Ever since Minka Carter returned, she has grown increasingly more deranged and embittered. This reached a fever pitch over the last month, where it was revealed the Cleopatra of the XWA is a member of the Survivors, and she began to denounce anyone opposing her as "Demons". One such person who has continually taken exception to Minka has been A.J. Morales, the mutual animosity between them building for months. "The Revolution" has declared himself as a member of the frontline, in the fight against the Survivors, and now that the Mistress of the Snake Strike has joined the nefarious group, it seems all of Morales' enemies have come at once.
A.J. Morales- "Revolution" or just another "DEMON"? The Survivors are watching this one closely...
-------- Deadline for matches is 26th September 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time.
Voting will start at this time and conclude on 6th October 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time.
[CST is one hour earlier. GMT is five hours later.]
[The District XWA broadcast cuts to the announce table where Mark Sanction and Matt Steel are both standing by, each with a relative look of concern and discomfort on their faces.]
SANCTION: Fans, there is no doubt in everyone's minds that District XWA has lived up to its billing so far, but up next? I don't think this match is for the faint of heart, what do you think, Matt?
STEEL: You are absolutely right about that. What we are about to see has been brewing for what appears to be an eternity. This may seem like a simple one on one match on the surface, but if you have followed this long enough, you know that Minka Carter and AJ Morales have some massive heat with each other.
SANCTION: Indeed, you're right about that! Will this be the night it finally comes to a head?
STEEL: It's a tough call. While this may be a regular match, I wouldn't put it past either competitor to try and bring out the weaponry whenever they get a chance. The hatred between these two is THAT strong, Mark!
SANCTION: We're about to find out who will score a huge victory for their side in just a bit! It's Minka Carter taking on AJ Morales, that match coming up right now!
The hook of “Getting Away with Murder" by Papa Roach blares over the venue’s soundwaves. Minka Carter appears on the stage to a strong, negative reaction from the opposing crowds. She takes in some of the cold reception she's getting, smirking and laughing for a bit before making her way down to the ring feeling confident and determined while ignoring the fans on her way to the ring. She heads into the ring and takes a glare at the referee in the ring, before crouching in the corner and waiting for what comes next.
HANA: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Minneapolis, Minnesota… she is a member of the Survivors… MINKA CARTER!
STEEL: My god... she's even scarier in person!
SANCTION: You got that right! Minka carter is without question the most deranged individual XWA has seen in a long time!
STEEL: You're not going far enough, Mark. I honestly think she could be the most deranged individual in XWA history! I hope AJ knows what he's getting himself into against someone who has been labeling him a "demon" for a long time.
SANCTION: Let's not forget that Minka is coming into this with so much anger and hatred, especially when you consider that Emery Layton won the Lord of the Ring... which of course, was the worst case scenario for her.
STEEL: AJ needs to be VERY careful...
After a brief rising tide of white noise, the opening riff to "Revolution/Revolución" by Ill Niño hits the PA. The lighting near the entrance turns gold, vapor starts hissing out of the fog machines, and a highlight reel of clips from A.J. Morales's past matches starts to play. The Revolution himself emerges with his head down and his eyes closed, walking and headbanging in sync with the music as plays air-guitar along with it. Amy Taylor follows close behind. A.J. keeps this up until the first verse comes in, at which point he looks up, opens his eyes, and raises a clenched fist to the crowd, who cheer in response. He then takes his jacket off and hands it to Amy, who nods her thanks and puts it on, and starts walking to the ring and giving fist bumps and high-fives to anyone in the crowd who reaches towards him.
“From San Francisco, California, weighing in at 187 pounds...The Revolution! A! J! Moooooraleeeeees!”
As the chorus hits, A.J. climbs onto the apron and vaults himself over the top rope with a somersault. He pops up to his feet and gives a clenched fist salute to the side of the crowd facing the entrance ramp. He repeats this salute on all four sides of the ring, ending with the side facing the hard cam. For this last one, he looks directly into the camera, and after he drops the salute, he mouths "Mírame" before turning to his corner and limbering up for the match.
SANCTION: AJ Morales is without question a warrior, someone who represents much of what XWA is supposed to be all about and tonight, he's got a chance to really put a severe dent in the Survivors!
STEEL: He does, but the question I have is, how much is emotion going to play into it? You and I both know that AJ has a very explosive temper at times and that could come back to haunt him.
SANCTION: You make a very good point, Matt. AJ is a good kid, there's no denying that. There's no doubt that he's got Emery on his mind also.
STEEL: This is true, but I am going to be bluntly honest. If he focuses too much on Emery's honor and lets his emotions get out of control, he is going to lose because Minka WILL take advantage of his emotions should she get a chance.
SANCTION: This, folks, could be one for the ages!
DING DING DING
As soon as the bell rings, Minka screams “DEMON” and charges right at AJ straight from her corner, but her adversary trips her up with a drop toe hold sending her right into the mat and then he applies a Muta lock! Minka is stunned, being caught in a predicament so quickly, but she’s close enough to the ropes to grab the bottom one almost instantly. AJ however, isn’t breaking the hold right away. As a result, the referee begins a five count…
AJ breaks up the Muta lock and grabs Minka by the ankles, dragging her to the center of the ring. He stomps her in the spine, prompting her to grunt and then he bends down over her, grabbing her by the waist, then lifting her up off the mat and tossing her over his head with a release German suplex that brings the cheers out of the crowd. Minka lands spine first near a corner and AJ turns around, showing a look of vicious anger on his face that tells the audience just exactly how long he’s been waiting to get his hands on Minka. Minka uses her hands to crawl backward near the corner, lying on it, but this proves to be a mistake as AJ charges at her and delivers a running shin kick to the head, causing Minka to fall off to the side. The groggy “Cleopatra” then does the seemingly wise thing of rolling out of the ring, but AJ isn’t happy about this as he leaves the ring. Minka falls on the floor and gets to a crawling position, but AJ comes in from behind again and smashes Minka’s head against the steel steps. After that, he smirks with evil intentions in mind and throws her head first into the steps, causing the top one to fall off.
SANCTION: WOW! AJ is coming right out of the gate completely on fire! He is not holding back at all here in the early going!
STEEL: I'm not sure this is wise, but I can't say I blame him for wanting to end this as quick as he can!
Back in the ring, the referee had already started a ten count…
Minka lies down on the bottom half of the steps and AJ steps back. He raises his arm to draw a reaction from the crowd!
CROWD: AJ! AJ! AJ! AJ!
[AJ runs toward Minka, leaping in the air and landing a double mushroom stomp driving Minka into the bottom half of the steel steps.
Ignoring the count, AJ remains focused as he drags Minka up to her feet and tosses her back in the ring. The “Revolution” doesn’t waste much time rolling back into the ring himself before clamping Minka’s arms and pulling her up into the air, clasping her with a double chickenwing. Minka screams in pain, which brings a smirk of enjoyment to AJ’s face.
AJ: Keep screaming! Keep screaming!
STEEL: Wow... AJ REALLY wants to make her suffer...
Referee: Do you give up?
Minka says “no” and AJ smirks even wider as he violently tosses Minka down to the mat, essentially nailing a reverse double underhook facebuster! AJ confidently drops down and turns Minka over for the first cover of the match.
Referee: ONE…… TWO…….
Minka rolls out the shoulder, saving herself for now. AJ meanwhile, remains confident as he walks to a corner. He points to the sky and he climbs to the top while Minka looks like she’s dazed. AJ turns around and the fans are roaring, knowing what’s coming. He leaps off of the top rope and attempts a moonsault, however Minka rolls out of the way and AJ suffers a crash landing on the mat, quieting the crowd.
SANCTION: OUCH! AJ really wanted to punish her there, but it turns out that Minka was just a little too quick!
STEEL: Minka took the crowd out of it just by dodging the moonsault. This is exactly what I mean, Mark. AJ is too emotional for his own good right now.
Minka though, is worse for wear herself after taking such punishment early on. The referee is in the middle of his ten count as both wrestlers are down on the mat. AJ gets to his feet first as Minka is on her knees trying to catch her breath. The referee is still counting Minka down but AJ doesn’t have any of it as he goes right after Minka, but his adversary telegraphs him with an elbow to the gut causing him to stagger. Minka follows up with an uppercut to the jaw, sending AJ staggering and turning the other direction. She then lets out a hiss, indicating that she’s about to get down to business herself as she stands on her feet. AJ turns back around and she slides in, decking him in the jaw with two more uppercuts before she knees him in the gut, grabs him and whips him across the ring. AJ bounces off the ropes, turning and coming back to her and she charges at him but he catches her and flips her over, countering with a back body drop. Minka, however, hands on her feet behind AJ and he instantly turns around, realizing this. AJ doesn’t have time to react as Minka knees him in the gut, causing him to double over, before grabbing his head and bringing him down with a cutter! She has a sick smirk on her face as she flips him over and pins his shoulders, finally having her first cover.
AJ kicks out!
SANCTION: After AJ's early flurry, Minka is slowly easing her way back into this match!
Minka narrows her eyes and lowers her eyebrows, feeling that hatred and disdain for AJ in that cold, black heart of hers before turning him back over and applying a camel clutch! The crowd immediately gets behind him!
CROWD: AJ! AJ! AJ! AJ! AJ! AJ!
SANCTION: Loving this crowd right now, firmly behind AJ!
CROWD: TAKE YOUR MEDS! TAKE YOUR MEDS! TAKE YOUR MEDS!
STEEL: ...well that's just savage... and likely the worst thing to chant at someone like Minka!
The crowd’s taunting only serves to make Minka angrier as she pulls back on the agonized AJ’s jaw even more. However, AJ frees his arms causing him to push up off the mat. Minka’s eyes widen in terror as she realizes she’s in danger. He gets to his knees, and eventually stands with Minka hanging off his back. AJ smiles through this small bout of suffocation, planning on falling backward, but Minka lets go, slipping behind him. Before AJ can react, she drives his knees into his spine, nailing him with a double knee backbreaker. AJ writes on the ground, holding his spine in agony as Minka laughs at him. She then walks over to her face down opponent as he holds his lower back, the grabs his wrists, pulling his upper body off the mat while she puts a boot in his lower back, causing him to scream.
