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I hate to do this... October 31st 2018, 10:53 pmJaydayne PendragonTwo vultures and a baby chick walk into a barOctober 31st 2018, 7:14 amLeberSSW PromosOctober 27th 2018, 10:47 pmSteven CassidyWhat song are you listening to right now?October 23rd 2018, 12:43 pmKai StevensThe VulturesOctober 13th 2018, 6:11 pmSaul OmenThe Compliment GameOctober 10th 2018, 11:20 pmSaul Omen
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SSW Promos - Page 4 OaNPiWx

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The One True Pairing
on August 17th 2018, 11:14 pmThe One True Pairing
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SSW Promos - Page 4 One_True_Logo_9

The world gives… and the world takes away. Sakura finds herself sitting down on a white sofa staring directly at the ticking clock on the wall and back to the camera that she had set up earlier. Her feet comfortably touch the soft blue carpet, and she rests her head on Cassius’ shoulder. He sits next to her with his arm around her waist. This is the comfort that Sakura gets from the world that causes her distress. She doesn’t want to feel hurt or angry or distracted anymore, but the thought of violence would not stop crossing her mind. Feeling soothed by Cassius’ touch, she lets out a sigh and composes herself as she finally lets out a sweet smile to the camera. 

Sakura Corleone: How silly it is that most of you have believed that Sakura Corleone has fallen! Fallen down, down a dark pit where no one comes to my rescue. The dark wind consumes me. The silence cancelled out my screams until I finally hit the ground into my demise. But you know me! You know who I am! This is not the first loss that I have taken and it won’t be the last! But instead of wallowing and being consumed with anger, I still need to keep reminding myself who I am and what I’m doing this for. Even in the face of defeat, Sakura always finds a way to turn things around! I put my game face on to the next match like the last one never happened, and that’s how I keep the same fire and fuel that I’ve had since the first day I wrestled in the ring with my darling Cassius! The same fire and fuel that I would use on my opponent, metaphorically, of course, the moment they decide to underestimate me! I don’t like any of you, I don’t like Steven Cassidy, and I don’t like Jacob Senn… I don’t like Belle Kingsley and I especially don’t like Masanori Kawada. All of you are just annoying pieces of gum in my shoe… any inconvenience or trouble that you cause to me or this world merely by existing, I can simply scrape you out of my sight and walk off without losing anything. Masanori, I have defeated you once and I am not afraid to do it again. All this talk about how I believe the Lovebird Tag Team Championships belongs to us is just the tip of the iceberg. Did you ever see anyone complain that we are not sharing the gold? Did you ever see anyone else in Tres Comas Club claim that they are Champions too? I have made myself clear as day every single time, Masanori, the titles belong only to the One True Pairing, and when you’re taking the smart action and making the right decisions, no one would dare question your intentions. No one complains that we keep it safe and warm in our hands, and we represented Tres Comas Club that way… everyone in this faction knew that we would kill for the gold and they take whatever pride they get from our success! Isn’t that what the highest form of greed is, Masanori? To eat a piece of the pie without working for it? Someone like you will never know how that feels because your faction consists of bottom feeding parasites, especially you, who can only beg for leftovers. You have been a lost cause from the start and you have not made yourself noteworthy despite being here before me. But I get it… words buzz in the arena and I have seen the world talk about how decent you are as a competitor but that’s the key thing -- decent doesn’t cut it. Being decent is making a hundred of the same mistake before finally getting something right. Being decent is that one guy who works nine to five in a job that fits his routinary life. Being decent is being a disposable, forgettable waste of air and let’s be honest, no one looks to you for talent or charisma they way they look at the One True Pairing. You are nothing but a small speck of dust at the corner of my eye and as much as I acknowledge the fact that you exist, I could wash you off at any time and you’re not even worth telling about in the story to my success. I hate all of you, but for Cassius, for my future… I will have to deal with the same bottom feeders that come at me in the ring under different names and faces, and the only real good that will come out of this is when I win the Best in the World Series, I will get to face my sweet precious Cassius Corleone in the final round.

This place continues to test my patience, but when I look at the bigger picture, you continue to not matter. If I have lock your necks with my arm until it snaps, I will do it. If I have to drain your blood from injuries and make sure that you don’t wrestle again after facing me in the ring, I will do it. I am focused at a task in hand, one after another… I will win this tournament, I will win back the SSW Lovebird Tag Team Championships and I will take everything to make my amazing Cassius happy! Because with gold or not, the One True Pairing reigns the land as the King and Queen of Soulmate Style Wrestling.

Sakura refuses to give. Sakura only takes. She looks at Cassius with a warm smile but turns to her opponent with a cold dead stare. Like a different flow of electricity is sent into her wiring. In that ring, she only seeks to destroy… no matter what match… no matter the consequence. All for her dear Cassius.
Masanori Kawada
on August 17th 2018, 10:53 pmMasanori Kawada
"This has always been far from over. My entire mission in Strong Style Wrestling since the aftermath of the very first show was to bring justice to John Doe. It took months of frustration and self-sacrifice but finally, after a gruelling battle, John Doe fell to the Everlasting Hero. He had one foot out the door and I was the all-mighty push that kicked him out flat on his face. But even then I knew this was far from over. John Doe still lived within the monster he created; the Phantom Troupe. After putting him away, I took time away from the ring myself to not only rehabilitate aching bones but to repress. To repress heavy disdain for what Strong Style Wrestling has become in the time I was tunnel visioned with Doe. With the Tres Comas Club holding down the Junior Heavyweight Championship, to the continuous setbacks of the Ronin faction but, most importantly, the continuous spoils that the Phantom Troupe underhandedly keep, this company was becoming more and more corrupt with every injustice that could plague this company beyond the point of salvation. Pendragon in my time away accomplished something that this company needed by taking the grand prize, the Puroresu Heavyweight Championship away from Aria Jaxon. The power that comes with being the poster champion of the company was taken away, the group's stranglehold on the company began to weaken and finally cave, I was proud of him for achieving such a feat. But at the same time, I felt disappointed. Disappointed in myself. I can not shake the feeling that I have let this company go the way it was from that very first moment, and even then I wasn't the one that set it all straight. I was sitting on the sidelines, cheering on another as he accomplished something I have fought as hard as my dwindling flame would allow. Not only did he serve a justice that it was my duty to deal, he also claimed the title I have worked my entire career to obtain, the title of ace. And that vexes me. I no longer know what there is for me to achieve in Strong Style Wrestling, it seems more and more I am fading into the background instead of becoming the pillar of good that this company needs. As far as I can tell, there are only two things that I can achieve. The first is to break the facade of Phantom Troupes new leader like I had done the last. Sullying my return with the heavy assistance of her faction to deal me a loss that impacted my return and journey back to finding my place in this company. If it is my last act within this company, I am going to fulfil my promise of removing every essence and influence left behind by Doe, including his successor, including the faction he had named. The other? Win the Best in the World series. If I am going to stay with this company I only want to do it as the person considered the best in the world, nothing less. I can't look myself in the mirror and see myself as anything less after all the hardships and frustrations, I can't sleep easy knowing that the Puroresu Heavyweight Championship isn't getting any closer to becoming the feather in my cap before I hang it up forever. So these are the terms I have come to agree to. I have to finish the job I have promised and I have to accomplish the goal I had set myself ever since I returned to the ring and I will go through every person in this block, friend or foe, to accomplish it. Man... or woman.

Sakura Corleone, are you familiar with the expression that it is better to have loved then lost than to have never loved at all? Because you and your husband's admiration feels artificial and material when you validate it with championship gold such at the Freebird Tag Team Championships, a belt that by design has no cement holder. By no means am I attempting to tell you what your love for Cassius is or that it is in any sort of question, as a collective you both make up one of the most cohesive tandems in SSW. But the faction is burdened with greed and the two of you may be the most greed-stricken of the bunch. It's like a child that plays with a ball that doesn't belong to them, only to have it taken away when it's no longer their turn with it. You believed those belts were yours forever simply because you are lovers, even having the audacity to rename it amongst yourselves as the Lovebird Tag Team Championships. In a faction that is more reminiscent of a powder keg than a cohesive faction, it was only a matter of time before the faction war belt found a new home. Although that new home is with the same scumbags that always reap the benefits of a flawed system, and I share the grievance with that fact to a degree, it has lead to the two of you acting like children. From the very first moment you two joined the company I have simply seen lovesick puppies trying to claim turf against blood-hungry rottweilers and, although for a brief period you found a territory of your own, your bonds simply didn't make up the tenacity to keep it fortified. Now, in the Best in the World series, you're both at your most unfamiliar; without the other. You now have to stand on your own two feet and bring a fight against men and women who have been standing on their own two feet since the beginning. Sakura, you stand across the ring from a man who has fought more personal battles on his own than you can even begin to comprehend. While your husband a way to score a fall over Jaydane, I'm sure that isn't sitting too well with him, that doesn't mean that similar fortunes will find you. You can rest assured that the One True Pairing isn't going to shut down the Shoot Nations Dynamic Duo from this tournament, as I still intend to not only win this tournament for myself but also bring the faction another accolade and redemption. Even if it culminates in a rematch with Pendragon himself. That is a concern for afterwards. Right now, the embers still burn within my justice bound soul. And Sakura, those embers that will reignite the flames of justice will blaze the trail to the end of the Best in the World series with whoever stands in it's way burned in its wake. All I can tell you is what I tell any who stand in the way of justice."

Aria Jaxon
on August 17th 2018, 10:45 pmAria Jaxon
Message reputation : 100% (1 vote)
Last Saturday night…

Aria is about as amped up as one might expect her to be right now. Nevermind the fact that another exciting edition of The Best in the World Series Tour is ongoing in Kamei Arena Sendai right at this moment! No, she’s not focused on that at all. Mere moments ago, she was doing something very typical -- granting an interview, immaculately made-up as usual, blessing Daniel Wilson’s life with her presence, all with the trusty Gronk looming closely behind. And then BAM! Completely out of nowhere, Kawada spears her into next Christmas and starts teeing off on her beautiful face! Granted, his little display of force was a short-lived one, as Gronk almost immediately inserted himself into the fray and realigned the Shoot Nation drone’s spine with a chokeslam backbreaker before Aria finished him off with a curb stomp. Certainly, now he was regretting having tried to get even with Aria for having The Phantom Troupe beat him within an inch of his life before their match against each other. He was just another clown who didn’t know how to play the game, and that wasn’t her problem. SSW was in a constant state of virtual gang warfare, and that was to be expected of a place dominated by factions; the most cohesive units always had the upper hand. Not to mention, she still had a bone to pick with him over his treatment of John Doe. Not many could manage that AND winning The Best in the World Series, but she was a talented woman. She could multitask.

Aria wiped the blood from her Kawada-punched lip as power walked down the arena hallway, followed closely behind by Gronk. She turned to her bodyguard and slowed her roll only long enough to get on her tiptoes and pat the massive man on top of his head. This prompted a beaming smile from her faction’s monster.

“You did AMAZING back there, big guy!” she gushed. “If I know what I think I know, though, Kawada’s gonna be back. He don’t learn, but that’s whatever. Tonight, he got his ass handed to him, and that’s what matters right now.”

Gronk nodded in agreeance before gesturing over Aria’s shoulder. She turned to see Nas, Saul, and Falke approaching them. The three of them exchanged a look as they approached their stablemates, a frown overtaking Nas’ expression as he reached toward Aria’s face. He ran a thumb along her bottom lip. “What the fuck happened?” he asked as she swatted his hand away.

Gronk clenched a fist. “Kawada.”

Saul appeared both perplexed and annoyed. “He dares to show his face after what we did to him prior?”

Aria rolled her eyes. “Nobody ever said the dude was smart, for one,” she mused. “And for another thing, it’s fine! I’m fine. I promise. Gronk and I left his ass lying.”

Nas appeared satisfied with this answer. “Alright, fine,” he deadpanned, his expression softening a little.

Aria wasn’t entirely sure that he was satisfied with her answer, so she racked her brain for something else to say. “You gotta believe me,” she insisted. “Everything is FINE, and why wouldn’t it be?” She pointed to the newest Phantom Troupe recruit. “Falke went out there and brought home a W tonight.” She gestured between herself and Gronk. “We stomped out Kawada’s dumbass, and next week? I’ma do the same to Kai Stevens.”

Last night…

The bar, like the rest of this hotel in Kawasaki, was very nice. The lighting was low, but not in a dive bar kinda way; it lent itself to the whole “high-class ambiance” thing. The dark hardwood floors were immaculately polished, and the hushed conversations of patrons wafted through the air. Aria was always the type to dress the part, donning a black, long-sleeved V-neck bodycon dress and coordinating stilettos. Her heels clicked softly against the floor as she made her way toward the bar, sitting on the barstool right next to Khmaoch. Many would be surprised to know that, outside of his usual gig as Heritage Champion and murderer of unfortunate SSW talents, the elder statesman of The Phantom Troupe was a smart dresser in his downtime. He donned charcoal gray slacks and a black button down. Khmaoch allowed a faint hint of a smile to crease his expression as he swished around the Jack Daniels in his glass.

“You are here earlier than I expected,” he said in an unaffected manner, almost as if in passing.

Aria chuckled softly. “Fashionable doesn’t have to mean fashionably late, Pou,” she replied quickly, throwing around the Khmer term for “uncle”.

Khmaoch nodded. “You remembered,” he said, prompting Aria to simply nod in response.

People had shit twisted. For all of Aria’s unapologetic bravado and arrogance, at the end of the day, she was still the leader of the most important faction in SSW -- and she was proud of that fact. One might assume that the only way to keep a powerhouse collection of wills and egos on the same page was to cut them down and be condescending, but no. Aria was smart. She realized the good fortune she had to be leading this particular grouping of men. She knew that the best way to be an elective leader was to understand her stablemates, and to treat them as equals rather than worker bees. She wouldn’t treat them like anything less than what they were, because as far as she was concerned, they were the only people in this company who mattered to her. They were her family.

That was why she was here now, to have words with the group’s veteran and master tactician ahead of her next Best in the World Series match. It was against Kai Stevens, a man Khmaoch had already faced, albeit without the results he’d hoped for. It was easy to argue that it was “just one match” or “just two points”, but with a tournament like this, there was so little wiggle room. Not getting the job done in just one match could be the difference between owning her block and failing to escape it. If there was anything she could do, it was learn from Khmaoch’s mistakes. Aria knew that for certain.

Khmaoch took another sip from his glass before turning to Aria. “So you want to know what makes Stevens tick?”

She went to rest her elbows on the bartop. “If you think you were able to figure it out, sure.”

“We’re in the same block, and yet you’ve still come to get trade secrets from me,” he chuckled.

Aria shook her head.“I think “trade secrets” makes it all sound a little more severe than it actually is. Stevens ain’t at that level yet.” She paused for a moment. “And still, who else would there be to ask? There’s little to no room to fuck up in this tournament. I’m a fucking idiot if I don’t take advantage of every resource at my fingertips to make sure I’m sitting on top of this block. And yes, those resources include you.”

He gestured to himself, and then to Aria. “What about the day that we face each other?”

Aria pursed her lips, taking a couple of seconds to actually reply. “That’ in the future, obviously,” she said. “But I still look forward to it. You’re the longest-reigning champion in all of SSW. You taught me a lot. Facing you will be a way of showing just how far I’ve come, both as a wrestler and as a leader, but in the meantime…”

He held up a hand to stop her. “On the topic of leaders, you are more of one than he’ll ever be.”

She smiled. “The compliment is nice -- and appreciated -- but the kinda goes without saying. I mean, Doe hand picked me as his successor on his way out. He didn’t have to. And you and the rest of the guys, y’all didn’t just have to agree with him, either. You believed in me, just like he did. I guess there was something natural about it. But with Ronin, they’ve somehow managed to become more of a shit show than Tres Comas Club. One worthless leader after another, leaving a power vacuum in place. Stevens thinks he’s special because the powers that decided to slap that “leader” label on him, but let’s be honest, there were no real frontrunners. They could’ve picked names out of a hat.”

“None of that matters to him,” Khmaoch said matter-of-factly. “You heard him last week. He’s in this for himself and his own interests. Not in a practical way, but in a foolish way. Even with a brotherhood as tightly knit as The Phantom Troupe, we understand how to strike the precarious balance between achieving individual success and knowing when to work together. He only knows what it is to look out for himself, but you? You have been toeing that line for so long now -- and doing it well.”

Aria tilted her head to the side in a questioning manner. “How will that help me in the match, though?”

“I have seen so many like him,” he began, “The brash Young Boys who attain more success than they bargained for long before they were ever ready. Stevens is in a state of euphoria and he feels on top of the world. He is approaching this match with clouded vision, and that lends itself to conditions that favor you. You are as focused as they come in that ring, are you not?”

Aria nodded. “I am.”

“You have done enough in your young career that you feel like you have nothing left to prove. Left to learn, sure, but not to prove. He feels as if he must put on a show, to prove he’s worthy of all the fanfare surrounding him now. The stage he’s chosen to put on that show, however, belongs to you, mcheasa ksaatrei.” There it was, Khmer for “Queen”.

I bet you feel like you’ve got the entire world in the palm of your hand.

