Hana Ramierez: The following is a round 2 Lord of the Ring match! Introducing first...
The opening drum break of Gothic Knights' cover of Duran Duran's "Hungy Like The Wolf" blasts onto the speakers. Crimson light spills across the entrance, and into it jogs OOKAMI no Chi! She pumps one fist a couple of times then throws it to the sky.
Darken the city, night is a wire
Steam in the subway, earth is afire
The niece of TPW legend Jun Ikeda begins jogging towards the ring, slapping outstretched hands all the way.
Woman you want me, give me a sign
And catch my breathing even closer behind
She picks up speed as she goes, and quickly rolls under the bottom rope then spins up to her feet and heads straight for the closest corner. Once at the top she raises up a fist while bouncing her head in time to the music, red-streaked hair shaking around her like a halo.
In touch with the ground
I'm on the hunt, I'm after you
I smell like I sound, I'm lost in a crowd
And I'm hungry like the wolf
Straddle the line of discord and rhyme
I'm on the hunt, I'm after you
Mouth is alive with juices like wine
And I'm hungry like the wolf
Hana Ramierez: From Ashiya, Japan, weighing one hundred and sixty pounds... "The Winter Wolf"... OOOKAMIIIII... NOOO... CHIII!
OOKAMI throws her other hand up for a moment, then turns and jumps down to the mat where she starts shaking all her limbs out, while bouncing up and down on her heels.
Mark Sanction: OOKAMI still obviously full of energy.
Matt Steel: She doesn't know the meaning of 'slow down' - and not just because her English is terrible.
Mark Sanction: She may not have much choice if she gets grounded by her opponent...
Speaking of... the venue's lights take a crimson shade as static flashes across the big screen. It then cuts to stock footage of a news reporter at their desk rustling their papers and speaking but you cannot hear their words. The picture in the backdrop behind them is one of Planet Earth as taken from the ISS and a big red word 'stamped' across it - "Catastrophe". On the bottom of the screen, the rolling news ticker reads:
"It was right all along, four of them came from nowhere, sowing the seeds of discord and harvesting the misery which grew from them... The Catastrophe has happened!"
Suddenly a low register acoustic guitar riff comes in with a rather creepy and haunting tone, joined by Dave Mustaine's gravelly vocals.
The mother of all that is evil
Her lips are poisonous venom
Wicked temptress knows how to please
The priestess roars, "Get down on your knees"
The 'video' of the news footage is quickly replaced with the word "CATASTROPHE" in big red letters before we get stock footage of disasters happening and a translucent, superimposed image of Alice, Vrag, Venym and Nemisys over it.
The rite of the praying mantis
Kiss the bones of the enchantress
Spellbound searching through the night
A howling man surrenders the fight
The jeers from the crowd are Phenomenal as the red and white pyro explodes and Alice appears on stage. Her white zip up hooded sweater is on, the hood pulled up over her head as she stands there in the smoke before slowly lowering the hood and looking round, smiling at the misery her presence has caused. Confidently walking forwards, Alice heads to the ring
Hana Ramierez: And her opponent... standing at five foot seven inches, weighing one hundred and thirty-one pounds... coming from the darkest reaches of your mind and imagination... ALICE! HARRIS!
One look in her lusting eyes
Savage fear in you will rise
Teeth of terror sinking in
The bite of the she-wolf
As the chorus kicks in, Alice makes it to the ring. Climbing up the steps, she ducks under the top rope and removes her jumper before casting it aside. Turning round, she spots Hana Ramierez and blows her a kiss as the fans jeer her.
One look in her lusting eyes
Savage fear in you will rise
Teeth of terror sinking in
The bite of the she-wolf
OOKAMI's crouched, staring straight at Alice, bouncing on her heels. Alice pauses, confidently glancing around the auditorium. The bell rings...
...and OOKAMI sprints straight across and ploughs into Harris with a spear! The Japanese second-generation star straddles the Resident Evil enthusiast on one knee and rains forearm shots down at her.
