PRIMETIME in San Diego
April 18, 2005
Featuring four first rounds matches in the
UNIFIED World Heavyweight Championship Tournament:
Boogie Smallz vs. Jean Rabesque
Cameron Cruise vs. High Flyer
Vince Jacobs vs. Logic
Dan Ryan vs. Steve Radder
Flashback: What Has Gone Before
(From "What Has Gone Before" -- April 17, 2005)
“Nice tie buddy. Man wears a suit to a CSWA event. That’s class.”
Thomas listened to Rhubarb Jones, the company’s Ring Announcer from as far as anyone wants to remember, work the crowd thirty seconds before "Go-time" of CSWA PRIMETIME in San Diego, unable to validate the claim. Not that Stephen has a taste for fashion, but in seventeen years he’s seen it all. Rhubarb is a natural wonder at hyping the crowd. Outside of the night a few years ago where he tried some new, edgy (critics said racist) humor, Rhubarb is as harmful as a kitten. The common people respond to him. He’s one of their own.
“What’s my excuse?” Thomas glances nervously at a checklist in his shaking hands, as he stands in the gorilla position behind the entrance curtains, “I have to dress up. Tend to frown on it around here if I don’t. But, mine’s not a clip-on.”
Stephen chuckled. He knew better. Rhubarb could no more tie a tie than swim the Atlantic in three days.
“Hey boss, again…really, I apologize.”
“It’s okay Cameron—Marvin can you hear me?” Thomas spoke into his headset, and held his breath. “You’re late. It’s what you do.”
“It was a bank robbery this time. I couldn’t.—“
Thomas laughed. “Cruise go. Please. Get out of my hair.”
“Do we have any birthdays celebrated today? Yeah?” Rhubarb asked the sell-out crowd. A myriad of voices gave the answer. “No? Too bad.”
Thomas unwrapped a stick of gum and gently shoved it into his mouth. A better taste, that’s what this has all been about. In six weeks it’s hard to believe the company has come this far. He’s pasted a World Tournament with significant names together on the fly. Maybe he is crazy, but it's like a damn a fox. The gate for tonight’s PRIMETIME should help the CSWA get through the next couple of shows, since the TV deal money was all spent on the new talent.
“In ten, nine…”
“Sammy…Bill. Thank you.”
“Quit talking, I’m helping Jones count.”
"Who's helping you?"
It calmed Thomas to hear a familiar voice, drunk as it is. Stephen wiped the sweat from his face with a cloth, and took the last breath he’d be allowed for the night. “Do we have air in this place? This is unreal.”
“I’ll go check.”
“Six,” Rhubarb had the crowd at fever pitch. The best in the business, no one should need more proof of that after tonight.
The mic cut along with every light in the building.
Consummate ring announcer Rhubarb Jones lives for these moments. The final countdown to the first PRIMETIME under the new U-62 deal. The first PRIMETIME of a new era. Two hours of World Tournament action in front of thousands of screaming fans (even if the crowd was heavily papered).
They're all in the palm of his hand. You can feel it. This is the moment when he is the focus of everything they want --
"Start the show!"
"Count it down, Jones!"
"I want to have your baby, Rhubarb!"
The company depends on the man named after a vegetable.
The company depends on him to get the crowd ready for the big open, to get them ready to ooh and aah at the patented CSWA laser light show, and most importantly, to set up the big "I'm so excited to be here I'm about to wet myself" live crowd shot moment at the beginning of the show.
Without Rhubarb, there is no Sammy Benson.
Without Rhubarb, there is no Bill Buckley.
Without Rhubarb, there is no PRIMETIME.
And then there was darkness.
"What the h--? Hold on just a second folks, looks like there's a technical problem. Who back there leaned on the switch?"
The crowd chuckles but some of the surprised screams continue. It's not just lights out, it's DARK. People scream out of fear, or to be funny, or because the dirty teenage slob next to them just put a hand where it shouldn't be. You can hear, feel, the crowd tense.
For Rhubarb, it's disaster. What will the cameramen do when it comes time to find the happy faces in the crowd? More importantly, what will they do with no power --
There's an audible surge as everything comes back on. Three seconds to spare!
"Here we go! Three! Two! One!"
The cameras are on, the music kicks in, but the screens are... rebooting? That can't be right. Monitors don't 'reboot,' they're on or they're off. But either way, something's up with the screens. It's not PRIMETIME, it's....
Finding CSWA version ?
DELETE Shane Southern
DELETE Craig Miles
DELETE Eddie Mayfield
DELETE Joey Melton
DELETE Chad Merritt
INSERT Stephen Thomas
Change is good.
Change is necessary.
The CSWA PRIMETIME logo finally appears on the screen after six seconds of strangeness. As he climbs out of the ring and the opening video montage welcomes all wrestling fans everywhere, Rhubarb can't help thinking that he might not be the best setup man there ever was.
(CUEUP: “Day After Day.”)
(CUTTO: Joey Melton slingshot suplexing Mark Windham in 1988.)
(CUTTO: Five-hundred pound Dark Knight powerslamming Hornet.)
(CUTTO: Joey Melton getting the submission over Knight in a Figure Four.)
(CUTTO: Melton cutting a promo to a few friends and family of Merritt and Thomas in the Auditorium after winning. He eyes the belt, and his surroundings in distain.)
(CUTTO: Degadeth clotheslining Melton from the top of a cage.)
(CUTTO: Hornet thrilling a sold-out crowd my pinning Degadeth for the title.)
(CUTTO: Hornet and Wall dropkicking each other in exhaustion.)
(CUTTO: Hornet pinning Wall with a top rope flying body press to regain the title.)
(CUTTO: Mark Windham pinning Mike Roiter in ’94 to win the Unified title.)
(CUTTO: Hornet defeating Mark at Elvis Lives VIII.)
(CUTTO: Mike Randalls pinning Hornet to win the Unified title.)
(CUTTO: Montage of Randalls dominating opponents.)
(CUTTO: Ryan defeating Southern at CSWA15.)
(CUTTO: Southern pinning Melton to win the World title.)
