't even pick a winner anymore, this has gotten way too chaotic. And there's less pinfall attempts, which tells me that in spite of the blood and screams, they're having too much fun in there!"
(Ashley goes to hit Henry again, but Henry trips him and gets a double-leg pin attempt, broken up on two by Costeal, who almost caves Henry's chest in with a downward strike via the Taipei glove. Costeal manages a couple more shots with the broken glass, sending Henry hard into the corner. Ashley and Costeal pummel Henry a bit more and then pull him up. After seeking some approval from the bloodthirsty crowd, Costeal and Ashley drag Henry forward and double-beal him through the barbed-wire plywood, getting Henry tangled up into the contraption. A massive "HOLY SHIT" chant erupts as Henry squirms to try and free himself from the mess)
DW: "Can someone please end this?! Please?! Henry trying to get himself out of the barbs, but he may be sticking himself even worse!"
(Almost hearing Whiplash's words, Ashley rips Henry out of the barbs and Costeal covers, getting just two when Ledbetter pulls Costeal out of the ring. Ledbetter drops Costeal with a vicious clothesline outside, and Ashley grabs Ledbetter, pulling him to the apron. Ashley suplexes Ledbetter back into the ring, and both men take a fall onto broken shards of glass, sufficiently hurting both. Ashley tries for the cover, but manages just two. Ashley slowly stands, giving the signal for the STFU, his stunner variation. Ashley waits for Ledbetter to get to his feet and attempts the move, but Henry axe-handles his back, allowing Ledbetter to strike with Led Poison. Ledbetter goes for the cover, but Costeal pulls him to the floor and waylays him with the Taipei glove)
BAJ: "This match will not end until both members of a team are completely incapacitated! What's it going to take?"
(Henry tries for the cover on Ashley, but Red Mode manages to roll the shoulder up. Henry tries to piledrive Ashley, but his former protege backdrops him onto the mat, covered mostly in shards. Costeal heads up to the apron and heads to the top rope, landing the Harvest Moon on Henry. He gets a two count when a bloody Ledbetter throws him in, saving at the last second. All four men are in the ring at the same time for the first time in ages, and Ledbetter hammers away on Costeal."
DW: "It's going to be even harder with everyone in there now. And I know the referee isn't going to stop it out of concern for anyone."
(Ledbetter picks up a chair and partially dents it across Costeal's back. Ledbetter raises it again, but Ashley charges forth and kicks it into his face. Henry pulls himself up in the corner and Ashley runs in, burying a clothesline into his neck. Ashley manages to hit the STFU on Henry, but Ledbetter dives over and stops the pin before it can happen. Ledbetter tries for Led Poison on Ashley, who pushes him off into Costeal's waiting grasp. Costeal lifts him and drops him with a chokeslam onto the debris in the ring. Only Costeal and Ashley are cognizant of their surroundings and get an idea)
BAJ: "Whatever those two are thinking, I don't want to know."
DW: "Me either, but I think we're about to find out."
(Costeal and Ashley set up the two chair unfolded, and space them out in the middle of the ring. A number of fans have already caught on, as the two grab the remaining glass partition and set it up on the two chairs. Costeal and Ashley take the exhausted bodies of Ledbetter and Henry and lay them onto the makeshift table. Ashley then heads up top, while some fans chant "FIRE!" Sure enough, Ashley flicks his BIC, ignites his t-shirt, and then proceeds to moonsault onto both men through the glass table, sending debris flying into the air. "HOLY SHIT" fills the Arena as Costeal covers Ledbetter and Ashley covers Henry, the referee making a double three count to finally end the melee)
"Time of the fall, 17 minutes, 53 seconds, your winners....ANDREW COSTEAL AND RICH ASHLEY!"
(Costeal and Ashley use each other to get up, and embrace each other to a thunderous ovation and a smattering of HGW chants. After a moment, the two help up the wounded Henry and Ledbetter, raising their arms as a group, all basically needing each other to remain vertical. The group hug after the fact was a symbol of both that and their everlasting respect for each other)
DW: "The night ends with a bloodbath worthy of the letters HGW, and although they may regret it in the morning, all four men are on cloud nine right now."
(Ashley emerges from the hug and picks up the microphone)
"Maybe I'm a bit blinded from the match here, but if that wall clock in the distance is to be trusted, is it really 12:03 Sunday morning?"
(Many fans yell affirmation of the fact)
"Well in that case, happy birthday HGW!"
(The fans erupt in cheers, and a chant of "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!". Henry and Ledbetter clap through their pain, while Ashley high-fives Costeal)
"If this is the last time we all come together for a spectacle like this, then let's hit that chant one more time. H-G-DUB!"
(The fans chant "HGW" louder than they have all night, and the four men go back to raising each other's arms, a true victory for them all. The fans continue echoing as the foursome soaks it all in, satisfied and sore with one for the road)
BAJ: "No more fitting way to end a show here at the HGW Arena. Hats off to these four crazy men, they've still got it!"
DW: "And that wraps it up here in the booth, for Bad Ass John, I'm Dylan Whiplash. Goodnight from HGW Freaking Anniversary!"