Mark Sanction: Alice Harris's music calls her a 'she-wolf' but as this match opens it's The Winter Wolf who's first on the offensive!
Matt Steel: She's gonna need it. As we saw against Sean Young, Alice ain't in the mood for fucking about.
When she senses that the leader of Catastrophe is woozy, OOKAMI drags Alice to her feet, lifts her into the air in a front facelock... holds her... and then drops and twists her onto her back!
Mark Sanction: Jackhammer suplex!
Alice throws a shoulder up.
Mark Sanction: Not enough yet. But after barely surviving that gruelling match with Tempest, OOKAMI clearly wants to end this quickly.
Matt Steel: Alice had a hell of a match too. Sean didn't exactly make it easy.
The wolf wastes little time in pulling Alice back up. She blasts her with a chop, then follows through with a roundhouse kick... and another... and then a rolling elbow! Alice is left out on her feet, and starts to fall. OOKAMI is there to catch her across her shoulders, and she quickly spins her round and spikes her head into the mat with a Samoan driver! Another cover comes in short order.
Harris forces herself out of it. OOKAMI hauls her up again, keeping her tight for a big grapple - but Alice catches her with an elbow to the jaw! OOKAMI, caught by surprise, sinks back slightly, and Alice leaps up to drill her with a dropkick to the dome! The crimson-clad combatant is sent staggering back and Harris rushes in with a clothesline to knock her down, pressing her sudden advantage -
- but OOKAMI ducks it and swings behind Harris, and snatches her up under the arms! Dragon suplex, dropping the Survivor on her head, and OOKAMI bridges out!
No, the referee calls - Alice has a heel hooked over the bottom rope.
Mark Sanction: Smart work by Alice Harris there too in her second match of the night, expending no more energy than she needed to.
Matt Steel: And OOKAMI totally forgot to check her ring positioning.
The latter grumbles to the referee momentarily, but not for long. She's back up and grabs Harris, looking to drag her to her feet... but Alice has the small package!
OOKAMI powers out with authority.
Mark Sanction: OOKAMI, by contrast, wasting far more energy than she had to there.
Both women scramble to their feet, each slowed a little beyond the sub-100% state they entered this match in - Alice by the punishment she's taken, OOKAMI from the undignified pile she flung herself into to kick out from the cradle. They find themselves face to face, just inches apart, and Alice smacks OOKAMI in the jaw with an open palm!
Mark Sanction: Ouch! Total disrespect with that slap!
Matt Steel: Remember OOKAMI's close friends with Laurel Anne Hardy, one of Alice's biggest enemies alongside Bella Quinn and Razer. The friend of my enemy is probably my enemy, right?
Mark Sanction: True, but as we;ve seen so many times, Alice Harris doesn't need a reason to disrespect someone.
OOKAMI's cheek is left blazing as bright a red as her ring attire, and with a lupine growl, she tackles Alice to the mat again and this time, starts crunching closed fists into her head! The ref warns her... starts to issue a count... when OOKAMI shows no signs of heeding him, he physically pulls her away.
Matt Steel: Dammit, let them fight! I already miss every match being hardcore rules...
While Alice pulls herself together on the floor, OOKAMI runs her hands through her hair irritably. Alice winks and beckons OOKAMI back on, and the latter is more than ready to oblige her, barging past the referee to get at her opponent - which gives said opponent the window she needs to find a jab to the throat!
Mark Sanction: And again, just as we saw against Sean Young, no regard for the rules from Alice Harris!
Matt Steel: Hey, you know the prize that's on the line here. I don't like Catastrophe any more than you do but I can't fault Alice's tactics here.
