Broadcast on The Xperience and the Battleground Network! LIVE! From the Megasport Arena, Moscow, Russia (14,000 Capacity)
War Enforcement (Diamond Jack Sabbath, Serena Maxwell & Raine) vs. Hyphy Machinery (Jason Moana & Dontell Porter)
Hyphy Machinery make their Supershow debut in Mother Russia! An exciting new team friends with AJ Morales, people in the know expect a lot from these guys in future. There are even rumours they could be on the radar of Taylor Promotions. But anyone on Amy's radar will inevitably be on someone else's if it's the XWA. Tonight, Hyphy Machinery find themselves in handicap competition against War Enforcement, a subsidiary of the supergroup known as The Survivors, lead by the "Destroyer of Eras", Diamond Jack Sabbath.
Will Hyphy Machinery pull out the shock win? Or will War Enforcement dominate the competition?
-------- Deadline for matches is 25th JULY 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. Voting will start at this time and conclude on 30th JULY 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. [CST is one hour earlier. GMT is five hours later.]
In spite of my best efforts, I've simply not had the right amount of time to get something up for this that's even remotely legible or finished.
But on the plus side, you've got opt-in threads, graphics and other stuff that I'm sorting right now. I am sorry I couldn't get anything up though, AJ. Time really got the better of me this month. Some point, we'll have a proper match.
Mark Sanction: Well, we started The Frozen North with an impressive showing from Jeannie Rose, one of the many rising stars to make their way here this year, and Matt, looking at this card, new faces are gonna be a running theme here tonight, wouldn’t you say?
Matt Steel: Oh, absolutely. And this next match might be the most talked-about debut of them all! Well, at least for this leg of the tour...
Sanction: That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we have a matchup that has industry insiders going crazy. We’re about to take Hyphy Machinery, a promising young tag team making their XWA in-ring debut tonight, and throw them into the fire against perhaps the most dangerous trio in wrestling today.
Ring announcer Hana Ramierez stands in the ring awaiting the arrival of the next competitor. She is holding a mic, as she naturally would be. 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 he stops, positioning himself so that, once he starts walking, he’ll head right down the middle of the ramp.
The music transitions to “Can You Feel My Heart?” by Bring Me the Horizon, and the booing only continues as Raine and Serena Maxwell emerge from behind the curtain, taking their positions behind and on either side of Sabbath.
Hana Ramierez: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and it is a 2-on-3 handicap tag team match! Introducing first…at a combined weight of 589 pounds, representing the Survivors...Raine, Serena Maxwell, and Diamond! Jack! Sabbaaaaaaath! War Enforcement!
War Enforcement begin their march down the ramp, ignoring the boos as they approach the ring, climb in, and convene in their corner, presumably to determine who goes first.
Steel: From what I understand, Hyphy Machinery wanted to answer the DJS Open Challenge for their debut. Careful what you wish for, fellas--they got Diamond Jack Sabbath, but they also got the rest of War Enforcement, too, and they have to beat ALL of them if they wanna win!
Sanction: That’s right, this is 3-on-2 handicap tag team action, with both numbers and experience in War Enforcement’s favor! How you think this’ll shake out?
Steel: Look, Hyphy Machinery are good, no doubt. But I don’t know how they can survive this. I mean, just LOOK at this trio! You’ve got two of the most savage, unhinged combatants the XWA has ever seen in Raine and Serena Maxwell, and then you’ve got Diamond Jack Sabbath, arguably the biggest icon in this company, at the helm and ready to destroy.
The bassline of E-40's "Slappin" hits the PA, and the sound of an engine revving roars through the arena. The latter is quickly explained as Hyphy Machinery emerge from behind the curtain, accompanied by an old convertible Pontiac. More specifically, Dontell stands on the hood and Jason stands on the trunk, both men vibing to their music and hyping up the crowd, and the car drives forward on its own.
Ramierez: And their opponents, at a combined weight of 415 pounds...Dontell Porter! Jason Moana! Hyphyyyyyyy Machiiiiineryyyyyy!" Jason jumps down into the driver's seat, hits the brakes, and pulls out the keys to the car. As he steps out, Dontell leaps off the hood and rolls forward, popping up and throwing his oversized sunglasses over his shoulder and into the crowd. As the duo approach the ring, hyping each other up with boasts of their skill, we see two officials run past them and start pushing the car back up the ramp. Dontell and Jason climb up the two closest turnbuckles and aim finger guns at their opponents before jumping down, convening in their corner, and huddling up to discuss strategy and decide who's going first.
Steel: Oh, God, oh...really?
Sanction: What’s wrong? Is this entrance too much for you?
Steel: Of course that’s not the problem here, Mark, you know that! I’m all for making a splash. My question is whether these two have earned the right to come in here with such bravado--especially with the caliber of opponents they’re facing.
Sanction: Well, keep in mind, Hyphy Machinery are already two-time parejas division champions back in Zapatista Lucha Libre, they’re arguably the best tacticians that promotion’s ever seen, and as A.J. Morales has demonstrated since he got here in March, the talent pool in ZLL is no slouch.