Recent events -- signing two different contracts, becoming the leader of a faction here in SSW, being matched up against much more experienced opponents this early into your tenure -- probably have only served to inflate that ego of yours. I’m sure it’s easy to argue that Aria Jaxon, of ALL people, probably shouldn’t be talking about an inflated sense of self-importance, but something that nobody seems to admit is that I’ve EARNED the right to walk around and not so casually mention how fucking great I am. And perhaps you have as well, who’s to say? Maybe you do have the resume to back up all the lofty claims you’ve made, but I don’t need to know shit about any of that to put you away this week. My memory only needs to go back as far as the performances I’ve seen from you in SSW and OWA. And no, it doesn’t pain me to admit that you’re a capable competitor, but it might pain you to hear that I’ve contended with -- and beaten -- better. Your aspirations are sky-high, but you’re pretty close to learning the same bitter lesson that many before you have learned. When the day comes that your ambitions run headlong into those of Aria Jaxon, more often than not, I get what I want. I suppose that goes double when I’m motivated, and as it stands now, I certainly am. My focus is on this tournament, and whoever has the misfortune of dealing with me on any given week. You might’ve rubbed elbows with some fearsome people in the past, but have you ever found yourself as the sole focus of someone unfuckwithable for any period of time? I doubt it. For one night, it’ll all be your burden to shoulder, Kai. The burden of dealing with a woman who wants more than anything in the world to reaffirm that the throne belongs to her. The burden of dealing with a woman who REFUSES to take an L at any stage in this tournament. The burden of dealing with a woman who is bound and determined to win it all before she reclaims the most coveted prize in all of Japan. And when the load proves too much, when your legs give out underneath you, confirming that the burden was never one you could shoulder, I’ll be there to claim my victory.

Speaking of recent events concerning you, I gotta hone in on two in particular, the first one being the elephant in the room -- your victory over Khmaoch. Something in me tells me that you think having already notched that win means that I’m just another domino that will fall on your way to holding this entire block under your thumb -- but not so fast, sweetheart. The beauty of having to deal with you after my stablemate is that I can pick apart what he did, hone in on where he fucked up, and use that to help me beat you. You gotta understand, he comes from a different time altogether, a time in this industry where toughness and grit were valued above all else. When he looked at you, he saw neither, and so it lent itself to him not respecting you. Now, did him not respecting you cloud his vision and ultimately set him up for a loss? Maybe. Like him, I don’t respect or fear you, either, but I’m looking at all of this with a fresher set of eyes. I’m one of the cocky young guns, too. The only difference is that this is one of the places where I cut my teeth. Whether people like it or not, my heinous actions and whatever-it-takes attitude are permanently ingrained into the fabric of this promotion. I’m already a mainstay, Kai. A bonafide permanent resident of the main event scene and the upper echelon. You’re coming in and tryna make a name for yourself; tryna topple the monument, so to speak. That’s the thing about monuments, though; they’re stationary. You can’t move me, and you damn sure can’t take a chisel to me and break me.

It’s impossible, and you’re the idiot sitting here thinking it’ll be fucking easy.

I know I can beat you. That’s exactly what the hell is gonna happen, but there isn’t anything in me that believes it’ll be easy. Two weeks ago, you likened yourself to a predator and Khmaoch to prey, but when I watched that match, that wasn’t what I saw. It wasn’t a one-sided slaughter. It looked like quite the back-and-forth match to me. Still, you’re parading around here like the red carpet’s all but been rolled out for you as your stroll to the finals, and honestly? I can’t wait to quite literally rip the rug out from underneath you. I know that your new little gig as the leader of Ronin is a big part of the reason why you’re feeling yourself, but IMAGINE feeling like being at the helm of the most irrelevant faction in this company is worth writing home about. It was always destined to fail, right from the beginning, even in the way they were marketed. “Oh, they’re the rogues, they’re the individuals, they’re too cool for school!” No, they’re a bunch of middle-of-the-road ass slackers who don’t have the balls to commit to sitting on one side of the “good guy, bad guy” dichotomy or the other, so they toe that “trendy” line in the middle and spin their wheels because they don’t have the motivation to actually BECOME anyone in this company. And look at you. The guy who wants to be viewed as the next big thing is sitting here now as the ruler of the Island of Misfit Toys. This match is leader vs. leader in name only. Nothing more. I’ve been down in the trenches with my Phantom Troupe family for MONTHS, stomping on anyone who dared to get in our way and proving night in and night out why we run this fucking company. I have their backs, and they have mine. That’s how a leader is supposed to view the people around them. You’re playing dress-up. You’re counterfeit, and oh, what an “example” you’re gonna set for your new charges when you end your next match staring up at the rafters and wondering where you fucked up.

If I was more sympathetic, I’d say it’s a sad predicament you’re in. What you want is to be noticed. You want the masses to see you the way you see yourself. You’ve whined about being overlooked, but as of now? You’re full of hope thinking those days are over. The only harder than getting the spotlight on you is keeping it there. And once you’re there, just as all of your triumphs are illuminated in the light, so are your failures. This will be one of them. As soon as you’ve gotten that first taste of actually mattering in SSW, here I come to take a pushpin to that balloon and let all the goddamn air out. You wanted to take a place on center stage, Kai? Fine by me. Come stand under the spotlight with me. The Queen -- the UNQUESTIONED Best in the World -- couldn’t have picked a more ideal place to bring you to your knees.
Steven Cassidy
on August 17th 2018, 4:24 pmSteven Cassidy
((We see Steven arriving at The Todoroki Arena with a determined look on his face. He has his luggage rolling behind him, with fans saying his name, trying to get his attention. He lets out a brief smile and waves, showing he is truly grateful for their support. After walking for a little bit he approaches the security guard and he lets him into the arena. This is something Steven is still getting used to. Getting recognized and cheered. During his first week in SSW, security didn't even know who he was. They thought he was just a fan trying to sneak in. Obviously, a lot has changed since then. Such as winning matches. Steven is now in the arena and his face returns to being stoic because later tonight, he has another important match ahead of him. Well to be fair, every match is important to him and he treats it as such. As he is making his way backstage he is stopped by a hand being placed firmly on his shoulder.))

???: “Steven! Long time no see!!!”

((Steven stands still, without even turning to see who it is. He looks confused before putting it all together. He knows that voice. Could it be his old trainer, Bruce Whitmore?))

???: “Steven! What are you staring at? The floor? Look, it's me, Bruce! Are you frozen from excitement or something?”

((To give a quick summary on Bruce, when Steven first started in SSW, his trainer Bruce, accompanied him. In fact, Bruce originally made this all happen. He got Steven's foot in the door in the industry. Bruce himself was a very talented wrestler back in the late 80's. But eventually, he let his ego consume him and the next thing you know, he's blacklisted from every company there is due to his poor behavior and substance abuse. After years of being away from the business, he opened a wrestling school in Kansas earlier this year, which Steven attended. Steven was the worst in the class. The runt of the litter. And yet, Bruce chose him as his prized student because he knew that if he could make Steven into something, such as a household name, Bruce would take all the credit and feel accomplished. But after Steven got injured by two Phantom Troupe members, Bruce dipped. He gave up on Steven after a rocky start because he never saw him amounting to anything, even with his help. So the recent success that Steven has obtained has nothing to do with him. The rightful credit goes to Steven himself and the Shoot Nation faction. So it seems Bruce is trying to mooch off Steven here.))

Bruce: “Steven? You have a big match tonight, we need to train.”

Steven: “Um...”

Bruce: “Ha, there's that classic Steven Cassidy dumbfounded look!”

Steven: “Wh-what are you doing here?”

Bruce: “To help you improve, dumba- Steven. To help you improve.”

((Steven has every right to tell him to fuck off, but he doesn't have it in him. In fact, Steven is still a little intimidated by Bruce after all the mental and physical abuse he caused. Steven doesn't know what to say. He's lost. That is until security comes.))

Security: “Is this man bothering you, Steven?”

Bruce: "This man?" I am Bruce motherfucking Whitmore. Who the fuck are you, Paul Blart? Tell him, Steven. Tell him you know me so these men can stop harassing a wrestling legend. Look! They are wasting our time. WE GOTTA TRAIN!!!”

Steven: “I uh, I gotta go....”


((Steven stops for a second with his back still turned towards Bruce and looks noticeably upset. He clenches his jaw and balls up his fist, but he quickly calms himself down because he won't give Bruce the satisfaction of letting him know his words got to him. Bruce gets escorted by security, as Steven goes to put his stuff in the locker room. He comes right back out and addresses his upcoming match, as well as what just happened while standing in the hallway.))

“In case you haven’t realized, I've never been the most popular guy around. And I am not just saying that so you feel sorry for me. Its just...I'm not used to this, okay? I am not used to all these people coming out of the woodwork to either pretend to be my friend or in Bruce's case, to take credit for what I have accomplished thus far in my promising career as a professional wrestler. I get a few wins under my belt and my phone blows up. From friends, I haven’t talked to since seventh grade. Or a text from an uncle I only saw once at a family gathering when I was ten years old, saying how I’ve always been his favorite nephew...yeah. But these messages of theirs would be all about how proud they are of me. That they always knew there was something special. Something unique I could offer to this world. But tell me, where were these words of encouragement when I was struggling to just roll out of bed because I feared the bad day that awaited me? I know I sound bitter right now and that was never my intention. just scares me that people can just change like that in a drop of a hat. The fakeness that they display, it’s eye-opening. It’s unsettling how they are able to change the tone in their voice when it comes to certain people or certain topics to make themselves look good. In hopes of getting what they want, by using their targeted individual. Now, I am fully aware that there is the other side of the coin. That people can change for the better. Do you want proof? Look no further than my friend, Vanessa Santiago. Going from the corrupt Phantom Troupe to the tight-knit family that is Shoot Nation. But for the time being, I can’t focus on the good. I can’t be my normal half glass full self. And it’s all because of Bruce and the bad memories that he brought with him. You see, I’ve been a wrestling fan my entire life. It’s always been my escape. My way to cope with this cold and harsh world. Meaning I’ve seen so many beloved men and women turn their backs on everything they stood for and of course their fans. This new attitude of theirs...they say it’s the new them! But I would argue that this ‘new’ version of themselves is who they always were at their core. That what they showed to the camera before the turn of events, was nothing more than an act so they can raise their merchandise sales or increase their social media followers. The point is, I don’t want to be like them. I don’t want to change. I want to be the same ol’ Steven Cassidy I’ve always been. And these words, it could just be me echoing those before me. Who said something similar to ensure their fans that they aren’t like that. That they would never let this business get to them. And at some point, they let the darkness consume their soul. But I don’t want to be like The Phantom Troupe scum. I don’t want to live an unfulfilling bitter life like Bruce. I just want to be me. That’s good enough for me. And I hope it’s good enough for you.”

((Steven let’s out a sigh of relief.))

“Sorry, I just wanted to get that off my chest. The main reason as to why I have this camera pointed towards me is because it won’t be long before I walk through that curtain and wrestle my second match in the Best In The World Series. My first match went swimmingly, to say the least. Beating a former SSW champion is no easy feat. Especially one as hellbent as Sakura was to get her momentum back after losing her title to the Phantom Troupe at Domination. It was a match that could have gone either way, most definitely. But in the end, I wouldn’t be denied those two points. They were too important not to collect. You see, this series is more like an NFL schedule than an MLB one. To elaborate, the NFL only has sixteen regular season games. Meaning each game counts. One fluky loss could come back to haunt you and prevent you from making the playoffs. And as for the MLB, sure each game counts I guess, but there are 162 of them. So you can afford to go on a few bad stretches here and there. I can’t afford bad stretches. I can’t afford a loss period. I was about to say this week is no different, but I caught myself. I mean sure, it’s different from the sense that I want to win again. To extend this hot start of mine. That should go without saying. But at the same time, it’s different due to the opponent I face. Shinati Mizarki. A bittersweet match this will be. Actually, a match I’ve been dreading. Not just because I consider my opponent as a good friend, but because of how talented he is as a competitor. I’ve seen what he’s capable of up close as we tagged at Domination. So it’s safe to say that this will be no walk in the park and nor should it be. Heck, there is no easy matchup in this series. Senn picked the best of the best. And it shows. And in a few hours, you will see the best of Shoot Nation compete for your enjoyment. Get your phones out to capture the art being made in front of your very eyes and I suggest some popcorn to chow down on. An ice cold drink to wash it down too perhaps.”

“It’s a difficult week for me, Shinati. Knowing I have to face you to get that next win. I don’t take pride in the fact I’ll have to throw fists your way. But it has to be done. At the end of the day, you will always be my friend. A friend I want to see succeed, minus this week for obvious reasons haha. But just know that this match won’t change anything. That we will still be friends, no matter the outcome because us Shoot Nation members can handle anything. Especially with all the crap we’ve dealt with when it comes to the Phantom Troupe. But I must say that I’m excited to face you because I know you will push me and vice versa. We’ve trained together, we’ve teamed together, and now...we must face one another. Not as enemies or as bitter rivals...but merely as two hungry competitors that are looking to pick up another signature win. We both need this win, which will make this match even more worthwhile. It’s true that you may have confidence issues, but I’m right there with you. My first three matches here, I lost in quick fashion. Making your losses not look as bad. But at Domination we helped one another get a taste of success and now we crave more. And we used that momentum to help propel us to a 1-0 start in the BITW series. Unfortunately, someone’s momentum will get cut off at the knees tonight. Someone will have to start from scratch while the other is able to sport a smile on their face, knowing they are at the top of the A block. Perhaps all by themselves. But before I can climb upwards, you are standing in my way. Acting as a roadblock, telling me to turn around but I will not allow my progress to hit the reset button. I must knock you down to get to my destination, but just know that I will also be there to pick you right back up. Shinati, it is truly going to be an honor to share the ring with you and I hope you know that. See you out there."
Shinati Mizarki
on August 16th 2018, 11:58 pmShinati Mizarki
Steven Cassidy.

The man, who I teamed with at Domination to take out Maelstrom and Falke. The man who since entering the Shoot Nation circle, has been one of, if not the, closest confidants to me. He knows about my confidence issues. He knows about my lack of self belief. My doubt, my frustration at not having that crowning one on one victory; he has supported me. Whether it be by sparring or via just talking. 

This week however, he is my *opponent*. He is the one, who will be looking to ensure that my win against Kikyo, was merely a single occurrence. That it isn't a sign of me putting it all together. *Finally* finding what it is, that will elevate me to the next level.

I'll be making sure that it is

Unlike most weeks, I cannot talk about your motivations for competing - because they are aligned with my own. We both want the culture; the heritage of wrestling to be upheld. For wrestling, to be admired for the artform that it is. That it was intended to be. 

Which is what makes this week even harder to confront. To actually prepare for, as at the back of my mind, I *don't* want this to drive a wedge between us. I don't want this to fracture our common goals, even if it is over the world title.  But it must also be treated like any other week. I cannot allow our friendship, to get in the way of what I desire. Of attaining, the ultimate prize.

Just like you.

We're both 1-0. We both started this tournament off with a win. One, that enabled me to tap into my formula. To show me, just what needed to occur, if I was finally going to begin progress. If I was going to finally reveal to myself that I am *more* than just the final wheel of Shoot Nation. To show the fans, that Shinati has finally arrived. That I can attain glory, without needing assistance or guidance. To vindicate the hours where I would simply sit in the garden. Praying. Meditating. Watching as visions appeared in my mind. As the words. The doubts, echoed around inside of me. Trying to force me to doubt myself. To question whether I could *really* spread my wings and fly. 

It's just as Dad told me as soon as I got home: "The hardest part, has just begun". Yes, the win was the first step. The first stage in turning it all around - but now, I have to turn that 1-0 into a 2-0. I have to remind everyone, that *I* am not just here to 'make up the numbers'. That I'm not just another name. Another face, coming in to 'look good' but fall short when the time matters. I've done enough of that in my career already. As short as it has been. No, I'm here to threaten. I'm here with the same goal. The same as everyone else. Including you.

That is, to become world champion.

If that means that I have to go against my own partners in order to do so, then that is exactly what shall occur. At the end of the day, you set foot in that ring against me, you become the enemy. Just like I become your enemy. Your obstacle. Ready to deny you any further progression. 


It's been a rare feeling for me since my arrival here in the SSW. I'm the first to admit that much. I allowed the losses to get to me. Allowed them to entrap me and their questions to float within my mind. To push me, ever so closer to the edge of my own sanity. That changed when I pinned Kikyo. It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulder. As if I had unshackled myself from the chains. From the fear, that maybe everyone else was *right*.

**Good job on the win. We were pleased to see it**

These are the words I heard on the phone from an unknown voice. A voice, that informed me that they had been the ones behind the letter and video. That they were eternally 'watching' me - that their associate wished to see me accept their offer. To come under their wing. Yet I still don't even know who they are. Or even *why* they chose me, outside of it being the work of an 'associate'. Of someone, who they said "has more prestige within this realm, than you could comprehend". 

I won't lie and say those words *didn't* draw me in, because they did. If their associate is *really* as big a name. If he really carries as much prestige as they claim, then I would be a fool not to take them up, or at least consider their proposition. The problem is: what if it's merely a lie? What if they just want me to be their puppet? To strip everything from me; turn me into just another name? I don't know - yet for some reason I cannot explain, I almost feel as if this is what *must* be done. As if this is the route I *need* to take.

A man is at their most dangerous, when they get their first sniff of momentum. I got mine against Kikyo; now, that theory shall be put to the test against you, Steven. I know just as I do, you want to give these fans a show. You want to show them exactly what Shoot Nation is all about. Why, just as we always say, we are the guardians of professional wrestling. Why we do it the way it should be done. So, may the best man win Steven and after the smoke has cleared - we'll go backstage and back to being friends.

Just know this though.

I plan on being the one who is 2-0 after this match.
Damien Walker
on August 10th 2018, 11:59 pmDamien Walker
“I Will Not Bow”

“You know, I’ve encountered many people in SSW who seem to revel in placing themselves upon a pedestal. Beating their own chest and taking many opportunities to boast about their accomplishments outside of SSW, as if that’s actually of any relevance to me or anyone else. Indeed, Falke Halstenberg is certainly not an exception to that rule. Blustering and threatening to make everyone in his way “bow to his regime”. It seems that many of the factions around here have an unfortunate tendency to be saddled with these pompous blowhards, who never shut up about how badass and great they are whenever they’re given a microphone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that Momma Halstenberg finds your catch wrestling awards to be very impressive...but they don’t really do anything for me. For all of your talk of me having accomplished nothing, what is it exactly that you’ve done again so far?”

