Warfare came on the air to a heavy display of pyro and a camera panning around to a sold out capacity crowd. The camera went right to the announce booth where Mauro Ranallo and Nigel McGuinness were both smiling as they welcomed the viewing audience to the show.
Mauro Ranallo: Get ready folks… it’s time for Warfare!
Nigel McGuinness: Welcome everybody, we have a great show for you tonight.
Mauro Ranallo: Indeed we do, Roman Reigns goes head to head with Johnny Gargano and in our main event we have Ricky Starks going up against MJF.
Nigel McGuinness: We're about to get things started with Max Caster vs. Brock An...
"I CAME TO PLAY"
Nigel McGuinness: Well I guess that opening match is going to have to wait.
Mauro Ranallo: Here comes the new EBWF World Champion!
Matt Riddle exploded out from behind the curtain on his scooter. The crowd erupted. He was wearing a purple hoodie and gray sweatpants. Michael Cole followed; he wore a black hoodie and black sweatpants. He had sunglasses over his eyes and his hood was up. He was chewing gum and blew a huge bubble and popped it. He had his hands in his pockets and looked comedically nonchalant. After several beats, the roar of the crowd intensified as The Miz emerged. He was in a long sleeve white shirt with red and black letters that read "Your Favorite Wrestler's Favorite Wrestler" and The Miz logo. He had the EBWF Championship over his right shoulder. He had a big smile on his face as he fist bumped both Riddle and Cole. He then walked past them a couple of paces and the three men made their way to the ring. Miz hopped up on the ring apron and took the belt off his shoulder and held it up to an ecstatic crowd. Cole and Riddle opened the ropes for Miz who smiled as if to say "hey thanks" and entered. He requested a microphone from the time keeper. A "Bro... AWESOME.. Bro... AWESOME" back and forth chant began. Miz smiled. He held the microphone to his lips, the crowd finally died down a bit before he started.
The Miz: BIG EASY WHAT'S HAPPENING!!!
The crowd erupted in cheers.
The Miz: In case you've been living under a rock over this past month and you're asking yourself- Matt Riddle, Michael Cole, and The Miz.. all together in the ring.. what is this?! Well what this is.. is the 3 coolest mother effers around.. the group that could be known by NO OTHER name besides BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.... AWEEEEEEEEEEESOMMMMEEEEE!!
Huge pop from the New Orleans crowd.
The Miz: As if we weren't big time enough. Last week- something happened that makes the EBWF make a WHOLE lot more sense than it did just a couple weeks ago. In one of the weirdest turn of events in the history of this great business, XAVIER.. freaking.. WOODS was the EBWF Champion. XAVIER.. FREAKING.. WOODS. Like make it make sense, because I have watched film of his matches.. I've listened to him talk.. I've seen him play a god damn trombone.. and nothing.. NOTHING.. pointed to him being capable of holding the EBWF Championship. It seemed.. improbable.. confusing.. borderline UNREAL. This company has evolved over the years, big stars have come and they've gone. The one thing that was always true about the EBWF was that it seemed to make sense. Xavier Woods being the champion was the first time that I looked at each show- and I was just all like HUH?!
Michael Cole craned into Miz' mic.
Michael Cole: HUH!?
Matt Riddle same thing.
The Miz smiled.
The Miz: Then something great happened, I got matched up with Xavier a month ago.. and in a result that surprised NOBODY.. I won.
Huge pop once more from the New Orleans crowd.
The Miz: So in the first Warfare of the new year, I got Wes Ikeda to agree.. in his INFINITE WISDOM.. that my victory over Xavier was ENOUGH of a reason to grant me a chance at Xavier's title. Of course by "CHANCE" I mean... certainty.. that I would ONCE AGAIN be victorious.. and ONCE AGAIN.. become the EBWF Champion.. annnnd what do you think happened next?
Riddle craned in.
Riddle: TELL ME BRO!
Michael Cole: Tell him bro!
The Miz: Next- I put on an absolute wrestling clinic.. and ONCE AGAIN.. for the SEVENTH TIME.. I proudly introduce myself to all of you as YOUR NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW EBWF CHAMPION.
Huge ovation from the New Orleans crowd. A "Bro.. AWESOME" chant once again started back and forth.
The Miz: So now that you're all caught up, you may be saying to yourself "Miz.. this is awesome that you guys are out here.. but like bro.. what's up? What do you want to tell us?"
Riddle craned in.
Riddle: Whoaaa who said that?
The Miz smiled.
The Miz: Well to answer your question for me is real easy. I'm out here tonight, not only to brag a little, not only to bask in the limelight, not only to celebrate my win, NOT ONLY to celebrate the EBWF once again making sense.. but I'm also here to put the EBWF locker room, ON. NOTICE.
Riddle craned in.
Riddle: SO LISTEN UP BRO!
