Harrison Knoble: Welcome once and all to the seventieth episode of Unleashed!
Thomas Ives: And we are joined by Brianna Summers!
Thomas Ives: Do you even hear yourself Felice?!
Harrison Knoble: I think she drifts in and out.
Harrison Knoble: And so far he's got to be the favorite. Angels never faced anything like him before and he was just in a war. You know he's hungry.
Marissa jumps up onto the turnbuckle and raises her arms in victory as Hurricane hits the Pa System. A big smile on the blondes face while Lluvia rolls out to the floor and heads to the best with her head high. She'd get um next time.
Thomas Ives: Look at the pure joy of competition. That is why these fans resonate with Marissa Hunter!
Felice Jagger: I care more about what's coming down now!
Harrison Knoble: Oh, your kidding me?!
As Felice had excitedly said Killer Carter appeared through the curtian, shoving Lluvia Cane out of her way as she sprints down the ramp and slides into the ring. Marissa never sees her, but perhaps the boos tipped her off. When Carter came in to drive a clubbing blow into her spine Marissa jumps up off the turnbuckle causing Carter to slam into it. Hunter comes down behind her and spins the brute around by the arm laying into her with hard right hand after hard right hand.
Thomas Ives: There we go! Get her Marissa!
Felice Jagger: Oh, you had better not let this bubbly little girl get the best of you!
Harrison Knoble: Marissa is taking her to the wood shed!
Marissa stays on her but Carter begins to fight her way out, backing Marissa out of the corner with a few vicious right hands of her own. Hunter ducks under a right hand and hits the ropes, coming off with a forearm to the mouth sending Carter back into the ropes. She turns and hits the ropes again, coming back and driving a clothesline that sends Carter toppling over the ropes. Carter crashes to the floor while Marissa mounts the ropes and leans down over her taunting.
Thomas Ives: Marissa Hunter! Sending a hell of a message tonight!
Felice Jagger: It won't matter! Once Carter gets her hands on the woman it's game over!
Harrison Knoble: Marissa is telling her and the world that she's ready!
We cut backstage to see HYBRID Fusion Champion, Angel Kash, making her way down the corridor, strutting along with a purpose and with her head held high. Various stagehands watch her as she passes them and she rolls her eyes as she can feel their stares on her.
Angel Kash: Yeah, I know I’m gorgeous but none of you uggos can possibly handle me!
She finally reaches her locker room and grabs the handle and pushes the door open and she is greeted with a room full of white roses. She slowly closes the door behind her as her mouth is agape as she looks around at all of the beautiful flowers surrounding her.
Angel Kash: White roses… my favorite…
Scanning the room, she then notices a gift wrapped gold box on her dressing table. She saunters over to it and opens it up and at first, she finds a note and picks it up to read it.
Angel Kash: For my Angel.
Angel smiles as she opens up the rest of the package and pulls out a gold dress, similar to the one that was ruined when Killer Carter and Marissa Hunter were having their scrap a few shows ago.
Angel Kash: Oh Sammuel… you sure know how to make me happy.
She places it over her body and admires herself in the full length mirror as we cut elsewhere, obviously oblivious to the events of earlier in the night.
Standing outside of the Wicomico Civic Center, Zachary Sears and Gael Marquez Lorca are indulging in a smoke break together. Despite the Salisbury weather being in the high 30’s, the Shotgun looks comfortable in his ring attire. The black leather jacket hangs from his shoulders and drapes around his bare upper body. In his right hand is his smartphone which is displaying a study of Morgan Payne’s most recent matches in and out of HYBRID Wrestling. He takes a drag from his cigarette before exhaling to the side.
Zachary Sears: She’s fast… und she’s definitely improved since her training misadventures vith zhis… Connor MacNamara. I believe zhere is another man. Van Owen?