(CUTTO: Close-up of UNIFIED title.)
(CUTTO: Bill Buckley and Sammy Benson standing at ringside. The two share a look of confusion. Benson sighs, it’s a sign he should not have come back. Damn him for answering the old lady’s call. Where’s the will power to say no? The self-respect?)
SB: Buckley, we’re on.
(He has none. His brother-in-law tried to get him in sales eight years ago. “I’ve been lying to the public for nine years, Frank. That’s not fertile ground to earn their trust.” Sure, Benson lies, cheats, drinks, and well, drinks. But, the Old Faithful is honest. If not America, then the poor lifeless souls who still watch this dreck after seventeen years respect that.)
SB: Welcome to PRIMETIME! He’s…
BB: Bill Buckley, right. And I’m Sammy Benson.
SB: No, I’m Sammy Benson. You’re…well, after watching you lick that kid’s head last night, I don’t know who the hell you are.
BB: Sammy, stop! He was dirty, Sammy. He was a dirty, dirty boy.
SB: Good Lord….
BB: I’m kidding! What after seventeen years I can’t kid? I can’t play the bumbling fool?
SB: Sorry, I responded to the classified first. But if it helps, your kids don’t respect you. (Buckley seems hurt.) Sorry. Actually, neither do I. But, we’ve got a show to open.
BB: You’re a hate filled little man, Benson.
SB: Yeah Yeah, and I stole a pair of your daughter’s panties last time I was over.
BB: Sammy, I don’t have a daughter.
SB: (Benson looks puzzled.) That would explain the black and white parked outside your door since Christmas.
BB: Geez. Folks, Welcome to PRIMETIME I’m Billllllllllllllllllllll Buckley and this is Sammy Benson! Do not adjust your television sets…
SB: It’s just our seasonal appearance in front of CSWA cameras promoting the Dawning Of A New Day. The turning over of a new leaf. This time will be different folks! We’re here to stay! No, honest! Christie hold that cue card a smidge higher please. If I can’t read it well, this sh*t just comes off fake.
BB: We wouldn’t want that. The CSWA is back. And in San Diego! (crowd pop!) Where we’re kicking off a 16-man tournament to crown a new UNIFIED World Champion!
SB: Personally, I don’t know why Thomas decided to bring it back. When our faithful viewers last left Mike Randalls was defending the strap in CITGO bathrooms against burly, gay truckers, and heroin addicts who washed up on shore. Really, there towards the end, I swear I remember Randalls putting the belt up against a chicken.
BB: How’d that one turn out?
SB: He’s a vegan now, you tell me. Look I’m all for glorifying the past, how else do you think I manage to show up day after day? But, at some point you have to realize it’s dead and buried for a reason. I mean, some of the dark corners of the world Mike took that belt, make Eli Flair’s underground, shoot feds look like a five-star Hyatt.
BB: You know, he’s killed a man before.
SB: So have I, Buckley.
(Sammy shoots Bill a serious look. Buckley quivers.)
BB: Sammy…Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.
SB: May 19th folks! I tell ya, the CSWA back on U-62 and plugging Star Wars with no financial gain on our end. What can we say? We’re all geeks here, who, thanks to (name censored) and Thomas’ horrid mismanagement are living paycheck to paycheck. Well, not me, because I have job skills outside of mirroring society.
BB: Signing a high school dropout’s tits at a local bar for fifty dollars doesn’t wash as a job skill, Benson.
SB: The hell it does.
BB: Fans, we’ve got to take a break. But when we return the UNIFIED World Title tournament gets underway!
SB: For you serious CSWA fans, IE, the mostly dead and paraplegics, set your TiVos now! Cherish these moments of live action while you can!
BB: That’s enough! Fans, we’re back right after this!
UNIFIED World Tournament First Round
Jean Rabesque vs. Boogie Smallz
Rabesque and Smallz started out this first round encounter with a staredown, undoubtedly a result of the bad blood that has been boiling between these two since their encounter for the Greensboro title. Rabesque starts out with some chain wrestling on Smallz, grinding his face into the mat, and then springing to his feet with a cocky smile. Smallz did not take very kindly to this and immediately went into Rabesque with a several rights and lefts.
This staggered Rabesque and Smallz sent him back into the corner, and then laid the elbows into Rabesque. Rabesque tried to brawl back with Smallz, but quickly learned that that was a mistake and Smallz promptly planted him with a DDT for a 2 count. Smallz continued to slow down the pace for some time, dropping elbows and fists into the prone Rabesque, gaining several two counts in the process.
Smallz would continues to capitalize until Rabesque was able to make a diving shoulder tackle into the right knee of Boogie Smallz. Once that continued, Rabesque smelled blood in the water and went after that very knee, no doubt with the Figure 4 in mind. Rabesque would isolate that knee by dropping his knee on it several times, along with a few kicks for good measure.
Boogie consistently would not stay down, countering every flurry of offense Rabesque would start. However, his leg would continuously go out on him, and Rabesque would then again go after Smallz's wounded appendage. At one point, Rabesque attempted to end the match by going for the Figure 4, which would prove to be premature, as Smallz is almost able to gain the three count with a small package of that.
Rabesque would make his own mistakes as well, as he grew increasingly frustrated at his inability to finish off Smallz. He even tried the top rope at one point, and that was answered by a reverse powerslam by Smallz. Smallz then continued the assault with a DDT and another powerslam, each of which gained two counts, almost gaining the three.
Boogie looked ready to finish off Rabesque. Boogie had Rabesque up for a powerbomb, but Rabesque was able to slide through for a small package, gaining a 2 count! Smallz would then roll that into his own two count. Rabesque went for the Figure 4 again, and again that was rolled up for a two count. Every move was counted, until Boogie went for The Overdose. Rabesque kicked violently and both men went over the top to the floor!
At that point, the referee lost all control, and the two men began brawling into the crowd, knocking over everything in their path. The referee was forced to count out BOTH MEN, leaving us in question as to their fate in the World Title Tournament!
SB: You have got to be kidding me?