“Don’t give me that excuse of “I only just arrived here”, you’ve still got just as much to prove as I do. Not only that, but it seems that you haven’t bothered to do any research on your opponent. To let you in on a little secret, I HAVE won matches before. They weren’t even just tag matches either. I’ve defeated people like Belle Kingsley and Shinati Mizarki in relatively convincing fashion, so I don’t quite understand where you’re getting this bloated sense of superiority from. I admit that I don’t have the best win-to-loss record, I admit that I’m not quite the “technical wizard” that you’ve made yourself out to be...but who the fuck said that I had to be? I’m not here to try and beat you at your own game, I’m here to win this fucking tournament. If you genuinely expect me to try and “match you” hold-for-hold in a wrestling ring, then I’d say that you’re woefully underprepared for our match. When I step into that ring, there’ll be absolutely nothing else on my mind other than to kick your fucking ass from pillar to goddamn post.”

“When you step in that ring with me, you’ll be facing an entirely different beast than what you encountered with someone like Shinati. I don’t allow myself to be bogged down by the whole “honor before reason” thing that Shoot Nation’s got going on. If I’m given an opportunity to do so, then you can bet your Pickelhaube-wearing ass that I’ll be bending the rules to my advantage. Much like you did in order to even beat Shinati, which wasn’t necessary for me to successfully get a win on him and yet, you still sit there and continue to blabber on like you’re this unconquerable master of the wrestling ring that I should be afraid of. Tell me something, Falke. If you’re such a “physical and mental specimen”, someone who claims to be matched by nobody else here in SSW...why can’t you accomplish what I did? Why couldn’t you get the job done with your sheer wrestling ability and the skills that you’d learned as a catch wrestler? You claim to be the man who’ll finally break me, but all I see is an opportunity to redeem myself in the eyes of everyone in this tournament who’s written me off as an easy target. I see an opportunity to finally rise above my past failures, to prove that everything that you’d said about me is completely wrong and nothing more than the mere ramblings of a man who’s desperate to put me down to make himself look better in comparison. I mean, fucking seriously? Insults about my appearance? How desperate are you to try and boost your own ego? I’ll tell you this much, I sure as fuck wouldn’t be insulting anyone’s appearance if I had a caterpillar crawling across my upper lip like you do.”

“But I digress, understand that when the final bell has been rung and all of the dust has settled, someone’s legacy WILL be furthered...but it won’t be yours. It’s time that I carve out my legacy and finally get some fucking wins around here, and the only way to do that against Mr. to take him out of his comfort zone. You’re right about one thing Falke, this isn’t a hardcore match in the slightest, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll try and grapple with you. No, what you’re going to be met with is a fight. A fight that you’ll have never experienced before. I will bring everything that I’ve fucking got to put you down for the 1-2-3, I will not flinch or flee and I’m definitely not going to be doing any bowing to you. I will bring the fight to you. Walk into that ring and understand that I’m not going to try and play “catch wrestler”. I accept that I can’t beat you at your own game, now let’s see if you’ve got a chance at beating me at mine?

“Peace. The Fuck. Out.”
Miles Taylor
on August 10th 2018, 11:56 pmMiles Taylor
Chris, it’s seven thirty in the morning as I record this. You see, I have a busy weekend ahead of me: tonight, I face Gareth Cason in the biggest match of my career. After that? After I get done tearing the muscle off of each bone in Gareth’s body? I fly to Japan, and I face you. Now, you’re an interesting man to be, Christopher. You remind me of another combatant that I faced over in Omega Wrestling Alliance – Judas. You see, Judas believes himself to be a deity also. However, this deity was the entirety of his being – you? You claim that the deity that lives within you is just another personality, another alter ego…and that’s what makes me disrespect you the most.
Just like the two men I faced on the sixth, you hide behind a character. Within the ring, you refuse to be your genuine self. You alternate between whatever name fits your agenda, and that’s all it is – a name. I don’t care if I face Chris Sabretooth, I don’t care if I face Havoc, I don’t care if you split into two people and fight me in a handicap match. Better yet, I’ll save you the trouble of splitting your personalities and I will rip you in half just the same.
You see Chris, when you face me on Saturday night, you’re gonna have two options of the man you face – either you will be facing a determined, newly focused champion of a man after I defeat Gareth Cason for the OWA Television championship, or worse for you? You’ll be facing a man who has just lost his winning streak, and you’ll be facing a man who has never been angrier. You will be facing a man who will have lost his momentum, and will fight tooth and nail to reclaim it. You will be facing a man who will literally kill to rise back to the pedestal that the wrestling world has put me on after what I have accomplished thus far. So Chris, for your sake, I’d just stay home – because either way? The man you’ll be standing across from will be the most dangerous man that has ever resided across the ring. I’m the welcoming committee for you here in Strong Style Wrestling? Great. Let me greet you with a knee to the fucking face.
When it comes your drive to expand your brand into Strong Style Wrestling, your confidence, as well as your body, will either
Jaydayne Pendragon
on August 10th 2018, 11:14 pmJaydayne Pendragon
You give love a bad name.
From one lovesick fool to another, I find myself troubled, at wits end, attempting to get across what I have to say to you Mr.Corleone. Relationships aren’t supposed to be suffocating, nor all encompassing, and certainly not all defining to the people in it. Now I must admit that while its only been under a week since my love went back home after coming here to support me, I do feel a slight bit jealous that you always have your woman by your side, but delayed gratification can make the moments together all the more special. There’s nothing like two people out living their lives and getting their success coming together to bask in each other’s hard-earned glory and uplifting each other to go out for more, two people clung to each other unable to make it happen separately is a sad sight indeed. Do you feel no emotion from the fact that you had to see your cherry blossom take a loss on her own last week? Is she okay with you failing in the same way? You two can’t motivate each other to do well by yourselves? Me and my fiancée, our life is like if the couple from La La Land knew how to deal with long distance - the kind of beauty that comes with discipline. That’s right, discipline doesn’t just exist in honing your craft and body, but also by how you handle a relationship with maturity. Not surprising you know nothing about that, you don’t have the discipline to do things separately just like you don’t take care of your body, a man with a body that lacks definition comparable to a couch potato, with a flat-out potato shaped wife.
Yes I know, I’m not normally so hard on people, but someone has to do it when it comes to you.
While Sakura babies and supports underachieving, my love only pushes me to do my best, and she knows my best is in the main event! My best is on top of the world!
Because you can talk about tag gold and entertainment over wrestling all you want, but at the end of the day this place isn’t called Strong Style Wrestling with me on the marquee because the people were clamoring for a faction war title with two entertainers to be on top. You can argue about who between Jacob Senn and TCC should be signing the cheques around here, but all that matters is that the history books are written in Pendragon ink. If I were like you, I’d be slacking on this tournament too. After all, I’m the champion, and I’ve already won a tournament of my own in Heavens Arena Cup, I’ve been there and done that for the goal of everyone else here, but I’m a competitor. Being a competitor means never putting in a shoddy effort, being a competitor means you put in everything you have to be the best each and every night! The fact that you don’t live that lifestyle means you aren’t worthy of shinning the shoes of either Aria Jaxon and I, let alone walk in them, but you will have mine knock the taste out of your mouth. Wrestling never dies, and circus acts have been around since the bronze ages so don’t get it in your head that what you bring to the table is anything new. Say what you will about the wrestling community today, but what they’re into isn’t who cuts the best zingers and who has the dime piece at his side to make themselves look like “stars”, the only “stars” they have in mind are the amount given to matches. And like it or not, five-star matches are made by men like me, like it or not the highest rated matches in this decade are found here in Japan!
I may practice values you look down on, like dignity and fighting spirit, but I’m not naive. The rich don’t do things out of pure charity, a man on the wrong side of debts in the past like me knows that all too well. You TCC bloodsuckers are here because you know Japan is the new mecca!
Wrestling in Japan is like the oil in the middle east, like the diamonds in Africa, people like you and Scott Oasis are here to strip the land of everything it has to offer while you live your prosperous lives trying to convince people that your presence is beneficial. Unfortunately for you, it won’t take years of in fighting and moral collapse before we focus in on you being the problem, everyone here, even lost Ronin, see through your petty false tales of doing what’s best for the industry we love. Here Columbus isn’t greeted with open arms and shown around by some little girl, here be dragons, and here be the Rakurai! But I’m no Tesla, Mr. Edison, this electricity will be the end of you! I’ve paid off my debts, with this Puroresu gold I’ve been given a new lease on life, if you thought I was brutal before just wait until you see me when I know the food on my family’s table is secured! Imagine how I’ll be like when I don’t have to worry about if a stiff shot might land me in the dog house, meaning out of title contendership and possibly flat out not getting paid. This is Shoot Nation country now, and the sheriff is Pendragon, the lightning shogun of SSW. The execs might tolerate your smart talk and let you run your mouth to them, but if you EVER confuse me for one of them you’ll find Sakura protesting the straw ban wave in America when you go back to where you come from and you need them to suck food down your throat.
Unless that is, she’s nice enough to kiss feed you what you can no longer chew. Perhaps then you’d be thanking me, sir Corleone.

The Apparition
on August 10th 2018, 10:53 pmThe Apparition
Monday the 6th of August, 2018
Downtown Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
JOYFIT24 gym, Izumi Ward
We open onto an empty and desolate gym. The walls are lined with empty exercise bikes, treadmills and rowing machines. Spread through the middle, a cavalcade of strength machines for all matter of muscles. To the back, two rooms – One for free form strength-training, and one for anaerobics.
It is in these two rooms where any sign of life can be found.
While a series of deadlift bars, kettle bells and handheld weights of varying descriptions are spread across the room in a way that would make an ardent fitness junkie furious, no-one is around to complain. All the lights are on, but the only movement throughout most of the gym exists as electronic advertisements, television sets humming from their fixtures on the wall and roof, and the neglected fans which are buzzing uselessly through the warm summer night. The only natural sounds depicting life within the establishment come from the open, glass-plated room on the lattermost room.
Thud, thud, thud. Thudthudthud. Blam. Thud.
A recognisable sound of leather on leather booms from the other, more organised room. While the rest of the gym is only kept in check by residual signs of life, technology and enterprise, it is the open stretching room where the real focus of this transmission can be found.
Pools of sweat line the floor around the gym’s punching bag, while the source of these salty excrements further contributes to the growing stench which is evident for all who walk into either of the back two rooms. Heavy combos are raining down, piercing the warm air that stagnate both inside the training centre, as well as anyone passing by. Combinations of seven, ten, and even sixteen punch series can be heard before a split second of relief. Then they pick up again as soon as they dispersed.
Always fierce. Always powerful. Always merciless. Always disheartened.
The aggression of the strikes thinly veils the melancholia of the man laying the blows. Another time he fell when he needed to rise. Another time someone was able to elevate themselves at his own expense. Another time he just wasn’t good enough.
For a man who was so determined in upholding the values of pro wrestling, his every punch made his true intentions clear. The immigrant to his ancestral lands was not the virtuous man many thought of him as, even though he never intentionally portrayed himself as such. He was a man who lived in sin, and was affected by the worst of them.
His wrath was evident, as he kept on trying to remove the punching bag from its elevated stand. He almost achieved it a couple of times, but his anger alone was not enough to fight through. Seeing the faces of not just recent foes, but foes from many years past, the warrior was seething.
His envy was signalled towards the fruits of victory his opponents had achieved from right under his nose. The chance to be a dual champion presented itself, but he had fallen short both times. Every chance he had to establish himself as a threat worthy of the respect and recognition he coveted, not just from others but from himself, was now in the hands of his enemies. And he had no way of getting it back now that it was passed.
His sloth came from his growing tiredness. He was past his peak as a performer and an athlete. His resolve was still coming out, but for how much longer?
His gluttony from his desire to achieve more than he had ever achieved before. To assimilate his ever-deteriorating body, and lining it with gold and accolades. He craved something more than he had. Hungered for it. And was left starving.
He lusted for an ideal version of himself. Someone who could reach his own lofty ideals, and to show the world that he is a standard bearer to be taken seriously. His desire was his ambition, and his ambition was going unfulfilled. These aspirations were left unrequited by reality, leaving him frustrated and unsatisfied.
His greed was simply for victory. To always compete, to win forever, and to do things better than they have ever been done before. Like all avaricious individuals, this greed was only partially filled. He promised himself the moon, and was stuck in the ozone. No matter how he reached, the brass rings he had objectified and sought-after were often just outside of his grasp. For someone who wanted them all, this was not good enough.
And finally his pride. The knowledge that he could not step down, or back down from any rival or competitor. His final sin was the main driving force behind his faux noble motives. The idea that he still had to look at himself in the mirror every day in order to continue going. The ideals he held about wrestling, which even with all of his short-comings he still acknowledged as bigger than himself. His drive to become as good as he believed he could be. His self-indulgence that he could truly rise to the top of the company, as its ace and most revered name. The hope that he could one day take off his mask and face the world again in the way that he used to. Too proud to show his weaknesses. Too proud to show himself. Hoping that one day he could once again stand in the lofty image that he had produced for himself, but knowing that he was still a fair way away from reaching such an ideal.
As the Forgotten One finished off with his routine, he coughed up a little bit of sweat that had dripped into his mouth during his final combination. It was no doubt why it happened, as his own mask was absorbed with almost a pound of sweat in and of itself. As he shook his head, almost the same quantity flicked itself down from his body to the ground. It was a disgusting sight, but The Apparition knew it was necessary if he had any hope of displacing his current preconceptions of himself into what he knew that he was capable of. Or at least what he used to be capable of.
And don’t misunderstand anything. The Apparition knew he was capable. But over the past month, he knew what had become an absolute bugbear for him. No longer was the Phantom Troupe his biggest cross the bear. Now, it was the formally forgettable group ironically known as Ronin. The two kids known as Himura and Stevens had given him a lot of strife, with one even managing to defeat him on the big stage.
With all of the vigour of Brutus and Cassius, the two young lions taught The Apparition well to Beware the Ides of March. A time of ceremony and celebration had turned into depravity and despair, but still the warrior did not fall to the slings and arrows of his outrageous fortune. No, instead it was time to move on. His Ides had turned into a summer of discontent. But now was he time to move forward. To move from the March…To April.
Falke Halstenberg
on August 10th 2018, 10:37 pmFalke Halstenberg
SSW Promo #1: “The Dog Often Kicked.”

(Word Count: 1,402)

*Falke sits upon a chair in his hotel room, examining a blanket between his hands. He smiles a bit before looking towards the camera*

Falke: What does a blanket symbolize? Comfort? Home? Something that makes you feel safe and warm in the cold nights and something that you can hug close to you when you aren't feeling at your best. It is… the embodiment of something often taken for granted.

*Falke then puts his hand to his chin as he gathers his thoughts for a moment. He rustles the blanket a bit in his hands*

Falke: I took for granted not having a partner. You see, wrestling in a tag team is a double edged sword. Sometimes you're on an equal level with your partner, sometimes you feel like your partner has carried you toward a victory… yet sometimes you feel like your partner is what is holding you down toward defeat. Maelstrom did so, and while I would never outright call another member of the Phantom Troupe weak, I would say that at Domination, Maelstrom did not bring his a-game. Maelstrom was pinned and the Phantom Troupe did something that the Phantom Troupe does not often do. We lost that battle to the Shoot Nation, yes… but the war… The war has yet to be decided has it not? Aria lost to Jaydayne as well… but we have won so many times against the Shoot Nation.. I refuse to believe that the once they emerge victorious that they then claim victory over a yet finished war. That is not the way that war works.

*Falke sighs before putting the blanket back down on the hotel bed and sitting down once again. He folds one leg over the other as he lets his eyes wander the room. He finally sets them on the camera again, with a focused look*

Falke: No matter… that is not what I have to worry about this week. As I have a match against a member of the Ronin… Ah yes, the Ronin, the outcasts... the oddities… the unmentionables of the SSW. As the faction with the most shoddy and unreliable win loss record, you must truly feel left out in the debate of which faction is the best. This is because it obviously isn't a sniveling pack of dogs from no litter the same, and absolutely fitting it is so. The Phantom Troupe, as it were are thuroughbreds, hunting down the other factions and tearing them apart piece by piece until we have become the leader of the pack. Arguably, no puppy has been kicked quite as much as Damien Walker.

*Falke smiles as clips of Damien Walker losing to Kerry Keller, Vanessa Santiago and others play. Clips of Walker being hit with finisher after finisher and being pinned time and time again*

Falke: Another fitting motif this is, as you claim to be the man that can take the most punishment in the SSW. Yet you have proved absolutely nothing to anybody, in fact… one moment I can think of something you've proved. You've proved that you can be every faction's punching bag. From what I heard you were once promising as a possible second command to Ronin leader Tarah Nova. She seems as if she has different things to worry about in her home country though, and you are stuck in Japan facing me. Oh what a glorious day it is isn't it Walker? When another member of Ronin completes the status quo by going down like the starving dog like they are. Truly Walker, you do have many characteristics of a starving dog, you snarl through your teeth without a kill to speak of, you are ravenous and hungry… but you don't have any meat because you're weak. You even look as if you're homeless! Even though I'm quite under the assumption that every Ohio native looks as if they're homeless. You are grimy and lack the technical skill needed to stand across from me in a wrestling ring. You claim to be a man of an aggressive and hardcore style, but all I've seen of you is taking loss after loss. You're not even in the situation Shinati was in when I put him on his neck. He had strung together a few losses, yes… but at least he is capable of winning a bout. You on the other hand, well you're a different story are you not? You do nearly nothing except lose, I'd call you the liability of your faction but the Ronin has nobody with a stellar record. They have nobody who has set a good example, likely because they just are not good.

