Two years ago, Smith Jones left the XWA, his final match against the tyrannical General Manager of the time, Diamond Jack Sabbath. But for the last year, Sabbath has re-established himself as a legitimate threat to anyone he gets in the ring with. At Legends, Smith Jones returned, and ever since then the tension between these two has risen with every passing month and now, finally, Sabbath and Jones clash in the rematch we never thought we'd see. But this time, there's not just one or two falls, there's THREE! First fall- White Leather Strap Match, the Second fall- Falls Count Anywhere, the Third and Final fall...Last Man Standing!
A rematch two years in the making is finally here. Two men are going to hell tonight, and they're bringing Melbourne with along them!
-------- Deadline for matches is 16th April 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. Voting will start at this time and conclude on 26th April 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. [CST is one hour earlier. GMT is five hours later.]
As we enter the final hour of XWA: If You Want Blood, the fans are absolutely bustling with excitement as we close in on the final two matches of the show. Some matches tonight have been on the horizon for a month, some for several months, but this next match? Two whole years. The bell rings to signal the attention of Melbourne Cricket Grounds as Hana Ramierez stands by.
HANA RAMIEREZ: The following contest will be a TWO OUT OF THREE FALLS match!
And cue huge cheers from the fans.
HANA RAMIEREZ: The first fall will be a White Leather Strap Match! When the second fall begins, Falls Count Anywhere! Then, if the match goes to a third and final fall, the stipulation will change once again, and this time...it will be Last Man Standing!
MARK SANCTION: Here we go, folks. Strap yourselves in, it's time to wage war!
MATT STEEL: Every single one of those stipulations has the potential to be violent and I absolutely love it!
The lights go out, and the fans cheer- anticipation running through their bodies. Suddenly...
White lights flicker in time with the drums of "No More Heroes" by The Stranglers, and images of Diamond Jack Sabbath performing various moves he's famous for display themselves on the Titantron, to impassioned booing from those who detest him. As the song kicks in, the Innovator of Anarchy himself makes his way through the curtain. He paces up and down the stage, surveying his audience for tonight with his hands thrown out, majestically, then begins to make his way down the ramp with a very self-assured and confident walk.
HANA RAMIEREZ: Introducing first, making his way to the ring- from Salford, Manchester, weighing 240Ibs, representing The Survivors...he is the Beating Heart of the XWA...DIAMOND JACK SABBATH!
MARK SANCTION: For the first time since Legends in November, Diamond Jack Sabbath is competing inside an XWA ring. After being suspended back in January for assaulting Amy Taylor on live television, it's an absolute miracle for him that he's even able to be here.
MATT STEEL: Yeah but Smith Jones came back because he wanted Sabbath in the middle of that ring. Of all the people campaigning for Jack's suspension to be lifted, none were more vocal than Jones and by God he got it. Look at the Innovator of Anarchy- he looks like he hasn't missed a step.
Yet more booing ensues as the Crown Jewel's presence is announced. He slides under the bottom rope and into the ring. He finds and jumps onto the nearest turnbuckle peering out into the live crowd for a good few seconds, breathing in that pre-match excitement in the air. Looking out into the crowd, he points right into the middle of that ring waggling his finger, telling us at the top of his voice that it belongs to him, that it's his, that no one else could even think to rule it the way he does. While up there, he takes off his spiked, black leather jacket and throws it down to the outside. Hopping down off the turnbuckle, Jack cracks his neck into place and prepares himself for the match both mentally and physically, shaking his arms and legs out to loosen them. He's ready to go to war tonight.
MARK SANCTION: Well if you've been following Sabbath, you'll know he hasn't been out of practice, becoming very familiar with Melbourne over the last few months.
MATT STEEL: But that's elsewhere. This is XWA. This is Diamond Jack Sabbath's world, as far as he's concerned. He built it, and with the Survivors he feels he is trying to preserve it from people like Smith Jones.
The Strangers' anthem plays out, as Sabbath puts in his mouthguard. He as he paces back and forwards in his corner, the chanting begins.
"SMITTY! SMITTY! SMITTY! SMITTY!"
MARK SANCTION: The Australian XWA faithful eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sabbath's opponent here...
That haunting double piano note repeats throughout the arena as ‘Waiting For The End’ by Linkin Park hits the speakers. All of the lights in the arena blast to full white and every corner of the arena is lit up. Smith Jones walks out onto the stage dressed to compete in his trademark all white boots, pads, and trunks. He stands at the top of the ramp and looks out across the XWA fanbase, true blue as far as the eye can see.
HANA RAMIEREZ: From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, weighing in at two hundred twenty-nine pounds, there is only oneSMITH JONES!!!
Jones stays at the top of the ramp and raises his fist high above his head. He looks straight up at the ceiling above him for a moment and then closes his eyes. He listens to the roar of the crowd and he is filled with momentary peace. Smith opens his fist above him, spreading his fingers and letting go of something invisible. Smith strides confidently down to ringside and mounts the steel ring steps. He wipes his feet before parting the ropes and taking centre. He stands with his back to the corner and steels himself for another mat war.
MARK SANCTION: In spite of the vicious attack last month at the hands of the Survivors, Smith Jones' return has been, quite honestly, an absolute smashing success.
MATT STEEL: But imagine if he can keep that going and defeat Diamond Jack Sabbath tonight. The end of Smith's last run ended with Jack and the old Sabbath Regime screwing him over in a Last Man Standing match. Now, tonight, he has the chance to get his revenge and ascend to that Supreme XWA Championship picture.
MARK SANCTION: And I have no doubt in my mind that he's gonna bring it.
The music ends, and we are left with nothing but the cheers and anticipation of nearly a hundred-thousand fans. On one side of the ring, Smith stands ready, having just entered the ring. On the other stands Sabbath. He cracks his neck, a smirk on his face as he looks Smith dead in the eye. There is absolutely no turning back for either man now, and they both know it. They know it even more as the lights begin to go down, only the flashing of a few spotlights around a lowering steel cage, approaching slowly like the passage of time. Referee Jack Tickles stands by, holding the white strap that both men will have to keep on for this first fall. As it gets lower and lower, the match hasn't even begun and the fans are chanting"This is Awesome."
MARK SANCTION: Ladies and gentlemen watching at home, I wish I could describe the atmosphere in the Cricket Grounds right now but even as a play-by-play announcer with over a decade of experience, I feel no words I can say will do it justice.
MATT STEEL: Damn right. No two ways about it, this is one of the most hotly-anticipated rematches in XWA history, one that some thought we would never, ever see, and it all starts in that Steel Cage.
As the cage gets lower and lower, Sabbath cannot contain himself. He is pacing around in his corner, back and forth, beckoning the cage down. It seems he literally cannot keep still. Smith stands patient. Unmoving. While he stands there, Tickles approaches with his end of the white strap. Smith holds his wrist out, as the senior referee fastens him in.
MARK SANCTION: Have you ever seen Sabbath so fired up?
MATT STEEL: This one is interesting for him and it's interesting for Smith, too. Last time these guys faced, DJS hadn't wrestled a match on a huge scale for well over a year and it showed. This time, he's just come out of what some consider as the best year of his XWA career as far as in-ring work goes. Diamond Jack Sabbath is in the absolute best shape of his career and that's what Smith will have to deal with tonight.
MARK SANCTION: Yes but Smith Jones didn't sit on his ass for two years while Jack did all that. He travelled the world. He won titles where ever he went. He was incredible last time he was here but as we've seen in the last two months, he's honed his craft even more, all to get to this moment. Ladies and gentlemen, if you wanna talk about rivalries, if you wanna talk about people improving in spite of one another, it doesn't get any bigger than this. We are in for a classic.
Tickles now walks over to Sabbath, who finally stands still and holds his hand out. As that cage reaches its destination and staff check it over, Tickles applies the strap to Sabbath's wrist. The Innovator of Anarchy begins to lasso it around his wrist and hold it. With Smith and Jack now joined together, that's when the pissing contest begins. As soon as Tickles has checked it over and made sure Jack's all locked in, the member of the Survivors uses the grip he has on the strap and pulls forward, pulling Smith a few steps out of the corner, to much negativity from the crowd. Jack raises an arm up in the air, triumphantly. That is until he is pulled a few steps forward himself by a retaliating Smith Jones, which prompts a cheer from Melbourne. Annoyed, Sabbath storms forwards, yelling as many expletives as he can fit into five seconds of shouting as Smith also walks into the middle of the ring.
MARK SANCTION: Oh no. Oh noo...
MATT STEEL: The battle of the egos has begun already! This could blow up pretty quick!
The roof nearly jumps off the Cricket Grounds until Tickles- not wanting to start the match yet until the cage has been checked- rushes between the two men and separates them, sending them both to their corners. The fans aren't pleased, they boo their little hearts out, but Tickles has a job to do. Jack walks back to his corner and he nearly reaches it before he spins right back around on his heel as he sees Tickles trail off. The Survivors member thunders across the ring towards Smith. The Winter Warrior hears the vibrations of the mat get closer and closer and turns around to see Sabbath running at him. The pair of them grab the back of each other's heads and begin to immediately clobber one another with right hands as Tickles rushes forward, trying to pull them apart but the fans can't get enough of it!
MATT STEEL: And it's ON!
MARK SANCTION: The bell hasn't even rung yet!
MATT STEEL: What use is a bell when you got two guys who hate each other THIS much?!
Tickles looks out as the people preparing the cage finish up quickly. On the outside the door to the cage is shut tight and Tickles, looking to the two men punching ten different types of crap out of each other, signals for the bell.
As the bell rings, Sabbath breaks off and reaches down for Smith's thighs, pulling him up and ramming him into the turnbuckle. He grabs the middle rope at either side of Smith, essentially trapping him in the corner and begins to ram his shoulder into Smith's mid-section. He does it once, he does it twice, he does it three times. A fourth time is enough for Jack to grab the back of Smith's head and drag him back out of the corner. Jack leads Smith along, but the latter is not one to be lead. Smith now grabs the back of Sabbath's head, and pulls him into the corner now. Jack's back-first up against the corner when suddenly he feels a sharp, piercing pain on his chest, as he's smacked with three knife-edge chops in quick succession. Finally, after delaying for a few seconds and pulling back for optimum effect, he smacks DJS with a huge fourth chop. The Crown Jewel's chest feels as though it's burning, as he walks forwards, and dropping to one knee, holding the top rope in one hand and his chest in the other.
MARK SANCTION: We are back and forth so far in this match as Smith Jones and Diamond Jack Sabbath go full force in the first fall here.
MATT STEEL: The vile and venom in every single shot these guys just took at each other is absolutely remarkable. I'm shocked they even made it to this match without tearing each other apart beforehand.
Using the strap to once again, he grabs a huge chuck of it and pulls him directly into his grasp. Once he's got him, he wraps his arms around his midsection as the Innovator of Anarchy faces him and throws him overhead with a huge belly-to-belly suplex. But is he done? Oh no. Jack, absolutely feeling like something has just punched him right in the pit of his stomach, pulls himself back up again, but once again finds himself being pulled across by Smith Jones, only this time the Winter Warrior is holding from behind, but still has his arms around his mid-section. Once again, Jack finds himself travelling backwards through the air, landing directly on the mat back-first.
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones is absolutely going to town on Diamond Jack Sabbath here, and you have to imagine how good this must finally feel for him.
MATT STEEL: How long, Mark? How long do you think Jones has thought about finally putting Sabbath through this much pain?
Smith Jones pulls Diamond Jack Sabbath back up once again, because he is still not done. Grabbing the strap and tying it around his wrist for a better grip, he holds on with his other hand and, like he's got a wild horse on a leadrope, he drags Jack forwards and then spins, throwing the Innovator of Anarchy face-first into a wall of the cage with an almighty smack that echoes throughout the arena. Jack falls back, holding his face in absolute agony, but he doesn't get much chance to really address the pain as he is pulled once again and thrown head-first into another wall of the cage in the exact same way! Sabbath drops to the mat, holding his face in agony as Smith stops to acknowledge the cheering Melbourne fans.
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones completely dominating Diamond Jack Sabbath here!
MATT STEEL: He's putting the strap-match-within-a-cage-match stipulation to excellent use, it has to be said. But then it is a match that he invented!
