JC: Alright Duke, it’s time for the culmination of five rounds of blood, sweat and tears.
ID: Bloody hell, Jesse, we’re not talking about my family reunion now.
JC: No sir, Duke, we’re talking about the 2008 TEAM Invitational Tournament finals. Mike Randalls and Ravager, squaring off for the Chad Merritt Trophy. Interestingly enough, Duke, these are the fifth and sixth different wrestlers to contend for the Trophy. No one has repeated in the finals of this tournament.
ID: Useless trivia. Bah. Next thing you’ll be telling everyone that the Queen likes boysenberry scones with her tea.
JC: Tea with the Queen isn’t my forte, Duke. That’s yours. Mine is TEAM, and if this match isn’t an instant classic, I’ll eat my hat.
ID: Bah, bloody baseball caps aren’t hats. You need a right well bowler, you do.
JC: Riiight. So, to the match, Duke, what are your, or more specifically, your uncle’s thoughts on the final?
ID: Well, I advised my uncle not to bet on this match because he’s under investigation from the FBI for illegal betting rings funded by off-shore hedge funds.
JC: Okay then, so if that’s the case, why don’t you earn your money as a color commentator and break the match down, mkay?
ID: Well, honestly, this match should be stiffer than a pair of overstarched knickers. Randalls has been known to maim people without thought, and Ravager has earned himself a reputation as being a shooter. The number of welts caused by both men in their careers numbers in the thousands.
JC: See people? He can still commentate.
ID: Bloody wanker.
JC: I didn’t know you cared. Still though, one more thing to add here. Randalls hasn’t won a major World Championship or tournament in over a decade, but he’s among the CSWA’s most decorated superstars in their long and glorious history. Ravager, along with a certain star with one name and an exclamation point for an appellation, is pretty much the brightest superstar in the annals of NAPW. All of that combines to make for a dream match of sorts, although that angle has flown somewhat under the radar.
ID: Fair point.
JC: More poignant analysis from the Iron Duke. Alright, it looks like we’re ready to go, so let’s...
[Chapel is interrupted by the sounds of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic over the PA.]
PA: Mother Earth has been knocked up for the third time... for y’all have knocked her up.
[The crowd erupts at the theme song for the TEAM Champion of Champions. The cheers are amplified as the man himself, dressed in blue jeans and a TEAM Invitational Tournament official t-shirt, CoC belt draped across his right shoulder, enters the arena.]
JC: Holy crap! It’s Nova!
ID: What in the bloody blazes is he doing out here?
JC: I don’t know exactly, but I have to think he’s coming to get an eagle’s eye view of the action. Remember, the winner of this match gets a shot at him.
ID: Bah, he’d better not be out here to influence the decision so he gets the easier matchup.
JC: Um, Duke? I don’t know if you could call either one of these guys easy. Ravager and Randalls are among the best in the world today, and either one could stretch you from here all the way to Jacksonville.
ID: Well, I full well intend to get to the bottom of this because he’s heading our way.
[Nova picks up a headset and sits down next to Chapel.]
NOVA: Whazzup playaz?
JC: This is certainly a surprise, Caesar, but it’s a welcome one.
ID: I’ll be the judge of that. I’ll be here to make sure that you don’t engage in any tomfoolery during this match.
NOVA: Whoa, whoa, whoa, chill out, Duke. There ain’t gonna be no tomfoolery, stevefoolery, jessfoolery or even quentinfoolery during this match. I’m gonna sit back and scout the cat who’s gonna come challenge me for this.
[Pats the title on his shoulder.]
ID: Sure, you say that now, but when you start interfering to get the easier draw in your next defense...
NOVA: Easier? Christ, Duke, neither one of these guys is going to be easy, let me tell you, and I have business with both of ‘em. Ravager beat me for that title he’s carrying around right now, and Randalls, well, let’s just say there’s more between us than what I can possibly explain on air.
JC: Told ya.
ID: I don’t bloody believe either one of you.
JC: Regardless of what you believe, it’s time to start. Let’s go to Marvin Darling for the intros.
[The OLD-SKOOL MIC drops down from the ceiling and Marvin Darling prepares to introduce the competitors.]
MD: This final match in thuh 2008 TEAM Invitational Tournament is scheduled faw one fall an’ is faw the Chad Merritt Trophy!
MD: Introducin’ first...
[Cue up “Path” by Apocalyptica.]
MD: ...from the borough of Brooklyn in New Yawk City, New Yawk, weighin’ in at 210 pounds, he is thuh TEAM Challenge Champion, thuh London bracket Champion and a bona fide shootah... RAAAAAAVAGERRRRRRRRR!!!
[Ravager enters to a massive round of applause. He’s wearing his trademark plain black trunks and boots with white tape around his wrists. The TEAM Challenge Championship is fastened securely around his waist.]
JC: There he is guys, the Challenge Champion for 15 months and counting, although it’s not on the line right now.
NOVA: I still remember the day he beat me for that title. At least all up to the part where I fell from the top of the cage. Still, I saw the tape, and I still haven’t gotten my receipt.
ID: Aha! So you’re rooting for Ravager! Guards!
JC: Pipe down.
[The Challenge Champion hops onto the apron, slowly enters and hands his Challenge Championship to referee Kevin Bates, who immediately hands it to the timekeeper without raising it up. Ravager’s music dies down.]
MD: And his opponent...
[Cue up “Exit” by the Black Crowes.]