Michael Cole: AND LISTEN GOOD BRO.
The Miz: The notice is this. Now that I'm once again the champion, I want it to be known, that there is NOBODY.. NOBODY.. that I'm afraid to face. NOBODY that makes me uneasy. NOBODY that I would shy away from competing against for this title. In the past, I spent a lot of time trying to be the champion, trying to be the man, without ever actually having to prove it. No more- you see The Miz is here to let everyone know, that I am dedicated, DRIVEN BY, wearing this belt.. but more importantly, I'm DRIVEN by the thought of me proving TIME AND TIME AGAIN.. against literally ANY OPPONENT.. that an EBWF with The Miz as it's champion.. is an EBWF.. that
BECAUUUSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE I'MMMMMMMM THE MIZZZZZZZZZZZZ
The crowd finished the line with Miz.
The Miz flipped the microphone to the mat and once more fist bumped with Cole and Riddle. He celebrated and posed with his title.
Mauro Ranallo: Well a very confident new champion, and why should he not be. He is a 7 time EBWF World Champion- and it sounds as though he's ready to face any and all challengers in this reign.
Nigel McGuinness: What a way to kick things off!
EBWF went to a commercial with a shot of Bro Awesome in the middle of the ring.
As Warfare returned from the commercial break, Brock Anderson made his way to the ring for the next match.
Mauro Ranallo: Welcome back! Up next, we’ve got Brock Anderson making his EBWF debut as he goes one on one with Max Caster!
When Anderson was in the ring, he began pacing back and forth as he awaited the arrival of his opponent. The Acclaimed’s theme hit and the crowd cheered as Max Caster made his way to the ring, accompanied by Anthony Bowens. Caster rapped as he headed down the ramp, then slid into the ring and locked eyes with his opponent. The referee called for the bell and the two men locked up. Anderson put Caster in a headlock, but Caster fought out of it and whipped Anderson against the ropes. As Anderson hit the ropes, Caster went for a back body drop, but Anderson countered with a kick to the head! Caster stumbled backwards, looking dazed, and Anderson took him down with a clothesline before following up with a leg drop. Anderson hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2.. Caster kicked out! Anderson got to his feet and stomped on Max Caster several times, before pulling him to his feet and hitting a series of punches. Anderson then went to whip Caster against the ropes… but Caster reversed it, whipping Anderson into the ropes, then hit Anderson with a dropkick. Both men got to their feet and Caster whipped Anderson into the corner, before charging towards him and hitting a flying forearm smash!
Nigel McGuinness: Max Caster showing off some impressive athleticism here! This young superstar is full of energy!
As Anderson stumbled out of the corner, Caster set him up for a suplex, but Anderson blocked it, then took Caster down with an arm drag. As Caster got back to his feet, Anderson caught him with a swift kick to the midsection, then followed up with a DDT. Anderson hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Caster kicked out! Anderson got to his feet and grabbed Caster by the legs, setting him up for the figure four… but before he could lock it in, Caster kicked Anderson away and got to his feet. Caster grabbed Anderson and hit him with a swinging neckbreaker, then climbed to the top rope. Caster went for the Mic Drop… but Anderson moved out of the way!
Mauro Ranallo: Great ring awareness there from Brock Anderson… he got out of the way just in time!
As Caster clutched his elbow, Anderson grabbed him by the arm, applying an armbar. Caster was able to get his foot on the ropes, and the referee ordered Anderson to break the hold. Anderson did so, then took a step back. Caster used the ropes to pull himself up, but as soon as he was on his feet, Brock Anderson hit him with an uppercut! Anderson then whipped Caster against the ropes, before hitting him with a spinebuster! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Nigel McGuinness: It’s over! Brock Anderson gets the victory!
Anderson celebrated, then exited the ring and made his way up the ramp.
As Brock Anderson was making his way up the ramp, “All About Tha (Boom!)” hit and the crowd gave a mixed reaction as Adam Cole walked through the curtain. As he walked down the ramp, Cole shoved Anderson, then yelled at him “get outta here, this is my time!” Cole then entered the ring, where Max Caster had just gotten to his feet. Cole hit Caster with a superkick, then threw him out of the ring and asked for a microphone.
Adam Cole: Who’s ready for storytime with Adam Cole baybay?
The crowd cheered, but Cole shook his head.
Adam Cole: Well there will be no storytime tonight, because I’m really not in the *BLEEP* mood.
Mauro Ranallo: Shout out to our sound guy for managing to hit the bleep button in time!
Adam Cole: I’m out here for one reason, and one reason only. I’m calling out Chris Jericho! I know you’re in the back Chris, so get your ass out here right now, or I’ll come and find you, and if I have to come and find you, you’ll be leaving the arena in an ambulance!