SANCTION: This is looking quite bad for the Revolution!
Minka: QUIT!!! COME ON! QUIT!!!!!
Referee: AJ, are you giving up?
Crowd: Let’s go AJ!!!! Let’s go AJ!!!
Minka: LET’S GO AJ! QUIT!!!! NOW!!!!!
STEEL: Minka's just trying to toy with him now!
Minka grunts with anger as she removes her boot from his spine only to take that same boot and drive it into the back of his head. AJ’s face bounces off of the mat before he is completely face down.
SANCTION: OUCH! What a vicious stomp right to the back of the head.
His opponent shows no care for his safety, scoffing as she drops down to turn him over and hook the leg.
STEEL: That will take anyone out!
The crowd cheers as AJ kicks out again, much to the chagrin Minka is showing on her face with rolling her eyes in the vile fashion that she did. She remains focused though, flipping AJ down once again then clamping in a Texas Cloverleaf that has AJ yelling out in pain again. Minka smiles and cackles, loving the pure torture that she’s inflicting upon him. AJ takes a deep breath, the strain on his face completely visible, as he starts to crawl his way toward the bottom rope. AJ is ignoring Minka’s calls for him to tap as he shows the will of a warrior, shaking his head furiously as he gets closer to the ropes. The front row of the crowd slaps the barricade while the remainder of the crowd claps and chants, willing AJ on and it’s this support as well as this willpower on AJ’s part that allows him to make it to the bottom rope, grabbing it. Minka screams “NO” in disbelief and she refuses to let go.
Minka reluctantly lets go and she steps back, giving AJ a vicious killer type of gaze as he slowly but surely uses the ropes to pull himself up. He leans on the ropes then turns around, playing right into Minka’s desires as she was already coming at him. She nails him with a running dropkick sending him over the top rope and onto the floor. AJ lands on his tailbone on the outside while Minka grabs the top rope, using it to slingshot herself onto the rope as soon as AJ gets back to a vertical base, then from there she springboards off it, flipping in the air trying to take him down with a flipping senton. However, AJ catches her in midair, turning her around and powerbombing her right into the floor. The crowd loses their minds, almost instantly beginning a “holy shit” chant.
SANCTION: WHAT A COUNTER BY AJ!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! He caught her in mid air and may have just put out the lights!
STEEL: That's an illustration of how much these two hate each other! Minka really wanted to step her game up a notch, but it wound up backfiring!
He smirks, wasting no time tossing her back into the ring. AJ slides under the bottom rope as Minka remains face down and motionless. He takes the opportunity to turn her over and hook the leg.
Minka manages to kick out!
STEEL: I am surprised Minka managed to kick out...
SANCTION: I'm surprised she's not unconscious.
STEEL: AJ probably WISHES she was however...
AJ lies down, obviously worn out from the way Minka has punished him so far during this match. But then, to the delight of the crowd, he kips up, drawing a nice pop from them. Minka turns around and is crawling toward the corner, drawing amusement from AJ. AJ merely toys with her by allowing her to get to the corner. Minka turns around as she sits on the corner to catch her breath, but realizes that AJ has her cornered as he approaches her. Minka stands up and lays in the corner, trying to beg him off.
SANCTION: Oh come on!!!! Minka's made her bed, now she's trying to get out of lying on it!
AJ smirks, not buying it. Desperate to escape her predicament, Minka gets on her knees and begs him not to hurt her, but AJ rolls his eyes, grabbing Minka by the hair, pinning her against the corner, and delivering a flurry of right hands much to the excitement and joy of the audience. Once Minka is stymied enough, AJ grabs her and places her on the top rope. Knowing his opponent is lost, dazed and confused, he climbs up to the second rope, grabs Minka around the waist, then climbs to the top rope himself! Much of the crowd is rising with anticipation, unaware of what AJ is about to do. He jumps off the top rope, turning in mid air, crashing right on top of Minka in the center of the mat and enabling an even louder “Holy shit” chant to come out of the crowd after they witnessed what could be described as a belly to belly spinning superplex from the top rope!
STEEL: HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!!!! I have NEVER seen a move like that before! I think AJ just basically killed her!
SANCTION: That's probably his intent, Matt! Minka tried begging him off, it didn't work, and now she suffered a heavy price for it!
STEEL: Let's call it a night folks...
AJ stays right on her as the referee drops down to make the count.
Much of the crowd gasps in shock as Minka somehow kicks out. AJ sits up in disbelief, shocked at this.
SANCTION: What in the hell is it going to take for AJ to put Minka away?
STEEL: At this point, I really don't know. AJ really pulled an innovative move there, but credit Minka for kicking out and staying in it.
He takes a deep breath to regain his focus as he takes some time and some breath to stand on his feet. He takes a second to gesture to the crowd by pointing to the ceiling, and the fans respond to this gesture by cheering, knowing that AJ is planning on finishing things up right now. Minka is hardly moving as AJ decides to go to the top rope. He patiently waits for her to rise to her feet and the very moment that she does and turns to face him, he leaps off the top, going for the Kliq Kliq Boom, but Minka sees the Avalanche spinning heel kick coming and dives out of the way, causing AJ to crash land right on his leg.
SANCTION: Oh no... oh no no no...
STEEL: Bad move AJ... BAD MOVE! I understand the logic, he had just maimed her with that spinning superplex, but now Minka has a target.
AJ writhes in pain and he almost immediately grabs his right knee. Minka smirks, having a target to take advantage of as she slithers out of the ring, rolling under the bottom rope. Walking around to the side AJ is closest to, Minka reaches inside of the ring, grabbing his shin and wrist and pulling them right near the ringpost.
Minka: How are you gonna bed Emery with one leg, huh?
SANCTION: Now that's not necessary...
Minka grabs his right leg, jamming his injured knee into the post.
Minka: You like that?
Minka jams his knee into the ringpost again.
Minka: YOU LIKE THAT?!?!?!?!
STEEL: Here comes ALL the aggression from Minka now...
Minka does it again, doing everything she can to split AJ’s kneecap in two.
Minka: EMERY LOVES THAT!
AJ is really screaming in pain after taking a ringpost to the knee for a fourth time.
STEEL: It's becoming obvious that Minka not only wants to physically torture him, he wants to PSYCHOLOGICALLY torture him too!
SANCTION: But this carries a dangerous risk, one that I think Minka is underestimating.
STEEL: You can't argue with her streak of dominance right now, however!
Minka cackles with confidence as she rolls back in the ring. Looking like a snake ready to strike, she patiently wants for AJ, who rolls away from the corner, holding his right knee. AJ keeps saying “fuck” to himself as he begins to crawl in Minka’s direction while he still holds his knee. Minka crouches, having something in mind. She allows AJ to stand on one leg before she walks up toward him, grabs his right leg, and twists it into a legdrag taking AJ down to the mat and causing him to scream in pain as more torque and torture to the knee was added. Minka takes this opportunity to apply a figure four leglock, REALLY putting AJ in an anguishing predicament!
SANCTION: Figure four leglock and the way Minka made it happen, oh god....
STEEL: AJ's going to have a torn ACL by the time this thing's over...
AJ: Fuck… FUCK….
Minka: You won’t do that again after tonight… HAHAHAHAHA!
SANCTION: AGAIN... Minka trying to get in his head...
AJ slams his fist into the mat in frustration as the referee asks him if he’s going to give up. AJ says “hell no” before yelling again.
Minka: Tap you son of a bitch! TAP!
STEEL: Minka is loving every second of this torture that she is inflicting right now!
AJ lets out an angry grunt, trying to fight through the pain as he claws and drags his way toward the bottom rope. AJ eventually collapses to the mat about three quarters of the way there, which allowed his shoulders to fall to the mat. Instinctively, the referee drops down to make the count.
AJ lifts his right shoulder up to keep himself in it. Using his elbows to pop himself up, the crowd claps, stomps and cheers for him as he makes one last desperate drag toward the bottom rope. With one last lunge, he grabs the bottom rope and the roar of the crowd in response is almost deafening. Minka just laughs as she lets go of the hold and slithers her way up back to a vertical base. Using the ropes, AJ begins to pull himself up, but he’s being taunted along the way.
Minka: Come on AJ!!!! Emery believes in you!
AJ reacts with a scowl as he drags himself halfway up to a vertical base, clearly still favoring his right knee.
Minka: You don’t want to let down your precious do you? Imagine if you do…
Starting to get peeved by Minka’s taunting, AJ holds onto the ropes with a tighter grip as he continues to pull himself up.
Minka: She’ll cast you aside. You know why? Because she’s a DEMON… and that’s what DEMONS DO!
AJ is at a vertical base and he bolts for her despite his injured knee. But Minka leaps in the air and nails him right in the jaw with a shining wizard causing him to fall limp and face down on the mat!
STEEL: Oh son of a...
SANCTION: Minka completely goaded AJ into making a mistake...
STEEL: She's turning his emotions on him!
Cackling once again, Minka turns over AJ and hooks the leg for the cover.
The crowd goes berzerk at the sight of AJ kicking out again. Minka, having a bunch of confidence, smirks and doesn’t mind, feeling like she’s got the match in hand anyway. Her next move is to clasp on a rearnaked choke on AJ and now it’s clear that she is trying to suffocate him. Minka chuckles as she hopes to strangle the life out of AJ. AJ’s arms flail helplessly as he tries to escape. While he struggles with the move, Minka continues to use Emery Layton as a taunting decide, goading him to “do it for Emery” but this only serves to fuel him as he begins to elbow her in the ribs. Minka grunts with anger with every elbow shot she takes to the ribs and she breaks the hold with anger and reluctance as she stands up again. Minka is the one going to the top now as AJ is very slow to even move at the moment. She patiently waits for AJ to stand up and he’s still favoring his knee when he does. Minka screams “DIE DEMON” before she leaps off of the top rope and brings down AJ with a cross body. The momentum carries her into another pinfall attempt.