MD: ...from thuh desolate deserts of New Mexico, weighin’ in at 243 pounds, he is thuh Orlando bracket Champion and thuh CSWA’s craziest legend... Mike... “The WOLF...” RAAAAAAAANDAAAAAAAALLS!!!
[Randalls stalks from out of the back to another enormous pop. He stops four feet away from the entrance, looks up to his left and pans his head to his right before stalking to the ring.]
JC: Listen to this ovation for Randalls! Judging from this reaction, you’d never know that he was one of Hornet’s main antagonists in Greensboro.
NOVA: Fans have short memories, Jessmeister. I know this first hand. Back when...
ID: Oh no, no anecdotes to cover up your sinister intentions.
JC: Ladies and gentlemen, The Iron Duke.
ID: Bah, piss off, Jesse.
JC: Caes, don’t you love it when me and the Duke talk all lovey-dovey?
[Randalls enters the ring and takes his corner. Referee Kevin Bates calls them over to read them the riot act.]
JC: We’re almost ready, and you can cut the tension in the air with a knife.
[DING DING DING]
JC: And we’re off, although they’re still eyeing each other up. I’m not sure either guy knows how they’re going to start this match. Very tentative, you’d think these guys didn’t have five matches of experience behind them.
ID: Or maybe they both of them have seen the path the other has torn through this field and don’t want to be the first to make a mistake.
JC: See Caes, he’s good for things other than divulging gambling debts and accusing guest commentators of ulterior motives.
JC: They’re still circling, Ravager reaches in, but Randalls shoves him out! Right chop from the Wolf and this match is on! Ravager answers! Randalls again! Ravager! Randalls! They’re trading chops like anthropomorphic lumberjack oaks!
CROWD: RANDALLS! RAVAGER! RANDALLS! RAVAGER! RANDALLS...
JC: Ravager blocks it... headbutt! Randalls is reeling, and Ravager gets the first big shot in. He's got Randalls and whips him into the corner.
[Ravager charges in.]
NOVA: Impressive start for Ravager here.
JC: Spoke too soon, because he just ate a boot from Randalls!
ID: A nice filet of sole!
[Awkward silence from the booth. Ravager staggers back, and Randalls follows up with two GUNFIRE-esque chops.]
ID: Bloody what?
JC: Never do that again, Duke.
ID: Sod off!
JC: Ravager's reeling, and Randalls charges in for the follow up... no! Ravager catches the knee...
JC: Short-arm clothesline! Randalls to the canvas, and Ravager's back in control.
[Ravager brings Randalls back to his feet.]
ID: Bugger, I knew I should have gotten fish 'n chips before the match the way this is going.
[Ravager lands an overhand chop to Randalls' head.]
JC: Well, we can always send you. Me and Caes can hold down the fort ourselves.
ID: Oh bugger off.
JC: I'd love to, but... Randalls catches that overhead chop! Hammerlock from the Wolf and...
[WHAM! Randalls drives Ravager chest first into the corner.]
NOVA: Whoa! That was a brutal move.
[Ravager falls back.]
JC: You're talking about a guy who eats scorpions for breakfast, scorpions for lunch and a sensible dinner...
ID: ...that bloody includes scorpions!
[Randalls grabs Ravager by the hair.]
JC: I'm surprised "Brutal" isn't his middle name, and more evidence, dragging the Challenge Champion to his feet by the hair. Christ, that's...
[Ravager twists around and rams his shoulder into Randalls' gut.]
JC: Par for the course for that man who has become a legend up North and here in TEAM! He's got Randalls by the wrist and Irish whip... nope, no time for Duke to say Bloody Irish! Reversal and Ravager is whipped HARD into the corner!
NOVA: Dude, I'm starting to feel nauseous from the see-saw ride.
[Randalls charges into the corner with a Hornet splash.]
ID: Or it could be from all that bloody dope you smoke.
JC: Easy, Duke, easy. Randalls with the impact, but can he capitalize and sustain some momentum here? Ravager stumbling forward... chop... no! Ravager blocks it and another headbutt!
ID: He's got a bloody iron head.
NOVA: I can personally vouch for that.
[Ravager rushes in with an elbow to Randalls' face.]
ID: Which is why you want him to lose and face Randalls!
NOVA: Yeah Duke, you really got me.
JC: Stop it, Duke... ooh, gnarly shot to Randalls' face from Ravager there, and I'm surprised the Wolf isn't busted open there. The Challenge Champion follows in with a grapple and a front facelock. Sup... no, Randalls blocks it and shoves Ravager into the corner. He stumbles forward...
[CRACK! Roundhouse kick to the face of Ravager.]
NOVA: Good gravy!
JC: JESUS CHRIST HE DAMN NEAR KICKED RAVAGER'S FACE OFF!
NOVA: I could have told you those feet should be registered as lethal weapons.
JC: You're telling me. Ravager up slowly and Randalls just descends on him like a swarm of locusts with those chops.
ID: Ravager's chest is going to look like pudding after this match.
NOVA: I could definitely go for some pudding right now.
JC: No comment. Randalls whipping Ravager... reversal! Randalls' back eats the turnbuckles. Now, can Ravager get some momentum going. Right now, it just seems like no one can build.
[Ravager chops Randalls.]
ID: All this flip-flopping is turning me topsy-turvy there. I'm about to toss my cookies.
NOVA: Dude, don't aim at me.
JC: Ravager again... no! The Wolf blocks the chop and tosses Ravager in the corner! He's returning the favor with those rapid fire machine gun chops!
NOVA: Hey, I had a pretty good title defense tonight. Maybe I'll just buy Ravvy an ice pack for his chest.