*Falke leans back in the chair and kicks his feet up on the desk provided to him by the hotel. He gets a bit comfortable before continuing to speak*

Falke: As far as this tournament goes… it means much to me. It means a way to prove my caliber and acumen to the management team of Strong Style Wrestling. It proves that I deserve to be main eventing shows and challenging for championships. It proves that not only Strong Style Wrestling, but the world, will become accustomed to the traditional and effective style that Falke Halstenberg brings to the table. But first I have to bring that style to six other competitors. Starting with Damien Walker. Might he be the easiest victory I've ever been handed? I'd be almost certain because the man doesn't know the thrill of a bout that has been won. Walker, do you find losing to be fun? Do you find that being the worse performer of two just lightens your day? If not, I do not understand why you continue to participate in something you are so obviously ungifted in. As for me, my body and mind were created for the sport of wrestling, I am the finest mental specimen to ever step foot in an SSW ring… HELL, I am the finest physical specimen to ever step foot in a WRESTLING ring.

*Clips of Falke’s catch wrestling bouts are played, dominant takedowns and perfect positioning as well as fancy footwork lead him to multiple victories. He wears a German uniform proudly in these clips, and seems to smile smugly after every victory. Loving to assert his dominance over a would-be opponent*

Falke: I have yet found nobody in the world who can match me hold for hold, clinch for clinch in a wrestling ring. Lo, it seems that this day will not come soon as my next opponent wouldn't know what catch wrestling was if it hit him across the face. We are not having a hardcore match, Walker. We are having a wrestling match. You claim to relish in the pain an opponent inflicts on you… Yet you've never met me, I will be the man to break you. I will be the one to give you the pain that will make you cry out in true agony and torture. You can say you enjoy pain, but there is a moment where every threshold is broken. I will find your weak point and expose it, I will force you to bow, like Shinati before you… to the new regime of Falke Halstenberg. I would suggest that the other competitors in my block watch their heads, lest they be taken off their shoulders with a swift and powerful strike from the great Falke Halstenberg. It is not a matter of if when you stand across​ from me in a wrestling ring, but a matter of when I will defeat you and further my legacy. In the end Walker, as usual you are a non-factor, a man with much to prove and nothing proven. A man who no doubt many of the competitors in this block have already circled out as an easy few points upon victory. How can I blame them? I have the pleasure of taking you down before all the others. The privelage of making you once again look foolish in front of the entirety of Ronin, every fan in the arena, and all of Strong Style Wrestling. Welcome to the new regime, Walker… you will either bow willingly, or I will force you to bow.

*Falke rises to his feet and walks to the camera, only allowing his face to be shown as he utters one final word*

Scott Oasis
on August 10th 2018, 8:56 pmScott Oasis
What a mixed bag of a weekend.

I started it off the best way possible. I took over all of Japanese media when I touched down on Friday; I got the whole country talking about my appearance as usual. Pictures taken, interviews done, press conferences sat through, I made my rounds and when Saturday evening came I showed that celebrity style red carpet that was rolled out for me had been well deserved when I absolutely BATTERED Gronk. I defeated the man in record time, a matter of a few short minutes! Just like I promised I would. God, how satisfying it was to do so. That was the man that everyone was fighting so hard to claim was the next version of me. Everyone was making side by side comparisons of us, seeing how our stats stacked up, seeing how we wrestle, how we look, coming up with all of these vague, bullshit similarities we had so they could prop up our eventually meeting as some sort of “dream match” like we were ever in the same league. Gronk was nothing like me, he wishes he could be good enough to lace my boots but SSW did their best to justify the thought of him being so much as a SLIGHT threat to me or my position as the best big man in the game. I was supposed to be sweating thinking about facing him! He was the chosen one meant to run me out! He was Phantom Troupe’s unbeatable secret weapon! People were so ready to send me out and declare Gronk as next up, especially since Jaydayne Pendragon somehow got lucky and beat me at Budokai. I might as well have been dead in the water in the eyes of some. Hearing all of the commentators and analysts in the build up to the match acting like he was going to go in that ring and wash me…...I was so ready to prove them wrong. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Gronk and shock the industry by humiliating the latest pet project!

When I called him out I had a clear plan in mind that I had no doubt I would succeed in. I had set out to show the world what my so called competition really looks like when put to the test against a true main eventer: a bunch of outmatched children. Simply mediocre with a stupid gimmick or attraction to sell them on. Compared to me most wrestlers are just a poor product disguised in a flashy wrapper and that’s exactly what Gronk was which boggles my mind as to how you sheep could have possibly been afraid of him. Gronk had the muscles and the look but he had no brain at all and worst of all he had no talent. He was a disgrace to this business that I was able to recognize from a mile away and I knew I’d be the one to expose him to the masses. Beating him was so satisfying and such a great moment because it was a statement made to every single one of those boys in the back every single one of my detractors sitting their fat asses at home. I’m not going away anytime soon and I’m going to have my foot firmly pressed on your necks from now on. If you can’t cut it, if you don’t belong, I will point you out and I will cast you off. Gronk aint coming back.

He’s never reaching that level of popularity or mystique again in his life. I took that away from him. Because of me he went from being the ace in the hole for the most overrated stable of all time to being made an example. He was meant to be my successor but now he’s just another guy you’ll look at and think “oh yeah, he was on TV wasn’t he?”.  Knowing I did that it something I will never forget. Neither will the people who banked on that clown. They know who the real deal is now. It was a great night for me. It’s too bad that I went from crazy highs to dramatic lows in just a matter of twenty four hours. I take a private jet from Japan to get to Hawaii and compete at Strong Style Wrestling’s sister promotion, OWA. “Boiling Point! The biggest event of the summer for any American promotion”. I go there looking to do what I did with Gronk. Humble some low level wrestlers. But that didn’t happen. Instead I left that show with no victory, no titles and no partner. Me and my camp were robbed. A good weekend soured. I promised victory and instead was made a fool of. They defeated me but it felt like I lost more than a match. I lost a tag partner and even more so….I lost my pride. I’m now carrying a huge monkey on my back that I’m dying to get rid of and that’s getting revenge on the sons of bitches that are the Wolvesden. I’ve spent two weeks now plotting on it and the only reason I’ve even take a break from it by showing myself to the public….is because of my obligation to the Best in The World series. I was so ready to be involved in this tournament when it was in its preliminary stages and now that it’s in full swing some people wonder if I’m in the right state to perform. Don’t get it twisted. Even in my worst state mentally I’m twice the performer that anyone on this lineup is. Though I have all of this stuff in my mind and a lot of my focus is on what’s happening in the U.S. I still have full intent of carrying on with my takeover of Japan. Strong Style Wrestling still is going to be my domain and this BITW series is my opening which I refuse to pass on. I’m winning this whole thing.

I’m not taking ANY losses in my block and that especially goes toward my opponent Belle Kingsley - a WOMAN. Make no mistakes about it, I’m not being sexist here, I’m just calling it how it is. She has no place with me. I know the females have thrived in SSW considering 90% of the men signed to the promotion are the same build as they are but with a real athlete like me you’ll see the reason for why proper divisions are usually necessary. Remove gender from the equation if you want and think of this as wrestler vs wrestler, it’ll still end bad for her. I’m coming off of the momentum of my victory to Gronk and the anger over my loss in the states. I have a reputation to maintain and some frustrations to let loose meaning you’re going to be getting a very restless, blood thirsty Oasis. I know you want to put up a brave act and act like you stand a chance Belle, but you and I both know that’s some grade A bullshit. You’re so fucked in this first round match it’s almost unbelievable. If Gronk, a mountain of a man with barely any losses couldn’t make it past five minutes, how are YOU - a girl a fifth of his size who struggles to put away Kikyo - is going to handle a match with me? Be realistic. Stop lying to yourself. Your determination can’t trump my superiority. I respect the fire but I’ll still snuff it out. Everyone always wants to boss up to me until they get their chin checked and you’ll be no different.

Easy points.
The One True Pairing
on August 10th 2018, 2:46 pmThe One True Pairing
SSW Promos - Page 4 PWXgn0MnqW1twMWV4c-bDo8jrC78lZ4eDc73OS3ZRoGDmIdHhNsGWMzzRAZMhIyD7maogea6bRseni3bAseQk-EsCJLGg8G3UEuibDqIhIuwuMkw1Szqa5W2ptQBH0CG-5yuLArl

(Cassius Corleone - dressed in an expensive suit with sunglasses on - is shown standing in front of an oversized portrait of Sakura Corleone, looking visibly upset. After several moments, he tries to keep himself calm before taking off his sunglasses and placing them in his lapel.)

Cassius: First of all, I would like to dedicate this match to my beloved Sakura, who I look forward to seeing in the Finals of this Tournament.

(Cassius looks back at the portrait of Sakura behind him before reluctantly turning his focus back towards the camera.)

Cassius: You win some, and you lose some. We lose, and we move on and we work towards getting our redemption. That’s how it goes, right? I mean, Sakura and I have spent our entire lives facing defeat and ALWAYS taking it back, simply because we are capable of that. We take back what belongs to us, because there is no other option. We were given everything we wanted growing up together, but what all that we truly wanted was each other when it all came down to it. Everything else… Everything else was just a consolation prize. But we had our reasons. We always had our reasons. We took things to prove our superiority. We took things to give as gifts to each other. We especially loved taking things so others couldn’t have them. Right now at this very moment, my Cherry Blossom and I would love nothing more than to take back OUR Lovebird Tag Team Championships. Right now, we would already have them back in our possession and all would be right with the World. However, when we requested our guaranteed rematch…

(Cassius looks in disbelief as he chuckles and shakes his head.)

Cassius: Jacob Senn says to us, “At the moment, you are both partaking in the Best In The World Series Tournament, so we would rather that you focus on that for now and then you will receive your rematch once it’s over. In the meantime, other pairings will compete for the Championships.”

(Cassius holds up two fingers.)

Cassius: Two months. We will be waiting two months to contend for the Championships that belong to us. The Championships that should be around our waists right now as if we’d never lost them. We have to sit here and play with the likes of you people for two months because this company believes we are simply too good for this nonexistent division’s own good. Instead of being the Tag Team World Champions right now, I have to stand here without my Cherry Blossom and waste my time. We have to waste OUR precious time. And on what? This THING in front of me? This freak with half of his face painted? Is that how you try to look intimidating? Oh I’m gonna show you how to look intimidating. I’m gonna wrap my hands around your scrawny throat and choke the life out of you in front of these people you think you’re the Champion of. See, it’s not even a personal thing with you, Pendragon. There’s nothing personal about it. I don’t know you, and I don’t need to know you. But what you carry with you is the Championship that’s supposedly the crown jewel of this piece of garbage company. A Championship that this entire Tournament is dedicated to, in fact.

No. Nope. Not gonna happen. See, the Championship you carry has absolutely no value to it in my eyes. Never has, and never will. I wish I could tell you that tomorrow night you will get the absolute BEST of Cassius Corleone, but that would be a lie. You won’t get the best of me. You will never get the best of me because you spend your time wasting your breath on a meaningless little trinket. At most, you will get roughly 50% of Cassius Corleone’s best. That’s it. That’s how much I think of you. That’s how much you matter to me as a competitor and as the so-called “World Champion”. The other 50% of my focus will be dedicated to the future where my Cherry Blossom and I regain our Lovebird Tag Team Championships and move on like nothing ever happened. As if this Tournament were nothing short of a fever dream that we woke up from. There’s no doubt in my mind that you want to prove what a great honor it is to be the Champion that you are and to prove that you are the best in that ring, but win or lose, it doesn’t matter and it never will. You hold no more value to me than the dirt that sticks to the bottom of my shoes when I walk around this desolate company.

The Championship you hold right now is stained by a worthless woman who equally valued that trinket, and guess what, you won’t make a difference. You’ll stain it just like she did. Because you, Pendragon, are a lie. Everything about you. The way you dress, the way you carry yourself, and everything you and your Shoot Nation buddies dedicate yourselves to. See, I’m not here to win a match. I’m here to tell idiots like you exactly how it is. I don’t give a shit if you speak English or Japanese, because the only language you spit out is “lies”. You dedicated yourself to a craft that’s gone long since out of style, and no… I don’t mean your precious “shoot” wrestling. I mean wrestling. All of it. You think anyone cares about wrestling anymore? Grow up. People only care about being entertained. They care about STARS. This pathetic company lives and breathes because of a faction you and so many others dislike like Tres Comas Club. Our money burns on the dumpster fire that is Strong Style Wrestling, and for what? Because we aim to shape it into something that audiences all across the World can enjoy, instead of the losers that remain so loyal to people like you and the rest of Shoot Nation. People that are the minority now and the minority forever. You think people tune in to these shows to see someone like YOU? They’ve seen people like you for years. Your schtick has been done before and by better men, but what TRULY glues them to their screens is people like Sakura and Cassius Corleone. People that give them a show. I have no doubt you’re disgusted by the people that inhabit a faction like Tres Comas Club, but when you go home to your wife and your kids or whatever family you have, you’ll slap that signed check on the table and tell them that you all get to eat tonight. You think that’s because of Jacob Senn? You think that’s because of ANYONE who runs this company? It’s because of us. It’s because of Tres Comas Club. It’s because of the funds of people like the One True Pairing. We pay to rent this company out as our playground and we’ll do it for as long as we want until we move on to somewhere else, this company dries up and dies like it deserves to, and people like you become a thing of the past until everyone forgets you even existed.

I don’t want this. I don’t want you. I want my Sakura. I want OUR Tag Team World Championships, and if I have to get through someone like you to get there, then so be it. You’re not worth my time, but it’s whatever. If I lose, this Tournament, I get to move on and forget it ever happened. And if I win this Tournament? If I go on to challenge you for that Puroresu World Championship and take it? I’ll have it melted down into a nice necklace to put around the neck of my Cherry Blossom, and that will end the ballad of both that toy and the man who believed in honor and pride and fighting spirit. Both of them will be gone in their own special ways. You’ve wasted enough of my time as it is. Show up, get in the ring, prove whatever meaningless shit you have to prove, and go far away from me, because you have absolutely nothing that I want. I want my Sakura. Beating you and taking that trinket is just a consolation. Nothing more, nothing less. Done.

(Cassius walks off without saying a word before the camera cuts to black.)
André Virgo
on August 10th 2018, 9:32 amAndré Virgo
Who is you? Big and strong man? Do you think being big and strong is all you need to be a champion? No. Champions are stars. Champions have heart. You may be a powerful man who picks up a lot of weight and puts it down, but you’re no match for the power of the universe.

I’ve made my name for myself, you let yourself fade into irrelevance. Possibly because you continue to associate with men like Tomazeya who are more interested in their own legacy than what’s good for his students. I got myself here. I reached the top of every place I wrestled for by myself. I could have been trained by anyone and still been a star. I’ve done more in my short career in the spotlight than Tomazeya did over the course of years. I have no respect for you or anyone else who continues to follow his self serving “guidance.”

The only thing I owe is the stars for guiding me down the path of glory. I’m sorry that you can’t say the same.

You may have ragdolled me from corner to corner and mutilated my forehead but you will never defeat me in a sanctioned battle to decide who is the better competitor. Because your strength is no replacement for skill. I am among the greatest in the galaxy and you are merely a mortal hoping to gain the strength of a God. But no matter how much you may lift, it will never change what you are.
Racer Smiles
on August 10th 2018, 8:57 amRacer Smiles
Why be so afraid of the dark? Because you never know the monsters that might come out of the shadows to strike you down.

Take what I did to you as a taste of what’s to come. I don’t care about leadership or titles, I care about results. As I’ve faded into irrelevance you’ve risen higher and higher. Beating Miltiades, BANG, Jacob Senn, all men who if they stood across from me would be left in the ring broken and unrecognizable. Instead I guess I’ll have to settle for doing that to a traitor like André Virgo. Tomazeya guided me on the way to making my strength and power mean something. He taught you how to be a star. You don't even appreciate that he gave you the opportunity to run away from reality and live in a fantasy world where you hold some importance. But everyone has to wake up at some point.

Who knows the name of Racer Smiles? The Tres Comas grunt. I’m not flashy or intriguing nor do I live for the applause of peasants. I’m the Chief Strongman. While you live to have all eyes on you, my goal is to make something hard to look at. You’re on top of the world right now but Icarus is flying closer and closer to me and the closer you get the more likely I am to rip the wings from your back leaving nothing behind but a splatter on the ground.

I don’t need to explain why I will win our match. Look at me and look at you. It’s clear who’s stronger and more powerful. Do you hear the drums in the distance? They grow louder and louder. My figure steps over the horizon. You clutch your crown on the top of your hill, but you have no army to defend yourself from the Chief Strongman come to conquer your world. It doesn’t matter who came before me who you defeated. You’ve never faced me.

I have no reason to continue speaking. My power speaks for itself. You’ll experience despair at my hand soon enough.

Everyone wants to be King…

on August 10th 2018, 2:09 amMiltiades
And my time here has brought me something that I’ve always said I will obtain. Whether it was in the distant past or the near future, I knew I would get what was coming to me. And in that moment I also showed that I surpass any and all those who want to face me within in Tres Comas, the undisputed leader and one man worthy of making the claim as such. And one week ago I showed the world that they are looking at the one who is going to take that title off of Andre Virgo. He beat me once, but that was with the embarrassment that is GREED and Jaywalker getting in my way and letting their stupidity get in my way. Now Virgo gets to face the man behind the power, the man people regard as legend. He gets to face Miltiades, and my militia will grow and grow with the recognition that I give around the world. This Best in the World tournament, this little shit show of a festival, it’s can’t go without saying that the people who are in it do not exude brilliance, they do not exude bravery, they just wanted to “give everyone a chance” because had I been included, I would bury everyone involved. I would take that title of Best in the World, and I would take the title of Junior Heavyweight from Virgo or Racer, whom ever it is. It’s not a thing I worry about, it’s destiny, it’s my prophecy, and it’s a calling that we are all going to have to get used too. Because people like Racer, they’re given this opportunity out of spite. People want Virgo overthrown, not because they hate him, but they want someone to do it before me. Virgo if I dethrone you, you would gain clout from it, you would be one of Miltiades’s Victims and that is something more than you would get if someone who was a no one does it. If you lose to Racer, Virgo, you would just fall into a category of no one. You wouldn’t be worthy of anything. But if you lose to me, you gain notoriety, you gain the respect of others, because a select few who lose to Miltiades are because that person is going to be catapulted to new heights. Because being beaten by a prodigy isn’t a shame, it’s a glory, it’s a favor. Virgo you’re going to win, you’re going to face me, and we’re going to show the world why we shake the world. We’re going to show why this rivalry is one that shouldn’t be shadowed.

