What a night. Amidst tonight’s 12 matches we see a debuting superstar and a returnee with a lot of history advance to meet each other in yet another tournament in their careers. Round 2 of the prestigious Lord of the Ring tournament brings us Lx-Tim versus Mark Storey. Two former XWA competitors, best known for their time in RIW and 2WWF. These two men have been bitter rivals, as well as stablemates, in multiple promotions and tonight must face-off in the quarter-finals of this tournament. Whilst these two are no strangers to one another, it has been quite some time since they have faced off against one another and one has to believe that in the small recovery time between their first round matches, they tried to watch each other’s performances. “The History Maker” Lx-Tim got a decisive victory over Victor Mason with the Destiny Destroyer, a Flipping Piledriver, much to the fans delight, whereas “The Natural” Mark Storey was uncharacteristically cheered in his match against The Tarmogoyf, winning with his Descended Upon Thee Double Stomp after a series of headshots against a steel ring post.
Mark Sanction: “This is sure to be a tough-fought battle. These two men have faced off in the past and it is always good.”
Matt Steel: “Have you been watching other companies?”
Mark Sanction: “I’ve done my homework, Matt. This is a match fit for the finals of this tournament and we’re being treated to it to see who advances to the semi-finals!”
Matt Steel: “Well Storey rubbed me the wrong way and that Puerto Rican is a little sure of himself, so I don’t share your enthusiasm.”
The titantron screen cuts from a live feed to display a Puerto Rican flag flapping in the wind signalling the first of our two competitors for this match with huge initials reading “L-X-5” appearing on-screen. The broadway play Hamilton’s line “History Has It’s Eyes On You” reels first as the flag is engulfed in flames. “Tonight We Ride” by Unleash the Archers plays over the system as we’re shown the crowd cheering in a monochrome filter. Showing the stage, multi-colour lights flash bringing us back to reality as “The Portrait of Greatness” makes his way out in his signature style, his head bowed.
Hana Ramierez: “Introducing first in the Lord of the Ring Quarter-Final match, residing in Allentown, Pennsylvania and weighing 240 pounds, he is The Portrait of Greatness…L! X! TIIIIIIIMMMMMM!”
Lx-Tim raises both of his arms sharply and points to the ceiling as a burst of flames and pyro shoots upward, the crowd cheering as it does so. Tim’s arms drop and then so does his body as he is viciously forearmed from behind by a shadowy figure! Tim’s entrance theme abruptly ends and the flames die down, removing their casted shadow from his attacker to reveal Mark Storey. Tim rolls down the ramp as Mark follows him to a chorus of boos. The crowd won’t have a clash of interests in this match as they firmly rally behind the Puerto Rican rather than the British superstar. Grabbed by his arms, Tim unintentionally clambers to his feet only to be immediately Irish whipped into the opposite facing barricade, forcing it against the fans in the entrance aisle! “IT’S NOTHING PERSONAL!” yells Mark as he takes a small run up and drives his knee against Tim’s face, crushing it against the barricade hard, letting him fall limp to the floor, “OKAY, MAYBE IT IS..” shouts the cocky superstar, intent on gaining an advantage early on.
Matt Steel: “I take it back; Storey is bloody great.”
Mark Sanction: “You hated him earlier, he even ridiculed you!”
Matt Steel: “All is forgotten, Sanction.”
Mark Sanction: “Regardless, it’s clear Mark wants a quick match here, I’d argue that Tim wants the same, as both men will be hiding any injuries from their earlier matches. They have already foregone their entrance attires, simply coming out here in their gear from earlier, both men want to make it to the semi-finals and night two of this spectacular show!”