SB: It's the UNIFIED World Tournament and these two go to a draw?! I knew America's favorite pothead had burned out most of his brain cells, but I didn't think Mr. "No Gimmicks" had been sitting around smoking with him.
BB: It just goes to show how much personal animosity can play even in a tournament with these stakes, Sammy.
SB: So what happens now? Does the other half of their bracket get a draw? Or will Thomas use the opportunity to put himself in the Tournament or something.
BB: I don't think...
SB: Of course you don't, Buckley. Or you'd remember "Commissioner Thomas's" reign as the Presidential Champion.
BB: Fans, up next it's Cameron Cruise...
SB: Oh, this just keeps getting better and better!
BB: Taking on "The Neighborhood Lunatic." The man they call High Flyer.
SB: I thought they call him "The Neighborhood Lunatic."
BB: They do.
SB: Then why do they... oh never mind. Marvin, cue up that commercial before I have to give up 10 months of sobriety.
Earlier in the evening, about three hours before the opening match of PRIMETIME in San Diego, STEVE RADDER steps out of his car, dressed casually, sunglasses on, left hand in his pocket. He begins walking to toward the employee entrance, this time reasonably certain he won't have to show his ID to get in the door. He drops his keys into his pocket and they land on top of his cell phone, the one that he's not too certain why he even has it anymore ... only two people have the number, anyway.
Just as he's thinking this to himself, the phone rings.
"WHAT?" he barks into the phone, regretting doing so immediately when he hears her voice.
"You KNOW 'what'," she screeches in his ear. I've got to make use of that call display, he thinks to himself.
"Actually, Kelly," he sighs, "I don't. What do you want?"
"What do I want? You KNOW what I want, losah," she says, in what he once thought was an interesting accent.
"Let me guess. More money." That's nearly always what she's looking for. Either that or a fight, sometimes both. Radder runs his hand through his hair, and when he's done, looks at the wedding ring he shouldn't bother wearing anymore. He marvels at the lack of scarring on his hands, many in the business have the worst ...
"Don't you dare take that tone with me ..." she starts again.
"Right. Get to it. I got somewhere to be." She hates it when he interrupts her. That's why he does it now, mature or not.
"You @#$%. I heard the rumahs, Steve." He has too, but he'll play with her for awhile.
"What rumors, Kelly dear?"
"You know what I'm talking about, @#$%-for-brains. I heard about the tournament. And I heard you're in it."
"Did you?" She didn't just hear he was in it ... she knew he was.
"The Ironman of Champions! One of the richest tournaments ..." she begins. Radder interrupts her. Again.
"You're not getting any more money out of me, Kelly. I've more than met any requirements of me ..." This time she interrupts.
"Oh, you'll give me mo-ah monay if I want it," she explains.
"Actually, sweetheart, that's where you're wrong. YOU served ME with the papers. On top of that, you agreed in them that I didn't owe you any of my future earnings. You've gotten everything out of me that you're going to get." He'd been waiting to say that to her for weeks now.
"Oh, you rotten ..." She knows he's right. She traded in a larger lump payment in exchange for any right to anything he earns from now onward.
"And the Child Welfare people tell me they'll be paying you a visit tomorrow." That brings a smile to his face. He'll have her back. The love of his life.
"You ... unbelievable ... you won't get away with this, you ..." She's already decending into nonsense. He's won. Again. "Are you serious?"
"Yes." He says into the phone.
He doesn't stress so much anymore. He doesn't bark at the people who phone him. It's either going to be Rick, his lawyer, or his mother.
"Steve." It's Rick. He's checked the call display every single time, for almost two-and-a-half years now.
"Richard! So nice to hear from you." Radder responds, more jovially than necessary.
"I wanted to wish you good luck tonight, Steve." That's not why he called.
"And to tell you that they won't be there. One of my 'eyes' saw them back in Tennessee early this morning." Good. She's a leech, causes trouble. Her boyfriend ... he has a score to settle. Not that Radder's afraid. He just has more important things to deal with than messing the idiot up even more than he already is.
"Good. Thanks Rick." He hangs up and smiles. Arriving at the gate, Radder nods at the guard there, who gives him a friendly smile.
"Showtime, Mr. Radder." The guard says.
"You bet," Radder responds.
UNIFIED World Tournament First Round
Cameron Cruise vs. High Flyer
BB: Oh boy wrestling fans, if this isn’t a treat, I don’t know what is…
SB: Cake? Better yet, pie. WHO WANTS PIE!?
BB: Was that...
SB: Yes, yes it was. Cause I'm OLD SCHOOL, Buckley.
SB: Sho nuff!
BB: We’ve got eight athletes competing here tonight in order to hold the brass ring, knowing full well there’s another full three layers into that delicious core called Championship glory. These competitors are hungry, and nothing is going to stop them on their way, which makes them all the more dangerous, don’t you think?
SB: I think you’re dangerously in need of a taco.
BB: They don’t serve tacos here.
SB: I’ve got a guy. He’s a taco guy.
BB: That’s funny.
SB: He’s also a cake guy. Sadly, he doesn't have any pie. Not since the Northerners stole that joke from us too. And the movie intros... I'm amazed Thomas hasn't sued them yet.
BB: Cameron Cruise, former CSWA Presidential Champion and tag partner with the famed and esteemed Joey Melton, is set here to claim a prize only a few men have ever grasped. Meanwhile, newcomer to the CSWA, but a seasoned veteran in his own right, the Neighborhood Lunatic looks to get in Cruise’s way and hopefully give Cruise a nice reality check.
SB: The only reality is that Cameron Cruise and High Flyer are just delaying their inevitable exits from this tournament.
BB: I wouldn’t count either man out. Cruise is an excellent technician, and if High Flyer lives up to his name… here in the CSWA, it’s not just about talent, it’s about different styles, and how they act in response to one another inside that ring. Any man in that locker room can beat any other man on any given day. Which makes this sport so exciting to me, doesn’t it do the same to you Sammy?
SB: Oh… My… God, that is a GOOD taco.
(Pan over to the announce booth, to see SAMMY handing the guy a five.)
SB: Ya did good Jerry. Ya did good.