ID: Aha! Buying gifts for Ravager!
[Ravager slumps in the corner as Randalls steps back.]
JC: Dammit, Duke, cool it already, or else Nova's going to do what Randalls is about to do Ravager...
[Randalls charges knee first into the corner, but Ravager moves last second.]
JC: Could this be the break Ravager's been looking for? Randalls is holding his knee.
NOVA: Dude, Peter Griffin style!
JC: You're telling me, Caes. Ravager up slowly, and now Randalls is getting up. Both of these guys are looking a bit worse for wear, but that's what happens when you're constantly switching between offense and defense. Ravager's up, and he's got Randalls in his sights. He's got him by the bad leg... NO! Randalls with the enzugiri, and once again, the momentum has shifted in this match.
ID: Bah, what momentum?
JC: Touché, Duke. Both men kinda slow to get up again.
ID: Well, even though it seems quite early, maybe it's not fatigue as much as it's both men trying to figure out a way to coax an advantage for more than a bloody minute.
JC: Excellent point Duke, although Randalls has his wits about him and he's wasting NO time getting over to Ravager. Grapple, no! Ravager powers out and just shoves Randalls back!
NOVA: Frustration setting in...
JC: You're telling me, Caes. Randalls looks like he's just seen a ghost. He charges in... Ravager with the quick thinking! Drop toe hold, and Randalls is eating the bottom turnbuckle for a mid-match snack!
ID: I can't help but think that Randalls fell right into Ravager's trap there, because a shove is quite unbecoming of the Challenge Champion.
JC: It could be, Duke, but remember, frustration has a way of throwing people off their games. Ravager has Randalls up and in a rear facelock, but Randalls won't go gently into the good night. It's getting downright crazy in there. Randalls breaks out of the hold and plants a shove right on Ravager's chest!
ID: Turnabout is bloody fair play!
JC: Indeed it is, and now Ravager charges in, and Randalls is ready... Ravager stopped short! He stopped short! Elbow to the exposed face of the Wolf, and could this be the break that the Challenge Champion was looking for?
NOVA: Dude, how many more times are you going to say that?
JC: Until someone gets the break they were looking for! Ravager grabs Randalls and whips him into the cattycorner, charging in with the knee... Randalls moves! Jesus Christ, will someone please take control in there!
ID: Bloody hell, Jesse, they aren't going to do so at your command. It's clear these two are too evenly matched.
[Ravager grabs his knee, Randalls a breather.]
JC: Like the French and English at soccer?
ID: Bite your tongue, you filthy American blackguard!
JC: Ladies and gentlemen, the Iron Duke. Randalls slowly up, and Ravager still writhing on the mat. You'd think that these men have gone through a war if you were looking at them for the first time, but less than ten minutes have elapsed so far. Such a frenetic pace.
NOVA: I think one or both of them oughtta slow it up, or else this match'll end up as a double count-out.
ID: And we wouldn't want that happening now, would we?
JC: No guys, we wouldn't. Both men are finally up, and they're both a bit wobbly. Ravager in for the chop, but Randalls just throws the attempt out of his way and lands one of his own! Dear Lord, that seems to be the weapon of choice, and Randalls lands another one! He grabs and an Irish whip... no! Ravager reverses it! Randalls heading in and Ravager nails him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker!
NOVA: Here's to never having to face either one of them.
ID: Aha! Now you're ducking the competition!
JC: Christ Duke, give it a rest. Ravager now has a chance to get the upper hand that has eluded both wrestlers until now. He's got Randalls up again, another attempt at a whip. He's... no! Randalls reverses it into a rear waistlock...
JC: OH MY GOD! Randalls just drilled Ravager with a snap German suplex!
NOVA: Dude, I don't care how good you are or how jacked you are, a suplex from the Wolf is gonna keep you from getting up quickly. I think you got the advantage you were looking for, Jessmeister.
JC: I think so too, Caes, because Ravager's got that glazed over look in his eyes. Randalls is hobbling around a bit, but you can tell he's a little better off right now.
ID: A little Jesse? Randalls is a bloody reserve goaltender compared to Ravager right now.
[Randalls starts running the ropes.]
JC: Oh you and your footie references... elbow drop from Randalls, and he's going to make the first pin attempt of the match... one... two... no! Ravager kicks out.
ID: Well, this has quickly become the most violent game of Pong in human history.
NOVA: Bong? Where?
ID: Goodie, now he’s looking to, how do you Americans say it – “toke up a doobie” – right in the bloody middle of a match where he’s clearly scared out of his jammies by both combatants.
NOVA: If we weren’t live on pay per view, I’d KEEL YOU.
JC: He’s got diplomatic immunity, Caes, so, bad idea. Speaking of—
ID: Ooh, Fancy Segue Man.
JC: This might not be the best idea for Ravager’s future health. Double underhook by Randalls … suplex … SANDBAGGED! Randalls tries again … OH FOR TWO! Third times the charm?
NOVA: Uh, nope.
JC: Ravager floats under … into a backslide!
NOVA: OF DOOOOOOM~!
ID: Bloody Americans.
JC: Randalls’ shoulders are down … one … two … NO! Close nearfall from Ravager, as Randalls might’ve tried to go to the well with that underhook suplex once too often.
ID: Lesson for you, children. If at first you don’t succeed, stop trying, because you’ll always fail in the end.
NOVA: Inspiring message of hope, Duke.
[While Nova and Duke break for witty banter, Ravager looks to exploit an opening, kicking Randalls in the right shoulder before he gets to his feet, then clamping down on a front facelock.]
