Had to re-format all of this, so again, if there's any glaring issues, give me a bell.
‘Fear of Flying’
The night after Hell in a Cell saw the return of Evan Bourne, much to the delight of the fans. Bourne stepped in the ring against Primo Colon, and it seemed business as usual for Bourne, utilising his high-flying arsenal to take control of the match. As he climbed to the top rope for the finish, however, he froze. While the crowd waited for Bourne to execute the Shooting Star Press, the high-flyer couldn’t bring himself to make the jump, allowing Primo to recover and Superplex Bourne off the top rope for the win. The following week, Jack Swagger also made his return to Monday nights, saying his own faults were nothing compared to Bourne’s abysmal showing last week. He said the only reason people watch Bourne is because of the Shooting Star Press, and if he can’t do it, why is he still employed? Of course, Bourne came out to argue his case, saying he was just getting back into the swing of things, after spending so long out of action. Swagger rebuffed this – he brought up Bourne’s broken foot and his Wellness violations, saying that Bourne was a chronic choke artist, incapable of doing the very thing he was brought in to do.
The next week, Swagger and Bourne had a match, but once again for Bourne, disaster struck, as he found himself incapable to perform the Shooting Star Press when the chance arrived. This gave Swagger a window of opportunity to knock Bourne off and make him tap out to the Ankle Lock on his weakened foot. At Survivor Series, the two were on either sides of Team Foley vs Team Ziggler, in which Ziggler and Swagger were sole survivors when Bourne again froze on the top turnbuckle, and he was pinned by Ziggler. The next night, the All-American American campaigned for Bourne’s removal from Raw, as a liability to the safety of other superstars and the show’s weakest link. Bourne arrived to say that he didn’t know what had happened to him – he used to be a daredevil, it used to be as easy as breathing in and out. It didn’t come as easily to him anymore… but luckily, he assured him, he could beat Swagger without it. The All-American American responded by blindsiding Bourne, wrapping his ankle in a chair and looking to break it with the Swagger Bomb, but Bourne escaped at the final second, much to the relief of the fans in attendance.
Swagger spoke to Raw General Manager Vickie Guerrero, of course a former associate of his, and said he wanted a match with Bourne at TLC, to remove him personally. Vickie, showing no sympathy to the struggling Bourne, granted such a contest, under TLC rules to allow Swagger to do ‘what needs to be done’, and put Bourne’s contract in a briefcase suspended above the ring. If Swagger won, he was free to rip it up and have Bourne fired. Not content with that, Vickie said they would do something revolutionary; if Swagger wanted to make Bourne tap, he could. For the first time, a TLC Match could end with a pinfall or submission, just to make sure that Swagger could have his ideal finish, preferably a submission to the Ankle Lock. (This also became the case with the other two TLC Matches on the card, as WWE tried to make the matches tenser and liable to end at any moment.)
Swagger told Bourne that at TLC, he would use everything at his disposal to cause him pain, including breaking his ankle – in fact, Evan could be grateful; he’d have an excuse to not use the Shooting Star. Bourne, increasingly unsure of himself, managed to beat Primo with a Roundhouse Kick to the skull, but was forced to listen to Swagger on the TitanTron after the match… “I’ve figured it out. You can’t use your finisher because you have a fear of failure. Thing is, Evan, it’s not good to have a fear of failure when you ARE one.”
As TLC arrived, it became clear that this TLC Match wouldn’t be about crashing and smashing weapons – this was far too emotional now for that. Bourne believed he could beat Swagger without the Shooting Star Press, using his other high-flying moves, but his concern was that, if he couldn’t use his actual finisher, maybe the fans would grow tired of him. Going into this match, Bourne didn’t just have to avoid a beating from Swagger – he had to defeat his greatest enemy yet…
Brooklyn’s Barclays Center buzzes as we prepare for our next match, and we have tables, ladders and chairs strewn about the place, which can only mean one thing… the bell chimes…
The following contest… is a TABLES, LADDERS AND CHAAAAIIIIRRS MATCH!
The crowd cheers for the implementation of some weaponry. Above the ring is that briefcase, suspended in the air with Evan Bourne’s contract supposedly inside.
This match can be won by either pinfall, submission, or by retrieving the briefcase suspended above the ring!
