Mauro Ranallo: Get ready folks… it’s time for Warfare! Tonight, we are live from the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota, and kicking things off we’ve got Max Caster of The Acclaimed versus Dominik Mysterio!
The Acclaimed's music hit, and the crowd cheered as Max Caster and Anthony Bowens made their way to the ring. Caster had a microphone, and as he walked down the ramp, he began to rap. As Caster reached the bottom of the ramp, he handed the microphone to Bowens, who announced to North Dakota that “The Acclaimed have arrived!” Bowens then began scissoring the fans in the front row as Caster entered the ring, awaiting the arrival of his opponent. Once Dominik was in the ring, the referee called for the bell.
Nigel McGuinness: It’s rare we see either of The Acclaimed in singles action, but we’ll see both Max Caster and Anthony Bowens compete one on one tonight as Bowens takes on MJF later!
Dominik ran at Caster, going for a clothesline, but Caster ducked underneath it, then spun around and hit Dominik with a series of punches. Caster whipped Dominik against the ropes, and as Dominik ran back towards him, Caster hit a dropkick. Both men got to their feet and Caster grabbed Dominik, hitting a headlock takedown. He followed up with a knee drop, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… Dominik kicked out! Caster pulled Dominik to his feet and whipped him against the ropes once more, and as Dominik ran back towards him, this time Caster went for a clothesline… but Dominik dodged it, then grabbed Caster from behind, hitting a release German suplex!
Mauro Ranallo: Great counter by Dominik Mysterio!
Dominik climbed to the top rope, and went for a clothesline… but Caster got his knees up and blocked it! Both men got to their feet, and Caster hit a spin-out powerbomb, then climbed to the top rope and hit Dominik with the Mic Drop! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Nigel McGuinness: It’s over! A quick turnaround from Max Caster, and he advances to the second round… where he could face his tag team partner Anthony Bowens, if Bowens is able to defeat MJF!
Caster celebrated, then made his way up the ramp as the camera cut to the backstage area.
The camera opened with Becky Lynch sat in her locker room, deep in thought. At that point, two blonde women entered the room. The two women in question were Becky's best friends and the two closest people in her life, Alexa Bliss and Liv Morgan. Both women wore the new Rebellious Angels T-shirt with Liv also wearing a knee brace. The two blondes sat down next to Becky.
Alexa Bliss: Well it's almost that time of the year again.
Liv Morgan: Where we all take part in the big tournament to crown the next number one contender with the first round being exclusively Triple Threat matches.
Becky simply nodded her head as silence filled the room for several seconds.
Alexa Bliss: You know what everyone's thinking.
At this moment, Becky heard a voice. “Rebecca, you know how you feel about the tournament.”
Becky looked up in a trance. Subconsciously, she saw Winter standing there and she wore a ceremonial robe adorned with inverted pentagrams. “You want to be the Women’s Champion. Aside from Alexa and Liv, the Women’s Championship is what keeps you bound here.”
“Yeah, I know.” Becky said in a monotone voice, as if she answered both Alexa and Winter.
Both Alexa and Liv had a brief look of concern but Liv continued the conversation.
Liv Morgan: Everyone's expecting us to face each other in the first round. I know there's some people around here who would love nothing more than to see the Rebellious Angels explode, but I think we can all agree that no matter which of us wins the tournament we'll always support each other, right?
Liv put a hand on Becky's shoulder.
Winter smirked at Becky. “The one thing you desire at this point is to become the Women’s Champion in order to put an exclamation point on your career. Without it, you will never be able to move on. If you don’t become champion, it will rot your soul and despite our past transgressions, I don’t want to see that happen.”
“Right.” Becky said in a monotone voice. The pupils of her eyes dilated as if there was nobody home.
Alexa and Liv's concerned looks returned, and Alexa leaned over to meet face to face with Becky.
Alexa Bliss: Becky are you okay?
“Time to wake up, Rebecca.” Winter said as she snapped her fingers and disappeared.
Becky shook her head and blinked twice before she looked at Alexa. “Huh?”
Alexa Bliss: I asked if you were okay. You looked…lost.
Liv spoke up with her hand still on Becky's shoulder.
Liv Morgan: Yeah, you also sounded like a Ronda Rousey promo.
Becky chuckled at that statement. “I don’t think I sounded that bad.”
As Becky wondered what had just happened, Alexa decided to change the subject.
Alexa Bliss: So, Liv. How's your knee?
Liv looked down at her knee, which was wrapped in a brace, and started to bend her leg back and forth.
Liv Morgan: It's better than it was a few months ago. I just can't wait to get back in the ring. The thought of it makes my heart go crazy.
