AS 125 – Eve Taylor vs Batti – Number 1 Contender Match
RP deadline will be the Monday the 12th of February at 23:59EST. Extensions available upon request.
Reinstate The Fox!
Two women sit opposite each other on separate director chairs, both of which are slightly angled to face the cameras currently pointing at them. On the left is Stacey Madison, professionally dressed with one leg crossed over the other. Her hair is slicked back and tied into a ponytail. She has a pair of glasses perched on her nose with her eyes looking directly at the camera.
"Recently, WZCW.com broke news that the former WZCW World Heavyweight Champion Justin Cooper had been released from his contract upon his own request, merely hours after the 124th episode of Ascension had aired. As of this time, WZCW have yet to discover any additional details concerning the release of the number one contender to the World title. Until Justin Cooper, any representative of his or anyone close to the situation wishes to make any further comment, our story on Cooper's release will remain as initially reported; however, this did pose a problem for John Constantine who is currently without an opponent for the upcoming Lethal Lottery event in which he will defend his World title. To rectify this situation, WZCW Management has scheduled a match between two competitors who they feel deserve this opportunity where the winner will become the new number one contender to the World championship. Joining me at this time is one of the competitors, Eve Taylor, for an exclusive interview to comment on this situation."
The second of the two women, positioned on the right, is indeed Eve Taylor. Comparatively to Stacey, Eve looks the complete opposite. Rather than professional attire, Eve Taylor appears in casual clothing: blue denim jeans with rips and tears as well as her own WZCW merchandise, being a black shirt that reads 'Get Even' in pink font. Instead of sitting politely, Eve is leaning back into the chair with her legs over the arm rests. One of her legs is bobbing up and down, being really relaxed in this position. As opposed to glasses, she sports black tint aviators with her long hair flowing in an unkept, yet somewhat stylish manner.
As Eve Taylor is introduced, she puts up her hand and gives a quick wave to the camera before lifting her head up at Stacey, acknowledging her introduction. Stacey looks a little off-put by Eve's demeanour but recovers quickly to kickstart the interview.
"Thank you for joining us here for this interview on relatively short notice."
"My pleasure, Stacey. Any time you request an interview with me, I'll always be ready."
"Hopefully, you'll be as ready for your number one contender's match against Batti on this upcoming Ascension as you were ready for this interview, because that is the question running through everyone's minds when they received word this match was happening: is Eve Taylor ready?"
Eve Taylor stops wagging her legs for a second to use her finger to push down her sunglasses, making eye contact with Stacey Madison.
"Is Eve Taylor ready?" Eve echoes back in a curious tone.
"Well, you have to admit that the previous attempts you've taken to become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight championship haven't been excellent outings for you. In fact, almost every opportunity to become number one contender, or simply earn a spot to become a contender, for the World title has been met with failure on your behalf. You spent the better half of the year attempting this so expectations this time around aren't exactly great. There are many that still doubt your abilities to contend for the World title, which prompts the question: is Eve Taylor ready?"
A few seconds after Madison poses the question for the second time, Eve nods her head and pushes her glasses back to cover her eyes and restarts her leg bobbing in the chair. Eve is back into a relaxed position.
"Let me first ask you a question: do I look ready?"
Stacey takes a look at Eve and is reluctant to answer.
"You can answer honestly. Tell me."
"No, you don't look ready. Actually, you don't look too concerned by the number one contenders match. Previously, you've made it a big point to showcase motivation, determination and the desire to become champion. This Eve Taylor is not the same we've seen heading into other contenders matches."
"Exactly, Stacey. That's exactly the look I was going for with this outfit. I'm glad you noticed. I knew there was a reason I liked you over Leon and Johnny. But yes, I sit here before you without much of a care in the world and looking like someone who really couldn't be bothered dressing for the part, let alone being ready for something as important as a contenders match. Honestly, you yourself look more like a World championship competitor than I right now."
"Okay, but why? Seems like an odd decision."
As Eve goes to answer the question, she re-positions herself on the chair to have both feet on the ground but she is leaning forward, staring directly at Stacey.
