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AJ Morales vs Jayden Crosse
Jayden's life has been pretty sweet since returning to the Battlezone... at least until he ran into Austin Carter, who beat him in a match named after their shared home city. Now he is looking to get his career back on track. His opponent? AJ Morales, a new member to the roster looking to make an impact. The Crossebow versus The Revolution, live on Massacre!
WORD COUNT: 2000
-------- Deadline for matches is 29th March 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. Voting will start at this time and conclude on 3rd April 2017 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time. [CST is one hour earlier. GMT is five hours later.]
Just let me go, I’m on my own, a rolling stone and I’m in the zone…
As “Rolling Stone” by Falling Reverse hits, the lighting near the entrance turns gold and vapor starts hissing out of the fog machines.
Don’t let me fall, just let me know when we’ll…
A.J. Morales emerges with his head down, his eyes closed, and his fist raised in the air.
A.J. opens his eyes and looks up.
A.J. screams the words right on time with the music, bringing his raised fist down so he can start thrashing about and playing air guitar. He keeps this up until the first verse comes in, at which point he starts walking to the ring and giving fist bumps and high-fives to anyone in the crowd who reaches towards him.
Hana Ramierez: “From San Francisco, California, weighing in at 187 pounds...The Revolution! A! J! Moraleeeeees!”
As the second 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, taking off his jacket, draping it over the ring post, and limbering up for the match.
Sanction: A.J. Morales is making his in-ring debut in XWA here tonight. He made a name for himself in the Northern California independent scene, including a trios title run in his home promotion, Zapatista Lucha Libre.
Tempest: I have to wonder, though, if that helps him or hurts him. Did you hear what he said in that promo package last time? He seems to think he’s going to start a revolution around here.
Sanction: Well, given the reign of terror the Survivors have been going on, maybe “The Revolution” is the shot in the arm we need.
“Oblivion” by Leiny hits the PA system, but the crowd overpowers the music with boos, as Jayden Crosse steps out to the ring, looking like his usual smug self.
Hana Ramirez And his opponent, from Chicago, Illinois. Weighing in at two hundred and fifteen pounds… JAYDEEEEEEN CROSSE!
Jayden arrogantly smirks, seeming very full of himself, and makes a “I Can’t Hear You” taunt with his hand, leaning towards the audience who respond with even more boos that can be heard by the deaf, before raising his fists and yelling loudly like a warrior who is about to go into battle.
Crosse proudly walks down the ramp, like a model strutting on the catwalk, before entering the ring, facing down his rival for tonight.
Sanction: Jayden Crosse, of course, coming off of a loss in the Chicago Street Fight with Austin Carter at Creature from the XWA. Both of these men have something to prove going into this, but Tempest, what do you think Crosse needs to do to get back on track?
Tempest: I give Jayden Crosse the edge going into this one. These men are both comfortable in the air, but Jayden Crosse has both the experience advantage and the technical advantage. If he can play to those strengths, I think we see him come away with the win tonight.
Morales and Crosse stand face-to-face, awaiting the opening bell.
Sanction: Only one way to find out, right?
Tempest: Let’s get this going already!
*DING DING DING!* Morales and Crosse start to circle each other, each waiting for the other to try and take the first shot. There’s an uncertainty in both of their movements, Morales more so than Crosse.
Sanction: And already, A.J. Morales might be proving your point.
Tempest: Ehh, I understand it. It’s hard not to be a little cautious going into your first match on a scale like this. Morales takes his first swipe, going for an elbow to the face, but Crosse sidesteps it. Morales tries to make something of the moment with his other elbow, but this time, his opponent catches it.
Tempest: And here we go... Crosse quickly gets the rookie in position and drops backwards. Morales hits the mat face-first.
Sanction: DDT to Morales! Crosse and Morales both get up. The rookie shows a little more hesitation this time as he circles his opponent.