From his lips flow a cloud of smoke. Gael raises his shoulder to display a noticeable ‘I-don’t-know.’ He tilts his head just a little past Zachary with a squint. Out from the darkness steps a small grouping of people. One of them rushes forward, hugging Zachary with enough force to almost knock him down. A familiar mane of red is the first tip-off as Melissa Reed peers up. A few steps away is none other than King J. He, too, is smoking, but he has the cigarette clenched between his teeth.
King J: Pre-match research?
Zachary Sears: Ja.
Once he’s able to gather himself, he looks to Melissa and smiles.
Zachary Sears: You seem to be in better spirits, mein Freund.
Melissa seems to almost flicker from real emotion to a subtle smirk. Something mysterious while giving his cheek a kiss. Gael reaches over in order to tickle Melissa’s sides in order to peel her off of his boyfriend. He hoists the beauty up. He whispers something into her ear causes the two to engage a very quiet conversation. The twenty-seven-year-old German man chuckles softly before he regards King J and… his Queen? The Aerial Reaper approaches the group as well, grinning all the while.
Aerial Reaper: Ya look well, boyo. How’ve ya been?
Zachary Sears: A little better vith each day. Right now, I’m trying to figure out zhis new… Morgan Payne. She’s my opponent tonight.
King J: Finally a normal ground to stand upon. Rather nice, eh? Rather nice, rather boring. Morgan Payne, eh? Worried or excited?
Quite the small bundle of questions. Zachary contemplates them for a brief moment.
Zachary Sears: Not exactly worried. More like… cautious. She bested me, Xaria, und many others in the battle royal for the championship briefcase. Morgan has become quite a threat in any division and any company she’s apart of.
An inquisitive look crosses the Reaper’s face before she smiles and wraps an arm around King J’s.
Aerial Reaper: Of course, of course! She’s one of th’ Kingdom and among th’ select few within th’ Collective. Better to be prepared.
Zachary Sears: Exactly, und…
He regards King J once again.
Zachary Sears: After everything I’ve been through in the last nine months, I like ze normal ground I’m standing on. I’ll take ‘nice and boring’ over zhat.
Casually, Zachary takes a drag of his cigarette. King J merely exhales out a cloud of smoke to almost block their view of one another. He nearly freezes in place before blinking to awaken himself.
King J: Over that, indeed. Don’t we all deserve and desire normal over… that? It’s why I retired from my old stripes… If you do need anything, though, we are only a phone call away.
Cheerful laughter booms from the duo as Gael wraps an arm around Zachary. Melissa takes her place next to Wendygo who remains rather quiet; very meek. Zachary looks to each Jester with a simple nod.
Zachary Sears: Danke. Ve appreciate it. Actually…
He looks towards Gael and a gentle smile crosses his face. Another drag, another exhale of smoke away from the others, and he allows the ring on his left ring finger to shimmer.
Zachary Sears: Ve don’t have an official date yet, but ve know our vedding shall be in ze Fall. Anything from the gift registry… or be creative. Just no crazy pranks.
King J: No pranks when it comes to such a day of celebration. I usually leave well enough alone outside of the ring…
Similiar to Melissa’s, King J displays a mysterious smirk— rather playful from the man. He tipped his head to the side in order to crack his neck.
King J: Congratulations, by the way. Well earned happiness in store for the both of you. Ehem, now if you’ll excuse us. I do have a few matches to watch. They’ve caught my eye.
With that, the Jester begins his way back inside of the building with the three in tow. Melissa gives one final wink and blows a kiss to her cherished friends. Zachary and Gael look to one another with raised eyebrows.
Gael Marquez Lorca: Huh… That was a little… odd, wasn’t it?
Zachary Sears: Maybe a little… I vill not question his methods. Let’s finish our cigarettes und get back inside, ja?
With a genuine smile, Zachary takes another drag of his cigarette. He and Gael watch the Jesters of Chaos go, seemingly content with everything.
Felice Jagger: I STILL don’t know how the hell a huge dork like Trenton scored a beautiful singer and model like Hikaru!
Thomas Ives: I think somebody’s jealous!