After a few seconds' delay, he holds Jack's head and guides him back to his feet once more. Holding his forearm now, he tosses him across the ring and into the ropes. Jack is hurting and annoyed, which is a terrible combination that will almost certainly lead to something bad. Jack comes running back from that rope and Smith's foot is already in the air, currently level with Jack's own face. The Innovator has to think incredibly fast in order to avoid colliding face-first with boot. As he gets within two inches of the foot, the drops down in a mix of reflex and panic, sliding under Smith's foot and right behind him. Jones drops his leg, not really getting a lot of time to react. As he does, thats when Jack realises the power he has over this situation now. That strap is coming to him and is in-between Smith's legs right now. Jack currently has a clump of it in his hand. The entire thing plays out in a matter of seconds, as Smith feels his entire arm pulled backwards through the middle of his legs. Smith has one arm up in the air, which Jack hooks under his own arm as he comes in closer and in one sudden motion, he pulls Smith down with him as he very abruptly drops onto his knee and brings Smith's back down onto his knee very sharply. Spinning the strap back out, Sabbath stands and smiles, putting his hands out and welcoming in the (not very) warm reception from the fans.
MARK SANCTION: God. Look at him. Gloating.
MATT STEEL: He's very pleased. And so he should be- I would be too! Expert reversal from Diamond Jack Sabbath, who takes control of this match back with an iron fist.
MARK SANCTION: We could very well have just seen the turning point of this first fall with that backbreaker variant, there.
Sabbath finishes his self-indulgent pandering to the sheer lack of fans he has, as he drags Smith back up to his feet. The Winter Warrior's back is in absolute agony, not that Sabbath is in any way deterred by this, and nor is he. He has to keep going, but it's difficult to do so right now, especially when Sabbath is pulling to forwards using the strap. Jack pulls him very forcefully and very angrily, sticking his foot out towards Smith's gut as he comes running in. Smith drops backwards, feeling the pain on both sides now. He doesn't drop fully onto the floor, not while he's in Sabbath's grip, he just kind of ends up squatting in place with his arm extended. The Innovator of Anarchy pulls him back up again in exactly the same way and this time he lets his shin do the talking as Smith's chest comes into direct contact with Jack's kickpad. And hard.
MARK SANCTION: And Sabbath with those stiff kicks now.
MATT STEEL: Look at the way Jack is working away at Smith's mid-section here. First he gets him with a backbreaker and now he's chipping away at the front. He's making life super difficult for Smith here.
Smith pulls himself to his feet and feels Jack's hand behind his head once again. With Jack's other arm, the Innovator of Anarchy smashes into Smith with a very hard European Uppercut, knocking Smith back a few steps and being so big that even the fans feel like they've been hit in the face. A second attempt falls on deaf ears though, Sabbath lunges forward but Smith weaves his head out of the way and hits back with a hard forearm. Jack retaliates with another european uppercut and before Smith can fire back with anything else, Sabbath throws him into the rope right behind him. He turns, allowing Smith to bounce off the rope and come back to him. While Sabbath swings for a lariat, Smith decides to play the Beating Heart at his own game and ducks under, instead running across to the rope right in front. When Sabbath turns, he is met with a huge roaring elbow, chopping him down to the ground like the biggest tree in the forrest.
MARK SANCTION: Roaring elbow from Smith Jones now!
MATT STEEL: This match has been back and forth so far, and I love it for that very reason!
MARK SANCTION: And Smith now, looking to score the first fall in this two out of three falls match!
Smith drops to the mat to make the first cover and Tickles drops to his knees to make that count-
TH--Sabbath lifts a shoulder.
Smith rolls his eyes, pulling Jack up by the back of his head again. Both men reach their feet with varying degrees of damage. While he has Sabbath at his command, he looks around. There is a door over there that he could easily use if he wanted to escape the cage but he could climb over. The problem with that is the exact reason Jack hasn't tried it either- the other guy could easily pull you back down and make your fall just that bit worse and go for a pin. And then you could probably squeeze in another pin after that if it was bad enough. Totally terrible idea. Both of them know it, neither is gonna do it. Smith instead elects to pull Sabbath in and wrap his arms around his mid-section. As he begins to drag himself over to the wall of the cage, his back facing the steel, it becomes very apparent what he's about to try and do.
MARK SANCTION: Uh oh.
MATT STEEL: Smith Jones about to Take It Home here, and what a great time to do it in a cage!
But Sabbath's not out of this. He's taken as much of a beating as Smith here and he knows how the Winter Warrior works. Putting his hand in the little gap between his midsection and Smith's own grip, he begins to dig away at Smith's fingers. Jones tries to keep his grip, but Sabbath begins to ball his hand up into a fist and use that to break the hold, his knuckles scraping against Smith's hands. Eventually the grip is broken when Sabbath moves his wrist down through Smith's hands and moves his entire forearm upwards. He then captures Smith's wrist and throws him right behind him into the opposite rope. Smith comes running back. Sabbath's ready for him. The Innovator of Anarchy catches his leg with one arm and his side with the other, picking him up and spinning him a hundred and eighty degrees until he drops him back-first onto the mat with an almighty bang. He stands back up, a little rocked but not enough that he can't hold his arms out to the booing fans.
MARK SANCTION: Sabbath turns it around!
MATT STEEL: That looked like a variation of Dan Bennett's "Wonder No More" finishing move. Still calling out one of the two people to ever beat Jack at Legends, even when he's not here.
MARK SANCTION: But will it be enough? Will that spinebuster be enough to set Jack on the path of winning this fall?
Jack turns, looking over his shoulder, as he slides down onto the mat, pulling Smith further towards him like a spider with a fly, as he hooks the leg.
Smith kicks out at two. Sabbath looks to Tickles to confirm. The referee nods. It was most certainly not a three. The Diamond King slowly reaches his feet, still slightly perturbed after all these years that Dan Bennett could pull that move off to great results while he's never been able to. Not to worry, though. He has another ace up his sleeve that always works. But if only there were a way to make everyone aware of Smith is about to face. Oh, wait...there is! Sabbath turns, and like times gone by he begins to stamp both feet at the same time on the mat, a few seconds apart.
MATT STEEL: Wait, no. It's too early for this, surely?
MARK SANCTION: Sabbath seems to be signalling for the Crown Kick, we've seen this many times before, but will it count? Will Sabbath be able to hit it?
Smith begins to stand, but he's not an idiot. He's studied Jack. He knows the sound when Sabbath is about to go for a Crown Kick with overwhelming fanfare. His ego is his downfall. Smith turns around, knowing full well what's about to happen to him and as Sabbath brings the leg to the side of Smith's head, the former Lord of the Ring catches it as it reaches his shoulder and keeps it up there. Jack's on one leg! Smith wraps his arms around Sabbath's mid-section, and in a fluid movement, he throws him over-head and crushing him into the mat as the fans go nuts!
MARK SANCTION: An expert reversal from Smith Jones now! Reversing the Crown Kick into a brilliant capture suplex there!
MATT STEEL: Oh, he knew exactly what was coming and he had Sabbath's number immediately.
MARK SANCTION: And to be honest, Sabbath made it pretty obvious where it was going, too.
MATT STEEL: He clearly wanted all of us to know, too. That's the problem.
Sabbath holds his back in agony as he rolls over onto his front, trying to catch his breath during this little break in action. As he crawls along the mat, Smith looks behind him. The turnbuckle is nice and near to him and he's got Sabbath crawling along the ground. The moment is perfect. Sabbath reaches his knees before he falls right back down onto his front, holding his mid-section and beginning to breathe quite heavily.
MARK SANCTION: We are still in the first fall and it looks like this has taken a lot out of Sabbath already.
MATT STEEL: Well yeah, he's been suplexed, he's been thrown, he's been outsmarted and outwrestled. I mean I recognise the talent he has, it's hard to argue that, but Smith Jones has controlled the narrative here. Everything he's tried, Smith has had an answer for. I wouldn't be surprised if he's been watching Sabbath matches in preparation.
Smith travels backwards, taking huge strides until his back hits the turnbuckle. Not taking his eyes off Sabbath for a minute, Smith steps up to the second rope. Sabbath doesn't move. He tries, but he can't. He truly, truly can't.
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones possibly going for Gravitas here. We've seen this out of him before.
MATT STEEL: Yeah but look at Jack. He's going nowhere.
MARK SANCTION: He does seem to be hurt pretty badly. I think possibly he may have landed on his neck or the back of his head or something during that capture suplex.
MATT STEEL: And he landed on his head during his match with DGX at last year's Legends, too. Could be that.
Sabbath stays totally still as Tickles rushes down, noticing something is off about this. He drops onto his knees, trying to communicate with an unmoving Jack. Smith hops down off the second rope, but as he approaches Jack, Tickles holds his hand out, telling him to stay back. There is murmur and slight bemusement amongst the XWA faithful.
MARK SANCTION: Something is wrong here, folks.
MATT STEEL: We knew what we were getting here. Anything can happen in a two-out-of-three falls match.
Smith is left no choice but to stand, and watch as Sabbath is checked over by Tickles. He asks a series of questions and Jack cannot answer, instead electing to nod or shake his head. Tickles turns to a man outside and demands that someone come in here. It seems Jack has told him something about his condition that concerns Tickles. He may have got all of the suplex and THEN some. He may not be able to go on.
The lying bastard.
As soon as Tickles and Smith have turned their back to him, watching a small, plump fellow in a white shirt run around the ring, he realises something that no one else seems to have kept in mind - the strap is STILL attached. The fans scream as Sabbath, having used this entire time to recover from the suplex, kips up like an acrobat and pulls an unsuspecting Smith across to him with the strap where --WHAM!!-- he clocks Smith in the side of the head with a ferocious, fury-filled Crown Kick!
MARK SANCTION: CROWN KICK!
MATT STEEL: Holy shit, give the man an Oscar. That had even ME going!
MARK SANCTION: Give him a kick up the ass, more like! What the hell was that??
Smith drops to the ground and Sabbath uses this moment to stamp violently and bitterly on Jones' head with the bottom of his foot. Over and over again, a livid snarl on his face as he does something he has envisioned for so long. Like he's seen a bug on Smith's forehead and he wants to squish it, and squish it good, he keeps on stamping down.
MARK SANCTION: Jack with a cheap attack, now. What a slimy, cowardly, no-good creep...
MATT STEEL: No honor amongst theives, and as far as Jack's concerned, Smith Jones has stolen the spotlight here in XWA.
Tickles calls off the paramedic, appalled as Sabbath now drops down onto his front and hooks the leg while Sabbath smiles, hearing the boos come rolling on in. Tickles has no choice. The match is still going. ONE!
MARK SANCTION: NO!
The boos are deafening as Sabbath stands up, holding his arms out and smiling. Hana Ramierez, as full of distain as she is right now, raises a mic to her mouth.
HANA RAMIEREZ: Winner of the first fall...DIAMOND JACK SABBATH!
MARK SANCTION: WHAT? When did he do that? He completely cheap-shotted him and now he walks away with the first fall in his pocket!
MATT STEEL: That's the law of the jungle- do what you can to get that W.
MARK SANCTION: But he played everyone!
MATT STEEL: Man, it's Diamond Jack Sabbath. What did you expect? This guy hasn't played fair in a long time.
Jack turns to Tickles, holding his wrist in front of him and screaming, no, demanding he release him from the strap, and he do it right now. Tickles, with the little key, scrambles and nearly drops the thing until he finally locks it in and turns, releasing Jack from his prison. Smith wipes his mouth, scanning for blood, as he sits up in the corner and Tickles unhooks him. He smelled a rat. He should've listened to instinct. He won't let that rat keeping running. He can't. But then, ominiously, they both hear it. As they take a pause in the action, the cage that has kept them both trapped so far in this match begins to lift back into the sky, ascending from whence it came. As it goes up, Sabbath cannot contain himself and storms toward Smith. The Winter Warrior is immediately ready for him, and it's almost a mirror of the beginning of the match as the two of them trade vicious, hateful right hands with one another in the corner.
MARK SANCTION: Sabbath and Jones trading blows again as we start our second fall, which will be Falls Count Anywhere!
As Jack hits another right hand, Smith blocks as quickly as he can with his own right hand and circles, placing Sabbath's arms under his own, in what's basically a boxer's illegal tie-up. Jack tries to wriggle out of it, but to no avail. And even if he tries, Smith makes quick work of him and hits out with a huge headbutt that sounds like a brick being dropped on the floor at full-pelt. He releases the tie-up and lets Jack just fall backwards into the mat. Even Smith feels the pain. But he pushes through it. He can't let Jack get a moment of offense. He just lost the match that HE picked. He can't lose a second time in a row. He has no intention of doing so. Lifting Jack back up to the mat by his ears, he rips him across the ring and throws him back first, into the corner, and he makes sure he's not far behind when he does. Smith Jones works on Diamond Jack Sabbath in the corner, hitting him with forearm after forearm. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. Stepping back a few inches, he holds back his arm and, with a charge of sorts, he fires with a roaring elbow. In fact, it's such a roaring elbow, you'd think a lion just came into the arena and roared. He smacks Sabbath upside the ear with the elbow, the power from which causing the Crown Jewel to drop down into the corner.