“CHECK, ONE TWO…”
*GET ON YOUR KNEES*
The arena fills with heat as Jack Swagger trots into view, bouncing to the beat of his music. He spreads his arms wide and flashes his classic grin, before he adjusts his singlet straps and heads for the ring. His singlet features a sweeping design of the stars and stripes along its right-hand side, which he points to and says “All-American American, all the time” to the nearest camera.
Introducing first… from Perry, Oklahoma, weighing in at two hundred and fifty pounds… the All-American American… JACK – SWAGGER!
We’re set for our first TLC Match of the evening, gentlemen, and tonight could be the night that Jack Swagger gets what he’s been campaigning for recently.
No two ways about it, JR. I don’t agree with the way Jack Swagger’s been bragging his way around Raw and I don’t agree with how he talks to Evan Bourne, but I really think this guy could do some damage in this match, I really do.
I don’t think Jack Swagger has a line in the sand, either, King. He’s made it very clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to push Evan Bourne out of the WWE.
Well, we’re lookin’ at tables, ladders, chairs… this is the best chance he’ll get, folks. If he unhooks Bourne’s contract, hanging above the ring, he gets to do whatever he likes with it. I hate to think what he’d have in mind – maybe Bourne leavin’ would be merciful in that case.
Swagger heads up the steps and swings into the squared circle. He grabs the top rope and pulls himself up to taunt at the crowd, pointing down and mouthing “ON – YOUR – KNEES!” in unison with his music. Hopping down, he falls to do some push-ups in the ring, before he takes a pre-emptive lap of victory around the ring. Eventually, he rolls to the outside, running his hand across the tables set up at opposite corners of the ringside area, then checks the ladders, and finally grins at his recent friend… the chair. As he picks one up and weighs it in his hand, his music dies down and we can hear plenty of boos for the All-American American.
*BORN TO WIN*
A heart-felt pop goes up now, as the Mini-Tron flashes with the usual flurried red-and-black design, and the music builds to welcome Evan Bourne, forgoing the smile tonight. Shaking out his shoulders, Bourne stares down at Swagger, who rolls back into the ring, and the high-flyer taps his ankles, one at a time, to assure himself they’re both working. Noticing the crowd’s warm reception, Bourne tilts his head up to the Barclays Center, and slowly raises his peace sign, again refusing to smile, but his steely-eyed expression tells you how much he appreciates their support.
And his opponent… from St. Louis, Missouri, weighing in at one hundred and eighty-three pounds… EVAAAAAN – BOOOOUUURRNNE!!!
Look at that man. He knows what’s at stake here.
I don’t doubt it, Cole, and I hate to be the one to say this, but – even if he knows what’s at stake, and he does, is it enough to make him go the extra mile? We haven’t seen that from him recently. This is a big ask for him, guys.
I have to agree with JR, I mean… if Evan Bourne can’t hit the Shooting Star Press, is he going to be able to win this match? I don’t know. I think this could be the biggest challenge of his career, and even I’m
not sure if he’s up to the task.
Mm. He knows what he’s letting himself in for… but can he do anything about it?
Bourne paces down the ramp, half-heartedly heading to one side to slap a few fans’ hands, then turning his attention back to Swagger. The All-American American spreads his arms wide to invite him into the ring, smirking, so Bourne takes a step, then sprints and dives foot-first under the bottom rope. The high-flyer immediately darts towards Swagger upon standing, but referee Mike Chioda gets between them, trying to stop the pair getting at each other’s throats. Swagger nods with that annoying grin again, clearly enjoying the fact that he’s got under Bourne’s skin, eventually turning his gaze up to the briefcase up high. Chioda forces them to either sides of the ring, as Bourne adjusts his blood-red kickpads and bounces on the balls of his feet, frowning… and now Chioda calls for the bell to begin Bourne’s biggest test.
Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match; Pinfall or Submission Allowed
Jack Swagger vs Evan Bourne
The classic sound of the bell reverberates around the Barclays Center… and Bourne goes RIGHT after Swagger, catching him off-guard by sprinting across the ring and firing away with frenzied right hands! The crowd pops as Bourne lights a fire inside himself, throwing as many kicks and punches as he can – Swagger is taken completely by surprise, and falls back to the corner in shock. Bourne keeps swinging with shots, until Swagger manages to compose himself and shove Bourne away, out of the corner. The high-flyer rolls to his feet with the momentum, then goes for Swagger again – NOBODY HOME ON THE CORNER SPLASH! Bourne leaps, but all he meets in the turnbuckles, and now he reels into the middle of the ring, where Swagger waits for him... the All-American American wraps his arms around Bourne with the waist lock, then hauls him to the ground with an amateur takedown and begins to roll him around the ring! Swagger’s trademark style shows as he tries to wear the high-flyer down, and you can see the effort on Bourne’s face as he gets overpowered.