Referee: 1….. 2……….
AJ kicks out again and now Minka is beginning to lose her cool.
Minka: JUST DIE ALREADY!
STEEL: Minka has been doing a hell of a job dominating this stretch, but as we've seen from her before, once she loses her cool...
Minka goes back to the corner, getting herself up to the top rope again. She doesn’t wait for him to stand this time. She’s right on it, leaping and attempting a shooting star press…. BLOCKED!!!!!
SANCTION: ...yep! Just like that!
STEEL: That's exactly what happens! She turns into Minka "Rookie Mistakes" Carter all over again!
SANCTION: But AJ is worse for wear right now also...
The crowd comes alive as AJ raises his knees to block the move, but this comes at a heavy price as AJ is writhing in pain himself, holding onto the right knee. Minka writhes on the ground, holding onto her ribs and both wrestlers find themselves down on the mat again. The referee starts his 10 count.
Both wrestlers are on their knees.
AJ and Minka are now standing, each favoring something: AJ his right knee and Minka her ribs. Minka expresses a scowl and she runs at him with a clothesline but AJ pulls a Matrix escape, forcing Minka to completely miss her mark. She turns around and AJ is right there waiting for her. AJ floors her with the Golden Goal right to the head! He wastes no time dropping down and going for the cover.
The crowd groans in disappointment as Minka kicked out, but AJ is smirking with confidence now knowing that this is only the beginning of his big rally.
SANCTION: Big kickout there from Minka...
STEEL: But look at AJ! He knows he's about to get on a roll, one that could be Minka's demise!
AJ drags Minka up to her feet and really begins punishing her, first by grabbing her, lifting her up and bringing her back down to the mat with a vertical suplex! Minka holds her back as she groans in pain. She’s able to stand after a few moments, but she doesn’t stay standing for long as AJ walks up to her and delivers a few knife-edge chops before he lifts up his staggering opponent and drops her with a spinebuster! The AJ chants are officially back in full force at this point and they are louder than ever as AJ makes the cover again.
Unfortunately for AJ, Minka kicked out again! But, AJ is maintaining his confidence. He patiently waits for Minka to rise and once she does, AJ is right there waiting for her with a 94 Blitz! He doesn’t cover and AJ once again kips up, the adrenaline from his rushing rally apparently preventing him from experiencing pain in the right knee. He plays to the crowd, driving a fist into his palm and the fans erupt from their seats knowing exactly what is coming next! AJ smirks with total confidence as Minka begins to slowly stagger to her feet. She does and AJ goes for the Liberator but in desperation, Minka pulls the referee right in front of her and he takes the brunt instead.
SANCTION: DAMN IT! I thought AJ was going to finish her off right there but one last desperate move...
In this last second move, Minka’s momentum causes her to collapse to the mat but AJ isn’t having it as he pounces on her and starts pummeling away at her.
STEEL: Oh man, AJ has lost it!
AJ though, pauses when he realizes that Minka isn’t screaming, she’s laughing… as if she’s ENJOYING this beating.
SANCTION: What? IS... is she LOVING this beating she's getting?
STEEL: She's a freak... what else is there to say?
AJ then becomes furious, feeling like Minka’s just toying with him and he’s had enough. He rolls out of the ring and he walks toward the timekeeper, chasing him away in anger and grabbing a steel chair. He raises the chair to draw a pop from the crowd as they are urging him to give Minka a taste of her own medicine. His smirk grows wider when he sees that Minka has dragged herself out of the ring with help from the ring apron.
SANCTION: Uh oh... AJ is looking like he wants to end Minka in a really serious way!
STEEL: He wants to shatter her career!
SANCTION: I can understand his point of view, but there's no need for him to stoop to her level.
STEEL: I think that's a plea that's going to fall on deaf ears! AJ is determined to destroy her!
Slowly standing up, AJ cautiously approaches her as she lays her eyes on him, laughing at the sight of the chair.
Minka: Hit me….
AJ’s eyes widen in surprise.
Minka: HIT ME DEMON!
AJ grips the chair tighter.
Minka: Would Emery approve of this?
HIs eyes narrow in anger.
Minka: Hit me and prove me right!!! Do it…. DO IT!!!
Minka’s mind games take form again as AJ has a bit of a struggle with his conscience as to whether giving her a taste of her own medicine is really the right thing.
STEEL: More mind games! AJ is questioning himself!
SANCTION: Don't do it AJ! You don't need to stoop to her level! You can win this the honorable way!
He decides to ultimately lunge at her with the chair, but Minka ducks and the chair hits the ring apron.
STEEL: As far as honor is concerned, AJ is throwing that out the window as far as Minka goes...
Minka scurries under the ring while the referee begins to stir inside.
SANCTION: Minka hiding under the ring...
He puts down the chair and rolls back into the ring, wisely standing in the middle to get Minka wherever she crawls out of. Unknown to him though, Minka has crawled out of the very same side of the ring that she crawled into, but she’s not alone. She’s holding a jar filled with a mysterious liquid.
SANCTION: Wait, there's Minka, right behind AJ! She outsmarted him! And she has a jar of... I don't know what that is...
STEEL: From here, it looks like some strangely discolored water... but I don't think it's water...
Minka slides in from behind AJ unaware of her presence. She cunningly opens the jar and tosses the cap aside.
AJ turns around and Minka splashes this liquid right in the eyes, causing him to immediately scream in pain. He stumbles around the ring, potentially blinded.
SANCTION: AJ JUST GOT BLINDED BY THE LIQUID!!! NO!!!!!
STEEL: That's definitely not water... I think Minka just blinded him with SNAKE VENOM!
Minka notices the referee is starting to stand, but is facing the other way, so she stymies AJ further by throwing the glass jar at his spine, the jar shattering on impact. This leaves AJ stunned for Minka to slither in and deliver the Snake Strike. The jumping corkscrew roundhouse kick nails AJ right in the jaw and he falls to the mat in a heap! The referee turns around, clearly having missed what just happened. Minka turns over AJ and hooks the leg and all the referee can do is see the cover and drop down to make the count.
SANCTION: NO!!!!! NO!!!! Not this way.... NOT THIS WAY!!!!
SANCTION: DAMN IT!!!!
DING DING DING!
HANA: The winner of this match… MINKA CARTER!
Minka rolls off of AJ and stands up, cackling and instantly reveling in the fact that she just slayed one of her biggest demons!
SANCTION: This is PATHETIC! Minka was driven to the point of desperation and as a result, she blinded AJ with snake venom and STOLE ONE! This is CRIMINAL!
STEEL: What did I say at the start? If AJ let his emotions get the better of him, Minka was going to take advantage and win the match and that's exactly what happened!
SANCTION: How can you condone what Minka just pulled?
STEEL: I'm not condoning it! I'm just emphasizing my analysis.
Minka crouches down and taunts AJ, saying the words "BURIED THE DEMON" at him before she slides out of the ring and starts taunting the audience. Medical officials immediately run down the ramp and into the ring to check on AJ.
SANCTION: Hopefully AJ turns out alright from this, at this point, that's what we should be worrying about. If that was really snake venom... the consequences could be serious!
STEEL: It's a damn shame that a hard fought, incredible match had to end like that though.
SANCTION: I completely agree! Disgusting! We'll be back from more right after this...
Minka is halfway up the ramp, continuing to taunt AJ as medical officials continue to attend to him to make sure he's alright.
We return from the break on a sweeping wide shot of the arena, panning to emphasize the massive crowd as the District 9 theme plays. After that, we cut to Matt and Mark at the commentators’ desk.
Man...we’ve had an incredible night at District XWA so far, haven’t we?
You don’t have to tell me twice, Mark! Jeannie Rose and the Jester set just the right tone with their opening matchup, and then that Layton & Fenric Invitational blew the roof off the place. I don’t care who you were rooting for, if you saw even thirty seconds of that match, you cannot deny that was some of the most compelling 4-way tag team wrestling you’ll ever see.
Absolutely. But now, our attention turns to possibly the most anticipated matchup of the night, maybe even the year.
A.J. Morales. Minka Carter. I wanna see it, you wanna see it, Smith Jones wants to see it...at this point, I don’t think there’s a soul on this earth that doesn’t wanna see these two go at it in an XWA ring. And tonight, it’s finally happening!
The night Minka returned from injury and revealed her aggressive new edge on XWA Massacre in May, A.J. was one of the first people to call her out. Their war of words has raged on Twitter ever since, especially as Minka took the Survivors’ side against him, but this matchup has hung over both of their heads since before the Lord of the Ring tournament.
These two agreed to duke it out in an XWA ring all the way back in Tokyo, and now, finally, we get two of this year’s biggest breakout talents going head-to-head. Seriously, if you aren’t excited for this, you need to check your pulse and make sure you’re alive.
The hook of “Getting Away with Murder" by Papa Roach blares over the venue’s soundwaves. Minka Carter appears on the stage to a strong, negative reaction from the opposing crowds.
The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first...representing the Survivors, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, weighing in at 130 pounds...she is the self-proclaimed Cleopatra of the XWA...Minka! Caaaaarterrrrrrrrr!
The last time we saw Minka Carter in action, she had an absolutely brutal war with Emery Layton, serving as maybe the most dangerous obstacle in Layton’s path to becoming Lord of the Ring. Now that Minka’s stepping into the ring with perhaps the only person she hates as viscerally as Emery, how do you think that’ll factor into things?
I think Minka has a lot of factors in her favor for this matchup, and her rivalries with Emery and A.J. might be the biggest of all. She’s motivated, she’s well-rested, and she’s long since proven she can give big names around here like Emery, like Chris Novak, a run for their money. And keep in mind, she’s ranked above A.J. in the official XWA Top Ten contendership rankings. She’s at #4. He’s only at #6. There’s a reason she’s the only one on the official poster for District XWA. This is her moment, this is her night, and no one in the XWA can take tonight away from her.