(Bill Buckley simply shakes his head in dismay, as the bell sounds. CUTTO: The Ring, where things are about to get under way.)
BB: So you've put on what, about ten pounds in the last ten months?
SB: What, you'd rather me have a beer instead of the taco?
RJ: Ladies and Gentlemen, this next match, is scheduled for one fall and a twenty minute time limit, and is match number two in this opening round of the UNIFIED World Heavyweight Championship Tournament!
Introducing first, weighing in at 204 and a quarter pounds, he hails from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but currently resides in his Summer Home of Orlando, Florida. He has held numerous titles and been in numerous all-star matches with fellow CSWA superstars, but this is his debut match in a CSWA ring! Gentlemen, I give to you, now OUR Friendly Neighborhood Lunatic… High Flyer.
(The lights dim to a light blue, as some particles slowly fall from the ceiling into the crowd. It’s snow, lightly being dropped from the heavens, as the opening chords to “Loco” by Coal Chamber begins to play. At the songs peak, white pyro shoots out of the ring and reilluminates the arena, as the snow continues to fall, now only on the entrance ramp, on top High Flyer’s head. High Flyer, the small and agile man with a bit of strength and a mean streak, weilds his sledgehammer like a badge of pride. He has on the tA/21w Immortals Championship that he won from Kellen Kinkade, as he basks in the lights of the CSWA. Fans cheer, although not nearly as loud as they normally would. It is a new audience, mind you.)
BB: He looks ready, in top shape at the pinnacle of his career. And he’s here in the CSWA…
(CUEUP: "Headstrong" by Trapt)
RJ: And his opponent from Jacksonville, North Carolina stands at six feet four inches tall and two hundred fifty-three pounds. This seven-year CSWA veteran is a former Presidential Champion now making his bid to become the UNIFIED World Champion. He is... the master of the Reality Check... the CRIPPLER... CAMERON CRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUISE!
(Cruise steps onto the rampway as whistling rockets shoot off from all around the stage area. Cruise bows his head, shakes his arms out, then charges down the ramp and into the ring.)
(Inside, Cruise is checked by referee Ben Worthington, just as Flyer was earlier. Once finished, both men come to the center of the ring and shake hands. The bell sounds three more times to signal the start of the match, as Cruise and Flyer slowly begin to circle one another. Collar and elbow tie up in the center of the ring, Cruise wrenched Flyer’s Arm, and then pushed his elbow up as a pressure point.)
BB: The Crippler already starting his process, focusing on Flyer’s exposed elbow. Flyer does have history of elbow problems, but most people only know of his historied knee problems. His elbow was injured at the same time as his left knee, which got all the publicity.
(Cruise pushed Flyer gut first into the nearest turnbuckle, and then wraps his elbow over the top rope, before dropping a double axe handle onto its exposed point. Flyer falls to his knees, clutching his arm to his body in a self made brace.
Cruise looks for a knee to the face, but Flyer blocks it with his good hand, before catching Cruise with a rising palm shot to the sternum. The Crippler backs up, clutching his chest with a lost of wind, before Flyer charges forward…)
BB: LOCOMOTIVE! CRUISE DUCKS UNDERNEATH! Rear waist lock, GERMAN SUPLEX TAKEOVER! Flyer comes crashing down onto his neck and rolls over his injured elbow in the process! Simply beautiful.
SB: It was JUST a german suplex!
BB: That’s the kind of attitude that devalues the lariat.
SB: The lariat’s dangerous. I took one once and was choking up blood for two weeks.
BB: Really? From who, Space Ace? Or Ivy?
SB: Well, I did have a stomach infection… so that coulda been why.
(Flyer rolled onto his feet, as Cruise grabbed him by the focal point of his elbow and tossed him off the ropes. Returning, Cruise caught Flyer in a tilt-a-whirl, before Flyer reversed into a flying headscissors, taking Cruise over and onto the mat. The Crippler quickly regained his footing, and Flyer was right there to block him, kicking him in the gut before locking his head to his side…)
BB: Cold Snow! But Cruise tosses Flyer off, and Flyer lands on his feet! This is just a chess match!
(Cameron Cruise charged toward the Lunatic, who kicked him low with a dropkick to the knees. Cruise smacked his face hard on the canvas, as Flyer hooked Cruise’s legs and then pulled him back.)
BB: Boston Crab! Flyer’s going to lock in his Peaceful Slumber, but Cruise is fighting, crawling toward the ropes. Flyer can’t place his leg over the back of Cruise’s skull!
(Cruise kicks out his leg from Flyer’s injured elbow, and then uses that leverage to lunge toward the bottom rope and grab it, breaking the hold.
Well... eventually, at the count of four.)
SB: I like this. Taking full advantage of the five-count. That’s my kind of superstar. Wait, what am I saying...
(Cruise and Flyer recover to the center of the ring, and lock up in a collar and elbow. Cameron wrenches Flyer’s arm once more, but Flyer jumps up and tosses him over by his free hand in a tuck roll, snapping his neck over. Cruise leaps to his feet as Flyer charges, catching him in a Foley style clothesline that takes over both men. But Flyer lands on the apron, looks down at the fallen Cruise, and flies off…)
BB: Five and a Half Star frogsplash from Flyer, onto the outside!
SB: Pancakes! Now serving pancakes!
BB: Pancakes? Cruise needs to be picked up by the spatula.
SB: No, my taco guy started doing pancakes. Pass the syrup.
BB: You’re disgusting.
SB: I’m also busy, so finding time to eat has been difficult.
BB: Yeah, I believe that about as much as I believe that Teri Melton's hooters are real.
SB: (gaps) Buckley...did you just make a hooters joke?
BB: Yes...yes I did.
SB: It really is a new era. Maybe there's hope after all.
BB: Flyer rolls Cruise back into the ring, breaking Worthington's ten-count and assuring that we don't have two count-out matches in a row!
SB: I still can't believe...
BB: Yeah, yeah. Flyer pummels Cruise with some hard rights, then pulls him to his feet and sends him across. LOU THESZ PR.... NO!! NO!! Cruise held on to the ropes and caught Flyer with an elbow as momentum pulled him out of position! NECKBREAKER by Cruise! ONE! TWO! THREE!!!!