Swagger transitions into a front facelock, then pulls Bourne up and forces him to the ropes. Bourne rebounds, leapfrogs Swagger, hops on to the ropes and blindly leapfrogs the All-American American going the other way! The high-flyer hurtles back into the opposite side, coming back at Swagger – BAM! Bourne rocks him with a big knee strike between the eyes, knocking Swagger back into the ropes, and when he dizzily staggers into Bourne’s path again, the underdog catches him with the SMALL PACKAGE…
BUT SWAGGER KICKS OUT!
Both men get up, with the expression on Swagger’s face saying it all; he can’t believe Bourne caught him with that pin, and he scowls. Bourne, conversely, looks spry and full of life, bouncing on the balls of his feet and raising his fists. Swagger darts in for a lock-up, but Bourne ducks the athlete’s grip… he spins… crack goes Bourne’s sharp boot off Swagger’s side, then again, and again! The All-American American winces as he takes those stinging shots, and Bourne hits the ropes again – BUT SWAGGER SCOOPS HIM UP AND DRILLS HIM WITH THE SPINNING DOUBLE LEG TAKEDOWN!!! That big hit takes the air from Bourne’s lungs, and Swagger gets to his feet, exhaling furiously and telling himself “Let’s amp it up, Jack…” He lays a few stomps into the underdog, then rolls to the outside – AND GRABS A STEEL CHAIR. As the crowd boos, Swagger slides back in, but Bourne can’t get up fast enough, so the All-American American boots him in the chest! Bourne reels sideways, allowing Swagger to prepare the butt of that chair… AND HE BRINGS IT DOWN ON BOURNE’S ANKLE! The crowd groans as Swagger goes for the ankle Bourne injured in his car crash earlier this year, and the high-flyer writhes immediately – it might be fully healed now, but not for long!
After a few shots with the chair, Swagger throws it down. Pacing in circles around the gasping Bourne, the All-American American nods his head. He pulls Bourne up and tosses him into the corner – and now the shoulder thrusts, right to the underdog’s gut! Each shot contorts Bourne’s body, eliciting a gasp from the high-flyer, and now Swagger rolls to the outside. He grabs Bourne by the ankles and just wrenches them out from underneath him! Bourne falls hard, and now Swagger BLASTS Bourne’s left ankle off the steel ring post! “OHH!” cries the crowd with each shot, of about five, before Swagger moves away, satisfied with his work. Bourne, meanwhile, rolls back into the ring, face wrecked with pain, and tries to force his body up. Of course, Swagger’s given him a few things to think about, so he’s rather sluggish, but he manages to limp up, testing the weight on his ankle as Swagger rolls back in… Bourne smiles half-heartedly, the ankle seemingly holding up – BUT SWAGGER CAREERS THROUGH HIM WITH THE RUNNING KNEE LIFT! The crowd groans again as Bourne goes down in a heap, and Swagger wastes no time, hooking a leg…
TWO… NO! KICKOUT BY BOURNE!
A pop goes up for Bourne’s refusal to stay down, but now Swagger gets up and starts stomping on the high-flyer again. Bourne can’t shield himself from Swagger’s aggression, and now the All-American American uses the sole of his boot to shove Bourne from the ring. Naturally, Swagger follows him out, grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and SLAMMING Bourne’s face off the surface of a nearby table! Again, Bourne’s eyes are unfocused as he reels off the wood, and Swagger latches on to him once more… before he flings him into the crowd barricade! The crowd groans at the sight of Bourne collapsing on the outside floor, but Swagger smiles darkly and moves away, heading over to an upright ladder. He collapses the struts and slides into under the bottom rope, rolling in as well. A buzz fills the arena as Swagger lifts the ladder up, and sets it up under the contract; he looks up at it, that smirk forming again, and begins to climb! Boos fill the arena, louder with every step… BUT BOURNE IS UP, AND HE SLIDES INTO THE RING! The crowd cheers as Bourne leaps, planting his feet on the ladder struts, and starts to fire away at Swagger with right hands!