Cole looked towards the stage, waiting for Jericho. A few moments later, “Judas” by Fozzy hit and the crowd cheered as Chris Jericho made his way to the ring. Jericho brought a microphone with him, and once he was in the ring, he signaled for his music to be cut and began to speak.
Chris Jericho: Are you alright, Adam? You look like you’re about to Hulk out… or are you just green with envy because you know you’ll never be as good as me?
Jericho laughed, but Cole wasn’t laughing - he reacted by slapping the microphone out of Jericho’s hand!
Adam Cole: You think you’re so funny, don’t you? You say I’ll never be as good as you, but I think you’re afraid of me Chris. I mean, you keep cheap shotting me, costing me my matches, but you haven’t got the balls to confront me man to man. I could understand it the first time when you cost me my match against Kevin Steen - you wanted revenge after I embarrassed you at Fanniversary. I thought that made us even, so I let it slide. But then at Christmas Eve of Destruction, you attacked me again, preventing me from winning the Sadistic Madness match and earning the number 30 spot in the Last Survivor match. So tell me Chris, what is it? Are you jealous because you know that even in your prime, you weren’t even close to how good I am? Are you scared that I’m going to steal your spot? Are you trying to associate yourself with me to stay relevant? Or maybe it’s a mix of all three…
Jericho picked his microphone back up, then responded.
Chris Jericho: It’s actually really simple, Adam. It’s not about revenge, fear, jealous or anything like that… I just don’t like you.
Adam Cole: The feeling is mutual, Chris. I’ve never liked you, but you know what? I did respect you. But I don’t any more.
Jericho pretended to cry, then started laughing.
Chris Jericho: Do you think I care whether or not you respect me, Adam? Because I don’t give a damn if you don’t respect me! I don’t respect you either, but you called me out, so here I am. You want to challenge me to a fight, don’t you? Enough talking. Let’s settle this.
Jericho dropped the microphone and removed his jacket, then held up his fists. This time it was Adam Cole’s turn to laugh.
Adam Cole: You’re cute, Chris. You’re right, I want to challenge you, but I’m not going to fight you tonight. These people don’t deserve to see me wrestle. So let’s do it next week, and we’ll do it in the spot where we should be - the main event. But let’s up the stakes. Next week, it will be Chris Jericho versus Adam Cole… and the loser forfeits their place in the Last Survivor match! Are you game?
Jericho nodded, then snatched Cole’s microphone off him!
Chris Jericho: Two things, Adam. First of all, I’m not just cute… I’m sexy as hell! Secondly, hell yeah I’m game. You spend so much time complaining about not being given the opportunities you think you deserve, so it will be… too sweet… to force you to sit out the Last Survivor match. See you next week.
Jericho winked, then exited the ring. “Judas” hit and Jericho headed back up the ramp, while Cole glared at him, as Warfare went to a commercial break.
As Warfare returned from the commercial break, “All The Things She Said” hit and the crowd cheered as Liv Morgan made his way to the ring.
Mauro Ranallo: Welcome back! Up next, we’ve got Liv Morgan in action as she goes one on one with our second debutant of the evening… Southampton’s finest, Jamie Hayter!
When Morgan was in the ring, Jamie Hayter’s music hit and she stormed to the ring. As soon as she entered the ring, Hayter charged towards Liv Morgan, hitting her with a series of punches before throwing her out of the ring. Hayter followed Morgan to the outside, where she slammed Morgan’s head against the ring post, then threw Liv Morgan into the ringside barrier!
Nigel McGuinness: What a vicious start by Jamie Hayter! She isn’t messing around, Mauro!
Back in the ring, Hayter hit Morgan with a snap suplex, then whipped her into the corner and hit a running big boot. As Morgan stumbled out of the corner, Hayter whipped her against the ropes before taking her down with a shoulder tackle. She hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Morgan kicked out! Hayter sat Morgan up and put her in a chinlock, but Morgan fought out of it, hitting Hayter with a series of elbows. As both women got to their feet, Morgan whipped Hayter against the ropes, then took Hayter down with a Lou Thesz press. Morgan punched Hayter against the mat several times, then pulled her to her feet and whipped her into the corner. Morgan hit Hayter with a corner clothesline, then climbed to the top rope and hit a diving crossbody! She hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… Hayter kicked out! Morgan got to her feet and grabbed Hayter, dragging her towards the corner before hitting a tornado DDT. She hooked the leg once more and the referee counted - 1… 2… again Hayter kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: Impressive resilience shown there by Jamie Hayter!
Nigel McGuinness: She’s tough, Mauro… no doubt about that!
Morgan pulled Hayter to her feet and hit her with a stiff right hand, but Hayter responded with a right hand of her own. Morgan and Hayter exchanged punches, and after gaining the upper hand Hayter whipped Morgan against the ropes, before hitting her with a running knee strike. Hayter followed up with a backbreaker, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… Morgan kicked out! Hayter pulled Morgan to her feet and went for the Lariat… but Morgan ducked underneath it, then hit a German suplex! Both of Hayter’s shoulders were down and the referee counted - 1… 2… Hayter kicked out just before the 3!
