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XWA Hardcore Championship!
Kryptops vs. A.J. Morales
A.J. Morales has been eyeing the Hardcore Championship for a long time, and at Fool's Gold, he could've taken it. Instead, Kryptops managed to scurry away with the title in the multi-person match and keep hold of it.
Now, Morales gets another shot at the title, and this time it's not a Supershow...it's 24/7 rules!
Deadline for matches is 1st October 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. Voting will start at this time and conclude on 8th October at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. [CST is one hour earlier. GMT is five hours later.]
He knew actually going to the Strip was for tourists. He knew going to the Hard Rock, in particular, was a tourist move. But at the same time, what was the point of living in Las Vegas and being the face of a demonic conspiracy if he couldn’t indulge himself every once in a while?
And make no mistake, indulge himself he had. Tonight was the kind of night to put on your sharpest black suit, have a limo drive you to the Strip, buy some expensive drinks for the hell of it, and then maybe take home some groupies in a different limo entirely.
But Kryptops wasn’t quite at that last stage yet. He was at a blackjack table, a behemoth pile of chips in front of him. He’d won them the same way he won a lot of things in life—lull people into a false sense of security, then swoop in and take everything at the last second. This latest victory was a lot like Manchester in that way, only this time, there were gonna be loan sharks paying at least half the guys he beat a visit in the morning. He knew their kind—weak, pathetic, reeking of desperation. In other words, exactly the sorts of people Kryptops crushed underfoot.
As the next pair of challengers approaches from behind him, Kryptops initially expects more of the same. But once he recognizes the long hair, the flashy suits, the swagger...he knows exactly who it is. He’s about to go up against Hyphy Machinery. And he doesn’t exactly like the implications.
Kryptops: Wait a minute...you’re Morales’s friends.
Dontell Porter: I mean...there's a lot more to this team than that.
Jason Moana: A lot more.
Porter: But yeah, we’re in his squad. And?
Kryptops: I know exactly what you’re here to do. You’re gonna soften me up for him so he can swoop in and out with my championship.
Porter: Oh, I’m sorry, do we not have our own lives?
Moana: Our own goals?
Porter: Our own business deals to celebrate?
Kryptops: Oh, sure, I bet it’s reeeeal interesting.
Porter: I don’t know, Jason, does getting paid to go under the hood and do whatever you want with a muh’fuckin’ Lamborghini sound interesting?
Moana: To me?
Moana: Hell yeah! Does it sound interesting to you?
Porter: Hell yeah! What about you, champ?
Moana: You’re not seriously gonna argue that pimping out a Lamborghini isn’t cool, is it?
Kryptops: Of course it is! I just thought you were here ‘cause of A.J., that’s all. The dealer starts to distribute opening hands to the three wrestlers.
Porter: Nah...trust me, A.J.’s more of a motorcycles guy.
Kryptops: Fair enough...you’re still not beating me here.
Moana: We’ll see. The three gamblers check their cards. For a moment, all are silent, waiting for the others to make a move, until finally…
Porter: Hit me! The dealer slaps an Ace of Hearts on top of Dontell’s initial pair of cards. A moment of silence as everyone rethinks their strategies accordingly.
Moana: Hit me. Jason gets a Jack of Spades.
Kryptops: Hit m—
Porter: Hit me! A six of diamonds to Dontell, and the Rainman is clearly starting to get annoyed at his drought of new cards.
Kryptops: Just hit—
Moana: Hit me! Jason takes a six of clubs and leans back in over-the-top relaxation. He’s reached exactly 20 and he doesn’t feel like he needs any more cards.
Kryptops: I said hit— The dealer draws another six, this one of diamonds, but rather than deal it to Kryptops, the dealer gives it to himself. Furious, the Hardcore Champion stands up.
Kryptops: Do you have any idea who I am? Hyphy Machinery exchange a knowing look before silently sliding their chairs back and standing up.
Kryptops: I don’t think you do. If you did, you’d know just how many connections I have. You’d know how badly I could fuck this whole place over and you wouldn’t be trying to sabotage my winning streak by conveniently forgetting to hit me. So quit fucking around, quit trying to make me lose my money, and just hit me already, dammit! Hit me! Right on cue, Jason grabs Kryptops by the back of the head and slams the Rainman’s face into the table with a loud THUNK!
As the champion reels, a headache already starting to pound, Dontell smacks the edge of the table three times with an open palm. Jason, following the cue, punches Kryptops in the stomach to make him double over.