Swagger is taken aback by Bourne’s revival, despite the hits he just took from the All-American American, and now Bourne fires a kick to Swagger’s lower back… but Swagger comes back with a big elbow! Bourne nearly falls off, but he stylishly hooks himself on using his left foot against a ladder rung, then pulls himself back to Swagger – AND HE TAKES THEM BOTH OFF THE LADDER WITH AN IMPROVISED DROPKICK! Both men crash to earth, Bourne selling it that little bit more as usual, but as Swagger lies flat out, the high-flyer has a chance to get up, measuring the bigger man. Swagger slowly struggles up, shaking out the cobwebs, so Bourne charges in for a Hurricanrana… but Swagger shoves him off! Bourne has to stop himself careering into the upright ladder, then turns around – so Swagger scoops him up for the OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE – NO! Bourne escapes out the back and catches Swagger with a sweetly-timed Dropkick, knocking the All-American American through the ropes to the outside! The crowd cheers as Swagger clatters awkwardly on to the thin mats, and now Bourne fights through any issues in his ankle, clambering to the top rope… Swagger struggles up… AND BOURNE THROWS HIMSELF TO THE OUTSIDE WITH THE CORKSCREW PLANCHA, WIPING SWAGGER OUT!!! SENSATIONAL!!!
The crowd loves that – Bourne might not be able to pull off the Shooting Star Press, but he still has a few other flashy tricks he can rely on! Swagger’s face is scrunched up on the outside floor, groaning as we see a few replays of him taking Bourne’s right kickpad right to the nose. Bourne, meanwhile, can force himself up, obviously taking less of a blunt impact than his opponent, though he staggers. He looks to the ring, blinking with a loud exhalation, and notes the ladder and the discarded steel chair within. Choosing to leave those alone for a moment, he hops up to the apron, and watches Swagger – the bigger man’s hand slams into the top of the announce table, yanking himself to his feet. We get a good camera angle from near the commentators, showing the dazed look on Swagger’s face, trying to figure out where he is before he turns around… AND BOURNE SPRINGBOARDS FROM THE APRON INTO THE ASAI MOONSAAAAUULLT… NOOOOO!!! Swagger dives out of the way and BOURNE CRASHES INTO THE ANNOUNCE TABLE!!! The crowd screams “OHHH!” as Bourne takes a massive risk and fails – the high-flyer cannons off the announce table cover and collapses to the outside floor, clutching his stomach in agony!
Swagger, meanwhile, can’t believe what happened – he’s leaning against the crowd barricade, counting his lucky stars that he dodged a bullet. Slowly, he gets to his feet, until he realises Bourne’s condition and that smirk begins to form. He heads around ringside, quickening the pace now, and finds the other ladder that was set up, snapping it shut and carrying it towards Bourne… and past him? Swagger carries the ladder round to the side of the hard camera, then lugs it up… and places it horizontally between the ring apron and the crowd barricade! A buzz runs through the Barclays Center now, with Swagger raising the stakes, and the All-American American heads back to the announce desk, grabbing a limp and pained Evan Bourne. He yanks Bourne up by his hair, lugging his practically-dead weight over to the ladder, and forcing him up to the apron. The crowd begins to boo as it becomes clear what Swagger has in mind. He knees Bourne in the gut, forcing him to keel over, and now he spreads his arms wide, saying “Get this hack offa my show!” in his brash accent… up goes Bourne for the GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB – BUT BOURNE WRAPS HIS LEGS AROUND SWAGGER’S NECK AND HURLS THEM BOTH DOWN WITH THE HURRICANRANA… INTO THE LADDER!!! The steel bends but does – not – break, echoing a fierce CLANG of skin on metal throughout the arena!