As OOKAMI spins away from Harris gagging and clutching her neck, Catastrophe's commander pushes herself back up. Fighting through the pain, she boots OOKAMI in the midsection, then pulls her in close and spins her into a front facelock. She turns to make sure her angle is right, then suplexes OOKAMI right into the turnbuckles! But The Moon Cub barely gets the chance to disentangle herself before Alice drags her back out, this time twisting her into a hammerlock. From there, Alice slips an arm around OOKAMI's neck, and drops her with a modified inverted hammerlock DDT!
Mark Sanction: Beautiful move! The biggest enemy of XWA she may be, but credit where it's due!
Alice rolls on top of OOKAMI, straddling her in such a way as to make quite a few men in the audience suddenly need to cross their legs. Alice leans down and runs her tongue along OOKAMI's face, then waves the ref over to count as she places one hand on her collarbone.
OOKAMI kicks out! Alice looks ambivalent about this - she's got more important business to worry about, namely the Lord of the Ring ring, but at the same time she does enjoy playing with spirited victims. OOKAMI fights to get back to her feet, but Alice is ready and waiting with another DDT, this time a regular one. The Catastrophe rep sits up and exhales, her second wind starting to flush out of her again and that fatigue creeping back, but she winces and forces herself up, and crosses to the ropes. She grabs the top with both arms, bounces a couple of times, then leaps onto the bottom and vaults out with a springboard moonsault! She crashes across OOKAMI and pins again.
Kickout, again powerfully.
Mark Sanction: Again, OOKAMI acting before she thinks, expending way too much energy.
Matt Steel: Not that I'm a Tempest fan now, but he took a hell of a lot out of her. That's the difference here. Alice may be crazy but she's smart. OOKAMI just rushes in.
As OOKAMI tries to clamber upright again, Alice catches her with a kick to the jaw, then snapmares her over and dropkicks her in the back of she skull. Harris lifts OOKAMI up around the middle after that, hugging her tight, looking almost as if she's dancing with her... before planting her on her face with a reverse STO. She roughly pushes OOKAMI over and pins her yet again.
Kickout, somewhat weaker this time and at the last possible moment.
Mark Sanction: Alice Harris has to be feeling this now. OOKAMI no Chi losing more and more with every kickout.
Matt Steel: I think Alice looks about ready to end this. She's almost done here; she's got either Lx Tim or Mark Storey to look ahead to.
Alice indeed has a different look in those cold eyes of hers. She hangs back, tensed up, clearly with the Dirty Kick in mind as soon as her opponent's in position. OOKAMI rolls onto her front...
...gets to her hands and knees...
As she starts to rise up for the last stretch to vertical, Alice strikes, swinging her boot squarely at OOKAMI's cranium.
OOKAMI DUCKS IT! She lets Alice swing all the way around, and pushes up to lift Harris across her shoulders - but Alice blocks that! She clamps her legs around OOKAMI's neck and throws herself out for a huracanrana, spiking OOKAMI right on her head! Alice keeps the cradle on.
The crowd roars as OOKAMI pushes out again! They're both soon to their feet. The Winter Wolf goes for a Hot Buttered Concussion, but Alice sways under it and sweeps OOKAMI's leg out in the same movement. OOKAMI falls into her and Alice lifts her up for the S.T.A.R.S. Special, but OOKAMI is able to reverse it and she lifts Alice up over her own shoulders again! Alice struggles, but not in time to prevent OOKAMI dropping her on her face with the Chasedown Bomb!
Matt Steel: Oh shit!
Mark Sanction: That's OOKAMI's highest impact weapon! She may have just saved herself in this match!
Matt Steel: I dunno if she can knock Alice out of this, but this might be her best chance!
But unfortunately for the XWA faithful, OOKAMI is too spent to make the cover. The two women are left lying on their backs, a few feet apart, as the referee begins the count.
Mark Sanction: Storey or Lx Tim may be looking at a bye in the next round...
Matt Steel: Hell, if it means Catastrophe don't get Lord of the Ring, I'll take it.
OOKAMI starts to pull herself up on the ropes... the referee is taking as much time on the count as he can, but he can't hang about all day, and OOKAMI's slipping and stumbling...