"Well, let me take you back through time, if I may: I've had many opportunities at becoming the number one contender, as you mentioned. Many times it has come past my way and I have failed to grab it every time. As someone who prides herself on being the best, it stings every time I cannot capitalise on the opportunity to prove such a claim. Even though I still believe I am the best wrestler in the world, how can that hold true without having a World title - or even a World title match - under my belt? For a long time, it was a head-scratcher for me and I could not understand it. I questioned myself many times in the mirror. I ran through all the possible scenarios and answers and still, I couldn't figure it out... that is, until I decided to stop looking in the mirror. Sounds like an impossible statement coming from a former supermodel who is obsessed by her image but I managed to do it. This morning, I did not care what I looked like. I woke up, put what I am wearing on and left my hotel room. No make-up? No discernable hairstyle? No fancy clothes? No worries!"
Stacey shakes her head, trying to figure out the meaning behind Eve's words.
"I'm not following you. How does not taking care in one's looks equate to championship opportunities?"
"Because every damn time I had a title opportunity in my grasp, I cared way too much about my image."
Eve lets Stacey revel in that sentence for a minute before sitting back into the chair, folding her arms.
"When I was first considered to be a heavy favourite and a future World champion by everyone, I was one top of the world as the longest reigning Elite Openweight champion. If I wasn't in professional attire, I was in my professional wrestling attire. I laid down the challenge to anyone to step into the ring and beat me. I threw out accolade after accolade each and every week to prove that I was the best. During this time, at possibly my career best, I had the chance to win the Lethal Lottery and break so many records, topping it all off with a World title shot... but I blew it, because I cared way too much about my image. This sent me into enough of a downward spiral that I put my career on the line in a dream match. Despite beating Celeste Crimson at Kingdom Come, I was still heavily invested in my own image. If I couldn't beat the female legend, how could I be one? Following that momentum of such a great win, I got a title opportunity... and I blew it, because I cared way too much about my image. I then got awarded a spot in the Gold Rush tournament where I crushed all the competition they placed before me. I went through the toughest bracket to get to the finals and I made sure to remind everyone about it. I re-iterated everything I had achieved and what I would achieve... and I blew it, because I cared way too much about my image.
"Do you understand now, Stacey? My obsession for being the greatest wrestler alive and wanting everyone to see the same image that I envision every morning in the mirror is what cost me an opportunity at the World Heavyweight championship, and it happened every single time. I always thought it was a foregone conclusion that I would end up as a World champion one day and each opportunity would be the only one I needed to ascend to the next level. Every time I got the opportunity, I would prepare myself for the future rather than deal with what was in front of me. I worked on my image as a respectable champion and great wrestler than I forgot about actually winning the match that would get me to the World title match. I lost sight of my goals because I became so blinded by them. I do not want to lose sight of my goals any more and I do not want to disappoint everyone again. So, as ironically as this sounds, I am looking away from the mirror and removing myself from acknowledging my image so I can regain my sights on what is most important: the World championship and fighting my way to that title. Taking everything one step at a time began when I had to fight Logan McAllister. It continued with every match I have wrestled, including winning a match against the previous number one contender Justin Cooper. And it will carry over when I face Batti on Ascension."
"Fair enough, you seem focused on the task at hand but surely this is not the only thing you're banking on to help you defeat someone like Batti for the opportunity? She may seem bubbly enough and out of place inside a wrestling ring but Batti is a tough competitor. She has fought valiantly over the Elite Openweight title, just as you, and she even has a recent victory over the current World champion Constantine. She's been on a roll and is beginning to break out into her own star. Batti is carrying a wave of momentum and her stock continues to rise. Why do you believe you are going to defeat her considering you've been on a downward slope more than you've been on an upward slope over the past year, whilst Batti has done the exact?"
Eve lets out a chuckle.
"Because Batti is young, naive and easily distracted."
Eve smiles at Stacey, who seems to be waiting for more but Eve does not continue.
"Do you care to explain?"
Eve takes her aviators off and holds them in her hand.
"You, of all people, should know exactly how she is distracted."
Stacey stare at Eve gets a little more intense. Eve stares right back with a smirk.
"Yeah, now you understand. Batti's been bitten by the love bug... and just in-time for Valentine's Day. I wonder how Batti and Tyrone will be spending that day together? Do you reckon Batti would prefer flowers or chocolate better?"