BB: Worthington waves it off! Cruise can't believe it! The ref is explaining that Flyer rolled the left shoulder up just in time! And Cruise is furious! He pulls Flyer up... ANOTHER NECKBREAKER! And he's taking no chances this time...he's headed up top!
SB: Let's see...he almost had him pinned before... hits him, and now goes... I've given up trying to figure...
BB: Cruise is perched on the top rope, just waiting for Flyer to get up. It looks like he's setting up for a missile dropkick. Flyer's up to one knee and Cruise stands.... NO!!! Flyer just catapulted himself into the corner...and Cruise takes the tumble!
SB: The tumble? He just smacked his head on the mat!
BB: Cruise recovers...but Flyer's set up!!! LOCOMOTIVE! LOCOMOTIVE! He just BLASTED Cruise with that running Yakuza kick! There's the cover! ONE!!!! TWO!!!! THREE!!!! HIGH FLYER is in Round Two, three matches away from becoming the UNIFIED World Champion!
SB: Which just begs the question: Where's Joey Melton when you need him? When we all need him?
BB: When we return... it's match #3 with two fWo standouts inside a CSWA ring. "Superstar" Vince Jacobs and Logic... up NEXT!
Earlier -- about an hour-and-a-half until curtain. STEVE RADDER is pacing in his locker room, head bowed, running shoes still untied. The wardrobe dude just left, pissed off, because Radder wouldn't wear his old tights. The "ICEMAN" ones. He's a strict basketball shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes kind of dude right now. The shirt says "USC" right in the middle of the collar.
He's pacing back towards the door when BILLY BUCKLEY walks in the room.
"Jesus, Billy," Radder blurts, surprised, but not angered by the intrusion.
"I'm sorry, Steve. A word?" Billy'd always been polite to him even though they were about the same age.
"... Sure." He's not done one of these, really, since his return.
"Did you think you'd ever get a chance like this," Buckley Jr. asks.
He smiles with that cocky, I'm-the-best-and-you-know-it smile. "Of course I knew, Buckley. It's due to me." He's smiling easier now. His hands, resting on his hips, seem so light now that the ring's gone. They're officially flawless now.
"Iceman, there's signs all over the building about the IRONMAN, which was just announced yesterday. What do you think about the level of excitement?"
"They're excited because STEVE RADDER's in there. The coolest of the cool. The Iceman. They're excited to finalyl see someone they and everyone knows deserves the belt. They're here to see me, Billy, they always, always are."
Buckley snorts. Radder's some kind of interview. Still, Buckley thinks to himself, as Radder looks off to the side, that he never thought--
"... that this chance would come as quickly as it did?" Buckley's question isn't surprising.
"I know I deserve it, Buckley. I know it's not the answer you're looking for. Not the 'I'm the coolest of the cool ...' drama that you're used to. That everyone's used to. But I guarantee you this, Buckley. Steve Radder deserves this chance, and Steve Radder's going to make the most of it." Radder's response is about as far from how he used to respond. Back then.
"And, Steve," Buckley chuckles, as if he's sharing a joke, as if they're not on tape, "You do know that Merritt's gone, right? You mentioned him all over your dissertation to Dan Ryan ..."
"Merritt's. Never. Gone. People like Ryan, hell even you, Buckley, think that he's gone. He's not. You wait. And watch. He'll come back. I said he was sitting back, looking for ways to bend people over, and I meant it. He is. You'll see. So will Ryan, my so-called opponent for tonight." His mentioning Merritt wasn't an accident. It was purely on purpose.
"Well, you've got your opponent worked up pretty good, Steve Radder." Buckley switches gears. Radder's had enough.
"My opponent isn't even here for the belt," Radder explains. "He said so himself. I am. I'm here for redemption. I'm here to do what I should have the first time. Be a champ. Now Buckley, I need to get ready. It's almost Showtime, and I've got work to do," Radder says, dismissing Buckley.
"Well then, fans, Steve Radder, no longer the Iceman, just before curtain here in San Diego. His first round match with Dan Ryan is coming, tonight!" Buckley finishes off his segment, and signals to the cameraman. Both turn to leave, and upon arriving at the door, Buckley turns back.
"You've changed," he says to Radder, in a completely neutral tone.
"Damn right," Radder responds, and turns his back to finish preparations.
UNIFIED World Tournament First Round
"Superstar" Vince Jacobs vs. Logic
"Mars, the Bringer of War" by Gustav Holst heralded the arrival of Logic. The Pensive Punisher’s massively muscled form made its way down to the ring, in singles competition in a CSWA ring for the first time. He was walking down to the squared circle for the biggest match of his life.
The only thing on Logic’s mind was Vince Jacobs. His opponent. And the Unified World Heavyweight Title. The 6’9" competitor stepped over the top rope, ready for combat. He backed against the ropes, awaiting the arrival of his opponent.
"I didn't have to come to the CSWA to be a Superstar..."
Vince walked through the curtains, instantly hearing a series of boos blending with his music.
"...I brought my spotlight with me."
CSWAvision flickered, showing a series of clips that highlighted various clips of SVJ in action.
Pro Wrestling's Phenomenon
"The bank accounts is thick and his pockets is fat
Peep the smirk on his face when he watchin' you tap
A 3-Count or submission, which steez you wanna go?
Cuz this (BLEEP) right here's the reason there's a show!"
SVJ climbed into the ring and posed for the fans as the jeers continued. He shrugs off the crowd as he looked at his opponent Logic who was in the corner ready for action. The bell rang, as both men were ready for this match.
Vince was not backing down one inch from the monster that outweighs him by about fifty pounds and was about 4 inches taller than him. Vince got into the face of Logic and started to jaw jack the big man.
Logic smirked at Jacobs and pushed him to the mat by his face. The fans started to laugh as Vince sprung to his feet and nailed Logic with a big right hand that did not damage the monster. Logic tried to swing at Vince who ducked the punch. Vince bounced himself off the ropes but was caught by the throat. Logic picked up Vince, press slamming him to the mat.