Felice Jagger: Shut up, Thomas! They’re about to talk.
For simplicity, Hikaru is wearing a wireless headset that’s connected to the microphone system. After bowing to the audience, she turns her headset on and speaks up.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Koni’chiwa! Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of Salisbury, Maryland.
Naturally, there’s a pop from the crowd. She smiles and proceeds.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Welcome to ‘Hikaru’s Haven’ exclusively on HYBRID Wrestling. Watashi no name Yamamoto Hikaru.
She takes another bow, which is met by gracious cheers from the fans. Then Trenton bows and raises his microphone to his lips.
Trenton Page: And I’m Trenton Page. Tonight, we’re celebrating the big seven-oh! Seventy episodes of HYBRID Wrestling: Unleashed in the span of four years. It’s thanks to every single one of you in the audience tonight as well as the millions, perhaps billions of fans all around the world. On behalf of my fiancée, thank you very much. Arigato!
This draws loud cheers from the fans as they also applaud the amazing feat in a professional wrestling company. Trenton looks to Hikaru, who smiles at him and speaks up again.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Unleashed #70 is also the final Unleashed before the first pay-per-view of 2020, Proving Grounds! In two weeks, HYBRID Wrestling will present a collection of matches with three championships on the line -- Duality, Pinnacle, and Grand.
Trenton Page: That’s right, Karu-chan. The Duality Champions, the Guardians--
There’s a collective shout from some of the fans: “Of the Galaxy!” Trenton chuckles softly, clearly understanding the reference.
Trenton Page: Bethany Kenyon and Joshua Goldstein will be defending against Bloody Fairytale. The Pinnacle Champion, Sativa Nevaeh, will be defending against fellow Kingdom member Morgan Payne. Then finally, the Grand Champion Ashley Kenyon will be defending against Kayla Richards.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Hai! But before we continue on about Proving Grounds, we do have a guest to host tonight. A lot of controversy surrounds her and her most recent decisions. She accepted the open invitation to be on the show. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our special guest… Mizu Kenjī Raideru!
As soon as the venue's lights start to strobe between chartreuse green and neon pink, "Legends" by Sleeping With Sirens wails over the arena speakers. This inspires the crowd to stand to their feet and boo with all their might before anyone even comes through the curtain. The anticipation grows over time until its released the moment Kenzie Rydell dances onto the stage with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face. Palpable hatred and disgust buzz through the charged air when Hikaru’s Haven’s guest spins with a punch and happily points to her left with both hands in one fluid motion to trigger a sparkler rocket at the side of the stage. Her hands recoil back and point in the opposite direction to fire off the second sparkler rocket to the audience's dismay. Now she hits a double pirouette with her arms raised high and points down at her sides when she plants her heels. Both of the fireworks shoot off at the same time on her command, the camera at a low angle to show her condescending grin.
Hikaru and Trenton look to one another with some uncertainty. They’re far from Kenzie fans, especially after what she’s done in HYBRID Wrestling. Trenton takes a deep breath, folds his arms across his chest, and exhales slowly. Kenzie steadily military steps down the aisle, dancing with her upper body while the audience jeers and insults her with signs throughout the building. Once she nears the ring, she halts her march and turns sharply towards the steel steps. With each step, she reaches the top of the stairs and climbs the turnbuckle. The reaction's volume grows as she stands above everyone else on the ground with perfect posture. She blows a kiss and gracefully lands a spinning jump into the ring, pirouetting again with her arms above her head. As she marches towards the coffee table at the center of the ring, Trenton hesitantly gives Kenzie a microphone. He looks to his fiancée, who nods and walks up next to her guest. She takes the teapot in her hands and bows her head.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Arigato… Thank you for accepting the invitation to my show, Mizu Raideru. Would you like some tea? Tonight’s flavor is rose.
Kenzie Rydell: Yes, please! I’d love some. Thank you very much!