Minka takes in some of the cold reception she's getting, smirking and laughing for a bit before making her way down to the ring feeling confident and determined while ignoring the fans on her way to the ring. She heads into the ring and takes a glare at the referee in the ring, before crouching in the corner and waiting for what comes next.
After a brief rising tide of white noise, the opening riff to "Revolution/Revolución" by Ill Niño hits the PA. The lighting near the entrance turns gold, vapor starts hissing out of the fog machines, and a highlight reel of clips from A.J. Morales's past matches starts to play. But A.J. himself doesn’t emerge, nor does his manager, Amy Taylor.
And that’s the cue for the Revolution, but where is he?
Wherever he is, he better get out here quick. This crowd’ll turn ugly in a hurry if they don’t get what they want. I mean, they’re already pretty ugly, but--
Can you not?
Suddenly, two ambient, wipe-like sounds hit the airwaves. The crowd comes unglued with cheers, and Minka snaps to attention, a look of complete shock on her face.
Nah, I’ll--wait, what the hell?
What the fuck is going on here?
As the lights go down, only one name can be seen fading from nothing onto the big XtremeTron:
Oh my God!
You gotta be kidding me!
As "Somewhere Else to Be" by VAST hits the PA system and light explodes to life, the excitement hits the air. The Revolution himself, a new silver-and-black title belt around his waist, wearing a variation of his usual attire with both the tape-and-crossbones on the back of his leather jacket and the red stars all over his attire replaced by the logo of the long-defunct San Francisco Demons and a burning skull where the Green Lantern symbol on the ring knuckle of his right hand’s glove would normally be, emerges from behind the curtain, laughing his head off as Amy Taylor follows close behind.
A.J. Morales is barely through the curtain and he’s already engaging in full-on psychological warfare!
I can’t tell if this is the smartest thing he’s ever done or the stupidest!
A.J. holds his arms out for high-fives from the fans as he struts down the ramp, swaying his head to the beat of the music, his eyes closed. He’s lost in the moment, and there’s nowhere else he’d rather be.
And her opponent...representing Taylor Promotions, from San Francisco, California, weighing in at 187 pounds...he is the BGDF Yin Yang Champions...The Revolution! A! J! Moooooooraleeeeeees!
A.J. may not have won our Hardcore Championship at Fool’s Gold in Manchester--in fact, he’s made it clear he finds the way Kryptops retained that title insultingly cheap--but he’s been on a whirlwind run of success over at Budokan Gaijin Dream Fight, where, by the end of this month, he might be holding both halves of a tag team championship and another singles belt all by himself. And looking at what he’s doing right now, I think it’s the biggest confidence boost he could have asked for.
Confidence? You’re putting this way too politely, Mark. It takes some major arrogance to come out here against someone like Minka Carter, who you know flies off the handle at the slightest insult, whose official induction as a Survivor you and your friends rudely interrupted and turned into a brawl, and deliberately push all her buttons by reminding her you’re dating her arch-enemy and invoking all this “demons” stuff she’s been going on about. I understand trying to get someone mad enough to make mistakes, but if it doesn’t get far enough, this is just gonna get A.J. killed.
Sure enough, as A.J. stops to take his jacket off and hand it to Amy, who puts it on over the coat of her pantsuit, we see Minka, absolutely livid, shaking with rage in her corner. She drops to the canvas, rolls out under the bottom rope, and takes off at a full sprint towards the entrance ramp.
Well, if nothing else, it’s gonna start the fight a little ahead of the match!
A.J. sees Minka coming with just enough warning to ready himself. As soon as they’re within range of each other, the two rivals grab each other with one hand, he by the officially-licensed “No Demons” shirt she’s wearing over her usual ring gear, she by his usual sleeveless white T-shirt, and start throwing punches with their respective free hands. The crowd, of course, laps it up.
Who needs the bell? Hell, who needs the ring? Just let these two go at it!
There’s an uncanny synchronicity in the way the blows land at the same time. It’s in the way they throw their whole selves into every punch, stomping with one foot on every swing and practically headbanging into the hits they take. It’s in the looks of bloodlust on their faces, practically mirror images. It’s as though the universe itself is anointing this matchup, blessing it as something that needed to be.
And for all their talk of demons, these two are looking like fighters possessed!
I can’t even tell who’s gonna get the upper hand!
A.J. finally creates some separation when he lets go of Minka’s shirt and shoves her towards the apron, giving him enough space to take off his championship belt and start his approach.
It could be A.J. if he gets to shove his accomplishments in Minka’s face!
Oh, come on, are we really gonna spoil this with belt shots this early?
Hey, the bell hasn’t rung yet! If Minka gets hit with the Yin Yang Championship before this technically begins, it’s totally legal!
I know, but...still! He should fight fairer than that if he’s so morally superior to the Survivors.
Holding the belt in both hands by the top and bottom of its front plate, A.J. sends an attempted bash at Minka’s face, which she dodges by leaning to the right. He tries again, aiming for where she dodged to, only for her to start backpedalling away.
Carter able to dodge so far…
Minka keeps going until she gets out of range, at which point A.J. decides to just toss the belt over the top rope to the referee, who catches it and goes to set it aside. But when the Revolution turns back to his opponent, Minka’s not only closing in on him again, she’s already too close to counter, and he catches the full force of her heel on the center of his ribcage, knocking him over as she falls to the padded floor.
And a spinning heel kick!
This is exactly why I was skeptical about that entrance! You let that pressure up, you give her time to think, and she’ll make you pay!
Minka rebounds quickly, and she wastes no time forcing the Monterrockstar to his feet, dragging him up by the forearm.
I gotta give her credit, she saw that window of opportunity and dove right through it. Now it’s a matter of gaining and maintaining control...
Carter strafes around Morales as she steps back, jerking his arm to full extension before whipping him towards her as she sidesteps. With no control over his own momentum, all A.J. can do is get his arms up, just barely managing to shield himself from a face-first collision with the ring post, even as he slams into it with a loud THUNK!
She got it!
As the post briefly hums in vibration, A.J. spills into the side of the metal steps nearby, knocking them over and leaving him sprawled on top of the lower half, while the other hits the barricade and ends up leaning on it.
Irish whip into the post and the steps, and that is a lot more metal than you want to collide with, I’ll tell you that much.
The one upside I can find is that the longer a fight goes, the harder it is to take shots like that and keep going. If A.J.’s lucky, that’ll be the worst thing he crashes into tonight and everything else will just be the empress subjugating him.
As the crowd boos, Minka struts to, and then over, her opponent, making sure to stomp on A.J.’s ribs with one foot and keep it there as she springs off with the other to bring it over him.
The problem there, though, is that Minka gets more aggressive the more defenseless you become. And she absolutely will not stop until she feels like she’s proven her point. Like, if she killed you in the ring and she didn’t think she was done yet, she’d show up at your funeral, take the lid off your casket, and beat you with it until she was finally satisfied. That’s the kind of person Minka Carter is, and I love her all the more for it.
That’s a, uh...very specific picture you’ve painted there.
Well, shit, why’d you think they put me on commentary in the first place?
Minka finally comes down with both feet, a cruel smile on her face as the audience heckles her from right up close, one of them even trying to scream in her ear. She pulls A.J. off the steps, digging her fingers deep into his signature two-color hair and dragging him along until he’s where he wants her, about a quarter of the way from the post she threw him into and the one at the other end of the side of the ring farthest from the hardcam.
Sanction: Anyway, it looks like we’ll be taking this into the ring shortly enough, as Minka literally drags A.J. Morales by his hair along the ringside area.
Good for her! She knows this has to go in the record books if she wants it to mean anything. I say let her have it. And the more she keeps her head in the game, the less room there is for A.J. to piss her off.
Sure enough, Minka lifts A.J. up and slots him into the space under the bottom rope before jamming him into the ring like a coin that refuses to cooperate and just get in the vending machine. He rolls away, towards the center of the ring, finally getting a chance to recover from the assault he was just under.
The question now, though, is whether the referee will even want to start this without giving A.J. a chance to recover.
Hey, he asked for this to get aggressive quicker than normal. If he didn’t want it to spiral out of his control like this, he should have just walked out normally instead of trying to get cheeky with it.
Minka, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to show off, holding onto the top rope and leaning back until she goes practically horizontal on the middle rope before sliding effortlessly over it and into the ring. Once she plants her feet, she takes off her T-shirt, and a lone fan in the front row works up the courage to shout“I love you, Minka!”, but she looks right at him and hisses angrily before setting the shirt aside by her corner.
For all her talk about how the fans should “worship her” instead of cheering her enemies, she sure isn’t very receptive to the few followers she does attract.
I don’t blame her. The fans are great for lining your pockets before and after the match, but during it, all they are is a distraction.
And you ask why people can’t stand you...
Minka then goes to the referee, kneeling down to check in on A.J., and yanks him away.
“Ring the bell!”she demands. The mics don’t quite pick up what the ref says, but whatever resistance he puts up, she interrupts.“I don’t care, you minion imbecile! Ring the bell!”
Realizing there’s no point to denying her request any longer, he backs off and starts pointing to the timekeeper.
-DING DING DING!-
Without even acknowledging the ref, Minka goes right to work on A.J. She takes him by both his upper arms, forcing him into a tie-up long before he’s reached his feet. As Minka pulls him up, she brings one arm over his head, turning him around until he’s facing away from her.
She’s taking full advantage here! She’s got the upper hand, and she won’t let it go to waste!
After a quick adjustment to uncross her arms again, Minka reapplies the grip, then starts kicking at the back of one of his calves. A.J. manages to keep his foot planted and his balance intact after the first two, but the third one is too destabilizing, and he drops to one knee.
She’s working a little close for comfort, but it might turn into something...
