XWA's usual show opening spectacle goes off and we see a panned out view of the wildly cheering crowd in Paradise, Nevada. This view is soon changed to the commentary team.
Mark Sanction: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to XWA Lord of the Ring, Part I! The XWA's annual tradition continues tonight when we witness the first two rounds of action that will decide who gets a shot at the Supreme Champion anytime within the next year."
Matt Steel: "After XWA On a Pole killed it last month, I can guarantee this shit is gonna be good, tonight."
Mark Sanction: "For those who haven't seen the round one brackets, can we get the graphic up on the big screen?"
After a few seconds, the tournament bracket appears on the big screen, showing off the round one matches.
Mark Sanction: "There are some very interesting names in the tournament this year, but I think there's one in particular that really sticks out."
Matt Steel: "Fucking Tempest."
Mark Sanction: "That's right, folks. Tempest is back and he's looking to come back in a big way! This couldn't get any--"
"I'M A MOTHERFUCKING BEEEEAST!"
The sudden burst of yelling penetrates the audience's ears, as the new XWA Supreme Champion Jerod Barnez steps out through the curtain while Busta Rhymes' verse in the Southpaw remix of "Beast" begins. Jerod's hands are held high in fists, with his newly won championship wrapped around his waist and his father, Thomas Barnez, standing behind him. Jerod stands atop the stage, with both fists still kept in the air, sporting casual clothes and sunglasses, as he's not expected to compete tonight. The fans all throughout the arena boo the emergence of this man and his dad.
Matt Steel: "New theme song. I dig it."
Mark Sanction: "Your eyes are not deceiving you, folks. Yes, Jerod Barnez is the new Supreme Champion after defeating Razer last month at XWA On a Pole. Perhaps even more shocking is the man standing behind him, Jerod's father Thomas, who helped him win that match and cheat Razer out of the title."
Matt Steel: "You keep saying he was cheated. There's no cheating in a Street Fight, Mark."
Mark Sanction: "Call it whatever the hell you want, it's bull!"
Jerod keeps his pose still until the yells of being a motherfucking beast are heard again and he finally begins making his way to the ring. With Thomas following, the new champion is all smiles right now, very happy after taking XWA's top prize last month.
Hana Ramierez: "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome at this time, the NEW XWA Supreme Champion, 'Supreme' Jerod Barnez!"
Mark Sanction: "Oh, for Christ's sake. Can he be any more self indulgent?"
Matt Steel: "I mean, he is kinda supreme. That championship around his waist says so."
Mark Sanction: "The championship he stole!"
Jerod ignores the boos of the fans surrounding him, not letting them ruin his good mood. That is, until he sees a fan holding a sign that calls Jerod a daddy's boy. The champion instantly stops upon seeing this and looks at the overweight man holding it. He lightly chuckles before spitting directly in the fan's face. There's probably a lawsuit coming from that, but what does Jerod care? He's the Supreme Champion, damnit! The Barnez family continues walking toward the ring.
Mark Sanction: "Did he just spit on one of our fans?!"
Matt Steel: "Well, the fat shit should've known better than to hold a disrespectful sign up in Jerod's presence."
Mark Sanction: "You can't seriously condone that!"
Jerod and Thomas reach the ring and they walk up the steel steps, Jerod in front, before entering the squared circle. The Supreme Champion ascends the nearest corner to the second rope and raises both fists again while Thomas applauds his son from inside the ring. Jerod drops back down to the canvas and holds his hand out to Hana, silently asking for her microphone. She hands it to him and then exits the ring. The champion waits for the audience to die down before speaking.
Jerod Barnez: "Supreme; adjective. Highest in rank or authority. Highest in degree or quality. Ultimate - final. That's how the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes supreme. That's what being supreme means. Highest in rank, highest in quality … ultimate. Simply put, to be supreme means to be the best and do you know what makes you supreme in XWA?"
Jerod looks down at the championship wrapped around his waist.
Jerod Barnez: "This."
He looks back up.
Jerod Barnez: "Three championships were brought together to create this one. Three champions clashed to decide the first ever Supreme Champion of XWA. Laurel Anne Hardy was the victor. After her, one of the other two champions thrown into the match that created this title wrote his name in the history books as being supreme. That name was Razer."
Most fans cheer for the mention of Razer.
Jerod Barnez: "Known as the toughest man to ever step foot in an XWA ring. He's a legend elsewhere and a legend-in-the-making here. Truly a king, seated on his supreme throne."