But enough of Virgo I must talk about my opponent of the week. Unlike Virgo, Senza, you’re just the villain of the week. You don’t have character, you don’t have clout, you’re an unknown and are one that I’m going to steam roll like no other. People want me to beat people of worth, you are not that man, Senza. You are taking spotlight from someone worthy. Those who fall to me had a purpose, a purpose I beat out of them, and then I made them realize that what they’re facing, they need to recount and regroup. Because if they don’t the world will spit them out and I’ll be there to stomp more on their goopy mess of a body. They won’t be remembered if they don’t do anything with life. They won’t be remember if they don’t do anything to change they will be left in the wind and I’ll be there to ravage them. Senza you have an impressive record, but you don’t have the passion, you don’t have the guts for me to even give you attention. I need you to work harder, I need you to do more, because if you don’t this is just going to be one-sided and no one wants that. People will waste money, you will waste your pants, and I will have wasted my time doing this for you. Yes for you, because this isn’t a privilege it’s a commodity that you get a match with Miltiades. The future and the leader of Tres Comas Club. You are facing a bright facet of the company and if you think you can anything about it, you are wrong. Senza come with all you have to offer because if you don’t I’ll give you everything you can’t handle and make you realize that this isn’t for you.
Belle Kingsley
on August 8th 2018, 2:12 pmBelle Kingsley
At Domination, I did it.

I defeated Kikyo Himura. There are going to be people in this promotion that are going to make this victory seem like nothing. They’ll say things like: “Kikyo was nothing more than a punching bag” or “She lost to Vanessa Santiago” or my personal favorite, “Belle, you just got lucky!” As much as I want to say that I am proving my worth to Shoot Nation and that I can win a match on my own, there are going to be people that say I can’t “win when it counts”. I don’t blame them at all. As much as I want this victory over Kikyo to eliminate these past failures, that will not be happening. The closest I can get to eliminating these failures, you ask? For starters, I can begin to step the fuck up and win matches. I like to say that I did that at Domination and would hope to continue that momentum as I begin this run in the Best in the World Tournament. I wanna approach this tournament and think I have a chance of winning, but you look at the competitors in these brackets and can be quite intimidating. We have the former SSW Puroresu Heavyweight Champion, Aria Jaxon. We have the CURRENT SSW Puroresu Heavyweight Champion in our heroic leader, Jaydayne Pendragon. He was someone who won the Heavens Arena Cup. I know that he would love nothing more than to be given the opportunity to decide his Wrestle Spirit opponent. As you go down the bracket, you have those like myself that would love nothing more than to prove to themselves. You got men like Kai Stevens and Steven Cassidy. You have The Apparition and Shinati Mizarki. As much as I would love another tournament win to go to Shoot Nation, I would love it even more if I were the woman to bring this victory home. Despite the victory at Domination, I would not blame anyone if they still cannot believe that Belle Kingsley has what it takes to win. As you look at my opponent to begin this whole series, it may be something of concern. I don’t know about anyone, but I am getting flashbacks of my loss over Gronk and it’s was not pleasant at all. It stung to lose close to the finals of the Heavens Cup Arena, but by this opponent this week, I have my concerns as well as he was able to defeat the unconquerable Gronk at Domination.

Yes, I am talking about Scott Oasis.

As much as I hate to put Scott and Gronk in the same category, I have to do just that. As you look at these two men, you can see that these are two giants. These are two men who have caused havoc and destruction everywhere they go. Yet, their winning records aren’t the best. If I can recall, Scott’s victory over Gronk is probably the biggest victory he’s gotten in SSW. He walked through that curtain and he believed that he was going to be the toughest son of a gun to walk through. He thought that he was going to dominate this company due to his size and intimidation. He did for a hot second. He managed to interrupt Jaydayne’s post-match speech and destroy the living hell out of him, but that almost seems like nothing since Jaydayne managed to defeat him at Budokai Tenkaichi. Jaydayne proved that Scott Oasis wasn’t some immortal force that can never lose. Sure, Scott dominated Jaydayne, but he did not walk away with the victory needed to establish his dominance over SSW. He can strut around the SSW locker room and brag about his victory over Gronk. Gronk was known as The Phantom Troupe’s heavy. He was known as the man that was almost a meme at some point. He was known as a man who destroyed everyone in his path. For that, I gotta give him props for that because that was something I was not able to do. That was a victory in which I could have gotten for myself when we squared off. In a way, I see this match being something I can use to redeem myself in a certain way. It’s not Gronk, but to defeat a man in which people are intimidated by, that could label as someone people need to pay attention to in this tournament. If I defeat Scott, then there is a chance that I can survive this series. There is a chance that I could see myself advancing and possibly win this entire thing. With Gronk no longer the unstoppable force thanks to Scott Oasis, does that make Scott Oasis the unstoppable force? Should I be worried about that? I am not going to underestimate Scott. However, I don’t want Scott to underestimate me. I am more than just a blonde in Shoot Nation. I am more than a woman who has fought until her least breathe in every match that she has been a part of. I am a woman who constantly needs to prove her worth not only to Shoot Nation, but to all of these fans. That starts with you, Scott.
Miles Taylor
on August 5th 2018, 11:45 pmMiles Taylor
Message reputation : 100% (1 vote)
We come in on an empty concrete room. A light shines down from the ceiling, revealing nothing but a man in a gray hoodie sitting in a lone, wooden chair facing away from the camera. With his head hung, we are still able to hear the words that come from his mouth.
Strong Style Wrestling…you’ve got some real balls pulling this stunt.”
The man slowly stands up, his back still to the camera. His head lifts, but he doesn’t turn his attention towards the lens.
I mean, you could’ve just been unaware, in which case, that might be forgivable…but I know better. I know just how closely OWA and SSW are aligned, I know how closely they pay attention to each other, and that’s why I know better than to think that Strong Style hasn’t seen what I’m capable of, and why I’m so disrespected by my match this week. Now don’t get me wrong…it’s not an issue with card placement. Matter of fact, I find it only fitting that my first match here is the exact same as my first match over in OWA: a triple threat. However, this time, I’m not taking on a man who views himself as a deity, and a man who gives his soul every night to make sure the fans go home happy – instead, I’m facing two men who I refuse to take seriously, because they don’t even take themselves seriously.
The man, slowly turning around, removes his hood, revealing himself to be “The Southbound Strangler”, “The Kansas City Kid” himself, Miles Taylor. Both of Taylor’s fists are clenched, his teeth gritted, and his face morphed into an absolute scowl.
Let me tell you about my opposition for Sunday night: first, Pequeno Asesino. When I first read this name? I was actually kinda…ecstatic, in a way. After doing some research, I noticed that Asesino is a luchador, a type of competitor I’ve never faced in the ring before. Then, as I dug deeper, I grew dissatisfied with what I found. Strong Style Wrestling has me booked against a literal sideshow act. A circus escapee is standing across the ring from me Sunday night, and when we’re in that ring together, he’s going to learn that whatever hardships he faced during those days are absolutely nothing compared to what he’s gonna experience when I take my hands, and I clench them around his throat. He’ll realize that he had it easy, and that’ll become even more apparent as the match goes on, and my grip gets tighter, and eventually his own, human skin is gonna look like a mask, because I’m gonna choke “El Gran Corazon” until his own flesh is BLACK AND BLUE.
The frustration of the situation has clearly gotten to Miles, he takes his opportunity to stretch his hands and take a deep breath, lowering his head as he attempts to calm himself down. After loosening up a little bit, Miles does some neck stretches before looking back into the camera, continuing his promo.
The worst part of it is…at least Pequeno brings something to the ring. Acrobatics, aerial splendor, he at least has something to give to the audience, not that their opinion matters, and believe me, it doesn’t. But at least the masked man has something to offer. Our other opponent? Penance? His whole charade bothers me almost just as much, if not more so. Here, we have a man who truly wants to hurt his opponents. He wants to assault them. He wants them to bleed, to be in anguish, and in that regard, Penance? I actually respect those wishes. But here’s where we differ: YOU want to be the man that maims people. YOU want to be the man who physical torments whoever steps in the ring with him, but YOU hide behind face paint, and call yourself a clown. I don’t care that you’re big, I don’t care that you’re sinister, all I care about is the fact that just like anyone else who dons a goofy wig and a big red nose, you’re an absolute joke, and the only man who’s gonna be laughing in that opening triple threat is gonna be me as I dig two fingers into your nostrils and rip your nose – your real, attached, human nose that you were born with – and rip it straight from your face.
Miles is now holding up the two fingers he believes he’ll be using to perform the deed he just described. He’s also now taken a couple of steps closer to the camera, his eyes widened as he lets his aggression get the better of him.
I said at the beginning of my promo that this match was gonna be a little different from my debut triple threat for one reason: these men take themselves nowhere near as seriously as my original opponents did. But this match also has one thing in common with my debut: I’m gonna make these men hurt. I’m gonna take Penance, and I’m gonna choke him with his own tongue. I’m gonna take Pequeno, and I’m gonna pull, and pull, and pull, and pull, AND PULL ON THAT MASK, UNTIL HIS HEAD COMES CLEAN OFF!
Miles’ fists are now up by his chin, clenched to the point his knuckles are changing color, as now only his neck and face are visible in the frame. As his nostrils continuously flare with every breath he takes, Taylor finishes off what he wants to say.
You don’t wanna take me seriously yet, Strong Style Wrestling? That’s fine. But soon enough, I’m gonna make you. And your belief that I can’t hang with the heavyweights, will either
With that, Miles’ stare just lingers at the camera. Eventually, his angry demeanor morphs into a smirk, and he turns his back once again towards the camera. As he walks away, he picks up the wooden chair that was placed behind him and walks forwards into the darkness, eventually getting so far into the black that he’s no longer able to be seen by the camera. Once this is the case, the camera itself fades to black, ending the segment.
Khmoach Sangkat
on August 5th 2018, 11:29 pmKhmoach Sangkat
Message reputation : 100% (1 vote)
As children we are born frail and useless.

We are born with few means of our own.

But who were we to care?

When we are children everything is beautiful. All life is full of whimsy and bliss. Everything is new and exciting, and we welcome the world with open arms, instinctively longing for nothing but to experience it. That is, we wish to absorb the world, all it's gifts and all it's lessons… We long to grow up. And then we do. Get to a certain age and the hormones begin to hijack our intellect. You just about feel like you are pulling back the reins on them when life hits you all at once thrown at your head. A career. Ambitions. Money in the bank. A roof over your head. A BMW you only drive to be keeping up with the Joneses. And for many, all of those unresolved hormones still. We live for most of our lives contending with the most intense physical, sexual, emotional, occupational, social and material attachments. Fighting for them. Suffering under them. The only mercy is the knowledge that this stage is not meant to last forever. Time is a flat circle, you see. We are born into this world with weak, useless bodies and a boundless sense of wonder and bliss. And in our twilight years the stage is set for our return to this state, isn’t it so? Our bodies start to become frail and weak like the day we like the day we are born. When we are finally too useless to fulfill our responsibilities we are freed of them. In the past, the old seeing their time fade would retreat from the world and into the forests to return to this childlike state of bliss. Once again finding beauty in the world they are preparing to leave behind. And marking each fleeting moment with whimsical delight.

There they would live uselessly

Living out their days with few means of their own.

Dying without a care.

Nowadays the forest is more often replaced by the nursing home and the hospice. The bliss of childlike liberation substituted for the chemical bliss of morphine as it eases one back into the void. The distinction is not important. In every way that matters they are entirely the same. This is the natural life course. This is the one thing proscribed by heaven and society alike. Beyond a certain age you must entrust, then simply fade away.

But as if I would consider such a thing?

I should hope I am still many years away from considering my final moments. After all, if whom the God's love die young. Then I will leave very old bones indeed before I will ever be allowed to let go of this world. Dear father way denied his final years of bliss, and I will deny myself my own for a little longer. It is after all, the Phantom Troupe way. We make all of the demands. And all that we demand is nothing else but only everything. A simple concept, yet one that always seem to forget. One after the other the claims have come calling for my ambition to lie by the roadside, yet whatever reasons any have had for believing themselves ready to carry the weight of my Heritage have fallen short. Be it Shoot Nation’s delusions of deserving conduct and of fighting spirit. Or Tarah Nova’s mistaken idea that the will to wanton violence would be sufficient to break me. All who have come have learned that there is no force equal to the bonds of my desire. I have become far too attached to surrender my ambition. And far too proud to allow myself rendered childlike for the sake of bliss. I am The true menace of The Phantom Troupe, and I will cast a haunting shadow over SSW for a long time to come.

Now the opportunity arises for me to merely confirm what I already know. I am the one who has worn gold for as many days as SSW has existed. I am the one our Puroresu Heavyweight Champion  failed to match. And soon I shall be the one properly called the “best in the world" thus fulfilling even the wildest pipedreams of a slaughtered father.

It all begins here. An unfamiliar matchup against a Young Boy of all things. Sure, Kai Stevens has strung a few victories together. Nobodies really. Who even is Jack Ryland? Why should I care that The Apparition, a man who has never achieved anything in years as venerable as mine and whom I put to sleep with ease, has failed miserably again? A prospect Stevens might be, but for now he is just another entitled millennial who needs to learn than children need to be seen and not heard. He might confuse with how much hot air he blows but he has nothing to say. He doesn't really understand the situation he has found himself in.

You see, you can't just put an old head on young shoulders. They don't know how to carry it. Some people will see the confidence coming out of this Young Boy and they buy into it. Like… they think it'll give him an edge. As if intonation were a measure of proof. Some people will take what they have seen and heard from Kai Stevens as just about all they need to hold him up as something special, like some kind of wunderkid towering over his peers. But Khmaoch Sȃngkȃt has been around the block a few times. I can honestly say that this Stevens kid is no different to any number of Young Boys that I’ve seen get just a bit too proud, too confident in themselves.You know what I am saying… right? I never pictured myself having to explain the fucking birds and the bees this week but basically… There comes a time in every Young Boy’s life when changes start to happen to their bodies. The voice drops a couple of tones. Fluff starts to gather on his little chin. He starts to grow his first hairs on his dicksack and just like that his whole system one day is flooded with hormones that start to exert themselves on everything he does. The Young Boy, still not yet a Young Man, starts to do things that are out of character. He starts to say things that he never once would have allowed his parents to hear him say before. “Fuck” is his new favourite word. It probably comes down to some repressed bullshit about why none of the girls at school want to suck his chipolata sized prick. But who really knows? The only other thing he can say in between fists against the door is some version of a ramble about how everyone is an idiot who doesn’t respect him enough for the vast contribution he makes by just fucking being there. Some see a prodigy running hot and buoyed by confidence. But what I see is another hormonal Young Boy just going through an angsty phase and saying whatever shit floats to the top of his head first. It’s only normal. It’s just how the life cycle goes. Believe it or not, in some ways it is perfectly functional. But the thing about all of the hormone-fuelled drivel coming out of Kai Steven’s mouth is that I don’t really give two shits about it. I’m not some skinny-waisted bitch he wants to stick his dick inside. I don’t give a damn about how hard he is for himself right now. He might not seem to know either way yet, but Kai Stevens does NOT want to fuck with me.

He talks of new tricks? I have forgotten more ways to destroy a man than you will ever learn, Kai. Remember only the best survive. You are never too young to have your career shattered right but an old man like me knows enough to say he has nothing to worry about here. You’ll know the sayings. Winning is a habit. And old habits die hard. By any means necessary isn't just a mantra. It's in my blood. It's an instinct. One that has served well over the years as I have dismantled countless opponents and left them in bloody horror in my wake. I have come out on top consistently over a timeline unrivalled by that of anyone else in the promotion. More than 6 months. And while at times I've used a poachers methods to get what I want, the old poacher makes the best gamekeeper, isn't it? I've heard that nowadays all of the big corporations and government bodies are paying the kind of hackers who once caused them so much trouble to do it all over again. They are inviting these scoundrels to join themselves, arms open wide in welcome and why? Because it takes a life long scoundrel to learn every trick in the book. Stay upon the road that is straight and narrow and you’ll only see so much of the world. But going to those places where you’re told not to? You’ll find a few things there that you won’t find anywhere else.

Knowing how to win titles and knowing how to defend your spot from upstarts are no different. And in both cases I know what I am doing. I get it, Kai. You are all grown up now. You are an athlete and will not stand to be treated like some useless child. But I am far from ready to retire a frail and childlike husk of man. If anything, I am at the peak of my powers. More than able to plunge into unconscious darkness any who dare stand before me. I don't care how good you think you are. The question isn't whether I win only whether you live to compete again.

I will render you frail and useless.

You will find no means to combat me.

And nobody will even care.
Shinati Mizarki
on August 5th 2018, 10:44 pmShinati Mizarki
We succeeded.

Steven and I, we managed to do *exactly* what we set out to do. That was, defeat Falke and Maelstrom at Domination. We were the ones who walked away victorious - our hands high above our heads; the notion that Phantom Troupe had a 'stranglehold' over Shoot Nation proven to be nothing more than a fallacy. 

At least for now; cemented even further when Pendragon managed to end the reign of the succubus leader herself, Aria Jaxon; bring honour and prestige back to the title. Just as we devised for it to occur. Just as we claimed it would. For it is the honour; the traditions that shall always prevail, even when the shadows are cast. 

The 'light' shall *always* find a way to pierce through the veil of darkness, as the rising sun burns through. As we, show just why no matter how much they try to mould wrestling into being about their own personal agendas, the honour is what *always* comes to pass. It is the fabric, that holds the industry together.

But that also leads to a conundrum

You see, the "Best in the world" series is preparing to commence. A series, that I, along with Steven, Pendragon, Masowi Kawanda, Belle Kingsley & The Apparition shall all be competing in. Each of us, with the same motivation. The same end game that we wish to attain.