Steel: I still don’t think they’re ready. Maybe six months from now, when they’ve had some time to acclimate themselves to this new environment, but this deck, from the numbers game to the experience factor to the pressure of being on such a massive stage, is completely stacked against Hyphy Machinery. I doubt they come away with this.
The duo finally decide on having Dontell start the match, and as he stares down Diamond Jack Sabbath, who stands in the other corner looking cocky as can be, Dontell takes his California Golden Bears snapback and turns it backwards, showing absolutely no signs of fear.
Sanction: Well, it looks like they have no hesitation to try, as Sabbath and Porter start this matchu--
Sanction: Wait, what’s this?
Steel: The one rumor I didn’t believe…
As “Left Outside Alone” rings through the arena and the audience starts to cheer, Sabbath’s cocky grin disappears in an instant. His skin goes even paler than it normally does, and he looks towards the ramp, daggers practically flying out from his eyes, as Amy Taylor, dressed to the nines with her trademark clipboard and pen in hand, makes her way to the ring.
Sanction: It’s true! It’s actually true!
Steel: Well, well, well...talk about intrigue.
Sanction: Rumors have been flying since Japan that Hyphy Machinery were on Amy Taylor’s radar as potential future clients, and it looks like those rumors are officially confirmed!
As Taylor reaches ringside, the whole of War Enforcement stares her down, Sabbath the most angrily of all, as though her mere presence insults him, and she returns it with a steely gaze, the kind of look you’d give a stranger trying to start something to let them know you won’t let it escalate, as she turns away from the trio and continues on her way.
Steel: But you have to wonder if this adds even more to the pressure on Hyphy Machinery here. Now, not only do they have to win the match, they have to impress a woman who could very well determine their futures here in the XWA!
If it affects the young team, however, that doesn’t exactly show on their faces as she walks by them, her expression friendlier as she gives them a nod, which they return before turning their focus back to the ring.
Sanction: Well, as they said themselves on Massacre earlier this month, there were a lot of times they were supposed to fail before tonight that didn’t quite work out that way. I don’t think this one’s over until it’s over.
Amy, meanwhile, sets herself up near Hyphy Machinery’s corner, propping a steel chair open and taking a seat before clicking her pen and looking intently up at the ring.
With all the commotion settled, the referee points to the timekeeper’s area.
DING DING DING!
Porter leaves his corner, approaching the center and preparing to square up, but Sabbath stays right where he is, still looking sour over what’s transpired. Without breaking his gaze from his opponent, Sabbath tags in Serena Maxwell, who more than readily steps in the ring as Sabbath takes his leave from the apron and the crowd rains down boos on all three.
Sanction: Wow. I...that must have really thrown Diamond Jack Sabbath off his game, because he’s already back in the dugout.
Steel: I can’t blame him for tagging out. He’s taking his time, getting his head straight, and making sure that when he does get in and start fighting, he’ll be all there. Smart move, if you ask me. More people should try it.
Porter, undeterred, simply starts to square up with his new opponent, but Maxwell decides to cut the crap and just charge him. Porter starts towards the center in response, and when they meet, he grabs her by the arm, whipping her over him and bringing her down back-first to the mat.
Sanction: And it’s Dontell Porter drawing first blood here.
Steel: Armdrags like that are a classic opening move. Not the most damaging thing in the world, but they can get your momentum going in a hurry.
Porter quickly rises, but doesn’t fully make it to his feet. Instead, about ¾ of the way up, he leans forward and lets himself fall elbow-first back towards Maxwell. But she has enough time to get her knees up, and the drop gets caught awkwardly between them.
Steel: Or you can get carried away and do that.
Sanction: Oh, that’s not good...
Maxwell smacks Porter across the face and gets herself away, leaving her opponent off-balance and a little disoriented. As he struggles to steady himself, Maxwell runs for the ropes, rebounds as she turns around, extends an arm, and right as Porter gets himself upright, he’s popped in the mouth with a clothesline, sending his snapback flying off his head.
Sanction: Flying clothesline by Maxwell!
Steel: Way to exploit the early opening!
Both combatants fall to the mat, and Maxwell, with a quick push over to the side, gets herself on top of Porter for the cover…
From seemingly out of nowhere, Jason Moana comes crashing down on Maxwell, breaking up the pin.
Steel: Where’d Jason come from there?
Sanction: I bet Serena’s asking herself the same thing right now.
As Moana rolls out of the ring, Maxwell, propping herself up with her hands, looks around, slightly puzzled at what just happened, but quickly shrugs it off and sticks a hand in Porter’s dreadlocks.
Steel: Doesn’t seem to be fazing her much, though.
Serena gets herself up, pushing off the mat for leverage and dragging her opponent up with her. Once they’re both at a vertical base, Serena lets go of the dreads and, with that same hand, chops him across the chest, inspiring a wave of “Wooo!”-ing around the arena.