As A.J. drops, Minka lets his arms go with him as she moves diagonally to get to his side. Then, she bounds over him, snagging his neck at the apex of her jump and taking him down facefirst to the canvas with her.
...and a vicious float-over DDT!
She turns him over and goes for the cover…
A.J. kicks out.
What a phenomenal way for Minka to gain control. Whatever intimidation factor went into that entrance, it is gone now. She ignored the calm and went straight to the storm, and now she’s raging every bit as hard as she needs to.
Undeterred, Minka stays low, reaching out to get a vice grip on his neck. But A.J. gets his hands up, pushing her reaching arms away before backhanding her across the face, more a product of struggling for space than intentional insult.
Morales, though, still nowhere near out of gas...
Both competitors make the climb to their feet, but now it’s A.J. who makes it there first, and he’s more than ready to bring some payback. With a kick to the thigh, he throws off Carter’s timing and staggers her just that extra half-second he needs to gain control.
Adopting a Muay Thai stance, Morales jumps on his opening. He throws a straight punch to the head right before Minka can fully orient herself, sending her back a half-step.
Matt, what were you saying about control?
A.J. stays on her, sending another shoot kick and catching her just above her right hip.
Give her time, she’ll find a way.
After another Carter stagger, this time to the left, A.J. takes more of a boxing form and starts an assault of body blows, each one angled slightly up and lands on the ribs.
Not yet, though! Great combo by A.J.!
Individually, those might not do much, but when you have the speed and the timing on lock like he does, you can make magic happen.
Finally, Minka manages to half-step, half-stumble out of range, and she makes a wild swing with her right arm.
He’s definitely learned from his experience with Cassius Reed--
A.J. effortlessly drops to a crouch underneath the attack, then pops back up and strikes right upside the mad queen’s royal jaw with enough force that she flies a few inches into the air before coming back down to the canvas back-first.
And an outstanding uppercut to finish it off!
OK, that looked like something out of Mortal Kombat right there.
A.J. doesn’t waste a second going for the cover.
With all her opponent’s focus on hooking the leg, Minka easily gets a shoulder up.
Carter, though, gets out at one.
No surprises there. Minka’s too tough to go down so early off of bread-and-butter strikes like that.
A.J. gets up and turns to the crowd, spreading his arms wide as they cheer him.
But Morales has a lot more wind in his sails now, that’s for sure.
He turns back to Minka, who’s still face-up on the mat, and leans over her.
“Ain’t no conspiracies here!”A.J.’s tone is unmistakable. He’s treating this like a game, and like any good game, he’s bringing the trash talk.“Can’t blame demons for this one, ki--OOF!”
With no warning, Minka kicks straight up into the air, as if her leg is moving of its own volition, and hits A.J. square in the chest, cutting off not just his words, but his momentum.
What’d I tell you? Confidence helps. Arrogance doesn’t. A.J. Morales is good, no doubt, but he better learn to dial it back quick if he wants to stay in this one.
Minka pops up again, this time bringing her whole body into it, cooling and contorting in midair to get herself upside-down for a kick to the side of A.J.’s head.
And now Minka with an enziguri!
Right out of A.J.’s playbook! I love it!
As he staggers off to the side, a hand cupped over his ear, Minka rises, her head tilted forward as she looks right at him with a smile of devilish intent. For a moment, all she does is stare, assessing his position.
Not a good moment for A.J. Morales here.
He must feel like he’s in Fight Club. You know, that one scene where--
Dammit, Matt, don’t you know the rules?
When she finally moves again, Minka goes for the set of ropes directly behind A.J. She slides between the middle and top ropes again and starts walking along the apron until she finds the right spot.
Of course I know the rules! Mark, this is the top flight of pro wrestling, they aren’t gonna look for guys to do commentary and hire some scrub who doesn’t know the rules!
Once she’s got it, she vaults herself up to the top rope and launches into the air.
Not those kinda ru—hold up, we might have some air traffic inbound!
By the time A.J. turns around, it’s too late. Minka’s already coming down on him, hissing without realizing, her right arm leading the charge, too fast for him to stop.
As she lands the clothesline and they both fall to the ground, she wraps her arm around his throat and holds it there, even after they’ve landed and the ref tries to count the pin.
With her forearm under the back of his neck, A.J. easily gets his shoulders off the mat. But Minka only tightens her grip further, bringing her other arm over and forming a more recognizable, not to mention effective, hold.
First a springboard clothesline, and now she’s got him in the triangle choke!
A.J., recognizing his predicament, immediately starts trying to punch and roll his way out of it. Minka, meanwhile, moves with him, never quite locking it in all the way, but never quite losing him either.
High flying, mat wrestling, submission holds...there is nothing in that ring that Minka Carter can’t do. Deny it all you want, but this is a once-in-a-generation talent.
As the combatants continue to writhe and react to each other, the referee stays low, moving to start a three-count whenever someone’s shoulders are down long enough, but every time, the two move before he can even start to bring his hand down.
And just look at the struggle! Look at the passion! This is what the XWA is all about!
Even the ground game is exciting around here! How does anybody ever watch anything else?
Finally, the back-and-forth carries the wrestlers so far to one side that A.J. is able to catch the bottom rope with one foot.
And Morales gets the rope break!
The referee starts yelling for Minka to let go, but she refuses, pulling the hold even tighter as A.J., understandably, continues to struggle to get out.
But what tenacity from Minka Carter there!
Finally, Minka lets go just in time to avoid a DQ, but A.J. coughs for air the second he’s free. It’s clear how much of a struggle this was.
I’m not sure I’d call that tenacity, Matt. More like fighting dirty.
Hey, fighting’s not supposed to be pretty. Even if some total babes compete in it--
Knock it off!
As the Cleopatra of the XWA begins to argue with the referee, the Revolution takes a well-deserved, not to mention much-needed, breather. He doesn’t leave the ring, but he does use the ropes as an assist to pull himself back to his feet and return to his corner. He looks out over the turnbuckle and finds Amy Taylor, who gives him a nod of reassurance. He nods back and turns around, leaning back in the corner as he prepares to target the still-distracted Minka.
What a contest, though! Back and forth from before the bell, and it doesn’t look like the pendulum’s gonna stop swinging any time soon.
There’s always a danger, when people wait this long for a match this hyped, that things are gonna just kinda fizzle out. But so far, these two are living up to all the anticipation.
Just as she finally gives up on screaming at the referee, A.J. takes off, an arm at the ready for a clothesline of his own. But when he jumps, Minka still has enough time to react. She ducks under him at the exact moment she needs to, and as he tries to stop himself and turn back around all at once, she jumps up, wrapping her legs around his neck and yanking him down to the mat, right into a pin position…
A.J. finally manages to work his legs free, and they spring out of Carter’s vice grip rana.
ESPECIALLY Minka Carter, who, my God, her defensive game has been as sharp as I’ve ever seen it tonight!
Minka pounds the mat with one fist, unsure how he was able to escape that. But she quickly regroups and starts bringing him to his feet.
Pretty much any time she needs a counter, she gets it, and when you can keep yanking the rug out from under your opponent like that, it doesn’t just wear them down and waste their energy. It helps build a psychological edge over your opponent.
A.J. starts throwing forearm shots, trying to knock himself free, but Minka proves able to bob and weave, containing the damage to glancing blows across the cheek.
Morales can talk all the shit in the world, but it’s not gonna matter if she keeps making herself unhittable.
Minka whips A.J. towards her starting corner, and with his focus so intent on getting out of the hold, he’s caught off-guard and can’t stop himself from hurtling into the turnbuckles.
Turning it back to offense now with that Irish whip...
By the time he turns back around, Minka’s already back on him. She gives him elbow after elbow to the face, not letting up for a second. A.J. doesn’t get the time or the space necessary to put his arms up and mitigate the assault. His only solace is that the crowd, rather than counting up the strikes like they might for a more respected combatant, give a loud, disapproving reaction to the XWA’s so-called Cleopatra.
And there’s another thing! On offense, Carter’s been an absolute apex predator tonight. I mean, just look at how unrelenting this assault is!
After a long enough series of strikes, the referee finally gets in the way, breaking it up and putting himself in Minka’s way. She complains and insults him the whole way, but all the same, she moves one step back for his every step forward.
And now Morales getting a little space to breathe...
Great job by Minka of keeping her head in the game.
Are you seriously giving out praise for following the ref’s commands now?
Hey, in a matchup like this, it can be tempting to go for the satisfying beatdown instead of the win. But that’s not her style. She wants both, and she deserves both.
Morales, meanwhile, wanders out of the corner, clearly not ready or recovered enough to be doing anything other than staying where he just was and holding onto the ropes.
Looks like this is really starting to take a toll on A.J…
Carter, seeing this, abruptly stops arguing with the ref and dashes past him, grazing his shoulder in the process. With A.J. not paying full attention, Minka easily gets the chance to stay low and stalk her prey, sidewinding around him in a half-circle as he continues to trudge aimlessly forward.
No shame in that. Hell, anyone would have trouble against a goddess of the squared circle.
Oh, come on, you’re sounding like Jack Sabbath does when he does play-by-play on her matches!
Mark, come on. You know I don’t hate A.J. You know I don’t have that kind of agenda. But when I see a great talent having a night like Minka’s having, I have to give all due praise. She is living up to every inch of hype she’s created for herself.
Once she’s behind him, she closes the distance in a split-second. By the time A.J. figures out what’s up, she’s already got her hands on his throat and her kneecaps primed behind his lower ribcage.
Now she’s in for the--
She drags him down off his feet, and when she reaches the mat, her knees dig into his back on impact, popping him up so he twists around for a full rotation before sprawling out face-first on the canvas.
DOUBLE KNEE BACKBREAKER!
He’s gonna be coughing up a lung after that!
Thinking quickly, Minka slithers over and presses down on his chest with both arms for the cover…
His legs unbound, A.J. kicks out with no resistance.
Kickout at two, and look at the frustration on both of their faces!