Tempest: This is what I was talking about. A.J.’s already losing confidence after one mistake backfiring. He can’t keep doing that, or he’ll practically invite Crosse into his head. A.J. starts another elbow smash, and Jayden reaches for it immediately.
Sanction: Now, wait a minute-- As quick as he started the motion, the Revolution snaps the elbow back and lets a shoot kick fly, hitting the Chicago Crossebow in the lower ribs.
Sanction: Oh, what a kick!
Tempest: Maybe I was a little early. Before Jayden can react, he takes another kick to the thigh. Jayden starts to drop to his knees. A.J. moves with him, dropping to a squat and then releasing with a rising uppercut. Crosse takes it to the jaw and flops onto his back. Morales dives for the cover.
Crosse kicks out.
Tempest: Shoulda hooked the leg, kid...
Morales backs off, allowing Crosse to his feet. The two circle a little faster this time.
Sanction: Well, regardless, I think we can see this isn’t going to be a walk in the park for either of these men.
Both men, almost exactly in sync, reach for each other and lock up. They start to push back and forth around the ring.
Tempest: Watch the footwork here. This isn’t just brute strength they’re relying on. High-flyers like these guys need a good sense of location on the ground so they don’t crash when they take to the air, and they’re both putting that to use right now.
Morales manages to pull Crosse in, but the Chicago Crossebow bounces out like a pinball and grabs the rookie’s arm. For a few seconds, the two men become a blur, making and breaking holds before the crowd can process them happening.
Sanction: Look at this!
Tempest: I know! Beauty, ain’t it? Crosse, however, sneaks in a knee to the gut. Morales reels back a step.
Sanction: Well, this might be about to get ugly, and--
Jayden closes the gap, picks his opponent up, and before Morales can even start to get the wind back in his sails, Jayden bodyslams the rookie back down.
Sanction: OH! Right to the back! With precision, Jayden gets down to the mat, gets a hold of the rookie’s right arm, and starts to wrench it back.
Sanction: Crosse has Morales in the armbar! He wants this done quick!
“Aaaaaahh!” Morales cries, clenching his teeth and shaking his head before the referee can even begin to ask if the Revolution surrenders. Crosse sticks his tongue out, continuing to wrench the arm back.
Tempest: Now, this is where that experience comes into play. Jayden Crosse probably went back and watched that “Grito de Dolores” package as soon as he found out who he was fighting, and if he did, he saw A.J. include part of a clip of him hitting a guy with a leaping punch attack with that very arm he’s got extended right now. If I’m Jayden Crosse, I do not want to find out what happens when that punch lands.
Morales opens his eyes and looks away from his imprisoned arm, concentrating his gaze on a spot in the opposite direction.
Sanction: Surely you don’t think it’s gonna be over that fast, though. Look at Morales. I think he’s starting to try and work his way out of this. The rookie starts to reach out, his hand following his eye, his fingers moving up and down in little waves of energy, before clenching that hand into a fist.
Tempest: He’ll probably make it out, but will he try that punch with the arm weakened?
Despite the awkward angle, Morales manages to start clubbing his opponent over the head with that fist. After three or four punches, the Crossebow’s grip starts to weaken, and A.J. slides it out of harm’s way before rising halfway to his feet, pivoting, and dropping an elbow to Crosse’s upper back. As the two men try to regain their footing, Morales picks up his opponent and starts to lift. But Crosse manages to get an arm up and push himself backwards out of Morales’s grip. Crosse throws a wild swipe at Morales as he does so, but whiffs completely and ends up rolling backwards.
Tempest: Come on, don’t let it get away from ya... The Chicagoan leans back on the ropes for a second, then climbs out of the ring to catch his breath. His opponent, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to get to a neutral corner and lean back.
Sanction: Think they’re starting to tire out here, Temps?
Tempest: I don’t think so. When your body moves faster than your brain and you’re just throwing out moves before you know what you’re going for, you start to get sloppy--as we saw from these guys’ last attacks. I think both of these guys are smart enough to try and recenter for a moment before they try again.