Liv looked up at her friends with a warm smile.
Becky grinned at Liv. She felt ecstatic that Liv had made so much progress in rehabbing her knee.
Becky Lynch: That’s great, Liv. I can’t wait to see ya back in action. I’ve been missin’ seein’ ya in the ring.
Tears started to fill Liv's eyes as she pulled Becky into a hug.
Liv Morgan: Thanks, Bex. I've really missed being in the ring, especially with you guys.
Alexa joined in on the hug.
Alexa Bliss: We're gonna make sure that one of us takes the crown, and gets the title shot.
The trio stayed in the hug for a bit longer before letting go.
Alexa Bliss: Hey, who's excited for the main event tonight?
Becky smirked. I’m definitely excited. I’m lookin’ forward to seein’ Bray Wyatt finishin’ our job and beatin’ that sneaky little shite into the next world.”
Winter popped into Becky’s head once more. “And then I get to have my fun torturing him. I have many ways to do so, and I think I will legitimately go medieval on him. I would start off with the Rack, followed by the Iron Maiden, the Breaking Wheel, and then Pear of Anguish amongst others. ”
Becky’s smirk turned into a full grin when she heard Winter say that while she hugged her friends.
As the camera cut back to the ring, “Booyaka 619” hit and the crowd cheered as Rey Mysterio made his way to the ring. When Mysterio was in the ring, “A Soul for a Soul” hit and the cheers quickly turned to boos as Powerhouse Hobbs stepped out onto the stage.
Mauro Ranallo: This is like David versus Goliath, Nigel!
Hobbs charged down the ramp and locked eyes with Mysterio as he entered the ring, clenching his fists. As the referee called for the bell, Mysterio ran at Hobbs… but Hobbs reacted quickly, taking Mysterio down with a stiff clothesline!
Nigel McGuinness: Oh my goodness, Mauro! Hobbs almost took Rey Mysterio’s head off with that clothesline!
Hobbs stomped on Mysterio several times, then dragged him to his feet. Hobbs whipped Mysterio against the ropes, then hit a spinebuster. Hobbs then lifted Mysterio up, and hit him with Town Business! He hooked the leg and the referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Mauro Ranallo: It’s over! A dominant display by Powerhouse Hobbs, and he defeats Rey Mysterio in less than 60 seconds! Hobbs celebrated as Warfare went to a commercial break.
When Warfare returned from the commercial break, Anthony Bowens was in the ring ready for the next match.
Mauro Ranallo: Welcome back! Still to come, Christian Cage takes on Bray Wyatt in our main event… but up next, we’ve got Anthony Bowens in action as he goes one on one with Maxwell Jacob Friedman!
Nigel McGuinness: Max Caster is at ringside, supporting his tag team partner, but also scouting his next opponent… because he will face the winner of this match in the second round!
“Better Than You” hit, and the crowd booed as MJF made his way to the ring. When MJF was in the ring, the referee called for the bell. Bowens was about to charge towards him, but MJF held up his hands, asking Bowens to give him a moment. Bowens watched on intrigued as MJF walked towards the center of the ring, then lay on his back!
Mauro Ranallo: What is MJF doing?
Nigel McGunness: Well Mauro, he said he doesn’t care if he wins or loses… I guess he meant it!
Bowens looked confused. Max Caster yelled at him to make the cover, and Bowens went to pin MJF… but MJF grabbed him, rolling him up and grabbing the tights! The referee went to make the counts, then saw MJF had the tights and refused. MJF shrugged, and got to his feet, stomping on Bowens several times. MJF then pulled Bowens to his feet, hitting an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. As Bowens got back to his feet, MJF hit him with a series of punches, then dragged him towards the corner of the ring and slammed his head off the top turnbuckle. MJF punched and kicked Bowens several times, then dragged him out of the corner and hit a body slam. MJF climbed to the top rope, signaling for a top rope… then shook his head and climbed down from the turnbuckle, pulling Bowens to his feet. MJF set Bowens up for a DDT… but Bowens countered with a bridging northern lights suplex! MJF’s shoulders were down, and the referee counted - 1… 2… MJF kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: MJF got too cocky, and it almost cost him the match!