Mauro Ranallo: Liv Morgan thought she had the win there!
Morgan pulled Hayter to her feet and shoved her into the ropes, then went for ObLIVion… but Hayter blocked it, countering with a uranage slam. Hayter then whipped Morgan against the ropes, and as Morgan bounced back off the ropes Hayter charged towards her, hitting the Lariat!
Nigel McGuinness: Jamie almost took Liv’s head off with that Lariat!
Hayter hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Mauro Ranallo: It’s over! What an impressive debut that was!
Hayter celebrated as Warfare cut to a promo for Last Survivor.
After the promo for Last Survivor, the camera cut back to the arena where EBWF Women's Champion Tam Nakano was standing in the ring with a microphone in hand.
Tam Nakano: Last week on Warfare I said that I was ready to find the next challenger for my beautiful championship. I know it's probably not going to be the self-appointed queen; she made that clear by refusing to accept my challenge for Christmas Eve Of Destruction. She's avoiding me, so it's someone else's turn! If a certain someone wants that shot, th-"
Tam was interrupted as "Papercut" by Linkin Park hit and Alexa Bliss came out to a very positive reaction from the crowd. Alexa had a smirk on her face as she made her way to the ring.
Mauro Ranallo: Well I have to say I'm not surprised at Alexa Bliss coming out here. She was eying the championship two weeks ago and last week Tam seemed to offer her a shot.
Nigel McGuinness: These two have quite the history with each other.
Alexa entered the ring and grabbed a microphone as her theme cut.
Alexa Bliss: Well I'm sure you expected this.
Tam smiled knowingly and nodded.
Alexa Bliss: I guess there's no point in waiting any longer to make it official because it was January of 2022 that I became a two-time EBWF Women's Champion and in January 2023 I plan to become a three time EBWF Women's Champion so how about it: Tam Nakano vs Alexa Bliss at Last Survivor?
The crowd cheered loudly as Alexa smiled and held out her hand. Tam looked down at Alexa's hand thoughtfully before speaking.
Tam Nakano: We've both changed since the last time we fought. And I'm eager to show you how much stronger I've gotten. I want you to show me how you've changed too, so Alexa.. I accept. The two of us back in this ring for the top prize in professional wrestling. But when we fight, I'm going to walk out the same way I came in, as the reigning two time EBWF Women's Champion.
The crowd cheered even louder, but Tam made no move to accept Alexa's handshake. After a moment Alexa seemed to realize that this wasn't going to happen. She and Tam exchanged glances - Alexa questioning the champion and Tam responding with a passionately resistant expression. Alexa turned to leave but Tam suddenly spoke.
Tam Nakano: Alexa, I want to know something. How're you doing after last week?
Alexa stopped in her tracks and her smile faded.
Tam Nakano: Look I know it must hurt deeply because he made this decision on his own, and not because Utami's got into his head. I've had people betray me like that too, and it hurts so much when someone turns on you. But I have a feeling you're going to be better without him.
Alexa turned around and after a few moments she spoke.
Alexa Bliss: The thing is I just don't understand why he did this to me.
Tam Nakano: And you might never know. What you can control is how you react to this, and if you get stronger.
Alexa nodded and went to speak again when "My Last Breath" hit and the crowd booed.
Mauro Ranallo: Oh no.
Nigel McGuinness: What could Christian Cage possibly want now?
Christian Cage arrived on stage with a mic in hand and a smile on his face.
Christian Cage: New Orleans if you can shut your damn mouths I would greatly appreciate it.
The crowd booed louder as Christian shook his head in disgust.
Christian Cage: Now Tam, it seems like you're worried about what I did last week. Well instead of worrying about that you should be worrying about the little bitch in the ring with you.
The crowd booed even louder as Alexa was seen trying to keep her composure. Tam glared daggers at the intruder, hands on her hips.
Christian Cage: Trust me Tam, you don't-
Alexa Bliss: Christian I trusted you for two years and you broke my heart.
Alexa's voice cracked a little as Christian chuckled. Tam stepped toward the ropes, hands balled into fists as she grew tired of Christian's voice.
Christian Cage: As I was saying Tam if I were you I'd be careful. I mean Tam, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't she slam you into Razor Wire and destroy your little panda doll?
Tam looked ready to get in his face, but she kept her composure enough to stay in the ring.
Tam Nakano: First of all, his name is P-Chan. Second of all, I haven't forgotten how she tried to destroy everything I stood for. But really, the important thing right now is that none of that involves you.
Christian could be seen mouthing "So?"
Alexa looked at Tam.
Alexa Bliss: Hold on, what's that supposed to mean?