With the champion in a headlock, Dontell grabs Kryptops’s legs and lifts him up until he’s face-down, one end each of him up on a member of Hyphy Machinery’s shoulder. Then, the duo throw the champion to their side with almost total disregard, and Kryptops comes crashing down on the blackjack table, breaking it in half.
Dealer: What the hell is going on?! Dontell turns to the dealer as Jason pulls out a cell phone and pushes a few buttons.
Porter: Sometimes...what happens in Vegas gets broadcasted worldwide.
Dealer: What do you— Before he can finish asking, the sounds of a revving motorcycle and screaming casino-goers answer the dealer’s question for him. Hyphy Machinery start to yell in the direction of the sound, jumping up and down and pointing towards the Mastermind of the New World Order, climbing out of the rubble in a haze of disbelief and disorientation.
In roars a rider in head-to-toe black, his face completely hidden under his helmet, flying across the casino floor faster than anyone can chase him. Even the referee and camera crews trailing behind have major trouble keeping up, and the only thing that can is the blaring metalcore playing through the motorcycle's sound system.
Chris Novak (breathless): I'mChrisNovakhe'sJoeDelongeweinterruptyourregularlyscheduledprogramtobringyo—
Joe Delonge: Slow down, man, slow down! This isn't a horse race!
Novak: Our camera crews are chasing a guy on a motorcycle! I don't have time! As the motorcycle starts to get within range, causing the dealer to flee in terror, the rider uses the handlebars as leverage to jump up so he’s standing on the seat. He can’t exactly wait for the right moment—after all, he’s on a sport bike careening towards a wall on momentum alone—so instead, he picks the best one to leap off, throwing himself like a javelin at the Rainman. Kryptops, not aware enough of his surroundings to focus on anything except standing up again, doesn’t prepare at all for the attack. He takes the tackle straight-on and gets knocked back into the table’s wreckage.
Novak: AND A SPEAR! A SPEAR FROM OFF A MOTORCYCLE! A split-second later, the motorcycle hits a leg of the smashed table. At its current speed, that’s enough to send the bike into the air, where it does a full forward flip before smashing into the wall and getting lodged in about halfway through. Wherever the music’s coming from, it’s somehow undamaged, and the song keeps blaring and filling the room with noise.
Novak: Don't adjust your set! This is the Xperience! This is Las Vegas! This is live, and for the first time in five months, the Hardcore Championship is back to where it was meant to be defended: anytime, anywhere!
The rider, meanwhile, scrambles to make a cover, hooking one of Kryptops’s legs. But his mad dash to attack left the referee a full second behind. Two seconds. Three. Four. Five…
Delonge: Whoever this guy going after Kryptops is, it's pretty stupid of him to get so far ahead that he can't get the pinfall properly counted.
Finally, the referee makes it over. As Hyphy Machinery and the entire camera crew surround the pinfall attempt, keeping casino security from getting in there and breaking things up, the ref drops to the carpet and starts the count…
Novak: Will it be in time?
THR— The Mastermind gets a shoulder up.
Delonge: Props for the hot start, but what kinda crazy person would do this?! The rider, meanwhile, pushes off the ground so he’s on his knees, takes off his helmet, and the shock of long yellow on one side of his long mane reveals what was probably obvious already. A.J. Morales is here, and he isn’t happy at all about what transpired the last time he met Kryptops.
Novak: There's your answer, Joe!
Delonge: Oh, God... Morales takes the helmet and bashes Kryptops’s chest with it a few times until it simply flies from the Revolution’s grasp and rolls out of the circle.
Novak: The Revolution is here, and rest assured, if he wins this, it will be televised!
Delonge: And if he loses...which would be kind of embarassing, since somebody already put Kryptops through a table before he showed up.
A.J. rises to his feet, grabbing Kryptops by the forearm to force him up as well. The Monterrockstar scans the area, sees where the tables end and the slot machines begin, and starts dragging the champion off to his right into a clear walkway.
Novak: I'm guessing his friends, Hyphy Machinery, did that. I see them around here too.
Delonge: Oh, so he's gonna take the champion 3-on-1? How is that fair?
Novak: No, no, look what they're doing now. If it wasn't for them, we might not be having this match in the first place!
The referee and Hyphy Machinery, meanwhile, work to clear the area of security guards. As the former waves his arms and shouts commands to the force of about eighteen people, the latter two separate and throw warning elbows and knees to push the perimeter back.
Referee: Stand down! This is an XWA-sanctioned Hardcore Championship match! You will not be allowed to restrain any of the combatants or otherwise interfere in the match until someone obtains victory by pinfall, submission, or escape! I repeat, stand down!