JC: Rav has him hooked … slingshot … into a snap suplex! That could be—
NOVA/ID: The break he was looking for. WE KNOW.
JC: Ravager holds on, rolls through, he could be looking for another! Slingshot … NO! Randalls turns it into a crossbody coming off the ropes … but Ravager rolls through, and PLANTS the Wolf with another suplex!
NOVA: And there’s the bright, shiny side of persistence.
JC: Exactly right, Caes. These two are going back and forth, move for move, hold for hold, counter for counter, and any advantage that either can exploit for any period of time is going to be huge in the end.
[Randalls manages to get to all fours, by Ravager quickly hits the ropes and leaps into the air.]
JC: And here comes Ravager … knee right to the back of Randalls’ neck, driving him face-first into the mat at the same time!
ID: Unorthodox, yet effective. I like it.
NOVA: You would.
ID: I don’t even know what that means!
NOVA: Neither do I. Sometimes, I just feel like being contrary for no reason whatsoever.
JC: Ravager pulls Randalls up … spinning chop right to the side of the neck! And another! He’s trying to weaken Randalls neck to set up a variety of his finishing maneuvers.
NOVA: He’s got that Garotte, plus the Dragon Suplex and that nasty-ass looking brainbuster deal, which all result in quite a bit of neck pain, so I’m thinking this might be an A-Plus strategy.
ID: One that your scared off, scaredy boy?
NOVA: Quiet you.
JC: These two have been handing out chops by the plateful tonight, and here’s one more to the neck from the Challenge Champion! And one to the chest … gutwrench … suplex time …
JC: Unbelievable! While Mike Randalls was being flipped over in that gutwrench, he pushed off Ravager, launched himself over the top rope and landed feet first on the apron!
ID: This man has clearly taken some gymnastics lessons.
NOVA: Hopefully not for those “16-year-old” Chinese girls from the Olympics.
[Randalls tenses himself as a confused Ravager spins around. When he does, the Wolf springs off the top rope.]
JC: Randalls takes flight … springboard spinning leg lariat! He placed it perfectly and caught Ravager right on the temple.
NOVA: Most wrestlers have absolutely no accuracy with all their mega-flippy crap. Not Mike Randalls.
ID: Or, he’s just a blind squirrel that found a nut.
NOVA: That too.
JC: The Wolf is stalking his prey, ready to pounce.
ID: Oy! Only I may utilitze the flowery prose, Jesse.
JC: Gotcha, Duke. Ravager’s up … Randalls lets those feet fly!
JC: Standing back hook kick right on the button! Ravager is wobbly, and Randalls takes advantage … wrist-clutch Northern Lights Suplex! With a bridge!
Not this time! Randalls just scored the closest nearfall of the match thus far, and this relentless pace might be getting to the Challenge Champion!
ID: Whenever Randalls is involved, you have to be able to go a million miles a minute, and though Ravager’s a tough chap, but this pace might be too much for him.
NOVA: Yeah, kinda scary.
ID: HA! You admit it! You’re just a scared, little…
[The camera cuts to the booth for a Nova DEATHSTARE directed at the Iron Duke. Needless to say, he shuts up before we cut back to the action.]
JC: Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached a first in history; a speechless Iron Duke. Randalls pulls Ravager to his feet … stiff right hand, and he shoots him off the ropes. Discus punch – nobody home! Randalls spins around … into a headbutt from Ravager! Randalls fires back with a chop! Another headbutt! Chop! Headbutt! Chop! Headbutt!
NOVA: Dear Lord, I’m getting whiplash.
JC: These two warriors are exchaning these trademark strikes back and forth in the middle of the ring! Knife-edge from Randalls – this one’s cut off! Headbutt! And another! One more, and the Wolf’s on the ropes!
ID: Quite literally, actually.
[With Randalls on the ropes, Ravager sprints straight at him.]
JC: Here comes Ravager … SWEET HOLY HELL!
JC: Ravager went to clothesline Randalls over the ropes, but the Wolf, working on instinct alone, backdropped Ravager over the top and to the floor!
CROWD: HOLY SH*T! HOLY SH*T! HOLY SH*T!
ID: I’ll have to agree with the profane plebeians here in Atlanta, Chapel.
JC: Let’s check that one out again!
[In SUPER-SLO-MO we see Randalls press Ravager overhead and launch him to the outside. Thankfully for the future of the Challenge Champion’s spinal column, he barely manages to land flat on his back rather than his head and neck. As we cut back to a live full-screen, that doesn’t seem to be much consolance to Ravager, who is holding his back as he tries to get to his feet.]
NOVA: I think the pretty black mats might’ve just saved Ravager’s life. Although I wouldn’t put good odds on it continuing the longer he’s in there with Randalls.
ID: Exactly what odds are you talking about, because my uncle is looking for some action.
NOVA: Crap. I think I just opened a can of worms.
JC: Indeed you did, Caes. Ravager crawls to his feet … here comes Randalls … CORKSCREW SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Showing no regard for his own well-being or that of his opponent, Mike Randalls hurled himself over the top and brought all of his 243 pounds onto Ravager!
CROWD: THAT WAS AWESOME! THAT WAS AWESOME!
NOVA: They’ve got a point, Chapel.
ID: And not a bloody bad one, either.
JC: Both men are in a heap on the outside, but Randalls is getting up! He took as much of that plancha as Ravager did, but the Wolf is to his feet. He pulls Ravager up … and another chop! Now an Irish whip –
ID: Bloody Irish.