Tam Nakano: I didn't mean it as an insult, but I haven't forgotten everything you did. Just like I'm sure you haven't forgotten who won when we finally did fight.
Alexa looked extremely annoyed at the champion's words. Tam gave the championship belt a pat, though the pain of the past was written on her face.
Alexa Bliss: Don't forget Tam the reason I did what I did to you was because you injured me.
Christian smiled as he walked to the back. Tam rolled her eyes and took a step toward Alexa.
Tam Nakano: Unintentionally. And I apologized for it and tried to make it right, but you decided to escalate.
Alexa could be heard saying "I can't deal with this right now" as she left the ring and made her way to the back. Tam watched with concern as Alexa walked away, then sighed. The show faded into a match graphic as Tam looked down at the EBWF Women's Championship with determination.
"Rebel Heart" hit and Johnny Gargano came from behind the curtain to cheers.
Mauro Ranallo: Johnny Gargano has a tall order here tonight as he takes on Roman Reigns.
Nigel McGuinness: Roman Reigns is the odds on favorite to win the Last Survivor match and he continues to show his dominance week after week.
Roman was to the ring next, and got a mixed reaction from the crowd.
Mauro Ranallo: Reigns believes he is the head of the table, the tribal cheif and he is hellbent on getting to Last Survivor and taking the EBWF World Championship off of The Miz.
Reigns got in the ring and stared across at Gargano. Johnny looked ready for the challenge. The bell rang. Gargano charged in with right hands onto Roman, backing him into the corner. Gargano followed up with kicks but Roman came in with a right hand. Roman threw Gargano in the corner and hit him with a head butt. Roman threw Gargano to the corner but Gargano jumped on the second rope and did a back flip behind Roman.
Nigel McGuinness: The athleticism of Johnny Gargano!
Gargano surprised Roman with a fisherman’s suplex and Roman rolled to the outside. Gargano wasted no time with a corkscrew moonsault.
Mauro Ranallo: Roman has to keep Gargano grounded if he wants to stand a chance here.
Gargano helped Reigns back in the ring, but was met with a right hand. Roman planted forearms onto Gargano. Roman went to the outside of the ring and he hit Gargano with the drive by. Roman got back in the ring, he went for the cover but Gargano kicked out. Roman went for a right hand but Gargano hit him with a kick.
Nigel McGuinness: Gargano trying to get back on the offense!
Gargano hit a forearm and followed up with a suplex. He went for a splash but Roman got his knees up. Gargano spun into a back elbow to Roman's face. Gargano climbed the top rope and hit him with the diving corkscrew senton. He went for the cover but Roman kicked out. Gargano went for a right hand but Roman ducked and he hit Gargano with a chokeslam. He went for the cover but Gargano kicked out. Gargano rolled to the outside of the ring. Roman followed on the outside as he picked Gargano up and slammed him onto the announce table.
Nigel McGuinness: Roman wisely getting back in the ring and letting the referee have his count here.
The referee got to six before Gargano willed himself into the ring. He barely got between the ropes when Roman went for the Superman punch but Gargano countered with a knee to the face.
Mauro Ranallo: Gargano gaining steam!
Gargano showed off some strength with a powerslam. Gargano went for the DDT but Roman escaped to the outside. Gargano lit Roman up and threw him onto the announce table. He tried to throw Roman into the ring but Roman threw him face first into the ring post. He threw Gargano back into the ring. Roman got up on the ring apron but Gargano hit him with a DDT.
Nigel McGuinness: Gargano working to stay alive here!
Gargano went for a cutter but Roman slammed him onto the mat. Roman hit the Superman Punch!
Nigel McGuinness: Roman Reigns has done it! What a dominate performance!
Mauro Ranallo: Gargano gave it his all, but he could not defeat the Head of the Table!
Roman celebrated in the ring as EBWF went to commercial.
After a match graphic for the Ricky Starks vs MJF main event faded out, we saw a wide panning shot of the Smoothie King Center crowd. Among the signs were ones reading 'LEXI'S BACK!', 'TAM FOREVER', and 'THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU' (with a picture of Britt Baker drawn on it). As the camera stopped moving we next saw one stating 'DARK STAR > CRIMSON QUEEN', held up by a fan in an Arisa Hoshiki t-shirt. A moment later the opening notes of "Shadowmaker" by LoveBites hit to a loud but mixed reaction.
The shot shifted to the entrance ramp, where Arisa Hoshiki emerged in tennis shoes, black shorts and her Dark Star t-shirt. Her steps were gradual and deliberate, showing there was extra intention behind her arrival. Despite vocal cheers for her, Arisa's face remained expressionless as she approached the ring
Nigel McGuinness: This is the first time we've seen or heard from Arisa Hoshiki since her absolute war with Tam Nakano at Christmas Eve of Destruction. Even though she failed to claim the EBWF Women's Championship two weeks ago, she had one of the best matches of her career all the same.