MARK SANCTION: And Smith Jones is coming to fight, as we get into this second fall here.
He's not down there for long, though. Smith grabs Sabbath by the forearm and flings him into the ropes opposite himself. Jack is aware of the fact he's running into the rope. He's aware when he comes bouncing off the middle. He can't stop it. He can't even stop it when he comes running back into the middle of the ring, right into the area occupied by Smith and unlike before, he is not quick enough to reverse when Smith whacks him with both feet, the pair of them tumbling to the mat. Sabbath sits on his side, holding his jaw in pain, as Smith pulls himself back up, fists shaking and pacing around the ring.
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones is FEELING it!
MATT STEEL: Well look at it like this- he's not gonna let Sabbath steal a win again. As he shouldn't! The thing this and the possible next fall share in common is how important they are. They're absolutely crucial. If Sabbath wins, it's all over. No Last Man Standing necessary. Smith can't allow that. He HAS to win this if he wants to defeat Jack tonight.
Sabbath shakes the cobwebs, but it's not long before he's being picked up once again by Smith. The Winter Warrior has more sinister ideas for the Crown Jewel, as he once again throws him into the ropes but this time Jack's a bit more weary. Running back towards the ropes, as Smith goes for another, much bigger roaring elbow, Sabbath ducks under and runs into the opposide rope. Smith Jones turns around, and is hit with a running dropkick of Sabbath's own, leaving Melbourne stunned!
MARK SANCTION: Diamond Jack Sabbath with a dropkick! Not often I say THAT one...
MATT STEEL: This purely a case of "anything you can do", right here.
MARK SANCTION: That's been the entire feud! That's the entire point behind why these guys are doing the terrible things they're doing to each other. These are two guys absolutely determined to be seen as The Guy to Beat in XWA.
Sabbath drags himself back up to his feet, feeling the pain rush through his body. He pulls the back of Smith's trunks towards him, wrapping his arms around Smith's mid-section when lifts him overhead and plants him, shoulders-first, on the mat, his tip-toes the only thing to support him.
MARK SANCTION: Sabbath with a nice bridging German there, looks like he's going for a cover...
Tickles makes the count.
And it's not enough as Smith bounces out of the pinning predicament, his entire body dropping to the mat. Sabbath crawls to a nearby rope, using it to pull him back up to his feet very slowly and groggily. Taking a moment for break, he stands and breathes in the air of the Cricket Grounds. The biggest crowd so far this year, and they're cheering Smith over him. Suddenly, he feels the sensation of someone grabbing his wrist, leading him away from the ring and then throwing him full-pelt back at the ropes. But instead of bouncing against the ropes and coming back, as we've come to expect, Smith does something different. Not even two seconds after, he's clotheslined Sabbath over the top rope, the Crown Jewel tumbling to the outside. He's still stood, but he's admittedly quite groggy and not a hundred percent aware of where he is. Smith knows exactly where he is, though. He doesn't take his eyes off him, as he begins to climb up the ropes, facing the outside.
MARK SANCTION: The action coming to the outside now, and I have no idea what Smith is looking to do here.
MATT STEEL: Whatever it is, it can't be good! I don't like this!
Smith pulls himself up until he's on the top rope, looking straight down. He has to pick his moment. He has to wait for his spot to reveal it's self. As Sabbath turns, completely unaware of where Smith actually is, Jones knows this is it. Now or never. He can't turn back, especially when you're flying through the air. So he does, he turns and jumps, falling backwards and rotating in the air. His legs go up and then come down as his body collides with Sabbath's. He's completely taken him out. The fans go ballistic.
MARK SANCTION: Oh my God!
MATT STEEL: VISUAL MUSIC to the OUTSIDE from Smith Jones! Good lord, he's relentless!
Both men lie on the ground, conscious enough to know what just happened and also aching enough to know what just happened. Smith begins to crawl, very slowly towards Sabbath as he puts one arm over him. Tickles runs to the outside. He is required.
MARK SANCTION: And now Smith attempting to end this! Don't forget, it's falls count anywhere- he can pin him on the outside if he wants!
Tickles drops to the outside and onto his knees as he begins...
And Sabbath kicks out before three, desperate. Smith crawls towards the barricade, putting his hand right over it and using it to pull himself up to his feet. Sabbath stays exactly where he is, so very still. He's looking up and those lights are ever so bright. Smith bends down and hooks Sabbath's head under his arm, pulling him up using that and grabbing his trunks for leverage. Standing him up, Smith places his head on the back of Jack's head, walking him along on the outside until he bounces Jack's head off the top of the barricade, the Crown Jewel's head banging against the steel as he stumbles along, stopping only as he trips over the steel-steps. He's on his knees in the corner, holding his head in pain until he looks up. That's when he notices them. That's when everyone notices them. In the front row, obviously having some V.I.P seats of some sort, stands Kelly Fury. She is joined by Craig Anderson. Kelsey Spencer. Gordon Fury. That's when Jack sees red and realises who he's out here in front of.
MATT STEEL: Jack really doesn't seem to like those guys in the front row.
MARK SANCTION: For those of you unaware, those are members of Melbourne-based promotion In Your House Wrestling Federaion, where Diamond Jack Sabbath has made a considerable mark since the beginning of this year.
MATT STEEL: So when he's talking about "going off to Melbourne..."
MARK SANCTION: Uh-huh.
MATT STEEL: Hey, don't you think that orange-headed girl looks like--
MARK SANCTION: No, Matt!
MATT STEEL: I'm just saying, you put them side by side--
MARK SANCTION: No! Quiet.
As Sabbath sees them, he remembers the absolutely disgusting conspiracy he's been the victim of. They don't think he's good enough down there. They think he's a crackpot who shouldn't be listened to. But they're wrong. They're ALL wrong! To him, they're just like everyone else. To him, they're just like Smith Jones. And he wants to send them packing back to IYH with something to tell Champion Angelica Layne about before he faces her at Dawn of the Immortals. As Smith approaches, he picks Sabbath up and with absolute rage in his eyes, Sabbath breaks the grip, hitting Smith with a hard forearm smash to the side of the head, and then hooks his head under his arm, driving Smith's head right down onto the corner of the steel steps that Jack just fell into! The loud thud sound is heard by everyone nearby, even so much that Kelsey lets out an "oh gosh!" and covers her mouth.
MARK SANCTION: Oh my Goodness!
MATT STEEL: Did you hear the clang as Smith hit those steps? Good God in heaven!
Sabbath, also having fallen back-first onto the steps, pulls himself up with a defiance to let the pain get to him. He stands, as everyone seems to notice the guys from town, and an audible chant of "In Your House! In Your House!". Jack smiles, as he turns to them and then looks to the XWA logo emblazened on the apron. His response to the "In Your House" chants?
DIAMOND JACK SABBATH: YES YOU ARE, AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT!
After following up with what's, quite honestly, the laugh of a pantomime villain, he now drops down onto his knees and hooks the leg as Tickles makes his appearance to count the cover. Sabbath's big, epic moment is about to come!
And Smith kicks out!
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones still in this!
Sabbath kneels down, brushing his brow. That was to be his big, glorious moment of triumph, but no such luck. He looks down to Smith, who's head is now busted open from the top of his forehead after colliding with the corner of the steps. Blood pours down Smith's face as Sabbath pulls himself up to his feet and leads Smith with him around the ring towards the announcer's desk. Jack places Smith up against the apron, keeping him there for the time being while he turns to Mark and Matt and smiles.
MARK SANCTION: Oh darn.
MATT STEEL: No, Jack. Please. We're just announcers!
MARK SANCTION: Oh yeah, sure, that'll stop him. He kicked his own damn wife in the head on worldwide television, but he won't hurt us, because "we're just announcers."
Walking with purpose towards the table, he picks up the cover which is emblazened with the XWA logo and throws it to the side. He follows up by getting rid of both monitors, throwing them to the floor. He then taps the table, nodding to his adoring fans that don't exist, with that sick and twisted smile.
MATT STEEL: We're safe!
MARK SANCTION: No we're not! Shades of the last time Diamond Jack Sabbath and Smith Jones faced off here! The only difference is Rose isn't here to join us and Jack is very much in control of the situation.
And he looks to demonstrate that exact sentiment, Sabbath grabs the wrist of Smith and pulls him across to the table. He has evil intentions. He's going to make him feel the pain, just like Jones did to him over two years ago in the same position. Except, no he isn't. Smith is seeing red, and it's not just the blood in his eyes. As Sabbath tries to pack Smith onto the table, the former Lord of the Ring blocks the entire thing by just shoving both of his hands onto the table and pushing back. He elbows Sabbath in the ribs and then grabs his head with both hands, ramming him right down onto the top of the table. Sabbath stumbles for a moment and Smith repeats the process, this time perhaps a little harder as he grits his teeth. Letting go as Sabbath comes back up, Smith looks around and notices the monitors that Jack just threw to the side. As Sabbath remains rocked, Smith swipes a monitor and lifts it up. Sabbath turns around and BANG! Smith smacks him over the head with the monitor, knocking him to the ground as whatever was just broadcasting on it fizzles out and leaves the screen.
MARK SANCTION: Sabbath gets smashed with that monitor!
MATT STEEL: I'm just glad our table didn't get destroyed this time!
MARK SANCTION: Hey, it's second fall. There's still time, man.
MATT STEEL: Don't tell me that!
Sabbath holds his head in agony as Smith throws the monitor to the side. As we close in on Jack, we realise that he is now also busted open. The blood trickles down his face as Smith moves backwards, looking to perhaps his some sort of running dropkick, but Sabbath gets up before he can. He's hurting, his head is burning and he is angry. Sabbath is livid. Smith has moved, his back against the corner of the ring. Like a spoiled child, Jack swings his leg looking for a Crown Kick but that's when Smith ducks under as quickly as he can and Sabbath kicks the steel at full angry power, letting out a huge scream of pain as he limps in place. He can feel that horrible sensation as his eyes begin to water with just how painful it is.
MATT STEEL: Sweet mother of God! Sabbath just Crown Kicked the ring post thanks to a quick aversion from Smith Jones!
MARK SANCTION: And it may have done some permenant damage.
MATT STEEL: Yeah, but they're not exactly gonna rush to his aid after that Academy Award winning performance earlier, are they? If we're being honest here, Sabbath really...shot himself in the foot.
MARK SANCTION: ...Seriously? Oh the smugness in your voice. You're actually proud of that. I can't believe you.
As Sabbath hobbles around, Smith has circled Jack, facing his back as he jumps up onto the apron. Jack has nowhere to go. He can't run away. He can't do very much of anything. Smith backs up, his arm on the top rope as he measures his distance. As Sabbath writhes in the pain, Smith runs gingerly across the apron. Once he's close enough, he pounces off the apron and sticks his knee out, hitting Jack in the back of the head and knocking the Innovator of Anarchy to the ground.
MARK SANCTION: Gravitas! Smith Jones hits Gravitas from the apron!
Rolling Sabbath over onto his back, Smith hooks the leg and Tickles starts that all important count of --
Sabbath manages to kick out, in spite of the pain running through his body. Smith has to make sure with Tickles whether that was, indeed, a two, to which Tickles confirms. The numbers don't lie, and they spell trouble. Frustrated, Smith lifts Sabbath back to his feet and rolls him under the bottom rope and back into the ring, following behind. Tickles quickly enters as the action appears to be going back into the squared circle. Smith uses the ropes to pull himself back to his feet, as Sabbath rolls onto his front and places his knuckles and working foot on the ground, trying to push himself up. Smith does not have the patience to wait for him, as evident from when he walks over to him and picks the member of the Survivors up to his feet by his chin. He keeps his hand on his chin and moves it to the side of his neck, as he uses his other arm to grab Sabbath's leg and pick him up, holding him sideways for a little moment until he throws him overhead and onto his back, flipping like a giant pancake.
MARK SANCTION: A fallaway slam from Smith Jones, as the match is back firmly in his pocket. We knew how back and forth this would be, but I don't think any of us expected it to be THIS back and forth!
MATT STEEL: Neither person wants to leave tonight saying "I lost to him". It could be anyone's last match at anytime in this industry. You don't want that on your conscience for the rest of your life if you're as proud as these two guys here.