JC: -- thanks for the interruption, Duke, as Ravager SLAMS into the retaining wall.
NOVA: Good thing, too, cause if that wall wasn’t there, he would just run forever and ever. That’s part of the rules of pro wrestling, kids. If you get Irish whipped, nothing can stop you from running except a solid object.
JC: Enlightening, Caes. Randalls knows Ravager is reeling, and this may be the time to do some serious damage.
[Looking Ravager dead in the eye, Randalls breaks into a sprint that’d make Usain Bolt proud.]
JC: Here comes Randalls … Yakuza Kick …
NOVA: Ooh, Seven-Ten Split!
JC: I don’t know exactly how, but Ravager got out of the way at the last instant and Randalls’ leg got hung up on the barricade! That has to be painful.
ID: Hopefully young Michael did his mystic Eastern stretching exercises earlier tonight.
NOVA: He did his mystic Eastern SOMETHING, I can tell you that. I’ve seen things man. THINGS.
ID: We get you, things.
[Ravager quickly rolls into the ring to break Kevin Bates’ count, then gets back out before Randalls can emerge from his sticky situation.]
JC: Randalls is still hung up … and now Ravager hooks that leg from behind! Randalls is fighting back, firing elbows to the Challenge Champions head … OH MY! Leg-hook Saito Suplex on to the mats outside! My GAWD, Mike Randalls just got dropped straight onto his neck!
NOVA: That’s a no buys situation.
JC: Ravager rolls Mike Randalls into the ring. After this, if he can make the cover, Ravager’s got to be just three seconds away from the Merritt Trophy! The cover…
AND A HALF! I’m not sure how, but Mike Randalls kicked out after being BRUTALLY suplexed on the floor, and we’re still going!
ID: Randalls is one tough bastard, Jesse, and the time Ravager needed to roll him into the ring gave him just enough time to recover.
JC: Just enough is exactly right, Duke. Ravager brings Randalls up … and another headbutt! He’s just been using his own head as a blunt instrument tonight!
ID: Don’t talk about blunts around the stoner.
NOVA: Hey! I resemble that remark.
JC: Children, please. Mike Randalls is getting a little dizzy with all these shots to the head, and one more isn’t going to help that cause! Ravager hooks the arm … and sends Randalls into the turnbuckles. The Challenge Champion follows with the charge … European Uppercut in the corner!
ID: Bloody American stealing from the good continent of Europe. Somebody send Scotland Yard after this thief!
NOVA: Yeah, we’ll get right on that, Dukey.
JC: I’m dialing my invisible phone right now, Caes. Randalls is slumped in the corner, but not for long! Ravager scoops him up … maybe time for some Emerald Frosion?
NOVA: Dunno, but it sounds tasty.
JC: He’s got him hooked … WAIT! Randalls rolled into a sunset flip! One … two … no! Not enough – but Randalls held onto the leg and rolled straight into a kneebar! Brilliant display of catch wrestling and jiu-jitsu from the legend!
ID: He’s a jack of all trades, Jesse. A Renaissance Man, a –
NOVA: Cram it.
ID: Blast, now look what you’ve done. You’ve made me forget the rest of my superlatives!
NOVA: Mission accomplished, then.
JC: Thanks, he might not have stopped. And neither will Mike Randalls! Ravager is trying to keep his knee bent the right way to try and relieve the pressure, but the Wolf is cranking on this hold with all his might, trying to tear that left knee out of its socket!
ID: I certainly hope not. I know we’re on pay per view, but I’m still not sure limb removal fits TEAM’s broadcasts standards.
NOVA: I don’t think he needs to go that far, Duke. Even if Ravager can withstand this, that knee won’t be in good shape, and that won’t help if Randalls gets the chance to slap on that Santa Fe Cloverleaf.
JC: That move sent him to the finals, Caes, but this hold might get him the Merritt Trophy and a shot at your title! He’s got that knee straightened out, and the Challenge Champion is flailing for the ropes!
CROWD: PLEASE DON’T TAP! PLEASE DON’T TAP! PLEASE DON’T TAP!
ID: Ew, he’s knee is being bent all funny.
NOVA: My thoughts exactly, Duke.
JC: Ravager is inching his way towards those ropes! Almost there … he brushes a finger across the bottom rope – but Randalls rolls him away! He’s back into the center of the ring!
NOVA: For the love of all-powerful deities everywhere, this is inhumanly painful!
ID: Very PC, champ.
JC: And dead on! Ravager is fighting with every ounce of his being not to submit! He’s inches from slapping the mat … but he’s still crawling towards the ropes! It’s a race between his pain and his will to survive!
YES! He got the ropes!
[MASSIVE CROWD POP~!]
JC: He’s free after nearly two full minutes in that hold, but does he have enough left to stand up and fight?
NOVA: I think Randalls might test that right now.
[Kevin Bates holds Randalls at bay as Ravager uses the ropes to pull himself up. Once the Challenge Champion stands gingerly, the Wolf resumes the attack.]
JC: Randalls right back on the offensive … and he hacks away at that bad left leg with a buzzsaw kick! And another! Ravager is hopping around the ring on that bad leg, but Randalls grabs it … kneebreaker! That might be enough! Mike Randalls might be the 2008 TEAM Invitational Champion! He hooks the leg…
THRRRRNOOOO!!!! Ravager refuses to stay down!
ID: He’s a stubborn one. Good for all the kiddies watching, bad if he wants to walk after his 40th birthday.