Jayden takes a plastic cup to the back from a rowdy member in the audience. It doesn’t do anything in terms of damage, but all the same, the Chicagoan turns around and spits in the cup’s direction. The crowd, understandably, starts booing.
Tempest: Uh-oh, Crosse better get back in before he starts uma Guerra do Ibirapuera!
Sanction: You speak Portuguese, Temps?
Tempest: I mean, I’ve picked up at least ten or twenty words while we’ve been down here.
Jayden refocuses on the ring and climbs back in as A.J. approaches the center.
Sanction: Let’s see how things pick up this time.
The two stay cautious until A.J. rushes in and lands a European uppercut. Crosse rolls back with the punch, recovers, and then lands one of his own. Crosse reaches in, getting Morales into a front facelock, and hits a quick suplex. Crosse holds him there for the pin…
Morales gets a shoulder up.
Tempest: No surprises there. These guys aren’t even close to bringing out the big guns yet.
Morales shoves Crosse away, and before the Chicagoan can get fully upright, Morales gets behind him, wraps his arms around the Crossebow’s torso, and goes for a German suplex.
Sanction: And Morales responds to the suplex with a suplex of his own.
Tempest: Karma, am I right?
Morales gets back and starts running for the ropes. As he does so, Crosse climbs back to his feet, waiting patiently.
Sanction: Uh-oh, what’s Crosse thinking?
Before Morales can make a clear move for an attack, Crosse leaps into the air and gets his legs around the rookie’s neck, whipping him down to the ground.
Tempest: This is why you don’t do a running nothing.
“You call yourself a luchador?” yells Crosse as he gets back up, to the crowd’s consternation. “I’m the luchador in this, baby...I’m the luchador in this…”
Tempest: Really, man?
Sanction: A.J. Morales, of course, comes here from a lucha libre promotion near San Francisco, and when he takes to the air, it’s pretty clear where his influences come from.
Morales, understandably, doesn’t take this too well. He gets up, and before Crosse can get away, he lands a hurricanrana of his own, taking it directly to a pin attempt. He gets both shoulders down and an arm around one leg…
Crosse springs out, practically using all his limbs.
Tempest: Hey, Mark, wait a sec. Did you notice something?
Tempest: They’ve been hitting each other with the same moves. They’ve traded uppercuts, they’ve traded suplexes, they’ve traded hurricanranas…these guys are feeling each other out and finding something familiar in each other’s styles.
As the two get up, they lock eyes...and Morales, a slight sly grin on his face, cocks his head to the side. Crosse, taking the opportunity to stunt, follows.
Sanction: I think they’re realizing it too!
Crosse makes a gesture with his hands, almost like he’s turning two knobs with his index and middle fingers. Morales shrugs and nods.
Sanction: What’s he calling for? Is this a trick?
Tempest: Guess we’ll have to find out.
The two men run past each other, rebounding off the ropes, and an “Ahhhh…” starts to rise from the crowd.
Sanction: And it's--
The two both go for spinning heel kicks, and improbably, they both land at the same time--Morales landing his strike to Crosse’s back, and Crosse to Morales’s head. The crowd releases the tension they’ve built with an “OHHH!”
Sanction: The mirroring continues!
Tempest: Somehow, I don’t think that’s the last we’ll see of those spinning heel kicks tonight.
Both men crash to the mat, reaching for the places where they got hit and rolling away from each other. After the crowd dies down a little, A.J. starts to struggle to his feet. He notices Crosse is situated pretty close to the ropes opposite the entrance ramp, and the gears in the rookie’s mind start spinning. Jayden rises, still somewhat dazed, and as he does so, A.J. turns around and dashes for the ropes.
Sanction: What’s Morales thinking?
Tempest: I hope he’s not trying to get new results out of old mistakes... Morales bounces off and turns around in one fluid motion, not losing a step in his momentum. He starts to raise an arm…
Tempest: OK, he’s not.