Sanction: Seems not, and she’s really keeping the pressure on here.
Maxwell quickly follows with another chop, this one faster and more vicious, and as another “Wooo!” rings, she takes a step and a half back.
Steel: Good. That’s exactly what you have to do in any tag match, even when you have an extra body in your corner.
As Dontell stands, still dazed, Serena closes the gap with a spin, tucking her right arm, and nails him with her elbow, once again knocking him to the ground.
Sanction: Ooh, what a discus elbow!
Her momentum carrying her forward, the Unexplainable one rolls with it as she falls, getting on top of Porter and hooking his leg for a cover…
Once again, Jason dives in and breaks it up.
Sanction: And Moana breaks it up again!
As Jason gets up again, those watching closely can see Dontell make a “C” with his thumb and index finger and swipe it towards his chest. Jason nods in response.
Sanction: Keep in mind, everyone who gets their start in ZLL, including this duo, is trained to go in and break up the pin every single time a teammate gets covered.
“You thought this’d be easy, huh?”shouts Moana as he backs up, making sure to lean on the ropes and spread his arms wide. Maxwell, drawn by the shouts, looks up at him.
Sanction: Any team in that environment has to be willing to sacrifice themselves over and over again in order to get within range of a title shot, let alone become two-time champions.
“You thought we was chumps, huh?”Serena grits her teeth as she starts to get up, but Moana just smiles at her with all the arrogance in the world.“You can’t get hyphy like this!”
Steel: And that pattern could work in either direction for them. It could keep them alive for far longer than they might make it otherwise, but every time you have to go break the pin up, you use a little energy and get that much closer to just tiring yourself out.
After a quick cut to Amy Taylor, who finishes writing something and looks up with intense interest, we cut back to the ring, where Maxwell, now standing behind Porter, stares down Moana with quickly-rising annoyance.
Sanction: Hopefully Jason Moana has the energy to deal with Serena Maxwell right now!
Serena doubles back into the ropes and bounces off, looking to knock Jason out of the ring, but just as the momentum forward starts to carry her, Moana drops down and leaves the ring.
Sanction: He’s trying to get away, but--
Undeterred, she hurdles over Porter, gets lower, and leaps between the top and middle ropes, but with the timing so short and Moana not that far from the apron, the result is an awkward shoulder-on-shoulder collision that doesn’t make much impact, but sends both victim and attacker to the ground.
Sanction: SUICIDE DIVE!
Steel: Not the best-hit dive by a long shot, but considering the adjustment she had to make and how little time she had to make it, that was pretty good. For a couple seconds, both Maxwell and Moana lie on the ground, and the referee starts the count.
Serena gets up first, looking a little wobbly as she does so, but as Jason stays down, he cracks a slight smile at his job well done. He waits for her to start surmounting the apron before he begins climbing up to resume his post at Hyphy Machinery’s corner.
Sanction: Referee starts the ten-count, but obviously that’s not gonna get too close to the magic number.
Steel: I mean, they don’t call her the Unexplainable for no reason. Maybe she’ll see me and get so distracted that the count goes to nine.
Sanction: Get over yourself.
Dontell, meanwhile, now looks much better-off than he did before the diversion, and the second Serena gets within the ropes, he charges her.
Sanction: Anyway, Dontell Porter looking like he has a respo--
Staying low and leading with his shoulder, Porter catches her in the lower abdomen and quickly wraps both arms around her, forcing her to the ground with both shoulders down.
Sanction: What a tackle there!
Steel: And there’s that football background coming into play. Before Hyphy Machinery were a duo in the squared circle, they were the cornerbacks that made the Newton High Panthers one of the most feared defenses in Northern California, precisely because of rugby-style tackling just like that.
Dontell keeps holding Serena down, and the ref drops to the mat…
Maxwell bursts out of the cover, forcing Porter back, but he catches himself quickly and stays on his feet.
Sanction: Kickout at one. Let’s see how Porter responds.
Serena, meanwhile, rolls to her right before getting up. She starts to ready herself, but by that point, Dontell is well in range, and he hits her with a lead-hand punch to the face.
Sanction: Ooh, what a cross!
Before Maxwell can even begin to process what just happened, Porter follows with a forearm smash to the throat.
Sanction: Forearm to the throat!
Serena starts to put a hand to her throat, leaving her exposed. With no hesitation, Dontell wraps both arms around her torso, lifts her up, and makes a half-turn as he slams her down to the mat.
Sanction: And a belly-to-belly suplex! Dontell Porter is on a roll here!
Rather than go for the pin, Porter grabs Maxwell by the wrist, yanking her to her feet as he gets to his.
Steel: And he’s not slowing down!
Serena tries to swipe a punch at Dontell, but he sidesteps it easily and hooks an arm around one of her thighs.
Sanction: What’s he looking for here?
Porter lifts Maxwell onto his shoulders as he takes a couple steps back towards his corner, then falls backwards to the canvas. Serena, as his human shield, takes the brunt of the impact.