It’s anarchy in Brooklyn – a stunning counter by Bourne has the crowd on its feet! We even get a few “HOLY SHIT!” chants from the nearby smarks, as the camera zooms in on Bourne’s gasping frame on the outside floor. We then cut to Swagger, still on the slanted ladder, lying on his side, clutching at his back and moaning in pain. He presses his forehead against the steel and tries to breathe, as we at home get some in-depth and slow-mo replays of Bourne throwing both men into the steel. After a few moments of leaving them to sell that spot, we have movement, as Swagger falls to the floor, while Bourne hauls himself up and slumps against the ring apron. He slowly rolls inside, struggling to get back to a vertical base, and finally finding the ladder. The crowd begins to cheer, believing Bourne can win it here, and the high-flyer begins his half-hearted ascent, each step a trial after his impact alongside Swagger just now. Bourne keeps trucking, making it towards the top of the ladder, and the noise level gets higher and higher as Bourne reaches for the briefcase… BUT SWAGGER’S BACK IN THE FRAY, STUMBLING THROUGH THE FATIGUE, AND TIPS THE LADDER OVER – BOURNE GOES TUMBLING DOWN!!!
The crowd groans as Bourne takes a nasty fall on that ankle again; he winces considerably, clutching at it on the canvas, as Swagger takes the ladder off the ropes and throws it to the canvas. Bourne tries to put an optimistic hand on the bottom rope, but the only way he’s getting up is if Swagger hoists him up by force… which he does, looking to take advantage of Bourne’s bump from the top. He wraps his arms around Bourne with the waist lock, no-selling Bourne’s weak elbowed attempts at resistance – GERMAN SUPLEX! Swagger is efficient as always when it comes to the amateur moves, sticking in the pinning position after the impactful hit, and now Mike Chioda drops to make the count…
KICKOUT! BOURNE STAYS ALIVE!
A pop goes up after that, but Swagger’s having none of it – he stands, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand, and yanks Bourne up by his hair. The high-flyer gasps, and lashes out with a kick, but Swagger brushes it aside and shoves Bourne to the ropes. The St. Louis native gets some wind under his wings, but Swagger’s waiting for him to rebound… and he sends him for an absolute RIDE with the Back Body Drop, sending Bourne crashing down from a huge height! Bourne writhes in pain, showing how well Swagger caught him with that, but to the high-flyer’s credit, he punches the mat and tries to get up again. His small frame shudders and nearly falls, but he’s up, raising his fists to Swagger – a statement of how he’s not ready to give up on his WWE career yet! Swagger, also breathing heavily, scowls and boots Bourne in the gut, before he hoists him into the Oklahoma – Bourne gets RAMMED into the turnbuckles… AND SWAGGER ROARS WITH ADRENALINE AS HE COMPLETES THE OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE!!! Again, Bourne has the air forced out of him, this time with the Running Powerslam, and Swagger falls into the cover…
NO! AGAIN, BOURNE KICKS OUT!
Swagger shoots a look at the official, but Mike Chioda just shows him the dreaded two fingers with a shrug! The All-American American narrows his eyes and gets up, pacing around the ring and putting his hands on his hips. He looks to the ladder, then up to the contract in its briefcase; he places a foot on the collapsed ladder, considering the set-up and climb, then looks at Bourne, on all fours, struggling to breathe. Swagger takes his foot off and mutters something under his breath… before he grabs Bourne by the ankle FOR THE ANKLE LOCK – BUT BOURNE SPINS AND KICKS HIM AWAY! Swagger stumbles back in surprise, only to go for Bourne again… but the high-flyer’s got himself a window of opportunity, and he won’t waste it, hitting the ropes himself. They meet in the middle, and Bourne cascades on to Swagger’s shoulders, going all around the world before bringing him down with the Headscissors Takedown! Swagger rolls across the ring in shock, forcing himself up again, and Bourne looks to kick him in the head… wait, no, that’s a DRAGONRANA! Swagger takes another tumble, as Bourne hits the ropes to meet a rising All-American American – WHEEL KICK PUTS HIM DOWN!!!
This time, Swagger stays down, and there’s never been quite this fire in Evan Bourne’s eyes! The high-flyer immediately heads to the outside, putting aside his aches and pains aside to find the top rope, as the crowd cheers… for a moment, Bourne hesitates, and now Swagger wobbles up – SO BOURNE LEAPS OFF AND SPIKES SWAGGER INTO THE CANVAS WITH THE DIVING DDT!!! The crowd goes wild as Swagger gets planted, and this could be it, Bourne looking to put his doubts behind him with a high-flying finish…
BUT SWAGGER KICKS OUT OF IT!