Jerod looks over at his dad and grins.
Jerod Barnez: "But what's a king to a God?"
Thomas grins back at Jerod.
Jerod Barnez: "I. Beat. Razer."
Instantly, boos fill up the arena as Jerod reminds the audience of his victory over the now-former XWA Supreme Champion.
Jerod Barnez: "I battled the toughest man to ever step foot in an XWA ring and proved myself to be tougher. I decimated Razer. When all was said and done, he was lying in a pool of his own blood, watching me stand above him with this championship wrapped around my waist, as it is now. Nobody expected me to walk out of Iowa as the new Supreme Champion. Nobody but myself …"
Again, Jerod looks over to his father, this time pointing at him.
Jerod Barnez: "And my father. I've heard the talk. 'He only won because of his daddy. There's no way he would've kicked out of the Razerplex. Jerod is a faux champion.' Let me explain why that's bullshit. First of all, the Razerplex would not have kept me down. Nothing Razer could have done would have kept me down. Second, my father wasn't there to help me win. If he was, don't you think he would've asserted himself a little earlier? Maybe, say, before I damn near got my nose broken by Razer's lead pipe? If I was counting on my father helping me to win that match, he would have come down to the ring with me at the start of the match, like Bella did with Razer. By the way, if she hadn't have tried to sneak up on me with that steel chair, Razer's ankle would be broken right now and I'd be champion anyway.
My father didn't interfere to help me win, because I simply didn't need his help. My father ran into that ring and Gored the ever-loving hell out of Razer for one reason and one reason only; to make a point. That point is simply that the Barnez name IS wrestling. Thomas Barnez started it, Jerod Barnez strengthens it and generation after generation will continue it. Ours is the family that will go down in history as the greatest group of professional wrestlers to ever live. That's why my father interfered. That's why he tore Razer in half. Not to help me win, but to prove our superiority, which, I'd say, we accomplished."
The new Supreme Champion lets another smirk come across his face as Thomas simply nods in agreement.
Jerod Barnez: "I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm the only supreme wrestler in this company. Now, I have the proof. So, what's next for Jerod Barnez? Well, we've got a two-show event, starting tonight, that'll decide that. Lord of the Ring, an XWA tradition. Whoever wins this tournament will gain a shot at my championship any time within the next year. Believe me when I say that I'll be champion whenever the winner cashes in, whether it's immediately after winning or a full year from now. This title isn't going anywhere. Not because of my giant of a father watching my back through it, but because I'm simply too damn good.
This is my first ever championship, my FIRST one, and it's the biggest prize this company has to offer. Do you know what that means? It means I shot straight passed any other ranks that exist and went from zero to a hundred real damn fast. So many people go their entire careers without achieving a goal like this and I did it early. I didn't need to become some Gladiatorial Champion. I didn't need to become the Lord of the Ring. I didn't need anything to catapult myself into this Supreme Championship other than my own talent, plain and simple.
I heard the bitching and the moaning when I was put into a triple threat with Kahlan and Chris Knight to decide who would face Razer for this championship. None of us deserved it, they said. Well, they were almost right. Kahlan and Chris? They didn't deserve a damn thing. All Kahlan did was slut around the locker room, properly sucking the dick of whoever the fuck owns this company now to get the shot. Chris? I'm not sure why he was given the shot. Probably a pity gift. But then there's me.
Did I 'earn' a chance to become number one contender? Did I really, truly 'earn' that match? All I did was beat some dumb bitch when I came back, so maybe not. But there's a big difference between earning and deserving. It's simple business. You take the best a company has to offer and you put it in the spotlight. That's how you make money. I may not have had a tough road to get to my match with Razer, but I didn't need to have one because I fucking deserved it."
The audience boos heavily once more, garnering a snicker in response from the champion.
Jerod Barnez: "Boo me all you want, you know damn well you're here to see me and not some shitty tournament."
As expected, the jeers get louder.
Jerod Barnez: "Let's talk about this tournament for a minute. More specifically, let's talk about who's in it. Sixteen competitors, some XWA veterans and some new to the company. We've got the likes of Chris Novak."
Jerod Barnez: "… Michael Swift."
This reaction is more mixed, but still mostly cheers.
Jerod Barnez: "… Tempest."
The XWA legend's name gets a huge pop from the fans.
Jerod Barnez: "It's pathetically easy to get you guys to cheer, you know that, right?"
Annnnnd now they're booing.