Sanction: Samoan drop!
Jason quickly grabs the tag rope and reaches to Porter, who gets to his hands and knees, tags his partner in with an open palm, and then uses the ropes to finish getting to his feet.
Sanction: Tag to Jason Moana!
As Dontell grabs Serena by both shoulders, forcing her up again, Jason gets in the ring, heading for the center of the canvas, making a rectangle with his thumbs and index fingers, framing up his shot like a director.
Sanction: What are they planning here?
Porter pushes Maxwell towards Moana, and once she’s about halfway between them, they take off.
Steel: I don’t know, but here it comes!
Before she can duck or dodge or do anything to defend, Serena gets clobbered from both directions, Moana’s arm hitting her collarbones, Porter’s hitting the shoulder blades.
Sanction: What a double clothesline!
Steel: Serena Maxwell just got thrown into two-way traffic there!
Hyphy Machinery and the audience start to feed off each other, the crowd’s pop of cheers encouraging the team’s shouts of joy as they follow through, reconvene over their opponent, and pretend to headbutt each other.
Sanction: This has been a helluva showing from Hyphy Machinery thus far.
As Dontell gets onto the apron and yields the floor to his partner, Jason turns to the crowd and starts hyping them up, sending the volume of their cheers even louder.
Steel: It certainly has, but the question remains as to whether they can keep that energy up.
Serena, meanwhile, finally gets to the point of being firmly at a vertical base again just in time for Jason to turn his attention back to her. She attempts a backfist, but Jason ducks under it, and as he rises, he catches her upside the head with a punch.
Sanction: Nice countering uppercut!
Seeing no reason to slow down, Moana follows with a hook to the side of the ribs.
Sanction: Into a right hook!
Now starting to get seriously disoriented, Maxwell stumbles back and forth, leaning one way, trying to get her feet back under herself, and then repeating the process in some other direction.
Steel: And all this punishment is really starting to get to Serena Maxwell!
Jason, seeing this, runs past her to the ropes.
Sanction: What’s he gonna do here?
Maxwell stumbles out of his path, but he has plenty enough distance to redirect, and he goes into a feet-first slide, catching her on the side of the ankle and bringing her down like a stack of Jenga blocks.
Sanction: Baseball slide!
Steel: Someone call Rickey Henderson, because he may have some competition!
Cut to Amy Taylor, looking very pleased indeed with Hyphy Machinery’s progress.
Sanction: And it’s moments like what we just saw that make Hyphy Machinery such a dangerous team to face. Both of these men are ring generals in their own right, capable of taking a weakness in their opponents and exploiting it with absolutely no hesitation.
Cut to War Enforcement’s corner, where Diamond Jack Sabbath, long since back to his post and looking much calmer now, gives a look to Raine, who nods and grabs the tag rope, but doesn’t reach out yet.
Steel: But make no mistake, War Enforcement can still get this under control, especially once we see the other two members get in on the action.
Back to the main action, where Moana is just finishing pulling Maxwell back to her feet.
Sanction: Well, let’s see if Serena Maxwell can get rid of some of this pressure on her first...
Moana steps back, shuffling in a boxing stance, and winds up another punch, but this time, when he throws it, Maxwell blocks with an open left palm.
Sanction: And she does!
The palm turns into a tight clench, and as Maxwell twists Moana’s arm, a cruel look comes over her.
Steel: Here we go...
Serena yanks her opponent closer and absolutely loses it. Forearm after forearm rains down on Jason’s face, each one with speed and power behind it, and she pours all her frustration into every hit.
Sanction: And now those fearsome forearms!
Steel: This is hard to watch...
But just when it looks like she’ll never stop...
“Oi!”yells a voice out of view. Serena immediately stops and turns her attention to her corner.
“Need a breather, love?”It’s Diamond Jack Sabbath, calling to her as Raine, still holding the tag rope, reaches out. Serena walks over, dragging her opponent with her, but hesitates to take the tag.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get back in this.”That reassurance seems to be enough, as Maxwell gives Raine the tag, shoving Moana to the side before she gets to the apron.
Sanction: Tag to Raine, and this might be what locks in that momentum shift you were talking about earlier.
Raine, meanwhile, wastes no time getting in, opening with a kick to the side of Moana’s thigh.
Steel: Are you kidding? It already is locked in! I have a sharp eye for these things, you know.
From there, Raine goes into a stupefying combo of offense, blending strikes of several styles and giving Moana no choice but to step back with every hit and try desperately to block.
Sanction: Raine with a straight pu--no, shoot k--I mean, elbow sm--damn, he’s hitting faster than I can call his moves!
Steel: What a master!
Finally, Raine kicks Moana in the gut, forcing him to bend over, then gets that same foot over the Samoan’s head and brings it down with authority.
Sanction: And he drives it home with the Thunderbolt!
The crowd starts to boo, but Raine pays no mind. If anything, they only encourage him to kick Moana in the head a couple more times.