The security guards eventually back off enough to let the match proceed uninhibited. Combined with the casino-goers virtually all evacuating, aside from a few brave and/or morbidly curious watchers who stay behind the guards, Morales and Kryptops have as much room to battle this out as they need to. And Morales wants to use all that room, as his running straight ahead as fast as he can with Kryptops hostage indicates.
Novak: I hope our crew aren't too tired to keep up, because the rate A.J.'s going, they might have to chase him all over the resort tonight!
A.J. gets out ahead of his foe and turns around, swinging Kryptops around in an attempt to send the champion for the slot machines. But the Rainman grabs A.J.’s wrist at the right time, and using all that momentum, he swings the Revolution around and flings him ahead. Unable to stop, A.J. goes face-first helplessly into a slot machine, crashing into it with enough force to crack the middle reel’s LED screen and snap a piece of the giant archaic lever off. Practically lifeless, Morales slides down the front of the machine, which starts making siren noises as the graphics flash “TILT...TILT...TILT…” above the reels.
Delonge: Kryptops hit the jackpot with that reversal! Kryptops, meanwhile, shows a level of cognizance he hasn’t been at since he was trying to get the blackjack dealer to hit him as he unbuttons the top of his shirt and throws his tie over his shoulder. The real menace comes, though, when the Rainman takes off his belt, raises the buckle high, and makes his way over to his returning challenger.
Novak: A.J.'s been clear on social media that if he's gonna lose to the Hardcore Champion, he at least wants a fight first! He might not like what happens now that he's getting his wish!
Morales puts his arms up to shield his face, the only part of him genuinely exposed, but it does no good. The Mastermind’s belt comes down with a loud WHAP! across the side of A.J.’s ribcage. The jacket provides some protection, but not enough to stop all of the stinging.
Delonge: That's it, Kryptops! Show him who's boss!
Encouraged, Kryptops goes for another whip of his belt. WHAP! This one lands on the stomach. WHAP! One to the knees. WHAP!WHAP!WHAP! The where starts to stop mattering after a while. It’s just about the satisfaction of hearing that sound, watching his opponent writhe in pain, taking out the frustration of being caught off his guard when he should have remembered which championship he was holding…
Novak: I don't know if I'd call him that, but this is the beauty of the 24/7 rule! Anything and everything becomes a weapon in these matchups!
Finally, once he’s had his fill, Kryptops stops, breathing heavily, looking down at the so-called Iron Luchador. A.J. caused all that chaos, all that commotion at the beginning, and for what? A broken slot machine, a belt-whipping he probably hadn’t had the likes of since childhood, and the taste of yet another failure. Pathetic. The Rainman casts the belt aside. He can always buy a new one—shinier, more expensive, maybe even subtly studded in case somebody tries to pull this off again. But just when he thinks he can take a sigh of relief and casually stroll out of here with the title…
Porter: Hey! The fuck you think you’re goin’?
A sudden sharp impact hits Kryptops in the back before he can even process what he just heard or where it came from. Jason Moana, after playing messenger via kneecap, grabs the vulnerable champion and immediately whips him down the walkway dividing the game tables from the slot machines.
Delonge: Oh, this is just cheap! See, Chris, I told you this was three on one!
Novak: Cheap? You wanna talk about cheap?
Kryptops manages to get control over his speed back, and he slows down until finally coming to a stop near the wheel of a roulette table, where he catches his breath and looks around, making a note of where Dontell and Jason are.
Novak: Walking out on a four-way title defense before the match begins, then re-inserting yourself at the last second and scoring the pinfall, that's cheap.
Delonge: Even if it is, it takes a lot more smarts and creativity than just bringing two friends along to keep the fight up when you're too busy seeing stars.
Moana charges first, giving a primal war cry as he sprints ahead, but when he jumps and spreads his arms wide, Kryptops simply ducks underneath, letting his opponent’s momentum keep carrying him away in that direction.
Novak: Kryptops staying in this, though, avoiding a taste of the Lake Merritt Tides! Just then, Porter makes his approach, coming in perpendicular to his partner’s angle of attack. Kryptops pops up, waiting patiently for Dontell to show his hand in the form of a technique.
Novak: Now Porter trying to capitalize on the misdirection—
When Dontell leaps into the air with a flying knee, Kryptops gets off the ground a split-second later. He jumps straight up, leaning back until he’s horizontal by the apex of his jump, and snatches Porter’s neck out of the air. Dontell’s eyes go wide, but it’s too late. The Rainman falls to the casino floor, taking his dreadlocked adversary down with him, and Porter takes the full effect of the hit.