Vince scooted back to the corner holding his back. He was trying to figure out a way to take down the big man. Logic warned Vince he was a thinking big man but Vince didn’t believe him and he was finding this out the hard way now. Vince stood up and looked at Logic who was ready to get his hands on Vince again. Logic stepped toward Vince but Jacobs dropped down and nailed Logic in the knees with a dropkick.
The big man dropped to one knee as Vince nailed Logic with another dropkick this time to the head. The monster was down on his back now. SVJ quickly dropped a leg across the throat of the Thinking-Man’s Grappler. Vince quickly went for the cover on Logic.
KICKOUT BY LOGIC WITH FORCE…
Jacobs couldn’t believe that Logic kicked out with so much force. SVJ went to the top rope. Jacobs tried to nail Logic with the Five Star but Logic moved out of the way and Vince crashed and burned. He was trying a high-risk move early but it backfired. The fans started to cheer Logic. It seemed everywhere Vince went the fans really hated ‘the ratings grabber’.
Logic picked up SVJ and threw him into the corner. Logic went to the corner and nailed Vince with a series of right hands that sent Jacobs to the mat in a heap. He picked up Vince by the hair and whipped him into the far corner. Logic was manhandling SVJ and looking to move his way into the next round of the World Title tournament. Logic raced across the ring to the opposite corner and nailed Vince with a big Corner splash. Vince felt the impact and suddenly dropped to the mat.
The fans were cheering the monster as he continued with his calculating demise of Vince Jacobs. He knew he had Jacobs down and he had better capitalize on this situation. Logic dropped down and hooked Jacobs’ far leg.
THR--- NO!! KICKOUT BY JACOBS!!
Vince got a shoulder up just before the count of three to the dismay of Logic and these fans. Logic knew he had to wear Vince down more in order to finish him off. He picked up Vince but Vince was ready for him and hit Logic with a thumb to the eye. That got a nice jeering reaction from the crowd. But Vince had to do what he could to think of a way to defeat this big man. Vince staggered to his feet and hit Logic with a quick DDT. Vince stayed on the mat and didn’t go for the cover as he was trying to catch his breath.
Both men lay on the mat for a few seconds before they started to get to their feet. Logic got to his feet first. He hung over the ropes trying to shake the cobwebs from the DDT earlier. Vince quickly got to his feet. He rushed over to where Logic was hanging over the ropes. He leapt over the top rope grabbing Logic’s head clotheslining him with the help of the top rope.
Vince stood on the apron as the crowd jeered him. He gave the CSWA fans a nice little SVJ one finger hello. Jacobs saw Logic staggering to his feet as he hopped onto the ropes and slung himself into the ring and nailed Logic with a flying spinning heel kick. Vince wasn’t done as he went to the top rope again. He dove off the top rope.
Vince soaked in the jeers from the crowd as he went for the cover on Logic.
THRE--- NO!! LOGIC GOT A SHOULDER UP!!
The crowd gasped, as they couldn’t believe it that Logic got a shoulder up. Vince slapped the canvas as he thought that the match was over. He couldn’t believe that Logic was still in the match. Vince picked up Logic and whipped him into the corner. Vince ran into the corner but was met by a back elbow from Logic.
Vince staggered backwards to the middle of the ring. He shook it off and ran at Logic again but was met by another back elbow from Logic. Logic saw that Vince was staggered raced to Vince trying to clothesline SVJ down but Vince ducked the clothesline. Vince turned around but was met by a kick to the gut…
Logic quickly hooked Jacobs’ leg for the pin.
NO!! VINCE JACOBS KICKED OUT AGAIN!!
Logic picked up Jacobs and whipped him into the ropes. Jacobs came off the ropes and was nailed with a Sidewalk Slam that shook the ring. Logic was not done as he picked up Jacobs once again and drilled him into the mat with a Delayed Vertical Suplex. Logic went for another cover on SVJ.
THRE--- NO!! ANOTHER KICKOUT BY VINCE!!
Logic picked up Vince as the crowd was into the match thinking this would be it and Logic would be moving on to the next round of the UNIFIED World Heavyweight Title Tournament. Logic went behind Vince and hooked him in a German Suplex position. Logic suplexed Vince but the agility of Vince came into play as he flipped out of the suplex and landed on his feet.
But as soon as Vince landed on his feet he went down clutching his ankle. The crowd looked on as Vince was in pain. The referee was trying to check on Vince to see if he could continue. Logic was trying to get to Vince but the referee was keeping Logic back so he can tend to Vince.
Logic looked on as the crowd was actually concerned for SVJ’s welfare. Vince continued to scream out in pain as he held onto the ref complaining about his ankle. Logic walked over to Vince but Jacobs was ready as he caught Logic with an Inside Cradle.
That surprised Logic and the fans. No one knew how far Vince would actually go to win a match but they just a little taste of it as he was faking an injury. Jacobs was quick to his feet as was Logic. Jacobs and Logic started to trade blows but that was a stupid move by Vince as Logic was definitely winning this battle. Logic nailed Vince with a big right hand that floored the Superstar.
Logic picked up Vince and whipped him into the ropes and nailed Vince with a big boot to the face. Logic went for another pinfall.
TH-- NO!! VINCE GOT A SHOULDER UP!!
Logic grabbed Vince by the hair and hooked him in a massive bear hug. Jacobs was screaming in pain as the monster applied pressure to Vince’s back. Vince couldn’t go anywhere as he tried to break out of the hold by punching Logic in the face but the big man just applied more pressure and that onslaught was abruptly stopped. Jacobs looked to be almost out on his feet as he continued to be in this monstrous bear hug. The ref came over to check on Vince as he grabbed his arm.
He raised Vince’s arm…
IT FELL ONCE…
He raised Vince’s arm again…
IT FELL AGAIN…
One more time and this match would be over. He raised Vince’s arm for the third time. But it did not fall. Jacobs tried to fight the hold, because he knew he had to break out of this hold. Jacobs started to throw rights to Logic’s face to break the hold. He took his hands and raked Logic’s eyes, which eventually broke the hold. Logic was trying to get his vision back as Jacobs was trying shaking the effects of the bear hug.