"Where are you going with this?" Stacey says, very irritated.
"You understand because you are no longer in that position. As the other half in a relationship with Tyrone Blades, you lost all sense of self, Stacey. You and I, previous to the relationship you had with him, were good friends. After it ended, you and I are good friends. During, however, was a different story. I didn't know who you were and what happened to you. You became so infatuated by him that you lost yourself. You did things and made decisions that were out of character. You completely changed and not for the better, Stacey. It was not until the relationship ended that you reverted back to your old self. For a while there Stacey, I thought I had lost you..."
Stacey and Eve stare at each other for a moment. Eve with a look of concern and Stacey not sure how to react. Eve, after a few seconds, turns her look of concern into one of serious focus.
"Batti is in the middle of being in what will be a toxic relationship with Tyrone Blades. I know it will be a toxic relationship because Tyrone Blades is the epitome of toxicity. Despite his legendary status and amazing accomplishments as a wrestler, Tyrone Blades the person is nothing but pure evil. He is a cancer to society that just won't allow society to go through remission successfully. I don't need to repeat all the horrible things he has done because everyone knows the history of WZCW. All that needs to be said is that Tyrone Blades will do everything he can to get to the top and stay there. The man has no limits to his deception and underhanded tactics. Now, he can say he has changed all he likes and say he has a new identity to prove that, but you can't change a leopard's spots. The only reason he changed his name from Ty Burna to Tyrone Blades is so he can achieve all his accomplishments again under a new persona because he is selfish like that. It sickens me to think the crowd actually cheers him on despite everything he has done.
"Now, why mention all this? I'm not facing Tyrone. There is no real need to address him. Well, I bring this up because Batti is an amazingly talented girl. She is someone who you would never think of becoming a successful professional wrestler, let alone be considered for the World title opportunity and actually be believable in winning the title some day. She began in the shadows of my former stablemate Ramparte playing manager but now she has become more popular than Ramparte could ever imagine. Her shirts are everywhere. She has lines out the door for signings. She inspires so many people because she is an underdog... she is just like me when I started. When I see Batti, I see parts of myself. I see someone hungry to become the best and do anything to prove herself to the world. When I see Batti now, I see the time in my life when I betrayed everything I held dear and sold my soul to Cerberus. When I see Batti, I see her falling down the black hole known as Tyrone Blades... and everyday she decides to stay with him is everyday she remains an idiot. Don't get me wrong, I love Batti as a competitor. I like watching her matches and I want to have many matches with her. I am excited to wrestle her, yet her current form angers me to my core. My blood burns with pure hatred when I see Batti continue her relationship with Tyrone Blades because she is throwing her life away for limited love."
At this point, Eve turns to the camera and stares directly into it.
"I know you are watching this, Batti. I hope you are paying attention to me as you enjoy that embrace with the succubus Tyrone Blades who will leech your life away the moment you gain any success in this company. I know he will do it because I've done it before when I stabbed Mikey Stormrage and Aubrey Sloan in the back. I know the look in the eyes of someone who is willing to hurt their friends because I've had that look in my eyes. I know how it feels because your old boyfriend Ramparte stabbed me in the back to try and get my Elite title off me. So, listen to me closely, kid. You do not have what it takes to become World champion. You are not yet World championship material as long as you've got that suckbag Tyrone hanging around. Before you even consider getting a World title shot, cut ties with him right now. This business is no place to put trust in others, especially when those others are competing for the same titles you want... and even if you do listen to this and dump that sorry ass of his, you still aren't ready. You may have a couple of big wins here and there, and the endorsement of wrestlers here, but you are not ready to face me.
"It does not matter what you think you have, you do not compare to what I have done and the journey I've taken to realise the person I am. I have been here long enough to know my flaws, my weaknesses and my imperfections. You are still in the honeymoon phase of discovering yourself but unfortunately, your first reality check is about to hit you on Ascension when you step in the ring with me. Just like when I look at you I see myself, when you step into the ring with me, you'll be taking a good look at your future if you continue along this path. You'll be seeing heartache. You'll see senseless scars scattered across my body, ones which you will attain. You'll see a jaded wrestler who views this business in a different eye than most fan favourites. You'll see the antithesis of Batti Otaku staring at you and it's going to beat you silly until you get the message. You're making the same mistakes that I made and that will only end in your own self destruction. Hopefully, every punch I land helps you speed up the process of realising the kind of path you're about to undertake. This path you take does not lead to World championships. This path you take does not lead to success. It only ends in pain and heartache."