Jerod Barnez: "So, this tournament has what some of you would consider big time names, for whatever reason. It's also got some wrestlers more known for a company my father competed at - Two World's Wrestling Federation. Hall of Famers such as Lx-Tim and Mark Storey are making their way over to XWA just for a chance to win this tournament. There's also Sean Young, but she looks a lot worse than she did in Blade Runner."
Jerod chuckles at his own joke, being - that - type of guy, before continuing.
Jerod Barnez: "To put it simply, we've got wrestlers from all over coming to XWA for this tournament. Some very talented men, such as Razor Xtreme, and some not-so-talented, such as most of the rest of the tournament. The excitement really is blooming. For the first time in a long time, everyone's talking about XWA. It's not a desolate wasteland anymore, it's now a booming competitive community! And it's all thanks to the return of the Lord of the Ring …"
Jerod looks over at Thomas and shakes his head.
Jerod Barnez: "Except it's not. It's thanks to one man and one many only - myself. Do you honestly think anyone would be excited for the XWA right now had I lost last month? People aren't tuning in because they care about some shitty tournament. They're tuning in because they want to know who Jerod Barnez kills next, now that he's the Supreme Champion of the XWA. Like I said before, it's business. You put the best in the spotlight and you get results. I'm in the spotlight and we're getting more enthusiasm and excitement than ever before! Everyone wants to enter this tournament for the chance to prove they're worth a damn by taking on me. Not the best of plans, because I'm gonna fucking destroy whoever wins, but it's a good thought. As for the viewers, those in attendance and those watching at home, well … they want to see the best beat the rest. And that's exactly what they're gonna get. With my dad by my side, watching me as I carve my name into the history books as the greatest of all time, I'm gonna beat every last one put in front of--"
Jerod is cut off, not by entrance music hitting the personal announce system, but by the voice of an irate XWA competitor interrupting him in mid-sentence. A very familiar competitor.
"Shut the fuck up right now, before I choke you so hard your dad goes into relapse."
The crowd "oooooh's" at the insult. The camera then pans from the ring, to the stage, as Rob Chapman makes his way out from behind the curtain, decked out in street clothes. Acid-washed jeans, sneakers, and a... Dragonball Z t-shirt. The crowd greets the Canadian combatant with a more positive reaction than he received at XWA On A Pole, likely because he's not Jerod.
Rob Chapman: "Not that you need my help to choke, just look at what happened the first time you faced Razer..."
The crowd "oooohs" again as Rob fires a second jab off at the Supreme Champion. While he briefly grins a cocky grin, enthused by the crowd's response to Jerod being roasted, he quickly stiffens up and drops the comedy act.
Rob Chapman: "Look, in all seriousness, your match with Razer was quite possibly match of the night at XWA On A Pole. I mean, I'm not sure it was match of the night, but if it wasn't, it was a close second."
Chapman once again flashes a smirk across the arena at the Supreme Champion. To be fair, Rob's match with Diamond Jack Sabbath was also a strong contender for Match of The Night. Possibly Match of The Year.
Rob Chapman: "You two went to war, and you walked out on top. And as much as I, along with anyone else, could say shit about you 'using your dad' to win the title... you really, really didn't. Let's be real, your dad couldn't win a match against Bella Quinn at this point in his career, and she's the only reason you didn't put Razer away sooner. Sorry, Razer."
Rob receives a mixed reaction here; more to the point, boos followed by cheers, followed by boos, again. They don't seem to be too up on him showing Jerod even a mild amount of respect, but as he goes back to taking potshots at wrestling's most vertically gifted family, they change their tone a bit. And then change right back as Chapman takes a passive-aggressive shot at the former Supreme Champion.
Rob Chapman: "You, on the other hand... well, you said it last month. Jerod Barnez, you're a wrestler. So that's already a cut above Tommy boy back there. Unlike your wig-wearing, Easter Island Head of a father, you've actually got quite the ring-savvy brain in there, even if there's not much else up there. And you've definitely got more talent and technicality than Thomas ever had. Now, granted, calling yourself "a wrestler" in a wrestling company sounds pretty fucking stupid, but it was a contrast to your opponent, at least."
Jerod looks ready to rip Rob's head off, and at this point, Rob raises his free hand in a gesture indicating for the Supreme Champion to wait. Whether or not Jerod intends to do so, on the other hand, is completely up to him. Rob speaks quickly, so as to avoid interruption.