Smith moves as Sabbath lies, back to the mat. As the crowd begins to chant his name, Smitty leaves the mat in favor of the apron, scaling the turnbuckle with his eyes firmly on Jack. But the Innovator of Anarchy refuses to die. Pulling himself ever so gently to his feet, remembering one of them is quite injured, he slowly begins to stand. When he turns, Smith- who had a Frog Splash in mind, rather athletically jumps over Jack to avoid him possibly moving out of the way.
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones electing not to jump there, smart move as Sabbath gets back into this once again.
Dropping onto his feet like a cat, Smith turns around. That's when it happens!
Melbourne is incredulous as Jack uses his good leg to Crown Kick Smith in the head, dropping down to the floor with his other as he loses balance. Smith Jones goes dropping to the floor!
MATT STEEL: CROWN KICK!
MARK SANCTION: No! Dammit!
MATT STEEL: A Crown Kick from out of absolute thin air!
Sabbath rolls over onto his front, putting an arm over Smith. The Winter Warrior is unmoving as Tickles makes the count!
MARK SANCTION: Not this way! Please God not this way!
THRE--Smith Jones kicks out!
MARK SANCTION: YESSS!!
Sabbath's face is an absolute picture. For the first time in years, someone has actually managed to do it. Someone just kicked out of the Crown Kick. He knows its significance. The fans know its significance. It's absolutely unbelievable to him, and to the screaming, ever-so-loud Australian fans.
MARK SANCTION: He actually KICKED OUT after taking a Crown Kick! My God! Who can say they've done that?
Sabbath, once again, pulls himself to his feet very slowly, having to do it basically limb-by-limb due to the damage he's taken. Limping to the corner, he uses the rope to guide him into the corner, waiting. He's not taking a single eye off Smith, who now begins to pull himself up from the ground. Jack waits, patiently. Perhaps it's the first time in his life he's ever been this patient. But he wants another go. No one kicks out of the Crown Kick.
No one except Smith Jones. History just become unkinder. Time to rewrite it.
Smith is on his feet finally, when he uses an old Sabbath trick. Jack's in the left corner nearest the announcer's desk. That means Smith is facing the entrance stage. Big. Got lots of lights. Has a long ramp...and a screen displaying all the action. Smith takes a glance. A very subtle glance- more subtle than Jack's ever been able to manage with this- as he notices Jack behind him. He's got a plan. He turns right around, and Jack's pleased as he swings the leg. Smith's fallen into the trap. But Jack's trap is part of Smith's trap here. As Sabbath lifts the leg, Smith ducks under waiting until the force of the kick swings Jack around. When the Diamond King's back is facing Smith's front, he grabs under his arms and throws him backwards, keeping the grip on him and going up onto his tip-toes as Jack hits the floor. He hooks Jack's leg while his shoulders are pinned to the mat.
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones lands an amazing Dragon suplex, and now he makes another attempt to get a win in this brutal match-up!
MATT STEEL: It's the only fall he can do it in, he's gonna have to do something that works.
And Sabbath kicks out. Smith deflates like a bouncy castle as he flips onto his front. Sabbath flips onto his front, too, albeit moving slower than Smith. Jack is on his knees, as is Smith. The Innovator of Anarchy and the Winter Warrior begin to trade forearm blows. One big, sluggish one from Sabbath is met with a quick but heavy one from Smith. As they begin to pull themselves up, they are literally using the other person's body for leverage as they stand. Jack grabs the back of Smith's head and hits with a forearm smash.
Smith wobbles a little...but then hits back with his own.
Jack's leg twitches as he shakes the cobwebs. He's about to go...he's about to...but then he doesn't and he hits Smith with another forearm.
Smith nearly loses his balance. He nearly forgets where he is. But then he hears those fans, cheering him on. He can't let them down. He can't let down the XWA. So here comes another...
MARK SANCTION: They are taking each other apart right now.
MATT STEEL: I'm gonna cry. I want them to fight forever. I really, really do. THIS is what the XWA is all about, right here!
Sabbath's leg begins to go, his leg twitches and he's dropping. He's nearly dropping. A few more inches and his knee with will be on the ground.
Another Crown Kick.
Smith Jones falls to the ground!
MARK SANCTION: ANOTHER Crown Kick!
MATT STEEL: Holy SHIT! That's it. He's over. He's done. Call Smitty a cab or an ambulance.
Sabbath drops right down with Smith, as he crawls over. He just wants it to end. He just wants to be done so, so much.
And Smith Jones fucking kicks out. The Cricket Grounds are full of anything but crickets.
MATT STEEL: You HAVE to be kidding me...
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones is HERE, ladies and gentlemen! Smith Jones is alive and well!
MATT STEEL: But what's it even gonna take? This is absolute insanity!
Sabbath's actual tears of frustration cannot be seen through the blood. He wants to go home. He wants the entire sorry saga to end, but he wants to be winner. If Smith wins this fall, that doesn't happen. He goes to hell. Jack rises to his feet as quickly as he can manage. And that is to say he rises to his feet, pretty slowly. Smith, resilent and probably not born with the capability of giving up, stands slowly himself. He is sort of having to push himself up limb by limb, much like Jack before. Sabbath holds onto the leaking blood fountain that is his forehead as he waits. Crown Kicks one and two didn't work, but he knows all it's gonna take is one more. Third time is a charm. He has to believe it. He HAS to.
MARK SANCTION: Jones and Sabbath back up again, and I don't know how much more punishment these two can possibly take.
MATT STEEL: I actually agree. If this goes to Last Man Standing, it's not looking good for either of them.
As Smith Jones reaches his feet, Diamond Jack Sabbath with a snarl and a shout, swings his leg as hard as he can. But this time there is no Crown Kick. It does not pan out how Jack envisioned in the slighted. As he swings the leg, Smith ducks under and grabs Jack's face with both hands from behind, falling backwards as he raises his knees up and impales the back of Jack's neck on them! The Crown Jewel falls to the ground immediately, as Melbourne gives a very loud stamp of approval.
MARK SANCTION: Point of Controversy from Smith Jones!
MATT STEEL: But will it be enough? Will this keep Smith Jones in the match?
Both men are lying in absolute heaps on the floor, husks of the men they were at the beginning of the match. Smith rolls over and puts one hand over Sabbath's shoulders. Tickles makes the count.
MARK SANCTION: YEESS!!
MATT STEEL: And just like that, Smith Jones is STILL in this match!
Hana Ramierez stands from the little corner she's been hiding in this entire time, raising a mic.
HANA RAMIEREZ: Winner of the SECOND fall...SMITH JONES!
MARK SANCTION: One fall to each, folks! Now it's Last Man Standing.
MATT STEEL: What's interesting to me is that both guys won the match the other guy picked. It just goes to show just how well they planned for one another here. But we're in the final fall. There MUST be a winner. There is absolutely no turning back. It really IS Last Man Standing.
Both men are on the mat, showing a serious inability to move. Smith has moved off Sabbath, but he's lying there and so is his opponent. Unmoving. Tickles' eyes move between the pair of them. He has to make the call.
And so he begins to count. Usually for guys in this condition, the count beginning is enough to stir them. But still, neither guy moves.
And still, neither man moves. Diamond Jack Sabbath closes his eyes. Those lights are so bright. Those fans are so loud. And he's in pain. It's the reason he does this. The reason he loves it. He doesn't want this moment, this very moment in time, to end. And yet the count will continue. The world will move on no matter how much he tries to fight it. He's a man who joined the Survivors to wage a war with time it's self and he must continue to fight. So he turns onto his side.
Smith Jones lies in wait. He's battered. He's bruised. But he has battled so hard and fought the man he's had on his mind for two years. His quest for vengeance and his quest to prove to everyone that HE is the top star in this company has kept him going, and will continue to do so as we move into this fall. He has no quit. He has no fear. If you're looking for your next "Guy", he's right here. And while he's here, he turns onto his side.
The two of them kneel before one another, both on their knees and bleeding profusely. As they look to one another, they cannot help but be almost personally offended by the fact that the other one is even still in this. That's when Sabbath, with angry grimace on his face, grabs the top of Smith's head and smashes him with a forearm to the face. Smith drops backwards, but comes back up like a see-saw, grabbing the back of Sabbath's head and hitting him with a European uppercut. The two of them begin to stand, their heads on each other's shoulder, using each other for leverage.
MARK SANCTION: The last time these two met, the final match of Smith Jones last run, the match was a Last Man Standing match. We have come full circle after two years in the making and my God it's been a match so far.
As they reach their feet, like a pair of magnets they repell as Smith hits a second European uppercut on Sabbath. He falls back, but luckily for him as he does, his back makes direct contact with the top rope, bouncing back up. When he comes back up, he immediately throws a kick to the gut and grabs Smith's head with both hands like he's carrying a ball. He considers throwing him into the corner but...ah, what's the use? He'll only get out anyway. He's managed to do that twice. Old tactics don't work any more. Surprise is the only way he'll win this one. So instead, he lifts him up- rather astoundingly given his condition- spinning him and draping him over one shoulder, his legs dangling over his back. Whatever Sabbath was planning, it doesn't matter. Smith breaks Sabbath's grip. He acts as quickly as he possibly can, spinning Jack around as he wraps his arms around Jack's mid-section and drags him towards the corner Jack just avoided. Like a shot, he throws Jack overhead, back-first into the turnbuckle!
MARK SANCTION: Smith Jones Takes It Home one more time!
MATT STEEL: But is he ACTUALLY taking it home here?
MARK SANCTION: I don't know, Matt. I don't know what will stop these men. This match has been absolutely insane and I don't know what it's gonna take to stop it.
Sabbath lies in a heap as Smith uses rope-assistance to pull himself back up and Tickles begins that count. Jack doesn't register the count. He knows it's going on but in a way, he can't keep track of it. He's too busy trying to fight the pain. He's too busy trying to get himself back up to his feet. Smith leans on the ropes, trying not to fall himself. Jack finally rolls over by the count of "Five". Now, he uses the ropes as assistance, using them to pull himself back up, slowly and carefully.
MARK SANCTION: And Jack returns to the match after a five count there.
MATT STEEL: Well this is HIS match. This is how he beats his nemeses. Jack Hazard fell because DJS managed to keep him down for ten. Smith Jones fell because DJS...well, he had help. But here, DJS doesn't have that. Razer and Bella Quinn are not going to appear from nowhere to lend a hand.
Once he's in a standing position, Smith's right back on him. Pulling him across the ring, he throws Jack into the ropes. The Beating Heart of the XWA goes running. Smith is ready, he's got that neckbreaker on the mind and he's gonna break that neck all good and proper. Except he's not. Sabbath comes running back and grabs Smith's forearm, now throwing him into the ropes! When Smith comes back, Jack's ready, as he puts both arms around Smith's gut and lifts him in the air, rotating a-hundred-and-eighty degrees and planting the Winter Warrior back-first onto the mat.
MARK SANCTION: Spinning side-slam from Diamond Jack Sabbath!
MATT STEEL: That'll have rocked 'im. Will it put him away though?
Smith lies on his back, the lights infecting his eyes as Tickles begins to count him out. He can hear the count. He's aware of it. And by God, he can't let that thing beat him. Slowly, he begins to rock onto his side as Sabbath uses this time as a breather. Smith hears the number "four" when he finally gets onto his knees and climbs back up to land of the living. Jack cannot believe it, as the fans cheer and clap. Smith turns around to Sabbath and the two begin trading blows once again, only this time Smith is the winner of the fight after three very hard, very straight right hands. Jack falls back a few steps, having been sufficiently pummelled by Smith. The former Lord of the Ring grabs Sabbath's forearm and throws him full-power into the corner. Jack's back smashes right into the turnbuckles, but he doesn't move. He'd like to, but he hasn't it in him. Everything hurts right now. There isn't a limb in his body that wouldn't be telling him "please no more" if they could speak. With Jack in the corner, Smith's got an idea. Something to put Jack away for good. There's no way he could fight this off. He approaches corner, grabbing both of Jack's thighs and lifts him into a sitting position on the top rope.
MARK SANCTION: Uh oh.
MATT STEEL: What is Smith doing?
With Jack up on the top rope, Smith pulls himself onto the middle rope and hooks Jack's head under his arm. He then hooks his arm over the back of his neck. He's got the grip, he just needs to move now. Pulling Jack up as he moves to the top rope, the entire arena gets a little edgy. Considering the conditions of both men, there isn't a person in the entire Cricket Ground who doesn't see this as massively dangerous. Smith has Sabbath stood on top of the turnbuckle with him. He closes his eyes, as he begins to lift Jack but...no. Jack hooks his leg around the back of Smith's. He can't lift him. Smith responds by hitting Jack several times in the side with three very hard fists. Something about this works as Sabbath's leg immediately moves back to where it was. But Jack's only prolonged it. Smith's right back to where he was. Sabbath's aware of the predicament he's in, and knows he can't simply jump down and run away. He can't bullshit his way out of this one. Either way, he's going to fall. He just has to accept it.