JC: He’s taking a profound beating in this match, Duke, but he’s given just as much as he’s taken, and he is still firing back! Randalls picks him up, but gets a headbutt to the sternum! And another, but Randalls cuts him off with another kick to the bad leg!
NOVA: Ravager wasn’t showing an obvious weak point, so Randalls made one for himself and now he’s whittling that knee down to nothing.
JC: Randalls with another kick to the leg, now one to the body … CAUGHT! Ravager caught the kick … and even THAT doesn’t turn out well! Black Moon Rising from Mike Randalls! He drilled Ravager right in the face with that devastating sidewinder enziguiri.
NOVA: He puts so much torque and power into that kick that when it connects, you swear you’ve been hit by an SUV.
ID: You having extensive experience running into speeding cars, of course.
NOVA: Hey, what I do in my spare time is none of your business, pal.
[Randalls, who landed on his face executing the Black Moon Rising, gets to his feet and signals to the crowd that it’s all over.]
JC: Randalls says he wants to put the finishing touches on his Path to the Merritt Trophy! He hooks the legs, could be going for the Santa Fe Cloverleaf!
ID: If he hooks this in, Chapel, that trophy is his.
JC: Randalls trying to turn Ravager over … COUNTER! Ravager rolls him up! Shoulders are down!
NO! Ravager stunned Mike Randalls with the roll-up out of nowhere, but still can’t get the job done.
NOVA: He avoided having his ACL shredded into billions of tiny threads, though, so you’ve got a little silver lining.
JC: Good point, Caes. But, the Challenge Champion still can’t take control, as he eats yet ANOTHER vicious chop from Mike Randalls!
ID: This is the kind of game plan I appreciate, Chapel. Hitting a man so hard his immediate family feels it is a wonderful, wonderful strategy.
NOVA: It’s working damn well, too. Ravager’s chest is bleeding from all these chops, not something anyone particularly enjoys, including myself.
[Randalls follows up with an elbow to the temple, then whips Ravager into the corner and charges.]
JC: Randalls trying to do some more damage … HANDSPING HORNET SPLAAAAAAAAASH –
NOVA: And the whiff!
JC: Ravager escaped again, and Randalls got a face full of turnbuckle! Now Ravager charges … knee to the back of the head!
ID: Somehow, he used his good knee to both jump and strike, but that still has to be painful.
JC: Quite, Duke. What does Rav have planned here? He’s placing Randalls’ face on the bottom turnbuckle…
JC: SILENCER! That brutal curb stomp on the bottom turnbuckle! That might’ve broken Mike Randalls’ nose!
NOVA: If that didn’t, this probably will.
JC: One more time with the Silencer! Back to back in the corner, and Mike Randalls is gonna need an appointment with a plastic surgeon in the morning!
ID: Not bloody likely. Randalls’ll probably take it as more representations of his sodding sacrifice. Blasted whacked-out Yanks.
[Sure enough, when Ravager scrapes Randalls out of the corner, the Wolf comes up bleeding.]
JC: Ravager’s got him down! The cover…
THRRRR – FOOT ON THE ROPES!
ID: Well, that was bloody close.
JC: Mike Randalls is barely conscious after those two Silencers, but somehow, me managed the ring awareness to drape his left foot on the bottom rope!
NOVA: Mystic ninja powers are a wonderful thing.
JC: Ravager pulls Randalls up, and nails him with another headbutt! He’s turned himself into a human battering ram tonight!
ID: And he’s opening up even more cuts on Randalls’ head.
JC: This’ll do some damage to the head, too … D-D-T! Right on the top of his head!
NOVA: That was nasty, Jess. N-A-S-T-Y, nasty.
ID: Oh, the little fraidy cat can spell? Want a cookie?
JC: We all want cookies, Duke. But, if you didn’t bring enough to share with everyone, we’ll have to take yours away.
ID: But it’s MY cookie!
NOVA: Whatever, dude.
[Randalls is dragged to his feet by Ravager, who slips behind and hooks in a full nelson as the crowd roars in anticipation.]
JC: Last Resort! He’s going for that patented Dragon Suplex! If he hits it, he’s taking the trophy home … but Randalls is blocking! He’s trying to glue his feet to the canvas and avoid this devastating suplex!
NOVA: With the MYSTIC NINJA POWERZ~!, I wouldn’t put it past him.
JC: Ravager trying to launch him overhead … but Randalls won’t go! He’s firing away at Ravager’s bad leg with mule kicks … and he breaks free! Ravager’s down to one knee!
[Randalls quickly hits the ropes.]
JC: Here comes the Wolf … SHINING WIZARD! Step-up knee strike to the side of the head! He scoops up Ravager … BRAINBUSTAH!!!!! That might do it!
THRRRRRRR – HE KICKED OUT! RAVAGER KICKED OUT!
NOVA: That’s all ya got, Duke?
ID: Well … then.
JC: These men have taken UNREAL amounts of punishment, but somehow, some way, neither man has given in yet!
ID: I could say they’re zombies or robots, but Mike Neely would probably sue my pants off.
NOVA: And the last thing anyone needs to see is you with your pants off.
JC: Damn straight.
[Ravager tries to fight his way up, but Randalls cuts him off with one more chop, then whips the Challenge Champion off the ropes.]
JC: Tilt-a-whirl from the Wolf … into a backbreaker! The Devastating one just chopped Ravager in two with that backbreaker!
ID: That’s stretching A BIT, Señor Hyperbole.
JC: Randalls with another whip … SPINEBUSTER … WHAT THE HELL?
NOVA: Okay, who hit the f**king pause button?