Bourne rolls to the side and looks up at the ceiling. You can see that this is a constant struggle for him, the implications of this match literally hanging over his head in the form of that briefcase. Staring at it, Bourne forces his wobbling knees into action, and ignores Swagger as he tries to recover in the corner, heaving the ladder up and opting for that route to victory instead. Michael Cole asks if Bourne’s trying to bypass his challenge by winning the match this way, but of course, it’s all legal, so the crowd cheers Bourne on as he gradually constructs the ladder, then tries to haul himself up it. The contract looms for him, but Swagger, up to his knees in the corner, spots the STEEL CHAIR that he abandoned earlier, hiding under the bottom turnbuckle! The All-American American’s eyes light up, and he grabs it, immediately turning to force his tired body up the ladder, on the other side! The crowd buzzes again as things get tense, both men climbing towards the summit… but Bourne winces – is it his ankle, which has taken a few jolts, or is it something else? Regardless, it gives Swagger the time to join him near the top, chair in hand… AND SWAGGER CATCHES BOURNE THROUGH THE RUNGS WITH THE BUTT OF THE STEEL! Screams echo in the arena as Bourne nearly topples down and out of the WWE, but he holds on, even though Swagger does it again… but Bourne grabs the butt of the chair and shoves it back at Swagger! The All-American American reels back in surprise, giving Bourne a window… HE TAKES A STEP UP, THEN SLINGSHOTS HIS LEGS THROUGH THE RUNGS, KNOCKING THE CHAIR INTO SWAGGER’S FACE… AND SENDING BOTH MEN CAREERING DOWN TO THE MAT!!!
Bourne just continues to impress – THAT was huge! The Barclays Center is completely on his side, cheers reverberating throughout the masses, telling him not to give in just yet, and with moves like that, it looks like he won’t! Swagger rolls to the outside on impact, slouching to the mats and trying to shake out the cobwebs. Both men sell that moment while we catch some replays, and now Bourne’s checking on his ankle, leant against the bottom turnbuckle and frowning as he tries to get some air into his lungs. Swagger, meanwhile, forces himself up using the crowd barricade, groaning loudly to motivate himself, and he even grabs the nearest steel chair, hurling it into the ring in anger! He slumps against the barricade, telling himself “Gotta keep my head in the game, c’mon,” before he looks around ringside… AND COLLAPSES THE NEARBY TABLE. As Evan Bourne manages to get up, he slumps against the top rope for stability, giving Swagger the time to slide the table in and enter the ring… Bourne sees the danger and moves towards him – BUT SWAGGER HAS THE TABLE IN HAND, AND HE BLUDGEONS BOURNE WITH THE FLAT SIDE! Down goes the high-flyer!
Swagger turns and sets the table up, perhaps looking for the grand finish. Baring his teeth to sell the pain rushing through him, he turns to Bourne and pulls him up for the front facelock… and now the Gutwrench hold! Almost emotionlessly now, Swagger holds Bourne in place and prepares himself… but he looks to the side, and sees the chair he just threw in! The crowd is buzzing, a mixture of boos and shouts of protest against the Gutwrench, but now Swagger’s attention is transfixed on the chair… so he CLUBS Bourne to the mat, and goes to grab it! It seems like an odd move, but it all becomes apparent rather quickly – Swagger snaps the chair open. Boos fill the arena as Swagger moves over to Bourne, and yes – SHUTS THE CHAIR LIKE A VICE AROUND BOURNE’S LEFT ANKLE!!! At ringside, we hear the commentators’ muted disapproval, as if staying quiet will dissuade Swagger, but as he drags Bourne adjacent to the turnbuckle, we hear some “Not like this…” from JR and such, coupled with the fierce boos of this Brooklyn crowd. Swagger steps back, well away from the table and vertical ladder, no longer intent on winning the match as much as making a point… “Knew I’d break you, Bourne…”
Swagger allows himself one last smirk, then charges in for the SWAGGER BOMB ON TO THE CHAIR… NOOOOO!!! Bourne rolls out the way, and Swagger eats nothing but canvas, much to the delight of these fans! Bourne is back in the game now, wrenching the chair off his ankle… AND HE SNAPS! Bourne hurls the chair to the ground, eyes burning, and slowly, Swagger uses the turnbuckle to get to his feet, wincing as he does. He turns to see Bourne waiting for him on the apron – SPRINGBOARD… AND BOURNE TAKES SWAGGER DOWN WITH THE DIVING DOUBLE KNEE DROP – AND THE PIN…
KICKOUT!!! SWAGGER DENIES HIM!!!