That is: The Shot at the world champion.

Or in Pendragon's case: The ability to dictate; choose just who it is that he defends the championship against next. 

To some, this might cause division. The egos, the desire to hold what Pendragon lofts high - the acclaim that comes with being world champion. I'd be foolish to say that *I* don't want that crown. That I wouldn't want to be the one to walk out of this series with the win. With the chance to put my name up in the lights. Even if that means beating my own friends. Beating those, who's ideals align with my own.

And that includes beating Pendragon

Just like it is for everyone else in this series. Just like it shall be for the other Shoot Nation representatives. We realise this; we *know* that ultimately, it is best for us to keep the belt within our corridors. To maintain the prestige that the belt holds; uphold the traditions that the belt claims. 

And as they always say: it's 'every person for themselves', which is the way I'm treating this. Which is how I know the others will be, too. And if that means we must go through each other in order to claim the crown, then that is what we shall do.

**We see your potential - but we feel you are allowing yourself to be misguided**

These words have stuck with me, ever since I heard them in a video recording I was sent just two days ago. The origin of it, being the same as the letter I was sent before Domination. And just like that letter, the video left me with questions about myself. About just *why* they have chosen *me* to progress their cause. 

To be under their wing - yet at the same time, I am still unsure what they offer *me*. All they said, was that they could help me 'reach the potential; attain what I *truly* desire'. Nor have I reached out to the address they said to mail a response to, yet that shall come. I just haven't figured out the best way to respond to them at this time.

But for now, the implications on Shoot Nation as a whole aren't the primary focus. That bridge shall be crossed when the time comes for it to. This week though, the main focus for me is Kikyo Himura. The same Kikyo who at Domination - fell short in her quest to defeat Belle Kingsley. 

To try and enforce her will upon her, yet at the same time: I realise that it would be foolish for me to assume that means that I will be able to walk away with the victory this week. For just like Kikyo, *I* have experienced failure; I still don't have that 'crowning moment' when it comes to a one on one victory. Something that if you have been hearing my musings over the past few weeks, or even months - you'll know I've been attempting to correct that. I still *am* attempting to correct that, via any means that I can. Even if that means locking myself away and simply looking deep into my own soul. 

I've been doing that again, this week when I spent some time alone in my garden. Trying to find my way; find out just what people meant when they constantly stated I need to 'find my potential'. To just go out there and *finally* block out all else but the opponent in front of me. The one, who stands between me and the victory I seek. Kikyo, I have nothing against you. I respect you; even though your motives may not always be for the greater good, they are something that define you. 

Something that you stand behind - which I will always respect. The problem is, this week - you stand between me and my statement. My opportunity, to show people that I'm not just 'standing in the shadows', but rather: I am willing to finally rise into the position I crave. To show Shoot Nation, just why they believe in me. Show the fans, just why I am everything they portray me to be.

Maybe I will figure it out soon enough. Maybe their intentions really *are* as good as they claim to be. But I'm not just gonna jump blindly into their arms. I've done that before - seen that all it does, is lead to more doubt. More 'treading water'; not comprehending just *why* I wandered this passage. I hope they understand that, and I can figure out their intent. Their rationale behind pursuing me, when I *finally* make the decision to answer their call. Because for me, that will be define my answer. That answer, will be what tells me whether or not this is the move that is best for me. Best for my career.

And above all else, if it is really about the greater cause.

Sighing, I make the note in my head about each of the words stated in the video. The passion, the energy with which they delivered it - showing that they hold experience in this field. That they understand the plight of 'not understanding their way'. Two things that I'll admit, draw me to say "yes" to them; to fly under their wings, yet it was the words 'The choice is yours, but we want you to seriously consider your habitual failures" that caused me to doubt their statements. 

It's true, I haven't had the best of careers in the ring, yet - I wouldn't consider it a habit of failing at this stage. Especially when we have never met; they haven't seen anything more than what I have shown on the surface. Just like it has been for SSW. Maybe it's time for me to expose the secrets that lie within.

This week, is the time for me to make my mark. To show you, just what you can expect when you step into the ring against me, Kikyo. Just as I wish for you to do the same for me. I want you to show me everything you provide - because you know I will be doing the same. So this week, let's make this a battle to make our statements. To show the rest, just *why* we are threats that they just cannot ignore.

And at the end, I will be the one walking away victorious.
Steven Cassidy
on August 5th 2018, 5:46 pmSteven Cassidy
((After stringing together a few wins as of late, Steven is determined to extend his winning streak tomorrow night on The Best In The World Series Tour. Steven is studying film in the living room of his mentor, Koji Senju. A man we haven’t seen in months. Koji is sitting down in a wooden chair with a cane beside him. He frequently pauses the video to help Steven learn from his mistakes so he doesn’t commit them again. Steven is taking this very seriously as he jots down notes in his notebook.))

Koji: Ah Steven, look right here. Look at how unprepared you are for the beginning of this fight. Very sloppy! You gotta move your feet! You gotta be mentally sharp! Know your opponents! Maelstrom and Falke represent The Phantom Troupe. They are very aggressive! Very stubborn. They don’t think. They just attack. Knowing this, you counter their aggression with great defense. Duck, dive! Bob and weave! Let them tire themselves out and then you bring out your bag of tricks and hit them hard! Let them know that they are in for a long night! Let them know they crossed the wrong one. But you didn’t send that message. You were just letting them rag doll you. Especially when you were in the ring with Maelstrom. Why not cover up? Soften the damage. 

Steven: Point blank, they caught me off guard, Koji. The tape shows it, so I can’t say otherwise. I don’t know if it was nerves or what that led to my rusty start. Look, I made rookie mistakes, no doubt about it. But luckily a little later on, I cleaned it up. 

Koji: Yes, you were backed into a corner. And to your credit, you got out of it. You’re a glass half full kind of person, I respect that. But this match is far from unicorns and rainbows for you. You need to focus on how you got into that situation in the first place. The situation being you desperately needed to tag in Shinati to save the day so you could catch a breather to tend to your wounds. You put your partner in a bad situation. Asking him to carry the bulk of the load early on, when it should be split 50/50. Luckily for you, Shinati was ready to answer the call. He shifted momentum back to your side. 

Steven: Yes, I know. Shinati is a very talented individual when it comes to competing in between those ropes. I knew I could rely on him if the going got tough for me. He had my back and I had his. We were far too determined to lose that night. Not after what The Phantom Troupe did to us the week before. And in the end, we accomplished our goal. That’s all that matters. 

Koji: You lost me at the end there.  Victories are nice, sure, Steven. They often further your career and gets you more opportunities headed your way. But sometimes wins are handed to you. Sometimes you win due to luck or maybe from distraction. Those type of wins doesn’t help you improve. It just feeds your ego for a week. It gives you complacency. Don’t let your ego consume you, Steven. Not now, not ever. If you let it, then you are no different than The Phantom Troupe scum. Do you want to don the purple and black? I didn’t think so. The reason why we are studying this match is to help you become a better competitor. To help minimize your mistakes, especially with The Best In The World Series coming up. 

Koji: Okay, let’s pause right here. I know I’ve been hard on you. Acting as if you didn’t do a single thing right in this match. But you did. You had plenty of good moments. Moments you can keep with you and build off of. Like here, for instance, you hit Falke with the deadly maneuver, “Kiss The Ring.” What a thing of beauty!! A move that isn’t easy to pull off, for I would know. Especially when it comes to a man of your stature. You displayed your underrated strength. Even when you were at your most tired, you dug down deep, you put him on your shoulders and you planted his body into the canvas. And you weren’t done there, oh no. You weren’t satisfied. You were out for revenge. You wanted the big man Maelstrom to face a similar fate, and that he did, Steven, that he did. But be careful with that hate you have in your heart. You are an emotional fighter. You wear your heart on your sleeve. You feed off of the crowd’s energy. You mainly compete for your hatred for The Phantom Troupe. And that is understandable, Steven. They almost took your career from you. Your dream! But moving forward, I challenge you to dial it back a little. You have to keep your emotions in check so you have better composure out there. It’s a weakness that your opponents can capitalize on. Stop focusing on getting revenge. Stop being hellbent on taking out The Phantom Troupe. Focus on your career. Focus on your close friends of Shoot Nation, okay? Now, I think we can stop it here because we both know how this match ended. You came away with the win. You and Shinati worked well together. You have now proven you can get the job done as a singles competitor and as a tag team partner. But this week it’s about the former. This week you can’t rely on your partner to take over when you are feeling weak and vulnerable. It’s all on you. And the same goes for your opponent, Sakura Corleone. This is the start of The Best In The World Series. A rigorous tournament that will chew you up and spit you out if you don’t come prepared. What are you even looking to get out of it? Besides the obvious answer of winning the whole thing? 

Steven: I want to prove I belong. I want to prove that there’s a reason why Jacob Senn chose me to be a part of this tournament when he had plenty of other options to choose from. Because not everyone got an invite. Not everyone was given this grand opportunity that I was fortunate enough to receive. And for that, I am thankful to be put in this position. To be given a platform to showcase my skills and to further improve as an all-around competitor. But with that said, I know I have my work cut out for me. Especially when it comes to the A Block. I mean, we have a former Puroresu Heavyweight Champion, as well as a former Tag Team Champion, in this block. On top of that we have the most dominant champion in SSW’s young history, in Khmaoch Sangkat. We have a pack of hungry competitors, just foaming at the mouth at the thought of winning week after week until they are challenging for the SSW Puroresu Heavyweight Championship, come January. But that is a long ways away and a lot can happen before then. Therefore, I'm not getting ahead of myself. I’m not even thinking about Wrestle Spirit. Because I know if I look too far ahead of myself, I will make a costly mistake along the way. If not a flurry of mistakes. Besides, I can’t afford to overlook Sakura. She is far too talented for me of all people to undermine her as a wrestler and warrior. I know she will come out guns blazing. She will be fired up. Looking to take all of her pent-up frustration out on me for what happened to her and Cassius at Domination. I don't know what they are feeling at the moment or back on that night, because I don’t know what it’s like to be a champion. I’ve never won a title. I don’t know how it feels to hoist a championship in the air and have the crowd give you a thunderous reaction, whether it’s showering you with cheers and approval or giving you a chorus of boos. But I imagine you feel like you're on top of the world at that moment. And I’m sure it felt extra special/rewarding that you got to share that mountaintop with the love of your life, Cassius, instead of standing there all alone, having to fight the entire world on your own. 

But unfortunately for you and Cassius, your reign as the tag team champions came to a screeching halt when The Phantom Troupe pried them away from your tight grips. They just love to do that, don't they? Take from others, whether it be wins, titles, or careers. They revel in the fact that they can hit others where it hurts the most. Taking your titles is an example of that. Now, I have no doubts in my mind that you will win those tag titles back because I see how committed you two are to those very titles, while to Nas and Saul, they are just another accolade to them. Another feather to add to their cap. Those titles - that is where your focus lies. You can tell me that you are shifting your undivided attention to this tournament all you want, but I know, as well as you do, that those two men will be in the back of your mind as soon as that bell rings. And it can be argued that will help you. That your anger will help assist you to victory lane. But on the other side of the coin, that frustration, can easily cost you this match. It can very well be your downfall. And if you were to lose to this match, which I know you don't want to think about, but like I said, if you do lose, this isn't the end of Sakura. I am sure you will make up for it later in this tournament, just like I know you will always have the tag titles to "fall back on" if you will. While for me, this tournament could be it. If I have a bad showing after bad showing, then these opportunities will no longer come my way. My name will be nothing more than an afterthought moving forward, or best case scenario, an emergency backup plan that they can plug in, even if they don't want to. So I am putting all of my chips into this tournament. I am willing to give it my everything. My blood, sweat, tears, my career. You name it, I am willing to sacrifice it. You of all people should know about sacrifice, Sakura, because it goes hand in hand with love. And what I love is this business. I love going down that ramp and putting on a show. Just like I love my Shoot Nation brethren for having my back at all times, something you would know nothing about when it comes to your faction. Tres Comas Club - but most of all, I love these fans for their passion and undying support! And if you think for one second I am going to let them down this week, then think again.
Aria Jaxon
on August 5th 2018, 5:07 pmAria Jaxon

Aria was livid, as one would expect. She understood that every title reign should be approached with a certain amount of realism and practicality -- nobody was champion forever, after all -- but when you’re mad, it can be pretty difficult to let rational thoughts like that take over. Hence why she was as angry as she was right now. Sure, she would always have the distinction of being the inaugural Puroresu Heavyweight Champion. People might not always be able to remember the second or the third or so on, but at the snap of a finger, they’d always be able to recall the first -- no matter how bad it stung for them who the first champion was. A woman. A black American woman. A black American woman who didn’t fucking play fair. Just her existence, merely the fact that she’d even gotten to this point meant that a lot of people were now sighing in relief, content in the fact that their nightmare was over. Her thoughts were already drifting to how she’d win the title back and when. She couldn’t help it.

“Who the fuck does Pendragon think he is?!” Aria seethed, pressing a cold compress from one of the trainers against the side of her head where that last kick from Jaydayne had connected. She was sitting at the foot of the exam table, a black Phantom Troupe logo hoodie draped over the gear she’d worn that night. Nas was pacing back and forth across the room -- now shouldering not one, but two title belts -- and donning a Phantom Troupe hoodie of his own. Aria wasn’t sure why he was subjecting himself to listening to her rant, but she was glad he was. “Watch,” she continued, a sarcastic laugh bubbling up, “he’s gonna fucking walk around here now like he always had shit figured out, like I wasn’t bodying him for months.”

It was silent for a few seconds after that, and she finally removed the ice pack from the side of her head. “It’s a whole body of work versus one night going his way, fuck him. His days with that belt are numbered…”

Her voice trailed off at the sound of a commotion just outside the door. Two male voices -- one was definitely Rick’s, the other was shouting in English with a heavy Japanese accent -- sounded like they were engaging in a heated back-and-forth.

Nas’ eyebrow was raised. “What the hell?” He opened the door, at which point Rick and the young man across from him -- probably a Young Lion or a production assistant or something -- both turned their attention to him. Before he or Aria could say anything, Rick spoke.

“I was trying to explain to this...this NO-NAME,” Walton spat, “that this isn’t a good time for him to relay his stupid little message.” He gestured to Aria. “I told him he’d have to wait until the lovely Miss Jaxon is in better spirits, but he wouldn’t listen!”

Aria hopped down off the table, walking over toward the doorway now. She shot an annoyed glance in the other man’s direction. “If Rick doesn’t want you here, I know he’s got a good reason,” she huffed. “The fuck do you want? Five words or less.”

The young man swallowed roughly, now feeling the heat of being caught beneath the less-than-pleased glances of the three of them. He took a moment to think about what he’d say next. Aria rolled her eyes. “The five words or less thing wasn’t literal, my God. Just say whatever you gotta say and go."

“R-Right!” he managed to stammer, a nervous laugh punctuating the words. “I didn’t mean to disturb you at this time, but I really had no choice. I had an important message to relay.” He glanced over to see Nas making the circular, “get on with it” hand motion. “Your first match in the Best in the World Series will come next week, Miss Jaxon--”

Aria cut him off. “I already know I’m in the fucking thing, I plan on winning, and I don’t really wanna talk about it with you right now, so…”

“But, you’re facing Masanori Kawada,” the young man said. “I imagine that would also be of interest to you.”

Maybe this wouldn’t be a total waste of her time, then. Aria tilted her head to the side in amusement. “You thought right.” She was very much interested in putting the Heart of Shoot Nation on his ass.

Nas chuckled and folded both of his arms across his chest. “You already beat his bum ass before. Now you got points as an incentive. It’s a dream.”

Rick smiled, laughing to himself before abruptly stopping and turning to the young man, who was still standing there. “Why are you still here?”

“I--” he wasn’t even able to choke out a full answer before he was cut off by Nas gesturing to the ice pack in Aria’s hand.

“You still using that?” Nas asked. Aria shook her head, prompting Nas to follow up with, “Lemme see it.”

The three looked on as the nervous wreck of a Young Lion turned on his heel and tried to get away from the three of them as soon as possible. As he did so, Nas pitched the cold compress in his direction as he started off down the hallway, pelting him in the back of the head and knocking him down.


There truly is no rest for the wicked, and if you ask some people walking this company’s halls, there’s nobody more wicked than me.

I highly doubt a person of weaker body or mind wouldn’t be able to even fathom walking into a tournament with this much at stake on the heels of just having lost the thing they’d worked hardest in the world for. I’m supposed to be a broken woman, right? A spoiled, petulant bitch more worried about throwing a temper tantrum about what already happened, rather than focusing on what could be? Before anyone says that I’m tryna save face by acting like my loss at Domination “doesn’t matter”, or whatever laissez-faire bullshit people have come to expect from the “bad guys”, I won’t pretend as if I wanted to lose the Puroresu Heavyweight Championship. Nobody fights that hard and just managed to be okay with losing. It gets under my skin to think that an altruistic piece of shit with no backbone like Jaydayne Pendragon is walking around with the championship whose legacy I defined. It grates on my last nerve. For those who’ve prematurely celebrated the funeral of Aria Jaxon, my inclusion in The Best in the World Series is the reality check they so desperately need. I don’t wanna hear any of that “It’s anyone’s game!" shit. And oh, the “One of the young guns could rise up and take the whole thing!” argument is pretty rich. This tournament is representative of me taking the roundabout way back to my championship. Anybody who thinks I’ve not already resigned myself to bulldozing my way through the entire field just isn’t being honest with themselves. All of this is a test -- one I intend to pass with flying colors, no less. Optimism isn’t something I think anyone expects me to spew, but I guess I’m full of surprises. The way I’ve chosen to look at it now isn’t just knowing that I’ll eventually get to shoulder my title again, it’s thinking about the things that will lead up to that. Before any of that, I’ll win this tournament -- earning the distinction of being the first-ever winner of The Best in the World Series -- having defeated this company’s so-called best and brightest in the process. As much as I’d love for Pendragon to still be the champion by the time I use that title shot, I don’t anticipate he’ll make it that far. For whoever has the misfortune of being Puroresu Heavyweight Champion by that time, know this -- you’ll have already realized your dreams of being champion in the first place, but I’ll be the one who brings it all crashing down. I don’t care who it is. What I want and what I plan to do outweighs anything that anybody else in this tournament could possibly imagine doing. I’m getting back to the apex no matter what it costs these other scrubs.