JC: Guillotine Choke! Ravager locked in a guillotine choke on his way down, and he stopped Mike Randalls dead in his tracks! If he can pull Randalls to the mat and scissor his legs around him, he might be able to pull this off!
ID: That’s one of the most unbelievable counters I’ve ever seen, Jesse. Worthy of the men who’ve held this fine trophy.
JC: Karl Brown, Dan Ryan, and now either Mike Randalls or Ravager will add their name to that vaunted list! And right now, Ravager could be just moments away from making his dream a reality! He’s got Randalls almost to the mat … wait just a minute! Randalls pulled him back up … and NOW he gets the spinebuster!
NOVA: That was freaking impressive.
JC: Mike Randalls mustered the strength to heave Ravager back into the air and slam him down!
[The crowd rises in anticipation again as Randalls hooks Ravager’s legs once again.]
JC: He’s got Ravager hooked … Santa Fe Cloverleaf!
ID: This is it!
JC: He’s wrenching … but he’s too close to the ropes! Ravager gets to the ropes and is still alive in the hunt for the Merritt Trophy!
NOVA: By a hair’s breadth, Chapel. If he was any further away, this thing would be FINISHED.
JC: Ravager’s back to his feet, but Randalls is on him once again! This man is relentless! Elbows back Ravager to the ropes … whip by Randalls … ROLLING ELBOW!
JC: Ravager just shook that off like it was NOTHING! Here comes Randalls again … rejected! Headbutt from Ravager! And another from the challenge champion! Randalls is staggering! Ravager scoops him up … EMERALD FROSION! This time he gets it, and now Ravager’s telling the crowd it’s all over!
ID: Has that worked yet?
JC: This time it might … GAROTTE! That deadly step-over toe hold cravate submission that’s put so many opponents away! He’s got it locked in smack dab in the center of the ring!
NOVA: He’s absolutely cranking away at Randalls’ back and neck, Chapel, and considering the damage that’s already been done, he can’t have any choice but to tap out.
JC: Ravager, the second seed in the London Region, is going to do it! Ronaldodinho, Cameron Cruise, Jonathan Marx, The Greatness that IS Olvir Arsvinnar, and now Mike Randalls will mark the road to victory!
NOVA: Maybe not!
ID: I don’t bloody believe this.
JC: Mike Randalls is still fighting! He’s refusing to tap out! This is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE!
CROWD: PLEASE DON’T TAP! PLEASE DON’T TAP! PLEASE DON’T TAP!
JC: The crowd here in Atlanta is BEGGING Mike Randalls to hold on! They don’t want this absolutely EPIC match to end!
CROWD: RAN-DALLS! RAN-DALLS! RAN-DALLS!
ID: These people are going absolutely bloody bonkers!
JC: And somehow, I have no idea on EARTH how, but Mike Randalls is inching his way towards the ropes! Second by second, inch by inch, he’s closing in on escape! Can he make it before he taps?
ID: No way.
JC: Almost to the ropes…
MAKES IT! Randalls gets a hand on the bottom ropes, and although I can’t imagine how, we’re still going here in Atlanta. Both of these men want the Merritt Trophy too badly to ever give in!
NOVA: That’s what it comes down to, Chapel. They’re too evenly matched on the mat to decide a winner, so this one is going to come down to heart, guts, determination and a threshold for pain. Right now, I can’t tell who has the edge on that front, either.
ID: It’s like Batman and the Joker, chaps. These two may just be destined to do this forever.
JC: And I don’t think these fans here in Atlanta, nor the fans watching at home, would care how long they went on!
[Randalls, bleeding from several spots on his face, pulls himself up using the ropes, breathing heavily. Ravager, still favoring his knee and bleeding from the chest, waits for Randalls to turn around.]
JC: Superkick from Ravager … right on the jaw
NOVA: And now it’s Mikey’s turn to show FIGHTING SPIRIT~!
ID: Enduring all the previous arse-kicking didn’t show that?
JC: Randalls whirls around … DISCUS CHOP … nobody home! Ravager dives … LARRRIAAATTOOOOOO!!!
ID: Well, somebody’s a little TOO excited.
JC: Ravager brings him up … full nelson … LAST RESORT! HE HIT IT! HE HIT IT! Dropped him right on that damaged neck! Ravager’s going to win the 2008 Merritt Trophy!
NO! NO! Sweet Lord above, Kevin Bates saw Mike Randalls get a shoulder up!
CROWD: THAT WAS THREE! THAT WAS THREE! THAT WAS THREE!
[CUT-TO: Slo-mo, split screen replay, showing Randalls lifting his right shoulder an inch off the canvas just before Bates’ hand landed for the third time.]
ID: Blimey, what a bloody sodding match!
NOVA: That about sums it up, Dukester.
[Not deterred, Ravager hooks Randalls for yet another Last Resort.]
JC: One more has to finish it off! Last Resort … RANDALLS FLIPS FREE! He lands on his feet, rear waistlock … BACK. DROP. DRIVAAAAAHHHH!!! Shades of A1E legend Big Dog!
ID: One legend to another. Not a bad way to go.
JC: This one’s got to be over! Randalls crawls over for the cover…
THRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR…NOOOOOOOO!!! NO! This time, it’s Ravager’s turn to stun all of Atlanta once again!
NOVA: Becoming kind of a regular occurrence here tonight.
JC: Randalls brings him up … but catches a headbutt! And another! He will not stop with these headbutts …
JC: Chop to the side of the head by Randalls! That one dazed Ravager AGAIN! Irish whip … here comes the Wolf … handspring … HOOOOOOORRRNEEETTT SPLAAAASSSSHHH!! This time he connects!