Mauro Ranallo: That's right partner, and that performance got her within a split second of becoming champion. And like it or not, that performance has also begun to win over the fans she shunned back in October. She was noticeably absent from Queen's Court during their assault on Alexa Bliss last week as well. Whatever kept her away from the ring, we're about to hear from the Dark Star again.
As the music faded out, Arisa stood in the center of the ring with a mic in her hand. She held her head down as she gathered her thoughts; meanwhile an audible 'A-RI-SA!' chant started up. When she lifted her head, there was just the hint of a surprised smirk on her face. This quickly faded as she spoke.
Arisa Hoshiki: Look, it doesn't matter if you cheer me or not. I really don't care.
The chant persisted, but Arisa continued on.
Arisa Hoshiki: When I came back to the ring, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd been away for two years, and the daily struggle to get myself back in a ring kinda blinded me to any other goals. But what I knew after that first bell was that I'm doing this for myself. If I happen to do something for my friend Utami, that's just thanks for her support and assistance. But it's my choice. So what did it get me? Two wins and nearly the EBWF Women's Championship, that's all.
Some cheers rang out at this, and Arisa took a deep breath.
Arisa Hoshiki: Fighting Tam again after three years.. no other way to put it, it was exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. So I took some time to myself and started thinking about things. None of you have any idea how frustrating it is to be so close to the biggest achievement of your life just to fall short. It hurts like nothing you could imagine. I replayed that match over and over in my head trying to find any weaknesses I could hammer back into shape. And there's one thing that stood out above the rest. One thing that prevented me from beating Tam Nakano.
There was a buzz in the air as Arisa's speech became increasingly impassioned with each sentence.
Arisa Hoshiki: It's not something I expected to be a problem. But let's get into it. Ladies and gentlemen, I -
She was cut off by a sudden tsunami of boos as Utami Hayashishita suddenly emerged from backstage with Himeka Arita in tow! "Crusade" hit a moment later, as if this arrival was incredibly unexpected. Even if Arisa had continued her statement, the boos from the crowd would've made it impossible to make out what she was saying. Arisa lowered her mic and watched Utami storm the ring. The pair exchanged looks, Arisa’s questioning and Utami’s confident and forceful. Utami nodded to the mic in Arisa’s hand, and the Dark Star hesitantly acquiesced. The Crimson Queen’s expression and voice dripped with sickening self-importance as she spoke.
Utami Hayashishita: I know what you were about to say, but there is no need. Something this important, my dear loyal friend, must be announced by the Crimson Queen herself! You did an excellent job testing the pretender upon the EBWF throne, and you exposed her weaknesses to the world! You have served me well, dearest Dark Star.
Her expression then turned cold and serious.
Utami Hayashishita: And now I am done playing the waiting game. From the moment I graced this place with my presence, I vowed to conquer EBWF no matter who crossed my path. Since last summer that is precisely what I have done - every single woman who’s defied me has been defeated by my superior skill. To this day I am undefeated in the EBWF ring, proving that I am the best wrestler in the world. Yet how am I repaid by the ungrateful peasants here? Do they sing my praises and willingly bow down before me? No. No, they continue to wage a war they have already lost like petulant children who cannot accept that they cannot have their way.
A chorus of boos rained down on her as she scowled and continued her tirade.
Utami Hayashishita: Queen’s Court has suffered harassment and attacks from every corner as I - we- ascend to our rightful place atop EBWF. The broken and fallen goddess brought her wish for career death back rather than accept that she would be better off retiring. Her joke of a friend did even worse than her in attempting to avenge someone not worth so much effort. And now they have brought in a mercenary to interfere in our business! Once may have been a coincidence but now there can be no denying that they are in league with each other. In the face of this criminal behavior, what has the EBWF leadership done? Nothing! They sit in their offices ignoring the constant danger Queen’s Court is placed in at every show. They do not care for our safety, and worse still they enable this violent chaos which destroys everything in its path while denying destiny. I say enough!
She paused, seething as the boos grew louder still. Arisa stepped up to the Crimson Queen and placed a hand on her shoulder. Utami jerked her arm away and was inconsolable as she made a proclamation.
Utami Hayashishita: Beginning tonight, the time for playing nicely is over. I have been merciful to this point by pursuing other challenges, but the time for my - our - ascendence is now. The crown of EBWF has rested on the heads of pretenders for far too long and destiny can no longer be delayed. The Crimson Queen is coming to take her rightful place on the throne of EBWF, and we will do whatever is necessary to rip that crown away from the idiot who dares think she deserves to wear it! More than that, Queen’s Court will have order! We will have the justice we have been denied, or we will burn this place to the ground. Our demands for this evening are two; to begin with, that masked bandit who has been hired by our enemies must reveal herself or someone is going to be crippled. Additionally the champion must defend that crown against me and not the fallen goddess at Last Survivor. We will not leave this ring until these demands have been granted.