Hey, this is a blood feud. This is war. This is EXACTLY the kind of intensity I wish we’d see in every match.
Minka starts pounding her fists on A.J.’s chest, but the tantrum doesn’t last long. She slides away and starts to climb the nearest turnbuckle as the Revolution, determined as ever, starts to gather himself again and get back to his feet.
And these two are only just starting to pull out the big guns. It can only get crazier from here.
The hunger in Minka’s eye is all too obvious as she reaches the top rope. She smells blood, and she wants to drink it all right this second, so much so that she launches into a forward flip while A.J.’s still in transition from crouching to standing.
Looking for the dragonrana!
Impressive as Minka’s form is on the flip, her impatience means A.J. has time to get just to the side of where she needs him to be. Her legs grab at his neck and find only air, and before she can react and try to brace herself, A.J. breaks her fall for her with a well-timed superkick to the hamstring.
Ohh, but a superkick to counter!
The crowd cheers the turn of fortunes as Minka faceplants to the mat, one of her legs nearly locked straight from the counterattack. A.J. stands over her, prepped with a Muay Thai stance and ready to go in on her as soon as she gets up.
And Morales already knows exactly how he wants to fight his way back in this thing!
Not sure how long it’ll last, given the roll Minka’s on, but good for him. He’s no slouch, I’ll give him that.
Indeed, he avoids her latest mistake, not even pump-faking an attack until he’s sure she’s where he wants her to be. Once she’s there, standing at just the right spot, Morales pounces with a roundhouse to the side of the neck.
Bringing that strong style influence into this!
After making the follow-through, Morales brings the same leg back up for a roundhouse the other way, this time connecting just below Minka’s shoulder.
Follows up with a reverse roundhouse!
As A.J. plants his foot again, Minka remembers herself enough to put her arms up and block, but the next roundhouse doesn’t go to her upper body. Instead, he gets her on the thigh, taking her off-balance to the point she nearly falls.
And he swings low on the third!
The follow-through on this kick carries the Monterrockstar a little differently than the last two. He pivots to follow its momentum and smoothly transitions to face the farthest set of ropes from where he is before taking off in their direction.
Looking to put in the exclamation point...
With the nagging damage of the previous attacks still affecting her, Minka doesn’t even decide whether to block, dodge, or counter in time. She eats the leaping clothesline about as directly as possible, throwing her off her feet.
Or a Guillotine, as he’s now decided to start calling it.
Good a name as any, especially there! He nearly took Minka’s head off!
A.J. drops to his knees and goes for the pin again…
Minka kicks out.
But this royalty ain’t gonna get executed that easily!
The pressure stays on, though, as A.J. starts to force her to her feet almost immediately, supplementing the pull with punches and forearms to keep her disoriented.
And he’s really laying in the aggression here!
When he finally does let go, Minka tries to retaliate with an elbow, but A.J. leans back a little and avoids it. She goes for another one. No dice. Another one. Still nothing. But on the fourth try, A.J. dodges under the attack, rather than back and away, and comes back up with a crescent arc kick that turns him nearly upside-down before it connects, hitting Minka on the side of the head. She freezes up instantly and falls to the side like a tree getting chopped down.
Golden Goal by Morales!
And notice how he’s tweaked his technique for the Golden Goal. There’s more of an arc this time than there used to be. It’s not a huge change, but it took that move from a good counter to something he can score a pinfall off of.
As Minka lies prone on the mat, A.J. kips up to his feet and starts gesturing to the crowd. Chants of“A-J! A-J!”fill the arena, and the Rawest Wrestler Alive paces the ring, looking back and forth between the Survivor on the canvas and the symbol on his clenched fist.
I think this might be it!
Finally, A.J. leans back, casual as can be, in one of the corners, brings that fist up to his lips, and kisses his ring knuckle, whipping the audience into a frenzy.
He’s calling for the Liberator!
Yeah, yeah, A.J. can do that all he wants. Until he actually hits it, it doesn’t mean anything, especially against someone who knows how to truly Survive.
Instead of hanging back in the corner, though, A.J. decides to get more proactive. He closes in on Cleopatra, grabbing her by the wrist and starting to pull her up from the mat.
I don’t think he’s gonna let her! He wants this done, and he wants it done now!
Problem is, Minka isn’t out of gas just yet. Not only that, but as A.J. starts to pull her, she sees the referee and quickly figures out exactly where he is relative to her. And what she realizes is enough to convince her she’ll get away scot-free with her next idea…
Then he better be careful what he wishes for.
Minka lets A.J. take her up to her knees by her right arm with little resistance. But once she gets there, she grabs him with her left arm, jerks her right free, and sinks her teeth into A.J.’s hand, right between the ring and pinky fingers.
A.J. shouts in pain before he even realizes what’s happening. Alerted by that, and the sudden sharp increase of booing in the audience, the referee moves to get a better vantage point, but it’s too late to catch Minka in the act. She rises to her feet as a recoiling A.J. backpedals, trying to shake the pain out in his bitten hand.
Seriously? Did Minka just stave off a loss by biting A.J. on the hand?
Yup! And it’s perfect! She’s doing whatever it takes to win this!
Minka charges in and overwhelms A.J. within seconds. She lands forearm after forearm on him, each as fast and as vicious as the last, with absolutely no window of opportunity for him to counter.
And now she’s going all-in! What a way to get back on offense!
Still not the fairest way to get an edge, but you can’t deny it got her back from the brink.
Eventually, Minka starts to come even closer, continuing to batter him all the way, until his jaw is right over her arm. Once she gets there, she grabs him and drops to a kneeling position, spiking his chin on her shoulder and dazing him to the point that, while she gets back to standing again easily, he wobbles and drops to one knee.
That oughta teach him to trash talk royalty!
Minka takes a couple steps back, completely ignoring the boos. The mics don’t quite pick up her trash talk, but from her expression and her mannerisms, it’s pretty clear she’s yelling her demons stuff again.
And yet here she is, trash talking…
What? She earned it.
The Cleopatra of the XWA approaches again, running up and bounding off A.J.’s leg before kneeing him right in the face.
And now a shining wizard!
The Revolution nearly falls over from the impact, but he reaches out to his sides with both arms at once, giving himself enough control to steady himself and get back to where he was. But the crowd’s booing only gets louder, as Minka circles him, hissing in his ears with a psychotic satisfaction.
She’s got him right where she wants him! Now it’s time to put him away!
Once she gets back around in front of him, it’s all too predictable what’s next. She leaps into the air, throwing her whole body into a corkscrew roundhouse kick, which cracks like a whip across A.J.’s face and leaves him completely out of it on his side.
The audience continues their venomous jeering, but Minka laughs in their faces—and A.J.’s, to an extent—before she crawls over on her knees and elbows, and pushes the Revolution onto his side before she puts an arm on his chest for the cover.
All Minka had to do was stay there. Just stay there a fraction of a second longer, and she’d have scored the pinfall. She’d have vanquished the demon. But she chooses not to. She lifts her arm at the last possible moment, laughing like a maniac.
She just threw away a guaranteed victory over one of her most hated rivals! Why on Earth would she do that?
“YOU THOUGHT I WAS DONE WITH YOU?!”screams the mad queen at her dazed foe.“YOU THINK A DEMON LIKE YOU DESERVES MERCY?!”
Oh, God...of COURSE that’s why she did that…
Hey, hey, come on. She has to be certain he’s down and out. Nothing wrong with a little insurance policy.
“NEVER!”Minka starts to rise.“YOU WILL SUFFER, DEMON! YOU WILL SUFFER FOR YOUR CRIMES UNTIL THE END!”
As she starts to stomp away on him, the crowd somehow exceeds its already-loud volume of booing. For a couple seconds, she ignores it, but her patience runs thin quickly.
“DEATH!”she screams as she steps back from A.J.“DEATH TO THE REVOLUTION! DEATH TO ALL OF YOU DEMONS!”
The referee gets between the two combatants, kneeling down to check on A.J. and see if he should stop the match.
Uh-oh...I wouldn’t do that if I were you...
Minka decides to answer that question for the referee...from behind. With a Snake Strike.
I knew she’d do that!
The referee flops down facefirst onto A.J., and Minka pulls him away before turning back to the crowd.
“DEATH TO THIS IMBECILE!”
Oh, come on, now this is just absurd.
Hey, think about it. Beating up referees was, like, the first thing A.J. complained about her doing. Might as well rub it in his face.
So you’re saying she should actively make it harder for herself to get a 3-count for the sake of spite. Great...
Minka turns her focus to A.J., grabbing him by the back of his neck and pulling him up so he has to look right at her and her crazed eyes and her maniacal grin.
“You did this to him, A.J.! This is your fault! Just like it’ll be your fault when she suffers with you…”
She didn’t say what I think she did, did she?
A faint light comes on in A.J.’s mind, reflected in the slightest twitch of his face, but he’s still too weak to do anything about it. She drops him to the mat, and he rolls over so he’s face-down. It’s really all he can do, aside from watch as Minka retreats to ringside and makes his way over to his corner.
Yup. She did.
Oh, no...this is just…
Minka ignores the audience members throwing their empty sodas at her and goes right up to Amy Taylor.
“Is this the best you’ve got? Is this really your best, manager of demons?”
“I’m sorry, can I help you?”Taylor stands resolute, even as the mad queen invades her personal space.
“You can stand aside!”Even if she’s not screaming at full volume like she was before, Minka’s instability is all too obvious in her voice.“You are in the path of a goddess! Your resistance means nothing! Hail the Survivors! Hail Sabbath! Hail--”
SMACK! Without so much as a flinch of warning, Amy backhands Minka across the face, cutting off Carter’s declarations.
Did she just--?!
Amy Taylor, you dumbass! Look what you’ve done!
“OHHHHHH!”The response from the crowd is instant. That might not have been the most physically damaging slap in the world, but in terms of ego bruises, the effect is obvious and immediate. Minka looks back at Amy with a mix of shock, outrage, and utter insult. In return, all she gets is a knowing smirk and a hardened veteran’s stare.