Logic tried to clothesline Jacobs but he ducked under the clothesline attempt and nailed Logic with a Superstar Kick right flush on the chin. Both men fell to the mat. Logic hit the mat like a ton of bricks and Jacobs fell to the mat with pain in his back. Jacobs tried to inch his way over to Logic. He finally got to the big man and placed an arm over his chest for the cover.
THR--- KICKOUT BY LOGIC!!
Jacobs exhausted and in pain picked up Logic but Logic nailed Jacobs with a quick DDT. Logic grabbed Jacobs by the hair and was looking to nail him with a suplex but Jacobs reversed out of the move landing behind Logic. Jacobs spun Logic around….
Jacobs quickly went for the cover on Logic.
BB: (almost yelling) These fans did NOT like that outcome at all.
SB: Ya think it's because Jacobs is a prick after my own heart?
SB: I'm serious, Buckley. He's quickly moving up my list... still behind Eddy and Joey, but with a bullet!
BB: Jacobs rolls out of the ring and makes a few gestures at the fans that we can't show you on the air. These fans are all yelling for Logic, though. I'd say both these CSWA 'rookies' have made their impression tonight. One more commercial folks, and then it's time to close out this bracket with former CSWA World Champion vs. former CSWA World Champion. RYAN/RADDER NEXT!
With one match left, Stephen Thomas had watched the night go off almost without a hitch. The banter between Buckley and Benson was as good as ever. The wrestling inside the ring certainly met his expectations. The performances put on by veteran and 'rookie' alike were above par.
So why can't he get those first six seconds out of his mind?
It's not like it was a simple technical glitch. By the time the first commercial hit the air, Thomas was in the production truck, trying to get an answer out of the stammering staff. No, they didn't do it. No, they had never seen anything like it before. No, even if the whole system had to be rebooted, nothing should appear on the screens except a placeholder graphic.
Somebody's playing a game.
Change is good.
A game that could've cost him a company. U-62 may be on the hook for a year, but there are too many outs, too many ways for them to point to the letter of the law and find a way out of a contract. And then where's the CSWA going to go?
Change is necessary.
The names that appeared on the screen read like a list of suspects. Miles, Mayfield, Melton, Southern... Merritt. Other than Southern, every one of the four had a reason to come after him.
But then why not just pull the plug and keep it pulled? Instead of six seconds, why not six minutes? That much dead airtime certainly would've been enough to make the U-62 execs think that Thomas didn't have his house in order and cancel the deal.
Why? To send a message.
A message that didn't make sense... at least not yet.
Which means... there's more coming.
Thomas shuddered as he looked down at the screenshots... it's not easy to hold a one-sided conversation.
He took a deep breath and turned his attention back to the monitors. Dan Ryan... there's another one with a vendetta. And what about Radder and his connections to Merritt?
What happens when everyone's a suspect?
UNIFIED World Tournament First Round
Dan Ryan vs. Steve Radder
(CUEUP: “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine. Alternating blue shades color the entrance as a spotlight breaks through the darkness to reveal Steve Radder stepping out on the stage. The crowd stands to it’s feet as the former World Champion stalks his way to the ring, adjusting his elbow pad once or twice on the way down.)
RJ: Ladies and gentlemen, this match is for one fall, is a round one match in the UNIFIED WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE tournament….and is our main event!!! Introducting first from New York, New York….weighing in a two-hundred-twenty pounds…..the former CSWA Heavyweight Champion of the WOOOOORLD…..STEEEEEEEVVEEEE RADDDEEERRRR!!!!!
BB: Steve Radder makes his way to the ring for a matchup with another former champ, and Steve has to like his momentum coming into this one after defeating both Evan Aho and Kevin Powers at PRIMETIME 500.
(Radder reaches the ring and climbs in, bouncing off the ropes to get his bearings and swings his arm around in a stretching out maneuver.)
SB: Wasn’t that like two years ago?
BB: It was New Year’s Eve, Sammy.
(The witty reparte’ is interruptied by the opening riff of “Zero” by Smashing Pumpkins. A video sequence on the big screen shows a rapid fire succession of images. CUT TO: Dan Ryan gorilla pressing Evan Aho over his head to the arena floor. CUT TO: Ryan clotheslining Shane Southern out of the ring. CUT TO: Ryan tossing Mark Windham from the Mezzanine at Showtime in Seattle. CUT TO: a quick succession of shots showing Ryan delivering the Humility Bomb.)
RJ: And his opponent….from Houston, TX, weighing in a three hundred twenty pounds…he too is a former CSWA Heavyweight Champion of the World….”THE EGO BUSTER”..DAAAAAN RYYYYAAAANNNN!!!!!
(The crowd rises again as Ryan steps out on the stage and begins a slow and methodical walk to the ring. Ryan keeps his eyes squarely on Radder in the ring as he approaches the ring and slides underneath.)
BB: And the big man from Houston who I still say lays as much rightful claim to the title as anyone.
SB: It’s all equal now, Buckley. If he’s the champ you say he is, he’ll show it here tonight and into the later rounds of this tournament.
(SFX: Bell rings)
BB: And this one is underway!!
SB: Like clockwork….
BB: Radder starts this one off circling the bigger Ryan as the big man takes his time mirroring his movements.
SB: Radder’s giving up about a hundred pounds to Ryan, so Steve-o’s gonna have to dig way down deep into his technical repertoire to get this one done.
BB: Technical repertoire?
SB: Like that?
BB: Radder and Ryan feeling each other out and they lock up in the middle of the ring. Ryan easily pushes Radder back into the ropes and fires him across the ring! Radder comes back and slides between Ryan’s legs!Ryan turns and gets caught with a dropkick to the jaw!!
SB: Eat that..
BB: Ryan pushed back into the ropes by the dropkick bounces off and charges Radder but gets dropped with a drop toe hold. Radder up and drops an elbow on the back of Ryan’s head!! Ryan scrambles to his feet and looks none too pleased!!