Both men got to their feet, and Bowens whipped MJF into the corner, then ran at him, hitting a forearm smash. As MJF stumbled out of the corner, Bowens grabbed him, setting him up for a suplex, but MJF blocked it and countered with a reverse STO, slamming Bowens’ head against the middle turnbuckle. As Bowens sat in the corner, MJF stomped on him several times, then used his foot to choke Bowens! The referee threatened to disqualify MJF, and began counting - 1… 2… 3… 4… MJF removed his foot just before the 5 count. MJF moved Bowens out of the corner, and went to set him up for Salt of the Earth… but Bowens got to the ropes before he could lock it in! MJF looked frustrated, and he stomped on Bowens several times, then went back to the corner and began removing the top turnbuckle pad! MJF removed the turnbuckle pad, then threw it across the ring… but the referee caught it! MJF looked stunned, and the referee shoved him aside as he went to the corner to reattach the turnbuckle pad. While the referee’s back was turned, Bowens got to his feet, and MJF hit him with a low blow! Caster tried to get the referee’s attention, but the referee didn’t see it! As the referee turned around, MJF hit the Double Cross, then hooked the leg. The referee counted - 1… 2… 3!
Nigel McGuinness: It’s over! MJF gets the victory!
MJF rolled out of the ring and made his way to the back as Caster checked on Bowens.
After the match concluded, the scene shifted to the Fargodome's backstage interview area. As soon as they saw Mina Shirakawa standing there, the fans popped. In her first appearance in months, Mina seemed to be in high spirits. She waved to the camera before greeting the fans watching in house and around the world.
Mina Shirakawa: Hellooooo! It's been a very long time, hasn't it? Sorry to keep you waiting, but the Venus of EBWF is back! And you know what? I think it's time that I get back to the ring and get myself crowned.
There's a pop from the crowd, interrupted by a shout and a crash down the hall.
Maika: WHERE'S UTAMI?
Mina frowned a little but tried her best to continue on.
Mina Shirakawa: After all, what better sign of my improvement as a wrestler than to be your sexy queen? I'll be-
Another loud crash.
Maika: UTAMI, GET YOUR ASS OUT HERE!
Mina flinched, but tried to carry on.
Mina Shirakawa: As I was saying, I'll be a better queen than any of the women who've just given themselves that title. Utami? Charlotte? Please. When I get the crown, I'm going to be a queen you actually want to cheer for! So b-
The next crash was just off camera, and we saw a light fall over into the interview area. Rather than back away, Mina turned to confront the source of the disruption. The camera turned to follow her line of sight and revealed Maika, face contorted with fury.
Mina Shirakawa: Okay, hold up. What's the big idea going around wrecking all that equipment? And what's the big idea interrupting my message to the fans?
Maika: I heard Utami is here tonight. She's not leaving this place in one piece.
Mina sighed and shrugged.
Mina Shirakawa: Look I don't know what to tell you, but she's not here. I haven't seen her for weeks, actually. Maybe she flew back to France with her new mistress.
Maika stepped closer, her muscles tensed.
Maika: Or maybe she's hiding. She knows I'm coming for her and she's scared. You used to work for her, so tell me. Where. Is. She?
Mina's eyes narrowed as she jabbed a finger into the other woman's chest.
Mina: I told you, I don't know. Believe me, I think she deserves every last bit of suffering you want to put her through. But she's not here, and if you keep raising hell there's going to be a problem.
Maika frowned a little more.
Mina poked her again.
Mina: Yes. Make any more trouble and I'm going to be a problem for you. Back off.
Maika's frown turned up into a malicious smirk.
Maika: You want to get in my way? Fine. You just answered the question I've been asking myself for the past two weeks.
Mina rolled her eyes dismissively.
Mina Shirakawa: And what question is that?
Maika glowered at the Venus.
Maika: Who dies first. See you next week.
She shoved Mina forcefully enough that Mina slammed into the wall. Maika stormed off and we heard a few more crashes echo through the halls. Mina stood there up against the wall and looked a little out of sorts after the confrontation. Just then the crowd popped again as Alexa Bliss rushed into view. She looked to Mina with concern.
Alexa Bliss: God, Mina are you okay?
Mina immediately stood up straight and nodded.
Mina Shirakawa: Yeah, I'm fine.
Alexa Bliss: You sure? She looked like she was going to murder you.
Mina grinned a little.
Mina Shirakawa: I've fought this girl before. Don't worry, I've been honing my skills in the past few months. If she tries anything funny I'll break her leg.
The mischievous glint in her eye promised she could do just that. Alexa still looked concerned, though.
Alexa Bliss: If you're really going to fight her, I'll be watching. I'll be there to back you up if she tries to injure you.
Mina considered the offer, tapped her chin and finally smiled.
Mina Shirakawa: You've got a deal. And after I make her tap, we can go celebrate with slurpees or something.
Alexa smiled back as the pair shook hands.
Alexa Bliss: I look forward to it.
The two women nodded to each other as Warfare went to a commercial break.
As EBWF returned from commercial, the audience joined Mauro and Nigel at the announce table.
Mauro Ranallo: Folks, our thrilling main event is up next.