You idiot! You never provoke a snake when it’s on the warpath! Why the hell would you do this?
“No dare needed.”Even now, in the face of danger, Amy looks as cool and calm as any head of state.“Truth is, I’ve been waiting for months to do that.”
Minka keeps looking at Amy. The shock and the insult fade away. Only anger remains on the mad queen’s face, and it burns with all the fire and brimstone in the world behind it. Everybody in the arena knows what’s next. There can only be one next move. Only one response.
Don’t do this, Minka! For the love of God, show some human decency!
If Amy Taylor gets hit, this is her own damn fault!
All the same, as soon as Minka’s feet leave the floor, the whole audience’s breath stops.
Oh, God, no!
Amy Taylor’s 2017, career-wise, started a lot like this. She’d taken the roundhouse heard ‘round the world from Diamond Jack Sabbath. And she knew all too well how painful that was, and how long it took to recover. But she also knew it wasn’t the end of the world. If anything, she’d come back stronger from it. She’d found a new niche in mentoring up-and-coming talents, and not only was she now the most in-demand manager in the XWA, her six clients were pulling off amazing feats left and right. They were turning heads, winning titles and tournaments, defeating juggernauts. If any band of heroes was going to bury the Survivors, it was hers.
If Amy was too tough a spirit for even Jack Sabbath to break, then realistically, what the hell could Minka do to her?
So Amy doesn’t try to shield herself or move out of the way. She doesn’t even flinch. She stares Minka down with full resolve until the hit lands right on the jaw. And as the impact rings, the evil of the act somehow amplifying it beyond the sound itself, Amy goes limp, but doesn’t break her gaze until she hits the floor.
Minka Carter has lost her Goddamn mind!
I hate to say it, but Amy brought this on herse--
I don’t wanna hear it!
The sound that follows is more than just booing. To be there live, among the audience as they scream their displeasure in the form of heckles and profanities and pure noises of disgust, is to feel a thunderclap of emotions that envelops everything. If hatred was radioactive, this place would be a nuclear reactor. And at the center of it all, A.J. lies there in the ring, looking on at the manager he didn’t have the strength to save...and the madwoman who just caused all this, having a moment of religious ecstasy for herself.
One kick to the head was more than enough for Amy to take this year! I refuse to hear you victim-blame her!
Oh, quit your moralizing...
A series of moments start to play in the theater of A.J.’s mind. He sees Australia. Blond-haired Minka, back from injury, shedding her innocent skin by kicking the referee below the belt. He sees every broken arm and flag-aided choke and piledriver onto a ring bell she inflicted. He sees every death threat she’s sent to everyone he cares about, every cheap shot and weapon swing and Snake Strike she’s ever dealt out since she was on this rampage...and then, he remembers the one she gave to Emery. And he hears the proclamation in his head.
”I will end...her...career…”
And even though he knows Emery got through that showdown just fine, this isn’t about Emery, or even what just happened to Amy. All these months he was shit-talking Minka on Twitter, pushing her buttons for his own amusement, she was breaking bones. Ending careers. Ruining lives. And he’d let the promise of a match with her pacify him, let him take those injustices off his conscience.
But no. He could have stopped this. All of this.
And as he snarls like a jaguar and creeps to his left, towards the ringside floor, his blood boiling with anger, adrenaline pumping through him, even the match itself falls away. Only one objective remains. He has to save the nation. He has to dethrone the queen.
Uh-oh, here comes A.J., too late to save his friend as usual…
Too late, my ass! It’s time for some payback!
Minka continues shouting insults at fans nearby her, not even bothering to pay attention to A.J., still riding that high of hurting her leader’s most personal targ--
“RRAAAAAAAARGH!”The primal scream snaps Minka to attention just in time for A.J. to pounce with a speed and fury like never before. He hits her stomach shoulder-first, and the momentum carries them both forward and down, demolishing the barrier behind them.
94 BLITZ! RIGHT INTO THE BARRICADE!
The emotion of the crowd inverts, but the volume and the passion stay exactly the same as A.J. unleashes a storm of punches and chops and forearms until he’s basically playing a game of ping-pong with the frame of the demolished barricade, using Minka’s head as the ball. His Spanish profanities fly too fast to process what he’s even saying, but even if they were comprehensible, the sheer crowd noise would drown them out.
And this crowd is just eating it up!
Oh, come on, he’s using the barricade as a pinball flipper! This is excessive! He’s gotta stop this!
Finally, after a good six seconds of this, with the Cleopatra of the XWA thoroughly rocked by the assault, A.J. finally stops, his breaths fast and heavy. This fire isn’t out, not by a long shot, and he’s going to let it burn until she’s a charred mess.
Well, A.J. came into this looking to set his opponent off, but it looks like his rage’ll be the one that determines things!
Minka tries, in vain, to elbow him back, but she’s too dazed and too uncoordinated for it to come close to being effective. A.J. stops it with one hand, his fingers digging in like claws, and starts to pull her to her feet.
“Howssat feel, huh?”A.J. growls the words through clenched teeth as he moves his grip down her arm to her wrist.“Not so fun now, is it?”A shove away, extending her arm as far as it will go.“Not so fun when it’s you, is it, you piece‘a...”
Morales whips the mad queen forward, and she flies helplessly like a leaf in a tornado, right towards one of the ringside cameramen.
Looking for something big here..
A.J. chases after her, and when he’s in range, he leaps into the air and gives her the Liberator he’s been saving for her all this time. It catches her on the side of the head, knocking her right into the lens of that camera, which falls off its operator’s shoulder and breaks on the floor. Minka, meanwhile, falls and hits the ground a split-second later, landing right on the side of her face that just hit the lens.
JESUS FUCK, A LIBERATOR INTO THE CAMERA!
Seriously, what does A.J. have against our camera crew?
A.J. finishes the follow-through and goes right into showboating, thumping his chest as he gives a shout. The crowd pops off another round of cheering, and somebody in about the third row remembers something from Fool’s Gold. She starts singing it, the people next to her hear it and jump in, and within seconds, enough fans are singing“A-J-Mor-aaaaa-LES! A-J-Mor-aaaaa-LES! Naaa-nana-nana-nana!” that A.J. himself hears it, tries not to crack up, and starts playing air guitar along with it. Naturally, this only causes the song to spread even faster.
I hope we at least get to salvage the footage from that, because WOW! Talk about a fourth-wall break!
“Hey…”Finally, the referee, still groggy from the earlier attack, starts to call to the competitors.“Hey, get back in here! How long have you been doing this?”
A.J., hearing the ref, remembers himself and turns his attention back to Minka. He reaches down, pulling her back up to a standing position, and roughly tosses her under the bottom rope. She rolls with it, but only just enough to get clear of the apron.
This is seriously underhanded of A.J. First the barricade, then the camera...all while taking advantage of a ref being out cold! How can he call himself a hero? A.J., meanwhile, climbs into the ring after her, but only to drag her into a more favorable spot relative to the nearest corner. Once he has her there, he makes his way over, taking his time as he climbs up to the top turnbuckle.
Enough with the spin machine, Matt. I thought you loved people fighting dirty!
This time, A.J. stays patient in his perch. He already lost one chance to put this away by trying to hurry the killing blow. He’s not letting that happen again.
Yeah, it's just I don't like the way he does it.
Minka gets all the time in the world to stagger to her feet. It’s a struggle for sure--she can barely prop herself up on one arm without wobbling--but A.J. lets her work it out. He doesn’t even signal what’s coming by going into a crane stance and kicking the air twice with one leg until she’s worked out how to reach her hands and knees.
He’s thinking Kliq Kliq Boom, and the safety’s definitely off for this one!
Even when XWA's reigning Cleopatra finally reaches a vertical base, she’s not standing with regal poise. She stumbles around like a drunken peasant, barely able to hold still for a half-second. Her last shreds of situational awareness, directing her to focus on A.J., are the only thing keeping her from wandering off...not that she’d have much time to, considering how quickly A.J. springs off the turnbuckle.
Here it goes…
Not like this!
The Revolution makes a full 360-degree spin before the kick connects, landing on the same side of Minka’s face as the Liberator, and as Star and Survivor fall to the canvas, something too fast for the cameras to catch flies from Minka’s mouth.
KLIQ KLIQ BOOM! HEADSHOT!
Scrambling to all fours as soon as he lands, A.J. races to hook the leg as the ref drops down for the count…
-DING DING DING!-
And your winner, The Revolution, A! J! Mooooraleeeeees!
As the crowd celebrates the fall of the mad pharaoh, Minka lies there, her eyes maybe half-open. A look at her mouth, wide open thanks to her completely slack jaw, reveals what it was she lost from those massive strikes at the end. The four teeth in the upper row closest to the center survived the Revolution. But the pair of pointier teeth that framed those four...not so much.
Ladies and gentlemen, we just witnessed two of the finest young talents in the XWA pour everything they had into this fight! Their hearts! Their bodies! Their souls! But in the end, Cleopatra just couldn’t stop the Revolution!
I don’t know...I mean, good for him, but I still think Minka had the performance of her career. She should be walking outta here with the win, or at least all her teeth still intact.
If A.J. notices he’s defanged the snake, he doesn’t show it, simply letting the referee raise his hand in victory as he raises a clenched fist with his free hand. When the ref lets go, A.J. walks out of the ring, making a point to step over Minka along the way, grabs his Yin Yang Championship from off the apron, and then starts to run to Amy, who’s just starting to stir from Minka’s attack.
“Oh my God…”A.J. kneels down as he looks her over, trying to find the point of impact. “Holy shit, I’m so sorry…”
“No…”Amy squints as she looks up at the lights, but quickly refocuses on her client so her eyes have a chance to adjust. “No, no, A.J., it’s not your fault…”
A.J. extends a hand to his manager, which she takes, and they rise to their feet. Amy staggers a bit when she tries to walk on her own, but A.J. helps prop her up, and as they start their walk towards the back, the crowd starts chanting“AMY TAYLOR! -clap-clap-clapclapclap- AMY TAYLOR! -clap-clap-clapclapclap-”, which she acknowledges with a smile and a wave, even as groggy as she is.