Steel: See that? You see what just happened? This is why the numbers game is so important, not just here, but in any tag match. You can spend a good few minutes building up momentum, working in offense, isolating the hell out of somebody, and then have all that effort wiped out the second a fresh body tags in for the other team.
Jason starts to struggle to his feet, and Raine steps back, giving his opponent all the time he needs.
Steel: Now imagining that happening to you against a team as cohesive and talented and destructive as War Enforcement. Even in a normal tag team matchup, that’s a scary proposition
Sanction: And now what’s Raine thinking?
Jason reaches his feet and takes a step forward, but Raine immediately grabs him by the shoulder, and with a sweep of the leg, the silent assassin brings Moana down facefirst.
Sanction: Vicious STO!
Raine gets back up and, seeing his leader beckoning him over, immediately reaches down, pulls Moana back up, and shoves him towards War Enforcement’s corner.
Steel: And this punishment might be about to kick into a whole other gear!
Moana, unable to stop himself, runs directly into Jack Sabbath’s oh-so-conveniently-located fist.
Sanction: Moana thrown back into War Enforcement’s corner!
Sabbath, however, doesn’t stay with his opponent, instead moving along his side of the apron a bit and yelling “The hell was that?” to the referee.
Sanction: Oh, great, NOW what’s Sabbath want?
The referee, who clearly has no idea why he’s being called out all of a sudden, approaches Sabbath. As the scheming legend continues to berate and belittle the referee, his partners freely beat down on Moana, punching him, smacking him, driving his head into the top turnbuckle, and generally doing as they please, to the crowd’s disapproval.
Steel: He wants to give his teammates an extra chance to help. Great teamwork there!
Sanction: The way he acts when he’s on commentary for Lord of the Ring, it’s strange to see him distracting someone other than himself.
Steel: Makes you appreciate working with me, doesn’t it?
Sanction: Shut up...
Waving off the ref with a hand, Sabbath makes an exaggerated point of walking back towards the corner before grabbing the tag rope and extending a hand to Raine, who tags him in.
Sanction: And now, finally, in comes the self-declared Destroyer of Eras!
Steel: Oh, man...can you feel the chill in the air, Mark? It’s like winter came to Moscow early!
Sanction: You’re right, Matt. This crowd knows exactly how big of a deal Diamond Jack Sabbath is. They know how dangerous he is. Thing is, though, they also know they won’t exactly like what they see...
Raine shoves Moana again, this time away from the corner, before dipping out, and as Sabbath gets into the ring, looking relaxed and absolutely insufferable, Dontell grabs his corner’s tag rope.
Steel: Dontell Porter must know too. Look at him! He wants Jason out of this match ASAP! Can’t say I blame him...
Jack opens his offense with a shoot kick, which connects right to the thigh.
Sanction: And Sabbath is going right to his trademark kicks here.
Moana stumbles to the side, but quickly rights himself, only for Sabbath to kick him again, this time in the shin on the opposite leg.
Steel: This man has defined and refined his playbook in a way that everyone in the XWA should be studying, if they aren’t already. He knows his strengths well, and he knows how to play to them with every move he makes.
Sabbath takes his time, letting Jason stagger from the impact, and right as the debuting fighter rights himself, Sabbath spins around and kicks Moana square on the chest.
Sanction: And a brutal spinning roundhouse from Sabbath!
As Moana goes practically limp and falls over, Diamond Jack decides to just shine for a moment. He spreads his arms wide, a cocky grin on his face, and closes his eyes, letting the audience’s booing simply wash over him.
Sanction: And Sabbath just isn’t taking this matchup seriously...
Steel: Hell, why should he? He’s wiping the floor with this guy! Not to mention he has two people to tag to, he and Raine are both basically at 100%…
Sanction: Your point being?
Steel: My point is he can afford to coast a little if he wants to, and he’s earned the right to do so.
Sabbath starts to reach down to pull his opponent back up, but this time, he gets a punch to the wrist for his trouble.
Sanction: But now he might be meeting some resistance!
Knowing his window to follow up is limited, Moana scrambles to his feet and whips his arm up, catching Sabbath on the chin with his bicep.
Sanction: European uppercut! Jason Moana finally has some good luck!
The surprise of the hit sends Sabbath staggering back a step, and Moana, his morale rising, heads for the ropes.
Steel: And I think he’s gonna press it!
Moana comes back at Sabbath, diving headfirst and looking to tackle him, but Sabbath is nowhere near beaten down enough to get caught. The veteran simply sticks a boot out, and Moana’s momentum does the rest of the work.
Sanction: An absolutely fierce big boot to Moana there!
Sabbath chuckles to himself and shakes his head.
Sanction: And this is just too easy for Diamond Jack Sabbath!
Steel: When you answer a DJS Open Challenge, you’re answering the king, and when you come at the king, you better not miss. Hyphy Machinery, unfortunately, seem way off the mark right here.
Jack turns to his corner, nods, and then begins stomping the mat with both feet as he returns his attention to his struggling opponent.