Novak: NEW WORLD ORDER! NEW WORLD ORDER ON PORTER! Moana, alerted by the loud THUD! stops and turns around, but it’s long since too late. Kryptops gives an evil, daring look, his eyes practically begging Jason to come at him.
Delonge: Say what you will about Fool's Gold, but Kryptops is earning this title defense tonight!
Jason, of course, takes the bait, running in to attempt the Lake Merritt Tides again. But Kryptops catches him easily by the midsection, and after spinning around in place for a full rotation, he slams Moana down on his fallen partner.
Novak: And a 360 spinebuster! Moana just got absolutely planted onto his teammate!
Delonge: Perfect timing! Flawless execution! This is the genius of the Mastermind at work, people. Learn to respect it. Kryptops looks around, starting to seethe, clearly in the mood to teach these two a lesson. He spots the roulette table again, and if the next idea he gets is a stupid one, he doesn’t allow his mind time to consider that possibility. Instead, he climbs onto the table and walks all the way to the end opposite the wheel.
Delonge: Wait...he's not gonna do what I think he's gonna do, is he?
Turning around to face where he knows Hyphy Machinery to be, Kryptops starts bending his knees, clenching and unclenching his fists. They thought they were hot shit just because somebody paid them to work on a Lamborghini? They wouldn’t be so certain of that if they were the ones who needed to go to the shop for repairs…
Novak: I think he is!
Delonge: Good God, man, you've been through so much already! You've already proven what you needed to prove! Just forget them and take off with the— The champion gets right up to the wheel’s edge within a couple strides, then launches into the air like a missile.
Delonge: NOT LIKE THAT!
There’s a terrifying grace in the way Kryptops bends back, and it lets him turn over a full 360 degrees in the air before straightening out into a sitting position, the underside of his knee coming down hard on Jason’s collarbone and sending shockwaves of impact down for Dontell to share.
Novak: OH MY GOD! RAIN RAIN GO AWAY OVER THE ROULETTE WHEEL!
Delonge: Red space, black space, I don’t care! I’m betting on Kryptops every single time after that!
For a moment, all three men lie there, the viscerality too much for any of their bodies to process and move on from so easily. Even Kryptops takes heavy breaths as he stares up at the ceiling. The Rain Rain Go Away technique was hard enough to pull off in his normal ring gear and extensive face and body paint, let alone a suit. But the fact that he had, and that he’d just fended off three challengers for his Hardcore Championship at the same time...when he really thinks about it, it’s just too sweet. He can’t help cracking a smile for himself.
Novak: Thing is, though, this is an easy opportunity for Kryptops to pin one member of Hyphy Machinery and say he defended the title for real, and he’s not taking it.
Delonge: Oh, come on, Chris. He just fended off three challengers in rapid succession. He’s exhausted. He’s not obligated to pin somebody to record a successful defense. And after what we just witnessed, you can’t deny that Kryptops has proved he’s worthy of holding the Hardcore Championship.
Finally, his body ready to get moving again, the Rainman starts to pull himself up to his feet again, using the legs of the table he just sprang off of as leverage. Once he’s standing again, he dusts off his shoulders and adjusts his jacket, looking every bit as relaxed as he was on his hot streak at the blackjack table. He’d done it. He’d survived the 24/7 challenge. Now to go home and—CLANG!
Novak: Wait a minute!
The sound of hollow, weak metal rings as Kryptops feels another sudden attack, this time to the back of his head. It doesn’t hurt all that much, but the sender and the insult are obvious.
Delonge: Oh my God, A.J., just let it go...
A.J. Morales: ¡Oye, culero!
Kryptops doesn’t even need to hear the words, let alone look over his shoulder to see Morales approaching from behind, to know what’s up. The champion grits his teeth in anger. Why can’t this just end? Why can’t they just accept that he deserves this and no one else does?
Morales: Fight somebody! Pin somebody! Not that complicated of a sequence, dude! Maybe try pulling it off instead of taking the bitch route and I’ll leave you alone!
Novak: He’s got a point, Joe!
Delonge: But mine makes more sense, though...
As Morales gets closer and clenches his fists in preparation to brawl, Kryptops’s face settles into a controlled anger. The champion reaches into the inside breast pocket of his blazer. This is his last line of defense, his favorite method of challenger deterrent, and if this fucker won’t leave him alone, the Rainman is more than happy to use it.
Kryptops: Careful what you wish for...false demon.
Morales, now nearly in range, cocks his head to the side, puzzled.