Ohhhhh, Kawada, back so soon? I’m wondering who among the higher-ups you pissed off to have the bad luck of tangling with me one-on-one again. It wasn’t all that long ago that we faced off in a match a lot like this one. When we faced weeks ago, there was really nothing on the line but bragging rights. We both just wanted to say we’d beaten the other. For me, it was a matter of doing what I’d always done. For you, I’m sure it would’ve done wonders for your confidence to defeat the then-champion. But of course, as any sane person expected, when people put their faith in you to humble the evil Aria Jaxon, you failed, and your stutter step was illuminated underneath those bright main event lights. Now that you’re back in the fold, I can tell you’re feeling rejuvenated. That disgusting brand of Shoot Nation is pumping through your veins like never before. I wouldn’t be surprised if this sudden proximity to championship gold has you and all your faction buddies thinking you can do anything now.

“Our fearless leader managed to get the thing he wanted after falling flat on his face over and over, so anything is possible!”

Don’t get shit twisted. That’s still not true, and if anyone should know that, it’s you. Again, you know what it’s like to face me. You know what it’s like to throw everything at me, to dig down deep -- and still lose. I know what your best is. I’ve braced myself for an onslaught that never came, and that was back when nothing was at stake but my pride. The stakes are so much higher now. Every match is integral and every point counts. One misstep could put me far enough back on the leaderboard that someone else leaves this block and gets to try their hand at winning my tournament, and ultimately, my title. I can’t let that happen. If there’s anything you can take solace in, it’s knowing that at the end of all this, you won’t be alone. You won’t be the only person who had their hopes of being able to call themselves The Best in the World dashed by me. Every person I beat will be an unwilling -- albeit worthy -- sacrifice. You may not be first in the hearts and minds of Shoot Nation or the fans, but hey, at least you’re lucky enough to lead the charge of people who will be unsuccessful in stopping me from winning this tournament!

Remember, Kawada -- you never really had any possible claim to being The Best in the World. Not a chance in hell. All I’m doing is reminding you of that. 
Kai Stevens
on August 5th 2018, 3:09 pmKai Stevens
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a cut above

----On one of the many streets lining the flesh that is one of the homely Ports of Long Island in New York, there resides a strip of storefronts that dot the horizon.  The faces of these stores and restaurants supply an oasis from the blistering heat of Long Island in August, with every parking space in sight in use.  While alternative parking exists with enough maneuvering and spacial awareness, this busy street seldom offers an easy parking opportunity, and those who dare effort to parallel park are often vilified and often have obscenities slung at them from cars aggressively swerving around to pass them.  A true reflection of the stereotypical New York driving microcosm on a small-town scale.
----Near the train station that serves as the tail end of a track for the L.I.R.R., or Long Island Railroad, there exists one such strip.  The corner nearest to the station is occupied by a large Italian restaurant and pizzeria, one of fourteen (no exaggeration) within the confines of this hamlet.  That’s just under one pizzeria per thousand on the census.  
----Beside this large and popular Italian restaurant exists a smaller restaurant with little to no outward marketing, save for the restaurant’s name printed across a small black awning -- Aki -- Japanese.  The majority of the front of the restaurant is characterized by a massive window tinted a shade of obsidian so as to allow those who are dining within to peer out upon the bustling of Main Street, while those who are outside may not gaze upon these consumers with as much ease.
----Within Aki, the din of a mid-afternoon lunch rush drones in ears like a swarm of bees stinging Dustin Kensrue, the lead singer of Thrice.  Upon entering, the first sight provided unto you aside from the black three-quarter booths surrounding large glass tables is the back wall.  Adorning said wall behind a small sushi bar is a large glass bubble wall divided into four panes, changing color slowly but surely.
----This affords to patrons of the restaurant an aesthetically pleasing and relaxing backdrop for dining.  For the three men seated around the sides of one of the aforementioned glass tables, it is nothing more than an expense by the restaurant in the background.
----On one side of this table, William Wilson sits slightly hunched over, his right hand scribbling onto a pad of paper to the right of his place-setting despite the rather lacking lighting.  He’s slightly overweight, a bit of his belly folding over his belt, though that may just be resultant of his slouching posture.  His youthful face appears exhausted, as if drained to the degree of bone-tired, though his attempt at a Van Dyke goatee suggest he still possess the exuberance associated with youth.  As well as the naïvety.  Nodding his head, Wilson dons a pair of gray slacks to match his blazer, which is folded neatly and rested upon the booth between he and the next man at the table, Brian Church.
----Church sports what he typically appears on television in, a fully black suit.  However, this time his shirt is the dark red, while his tie is an obsidian matched only by the tinting of the storefront window.  The tie-clip is still a gunmetal gray, however, and his smirk is still arrogant.  He lifts a glass of Sake to his lips and tilts his head back to take a swig as Wilson scribbles on his pad.
----The third man is unsurprisingly Kai Stevens, who sports a pair of black Chinos to accent his white shirt and steel blue tie, which is adorned by a tie-clip in the same shade as Church’s.  Stevens, too, pulls an alcoholic beverage to his lips, though it is a Vodka Sour with two wedges of lemon and one wedge of lime in it.  It should come as no surprise that Stevens’s water, too, holds a wedge or two of lemon in it.  Perhaps this is why the Cowboy Killer always seems so sour.
----Wilson lifts his head and smiles at the two, no food having been delivered yet.  He takes a quick sip of his water before dabbing his lips with a large, white cloth napkin and clearing his throat.  It is from here that Wilson lofts the first bit of speech in our scene.
----I know I’m here to talk to you guys about the Best in the World Series, he begins lightly.  But I can’t say I’m not excited for the food.
----All three menus rest stacked upon one another, extending over the edge of the table in the traditional sign for being ready to order.
----You’ll enjoy it, replies Stevens.  But you better make sure not to let it distract you from quoting me accurately.  I have no patience for people like you misquoting people like me for clickbait headlines and potent quotables.  Your hot takes and viewership don’t matter to me.  Accurate reporting does.
----Wilson’s smile fades here, though he nods and drops his eyes from the glare of Stevens to his notepad.  He swallows and lifts his head to continue, but a waitress arrives.  Her accent is thick, and Stevens struggles to understand her, though Church and Wilson seem to have no trouble.  Respectively, Stevens, Church, and Wilson order their food: Stevens an order of Japanese Clear Soup, Spicy Rock Shrimp Tempura, and General Tsao’s Chicken; Church a few Unagi Rolls and a Chicken and Steak Teriyaki dish; Wilson a Vegetable Lo Mein with a side of Miso Soup.
----As the waitress disappears with the menus, Wilson turns his focus back to Stevens and Church with an excited smile on his face.  His line of inquiry starts rather directly.
----Well, Mr. Stevens, he starts.  I thought we’d start off here by talking about your hot start in Strong Style Wrestling.  At four wins and zero losses, you’ve turned more than a few heads in Japan and have made your presence felt while representing the Ronin, and I--
----While he might technically represent the Ronin, interjects the Dismembered Soul.  Our interests will always take priority over the interests of the Ronin.
----Right, uh, he responds almost uneasily before continuing with his question.  Your opponent to open the Best in the World Series is none other than Khmaoch Sângkât, a veteran of this industry who currently represents all of Strong Style Wrestling as the Heritage Champion.  At thirty-one years your senior, do you think Sângkât’s veteran savvy matches up well against your momentum?  Or do you think that your meteoric ascension through the ranks of Strong Style is too much for the champ to handle?
----Stevens smirks arrogantly as Church takes an amused swig of his Sake.  Scratching at his beard, the Envoy of the End nods his head and ponders the question for a mere moment before snickering cockily and responding with confidence.
----First, let’s set something straight right here and right now, he asserts.  I don’t give a shit whether or not someone matches up well with me, because when it comes right down to it?  The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter who stands across from me in that ring, because by the end of the night they won’t be able to stand anymore and, like everybody who has ever stepped in the ring with Kai Stevens?  They’re overmatched.
----So no, I don’t think Sângkât matches up well with me.  I think his face matches up mighty well with my fists, sure.  But there’s a really good reason that idioms like ya’ can’t teach an old dog new tricks exist in the first place.  And on top of that?  This tournament, it’s…  It’s supposed to be about who’s the Best in the World, isn’t it?
----Wilson nods in response without offering anything verbally.
----Then it doesn’t matter whether or not someone matches up well with Kai Stevens, states Church.  Because if you’re looking for the Best in the World, then you need not look any further.  Whether it’s Aria Jaxon, Masanori Kawada, or this week’s geriatric fuck, matching up well with the Best in the World doesn’t mean a damn thing when it comes time for Clash of Dragons, does it?
----If you don’t believe us, adds the Inevitable.  Then why don’t we let the numbers speak for themselves?  I’m half this guy’s age with more than double his wins.  And week in and week out, whether it’s Japan or Philly or Miami or anywhere else in the world?  I prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m better than my so-called peers.  I’m a whole ‘nother animal and a cut above overrated, overhyped idiots like Sângkât.
----A representative of the restaurant’s wait staff steps over to the table, placing down a woven basket with hot towels rolled up inside in the middle of the table, nodding with a smile and disappearing off into the rest of the restaurant.  All three take a towel in anticipation of food arriving soon and wipe down their hands.
----With convincing wins over two of the other three factions, begins Wilson carefully.  Including over names like Jack Ryland, Jun Nobunaga, and Racer Smiles of the Tres Comas Club and Shinati Mizarki, Belle Kingsley, and the Apparition of Shoot Nation, who do you think prepared you the best for the kind of offense you might see from Khmaoch Sângkât, as well as in the rest of your Block for the remainder of the Series?  Why?  And--  How is it you’ve prepared yourself for Sângkât’s style considering how significantly it contrasts from the majority of the opponents you’ve had throughout your career?
----Stevens and Church’s eyes all flick up to Wilson as if he’d just taken a piece of food off of both of their plates without invitation.  Wilson uneasily flicks his eyes back and forth between the two for a moment before gulping almost audibly.
----Appetizers soon, says a waitress as she appears beside the table and places down a round of soups and salads.  She disappears off into the restaurant and the three men begin eating, speaking in between pieces and streaks of consumption.
----Who do I-- Man, begins Stevens with a flashing of the furrowing of his brow and the narrowing of his eyes.  Honestly, all of them prepared me in different ways.  Mostly, though, they prepared me in that it kept me warm.
----You called it a hot start, supplies the UWA Hall of Famer with malice.  But you haven’t seen shit yet.
----Church stifles a small snicker as a waitress approaches with a tray that she places down on a small folding stand.  From there, she hands out the appetizers and nods before rather hastily disappearing off into the background.
----As for the most similar offense that I, begins Stevens.  Y’know, shut the fuck down?  I’d have to say that the Apparition -- who was no sweat off my back -- probably is where I based my preparation in terms of film study.  But if I’m being honest with ya’, Will?
----It’s far more conducive to just watch Sângkât’s garbage film.  Have you seen that shit?  It’s boring.  So you wanna’ know how I prepare for his Style?  The same way I prepare for everyone else’s.  I give their film a look and then I go out there and I shut it the fuck down.  You think that would change for a guy who’s old enough to be my father?  What, because he parades around like this pillar of the industry and wears that Heritage strap?
----I wouldn’t give a shit even if he were a pillar of the industry, he continues.  I’ve taken down more than a few pillars in my day-- as brief as my day’s been.  You think Sângkât can do what everybody else in this company has failed to?  I massacred the Apparition, and the Apparition has put Sângkât away with ease in the past-- what does that tell you?
----Wilson’s eyes shoot back and forth between Church and Stevens’s, as if assessing whether or not this is a rhetorical question.  However, Church speaks up to answer the question for everyone’s edification.
----The law of syllogism might tell you it’s evidence of superiority, he says.  But when it comes right down to it?  It tells you that we’re more than prepared for this guy.  He can bring thirty-two years of experience in this game and it won’t matter, because he’s never faced the kind of butcher Kai Stevens is in his entire life.  He doesn’t even know half the tricks we’ve got up our sleeve and what’s better?  Is that he wouldn’t be able to stop ‘em even if he did.
----Thirty-two years, adds the Envoy of the End.  Thirt-- Shit, man, he’s been doing this for longer than I’ve been alive and he STILL isn’t on my level?  That’s embarrassing, don’t ya’ think, Will?
----Don’t you think that-- that that’s sad?  Don’t you think that…  That I deserve better from the Best in the World Series?  If I’m supposed to sit here and accept that someone out there…  Someone out there can say they think Khmaoch Sângkât is deserving of being included in THAT CONVERSATION WITH A STRAIGHT FACE?!
----Stevens coughs and holds back laughter by pumping his fist into his chest and coughing again as a waitress seems to materialize beside the table as his demeanor grew more volcanic, like A Man Possessed.  She places their main courses on the table and disappears as quickly as she had appeared in the first place, allowing them to continue.
----As far as reality is concerned, adds the XXXacutioner.  Khmaoch Sângkât is nothing more than a speed bump on the road to being officially recognized as what Kai Stevens has been since the day he stepped foot in the ring…  The Best in the World.
----You can ask any of the six names you just listed of people he’s already humiliated in the ring, or any of the dozens of other shitstains who tried to square up to my protégé here…  There’s no question in any of their minds as to whether or not Kai Stevens is the best.
----And sooner than later, Will?  There won’t be a question in anybody’s mind.  You should count your blessings that you have the opportunity to have accurately predicted what we’re about to do in this tournament, in this industry.
----And what exactly are you about to do in this tournament and in this industry? Wilson asks.
----The Aerial Arsonist finishes chewing a piece of his General Tsao’s Chicken that he’d recently placed in his mouth with his chopsticks and leans forward, resting his forearms on the edge of the glass table and interlocking his fingers.  His nostrils flare as his eyes narrow and the malice bubbles up beneath the surface.
----He understands that he is in a public place, a restaurant no less, which means that he knows he must keep a vice-like grip on his Dark Passenger, as Dexter Morgan might call it.  As such, he takes a deep breath in through his nose and ominously calmly answers Wilson’s question.
----Well, he begins.  It starts with Khmaoch Sângkât.  It starts with brutalizing him in front of all of Strong Style to the point that-- that the mere prospect of having to come to look the End in the eye strikes fear into the hearts of each and every person in this tournament…  In this company...  In this business.
----It starts with freeing myself from the pressure that’s mounting up within my brain, he explains, pushing the pads of his right index and middle fingers into his temple in a twisting motion.  With alleviating this pressure that pushes me to maim...  Pushes me to end careers...  Pushes me to snap.  It’s like there’s a void in here, Will.  A void that I can only ever fill by drawing blood.
----Y’see, Will, when I’m standing tall over Khmaoch Sângkât’s broken and beaten carcass at the end of the night with my head high and my middle finger held higher?  That void will flush with catharsis.  The pressure will dissipate.  I will feel…  Feel whole.
----Not until I have his head on a pike will I feel release.  Not until I have broken his spine across my knee and his spirit across my back…  Not until I have shown the so called Phantom Menace what a night terror...  Really is.  And sure as damn Hell not until I have taken every last word that geriatric fuck has EVER said and shoved it back down his throat so I can put them all back where they came from and make sure I don’t ever have to hear another syllable out of his ugly mug.  Not until I show Sângkât what a living Hell really is.
----Stevens shakes his head contemptuously before pulling his beverage up to his lips with disdain, refusing to relent on his ominous staring at William Wilson.  After taking a sip of his Vodka Sour, he places it down on the glass and pops a piece of his Spicy Rock Shrimp Tempura into his mouth and chews, allowing his eyes to relinquish their submission hold on Wilson.
----Church leans slightly forward and smirks confidently, as if this were a game of chess and he were six moves ahead of his opponent.  A small snicker accompanies his facial expression as he swirls his the Sake in his glass around.
----It starts with making a statement, he says arrogantly.  With making an example out of Khmaoch Sângkât.  Do you know what that statement is, Will?  To what effect we offer Sângkât as an example?
----No, responds Wilson almost sheepishly.
----The statement of strength.  The statement of we don’t give a fuck about your Champions.  The statement of we are the Best in the World, while Khmaoch Sângkât?  He’s just an old dog way past his prime -- if he even had one -- biding his time until euthanasia.
----Khmaoch Sângkât is nothing more than what we allow him to be.  And by the time we’re through with him at the end of our match?  We won’t allow him to be anything other than pieces in bodybags.
----And we will make him an example, he continues.  Of who we are.  Not because he beat our so-called fearless leader at Domination, but because we are our own leaders.  We’re making him an example of the only faction that matters in Strong Style Wrestling…  Brian Church and Kai Stevens.
----Wilson nods as he scribbles away on his notepad.  When he finishes writing, he peers up over horn-rimmed glasses and smiles.  He flicks his eyes down to his watch before lifting them back to the two men he’s interviewing for his article on the Best In The World Series.
----Well, guys, he starts.  I only have one more question.  Before that, I want to thank you for your time today, and share that I’m looking forward to your match with Sângkât, as well as to the remainder of the tournament.  Now, shifting gears a little bit, I’m curious-- Why are you so positive you’re going to win?  Sângkât is no easy task, as many can attest to in Strong Style Wrestling.  He is SSW Heritage Champion for a reason, don’t you think?
----Deafening silence.
----Both Stevens and Church lean forward and take almost fully simultaneous swigs of their alcoholic beverages before placing them back down on the table.  After clearing his throat and scratching at his beard, the Envoy of the End responds to Wilson’s question with vitriol.
----Let me make something abundantly clear to you, he stabs.  I don’t care who he is, what he’s accomplished, or what you or anybody else thinks of him.  I really don’t.  Who you are before you step into the ring with me doesn’t matter, and y’wanna’ know why?  Because between the ringing of the bell to start our match until I’m done with you?  All I am is predator and all you are is prey.
----We said it starts with Sângkât, but the fact of the matter is that what is a hot start in your opinion and a slight warm up in mine means that the End of Sângkât is truly the beginning of the End for everybody else.
----Sooner than later, he continues.  Sooner than later I will taste in his torment, Will.  I will bathe in his blood and y’know what?  I will prove that he isn’t better than the Best in the World.  So for his aspirations in this tournament?  For his hopes of continuing to defend his strap and continue his career?  And for my time being overlooked in this industry?  The end is nigh.
----Stevens smirks confidently, lifts his glass in the air, and cocks an eyebrow skyward with arrogance.  He then polishes off the rest of his drink and gestures for another round.
----Our scene comes to a close with one glaring question remaining following all of the bold claims and macabre threats lobbied by the Envoy of the End.  In the days leading into the first week of the Best In The World Series we must wonder--
----In a matter of life and death, can an old dog learn new tricks?