Sanction: Sabbath’s already looking for the Crown Kick!
Raine and Maxwell, meanwhile, reach for either side of the padding on the top turnbuckle in their corner and, as flagrantly as they can, start untying it. The referee, seeing this, heads over and starts telling them off.
Sanction: Uh-oh, where’s this headed?
Steel: Hopefully they aren’t just bad at cheating...
As the referee starts tying the pad back on, Jason finally manages to get to his feet, and he puts his hands up, anticipating a kick to the head...which would have been a smart move, except this time Jack isn’t looking for a kick there. Instead, DJS goes below the belt, and as the crowd boos ever louder, Moana falls to his knees, trying desperately to keep himself together.
Sanction: Oh, come on...now that’s just low.
Steel: Hey, he wants this over with quickly. Nothing wrong with a little shortcut every now and then.
Cut to Amy Taylor, who has disappointment written all over her face. Her ex-husband was never going to be an easy foe for this new team, but having to see it end like this? With him triumphant, scoring the pinfall? It was the last thing she’d wanted.
Sanction: Really, Matt? You’re gonna defend that as just taking shortcuts?
Steel: Well, yeah…
Sanction: This is Diamond Jack Sabbath we’re talking about here. A man who’s taken one clean hit throughout this whole match. A man who’s won Finisher of the Year at the Piledriver Awards for his Crown Kick twice in the last four years. Sabbath laughs at the sight of his opponent in this state. He does a couple more warmup stomps, but eventually, he gets bored and starts shouting“Get up, kidda! Get up!”down at Moana.
Sanction: A man who had a golden opportunity to hit that Crown Kick and end this contest right then and there with that move, and instead chose to start humiliating and toying with his opponent. And you’re gonna sit here and tell me he’s taking a Goddamn shortcut?
Sabbath grabs his opponent by the jaw, forcing Moana to stand.
Steel: Well, it doesn’t really matter now. Looks like he’s going for the finisher anyway. Jack steps back, does one last stomp, and finally, the inevitable comes. Roundhouse to the head. Moana falls.
Sanction: Crown Kick! Finally...
Steel: Sorry, boys...you tried your best, but you just couldn’t survive. Sabbath, cocky as ever, takes his sweet time getting down to the mat and covering Moana for the pin…
At the absolute last second, Dontell Porter throws himself onto the pile, knocking his teammate free, starting an explosion of cheers from the crowd, and drawing the ire of the referee, who starts shouting and threatening to disqualify the duo.
Sanction: Dontell Porter keeps this matchup alive!
Seizing on what little time he has, Porter scrambles up, dragging Sabbath with him, and punches the Innovator of Anarchy right in the eye before whipping him back towards War Enforcement’s corner and sliding out of the ring.
Steel: After seeing all that happen to his partner? Porter’s either completely fearless or completely insane!
As Jack, who manages to stop himself before he hits the turnbuckle, bends over and tries to soothe his eye, Jason hurriedly turns onto his side and pounds the mat with a closed fist.
Sanction: And if I told you he might have just gone for Jack’s eye?
Steel: Yeah, that settles it. Dontell’s crazy.
Dontell, luckily, hears it, and turns back to his partner. We don’t see or hear what Jason’s saying, but Dontell nods as he listens.
Sanction: This could be Hyphy Machinery’s golden opportunity!
Steel: If you mean for Moana to tag out, then they’re squandering it.
Sanction: Now, now, they could be strategizi--
Suddenly, a loud smack draws Dontell’s attention. Serena, holding the tag rope, raises her hand from off Sabbath’s shoulder, looking ready to go, and as she climbs in, even Sabbath looks at her in confusion.
Sanction: Wait a minute! Serena Maxwell tagged in!
Dontell turns back to Jason, looking more confident now. He makes a fist, jerks it to the side like he has an imaginary steering wheel in his hand, and Jason nods his understanding just before Serena grabs the Samoan by his feet and starts to drag him away.
Sanction: I don’t even think Sabbath planned for this!
Steel: So? She’s taking initiative. Good for her!
Serena takes short, quick steps backwards as she continues to pull Jason, finally stopping near one of the neutral corners. She lets go of him, then very deliberately steps on his calves as she gets over to the other side.
Sanction: But she’s still taken the most damage out of anyone in War Enforcement by far! Is this the right move to make?
Steel: Ehh, she’s been our Hardcore Champion before. She can handle taking a few hits.
This time using his head, Serena jerks Jason at an angle a few times until he’s close enough to being laid out horizontally in front of the corner for her liking. At that point, she slams his face onto the mat before going to the corner and starting her ascent.
Sanction: She’s looking for the Rising Tide!
Steel: And that’s something Jason Moana absolutely cannot afford to take. The only reason the Crown Kick didn’t get him is because his partner bailed him out. If Serena hits this, it’s over.
As Serena reaches the top rope, bending her knees as the crowd continues to jeer, she gets a bloodthirsty twinkle in her eye. This is it. She was the one to start this assault, and now she’ll be the one to finish it. It’s almost too perfect…
Sanction: She’s lining up the shot...