SB: If Radder is to get his trademark technical offense in here tonight he’s gonna have to keep with this approach – take the big man off his feet and wear him down whenever possible.
BB: Ryan back up and they circle once more. Radder ducks a lock up and spins into a go-behind. Radder locking in a rear-waistlock, trying to bring Ryan over with a belly to back suplex, but Ryan locks his right foot around Radder’s ankle to block!! Radder tries again and this time Ryan spins in midair and ends up right on top of Radder on the mat!! Ryan wailing away on Radder with right hands!!!
SB: I think it’s safe to say Steve would like to avoid eating the meathooks like that, Buckley.
SB: I thought so.
BB: Ryan up and pulling Radder to his feet. Ryan locks his hands around Radder’s waist and DRIVES him into the corner turnbuckle! Ryan with a shoulder to the midsection…another…..another and Radder slumps to his knees!! Ryan pulls Radder up and measures him for one more but Radder hops up to the second rope avoiding the shoulder and rolls over into a sunset flip!! ONE!! TWO!!…..NO! Ryan gets the shoulder up!!
SB: Old habits die hard, Buckley. Steve pulled that out on instinct!
BB: Ryan quickly to his feet but Radder’s ready for him with a kick to the midsection. Another from Radder and a quick double arm DDT!! Radder with the cover!! ONE, TWO! NO! Ryan out with a little more authority this time but obviously a little groggy in there.
SB: Here’s the opening! Time to work some of that magic!
BB: Radder off the ropes, dropkick to the face of Ryan!! Radder up quickly and climbs the turnbuckle!! Ryan up and catches a missile dropkick right to the jaw!! Radder with a cover!! ONE!! TWO!! TH….NO!!! OH SO CLOSE!!
(Crowd: Loud collective gasp)
SB: That was a little close for comfort if you’re a Dan Ryan fan. You could feel the crowd gasping for air all at once.
BB: Radder back up….drops the elbow on the back of Ryan’s head…another!!…and another!! Radder to the top rope with the quickness!!
SB: With the quickness?
BB: Radder measuring the Ego Buster!!! Leg drop from the top rope and it finds it’s mark!!! Radder makes another cover!! ONE, TWO!!! TH….NO!!! Ryan slips an arm out just in time!!
SB: It’s right there for the taking!! What a monumental upset this would have to be!!
BB: Radder now circling Ryan like a lion waiting for the big man to come to his feet!! Ryan slowly getting up to one knee as Radder swings around behind and locks in the full nelson!! We could be seeing Absolute Zero!!
SB: Let’s see him kick out of this one!!
BB: Ryan’s eyes flash open in immediate recognition!! He knows what he’s in for!! Radder pulling up but he can’t get Ryan up!! Ryan breaks out and swings around behind Radder with a full nelson of his own!! Ryan twisting into the middle of the ring and DRIVES RADDER OVER WITH A VICIOUS DRAGON SUPLEX!!!
(Crowd: A collective “OHHH”)
SB: I think Steve Radder is out cold but Ryan can’t get over to make the cover after Radder just killed Ryan from the top rope with that leg drop!! Radder’s a little bit lucky though. He’s seeing stars but Ryan can’t capitalize or this would be quite over.
BB: Ryan slowly making his way to Radder….drapes an arm across…ONE……TWO…..TH……NO!!! Radder slips his leg across the bottom rope to break the count!!
SB: Luck of the Irish….or whatever Radder is…
BB: Both men struggling to their feet. Ryan makes it up first, but Radder is close behind. Ryan swings and connects with Radder….Radder uses the momentum of the blow to bounce off the ropes and come back with a right hand of his own!! Ryan swings, but Radder ducks!! BELLY TO BACK SUPLEX BY RADDER!!!
SB: He got it this time!!
BB: Radder back up and he’s fired up!! Off the ropes….Ryan back to his feet…clothesline by Radder but Ryan stays on his feet!! Radder dashes into the ropes again and RYAN CAUGHT HIM!! HE JUST TOSSED RADDER OVER HIS HEAD WITH A BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX AND RADDER BOUNCED OFF THE FAR ROPES LIKE A RAG DOLL!!
SB: Air Radder!!
BB: Ryan with the cover!! ONE!! TWO!! NO!!!
SB: Again with the kickout! Geez! There’s still some fight left in the man!
BB: Ryan drags Radder to his feet and with a burst of adrenaline Radder drives his shoulder into Ryan’s midsection but Ryan holds on with a front facelock!! Radder twists it over to a backslide position but he can’t get the big man over!!
SB: Not sure he can win a battle of strength here, Buckley!
BB: Ryan pulling with all his might and he’s starting to bring Radder over!!
SB: Uh oh, I don’t like the look of this….
BB: Ryan dragging Radder over and RYAN NOW POWERING UP TO HIS FEET!! HE’S GOT RADDER IN A LAYOUT POSITION OVER HIS HEAD AND HE DRIIIIVES RADDER DOWN ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD WITH THE HUMILITY BOMB!!!
SB: Say good night, Stevie.
BB: Ryan hooks the leg!! ONE!!!! TWO!!! THREE!!!! The crowd is up on it’s feet cheering as Ryan stands over Radder holding the back of his neck!
SB: Ryan just spiked Radder with that out of nowhere. What can ya say, Buckley?
RJ: The winner of the match, moving on in bracket one of the UNIFIED World Title tournament….”THE EGO BUSTER” DAAAAANNN RYYYYAAANNN!!!!
(The camera cuts to a Buckley and Benson two-shot, with the tournament brackets opaque over them.)
BB: Dan Ryan moves on to the second round to face High Flyer, while "Superstar" Vince Jacobs will await the decision of Commissioner Stephen Thomas after the double-countout between Rabesque and Smallz. We're out of time for tonight, but we'll see you next Monday night for CSWA PRIMETIME in San Francisco when the Cow Palace hosts the other half of the first round to determine the new UNIFIED Champ! For Sammy Benson and the rest of the CSWA staff, I'm Bill Buckley. See you Monday!