The One True Pairing
on August 4th 2018, 11:54 pmThe One True Pairing
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Sakura Corleone… The Beautiful Cherry Blossom that blooms among the dirt and filth in Strong Style Wrestling. When the world sees her walk to meet the faces of the audience as her music plays around the arena and she stands side by side her beloved Cassius, it’s like there’s hope and happiness waiting at the end of the ramp. When she wins her matches, she feels as if she has done everything right and her purpose as the belle of One True Pairing continues to be fulfilled. She loves the competition… she loves getting hurt… she loves hurting in return. And she loves when Cassius watches. To her, the feeling of winning with her Cassius by her side is like cherry blossoms blooming in the air as they touch her soft skin with every movement she makes.

But the Cherry Blossoms turn into Rose Stems that prick her skin and tears her flesh when she feels like someone has gotten the best of her. The sharp thorn pokes her skin and she could do nothing to stop it, like a million needles digging deep through her flesh. Losing a match is one thing, but losing it to two incompetent waste of space, two forgettable, disposable, talentless, incoherent scumbags that have no interesting trait like Saul Omen and CM Nas really put a bad taste in her mouth. The wonderful field of flowers in her head slowly dies as the toxic air spreads killing all of the hope and happiness that she had gathered up… one… by one… by one.

An innocent mind tarnished. A pure heart tainted. Her beautiful ending that she worked hard for, gone all of a sudden. Now she finds herself in bed… one moment tightening her fist in anger… another moment feeling the need to punch a wall. All she could do was comfort herself, embracing a big brown teddy bear she named “Hau-Hau” that Cassius won for her once upon a time in an Amusement Park. She then sets the stuffed animal aside… and starts to speak.

Sakura Corleone: This is madness. I’ve never felt so humiliated in front of my Cassius.

Hau-Hau (Sakura’s Silly Voice): Daijobu, Sakura-chan! You’ll get the titles back! All you have to do is believe in your love for Cassius, that will get you through any test! You can’t let this bring you down! The Phantom Troupe will get what’s coming to them!

Sakura thought again of The Phantom Troupe and she tightens her grip on the back of Hau-hau as she controls it. The whole situation felt so fresh, and she could not contain her anger.

Sakura Corleone: I am so sick of all of them swarming us like flies. Ever since the One True Pairing have made their presence known in SSW, there have been shadows of jealousy following us left and right, people who wish they were us and believe themselves to be better and so they try to look for anyone available to serve as a partner hoping they could separate me and my Cassius. At first, it was fun, the way we made fun of the careers that they value so much even when it’s spiraling down, but later on the same tricks had become unbearable to deal with when you see the same faces utter the same words. They keep trying to take our titles while discrediting us and everything we have done, because they can’t stand the fact that not even on their best day can they outdo and outperform us, they can’t stand that their weak faction consisting of a mountain of losers cannot withstand the power of two in the One True Pairing. Over and over again they have tried to damage us with no success until they have finally wounded us when we didn’t expect… I am very patient and gentle… but I can only take so much until I finally snap. They can’t do that… they can’t take our titles from us. I am not letting this slide.

Hau-Hau (Sakura’s Silly Voice): But what will you do, Sakura-chan?

Sakura Corleone: I am going to demand a rematch… I am going to tear their faces off and let the world see that they are nothing but weak scum of the earth…  

Hau-Hau (Sakura’s Silly Voice): Oh, Sakura-chan! That is very brave of you!  But what about the Best in the World Series?

Sakura Corleone: Hau-hau! I have no time for things like that! I am aching to get back what was taken from me! What was taken from Cassius! Don’t you care about Cassius?

Sakura looks at Hau-hau, unsure of what she will make it say next. She is angry and she wants nothing more than revenge… but realizing that she has another road to travel, she feels this urge, this need of taking more.

Sakura Corleone: On second thought, you are right Hau-hau. If I’m going forth to compete, I better exercise my strength. Who am I facing first again? Steven Cassidy? In all honesty, anyone who isn’t the One True Pairing looks the same to me. They all roll over the same dirt. They all have the same battlecry. They all appear to me as the same punching bag that I have to hit and kick with all of me. I get that they have gone through different trials and they come from different places, but you’re not going to bring your life experiences with you in the ring especially when you come face to face with the Yandere Goddess. She doesn’t care what you are, she cares only about the fact that you have to be beaten. Oh, Hau-hau… this is the perfect time, and the man has found himself in the worst situation imaginable… it’s inescapable… it’s inevitable. In just a simple week where he believes he will survive, he doesn’t even realize that he will be signing a death sentence and digging the hole of his own grave.

Sakura feels renewed... like there is a new purpose.

Sakura Corleone: I have not been afraid of anything, nor will I ever be. A little hurt in my pride is not the same as being physically injured, so there is no reason for me to lose in this match. I was born strong, and because of my Cassius, I stay strong. Advancing this tournament will not only serve as a display of my power and capabilities, but proof that I stand tall in a world that wants nothing but to kick me down for who I am, proof that I am indeed the best in this company, and that I should never have lost what was mine, to begin with… Losing a match for the first time makes my stomach turn, it blinds me to the point where I just want to destroy everything in my path, and so I decide to not lose again. Thanks to the fluke win of those idiots, the competitors in this tournament will suffer, the entire company will suffer as I take every gold and glory that they have reserved for those who “worked hard”, hoping that this is their opportunity to achieve something, and take it to my possession. I refuse to let anyone else have the upper hand this time… I am aiming for the stars... and beyond.

Sakura finally sets down Hau-hau, indicating that she is done with their “conversation”. Sakura then lays on her back with a smile on her face.

Sakura Corleone: The Lovebird Tag Team Championships… you will soon be mine again. Along with everything else I fight to win. The Best in the World Series… The Crowns on the head of those who claim to be Kings… the World Title… All of it. Until I am finally satisfied with what I have taken for the sake of the One True Pairing. For my Cassius. Only for my Cassius.

You shouldn't have upset her. You shouldn’t have made her snap.

There is no stopping Sakura now.

SSW Promos - Page 4 OTP_2
Jaydayne Pendragon
on August 4th 2018, 7:22 pmJaydayne Pendragon
OOC: Just a development promo for stuff about his life after becoming champion and all that jazz.


Saturday night: Heading from the ring to the backstage area, Pendragon celebrates with his Shoot Nation  brethren Kawada, Belle, Steven Cassidy, Vanessa Santiago, Shinati, and the Apparition. They are met with Renee who claps and hurriedly gives Pendragon an embrace. Pendragon afterwards speaks to the cameras.

Pendragon: It has been a long journey, but tonight after all the ridicule, the doubt, and adversity, I stand with my family on top of the summit of Strong Style Wrestling! This is only the beginning, these men and women who walk with me will continue the slaying of the entire Phantom Troupe and taking claim to the championships that represent this company, wherever we must fight the scum who take hold of glory above their rightful purview. I know, in the future even my championship will one day exchange hands with many of these individuals who stand with me…….but for tonight, we rejoice!
️ Pendragon gives his fellow Shoot Nation members a polite bow and clenches his fist in the air as they do the same as a sign of unity, before leaving with Renee.

Sunday: Pendragon and Renee are seen at Pendragon’s residence in Japan, communicating through video teleconference with family abroad. The video show Pendragon’s parents giving a traditional stern congratulations. The video with Renee’s brother in the hospital show the young man with a replica of the Puroresu Heavyweight Championship, he mimics some of Pendragon’s mannerisms in the ring as they laugh, and then the nurses put him back to bed.
Monday: Due to an alumnus of the Wrestling Grotto obtaining world gold in Japan, representatives have chosen to make their way for press conferences and to create a commercial. The commercial features Pendragon, the founder and teacher Jack Miles, and using Renee as a poster girl/mascot in her role as a current full time student.  After the couple step of the set, they are meant with more of the old J-Dynasty guard, Jaywalker, Jaspora & and her monster the Moving Mountain Gunkai Riggs.

Jaspora: Now boys, I want this to go down professionally.
Jaywalker: I see no reason why it wouldn’t, your presence is unnecessary. I’m always about business.
Pendragon: Have you nothing to say about exposing your identity as a TCC investor, and how far you went with the GREED affair?
Jaywalker: What? Are you expecting an apology? I don’t do those. Since the beginning, the members of the J-Dynasty have always had their independence, I neither tell them what to do nor how to represent themselves, only that they operate under our brand. If you are all free to do as you please, why would it be any different for me? Besides, don’t forget, I found you when you were wrestling under EAW’s pathetic War Made Wrestling side project, you didn’t even have a right to use your name under a criminal organization, and look at you now. Gone to an actual wrestling school, money for your bills with an honest day’s work, and a champion. You should thank me, not question me.
Pendragon: I appreciate all you’ve done. But if you ever get in my way or for what’s right for this company, you’ll be put down just like anyone else.
Gunkai(Leaning in to put his arms around both Pendragon and Jaywalker): Hahahaha, you pipsqueaks sure do a lot of talking. I say trading fists usually settle things better than words. (Looking at Pendragon) You know, I heard you’ve been quite the titan killer over there, I’d be interested in see-
Jaspora: That’s enough! You don’t need to worry about Jaywalker. (Her lips form a dark sly smile looking at Jaywalker’s direction) I heard the GREED experiment has hit quite the snag, and our oh so wise visionary here is about to return to being a silent figure, lining his pocket’s in the shadows like a good boy.(Jaywalker closes his eyes and says nothing.) I believe you have something for these two, Jaywalker? He won the title, our brand has once again been elevated.
Jaywalker: Yes. As promised, here’s your big bonus cheque champ. You could have been making this kind of money if you put prudence over honour in these factions, but again we are allowed to live our lives as we please. Alloy would have liked you, kid.
(Jaywalker claps his hands and Jaywalkerinc employees walk in with a large gift wrapped cheque, handing it over to Pendragon and Renee.)
️The old J-Dynasty members make their leave, and Renee opens the wrapping, bursting into tears when she see’s the amount they’ve been given. She falls to her knees over it and Pendragon goes down to support her in this touching moment, suffice to say Renee’s little brother’s medical bills will be paid off for a very long time.
Tuesday: Pendragon at a press conference for SSW after the announcement the Best of the World Series’ explanation that if the world champion wins they’d pick who their opponent is at Wrestle Spirit. He answers various questions about being champion and his last few days as expected until they get to the juicy stuff.

Press man: Pendragon, with the announcement that if you’re the winner of the Best of the World Series, as long as you remain champion, you’d be able to pick your opponent at Wrestle Spirit…..the world has to know, WHO WILL IT BE!
Other press man: Will it be a member of Shoot Nation?!!
Press woman: Have you heard anything about the intentions of Aria Jaxon?
Pendragon: People, people! These are all great questions, but honestly I haven’t had the tournament and such details at the forefront of my mind just yet. Right now I’m focused on being the greatest champion possible, and I’ll take on all comers as they pop up in front of me. Thank you.

For the next few days after that, Pendragon had spent the days sit seeing with Renee before her departure. Starting with the Shinto shrine, Fushimi Inari-taisha.

Saturday morning at an airport, Pendragon is with Renee before she has to go back to her training and taking care of the family abroad. ⚔
Pendragon: The good days always pass the fastest. I’m really glad you were here for me, I think it was the extra push I needed to seal the deal and win the big one.
Renee: Don’t be silly, I know my man. You just needed a little reminder in person is all, I’m always here with you, always watching and supporting you. Just don’t get carried away, never forget who you are and where you come from, just because you’ve achieved your dream. Especially, don’t forget what kind of man is mine, or I’ll have to fly right back and deliver the greatest beat down Japan has ever seen! A la prochaine, mon chéri.
️Renee kisses Pendragon and gets on her flight, both waving goodbye as the plane goes off. Pendragon clinches his right hand with conviction.
Pendragon: Just as I once promised, I’d return to you a proven warrior; I promise I shall return to you a proven champion!
on July 28th 2018, 7:59 amBANG
SSW Promos - Page 4 TVEXxvSW-_2msjqQG29g-y30Zap5ZCz3kv3NkzNjU7SFvx_NMOUdXS-j8vf3WnKNc9RH-xzJHJXSyjkrz1ARgs1uJfIlrOWHS3eYOpTdx-dpN8CUnqFoxKTRTXlhLlnOP2k7f1bg

BANG sits in a dark room - dressed in his wrestling attire and a torn Tres Comas Club t-shirt - clutching Minerva in his hands and pressing her to his chest as he faintly whispers to it with a smirk on his face.

BANG: Mark Montana….

BANG leans in to Minerva again.

BANG: Gone.

The smirk on BANG’s face fades away, replaced with a look of distress before it shifts to a look of rage.

BANG (whispering): Andre… Vir…. Go.

BANG slowly shakes his head, almost protesting having to speak.

BANG: You took… Everything. You took Mark Montana. You took Junior Heavyweight Championship. You took Tres Comas Club… You took… You take from me… I sit at home, watching you. Always watching. Always waiting until I come back, because Mark Montana taught me. Mark said it’s best to take when they need it most. You need it most, Andre… Vir… Go. I watch and see everything you do. You carry Junior Heavyweight Championship. You defend it. You keep it around your waist. You keep it with you, but the rest - it falls apart. Tres Comas Club starts crumbling… Because of you. Everything Mark Montana built. Because of you, it is stained. Forever. You were no true member. You were hungry. You did not want power with Tres Comas. You wanted power of Tres Comas. You wanted to take it for yourself. Selfish. Gluttony, Andre… Vir… Go. Power… Money… Fame… You bit the hand that feeds. You took it all for you. You make this your own, and like an organ that does not work with a body, it rejects you. It does not want you. We do not want you. They do not want you. NO ONE WANTS YOU!

BANG buries his face in the head of Minerva as he continues to speak.

BANG: So I come back. And I take. Everything. It is the right time. You have everything, and now I take it all. You took from me, and I take from you. You will spit up everything that you devoured, Andre… Vir… Go. BANG will expose who you are. He will take away fancy clothes. He will rip away your delusion. I will leave you naked before Tres Comas Club, and you will be removed forever. Not because you deserve it. Because you belong here. I was chosen. Picked by the man who built the ground you conquer. It does not belong to you. It is mine, and I will rip it from your hands. You dream too much, Andre… Vir… Go. You dream of being leader. You dream of being Champion. You dream of being center of attention. Dreams end when dreamer wakes up. Do not worry. I do not want to wake you from your dream. That is too… Merciful. That would do you favor. Instead, you will not escape dream. You will not be thrown into reality. Not yet. You can face the truth later. Not yet. Instead…

BANG raises his head, showing a slight sadistic smile as his long hair covers his eyes.

BANG: I drag you down from dream. Kicking and screaming. Kick all you want. Scream all you can. I will not stop, Andre… Vir… GO. I take you with me where you belong. Not on top. You belong below. The bottom. I drag you from your dream, and to your nightmare. Nightmare where you watch BANG take back rightful place as leader of Tres Comas Club. Nightmare where you look for Junior Heavyweight Championship around your waist, and find nothing there. Nightmare that you will never wake up.

BANG struggles to keep himself from laughing.

BANG: Never, ever, ever…. You carry gold, but fools gold. You did many things. Beating me is not one. You did not earn gold. I know it bothers you. I know you wanted this as much as I did, Andre… Vir… Go. Because you want dream to continue. You want to prove you are better than BANG. You disrespect me. Disrespected Mark Montana. You should thank us. If I did not disappear, you would not be here. You would be the one on the sidelines, watching. Waiting. You. Not me. That is why your nightmare comes true at Domination. Because without me, you are the best. You are the Champion. With BANG, you… Are just an underling. That is what drives you. It digs under your skin. You know what place you were made to belong not long ago. You know I am back to put you where you belong. You are desperate. I know it. I can smell it. It smells good. Your fear smells better. I like it. A man with fear of walls closing in on him. You had time to soak up your spotlight. You had time because of me. You basked in your dream, and now you have to get through this nightmare. You will come out a better man than you were before. But you will come out without your gold. You will come out without your leadership. You will come out, but you will wish you stayed in. Not knowing who we are is scary, Andre… Vir… Go. Do you know who you are? I do not think you do. I think you need the Junior Heavyweight Championship to hide that you do not know who you are. You have nothing to call your own, so you take from others. You take from me, and you will take from everyone. No more. I will help you see who you are. It is just a man that wants. Want, want want… Power… Money… Fame… You want, but you don’t know how to have. You want to be Champion, but you do not have it. You want to be the best, but you do not have what it takes to be the best. You roam the Earth not knowing who you are. You will watch me with Tres Comas and my Championship back, and you will know. You will know who you are, and where you belong. Underneath me. In my shadow. In your nightmare. That is your life now. This is where it starts. Tonight at Domination. You will have everything taken. You will watch, and only watch when it is over. You will watch until you put a gun to your head, and countdown...



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