Maxwell bounds into the air, turning end over end, but just as she starts to level out at the finishing angle, Moana gets his knees up, and her stomach lands right on top of them.
Sanction: BLOCKED BY MOANA!
The crowd gasps in shock, the air practically leaves the room, but as what just happened sinks in and Jason starts to get up, the atmosphere fills with a reinvigorated hope. Maybe, just maybe, these guys have a chance.
Steel: How the hell does he have the energy to keep doing this?
Moana, still too tired to stand upright, leans forward as much as he can, holding onto the middle rope to keep steady. The path ahead is clear; Dontell holds the tag rope and reaches out, looking more desperate to enter the squared circle than ever before. Jason forces himself to continue forward, sheer force of will powering him ahead. He gets closer...closer…
Sanction: He has to be running on sheer willpower right now!
Serena Maxwell jumps in, grabbing Jason by the neck and trying her damndest to pull him back. He doesn’t fall, but he can’t progress either, his hand mere inches away from Dontell’s.
Steel: But is that gonna be enough to get him out of the woods?
Jason pulls back and tries, awkwardly, to punch Serena’s hand away. It doesn’t quite work. He tries again. Still no dice.
Sanction: I’m not even sure he knows where the woods end and the clearing begins!
Finally, Jason lets go of the ropes and falls back as hard as he can, jolting Serena off, but not quite freeing himself from her clutches yet. He’s still right on top of her, easily grabbable if he doesn’t act fast. He throws a wild elbow at her face, which just manages to catch her, then pushes himself up, reaches a kneeling position, and falls forward, arm outstretched, to make the tag.
Sanction: Is it gonna be enough?
The tag connects, and immediately, a bolt of emotion hits the crowd. Noise fills the arena as Jason rolls out and Dontell races up to the top turnbuckle.
Sanction: IT IS! IN COMES PORTER!
Serena doesn’t have nearly enough time. Before she’s even processed the tag, Dontell dives after her, his full body weight coming down on hers.
Sanction: And he opens with a massive splash off the top rope!
Dontell gets up and shouts a war cry to the audience, and they lap it up, the cheers hitting new volumes as he pulls his opponent to her feet.
Steel: Talk about making a--nope. Not gonna say it. Too obvious.
Once again, Dontell uses his Irish whip, sending Serena right back into the corner where she tried to finish things off.
Sanction: Irish whip into the corner!
The moment Maxwell hits the corner, Porter moves to his left and rushes in.
Steel: Uh-oh, what’s he thinking here?
Serena turns around and tries to get towards her team’s side of the ring, but she barely manages a step before Porter leaps forward and introduces his kneecap to her lower ribcage.
Sanction: Ooh, what a flying knee, and lined up perfectly!
Steel: And if you’re War Enforcement, you have to be getting worried right now!
Sure enough, Diamond Jack Sabbath already has the tag rope in hand, reaching towards her, muttering “c’mon” after “c’mon” under his breath.
Sanction: The pendulum’s swinging back Hyphy Machinery’s way, and I don’t know how much time War Enforcement have left to stop it!
Porter steps back, and Serena tries another backfist to get some distance, but all it does is graze his face. Even so, she darts for her teammates.
Sanction: Maxwell tries to make a break for it...
Serena makes it about halfway to her corner before Porter catches her, hooking an arm around her neck and yanking her away like she just bombed at a vaudeville show.
Sanction: ...but Porter cuts her off!
Dontell quickly turns Serena around, getting the arm wrapped around the other side of the neck. His other hand goes right to her hip.
Sanction: Looking for a suplex here...
Dontell lifts Maxwell up, getting her upside-down, and lets her hang there…
Sanction: Talk about a vertical suplex! ...hang there…
Steel: No kidding! He’s got the technique down perfect here. ...still hanging, even as he shifts his weight and takes a couple steps back…
Sanction: Which might explain how he’s been able to keep this up so long... Finally, Dontell falls backwards, bringing Serena down to the canvas.
Sanction: Down they go, and Serena Maxwell is even farther from safety than she was before. Dontell pops back up and starts swaggering from side to side, making sure to “accidentally” step on Serena’s hand in the process.
Sanction: If you’re Hyphy Machinery, that sequence right there has to be everything you were asking for and more. Jason, now back on the apron and looking much more refreshed, if nowhere near fully recovered, sees this, and a switch flips in his mind. He starts going crazy, headbanging and stomping with one foot as he shakes the top rope, psyching himself up.
Steel: I just hope they’re not celebrating too early here, because if the tide turns again and War Enforcement gets this back, this moment right here is gonna haunt this young team for months.
Serena gets fully to her feet, looking angrier and more insulted than ever. Dontell stands across from her, looking more than ready to keep his momentum going.
Steel: And if anyone can make them pay for getting cocky right now, it’s Serena Maxwell.