Kryptops: You just might GET IT!
In one blindingly fast and fluid motion, Kryptops turns around and unleashes a handful of flames. A.J. gets an arm up to shield his face, but only just; if he’d been even a frame of camera footage later, his face might have stopped being so easily-marketable. Even then, the heat is enough to make the Revolution stumble back and away a step, and the jacket reveals itself as not-quite-authentic leather by the way the sleeve that saved him catches fire.
Delonge: That’s what you get, Morales!
Kryptops laughs in the Revolution’s face. That couldn’t have gone more perfectly. It only gets better when A.J. turns back around to face him, jumps at him with that burning arm swinging wide from ten feet awa…wait a second, no, nononothatwasn’tsupposedto—BOOOOM!
All that burning energy the champion put out into the world comes right back to the source, literally, as A.J., operating on sheer instinct, throws a fire-infused clothesline right at Kryptops’s eyes, blinding the Rainman.
Novak: HOLY SHIT!
Delonge: You’re kidding me!
The champion starts to wander aimlessly away before falling over and hitting the ground, his hands over his eyes as he tries fruitlessly to rub away the pain.
Novak: A GUILLOTINE EN FUEGO, AND THE CHAMPION IS DOWN!
A.J., seeing this, looks down at his burning arm and nearly panics.
Morales: SHIT! Shit shit shit shit…
Morales uses his other arm to unzip the jacket, revealing a yellow Oakland A’s jersey and his share of the BGDF Yin Yang Championships underneath, and takes it off as fast as he can. Then, grabbing the unburnt sleeve with both hands, he starts frantically whipping the jacket onto the casino floor, trying to stamp the fire out...and just so happening to repeatedly hit Kryptops, causing further burns and setting the champion’s shirt on fire.
Delonge: Oh, God...I can’t watch...this is just pure brutality!
Novak: I don’t even think A.J. knows who he’s hitting with those swings!
By the time Morales successfully puts his jacket out, backpedals a few steps, and tosses the jacket away, throwing it onto the roulette wheel, Kryptops is rolling around on the floor and screaming in pain.
Delonge: Yeah, but come on! He’d already hit a grand slam of pain here! He didn’t have to keep swinging for the fences!
Out of a mix of mercy and a desire to just get this shit over with, A.J. runs back over, stomps on Kryptops’s stomach to knock the wind out of him and get him to stay still, keeps stomping his chest until the fire’s out, then falls on the champion elbow-first and hooks a leg…
Novak: A.J. Morales is the new Hardcore Champion!
Delonge: What the hell just happened?!
Novak: They say championship wins are always the matches you never forget, but I don’t think A.J.’s ever gonna forget a second of the insanity we just witnessed for the rest of his life!
A.J. lets go and sits up the second he hears the three. He cups his hands over his nose and mouth, and with every inch they slide down again, the look of shock and elation becomes ever clearer. The referee extends a hand, which he takes, and pulls the new champion up to his feet before handing over the belt. A.J. raises a fist and bows his head, then drops the salute, turns to the nearest camera, and shows it the front of his new title with all the pride in the world. Morales: And they said I’d never amount to nothin’! Viva Las Vegas! ¡Viva la Revolución! ¡Viva las Estrellas de Mañana! Woo! Oh, man...hahaha...Taylor Promotions, we run this shit! The Survivors can’t steal this from us...and Diamond Jack Sabbath...you can’t tell me nothing! NOTHING!
Morales plans a kiss on the forehead of the center skull embossed on the belt’s plates.
Morales: We gon’ keep this forever...and ever...and—
Sirens start to blare, growing louder by the second. Morales turns to look at the offscreen source of the noise.
Morales: ...the fuck?
With little warning, black-clad Las Vegas riot police start to swarm our field of vision, nightsticks in hand, swinging indiscriminately at anything that breathes. Wrestlers, security guards, bystanders, it doesn’t matter. A.J. finds himself quickly overwhelmed by three cops, who shove him to the ground, and a fourth enters the frame and looks right into the camera, screaming that they better cut the feed, they better do it right now, comply right this se—KSHHHHRFTHRGTHHHH—
Winner by No-Show and NEW XWA Hardcore Champion: A.J Morales!
This is a great post, fella, and exactly the kind of stuff Hardcore 24/7 was created for. I think you used the location brilliantly. It reminded me a bit- and this might sound strange- of the Supermarket brawl between Austin and Booker T in 2001, but obviously this time at a Casino. Completely bonkers but plausible.
Very creative, very fun, thoroughly enjoyed it. Good stuff, mate!