Both men get up, Swagger clutching at the back of his neck, but Bourne is still FURIOUS that Swagger tried to end his career with the chair, not for the first time either! Swagger narrows his eyes, wary of Bourne as the high-flyer bristles with anger… Bourne yells with rage and hurtles for the All-American American, who instinctively shoves Bourne into the ropes – BUT BOURNE COMES BACK WITH A STINGING ENZUIGIRI TO THE FACE!!! HUGE HIT FROM BOURNE, THAT WAS STIFF!!! Swagger goes down again, this time in the corner not as near to the set-up table, eyes glazed over, and the raging Bourne looks around the arena… is that confidence in his eyes? The crowd is chanting his name, egging him on, and Bourne nods his head, before he heads to the outside – AND UP TOP!!! The Barclays Center goes WILD as Bourne sets himself, staring down at Swagger and raising the double peace sign… is it time to break his streak? The crowd buzzes…
…BUT BOURNE CAN’T DO IT!!! Somehow, after all this punishment, Bourne still hasn’t got the desire, the bravery, to pull off a move he’s come to fear, and that realisation hits him like a tonne of bricks! The look on Bourne’s face as he moves from anger to desperation tells it all, his breathing quickening as he stares down at the motionless Swagger… the crowd screams for him to finish it all, giving their gladiator the signal, the thumbs-down… but Bourne just won’t launch the Shooting Star! Bourne is FROZEN to the spot, mouth slightly agape as he tries to understand… BUT SUDDENLY, SWAGGER COMES ALIVE, SLUGGISHLY THROWING HIMSELF ON TO THE SECOND ROPE – AVALANCHE HIP TOSS!!! SWAGGER JUST SLAMS BOURNE OFF THE TOP!!!
The crowd groan in pure awe of Swagger, and Bourne might be out cold here! That huge, huge move from Swagger was all instinct and no thought, just a reaction more than anything, but all you need to know is this – Bourne may have cost himself his own career! The high-flyer lies still, but Jack Swagger is slowly to his feet, using the sole of his boot to shove Bourne into the corner… a small run-up from Swagger – THE MOST LETHARGIC SWAGGER BOMB YOU’LL EVER SEE!!! Nevertheless, it does the damage, surely ending it all for Evan Bourne, as Swagger slumps into the pin, too exhausted to hook a leg…
THREE – NOOO!!! FOOT ON THE ROPES!!! BOURNE’S FOOT ON THE ROPES!!!
Where did that come from? Swagger looks at Mike Chioda as if he’s joking, but that foot is there, on the ropes, clear as day! Bourne’s eyes are pretty much closed, so how he pulled that off is anyone’s guess, but Swagger is incensed! The All-American American gets to his feet, unsure what else to do, and again, he turns to the ladder, with its chair still rammed in one of the top rungs, and the table ominously set up beneath it. Swagger takes a step towards the ladder, then stops himself. “I said I’d break your ankle… I’m gonna do it…” he mutters, and yanks Bourne to the centre of the ring – ANKLE LOCK!!! The crowd screams out in one unanimous protest, booing wildly as Bourne comes alive, yelling and gasping with his own trial… he raises a hand, face stricken in agony, and Chioda slides beside him! Bourne may have to tap here – if Swagger had only sporadically fulfilled his ‘ankle-breaking’ promise before now, he’s looking to collect that bounty now, wrenching it to the side… BOURNE SCREAMS – THEN PULLS SWAGGER DOWN WITH A VICTORY ROLL OUTTA NOWHERE!!!
THREE – NOOOO!!! SWAGGER KICKS OUT OF IT!!!
The crowd gasps at the last-second kickout, and both men get up… Bourne misses with the ROUNDHOUSE – AND SWAGGER PLANTS HIM DOWN WITH THE BIG BOOT! Once again, Swagger murders a Bourne comeback attempt, and now he finds that chair from before, snapping it fully shut and pitching it in his hands. It may not have broken Bourne’s ankle before, but he’s going to end this match with it now anyway… it takes all of Bourne’s strength to get to all-fours, then his knees, then stagger to his feet. The crowd tries to warn him, as he turns, AND SWAGGER SWINGS FOR A HOME RUN – BUT BOURNE DUCKS IT… ROUNDHOUSE KICK TO THE CHAIR!!! The crowd ROARS with delight as Swagger topples backwards – and he lands on the table! Bourne rushes to kick the chair from the ring, putting his hands on Swagger to throw him to the canvas and make a cover… but he stops, listening to the screaming crowd again! Bourne’s gaze darts about the Barclays Center, and he realises what he has to do!