By this point the boos were deafening as Utami stood her ground and waited for an answer. Himeka meanwhile stood guard on the ring apron, glaring down at the ramp as if challenging any security personnel to try and remove them from the ring. Arisa meanwhile had stepped back from Utami, an uncertain look on her face as Queen’s Court occupied the ring. Suddenly ‘“The Epic” hit to a huge pop as Dr. Britt Baker, DMD, emerged from the back looking incredibly annoyed. Chants of “D-M-D!” could be heard as Britt marched down to the ring with a mic in hand.
Mauro Ranallo: Ladies and gentlemen, this is becoming more and more eventful with every passing second! Utami Hayashishita joined Arisa Hoshiki to make a declaration of war on EBWF unless she gets what she wants but has gotten the attention of former EBWF Women’s Champion, Dr. Britt Baker, DMD.
Nigel McGuinness: Let’s not forget, when Utami Hayashishita debuted last July Britt Baker had some choice words for her. Queen’s Court hasn’t forgotten that and Arisa Hoshiki even brought it up ahead of her victory over the former champion. This is a very volatile situation that could explode at any moment.
Britt’s expression was an atlas of sarcasm as she spoke.
Britt Baker: Um, excuse me? Who in the hell do you think you are to just come out here and make some crazy ultimatum? You know, it seems to me that all you do week in and week out is stroke your own ego and then complain when things don’t go your way. Really, ‘your majesty’, the only people who should be called out for making this place unsafe are in Queen’s Court. But that’s not why I’m out here. I’m here because you’re insisting that you’re the woman who deserves to challenge Tam Nakano for the EBWF Women’s Championship. That’s not going to happen for one simple reason-
Utami was cold in response as Britt’s confident smile grew.
Britt Baker: The next challenger for Tam Nakano’s title is going to be Dr. Britt Baker -
The crowd finished the statement with a loud “D-M-D!”.
Britt Baker: I’m out here tonight to get my rematch with her like a woman. Not to ambush people and then demand a match like you do. I’m sure that you’d do that to Tam as soon as she agreed to fight you, and don’t you deny it. Besides, she already challenged you and you sent Arisa out to fight her instead. Queen’s Court had its chance and guess what? You failed. At least Arisa put up a hell of a fight and did it the right way, which is more than I can say about you. So there’s nothing else to say to a power hungry coward like you except ‘get the hell out of my ring’.
As the fans roared their approval, Utami was livid. She glared at Britt, and Britt at her for a long few moments and it looked like they might throw down right there.
Utami Hayashishita: A queen cannot be ordered around by a mere dentist. You are no more deserving of that crown than the disgusting idiots lacking basic personal hygiene in the stands! I want you to listen to me very carefully, former champion. You are in no place to deny my - our - destiny! I seem to remember my dear, loyal Dark Star kicking you in the face and pinning you 1-2-3 right in this ring. Queen’s Court has already proven that we are better than you. If you would like another example of that, we would be happy to teach you another lesson - now.
Britt had locked eyes with Utami, and the fans made a frantic noise of alarm as a blur rushed into the frame. Himeka Arita had jumped to the floor and shoulder blocked Britt to the floor! As Himeka stomped the former champion, Utami climbed onto the ring apron to survey the attack. Britt began to fight back, hammering away at the Dangerous Princess with punches. Utami glared over her shoulder at Arisa, who had thus far not joined in. With a severe nod, Utami silently demanded Arisa get involved. After a moment’s hesitation, Arisa rolled out of the ring and flanked Britt. Himeka kneed Britt in the midsection hard enough to knock the air out of her lungs and Arisa squared up for a Brazilian kick. Britt barely avoided it and punched Arisa right in the mouth in response! Arisa held her jaw as suddenly a chair slammed into Britt’s back - Utami had taken up a weapon again! Britt fell forward into the ring steps while Arisa glared down at her. Himeka closed in as well, but it was Utami who moved to finish off the former champion, raising the chair over her head; she was going to smash Britt’s head between the chair and the steps!
Britt rolled out of the way as the chair slammed into the top step and tried to tackle the Crimson Queen - no! Himeka was there to block her, and both women fell to the floor. Britt rained down punches on Himeka while Arisa moved in and tried to pull Britt off. Suddenly there was another roar from the crowd as the woman in the pink motorcycle helmet reappeared! She hopped the ringside barrier and hit Utami with a spinning back fist! Meanwhile Arisa pulled Britt off of Himeka, only to be slammed head first into the ringside barrier. Himeka was up and charged in to exchange a flurry of forearms with Britt as security personnel finally arrived on the scene.