Nigel McGuinness: The King of the Ring tournament continues, and when this one was drawn up the wrestling gods must have had something sinister in mind!
There was a big match feel as Christian came to the ring first.
Mauro Ranallo: Christian sure has made some interesting choices in the past few months, Nigel.
Nigel McGuinness: We’ll have to see if they pay off for him here tonight!
Christian came to the ring next. He pounded his chest and gazed out into the crowd, but only received boos. Once Christian was in the ring, Christy Hemme stood in the center and did the announcements.
Christy Hemme: Fargo! This is our main event of the evening. In this corner, weighing in at 285 pounds, the sinister and enigmatic Bray Wyatt!
The crowd gave a mixed reaction as Wyatt, dressed in Funhouse Bray attire, stood at the ready.
Christy Hemme: And in the opposite corner, weighing in at 227 pounds, he is the Instant Classic, Christian Cage!
The crowd booed as Christy got out of the ring and the referee rang the bell. The men engaged in an intense stare down. Wyatt grinned.
Mauro Ranallo: Bray Wyatt is known for his unorthodox style and mind games, Nigel. You have to wonder what he has in mind here.
Wyatt took control early on, using his size and power to dominate Christian. He unleashed a barrage of powerful strikes, targeting Cage's midsection and back, trying to wear him down. Wyatt's eerie presence loomed over the ring, intimidating the audience.
Nigel McGuinness: I don’t know if this crowd is afraid of Wyatt or if they just don’t like Christian.
Mauro Ranallo: It might be a bit of both! Christian is known for his tenacity and resourcefulness. I don’t think he’ll back down.
Christian fought back with a combination of quick strikes and evasive maneuvers, utilizing his agility to avoid Wyatt's powerful attacks. The crowd continued to boo Christian as he mounted his comeback. The match became a back-and-forth battle. Wyatt used his size advantage to deliver devastating slams and suplexes, while Christian relied on his speed and technical prowess to counter and outmaneuver his opponent. Christian managed to gain the upper hand, hitting Wyatt with a series of high-impact moves, including his signature diving European uppercut and a tornado DDT.
Mauro Ranallo: The momentum seems to have shifted in Christian Cage’s favor!
Just when it seemed like Christian was about to secure the victory, Wyatt's unpredictable nature came into play. He unleashed his dark persona, absorbing Christian's offense and displaying a sadistic grin. The crowd reacted strongly as Wyatt regained control of the match, dishing out punishment with a mix of power moves and psychological mind games. Christian fought back, refusing to succumb to Wyatt's mind games. He dug deep. Christian delivered a breathtaking top-rope crossbody, followed by his devastating Killswitch finisher.
Mauro Ranallo: Christian with the pin!
The referee slid into position, counting.
No! At the very last moment, Wyatt kicked out!
Mauro Ranallo: This crowd is stunned.
Nigel McGuinness: Christian Cage is stunned!
Both competitors, battered and exhausted, continued to give it their all. They traded blows and near falls, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats. Christian ran the ropes, and came off right into the referee!
Mauro Ranallo: Oh no, Chad Patton is down! Chad Patton is out!
Wyatt took the opportunity to grab Christian and put him over his knee…
Mauro Ranallo: He’s going for Sister Abigail. Wait a minute?!
The crowd popped huge as a man jumped over the barricade.
Nigel McGuinness: Who is this?
Dressed in jeans and an oversized black hoodie that was pulled up over his head and covering most of his face. The man interrupted Wyatt by clobbering him in the back of the head. Christian fell to the mat and the unknown man continued to pummel Wyatt before kneeing him in the head.
Maura Ranallo: Wyatt went down like a felled tree.
Christian was dazed and held fast the top rope. He turned toward the intruder and was a met with a...
Nigel McGuinness: SPEAR! SPEAR!
The hood had come off to reveal Edge who stood up to a thunderous ovation. He looked down at Christian and then Wyatt. He moved to grab Christian by the wrist but the crowd began to boo loudly. Edge’s head snapped up as he peered out into the crowd. He then shook his head before grabbing Christian by the arm and dragging him toward Wyatt, draping his arm over Wyatt’s body.
Mauro Ranallo: This crowd wouldn’t have been happy with either victory, Nigel.
Nigel McGuinness: Mauro, producers are telling me that Edge has agreed to participate in this tournament. He is ensuring that he doesn’t have to face Bray Wyatt no matter what!
Edge’s final task was to rouse Chad Patton, who surveyed the pin and quickly counted the 1… 2… 3!
Edge rolled out of the ring as Christian and Bray were dazed in the ring. Edge did not acknowledge the cheering crowd, simply looked on at the chaos as he created as Warfare went off the air.