With a sudden burst, she throws herself across Alice in a lateral press! The referee drops to slap the canvas.
Alice with the shoulder rolled! The fans sigh in dismay as the villainous Valkyrie clings on. OOKAMI pulls herself back up on the ropes again, and paces a bit to get her internal bearing back on track. Alice meanwhile rolls to a sitting position, huffing for air. Once she sees that Harris is back up, OOKAMI swings a kick at her, but Alice catches it and flips her off her feet. She starts looking for a leglock of some kind but The Winter Wolf kicks her away. OOKAMI reaches down and smacks Alice in the face, which prompts a cheer, then drags her back up and into position for another Chasedown Bomb. She hefts her across her shoulders in the Canadian rack...
...Alice slithers free and hooks an arm around OOKAMI's neck!
Mark Sanction: WHITE GIRL WASTED!
Alice tries to drag OOKAMI down into the neckbreaker, but OOKAMI plants her feet wide and leans forward. She throws Alice off over her shoulder... but Alice lands on her feet, and snapmares OOKAMI over in turn! She cinches in a rear waistlock but OOKAMI has the back elbows to break it. She spins, looking for a roaring backfist, but Alice leaps onto her shoulders and flips her into another huracanrana!
...fearing that OOKAMI will kick out, Alice grabs the ropes for extra leverage...
...NO! The ref counts the three, but doesn't call for the bell, as when he looks up he sees Harris holding on the ropes!
Matt Steel: HAH! Not this time!
Mark Sanction: That shortcut helped her put Sean Young away in round one, but it's not going to work here!
Alice stands and rounds on the ref, telling him his job - he counted three and that makes her the winner. But he remains steadfast, explaining that as he didn't call for the bell, it's not official and the match is still on.
That is until OOKAMI suddenly schoolgirls Alice...
This time, he calls for the bell, and Alice is left looking shocked and furious as she sits up.
Hana Ramierez: Here is your winner...
The fans cheer as "Hungry Like The Wolf" hits the speakers.
Hana Ramierez: ...OOKAMI! NO! CHIII!
Mark Sanction: Once again, a flash rollup gets OOKAMI no Chi the upset! With opponents like the Hall of Famer Tempest and the dangerous Alice Harris, I don't think many expected to see OOKAMI in the semi-finals, but here we are!
Matt Steel: Kid got her ass kicked in both matches so far, but she found the way to get the duke, and that's the only thing that matters at the end of the day!
Mark Sanction: Look at the look on Alice Harris's face, though. OOKAMI may have just made an enemy for life...
Indeed, Alice's expression could not be more murderous if she was literally holding a knife wedged in someone's ribcage. OOKAMI eyes her warily as she clambers to her feet...
...then becomes aware of a presence behind her. She turns slowly to see Vrag pulling himself up onto the apron.
Mark Sanction: Oh boy. We saw Vrag in round one too, but Alice won that match... I can't see him leaving things along when his mistress lost.
Sure enough, Vrag steps over the ropes. OOKAMI gulps and starts backing away from the leviathan, until she remembers that Alice Harris is standing on that side. She turns slowly, caught between the advancing wall of belligerence and the woman who commands it...
...a cheer goes up as she's pulled from the ring by a green blur!
Mark Sanction: LAUREL!
The former Supreme XWA Champion drags OOKAMI out and helps her escape into the crowd! Vrag starts to give chase, but Alice waves the lumbering titan off as he reaches the guardrail; it would be futile. The two young Asian women are by now deep in the stands.
Matt Steel: You have to think it's only thanks to Laurel Anne Hardy that OOKAMI's going to see the next round. She was about to be leaving in an ambulance.
OOKAMI raises her arm, still being propped up by Laurel - who locks eyes with her old nemesis Alice across the expanse of the arena. The fans cheer for the good guys, but you know this storm is still only just getting started...