MARK SANCTION: I don't like the look of this. It could be bad news for both these guys here. I think I know what he wants to do, but for God's sake Smith, think of your career. You've gone past the point of 'wrestling a match' now, you're both fighting for survival. Think of your body for Christ's sake!
Smith closes his eyes. Holds his breath. Counts to three.
Sabbath closes his eyes. Holds his breath. Counts to three.
Deep breath from Smith. He grabs Sabbath's the top of trunks and he lifts him up, falling backwards. Except Jack doesn't just fall flat on his back, exactly. As they're up in the air, Sabbath uses every fibre of his being to turn back and dead-weight himself on Smith, falling on him like a sack of potatoes as the two come crashing down off the top rope. As they go falling, the fans explode from their seats like there were motion-detected springs involved.
MATT STEEL: OH MY GOD!
MARK SANCTION: BOTH men fall from the sky here! Somehow Diamond Jack Sabbath seemed to just drop himself onto Smith Jones in mid-air. Absolute insanity, ladies and gentlemen. Absolute. Insanity.
MATT STEEL: But now they're both down, and the ref's counting. So whoever gets up first and sticks around after "ten", right?
MARK SANCTION: That's how we're doing this.
MATT STEEL: What if neither of them get up after a count of ten?
MARK SANCTION: Lets hope it doesn't get to that point.
Tickles looks between the pair of them and he's right back at square one of this fall. Neither guy is standing. Both are completely down and he is given the unfortunate task- officiator of the silence.
He begins that count. He looks down. There is no movement from either. He straightens his collar.
Still nothing. He looks out to Mark and Matt. The latter shrugs and raises his hands up. He can't help him.
Smith Jones opens his eyes, blinded by the lights above him. He holds his head, the cut that's been spewing blood for the last while.
Diamond Jack Sabbath holds the back of his neck. He doesn't move. He tries, but he can't. He truly, truly can't. And this time, it's real. There is no ruse. He's hurting. But he has to fight it. He has to win. He has to be the Last Man Standing.
There is growing concern on the faces of everyone in the Cricket Grounds. There are chants for Smith Jones smattered in between the murmurs of worried fans.
Finally Smith Jones begins to crawl. Slowly but surely, he begins to crawl towards the rope. On the other side of the ring, so does Diamond Jack Sabbath. The Beating Heart of the XWA holds the back of his neck in one hand and crawls with the other.
MARK SANCTION: We're at seven and neither man has made a significant stride to get to their feet.
MATT STEEL: They're both beaten, they're both battered. They've taken each other to the limit in this one.
Sabbath looks around to see Smith pulling himself up, and he grits his teeth. Smith feels Jack's gaze and looks right back, pulling himself up just a little quicker. Even competitive in getting up. That's the point they've reached. After all this time...they still hate each other.
MATT STEEL: Oh shit!
The fans are louder, they're cheering for who they want to see get back up. Tickles watching, practically biting his nails in nervous energy in between every count he does. Jack, on nothing more than pure adrenaline and a Pavlovian response to near-loss, propells himself up, pushing himself off the rope. Smith puts one foot in front to pull himself up. But he's so heavy. He's so beaten. His mind wants to win. His will is to beat Diamond Jack Sabbath. But his body and his injuries...
In a moment that leaves everyone completely and utterly shocked, Smith Jones drops right on the "T" of...
...And Diamond Jack Sabbath drops to the mat shortly after. All he wanted was that Ten. He has nothing left for any more.
MATT STEEL: Sabbath wins!
Tickles signals the timekeeper, and the bell is rung. Hana Ramierez stands, mic in hand.[/b][/color]
HANA RAMIEREZ: Here is your winner...DIAMOND JACK SABBATH!
"No More Heroes" by the Stranglers makes a reappearance as Diamond Jack Sabbath is declared winner. Smith Jones rolls over, sitting in the corner of the ring, breathing heavily while Sabbath lies on the mat. He's done. He is so, so done.
MARK SANCTION: Ladies and gentlemen, I don't think I have ever seen a match so intense, so angry, so bitter in all my years as a play-by-play analyst. Everything was competitive from the minute they laid eyes on each other. I think we have just seen an instant classic.
MATT STEEL: I almost thought we wouldn't get this match but with everything that's happened with Sabbath and Jones in the last few months, I'm glad we did. Diamond Jack Sabbath...I dunno how he did it, but he pulled it out of his ass tonight. He was sneaky, he was crafty, he was skilled and he was dangerous.
MARK SANCTION: But of course not to take away from Smith Jones. That guy had Sabbath scouted at almost every turn. It took Sabbath being a...well, a cheap-shotting bastard to beat him first time, in this last fall it took Smith being already physically done and Sabbath's timing for him to win. Were these stipulations in different orders tonight, I bet we'd have a different outcome. I see this match really getting eyes on Smith Jones as a main event-level competitor again. If I were Barnez or Tim, I'd keep a note of this match. It's not gonna be long before Smith Jones comes a-knockin'.
MATT STEEL: Speaking of which, don't go anywhere ladies and gentlemen, because our main event is coming up shortly. Lx-Tim and Jerod Barnez battle for the Supreme XWA Championship, and it is live...NEXT!
We close on the shot of Diamond Jack Sabbath pulling himself into the bottom rope. He's only slightly aware of what's just happened. What he does know is that he's beaten Smith Jones after four months of endless bickering and challenging one another. He's defeated him, somehow. Someway. Where he goes next remains to be seen. After the injuries picked up tonight, both obvious and NOT obvious, it may be a long time before we see the Beating Heart back in an XWA ring. One thing is for certain- the Survivors will most definitely be pleased. Tonight, they triumph.
Here in the XWA, each wrestler posts their version of the match. Only one version will become wrestling history after the vote. The following is my version of the events as I intend for them to Unfold in my match against Diamond Jack Sabbath at If You Want Blood!
Fade up on a shot of a caucasian male, mid to late twenties, dressed in a black T-shirt, black jeans, and wearing black gloves. He has dark hair and dark eyes. His brow is sullied with smears of dirt mixed with an honest layer of perspiration. His expression is a grimace not of anger or of pain, but of determination and anticipation of the job that lies ahead of him. He leans forward and grabs hold of something in front of him. It’s a fifteen by ten foot grate of iron bars painted black. The thing weighs a figurative ton. Good thing he isn’t in this alone. The camera zooms out to reveal a team of four men, all with similar black clothing and resolve, ready to hoist this large iron grid up from a pile of eight grids just the same as the first one. The four of them lift the panel of the cage from where it’s positioned next to the entranceway and they carefully pass it up to a waiting crew of four more men standing on the edge of the stage. After the handoff...
That haunting double piano note repeats throughout the arena as ‘Waiting For The End’ by Linkin Park hits the speakers. The fans begin to cheer loudly! Smith Jones walks out onto the stage dressed to compete in his trademark all white boots, pads, and trunks. He is wearing a gray tee tucked neatly into his trunks that reads survivor on the front of it in black lettering with a large white X overtop of the whole thing. And he already has the white leather strap fastened tightly around his left wrist with the bulk of it wrapped around his forearm and his torso while the other empty cuff dangles loosely at his side.
The ring crew has started to slowly make their way down to ringside with the first cage panel above their heads. Jones strides quickly and confidently down the ramp, meeting them part way and walking under the steel bars and raising his right arm to grab hold of the cage. They all stop walking for a moment and the four men stare at Jones along with the rest of the live crowd inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground and indeed the remote audience worldwide. Smith looks up at his own fingers now locked tightly around the bar of the cage. He looks beyond the cage and into the blue sky above him. He sees the clouds and imagines the infinite universe that lies beyond them. In this moment, he is able to feel both massively huge and infinitessimally insignificant at the same time. After a moment of feeling the fleeting rays the evening sun on his skin and the wind gently tousling his dark hair, he closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He exhales.
HANA RAMIEREZ: The following contest is a Two out of Three Falls Match! The first fall will be a White Leather Strap Match, the second fall will be a Falls Count Anywhere Match, and the third fall as decided by the XWA fans will be a Last Man Standing Match!!! Introducing first, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, weighing in at two hundred twenty-nine pounds, there is only one SMITH JONES!!!
Without letting go and without opening his eyes, Jones takes a step. The four crewmen follow his lead as Jones shares the weight of the cage with them the rest of the way down the ramp to ringside. As they arrive at the ring, Smitty opens his fingers and lets go of the cage. He stops walking as the crewmen carry the cage further and begin to erect it into place. Jones keeps his eyes closed a beat longer before he opens them and turns to approach the ring steps. He walks up to the ring apron and respectfully wipes his feet before parting the ropes and taking centre. As the first panel is being put into place, another crew of four is arriving with the second one. Smitty reaches out to ringside and calls for a microphone. He returns to centre ring as the music fades out and is replaced by the chanting crowd.
Smitty raises the microphone to his lips eliciting silence from the crowd as he inhales the wide open Melbourne air and he speaks.
SMITH JONES: The wait is finally over. The rematch two years in the making is about to begin. You can’t run from me any longer. This first fall will ensure that I will get my hands on you and beat you within an inch of your life on my terms and mine alone. This White Leather Strap Match will keep us tied together and locked inside this cage to fight one on one. And if you really want to show the world that you are better than I am, Sabbath, you will honour the second fall and the potential third fall by keeping The Survivors out of our personal business. You and I only know just how real this thing is between us. It’s not a game. It’s not just for the sake of sport. The hatred is real and the anger comes from a very real place deep within. You hate me because I’m an idiot who wants to replace you. I don’t wish to replace you. I aim to remind you that you are still human, despite all efforts you’ve made to become the god of all wrestling. You are the Innovator of Anarchy, The Crown Jewel of Professional Wrestling, The Beating Heart of the XWA…
I’m just Smith Jones.
The cage continues to get build around him as he slowly starts to unravel the white leather strap from around his torso. His icy blue eyes remain fixed on the main camera.
SMITH JONES: I don’t want to replace you because I’ve been you before. I’ve been that uber angry asshole who started my career by retiring people in my first few matches pro. I aimed the rage outward and caused anguish and sought to raze the wrestling world so I could stand alone as the very best. I know what it feels like to want to be the last wrestler standing on Earth; to revel in the destruction of all who had dreams of becoming more than merely mortal. I took this seemingly last-minute throw-away name of mine and began, match by match, to make it legendary. I’m just Smith Jones. What the hell does that mean anyway? It’s just a name. It’s just a simple, little name.
You’re Diamond Jack Sabbath and I want your blood.
Smith continues to unwrap the leather from his body. He uncoils it from his forearm and the blood begins to flow more freely through his arm. He arm bears printed wrinkles across his flesh.
SMITH JONES: I want your blood to remind you that your bedazzled monikers hold no power over me. You’re just DJS. You’re a man like the rest of us. I want your blood to remind you that you haven’t forgotten how to bleed. I want your blood to make you face your fleeting existence once again just like we all sometimes do. You’re not a god. You’re no better than the Smiths and the Joneses out here in the crowd. And even though you’re an ego maniacal megalomaniac who refuses to see in the mirror what I can see in you from worlds away, your essence is no better than the rest of us. You’re just a man.
I want your blood and you want mine. I promise you, Sabbath, my blood is not free. It’s gonna cost you. If you want blood from me, you can’t just snap your fingers and summon it from my veins. If you want blood, you’ll have to take steps towards me and draw it for yourself. I ain’t running away from you, Jack.
The cage is now fully built. Jones has the empty cuff at the other end of the now unraveled white leather strap in his free hand and holds it out towards the camera.
SMITH JONES: If you want blood... I’m right here.
White lights flicker in time with the drums of "No More Heroes" by The Stranglers, and images of Diamond Jack Sabbath performing various moves he's famous for display themselves on the Titantron, to impassioned booing from those who detest him. As the song kicks in, the Innovator of Anarchy himself makes his way through the curtain. He paces up and down the stage, surveying the audience filling the Melbourne Cricket Ground for tonight with his hands thrown out, majestically, then begins to make his way down the ramp with a very self-assured and confident walk.
HANA RAMIEREZ: Making his way to the ring, from Salford, Manchester, weighing two hundred forty pounds, he is the Beating Heart of the XWA… DIIIIAAAAAMMMOOONNNDDDD JAAAAACCCCCKKKK SSSAAAAABBBBBAAAATTTHHH!!!!