Crosse finally turns to Morales just as the rookie leaps into the air, and for his trouble, the Chicagoan takes a clothesline to the neck. The momentum sends both men tumbling over the top rope, and they land outside the ring, scrapping for position and mutually trying to use one another to break the fall.
Sanction: Oh, man, what a clothesline! The Crossebow and the Revolution brawl all the way up, wildly throwing punches as they try to separate from one another.
Sanction: And it’s chaos outside the ring! Morales and Crosse, fighting it out like it’s a bar brawl!
Tempest: Let’s just hope Crosse remembers this isn’t still a street fight... Finally, a hard shove from A.J. creates that space, and Crosse stumbles back, dangerously close to the ring post. The rookie crouches like a linebacker.
Sanction: Morales looking like he has something in mind here. A.J. unleashes, taking two long strides before attempting to tackle Jayden into the ring post.
Sanction: The spear!-- Jayden sidesteps, and Morales smashes shoulder-first into the post. He wraps around it for a moment before crumpling to the floor.
Sanction: Damn, that had to hurt!
Tempest: That’s that same arm that got put in an armbar earlier! If A.J.’s plan was to use that move to finish this, then that plan might have to go out the window. Crosse, looking down at the rookie, gets an evil look in his eye.
Sanction: And now, Jayden Crosse...what kind of machinations could be going on inside his mind?
Crosse picks up Morales, and with little regard for his opponent’s safety, wraps his arms around the rookie’s stomach, leans back, and slams Morales back-first to the ground.
Sanction: German suplex!
Crosse pushes off with his legs, flipping himself and his opponent over, then repeats the suplex.
Sanction: And another!
Crosse rolls through again, but this time, he lets go and shoves Morales towards the ring, forcing the rookie up and in.
Sanction: Looks like he’ll stop at three for that Chicago Theory, but three German suplexes in a row on the outside of the ring can’t be good for you.
Crosse follows, positioning himself on the top turnbuckle. Morales is clearly groggy from those suplexes. For a tense few seconds, he barely moves.
Tempest: Jayden didn’t give A.J. a second to recover there. And when you’re outside those ropes, every hit matters more. So a combo like that…
The camera cuts to an angle focused on Jayden Crosse, perched like a vulture. But Crosse cocks his head to the side.
Sanction: Wait a minute! Crosse was looking for an Airstrike, but now...
A quick cut back to the hardcam. Morales, whether out of awareness or dumb luck, has rolled away from the corner.
Tempest: Seems like more coup de grâce plans going to waste here.
Back to the previous angle. Crosse, thinking on the fly, rises a little, though still crouching, and slowly starts to strafe down the top rope parallel to Morales.
Sanction: Doesn’t look like that’s going to deter the Chicago Crossebow in the least here.
A.J. rises to his elbows and knees, not making use of the ropes even though he’s close by them. He gets to a kneeling position. The Revolution finally stands...and Crosse jumps straight up.
Tempest: Wait, why did he--
Crosse comes back down and bounds off the top rope towards Morales, arms outstretched. A faint “Ohhh…” rising from the crowd prompts Morales to step back, right into Crosse’s waiting hands.
Sanction: Oh, no. Crosse grabs hold and brutally slams Morales back-first to the mat. The sound reverberates throughout the room.
Sanction: Second City Strike! Second City Strike to A.J. Morales!
Tempest: Oh my God!
Crosse bounds up effortlessly and fires an imaginary arrow towards the sky.
“CROSSE BOW BAYBAAAAAY!” Roughly a third of the audience boos in response.
Sanction: Well, it looks like he squandered whatever kind of impression he just made on the crowd.
Tempest: Oh, come on, it’s not like these people are judging the results.
Crosse starts looking around, trying to figure out his next move. He comes to a calculation pretty quickly, and he reaches down to Morales. Crosse grabs his opponent by the wrist and ankle. [/ “Think you can beat me, huh, ya little shit?”