The oldest Rydell sister answers happily with a slight bounce, the crowd booing at her glee. Hikaru first serves their guest a cup of tea, then she turns to her beloved, who kindly shakes his head and takes up a water bottle. He sits down, though his eyes are slightly narrowed on Kenzie. That’s when Hikaru serves herself a cup of tea before she sets the teapot down on the table. After taking her seat, she retrieves her cup and takes a sip.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Ano… this is your first time on ‘Hikaru’s Haven’. As I always ask my new guests, please tell us your origin story and what inspired you to become a professional wrestler.
The guest thinks carefully about it with a finger underneath her chin, eyes darting up and to the left like the living embodiment of the thoughtful emoji.
Kenzie Rydell: When I was growing up, we moved so often! Dad was in the military, after all. So we kept getting relocated to different stations throughout the country. And see, it’s tough restarting again and again each time. You adapt to it all, though. You get used to knowing you’ll lose friends. No matter what was happening in our lives or where on the planet we happened to be at the time, we were able to watch television as a family, though! We watched lots of things like talent shows and sitcoms, but…
She pauses to choose her next words carefully.
Kenzie Rydell: One day when I was still in middle school, I channel surfed and realized that wrestling wasn’t all just brute, burly men fighting each other like animals! No! It was much more than that! It’s a talent show, too. It’s a comic book come to life; an anime like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or Sailor Moon where men and women fight through an endless tournament arc with athleticism, flair, and heart with the promise of prestigious championships on the line! With long-running stories and all that history in each bout, destinies collide and bodies are put to their absolute limit while the crowd of fans lets their voices be heard! I knew that’s where I wanted to be. In the ring. I wanted to feel what it felt like to leave all doubts behind and be a part of something bigger than myself. Like Dad did! Except this wasn’t the military. This was wrestling.
Seemingly, Hikaru nods with understanding and takes another sip of her tea. Meanwhile, a ringside official has given Trenton another mic. Fortunately, Hikaru turns her headset off whenever she’s not talking, so there’s no risk of feedback. Trenton raises the mic and parts his lips to say something.
Trenton Page: You talk about resetting, adapting, and losing friends… But even after you’ve found a place to call your own, your decisions, YOUR actions, have caused you to lose some of your closest friends. Adrien Cochrane…
The fans burst into LOUD cheers for the mention of the Dropkick King! It’s almost overwhelming, but Kenzie seems to ignore it when she takes a long sip of her tea.
Trenton Page: Adam Sanders…
Another burst of cheers resonate from the fans, though it’s not as loud as Adrien’s pop. Trenton smiles at them before he cuts to the point.
Trenton Page: Hell, the Guardians AND the Reckoning. You’ve turned your back on every single one of them the second you viciously attacked and betrayed Adrien, then ambushed Adam later on. This may be a repetitive question, but this time? The spotlight is literally on you. Why, Kenzie?
To emphasize, a spotlight does shine on her. Even the fans begin to boo and chant “Why, Kenzie? Why?!” After that, a few Johnny Maverick fans transition the chant to “Kenzie eats shit! Kenzie looks unphased by their words, a happy smile on her face after she takes another sip sitting in her seat.
Kenzie Rydell: I learned what it felt like to lose friends since as far back as I can remember. I know what it’s like to be forced to adapt to a whole new set of situations and that’s what I’ve done, Trenton. You and everyone else might want to frame what I did as a despicable act like it was all done with malicious hatred, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! I took a leap of faith. I invested in myself. I smiled the whole time. Not because I reveled in Adrien’s suffering! No. I wished him well on Twitter immediately after it happened. He’s done so much for me, and that can’t be understated. No, I smiled because I was proud I’ve awakened. I smiled because I knew I was finally living up to my potential and following the advice so many people have given me over the years. I no longer cared about what other people thought. I no longer stood in my own path. I no longer felt the weight of other people’s expectations. For the first time in my career, I felt confident and I haven’t felt self-conscious since.