Rob Chapman: "Here's the deal, Jerod. Thomas is well past his prime, and I have no business tarnishing his legacy any more than I already did in 2WWF. The fact of the matter is that he gave his blood, sweat, tears... years... and finally, his son to the sport of professional wrestling. And I can respect that, regardless of whether or not I like him. Or you. At all. Your war, last month, with Razer... captivated my interest. As such, I want a match. With you. Next show."
Rob's bold proclamation and challenge earn a pop from the capacity crowd. Rob isn't smiling, or smirking, or grinning anymore. Any joy previously showing through his facial features had been replaced by a cold rigidity. Brown eyes affixed Jerod Barnez with a steely look. The Canadian's voice elevates in volume, while staying angrily fixed in tone.
Rob Chapman: "And before you go ahead and laugh, and shrug, and blow me off, because you won your match last month and I didn't... I'd like you to keep a few things in mind. I'm a wrestler, just like you. I'm not some mindless brawler who beats people with a lead pipe and jokes about beer and tits. I walked into this company three months ago, and I've already taken the greatest wrestler in XWA history to his limit in my second match here. I'm a rare veteran... ten years under my proverbial belt, and I'm 29 years old. I've won more championships than you've had matches, and I've had three title reigns that have outlasted the company I was wrestling for."
Rob pauses for a moment from listing off the cliff notes versions of his accolades, realizing that he's begun pacing back and forth on either side of the stage. He seemingly contemplates this for a moment, before going right back to doing it as he continues to speak.
Rob Chapman: "None of these are reasons why I'm worthy of the Supreme Championship, much less a shot at it. But the fact still remains... the number of people who've beaten me since the last time I became a World Champion isn't very high. In fact, I can name all of them from memory. Thomas Barnez, Sean Young, Satine X, Akira Kobayashi, DC Hennig and Diamond Jack Sabbath. And I've beaten Tommy and Sean Young multiple times since then. So you're looking at four guys who were able to hang with me in that ring in the last five years."
Rob pauses again, center stage, holding up four fingers on his free hand as if to emphasize that number. He then puts his hand down and stands as stiff as a board. One hand gripping the microphone as if he were trying to break it, and the other balled tightly in a fist.
Rob Chapman: "I'm offering you a chance to cement yourself as a real champion. Maybe that's arrogant of me, but the numbers don't lie, Jerod. If you wanna walk around here calling yourself "Surpeme", prove that you are, just like I did with the name "LionHeart" seven years ago. Beat me. In fact... beat me twice. Let's make it a real marquee match. Wrestler versus wrestler in a Two Out of Three Falls match. It may not live up to the company's "Xtreme" name... but I get the distinct feeling it's right up your alley. Do what nobody else has been able to do in the last five years, and beat me twice."
Rob pauses one more time, and then takes a deep breath- the type one tends to take right before they say something they're about to potentially regret- then, makes sure to look straight into Jerod's eyes from across the arena.
Rob Chapman: "I'll even sweeten the deal for you. You beat me, before the Lord of The Ring tournament even ends... and that's the last time you'll have to deal with me for the remainder of your title reign, however short or long it may be. Your dad would have paid good money to shut me up back in the day. Hell, I bet he still would now. So.... what's it gonna be, Champ? Deal or no deal? Fight me, or back down and sit on your tail while you wait for somebody to win Lord Of The Ring?"
Jerod looks at his father, noticing the anger in his eyes. He clearly hasn't taken too well to Rob mouthing off himself or his son. The champion looks back out at Rob, showing anger of his own on his face just at seeing this Canadian staring at him, thinking he has what it takes to beat him. Jerod isn't one to shy away from a match, but he's also never had a championship to defend before. Jerod looks back at Thomas one more time and Thomas notices the hesitation. His response is simply a nod. "Supreme" Jerod Barnez nods back at his father and turns towards Rob once more.
Jerod Barnez: "You know, I was perfectly content with waiting to see who became the Lord of the Ring before defending my championship. Do you know why, Rob? Because I already earned it. I have nothing to prove to you or any of these idiots watching. I call myself supreme now because I'm holding the only championship in this damn industry that's called supreme. I've proven myself to be superior to anyone and everyone in this company, including the man who beat you last month. My dad's faced better diamonds than him. But, see, you wanna come out here. You wanna interrupt me, the Supreme Champion of the company you work for, and you wanna disrespect not only me, but my father as well? You don't deserve a shot at my championship for the simple fact that you're not on my level."
The audience boos heavily as Jerod seemingly declines Rob's offer. "The War Machine" gets ready to speak again, but he's interrupted instantly.