Crosse starts to take quick, short steps back towards the turnbuckle he originally ascended when he got back in the ring.
Sanction: And it looks like Crosse still wants that Airstrike.
[b]“I’ll show you your place...here’s your damn place!”
The crowd doesn’t necessarily understand all Jayden says, but they don’t need to. The venom in his voice tells them all they need to know. The boos start to swell louder.
Tempest: You kidding? I think Crosse wants this guy out of competition. Crosse climbs the turnbuckle again, bending his knees in their proper position…
Sanction: Here it comes!
...and then he stops, rising to stand again and firing more imaginary arrows. He shoots one towards the ceiling and another down at Morales.
“How’ssat for a revolution, hah? How'ssat, rookie?”
Sanction: ...or not.
The crowd continues to rain down boos.
“Oh, shut up! He shoulda stayed in California!”
Tempest: Really, bruh? Morales, all the while, starts to stir. He closes his eyes for a second, opens them again, and starts to grit his teeth in anticipation.
Tempest: Look, A.J.’s waking up! Jayden’s wasting valuable time! Crosse crouches down, finally ready to fire off his killing bolt. He launches into the air with a fast-moving corkscrew.
Sanction: Crosse takes the shot, and...
At the apex of the Crossebow’s jump, A.J. rolls towards the ropes. THUD! Jayden hits the mat squarely on his ass, and the sound reverberates throughout the arena.
Sanction: He missed! The Airstrike missed!
Tempest: I told you he was wasting time!
Jayden clutches his tailbone, his mouth wide open, and his expressions rapidly cycle back and forth between confusion and pain--primarily as he alternately squints and goes bug-eyed.
Tempest: He shot off his imaginary ammo, and he went for the real thing, there was nothing left in his quiver!
A.J., meanwhile, rises to his feet and starts nodding. He raises his fist, and the cheers start to rise as the young rocker ascends the ropes.
Sanction: ...Temps, you’re not making sense.
Tempest: Whatever! You know what I’m getting at!
As Crosse starts to reach his feet, still keeping a palm flat on the small of his own back, A.J. licks his lips in anticipation. He goes into a mock crane stance, like he’s nine again and watching the final scene from The Karate Kid, and makes two quick kicks with his raised right leg before bringing it back down.
Sanction: Well, it looks like A.J. Morales is cocking back a final shot of his own…
Tempest: Wait, wait, I know what it is.
Crosse finally turns around, and the second he does, A.J. leaps off the top rope, letting loose a spinning heel kick with his left leg.
Tempest: He’s gonna do it--
Jayden catches the kick directly on the side of his jaw. His arms fly out in a fencing motion, and he drops flat on his back. A wave of cheers pops off before either man lands.
Sanction: Boom, headshot!
Tempest: I knew it!
Morales, seizing the opportunity, rolls Crosse away from the ropes, drops to his knees, and goes for the cover.
Sanction: Here it goes!
*DING DING DING!*
Ramirez: And your winner, “The Revolution,” A! J! Mooooooraleeeeees!
Tempest: What a debut performance from A.J. Morales!
Sanction: Temps, how did you know he would go for that spinning heel kick off the top rope?
Tempest: What? He did one on the ground earlier, he did one off the top rope in his video package--
Sanction: The one with the leaping punch you kept mentioning and he never went for?
Tempest: Oh, come on, Mark, I can speculate.
A.J. raises his fist in the same salute from before as the referee holds his arm up. He makes the move to help Crosse up, but the Chicagoan seems to be coming to and climbing up on his own, so Morales shrugs and lets him do it himself. He retrieves his leather jacket, now lying on the steel steps, puts it on, and starts making his way around ringside, giving out high-fives and fist bumps.
Sanction: But what does this mean if you're Jayden Crosse right now?
Tempest: I'd say it means you stop taking so much time to taunt and start getting ready for that next fight. If he lets his ego get too bruised, he'll keep having nights like this all over the world.