“You’re at least gonna sue her, right?”says A.J., clearly still concerned for Amy.
“Oh, you have no idea…”
With that bit of levity, Morales and Taylor make their way up the ramp, giving high-fives and autographs to anyone who asks. This was the most personal battle A.J.’d ever fought in the XWA. But is he ready for the war to come?
Last edited by RevolutionJones on Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:37 pm, edited 10 times in total.
MINKA CARTER: Action, right out the gate, was great. I liked how you wrote the characters, especially the mind games between Minka and AJ. My favorite part was when AJ had the chair, I liked that interaction. One thing I will mention, is about the parts where Minka would yell something to AJ, this is during the knee being smashed into the ringpost. It was hard to read at times because of the repeated Minka does this, followed by Minka yelling, maybe try to separate those parts more so it won't get jumbled up. Your commentary was good, I can totally see Steel saying the phrase "well that's just savage" more often. :lol:
AJ MOMO: It was weird because I read both matches from my phone and for some reason the videos were switched. Like the video for Papa Roach was in the place of Ill Niño and everything was weird. Anyways, back to voting. Using Emery's old theme to kinda stick it to Minka was a nice touch. Action, was great. The full-fledged fight before the bell was awesome, I liked how you gave Minka that advantage. Commentary was great, especially liked how the story was told through Sanction and Steel besides in the match itself. There were multiple good spots that I enjoyed. Also... poor Amy can't catch a break, man.
VOTE: Overall, I liked how the both of you wrote each others characters and the story that you displayed. My vote this round goes to A.J. Morales. I just thought his match flowed better with me as far as said storytelling goes. But seriously, great effort from the both of you.
"ALROIGHT MATE OIM A GEEZER INNIT, AHM GOIN THE PUB. LUV ME BIG BEAUTIFUL BRITISH BOLLOCKS AND
ME QUEEN GOOOODDD SAAAVVVVVEEEEEE OOOOOOUUUURRRRR QUUUUEEEEEENNNN
- Minka is characterised well, as is A.J. The little things are brilliant like the hissing, the slithering around, and for A.J, he's courageous but with morals- no pun intended- and both of them very much come off as they're supposed to throughout (except for A.J's moment of crisis later on with the chair).
- The action here was awesome, in particular I absolutely loved the belly-to-belly superdupersuperplex. I thought that was brilliant.
- Commentary is spot on here. It sells the action, it presents us with the narrative of the match, how we should be reacting, manages to play Devil's advocate with a horrible person like Minka Carter and explains why things are happening and why I should care. That's the best I can ask for, your commentary is top notch and needs no further improvement.
- I liked the Snake Venom being used for the finish, I'd love for that to be a permenant sort of gimmick she has. I also liked before that with Minka taking the pain from A.J in a way that reminded me of the Joker during the interrogation in The Dark Knight. What I'm iffy about was "would Emery approve of this?" being the thing that not only stops A.J but lead to his downfall. I think it's the fact dialogue plays such a big part in the moment that's off with me, I don't know. Other than that, I think it was a good finish of heelish bullshittery.
- Action IS good but I want to know the thought behind it from THEIR perspective. I want to know what crazy shit's going on in Minka's head. The crowd's booing her- what does SHE think? I want to know, rather intimately, what A.J thinks and feels when Minka continually mentions Em.
- A.J doing the classic Emery entrance- obviously I liked it. The Minka/Emery thing is something that I honestly think is destined to go on forever, somehow, and that just hit home why exactly A.J's here fighting her now.
- This starts the way it needs to. Glad there was no tie-up or anything too 'wrestling', cos it has no business in this match. It starts as a fight and it keps going.
- Callbacks to previous encounters and matches of both people abound! Also, use of Amy is great. She's actually used to make Minka look nastier. Only thing I'd change about that is the slap and how it happens. I know Minka was all up in her grill, basically, but I'm not sure Amy would've slapped her without some sort of physical threat first. Nothing big, I just feel like it could've done with a shove from Minka or something first.
- Commentary, much like Minka's post, is spot on. Sells the action, presents the narrative of the match well and explains things that are happening and why we should care.
- "If hatred was radioactive, this place would be a nuclear reactor." Fantastic line.
A criticism I have for both is the sheer amount of dialogue between the competitors. Minka's has the same problem. I can understand it for Minka, she probably has no inside voice and screams every little syllable that comes out of her mouth, but full blown conversations have always rubbed me the wrong way. Thing is...we know and can hear what they're saying and why it matters, but an arena of, what, 20,000 people aren't going to hear that. Unless they're mic'd up, I would say- both of you- avoid using dialogue as focal points for the matches, cos both matches here do it. In Minka's, for example, you have Minka call up and shout "would Emery want this" to mess with him, but I feel like the moment would be more powerful if A.J, all feral and nasty, had looked down at Minka and what he was about to do and then just paused and internally questioned himself 'would Em want this' rather than it taking Minka to simply say it to him...that could've very been powerful. A moment of this seemingly heroic man looking at what he's doing and taking the moral high ground...until he swings it a few seconds later. And then it could've made Minka nastier by completely capitalising on this moment of madness and thinking 'now's my chance' and going for what she went for there instead. Waning restraint vs opportunism, and it doesn't even require a single word uttered.
At the end of the day, my only thing for the both of you is show and don't tell. Yes, tell me what Minka and A.J are thinking...but I don't need to be told everything. Let the reader draw the conclusion.
Okay, so, for my vote...I think chiefly for the fact it felt like a continuation of just so many things that tie-in from the last year- Minka's breakdown, the LOTR, Sabbath/Amy, the Survivors, A.J and Em, etc.- I'm going to give this to A.J. Morales, personally.
But Minka's posts continue to get better every time I read them. Commentary is fantastic. Action is well thought out and flows well and the ideas and spots within the match are awesome. It just needs to have a bit more of a personal touch to it, I feel. Don't be afraid to sell emotion. The moves are secondary to the drama.
No shortage of hate opening this one. As not only a deep grudge match that's been a long time coming, but the only really personal match on the show, I love to see that. The hate between them feels very real. The presentation of Minka and the use of the crowd's reactions were both excellent; I know I've talked in other votes about acting out of character and A.J. was admittedly a little bit here in the opening stretch, but given the nature of this specific match, I felt it worked. One thing that didn't work for me so much was the lack of long-term impact of what was an extremely physical match. If the idea was that their hatred was helping them to push through the pain, it could have been better conveyed. What was portrayed well on the other hand was the contrast between A.J. as the driven face who never gives up because of his fighting spirit, and Minka as the vicious heel who never gives up because she's deranged. Her taunting A.J. with the "do it for Emery" stuff was fantastic, as was her subsequent tantrum when it didn't finish him. The fake-out with tempting him to disqualify himself, only to turn it on its head and get him with the venom, was a creative and intriguing ending. All in all, a great match.
Nice hype from the commentators, and A.J. using Emery's music and utilising the demon imagery in his attire were both tremendous touches. Again, it's made very clear how personal this rivalry is from the start, and the brawl on the outside before the bell is a classic way to do show that. Them mirroring each other in their actions was good. Another great job of showing Minka as the crazy, bitter, misanthropic heel, and A.J. as the face whose fighting spirit outstrips his common sense. Much of what I said about Minka's version applies here - the intensity, the taunting, the use of the fans, but also sadly the near-exclusive focus on proactivity meaning the physicality of the action was undersold somewhat. The ref bump and everything after it was... good lord, it was a lot to process. Not everything about it clicked for me but the way it was all tied into both characters' histories really pulled it together, and I popped for Amy. I'm usually against the "direct window into the character's psyche" approach - I like to be shown, not told - but here... it worked. It legit worked. What didn't work so much for me was the feelgood quality of the ending. I mean, obviously there's going to be a storm coming after this no matter what, but A.J. finishing on a such a clean emotional high after such a personal, bitter match leading up to it... maybe it was more about the way the gears changed, but it felt a bit pat to me. Still a great match though.
Really close, with two excellent and similar matches. The kind of contest that makes me wish we could combine elements from both into a final canon. MOTN for sure! I know I have to pick one, and for me it's Minka Carter. I found it just a shade more gripping, and I felt the ending worked better. But there was a lot to like in both of them. You guys have absolutely killed this feud and this match was an outstanding job from both of you.
Hardcore Champion x3 | Gladiatorial Champion | World Heavyweight Champion | first Supreme Champion
Breaker of The Streak @sugarhardy
Minka Carter: To me, your greatest strength has always been story. Throughout your matches there are clear arcs, ways you keep the match engaging and contribute to overarching plots. And this match very continues that trend. As has already been pointed out, your ending is great, and how it builds on the foundation already there. Your grasp on Minka is clear, the action was strong. All in all, a super fun read.
An area I would look at for improvement would be your commentary. While it did do a great job of selling the action, it features some parts that sort of lost me. An example of this would be during the early moonsault spot, you describe silencing the crowd, but then almost immediately have Steel convey the same information in the same feeling way. I know I don't always escape my matches without doing this, but it feels a little awkward at points.
A.J. Morales: The usage of Emery's entrance is real good. Incredibly clever, and great with the character. Some crazy killer lines, like the aforementioned "If hatred was radioactive, this place would be a nuclear reactor" line, but also stuff like "That might not have been the most physically damaging slap in the world, but in terms of ego bruises, the effect is obvious and immediate" were also very powerful. Your commentary was great, and I loved how is flowed with the action.
There were a lot of moments where I felt a slight disconnect from the main story of the match though. Like the air guitar bit, or Minka pulling A.J. shoulder off the mat. While good core tactics in a wrestler's arsenal, one of the big things for me coming into this match while how personal it was on paper, and these little bits take away form that.