Suddenly, Porter retreats, running backwards to his corner, and Moana reaches one arm behind his partner, then slaps his own wrist.
Sanction: Tag to Moana?
Steel: Not quite. See how he’s not holding the tag rope?
Maxwell, taking this as a tag, shifts focus to the Samoan, who gets in screaming, with the most obvious clothesline in the world ready. Moana charges, his arm extended, heading right for Maxwell…
Sanction: Jason Moana’s not the legal man, but here he comes anyway!
...and then Moana jukes to the left, bringing the arm back in and confusing Serena, who ducked to avoid the attack.
Steel: The hell?
The referee, just as confused as Serena, turns his attention to Moana, who keeps running, raising both arms and jumping just in time to clobber both Raine and Sabbath off the apron.
Sanction: He went for the rest of War Enforcement instead!
Steel: The hell’s going on? As Moana drops down and rolls out of the ring, Porter rushes out of the corner again before Maxwell can turn her attention back to him, gets in close, and then makes a motion like he’s shooting an imaginary basketball and getting pushed back at the same time.
Sanction: Wait, wait-- Porter kicks his right leg out wildly, and his foot just so happens to hit Maxwell between the legs.
Sanction: OH MY GOD!
Steel: Now that is just despicable! As Porter steps back, hands up like he didn’t do anything, Maxwell nearly doubles over from the pain.
Sanction: Brilliant misdirection by Hyphy Machinery!
Steel: Not so brilliant acting from Porter, though. Who is he, Draymond Green? But Porter doesn’t stray too far, and when he gets back in close, he puts his Unexplainable opponent in a three-quarter facelock and drops to a seated position, bouncing her jaw off his shoulder and sending her falling onto her back.
Sanction: And now a stunner!
The referee’s attention drawn back to the two in the ring, both by the sound of the impact and the roar of the crowd in response, he runs over as Porter hooks a leg and goes for the cover…
Sanction: This could be it!
DING DING DING!
Ramierez: And your winners, Hyphy Machinery!
Sanction: Hyphy Machinery may have just pulled off the upset of the year!
Cut to Amy Taylor, looking very pleased indeed as she takes her final notes on the match.
Steel: I don’t know...I understand doing what you have to do to win, I understand getting even for that low blow Jason took earlier on in the match, but all the same, that is NOT what you do with a woman’s crotch. Believe me, I’d know.
Sanction: Oh, you’re disgusting.
Jason rolls back into the ring and pulls Dontell back to his feet, and as the crowd hits a noise plateau, the ref raises the duo’s arms.
“That’s what we do!”shouts Dontell as he looks right down the hardcam.“That’s what we d--!” THWACK! The unmistakable sound of weaponized bamboo rings out.
Sanction/Steel: OHHH! The music stops, the referee and both members of Hyphy Machinery all fall forward, and Diamond Jack Sabbath, breathing heavily, a wild look in his eye, stands over them with a now-destroyed kendo stick in hand.
Sanction: What the hell is wrong with Diamond Jack Sabbath?
Steel: You say that like you haven’t been watching him pull shit like this for years.
As the audience boos just as loud as they cheered moments ago, Raine helps a groggy Serena Maxwell to her feet, and the three Survivors all stomp down on their foes.
Sanction: I don’t give a shit! War Enforcement got outplayed tonight, and Somebody’s gotta stop this! Suddenly, a wave of confused crowd noise starts near the entrance area, the sound of an audience who hate the actor but love the action. The sound travels down the ramp and towards the ringside area as A.J. Morales, carrying a mic stand and pursued by several security guards close behind, charges directly towards the commotion.
Steele: Careful what you wish for, Mark…
Sanction: AND HERE COMES THE REVOLUTION!
A.J. makes it all the way to ringside, but just as he stops to wind back the throw of his weapon, two of the guards tackle him, pinning him to the ground, and more join in to keep him fully restrained.
“Lemme go!”shouts Morales, even as a couple more guards jump in to take the mic stand away.“Lemme fuckin’ go! I have to stop this!”
Steel: Aww, come on, let him throw it. I wanna see how badly that hurts. The rest of the security squad enters the ring to get War Enforcement away from Hyphy Machinery, but the trio aren’t at all fazed, nor are they restrained. Their stepping away, hands raised, shit-eating grins on their faces, is enough to keep them from getting the same rough treatment Morales receives.
Sanction: This has to be a painful sight to see if you’re A.J. Morales. He didn’t take the last post-match beatdown on his friends that Diamond Jack Sabbath led the charge for well at all, so to see it happen again, come this close to stopping it, only to be stopped and watch War Enforcement get better treatment from security than he does. This is just… As everyone involved starts to head back up the ramp, voluntarily and otherwise, Amy Taylor finally gets up from her chair, clipboard in hand, and follows after the swarm of controlled chaos. Clearly, she needs to make multiple visits in the locker room before the night is through…
Steel: This is what happens when you just rush in where angels fear to tread. And believe me, when angels see the Survivors at work, they turn and run.