Jerod Barnez: "You had your turn to talk. Now you shut the fuck up and listen to the real wrestler out here."
More booing comes from the fans, although Rob seems almost amused at Jerod's attempts to intimidate him. Nevertheless, he lets the champion continue talking, perhaps mostly to see what other idiocy spews from his mouth.
Jerod Barnez: "You've accomplished a hell of a lot in this industry, I'll give you that. But maybe that's just the problem right there, isn't it? You've accomplished a lot because you've been around long enough to do so. My father's retired for a reason. He's damaged his body so much for this industry over the years that, despite being in tremendous shape for someone who's suffered so much pain, he simply can't keep going in the ring. You've wrestled only one year shorter than he has, but you keep going because you have this obsessive need to be recognized. He's here now because he knows his time is up and it's time to pass the torch to the next generation's finest, but you try to hold onto that torch with every fiber of your being. You think you can hold onto that until the day that you die, but you can't. You're passed your prime. My prime? It's years to come. I'm making my march uphill while you're tumbling back down to the bottom. As I get better, you get worse. And, let's be honest, me - as I am right now - I'm better than you ever were."
It's clear Jerod's trying to get under Rob's skin right now, but it doesn't appear to be working. Rob's not 'feeding the troll', as they say, instead looking on in amusement at Jerod's attempts to piss him off. This, in turn, is pissing the champion off.
Jerod Barnez: "But despite that, despite the fact that I'm a thousand times better than you, despite me proving myself to be the very best by winning this championship, despite it all, you have the balls to come out here and insult my family and then you want to ask for a championship shot?"
Rob simply nods in response.
Jerod Barnez: "Of course you do. You know what? Fuck it. You don't deserve this championship shot, but you were right about one thing - my dad would always pay good money to shut you up. I'll give that to him for free. Jerod Barnez, the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots, the Supreme Champion, the Descendant of a God, the fucking beast … versus Rob Chapman. Two out of three falls, winner leaves Lord of the Ring Part II with the strap … You're on."
The Nevada audience bursts into cheers at the blockbuster announcement.
Jerod Barnez: "Oh, I wouldn't cheer if I were you. You think this is some big opportunity for your new hero, maybe he'll become the Supreme Champion and take the big, nasty Jerod Barnez out of the picture. Except that's not gonna happen. All Rob did by coming out here and asking for this match was sign his own death warrant. This is the home of 'Xtreme', right? Well, next month, there's not going to be some extreme match between us. I don't need weapons to massacre this piece of shit. I AM a fucking weapon. I'm going to do three things next month, when I step into the ring with you, Rob. I'm gonna retain my championship, I'm gonna embarrass you and I'm gonna fucking destroy you. Maybe then you'll take the hint and take your ass back to Canada where you can live out your remaining days on the couch, watching a real wrestler do what he does best - win. Now get the fuck out of my sight before I beat any last ounce of courage you have left right out of you."
Jerod nonchalantly tosses the microphone aside and proceeds to look down at the Supreme Championship that's still tightly wrapped around his waist. He looks up at Rob and flashes one final grin.
Rob Chapman: "I look forward to it. You'd be the first."
With that, Rob lowers his microphone and nods at the two in the ring. No more petty insults, no more headgames. Just the knowledge and anticipation of an impending battle between two warriors at Lord Of The Ring, Part II. Tucking the microphone underneath his arm, he claps slowly from the center of the entrance stage, before turning to walk away, leaving the Barnez family in the ring.
On paper, this match sounds like David versus Goliath, with the young upstart taking on the veteran. In person... well, between Jerod Barnez, and Rob Chapman... it's more like Goliath versus Goliath.
Mark Sanction: "Well, this was certainly unexpected. We started off with a surprising greeting from the new Supreme Championship and ended with a title match booked for next month's show!"
Matt Steel: "Rob made a big ass mistake coming out here. Getting a Supreme Championship shot doesn't mean shit when you get your ass beat and lose."
Mark Sanction: "I'm pretty certain Rob will able to more than hold his own against Jerod. Plus, there ARE disqualifications in this match, so Jerod can't rely on his daddy bailing him out."
Matt Steel: "Did you not pay attention to anything that was just said there? Jerod didn't need Thomas for a damn thing and he won't need him next month when he destroys Rob Chapman."
From the ring to the stage, Jerod and Rob continue to stare one another down until the screen fades black, into a preview video for the upcoming tournament matches.
Matches that occurred on our 2016 event XWA Lord of the Ring Part I: The Journey Begins!!
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