Eve clenches her fist.
"And this pain I feel from my past decisions is coming at you full force. I will punch you in the heart so you can feel what I felt. I will give you a preview of what's to come as I use you as a stepping stone to get back what I've lost because of my own selfish decisions. So please Batti, I beg you... don't make this any harder than it needs to be."
Batti vs. Eve
#1 Contendership Match
For The World Championship
She read the same three lines over and over again on the website. Sometimes she'd click Refresh to see if something changed, in case it was an error on the company's part. But no. Clear as day, Batti Otaku, the little geeky asian girl would fight WZCW's elite fighter Eve Taylor and whoever won would get to face Constantine at Lethal Lottery. In a few weeks time she could be the next World Champion. The same title held by Titus, as Showtime, as Ty Burna...she breathed in slowly.
"Pull yourself together, ol' girl. There's still work to be done."
Batti logged out and sat her laptop aside. She had finally did it. She was in the World title hunt.
Four Hours Later
She wiped forehead sweat away with a towel, and left the WZCW-sponsored Tokyo gym. Ray Webber passed by, and did a double take.
"I'll be a monkey's ass," he greeted her.
"Nice to see you too. How was Hawaii?"
"Agreeable. Not often you fellers ask reporters how our trips went. I appreciate that."
Batti discarded the towel into the laundry basket that hung near the door.
"So I hear you're a step away from facing Constantine for the big one. I'm sure my readers would like to hear your thoughts on something as huge as that."
"I don't really have much to say to be honest. It's another day at work, but my nerves are all shot to hell now," she joked, sticking her tongue out.
"Oh come on, you gotta give me more than that. You're about to take part in the biggest match of your career. Eve Taylor is the hungriest competitor in WZCW today. Shot after shot she's been given and it's only a matter of time before she finally takes the cake. You've got nothing to say about her recent return to form?"
Batti talked as she led Ray down the hallway.
"But that's the thing with her, innit? Eve Taylor has been in this position before. A lot really. Sorta makes her an expert, no? But time after time she came up short. While I was lifting weights I was thinking about why that is. She's obviously capable, but everyone online knows what she's called backstage. Choke Artist. I think it's pretty mean, and unfair. I don't see her as that. But I don't believe it's fair for someone to be given these opportunities on a frequent basis either. Know who should get this chance? Triple X. Matt Tastic. I get that she has The Look, and the higher ups love that. I get that she has worked hard, which helps her case. But can we say she defeated our World Champion lately? What did she do to be a contender that the others didn't?"
"Are you questioning the company? That's a little unlike you."
"No, we know Eve Taylor is a good hand. She has brought out the best in her opponents, including me once or twice. What I'm saying is I don't see why she should be given this shot when there are several here who've done great work and they go unnotice-"
Batti is pushed against a wall. A fist connected against her temple. Ray Webber hollered for help, but it went unanswered. The assailant had her on the ground, and began stomping his feet into her stomach. Satisfied, the man grabbed the reporter and leered at him.
"It seems a re-introduction is in order. My name is Godfrey Ramparte, and before this rainbow with tits walked into my life, I was a tag team legend here, close to being an icon all on my own. But she made me weak, you see, and it cost me. It should be RAMPARTE vs. EVE TAYLOR, two Cerberus heads clashing for the privilege..."
Batti Otaku roared to life, and tackled her attacker. They both went to the floor.
"God, you never could shut the fuck up!"
Webber shouted for Security, but still they were nowhere to be found. Ramparte lifted himself up and grabbed a fist full or Batti's blonde hair. She whimpered under the pain. He chuckled, and threw her against another wall. She twirled and tried to catch herself on the nearby railing, but missed. Batti tumbled down the flight of stairs.
"Where's Tyrone? Almost Valentine's Day and I'm getting more action than he is."