The crowd boo as Mark flips them off before approaching Tim again. The Puerto Rican comes to and saves himself by grabbing Mark by the waist of his trunks and pulling him into the barricade! With Mark momentarily distracted, Tim gets to his feet and grabs his opponent by his neck. “The History Maker” then drags Mark and Irish Whips him towards the ring, only to have it reversed, sending Tim towards the ring and hard ring apron! Reaching the squared circle, Tim leaps into the air and lands atop of his intended steel destination. In an instant, Tim pushes himself off of the ring apron with his feet and flips in mid-air, crashing down on his British foe with an amazing Moonsault! Mark crashes to the cold floor below as Tim stumbles backwards, still retaining his stance, much to the crowd’s pleasure! Dropping to one knee, “The Portrait of Greatness” holds his hand against his head, the crash against the barricade, as well as already competing in a match tonight, already starting to show. LX changes his tune quickly, intent on actually getting this match underway. He makes his way to Mark, still downed, and pulls him to a vertical base. Hooking one hand on the back of Mark’s trunks, and one around his head, LX forces Mark into the ring underneath the bottom rope. Our referee for this match, Kirk Samson, checks on Mark on entry, to deem if he is ready to start the match. As Tim enters and makes his way to Mark, Samson pushes him back, allowing Mark to scurry into the corner of the ring. Those in attendance boo while Tim gestures to his head and the barricade outside, proclaiming that it was Mark who attacked him in the first place. With LX suitably detained, Mark grabs a hold of two perpendicular top ring ropes and pulls himself up to his feet. Side-stepping Samson after a quick run-up, Storey plants a hard forearm into Tim’s face, knocking him backwards into the ropes. Samson jumps as Mark connects with the forearm and turns away to call for the bell starting the match, unfairly allowing Mark to connect with a number of jabs and punches to his fan-favourite adversary.
Mark Sanction: “What a minute, how is THAT fair?! Samson is the most crooked referee I’ve ever seen! He held Tim back as they entered the ring, but calls for the bell the moment Mark sneak attacks Tim!”
Matt Steel: “He did no such thing, Storey simply got the first hit, stop making excuses for ‘The Latin Extremist’, it sickens me that you’d take someone like that’s side in 2016.”
Mark Sanction: “Are you implying Tim is a terrorist based on his nickname and colour of his skin?”
Matt Steel: “Trump was right.”
Even though the boos drown out the sound of the bell ringing three times, this match is now officially underway as the camera zooms in on a downed Tim trying his best to shield himself against a barrage of heavy stomps from his former stablemate and long-time enemy. Dropping to a static prone position Tim tricks Mark into thinking his out for the count. The cocky Las Vegas resident turns to the centre of the ring and holds his arms out in victory. Unsurprised that he was able to take Tim down this easily, Mark celebrates to a shower of boos and jeers. Breaking from his possum tactic, LX rolls under the bottom rope and stands on the ring apron, taking advantage of Mark knowing that “The Natural” wouldn’t be able to resist taunting at the situation. As the boos turn to cheers, Mark begins to twig that all is not as it seems leading him to duck, crouching down as LX flies over him with a springboard forearm! Landing on his feet, Tim now stands in front of Mark, with his back to him. Mark stands, tapping the side of his head with his index finger, implying that he is more intelligent than that as Tim forces himself up and into the air, spinning backwards and clocking Mark right on his temple with a Pele Kick! “The Natural” drops to the canvas, allowing LX to climb over him, hooking a leg in the process! ONE! TW-NO! Storey is able to get his shoulder off of the mat, sitting up in the process, shaking the cobwebs from his head. Standing once more, LX looks to take advantage of Mark’s position and sprints towards the ropes facing his foe. Rebounding off of them, Tim is launched towards a seated Storey before jumping towards the former XWA Television Champion knee-first with a Shining Wizard! Another shot to the head sends Mark straight back down to the mat, beckoning Tim in for yet another pin attempt. ONE! TWO! KICKOUT just after two. Kneeling, Tim puts his hands on his hips, not surprised that Mark was able to kick out, as he is very aware of Mark’s endurance and resilience, but instead taking a modicum of time to decide what to do next.
Mark Sanction: “Lx-Tim has come back from that sneak attack in a big way, his retirement isn’t showing much of a slow-down!”
Matt Steel: “Coming here, stealing American wrestler’s jobs!”
Mark Sanction: “STOREY is BRITISH and you are on his side! Are you seriously continuing with this nonsense?!”
Matt Steel: “I’m pretty sure Tim stole my taco backstage.”