Yet more booing ensues as the Crown Jewel's presence is announced. Jones does not lose sight of Sabbath the entire way down the aisle. DJS mounts the steel ring steps and enters through the door of the cage, also fully focused on Smith Jones as Jones remains planted centre ring transfixed on the leader of The Survivors. Sabbath walks right past Jones and finds and jumps onto the nearest turnbuckle peering out through the cage bars into the live crowd for a good few seconds, breathing in that pre-match excitement in the air. Looking out into the crowd, he points right at Smitty in the middle of that ring waggling his finger, telling us at the top of his voice that Smith Jones belongs to him! While up there, he takes off his spiked, black leather jacket and throws it down on the canvas. Hopping down off the turnbuckle, Jack cracks his neck into place and prepares himself for the match both mentally and physically, shaking his arms and legs out to loosen them. He's ready for a particularly intense ring war tonight. Sabbath finally walks over to Jones, who still hasn’t moved from centre ring. His final threads of patience being tested by the Innovator of Anarchy, Jones remains calm and still.
The crowd is no longer very vocal, but rather intrigued by the sight of Diamond Jack Sabbath standing inside an XWA ring across from Smith Jones, a sight they’d given up on ever seeing again roughly two years ago.The two men stand face to face in the middle of the ring. Jones has a stern scowl on while Sabbath sports a bit of a twisted smirk. As the outside referee locks the cage door, the inside ref walk over to the two combatants and takes hold of the empty cuff at the end of the leather strap that leads to Jones. He holds it out towards DJS. After ignoring the referee for a beat, Sabbath offers his left arm and the cuff is fastened tightly around his wrist.
DING! DING!! DING!!!
MARK SANCTION: And this match is underway!
Before the third chime of the bell, Jones has already launched himself at Sabbath and they are now a furious ball of wild fists and elbows. The crowd’s silence has been shattered by bloodthirsty cheering while Smith and Jack keep punching each other in the head and face, leaning against the ropes, then turning into the middle of the cage, then slamming against the turnbuckle… constantly throwing balled fists and changing position in search of some kind of advantage in what is currently nothing more than a basic brawl. Jones does an Irish whip to the ropes, but it’s reversed by Sabbath. Sabbath looks for the Crown Kick early to his running opponent! Jones rolls under it and stands behind Sabbath who now has the white leather strap between his legs. Jones runs the ropes behind Sabbath, tugging on the strap and flipping DJS over onto his back. Jones comes at Sabbath with a snap elbow drop, but Sabbath moves out of the way. DJS drops a knee aimed at the throat, but Smith dodges it. Jones gets up and Sabbath meets him with a rudimentary arm drag. Smith hits the canvas and rolls back up to his feet. Sabbath looks for a second arm drag, but Smith blocks it and spins Sabbath into a flat back neckbreaker. Smith gets to his feet first and reaches down to grab a handful of Sabbath’s hair. DJS digs his thumb right into Smith’s left eye and Jones turns away to evade the attack. Sabbath steps up behind Jones. Smitty throws a wild back elbow to the side of Sabbath’s neck. DJS takes a step back. Jones ducks in behind Sabbath and goes for a quick Point of Controversy! Diamond Jack feels the danger and violently shrugs Jones off his back, leaving Smith to fall to the mat behind him. Sabbath then falls back and lands a hard senton back splash on top of Jones. Smith absorbs the impact with a grunt and then locks his legs around Sabbath with a body scissors from behind! Sabbath is again in danger, this time from Smith’s submission finisher. Jones grabs Sabbath’s arm to apply a chicken wing, but Sabbath throws his head back and hits a headbutt to Jones’ cheekbone. Sabbath jabs an elbow into Smith’s quadriceps repeatedly until the body scissors is released. DJS heads for the cage door! Jones yanks on the leather strap and stops Sabbath from retreating. Sabbath refocuses and goes on the attack, meeting Smith mid ring with a clothesline. Jones ducks it and hooks Sabbaths arm trying to twist him into a swinging neckbreaker, but DJS spins out of it. Tangled up in the leather strap, Sabbath chooses to cut the wrestling down to a minimum and he hoofs Jones in the junk with a swift low blow kick right between the uprights!
MARK SANCTION: What a blatant low blow by Sabbath. He already knows he's going to have his hands full with Jones here tonight!
MATT STEEL: Have you had your eyes closed the past few months, Sanction?! This is a Leather Strap Match inside a Steel Cage! If Smitty thought this was gonna be a technical clinic, he and his reproductive equipment are quite sorely mistaken!!
Sabbath has a handful of Jones’ hair and has pulled him up from the mat to kneeling and then up to standing. As Jones is still slightly doubled over, DJS connects with a European uppercut that snaps Smith's jaw shut and rattles his teeth and his brain inside his skull. Jones stumbles back towards the corner. Sabbath charges in fast, leaping into the air and driving both feet into Smith’s chest with a solid running dropkick that sends Jones crashing backwards against the turnbuckles. His neck whiplashes against the top turnbuckle and he falls down to all fours. Sabbath stalks towards Jones. Smitty shuffles into a quick drop toehold into the corner. DJS stops short of smashing his face against the middle buckle. He stands and turns to be met with a punch in the face from Jones! Sabbath again scratches at Smith’s eyes and leaves claw marks across his face. Jones spins away and then comes full circle with a spinning backfist to Jack’s jaw! Jones’ icy blue eyes go somehow dark with deep rage. He blocks a punch from Sabbath and then throws an elbow to the cheek. Jones follows that up with a headbutt to the nose, watering Jack’s eyes. Smitty grabs DJS by the hair and pulls him all the way across the ring, tossing him over the top rope face first into the cold steel bars of the old school cage!!Sabbath’s body falls to the canvas in between the ropes and the cage. He stands as Jones pulls him up by the hair and drags him to his feet. Smith gets Jack in a front facelock and pulls him in over the top rope. Jones runs him across the ring again to the other side, over the top rope, and into the cage bars again, face first!! Sabbath slumps down in between the bars and the ropes on the apron.
Smitty stands inside the ring near Sabbath and starts to wrap the leather around his knuckles, holding it tightly and making a solid fist. Sabbath checks his forehead for a blood. Finding one, he pulls himself up on the ring apron using the cage. Smith turns him around and begins to punch Sabbath in the face with his reinforced fist. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! Four! Five! Six! Seven! Eight! Nine! Ten! Eleven! Twelve! Thirteen! Smith keeps punching Jack in the head and face over and over again as all of the frustration of waiting for this day to finally come pours out through the unstoppable piston motion of Smitty’s pounding fist!
MATT STEEL: Somebody stop Smith Jones before he beats Diamond Jack Sabbath into a coma!
MARK SANCTION: Hey, Matt, this is a White Leather Strap Match! It's a Strap Match inside a Steel...
MATT STEEL: I know what kinda match this is!! Don't mock me!!!
Sabbath grabs Jones in a quick Muay Thai clinch around the neck and drops down to hotshot Smith across the top rope. Jones’ throat comes down hard on the rope and he slingshots back into the ring. Jack turns and starts to climb the cage again. He gets as far as he can before the tension on the strap begins to inevitably stall his descent. Frustrated, he looks down at Smith, whose arm is fully extended in Jack’s direction, elevated by the white leather strap between them. DJS grunts to himself and then looks up towards the sky above. He tries again to pull Smith closer so he can climb just one more step higher on the inside wall of the cage. He can’t quite make it at first, but then the tension of the strap loosens and he finds himself up one step higher with a somehow slightly warmer wind skimming across his face under the dark blue and quickly darkening sky. Sabbath looks behind him and sees that Jones is not on his feet, having used the help of Jack’s pull to get himself vertical. Jones begins to climb the ropes, attempting now to keep pace with his escaping enemy. Sabbath refocuses his efforts on the climb. Jones makes it to the second rope on the inside, then soon to the third; Sabbath’s foothold is now a couple of feet above the top rope. He can nearly reach the top! Smith lunges forward and takes a step onto the cage directly behind DJS. Grabbing Jack in a rear waistlock, Smith plants his other foot on the cage wall and then pushes off with both feet, using all of his weight and muscle to rip DJS from the cage and throw him backwards over his head! Both men come crashing down in the middle of the ring. Jones lands flat on his back, while Sabbath gets the worst of it, flipping head over heels in mid air and landing flat on his face!!
MARK SANCTION: Smith just turned DJS inside out with that crazy German suplex from a little more than halfway up the inside of the cage wall!
Determined to remain on the advantage, Jones wills himself to all fours and crawls over to Sabbath. He gets behind DJS again and stands. Jones grabs Sabbath by the legs and locks his arms around his upper thighs. Jones leans back and pulls upward, hoisting Sabbath over his head once again with an impactful wheelbarrow suplex that again winds his opponent. Jones is beginning to feel like he has full control. He uses the ropes to get up and goes over to Sabbath. As Jones steps over and reaches to grab him again, Sabbath stands up quickly and manages to lift Smith up and over into a snap Samoan drop! Both men get up and meet mid ring. Sabbath goes for a step up enziguri. Jones ducks it and picks the left ankle, holding it as Sabbath lands on his right foot facing Jones. Jones whips the leg to the left, spinning Sabbath to his right. Jones grabs Sabbath from behind and applies a quick full nelson. Smitty digs his feet in and throws Sabbath with another suplex, this time a release dragon suplex towards the corner!!
MARK SANCTION: Wow!! Diamond Jack Sabbath just fell victim to Sleep Paralysis!! There was nothing he could do but lie there and gaze at the stars above while the back of his head and neck came crashing hard against the middle turnbuckle!!!
MATT STEEL: You’re enjoying this a little too much, you bloodthirsty savage! You’re just like all of these people out here! You’re supposed to be impartial!
MARK SANCTION: You’re supposed to be impartial too! You’re cheering against Jones just as much as these people are cheering FOR him.
MATT STEEL: Hey, they’re not all cheering for Jones! We’re in Sabbath country down under! Jones’ bones will be buried in the outback before this night is over! Falls Count Anywhere comes after this Cage Match! Strap in! It’s gonna be a long fight!
Sabbath is now down in the corner, holding his neck with a sour look on his face. Jones is already getting up and thinking about his next move. He looks up to the top of the cage and chews on the inside of his cheek. He then turns his attention to the cage door. Jones starts walking. He is stopped by the dead weight at the other end of that ten foot strap, but not internally deterred. He bends his knees and leans towards the cage exit, dragging DJS along with him. Smitty climbs through the ropes as the cage door opens. He gets one foot on the top of the ring steps before the resistance from behind him becomes more stubborn. Jones looks back and sees the red-faced Sabbath sneering and snorting behind him, feet planted in the canvas, fully leaned back against the progress of his opposition. Jones uses the ring post for leverage and shoves away from Sabbath who now pulls as hard as he can in his condition in what has become the physical manifestation of their ongoing years long figurative tug of war. With the ring post as his anchor, Jones shoves off and leans back, standing on the top ring step and teetering on the edge of success, mere feet from the ringside floor! The crowd is alive with anticipation; not chanting, but certainly vocal at this point. Jones makes it out of the ring to the second step and leans at a forty-five degree angle. Sabbath’s face is straining as he pulls hard to keep Jones inside the cage that Sabbath never wanted to enter in the first place. Jones gets down yet another step! As he stands on the bottom ring step, he reaches the point of his boot towards the ringside floor. It is that moment of hope, of unchecked optimism that serves as a chance for Jack to exploit Smith’s lapse in balance. Sabbath relents for a split second allowing Jones’ toe to touch the floor, then DJS throws his own weight back and yanks Smith forward. Jones trips on the second step and smacks his head against the ring post! Sabbath resets himself for another pull. He wraps the strap on more time around his hands and pulls hard again, slamming Smith’s face against the post even harder than the first time. Smith slumps down on the ring steps with one foot down on the floor now and the other resting on the flat of the bottom step.
MATT STEEL: So close, yet so far away from ending this match! That’s how you stop Smith Jones from making it out of the cage and take the match back into your own hands, Diamond Jack!
Jack wraps takes up a little more of the slack and wraps the white leather around his hand one more time. He segments off a length of the belt to use with bad intentions as Jones begins to stir. Sabbath closes in on Jones in the corner near the door while Jones attempts to crawl back into the cage and into the ring. Sabbath wields the leather above his head and swings down, slapping the makeshift whip across Smith’s back with a loud, ungodly THWAP!! The crowd reacts and recoils in empathy upon impact as Jones’ agonizing wail can be heard above the oooooooo’s of the Melbourne audience! Jones stumbles back into the ring and the cage door closes behind him. Sabbath stands over Jones and swings down hard again! THWAP!! The two red welts are instantly visible from a great distance and they form an X across his back that keeps Smitty present to the fact that Diamond Jack Sabbath in no longer across the world from where he is; Diamond Jack Sabbath is right here. THWAP! THWAP!! THWAP!!! THWAP!!!! Smith tries in vain to move and writhe out of harm’s way, but Sabbath is always directly behind him. Smith runs the ropes and comes off with a-- THWAP! Nope. Sabbath stops him with the leather strap to the midsection. Jones steps in close for a belly-to-belly suplex, but Sabbath manages to wrap the strap around Jones’ neck one time, then once more. Smith’s eyes begin to bug out of his head. Sabbath knees Jones in the gut and then puts him in double underhooks, hurling him over his own head with a butterfly suplex!