This answer completely disgusts Trenton, his hands clenching into fists, the microphone quivering in his hand. Right before he raises the mic to interrupt Kenzie, Hikaru places a hand on his back and slowly shakes her head. What she says to him is inaudible because her headset is off for the time being. Trenton hisses before he straightens himself out on the seat, allowing Kenzie to conclude her answer.
Kenzie Rydell: To answer your question… The alternative would have meant betraying myself. And that’s not healthy at all!
With a glare, Trenton twists the cap off of the water bottle and takes a couple of swigs. Hikaru sighs softly before she turns her headset back on and speaks for them.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Mizu Raideru… As Evie-chan’s best friend, I know for a fact that you caused so much grief in the Cochrane family. Your attack resulted in bruised ribs and, more critically, a grade-three concussion. Adrien was unable to be a father to his own sons because of the pain and suffering you inflicted on him… both physically and mentally. Surely you could have forged your own path in another way? A better way? He was your mentor and your father figure… Don’t you feel some kind of remorse? Regret...?
Kenzie seems to listen carefully, sipping the tea and setting it down. With her shoulders relaxed and her body language calm, she smiles condescendingly to show her newfound arrogance.
Kenzie Rydell: No regrets! If I’ve done it earlier while she was pregnant, God forbid, the emotional trauma might have compromised Alex’s fetal development somehow. Everalda is a great mom and I’m sure the whole Cochrane family has a stronger bond because of it. Why? If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?
Trenton Page: I wouldn’t have attacked my mentor and given him a grade-three concussion in the first place!
There’s an audible gasp from Hikaru since she forgot to turn off her headset. The fans are completely supportive of Trenton’s protest, however, and they cheer him on.
Trenton Page: I would have NEVER considered betraying Eric and Hiashi. They’ve done so much for me, more than I think I’ll ever be able to repay them for, and they’ve taught me everything I know in the wrestling industry.
Kenzie Rydell: You’re Hikaru’s sidekick, Trenton. You never considered investing in yourself somehow? You’re content with all this?
The crowd boos Kenzie’s retort heavily! Trenton’s eyes narrow angrily and his fists clench tightly, the microphone quivering more and more in his grasp. He rises from his seat and grits his teeth. Meanwhile, Kenzie continues to sit in her seat beside the bonsai tree, lower than Trenton’s powerful frame yet still smiling all the while.
Trenton Page: Don’t you DARE make that kind of comparison! Karu-chan is my fiancée, mirai no Waifu, and we are equals in our relationship. I would NEVER do anything to hurt her. Why? Because I’m not an evil and cowardly little bitch like you!
Hikaru Yamamoto: Tren-sama, please…!
But the Japanese Lotus’s words are overtaken by the cheers and the “ohhh’s!” of the fans. Kenzie looks pleased with herself, though! She turns to Hikaru instead.
Kenzie Rydell: Do you know what this bonsai tree symbolizes, Hikaru?
She’s a little surprised when she’s addressed, but Hikaru does answer Kenzie.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Bonsai symbolises peace, harmony and balance. It is symbolic of the minimalist approach of Zen Buddhism and teaches us to remove clutter from our lives.
Kenzie nods, happy. It was the answer she wanted.
Kenzie Rydell: And to achieve that balance, that harmony… You need to prune the branches and pinch the buds, right? It’s hard work.
Honestly, Hikaru nods her head. Trenton looks to his beloved, exhales slowly, and takes his seat next to her.
Kenzie Rydell: You do all this to restrict the bonsai tree, to keep it indoors and at a small, neat stature when it’s capable of growing to a substantial size with the right amount of care and love. In the interest of removing clutter, you’ve restricted it from its potential and that’s what I’ve felt like I’ve been doing my entire life…
The fans are stirring, some with confusion, others with curiosity.
Kenzie Rydell: Bonsai trees are beautiful. There will always be more bonsai trees in the world when there’s another Hikaru out there to take care of it, but I decided to let my tree grow instead. I decided to give it the nutrients, the fertilizer, and the sunlight that it takes to thrive outdoors in the real world. Is that so wrong?