Coming to a decision, “The Illustration of Innovation” stands, bringing Storey with him. A sharpe back hand finds its home across Mark’s chest, lighting it up! The hue of Storey’s chest changes to a shade of reddish-pink, like a perfectly cooked steak, as LX continues to deliver chop after chop. The buffet presented to Mark starts to get a lot rawer as Tim brings his hand to his mouth and bites his glove, ripping its Velcro and tearing it from his hand before driving it straight onto Mark’s pectorals once again! The crowd “WOOO!” in unison once again as Mark stumbles backwards. Disallowing Storey any room to mount a counter-attack, LX flings “The Elite of Elites” towards the ropes opposite. As expected, Mark hits the ropes back-first and rebounds off them, shooting straight back the way he came, towards Tim. Unexpectedly, however, Mark outstretches his right arm on re-entry to LX’s personal atmosphere, not for a clothesline, but instead as a grip; hooking it around Tim’s chest, then utilising his own momentum to swing round the Puerto Rican’s body, tuck his knees into Tim’s back and then fall backwards, dragging LX down with a huge lungblower! Misdirected Misfortune! The impact shockwaves up through Mark’s body and stings Tim’s back forcing him to ascend into the air before crashing hard on the mat. He hits the mat, jolting up from the secondary impact, to which Storey pushes his chest down and grabs a hold of the right leg. ONE! TWO! TH-NO! Just in time Tim is able to lift his shoulder from the mat, saving the match for himself. A booing crowd changes to cheers for “El Guapo Hispana” kicking out, the camera focusing in on Mark’s face, laden with a look of disgust and frustration, his brows heavily furrowed, his nose scrunched up into a scowl.
Mark Sanction: “Look at that expression! He really has no time for Lx-Tim, does he? I think this rivalry goes deeper than my research could uncover.”
Matt Steel: “Why should Storey have any time for him? He’s Mark fucking Storey!”
Mark Sanction: “You flip-flop so often; I hope you eat your words one day.”
Shaking his head, Storey pushes himself up and grabs LX by the head on the way. All of a sudden Mark is hoisted up and swept away by a Shoulder Thrust from Tim, driving him straight into the corner of the ring. The shoulder to the gut winds Mark causing him to double over, grabbing his stomach. Backing up, “The History Maker” holds the back of his head, tiredness and soreness from earlier setting in more than ever. He recovers whilst keeping a close eye on Storey, who himself recuperates and returns to a straight posture, still cornered. Seeing Mark rise is Tim’s cue to near his opponent, this time in a fighting, martial arts-inspired, stance. Suddenly aware of his predicament and fate (to be hit with an onslaught of punches and strikes), Storey drops to the canvas just in the nick of time and escaping to the outside of the ring. The top turnbuckle bounces after receiving two quick jabs from LX meant for Mark whilst the camera then follows Mark who flips the bird towards the ring whilst distancing himself from the proverbial battleground. “You coward!” pipes up a fan in the second row, which instantly gains Mark’s attention, riling him up almost as quickly too. “THE FUCK YOU SAY TO ME?!” yells Storey, squaring up to the fan as much as he can, leaning over the barricade. Perhaps regretting his decision to verbally attack Mark, the fan slinks back down into his chair as those around the arena boo the British bully. “FUCKING DICKHEAD” quips “The Natural” before turning back to the ring seeing it for a split second before a flying Lx-Tim adheres himself to Storey, wrapping his arm around Mark’s neck before falling backwards, catching Mark with a Leaping Spike Reverse STO from the ring apron! Storey’s head smashes off of the lightly padded floor as the crowd go wild and the referee starts his ring out count.
Mark Sanction: “My word he came out of nowhere! Mark is going to feel that for weeks!”
Matt Steel: “That was a blatant plant in the crowd! Disqualification! Ref! REF!”
As much as a count out victory would ensure his advancement in this tournament, Lx-Tim takes no pleasure in a match won on a technicality and loves to leave it all in the ring for his supporters. Adorned by cheers, the happy yet hurting Tim leans on the barricade, the fans in the front rows stretching to touch their hero, before nodding and bending over to pull Storey up. Doing so at a count of 3 from the ref only worsens his situation as Mark immediately returns the favour of a shoulder thrust and forces LX back-first into the steel ring apron! Stumbling backwards himself, Mark grabs his forehead with both hands, doubling over. Yelling out in pain, Mark then pushes through his injuries and grabs Tim’s head with those same two hands and subsequently heaves his long-time foe directly into the nearby steel steps! The crowd boo as LX crashes into the two-part steel steps with the back of his head then top of his back, falling limp much like the start of this bout. The referee reaches a count of 5 which beckons Mark to re-enter the ring for the win, unfazed with the means of his victory unlike Tim. Pleading with Kirk Samson to speed up his count, Mark watches on as a groggy Tim somehow starts to use the same steel steps his just crashed into as an aid to stand, or at worst, kneel. A count of 7 sees “The Crown Jewel” lunge towards the apron, only to stumble at the last moment. Inside the ring, Mark can be seen conversing with Samson, trying any number of things; distraction, bribery or anything else to ensure a victory, every so often glaring back at Tim who gets a leg on the apron at 9. In one last push, LX forces himself under the ring just before Samson’s count, forcing the official to call off the count, resulting in Mark dropping to his knees in despair.