Bourne nods. He forces Swagger’s body entirely on to the table, then turns to the ladder – AND BEGINS THE SLOW CLIMB! Poor Evan’s taken all sorts of beatings in this match from a brutal, cruel Swagger, but he still has the drive to find the top of the ladder, an inevitable smile breaking out as he puts his hands on the briefcase. But again, before he can take the easy way out, the crowd is making all sorts of noise, and Bourne has to accept that it’s now or never! Slowly, his hands retract from the briefcase, and he looks down at Swagger, still unconscious on the table below… Evan takes a step down, removing the CHAIR from between the top two rungs, and returns to the top. The camera zooms slowly out, encompassing the entire Barclays Center as thousands of fans get to their feet to see this. Bourne holds the chair in one hand, the briefcase cord in the other to steady himself. He stares at Swagger, and it’s clear that he’s not sure – the lines increase on his face, his breathing quickening again…
…but then something catches fire inside him, from God knows where, and he lets go of the briefcase cord – he raises the peace sign, to the delight of the crowd! At ringside, JR is screaming “DO IT, EVAN! THIS IS WHAT YOU LOVE!” and Bourne channels that spirit, spreading his arms wide –
- AND NOW EVAN BOURNE SOARS FROM THE SUMMIT, HOLDING THE CHAIR TO HIS CHEST ON THE WAY DOWN… SHOOTING – STAR – PREEEEEEESSSSS – THROUGH THE TABLE!!! BOURNE THROUGH THE TABLE, FROM THE LADDER, WITH THE CHAIR!!! SWAGGER GETS ABSOLUTELY MAULED IN A MESS OF STEEL AND WOOD!!!
The Barclays Center EXPLODES!!! The pop is just deafening, everyone ecstatic that Evan Bourne just conquered his own fear, hitting possibly his greatest Shooting Star Press ever, and coming down on Swagger with a HUGE impact! Needless to say, Swagger is a broken mess, lying still somewhere beneath Bourne’s body, the chair and the crunched remains of the wooden table! Referee Mike Chioda gets on his knees, stunned, unsure where to begin with these two…
…and now Evan Bourne, face hidden as he lies next to Jack Swagger, slumps his arm across the shoulders of his opponent… Chioda, wide-eyed, makes the count, as the crowd chants along…
WINNER: EVAN BOURNE VIA PINFALL AT 19:40
*BORN TO WIN*
Here is your winner… EVVVVAAAAANNNN – BOOOOUUURRNEEE!
EVAN BOURNE HAS DONE IT!!! Through the most incredible means possible, Evan Bourne has kept his WWE career alive, finally hitting the Shooting Star Press again, and he has BEATEN Jack Swagger! Slowly, slowly, the high-flyer rolls to the side, detaching himself from the wreckage with a face twisted with pain, but crucially, the most tired, satisfied smile you’ll ever see. A few medics rush down the ramp to help both men, one of them aiding Bourne to his feet so Chioda can raise his limp arm.
In all my years at this desk, gentlemen – say what you will about Evan Bourne, but never say he doesn’t love his job. Now THAT is bravery, by gawd.
Did you see that Shooting Star Press? Evan’s got it back! He beat his fear, and he beat Swagger! His contract is safe! This is great!
Guys, we might have witnessed something special from Evan Bourne tonight – this… this wasn’t just a win for him, it might have been THE win. This could completely change where Evan Bourne’s career goes from here! Like JR said, that jump took courage that I don’t think even the old
Evan Bourne had.
Evan Bourne will never forget this night, ladies and gentlemen, but this was merely the first of three
TLC Matches we have on tap tonight…
As JR shills the remainder of the show, we’re left with just the image of Evan Bourne, exhaustedly soaking up the applause and the ovation of this sold-out crowd. Slumping over the top rope without the help of the medics, Bourne raises the peace sign with his signature warm smile, and reflects that tonight, he beat his fear of flying.