It sounds like the opposite of how to care for a bonsai tree. A frown crosses Hikaru’s face and she softly bites her lower lip.
Kenzie Rydell: Maybe harmony isn’t all that matters if self-growth is its opposite, huh Hikaru?
From his seat, Trenton narrows his eyes and slowly grits his teeth with a building rage. He does, however, manage to compose himself, though he refuses to say anything for the time being. Hikaru leans over and kisses her fiancé’s cheek, whispering a quiet “thank you” before she continues on for the interview.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Mizu Raideru… I wish I could understand. Perhaps I never will, but that is a part of life. We are not meant to understand everything. Let’s proceed with the interview, hai? Ano… what are your goals and aspirations here in HYBRID Wrestling?
Kenzie Rydell: Right now? The HYBRID Evolution Championship, but I have a lot of other goals too! I want to be mentioned by name in the biweekly Unleashed match card synopsis. I want to be in the main event of an Unleashed show, then a Pay-Per-View sometime in the future, and then consistently. I want to ride this momentum to the top and solidify myself as the one to watch in this promotion, and I don’t think that’s too lofty of a goal at all, do you?
Hikaru Yamamoto: Ie… it’s not.
Taking a deep breath, Hikaru exhales before she enjoys a sip of her rose tea. She glances over to see Trenton take a couple more swigs of his Fiji water. He still doesn’t seem emotionally okay enough to ask another question, so she continues.
Hikaru Yamamoto: I do not know what all goes on in the other company you work for. Portland Pro Wrestling, hai? But from the research I’ve done, I imagine you are frustrated at the lack of championship wins for your resumé. Is that another reason why you targeted Adrien-san as you did? Because he is a man of multiple championships… and yet you have so few?
Kenzie sighs, yet she doesn’t get angry at the mention of her title history.
Kenzie Rydell: You’re right. He’s proven time in and time out that he has what it takes to stand at the top of his division. He's earned four top championships and dozens of other accolades all because he has an ingredient I lacked: self-belief. Now that I'm sure of myself too, I'm demonized but that's okay! I'll have accolades on top of accolades to keep me happy in due time.
Kenzie grins at the jeers she receives.
Kenzie Rydell: Mr. Donavan didn’t book me tonight because of what I did at Ascension. He called it repercussions. but I know that when I do get booked, I’ll continue my winning streak here in Unleashed.
Hikaru looks to Trenton, who seems to have calmed some. In the midst of Kenzie’s response, he actually poured himself a cup of rose tea and savored a drink of it. He lifts the microphone in his right hand and speaks up.
Trenton Page: Well, you are booked for Unleashed: Proving Grounds. In two weeks, you will be facing off against Adam Sanders in a protégé versus protégé match. Some would call it a grudge match. Others… the Battle of the Exes. How are you going into Proving Grounds with the reality that you’re facing your ex-boyfriend and fellow Adrien protégé?
Kenzie Rydell: If you're trying to ask if I'll let the feelings I had for him cloud my judgment, no. He"s walking into this with a cause he believes in, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get the W. If I have to knock him unconscious and send him to the hospital with missing teeth to get it done, that's what I'll do for my self-growth.
The shipped couple named #Trenkaru look to one another before enjoying some tea. Once Hikaru sets her empty cup down, she rises to her feet and politely bows.
Hikaru Yamamoto: Arigato, Mizu Raideru… Arigato, mi’naa. Thank you, everyone, for joining us on tonight’s session. On behalf of Tren-sama, I am Yamamoto Hikaru. Please enjoy the rest of Unleashed!
Now that she’s a little more at ease, Hikaru smiles as “Everytime We Touch (Cascada Remix)” by Nightcore resonates from the PA system. Trenton rises to stand beside her and set the microphone down on the coffee table. Kenzie sipped the last of her tea and left the ring with a smile, though the fans boo her with disgust.
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