Matt Steel: “THAT’S BULL! Tim has that crook Samson in his back pocket!”
Mark Sanction: “If that was the case, Samson would’ve started the match the moment Tim entered the ring earlier! Honestly, you look for ANY excuse!”
With his head in his hands, Mark kneels as LX starts to get onto all fours. “The Natural” can be seen shaking his head, seemingly talking to himself before lifting his head and staring at Tim. “Not FUCKING today. YOU’RE NOT BEATING ME TODAY.” Shouts Mark whilst shuffling over to LX. He applies a front headlock on Tim then starts to make his way to his feet, raising LX with him as he goes. Still shaking his head Mark then switches his front headlock into a three-quarter facelock! The crowd stand to witness Mark’s finisher as he takes a few steps and jumps up, dragging Tim with him. Crucially, LX pushes Mark, loosening the grip and forcing Mark to stagger forward, narrowly avoiding the MAS Ace Crusher variant. Shocked, Storey turns back to LX and finds himself on the receiving end of a three-quarter facelock before being dragged forward and then pulled down to the mat with Tim’s own Ace Crusher variant, the LKO, a tribute manoeuvre of the same elk from Lyxon Steel! The crowd erupt as Storey takes some of his own medicine as Tim has essentially just delivered Mark’s own finisher to him! Tired, Tim turns slowly after the move and looks towards Mark who has flipped onto his back after the impact.
The crowd will Tim on, but Tim does not fumble to cover Storey but instead “The Portrait of Greatness” clambers to his feet. Standing, LX looks out to the crowd who chant his name and yell for him to cover Mark, who quickly change their tune when they see Tim turn and look at the top turnbuckle. Cheering what feels like louder than ever, the crowd watch on as Tim puts it all on the line for them, standing at the ring corner with his back to Mark. He takes a breath and jumps up onto the second ropes, he then uses that as a springboard to immediately jump up onto the top rope as a precursor to his final destination which never comes to fruition. The thoughts of Tim advancing in the tournament crumble, much like his oncoming Double Jump Moonsault, as he pushed forward by Mark who lunged toward him, arms raised, in a desperate attempt to foil his plans. Tim falls into a seated position on the top rope, his groin split by the turnbuckle before falling in a Tree of Woe-like situation. Ducking underneath the bottom rope and then scrambling to his feet, using the ropes to aid in doing so, Storey stands with one hand holding onto the top rope and the other on his forehead. The exhausted superstar rubs his head as the crowd boo him consistently before ascending the same turnbuckle LX finds himself attached by the lower legs to. Upon reaching the top, crouched over, Mark slaps Tim’s sides, forcing his foe to inadvertently come to attention, suspending himself long enough for Storey to stand and then jump into the air, crashing down with a nasty, tired-ridden Double Stomp, Descended Upon Thee! The two combatants lay in the heap, with Mark atop of Tim. “The Natural” uses what might he has left to push the fan-favourite away from the ropes before collapsing on him to a chorus of boos. ONE! TWO! THREE!
The bell rings as Samson lifts a downed Mark’s arm in victory as “The Rains of Castamere” performed by Jonathan Young plays over the audio system amidst the crowds boos.
Hana Ramierez: “Here is your winner, advancing to the SEMI FINALS of the Lord of the Ring tournament…MARK! STOORRRREEYYYY!”
Matt Steel: “He did it! My God did you see him do it?!”
Mark Sanction: “Yeah I saw it, and I have to commend both of these men, that was a real fight. Like I said at the start of this bout, this match was fit for the finals.”
Matt Steel: “Yeah, well, only one of them can reach the finals now and that’s Mark Storey. The Natural! Haha!”
(OOC: This was partly written before Tim's moveset change today where the STO was still a signature move and the Double Jump Moonsault alluded to at the end was still a finisher. Good luck Tim!)