MARK SANCTION: This is getting pretty dangerous now with that leather strap wrapped around Smith’s neck! He’s having trouble getting air into his lungs after taking that hard fall in the middle of the canvas!
Sabbath uses the rope to pull Jones up to his feet and then whips him over and down to the mat with a modified leather choker snap mare! Jones rolls to a corner and tries to remove the leash. Sabbath gets a disturbing grin on and then pulls hard, throwing him out of the corner with a beal using the leather leash! Jones is down mid ring. Smith finally removes the choker and gasps for breath as Sabbath closes in for further attack. Jones scrambles to his feet as Sabbath backs him to the ropes and does an Irish whip to the far side. Jones is met by DJS with a signature Double A Spinebuster!! That’s about as technical as Sabbath generally gets, but it has proven for many years to be effective and tonight is no different. Jones is down. Sabbath heads over to the corner near the door and instantly begins to untie the top turnbuckle pad. Jones is up and comes charging in with a running Stinger Splash to Sabbath’s back, but DJS dodges it and shoves Jones into the corner! Smitty turns to avoid contact in the corner, but he is too late to fully stop himself from hitting the exposed steel! Even though he turns his head at the last second, his jaw hits the metal turnbuckle ring! Jones is stunned and he stumbles backwards out of the corner directly into a solid Crown Kick from Sabbath in the back of the head!! Jones crumbles and falls in a heap of loosely connected pieces in the middle of the ring. Sabbath calls urgently for the referee to open the door and he complies. With Jones down in the middle of the ring, Sabbath begins a swift and prideful walk to the open door.
MATT STEEL: This is Sabbath’s chance to escape the cage and win this first fall!
DJS climbs through the ropes and gets out onto the ring apron with an arrogant swagger in the faces of those at ringside who had wished to see him fail miserably here tonight. He steps down one step...
He takes another step down...
Sabbath takes that third and final...
Smith is nowhere near in the appropriate shape to make much more effort than to simply keep his centre of gravity low and hold tight with both hands to the leather strap that is keeping him from ending up one fall behind Diamond Jack Sabbath in this highly anticipated three fall affair! Sabbath stands on that last step, inches from victory. Frustrated, he turns and walks back into the cage, closing the cage door behind him and locking them both inside for just a little while longer. As he arrives on the apron, he is surprised to be met by Smith Jones who has found it within himself to come careening towards Sabbath with a suicide dive through the ropes! Narrowly missing the ring post, Jones bisects Sabbath and spears him with a modified version of his Tomorrow dive that blasts both himself and DJS through the closed cage door and send them both tumbling out of the cage, down the steps, and out to the ringside floor!!
DING! DING!! DING!!!
MATT STEEL: This match is over! Sabbath has escaped the cage!!
MARK SANCTION: That’s hardly factual, Matt! Smitty is out here on the ringside floor too! But the question here is whose feet hit the floor first? They both tumbled out here in a tangled mess and both men are now down on the floor, but who in actual fact is this winner of the first fall in this first ever White Leather Strap Match?
MATT STEEL: Sabbath was closer to the door when they collided, so it only stands to reason that he hit the floor first and wins this match!
MARK SANCTION: He may have been closer to the door when they blasted through it, but Sabbath’s feet were up in the air when they came bouncing down those steel ring steps, so there’s no way his feet hit the floor before Smith came down hard on the thin padding! What do the referees have to say about this?
The referee inside the ring for the first fall was senior official Jack Tickles. Referee Tickles has climbed out of the cage and is now raising the hand of Smith Jones! Most of the audience starts to cheer wildly at the sight of this! Hana Ramierez’ voice is a little shaky, but decided cheerful, when she announces...
HANA RAMIEREZ: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the first fall… SMITH JONES!!!
MATT STEEL: What?!?
The cheers grow even louder at this announcement from Hana! Wracked with pain and still half conscious, Smith works up the ability to smile at the sound of his name reaching out from the open air arena and off into the hot Australian evening. The referee outside the ring, long time XWA official Kirk Samson, is now inserting himself into the celebration with what may come across to some as bad news. He lowers Smith’s arm and that of Jack J. Tickles and then moves over to DJS, raising the hand of the leader of The Survivors and pointing curtly at Hana Ramierez. Confused, she refrains from saying anything at all at this point as senior referee Tickles comes and lowers the hands of Sabbath and Samson. An argument ensues between the two referees while the fighters remain winded and wounded on the ringside floor, still attached by that ten foot leather strap at the wrists. After a while of bickering, Jack J. Tickles goes over to Hana and explains to her where has happened. She nods and brings the microphone to her lips in a now deafeningly silent arena.
HANA RAMIEREZ: Ladies and gentlemen, the referees have come to a decision. Senior official Jack Tickles has informed me that due to the fact that Kirk Samson was closer to the point of impact at the moment both men fell to the floor and had an unobstructed view of the landing, your winner of the first fall is DIAMOND JACK SABBATH!!!
MATT STEEL: Yes!!!
MARK SANCTION: Boooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!
MATT STEEL: Diamond Jack defeated Smith Jones under the only stipulation of Smitty’s choosing! Sabbath bow has a one fall advantage over Jones going into two match types that Smith would never have picked for himself in this long overdue rematch between two of the most vocal and violent XWA superstars in the ring today!
MARK SANCTION: You’re right, Matt! I don’t know how Smitty’s gonna pull it off, but it looks like he will have to beat Diamond Jack Sabbath in both a Falls Count Anywhere match and a Last Man Standing Match right here and now if he wants to win this thing! The odds are clearly stacked against him! How will Smith Jones fare going forward with a potential two falls left to fight?!
MATT STEEL: I don’t like his chances, Sanction!
The referees free both men from the cuffs of the leather strap. Smith Jones is still groggy from the Crown Kick which, after all the Crown Kicks he’s taken from DJS over the past few months, must be causing him a great deal of mental distress at this point. He seems quite dizzy as he stands, while Diamond Jack Sabbath uses the ringside barricade and the aid of Kirk Samson to pull himself vertical. Jack Tickles motions for Kirk to let go of the combatants and leave the ringside area for this portion of the competition! Sabbath nods at Kirk and he walks up the ramp. Jones lunges at Sabbath near the entrance ramp with a roaring elbow, but Sabbath counters into a signature Running Powerslam on the entrance ramp that flattens Jones and nearly takes down some ring crew members who are on their way to the ring to dismantle the cage frame by frame the same way it went up. Jones arches his back in pain on the metal ramp as Sabbath starts to get an idea. It’s now Falls Count Anywhere and Sabbath has no intention of getting back into the ring anytime soon. He lifts the ring skirt and reaches underneath, pulling out a steel folding chair to a round of boos and a smattering of applause from the ringside crowd. With a concerning wildness in his eyes, Sabbath heads for Jones. DJS holds the chair up above his head.
SABBATH: They’re starting to lose faith in you, Smitty. There’s nothing you can do to win them back. You are not the hero. There are no... more... heroes!!!
With that, Sabbath swings downward. Jones rolls out of the way and the chair strikes the ground! DJS gets an angry snarl on and swings at Jones again. WHAP!!! Swing and a miss! Jones rolls to his feet. Sabbath swings a third time, but is cut off by Jones with a boot to the midsection! He takes the chair from Sabbath and does not hesitate to swing it at him! Jones connects with a solid chair shot upside the head of Diamond Jack! Sabbath turns to face the cage, which is now being dismantled on the far side of the ring, but still intact on this side of the ring. He looks to climb, but Jones hits him square across the back with that chair and Sabbath squirms in pain, dancing out of the way and holding his spine. Smith drops the chair on the floor and grabs Sabbath by the shoulder. He spins him and then gets him in a quick front facelock for a DDT on the steel chair!! Sabbath’s head bounces off the cold steel as his convulses in pain and rolls away from Jones. Smitty gets up, grabs the chair, and stands over Sabbath. He swings down again and stops Sabbath from rolling with a stiff chair shot to the head and neck that seems to almost knock DJS out.
Jones looks up at the now completely dark sky above. The wind his picked up a bit and the clouds are rolling by more quickly than they had been in the light of the setting sun. With the steel chair in one hand, Smitty climbs towards the infinite blackness with a determined sneer plastered on his face. He climbs further and further up the cage until he is satisfied that he has reached the most ludicrous height he can achieve and still survive whatever he is about to do next. Far below him, Diamond Jack Sabbath has begun to slowly stir and stand. Still facing in towards the cage, Jones gets his footing just right and holds the chair with both hands in front of him right before throwing himself into the wind with a picture perfect moonsault aimed at a hapless inhabitant of the rugged Earth below.
MARK SANCTION: What an unbelievable sight! Smith Jones comes falling out of the night sky and onto Diamond Jack Sabbath with a moonsault he has fittingly named Visual Music! The chair just smashed into the face of Diamond Jack Sabbath and knocked him down on the floor holding his forehead and screaming in agony!
MATT STEEL: He’s busted wide open! Sabbath’s bleeding through his fingers and all over himself and the thin ringside padding beneath him!!
MARK SANCTION: Out of nowhere, DJS is busted wide open! If you’re as bloodthirsty and ravenous an audience as some people say you are; if you want blood, then we’ve got just what you paid for here tonight at the current XWA Supershow in Melbourne, Australia, in front of roughly a hundred thousand screaming wrestling fans! If you want blood, then this certainly is music to your eyes!
MARK SANCTION: Looks like Sabbath’s got nothing but blood in his eyes right now, Sanction! How can you be so happy about this?!?
The blood continues to pour down DJS’ face as Jones lays on the floor nearby, trying to recover from his astronomical plunge. Sabbath is lightheaded and groggy and he’s fighting a light bout of nausea from the severe impact to the head. Jones looks over at Sabbath and sees the blood for the first time. His face lights up. Smith shakes his head and chuckles lightly to himself before the laughter becomes even louder. He lays on his back and kicks his legs up and down, laughing the whole time as his eyes tear up and he can hardly see. Smith composes himself and wipes the tears away. He gets to his feet and meets Sabbath who has now worked his way up to all fours. Jones grabs Sabbath in a north-south waistlock and goes for a gutwrench suplex. DJS lands on his feet and plants his feet while Jones turns to face him. Sabbath hits a hard shuffle side kick the Smith’s midsection and then does a big, wheeling roundhouse kick to Jones’ sternum! Smith stumbles backwards. Sabbath steps in and again throws a kick to the side of the trapezius that turns Jones away from him again. Jones grabs his neck and faces the crowd where a young man in a gray tee yells words of encouragement his way.
YOUNG MAN: Smitty! Smitty! Smitty! Come on, Smith! You can beat-- Hey! Smitty! Look out!!
Just then, Sabbath comes charging at Jones from behind with a running dropkick! Jones falls forward over the retaibing wall and out into the crowd, narrowly missing the young fan! Smith hits the concrete floor and tries immediately to stand up. Sabbath is hot on his heels. DJS climbs the ringside barricade and stands on top of it while Jones gets to a vertical base. Jones doesn't see him standing there as he is facing the other way. Sabbath flies off the wall with a leaping side kick to the jaw that knocks Jones into a row of fans! Sabbath comes right after Jones and grabs him out of the fleeing fans. His face is a crimson mask of rage as he lines up a series of shoot kicks that riddle Jones with violence over and over again. Every time Jones tries to get vertical, Sabbath throws another well placed kick. They end up deep in the audience seating with Jack in full control! Sabbath squares up and flattens Jones with another Crown Kick that catches him square in the back of the head!!! He is rendered unconscious on his feet and he falls flat on his back across a nearby road case!! Jones is completely out cold!!!
MARK SANCTION: Sabbath has taken over this match! That Crown Kick just leveled Jones so bad he probably thinks that road case is his hotel room couch right now!!
MATT STEEL: Nothing like the sight of your own blood to make you face your own mortality and seek out some immortality of your own! Diamond Jack simply cannot be stopped at this point! He’s looking up at the lighting truss? What is he thinking?