Though they tried their best to get between the warring sides, Arisa pulled herself up to her feet and managed to throw another kick at Britt. It hit a security guard instead and sent him crashing to the floor. Meanwhile Utami had started exchanging punches with the helmeted woman; even as the guards pushed them apart the fists kept flying. Utami suddenly shoved one of the guards out of the way and got her hands on the woman’s helmet. In the back of the shot we could see Britt and Arisa glaring daggers at each other. Meanwhile the guards pulled Utami and the helmeted woman apart - when they did, Utami had the helmet in her hands! Her satisfied grin changed to a look of furious horror as the woman looked up and brushed some of her long locks out of her face. Mina Shirakawa! Another huge pop erupted at the sight of Utami’s former servant, who blew a kiss to the Crimson Queen. Utami screamed over the din, but Mina just flipped her the bird in response! Security finally managed to get the two sides apart fully, and the last image we saw before going to a commercial break was the two sides glaring murderously at each other.
When Warfare returned from the commercial break, “It’s Live” hit and the crowd inside the arena erupted as Ricky Starks stepped out onto the stage.
Mauro Ranallo: Welcome back! It’s time for our main event, where New Orleans’ own Ricky Starks will take on Maxwell Jacob Friedman!
As Starks walked down the ramp, he slapped hands with several fans in the front row, before rolling into the ring and posing for the crowd. Starks then moved into the corner as he awaited the arrival of MJF. “Better Than You” hit and the crowd booed as MJF made his way to the ring. Upon entering the ring, MJF yelled at Starks “New Orleans sucks, and so do you!” The referee called for the bell and MJF hit Starks with a cheap shot, then went to whip him against the ropes. Starks reversed the Irish whip, sending MJF into the ropes before hitting him with a shoulder tackle. As MJF hit the mat, he rolled out the ring and a fan in the front row called him a coward. MJF cursed the fan, then rolled back in the ring. Starks immediately grabbed MJF, lifting him up and hitting a fisherman suplex. Starks hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… MJF kicked out! Starks pulled MJF back to his feet, but as he did so MJF caught him off guard with a thumb to the eye! The crowd booed, but the referee didn’t see it!
Nigel McGuinness: Smart tactics there from MJF to swing the momentum in his favor!
Mauro Ranallo: You call it smart, Nigel… I call it cheating!
MJF whipped Starks into the corner and hit him with a series of punches and kicks, before lifting him up and hitting a Stun Gun onto the ropes. MJF then put Starks into a headlock, but Starks fought out of it and whipped MJF against the ropes before taking him down with a hip toss. Both men got to their feet and Starks hit a jawbreaker, followed by a sitout powerbomb! Starks hooked both legs and the referee counted - 1… 2… MJF kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: Starks was close to a 3 count there!
Starks pulled MJF to his feet and whipped him into the corner, then went for a corner clothesline… but MJF moved out of the way! MJF then rolled Starks up, and the referee counted - 1… 2… Starks kicked out! Both men got to their feet and exchanged right hands back and forth. Starks was able to gain the upper hand, and he whipped MJF against the ropes then took him down with a big boot. As MJF got back to his feet, Starks hit the Famous Amos, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… MJF kicked out! Starks pulled MJF to his feet and set him up for the Roshambo… but MJF fought out of it, then dragged Starks down to the mat and put him in the Salt of the Earth!
Nigel McGuinness: Starks could be in trouble here!
Starks was able to get to the ropes and the referee ordered MJF to break the hold… but MJF refused! The referee threatened to disqualify MJF and began counting - 1… 2… 3… 4… MJF broke the hold just before the count of 5! MJF then stomped on Starks’ arm several times, then set him up for the Heat Seeker… but Starks countered it, hitting MJF with a back body drop to the outside!
Mauro Ranallo: What a counter! That could swing the momentum in Starks’ favor!
Starks grabbed MJF and threw him back into the ring, then climbed to the top rope and hit MJF with a diving elbow drop! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… MJF kicked out! Starks then went to pull MJF to his feet, but MJF pulled Starks into a small package! The referee counted - 1… 2… Starks reversed it! The referee counted - 1… 2… MJF kicked out! Both men got to their feet and Starks hit MJF with a superkick, then hooked the leg once more. The referee counted - 1… 2… MJF kicked out!
Nigel McGuinness: Another near fall! MJF refuses to be beaten!
The crowd were fully behind Starks and began chanting “Let’s go Ricky!” As Starks got to his feet, he signaled for the Spear, but MJF rolled out of the ring and grabbed a steel chair, then slid back into the ring. The referee took the chair off MJF, and then handed the chair to one of the officials at ringside… but while the referee’s back was turned, MJF hit Starks with a low blow! MJF then hit the Double Cross, and hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Mauro Ranallo: It’s over! MJF cheats his way to another victory!
Nigel McGuinness: The referee’s decision is final, Mauro… and he just declared MJF the winner!
MJF celebrated, taunting the crowd as Warfare went off the air.