Batti coughed and clutched at her chest. Ramparte slowly descended the stairs. He licked his lips, taking notice of her black eye. Batti pulled herself off of the ground and spat in Ramparte's face. As Ramparte wiped it from his cheek, she ran her shoulder into his stomach. His back smacked against the edges of the stairs and he howled. Before she could fully get the upperhand, Security came in and separated the two.
Ray Webber shouted in Japanese how Batti was a performer, and Ram had no reason to be there. They seized The Recluse and carried him out of the building. Batti bursted into tears.
"It's always guh-gonna be like this, isn't it? With him. He'll be right there, p-punishing me for breaking up with him. I need a restraining order or something. God, did you hear him? He still talks about Cerberus like anybody cares anymore. Jesus. Always the same old. I'm so tired of the same old shit. We are all tired of it...wait...."
She trailed off, searching her pocket for her phone. When she had it, she looked at her reflection through the selfie feature. She composed herself, finding her voice.
"I need you to do something for me, Mr. Webber. A special something."
Four More Hours Later
She stood at a podium in a business suit. Her hair was tied in a bun, and makeup covered her blemishes. Some of her dearest friends, including her guru Aquarius, her beau Tyrone Blades, Action Saxton, even her ex-employer, the butler Morley had shown up in Tokyo for her press release. Ray Webber stood in a corner, taking pleasure in putting the meeting together. Cameras flashed and headlines were already made on the web about the event.
"I owe an old friend a thank you this evening. It's no secret about my past relationship in WZCW. A big reason why I joined this company was to avenge a former boyfriend. And because of that, I have went from being some rookie who could barely do a clothesline to someone who has a serious shot at being the first woman in this company to hold the World title. Ramparte was my coach, and trained me to be the person I am today.
So Ramparte, if you're watching, thanks. Thanks for giving me your last lesson - to expect bitter rivals along my way. Those that are willing to sit in a hospital months in and out to heal, just to jump me the moment they get the opportunity. Reality is what it is. In front of the cameras, we inspire. But when the cameras aren't rolling, we are people, and people are capable of the pettiest things. Look at my face."
She paused, taking off her jacket. With a sleeve, she wiped away the makeup that covered her black eye. Several people gasped. Aquarius shifted in her seat. Tyrone grimaced. Seeing how everyone in the room was taking to her appearance, her tone changed.
"This is the face of a woman who has had enough. I am tired of those who hold on to the past like it's some priceless relic. I am tired of the same names playing the same games. I'm tired of the working class being ignored while models, movie actors, politicians, social media starlets, and government-funded projects carry all the glory. Take a look at this company right now and tell me who it is that holds all the cards. Go on."
Batti gave herself a moment to breathe. She was making the crowd uncomfortable. Good.
"We are tired of the same old, same old. What better place to rewrite history than here in Tokyo, Japan? Can't ya believe my hometown of Neo is only a few miles from here?"
They laughed and she grinned.
"Eve Taylor is an incredible talent. She has held the Elite Openweight Championship longer than anybody. She was the first woman in history to hold gold on her own. I respect what she has done for WZCW. But do you hear that sound???"
Batti paused, tilting her head and imitating listening to something far off.
"It's the sound of the crowd. Eve may remember vaguely what they sounded like last year at Kingdom Come VIII when she was up against Celeste Crimson. That's the last time they were excited to see her, ever. She is facing an uphill battle with me this week, and she knows it. I'm not an icon from the history books she can conquer. The roles have reversed. I'm the young lioness ready to take over. Fans come UNGLUED when they hear my music. They know I am here to give them a spectacle. And this spectacle is now in Japan, the place I was born, the place I prove to the world I belong in a World title match. Batti Otaku isn't just a cute face now. I think I'm making that obvious tonight."
She winced a little as pain shot through her injured eye. Still, she gave a soft smile.
"In closing, I want to thank the fans who let their voices be heard. We are in this together now, you and I. I promise to do my best no matter how difficult the challenge is, and this week it really is a Big Boss fight comin' my way. I hope I do my fellow countrymen proud, and bring Lethal Lottery a little kawaii flair. Sayanora!"
Batti leapt from the podium, completely forgetting her jacket. It was two degrees Celsius outside.
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