MARK SANCTION: Being in a open air arena, these lighting towers have been set up to shine spotlights onto the ring. Looks like Sabbath has an idea involving this unique set of circumstances using this equipment we don't always see at the indoor shows!
MATT STEEL: This won't be good for Smitty! Cheer now, why don't ya?!
Sabbath stands over Jones and rains down a meteor shower of punches directly in the middle of his face until Jones isn't moving at all anymore. With that, the climb begins. Sabbath climbs one of the lighting towers near the road case where Jones lies motionless. Sabbath climbs and climbs and keeps on climbing until he starts to get dizzy from the altitude. He looks down and readies himself to smite Smitty. With his feet firm, he lets go with his hands and falls backwards, aiming for impact with his elbow. As he falls, Smith Jones gets up quickly and counters Jack’s fall right into a Backstabber to the neck!!!
MARK SANCTION: Point of Controversy!!! That PoC just crushed Jones beneath Sabbath, but also got the job done on Diamond Jack!!!
MATT STEEL: The top of that road case is caved in and Jones is now trapped inside with Sabbath on top of him!
MARK SANCTION: Oh, but wait! Jones is not done yet!!
Smitty wraps his legs around Sabbath’s midsection and locks on a body scissors while wrenching his arm behind him and getting a crossface chickenwing on Jack!!
MARK SANCTION: Diamond Jack Sabbath is trapped in The System!!! Back to back finishers by Jones!!!
MATT STEEL: Get out of it, Diamond Jack!!! Buck The System!!! You built the system!!! You can tear it down!!!
Sabbath tries as hard as he can to get out of Smith’s crossface chickenwing body scissors, but to no avail. It is to Smith’s advantage that he is crushed into that road case. His grip is even tighter than it would have been in the middle of the ring. And in a Falls Count Anywhere Match, there are no rope breaks. There is no way out, just the way Smith had meant for it to be in the White Leather Strap Match portion of the evening. Sabbath’s forehead is pouring with blood again as he tries with all his might to flail and thrash himself free. Jones taps into his darker side and tightens his grip more and more with every movement of his immobilized prey. After resisting the pain as long as he possibly can, Diamond Jack Sabbath taps out to Smith Jones out there somewhere in the middle of a riotous crowd!
DING! DING!! DING!!!
HANA RAMIEREZ: Your winner of the second fall by submission… SMITH JONES!!!
MATT STEEL: NO!!!!!
MARK SANCTION: Looks like it's one fall apiece now, Matt! After that somewhat controversial first fall, Jones just took the controversy out of the second fall by ironic means, utilizing he Point of Controversy to trap Diamond Jack Sabbath in The System!!!
MATT STEEL: Senior ref Jack Tickles called the tap out, but it's a good thing Kirk Samson is out here to help Sabbath out of that road case where Jones is now encased worse than Han Solo in carbonite. Start the third fall!!
MARK SANCTION: The third fall is underway! And it’s the fall that was voted on by the XWA fanbase! This final fall will be decided in a Last Man Standing Match!!!
With Kirk Samson as now the official in this final fall, Sabbath feels a little more at ease. He gets his wits about him and grabs a crutch from a ringside fan. He stands on top of the road case with Smith trapped under him and he jabs repeatedly downward over and over again until he is stationed that Smitty is not going to move for a moment. Sabbath uses all of his strength to flip a second road case on top of the road case that Jones is laying in!
Diamond Jack Sabbath rolls the double stacked road cases out of the arena bowl and into the backstage area. He wheels them all the way to the loading dock. Without slowing down, in fact speeding up in fact, sabbath rolls the cases towards the loading bay where the trucks unload gear. There is a drop off point where the floor ends and the road cases fly over a three-foot drop to the hard concrete floor below!! CRASH!!! Smith Jones inside two cases comes crashing down on the concrete floor!!! He spills out of the case and lies flat on the cold floor as Sabbath stands over him a few feet above. DJS climbs atop a nearby truck parked next to the empty spot and does not hesitate to drop a solid elbow sharply to the clavicle!! He crushes Jones beneath him and gets up shortly afterward, dripping with blood and malice. The referee begins to count Smith down.
MATT STEEL: He’s done! There's no way Jones gets up from this!!!
Smitty stirs and uses the road case nearest him to stand up. Sabbath is livid! He charges in towards Jones with a running double axe handle, but Jones counters into a belly-to-belly throw that hurls Sabbath upside down against the side of the gear truck! As Sabbah stands, Jones is ready for another signature Take It Home suplex. He gets a front waistlock on Sabbath, but Sabbath scrambles and escapes back to the upper level where he had pushed the road cases from three feet up. Smith is determined to catch Sabbath and he follows close behind. DJS finds a short piece of lead pipe and swings it at his opponent. Smith dodges the attack. Sabbath climbs up onto the top of the truck again. Smith stupidly follows, unarmed.
Sabbath is now standing on the roof of a cube truck with Jones just arriving to join him. DJS swings at Jones’ head. Smitty ducks it and quickly steps behind for the Point of Controversy! Sabbath throws a back elbow and turns to face Jones. Smith grabs a front waistlock looking for an overhead belly-to-belly, but Sabbath headbutts him in the nose busting Smitty wide open!!! His face explodes with blood!! Sabbath swings once again with the length of pipe, but Jones avoids contact once more, this time locking in that belly-to-belly and throwing Sabbath over his head, off the truck roof, and all the way down to the concrete floor far below!!!
With blood now flowing freely from his nose, Jones looks down at Sabbath, who is not moving much, face down on the cold, hard floor. Referee Kirk Samson, while concerned for DJS’ well being, is laying down the ten count as slowly as he can. For Jones, the world has gone silent. Everything he has ever wanted is starting to come together in his mind. He looks down at his feet and sees that Sabbath dropped the short length of pipe on the roof of the truck with Jones. Smitty smiles a toothy grin and shrugs to himself.
SMITH JONES: Kids, do NOT try this at home!
Smith picks up the pipe and sticks it in behind his right kneepad. Looking down at his face down opponent, only one crazy thought overtakes his mind. He ignored the potential danger to himself and focuses only on the target below him. Without overthinking it, Smith Jones jumps from the top of the cube truck and freefalls down, down, down onto the back of Diamond Jack Sabbath’s head, crushing it with the lead pipe tucked into his kneepad!!!
MARK SANCTION: Gravitas!!! Gravitas connects with that lead pipe as reinforcement!!!
MATT STEEL: That's just absolutely insane!!! What has this lunatic done?!??!
MARK SANCTION: Smitty just crushed Sabbath’s head with a lead pipe under his whole body weight from a good ten, fifteen feet in the air on this cold, hard concrete floor!!!
MATT STEEL: But he didn't just hurt Sabbath! Imagine what kind of damage he just did to his knee there! What a stupid move by Smith Jones! He may have just put an end to both of their careers!
MARK SANCTION: This match isn't won quite yet. Unfortunately, the referee’s count can't begin until one of these men stands up. It's a Last Man Standing Match! There has to be a man standing!! Can either of these men do that?
Sabbath is out cold, damned near drowning in a pool of his own blood; Smith thinks about the entirety of his XWA journey and how his relationship with Diamond Jack has affected every single solitary moment of his career in this company. He inhales slowly and for as long as possible before letting out a long low growl. He uses the brick wall to help himself up despite the agony in his right knee, which might be much more injured than we know at this point. Adrenaline is an amazing drug and Smith uses it to get him through this intensely agonizing moment. Smith leans against the wall wearing grimace. The creases in the musculature of his face are filled with his blood. He waves at referee Kirk Samson to make the ten count that might just end this match!
DING! DING!! DING!!!
HANA RAMIEREZ: Here is your winner… there is only one SMITH JONES!!!!!
MARK SANCTION: He’s done it! After all these years of having DJS wreak havoc on his in ring career, Smith Jones has beaten his greatest arch nemesis in XWA history in one hell of a war here tonight! This is an incredible moment for Smith Jones!!
MATT STEEL: But at what cost? That was the dumbest move I’ve ever seen, using that lead pipe in his kneepad to hit Gravitas off the top of that truck! He may have stood up for that ten count, but that might be the last time we ever see Smith Jones stand on his own two feet again!
Smitty has already collapsed next to the wall and Diamond Jack Sabbath hasn’t moved at all since that final blow was dealt. Doctors rush into the area to aid both competitors. The final shot is of the crooked smile on Smith Jones’ face as we fade to black.
Right off the bat I enjoyed the fact these two were going to beat the tar out of one another. In the few opening paragraphs it seems like it is going at a breakneck speed, but I feel it justified for the most part. The utilization of the first stipulation was used interestingly, albeit some of the action in could have used a touch of a slower pace further in so I can really feel the pain inflicted. But it doesn’t overshadow the fun action that is to be had. The “Wonder No More” was a nice addition, felt like he is trying to throw everything at him even early on to get the first victory.
“Smith begins to stand, but he's not an idiot. He's studied Jack. He knows the sound when Sabbath is about to go for a Crown Kick with overwhelming fanfare. His ego is his downfall.”
Great great stuff right there. Showing that this match, along was some tidbits earlier, has intelligence to it and not just rampant fighting just because why not. Made me feel like I got to see what is in his mind. Then the lying bastard portion: by God. That was so fun. Showing what a cretin Sabbath can be just to get one over on Smith and everyone else. Great heel stuff. Fun way to set the tone after the first fall and made me want to see what price he would pay at the hands of Smith later on. The Visual Music spot was good enough I suppose. I feel like this might be a lower point, but I’m not sure if it’s because of the pacing that I’m not as into it. Nothing bad, but nothing great. The IYH set up was really interesting. Not something I foresaw and Sabbath wanting to prove them wrong along with Jones was a neat concept. Legitimately surprised Jones didn’t get the pin off the Gravitas from the apron. Felt that could have been the quick turning point and was felt the moment came out pretty well. And after the Crown Kick from thin air and Jones kicking out, felt like a real superstar moment in this big fight. The next Crown Kick a little later on I thought was a bit much. Felt like it kind of cheapened the big moment the first time it happened and didn’t come across as special. Point of Controversy to close the final fall felt right and allows the third and final battle charge in feeling natural.
The continuing fight in the LMS felt fun and the way things are described felt like everything was all up sideways if that makes sense. And I mean that in a good way. The top rope spot and how it was described felt excellent to me. Although it can be seen as a portion where “sure, that happens at times”... you made it feel hype and that it mattered in a big way. That’s what I got from it anyway. The build up with the ten count was more interesting than I thought it would be, since most posts have a way to drag it out without giving much depth to it but that’s not what I got. And to have it end with Smith dropping out of pure exhaustion was a good way to end it to me. Sometimes it just goes one way.
The whole post to me was a great piece of work. Description was on point, many of the spots were fun and gave an interesting story between the two characters. The commentary felt like they were really about the match and it complimented things really well. Good good post.
Very great way to open things up with some inspired words from Smith Jones. Hyping up the match that already feels bigger the more I read it. Start of the match, boy was I caught off guard. Sabbath already looking for the Crown Kick *It might just be the most hyped finisher I’ve ever read on a fedding site* and the excitement hit just like that. The opening paragraph was raw adrenaline and very fun way to get things into gear. The strikes later on that hits thirteen and more shows the really gives the feeling of the fury. Smith Jones getting the first fall the way he did was really interesting and something I wasn’t expecting...until the damned bent referee Kirk Samson! It was a great great swerve and really sucked me into the match that much more. “Jones looks up at the now completely dark sky above. The wind his picked up a bit and the clouds are rolling by more quickly than they had been in the light of the setting sun.” It never dawned on me to see if the arena was an open air event. Such a small detail added to the detail that followed. Following down, the back to back finishers sold to me just how badly he wanted to get the next w and give punishment to Sabbath. Good stuff there. And having the second fall with a Submission, big ups for not having ‘just another pin fall’.
The following part I felt was done better in DJS’ post when it comes to the counts and the detailing within. Not saying it’s a bad choice for how you decided to build tension, but I wasn’t as much into it in comparison. Then came the lead pipe Gravitas. Well hell, things just got real. The continuation of it was shorter than expected, not a bad thing as everything doesn’t need to be dragged out. Especially in a multiple falls type match. Overall I really dug the style you used and how the attacks played out. The detailing made things easier read and I think your pacing was better off to me in terms of it all as a whole.
...and the vote goes to….
This is a toughie. I think both really did well when it came to the descriptive action, commentary and sold well on how their stories went down. I think what it comes down to for me is what I felt had me more invested, which is why I am actually going to vote Diamond Jack Sabbath here. His post just stood out a little more for me as a whole, but only just. I think both did an excellent job. Great work you two.