ID: He was bound to hit it at least ONCE.
JC: Randalls feeds a leg to the wobbly shooter … Black Moon Rising … NO! Ravager ducked and caught the leg! Wheelbarrow … into a half nelson driver from the Brooklyn native! Another absolutely astounding counter in this spectacular battle of wills!
NOVA: This is going to come down to who can survive long enough to hold the other man down for three seconds.
ID: Isn’t that what all wrestling matches come down to?
[Instead of going for the cover, Ravager drags Randalls up and sets him on the top rope.]
JC: Ravager goes up top! Could be the Instant Karma!
ID: This won’t just win the match, this’ll break his bloody neck.
JC: Ravager’s got his head hooked … but Randalls won’t go up for him! He’s firing away with lefts and rights to the Challenge Champion’s body, and he broke the facelock! But that won’t stop Ravager! Headbutt! Chop! Headbutt! Chop! The battle is joined one more time, this time 10 feet above the arena floor!
NOVA: A treacherous position for both men here.
CROWD: RAV-A-GER! (LET’S GO RANDALLS!) RAV-A-GER! (LET’S GO RANDALLS!) RAV-A-GER! (LET’S GO RANDALLS!) RAV-A-GER! (LET’S GO RANDALLS!) RAV-A-GER! (LET’S GO RANDALLS!)
JC: Chop by Randalls … Ravager wobbles, but holds on … and hits another headbutt! And one more! He’s got him set up … into the air … INSTANT KARMAAAAAA – SWEET HOLY HELL!
NOVA: What in the name of Jeebus was that?
JC: AVALANCHE BACKDROP DRIVER BY RANDALLS! Just before Ravager spiked his head on the turnbuckle, Randalls floated over and sent Ravager crashing neck first onto the mat! I have never seen ANYTHING like that before in my life!
ID: Me neither, Chapel.
JC: Randalls back up top … could this be it … EXXXXXXIIIIITTTTTTT! EXIT! EXIT! SEVEN TWENTY HEADBUTT BY THE WOLF!!!!! He hit him square on the chest with unbelievable force!
NOVA: Can he even make the cover?
JC: Randalls is disoriented after that SPECTACULAR Exit! He’s crawling over…
HE DRAPES A HAND ACROSS THE CHEST…
THRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! YES! YES! YES!
ID: Dear Lord, he did it!
JC: It’s over! “Devastating” Mike Randalls has done it! He’s the 2008 winner of the Merritt Trophy! The man who came into this tournament Faceless is now known the world over as the winner of wrestling’s most prestigious tournament!
NOVA: That was something else, Chapel. I don’t know how either of these men survived one of the most physical, hardest-hitting matches in TEAM history, but Mike Randalls just proved to the entire world exactly where the Way ends.
[CUE UP: “Exit” by The Black Crowes as Kevin Bates pulls Randalls to his feet and raises his hand.]
MD: Ladies and gentlemen, thuh winner of thuh match and thuh winner of thuh 2008 TEAM Invitational Tournament … “THE WOLF” MIIIIIIIIIIKEEE RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNDDAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLSS!!!!!
JC: A ten-year odyssey for Mike Randalls has paid off tonight in Atlanta, folks! An incredible encounter where sometimes it seemed he was DONE, an incredible opponent in Ravager, who still wears TEAM’s Challenge Championship with pride, but Mike Randalls stands tall, and here comes the prize.
[Indeed, coming down the aisle is TEAM co-anchor Tom Holzerman, wheeling the spectacular Merritt Trophy along with him. Holzerman steps into the ring, microphone in hand, and moments later several production crew members tote the trophy into the ring.]
TH: HOW ABOUT THAT, ATLANTA?
TH: Mike Randalls, on behalf of the Phillips Arena, TEAM and every single person who had the privilege to watch your incredible run through this tournament, congratulations on an unbelievable achievement!
[That one-liner draws another massive POP! from the crowd.]
TH: It is now my honor to present you with the most prestigious prize in wrestling today. Mike Randalls, the Chad Merritt Trophy is your’s, because you outlasted a world-class field of 64 men and women to become the 2008 TEAM Invitational Tournament Champion!
[Randalls stares at the trophy for a moment, then takes it into his hands and raises it high in the air, prompting another humongous cheer!]
JC: Mike Randalls is the 2008 Merritt Trophy winner, and now he’s on a collision course with none other than you, Nov – where’s Nova?
ID: I think you should look up, Chapel.
[The crowd roars again, because the Champion of Champions has stepped into the ring and into Randalls’ face. The Risen Star stares down the Wolf, holding his championship belt high into the air. Smiling through a bloody face, Randalls lifts the Merritt Trophy even higher, not taking his eyes off Nova’s.]
JC: Dear God, what a confrontation! These two men are destined to meet for that belt in Nova’s hand, and when these two finally collide, can a building even SURVIVE the aftershock?
ID: All I know is, I want to find out. Badly.
JC: That’s it here from Atlanta, folks! For the Iron Duke, for Nova, for our entire crew here at TEAM, I’m Jess Chapel thanking you for joining us from the Phillips Arena and for the entire 2008 TEAM INVITATIONAL!! THERE HE IS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOUR 2008 MERRITT TROPHY WINNER … MIKE RANDALLS! GOODNIGHT EVERYONE!!!
[The last shot we see is over Randalls and Nova, eye to eye, Merritt Trophy to CoC belt, the roars of the crowd providing the soundtrack before we fade to the logo.]