WWH Raw - Episode 1
May 27th 2013 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
A strange feeling of suspense and apprehension was in the air as the fans poured into the arena on the back of the strange news that had broken earlier in the evening. The news that WWE was no longer, and tonight was the genesis of a new vision for the company. Tonight the very first episode of Raw. WWH Raw, that was. World Wrestling Hornswoggle.
The pyros banged and popped around the titantron as the brand new WWH Raw theme - 'Bleed' by Meshuggah - played over the loudspeakers, the lights flashing so immensely that it was later reported one obese member of the audience died in his chair of a seizure, nobody wise to it until after the show had ended.
A confused looking broadcast team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL introduced the audience at home to the show, detailing the events that had taken place earlier in the evening, where Hornswoggle had announced his purchase of the company formerly known as WWE from Vince Mcmahon, for an undisclosed fee. Nobody could still quite believe it.
The cameras panned to the ring, where everyone that had been listed on Hornswoggle's fact sheet as having their services retained all stood, talking amongst themselves. The likes of Ryback, Orton, Alberto Del Rio and more. They, too, were none the wiser to what had happened earlier that day. Cody Rhodes especially looked confused, holding his head in his hands, while Sheamus was almost growling under his orange goatee. Wade Barrett stood with his arms folded, laughing and shaking his head.
The big news was, of course, that John Cena had been fired. But as they waited, it then became apparent there was one glaring omission from that group of men that stood in the ring. One name that WAS on Hornswoggle's list.
The fans began to chant his name.
But the gong did not sound.
new theme tune played.
Out the new owner of the WWE walked in his Armani suit, a Bella Twin either side of him. There was a microphone in his hand. Where the WWE logo had once been, the new WWH logo was now. It was the same globlly recognised insignia, except with an added H scratched into it. The pint-sized star raised the microphone to his mouth.
"Hellooooo Calgary," Hornswoggle said. "First thing's first. Tonight's Bret Hart appreciation night has been cancelled, as we have greater things to than to sit around paying tribute to a bitter old Canadian retard."
The crowd jeered, with one fan even throwing an empty bottle at Hornswoggle. It landed at his feet, scaring the Bella Twins back.
"Ha-ha! Cheap heat, I know. Forgive me. There ain't going to be any more of that crap now that I'm in charge of this ship. And when I say that, I'm looking at all of you
." He pointed to the ring at the group of superstars. "You see, guys, I'm sick and tired of it all. I'm sick and tired of the fake matches. Yeah, that's right. I said fake
. Oh, you marks didn't know that? That's right. Wrestling is fake. It's all made up! John Cena was never actually the best wrestler in the sport.. if you would even call it a sport, that is. No, no, no. Cena, that son of a bitch who I fired earlier today-" The crowd popped, interrupting Hornswoggle's speech. "That son of a bitch has no place in this sport. That's right, I said sport. Because from now on, this is a sport. This isn't a game anymore. This isn't an entertainment
show anymore. From now on, guys, this shit's real."
The wrestlers in the ring all looked on as Hornswoggle paced up and down the stage, The Bella Twins in matching red dresses behind him. He pulled out a cigar and lit it, holding it between two fingers as he had done at the press conference.
"You see, fellas, there's going to be no more three counts. No more fake rest holds and suplexes. No! Nobody wants to see that. You know why? Because it's fake and boring! No, I'm taking a page straight out of the UFC playbook. in the WWH, we fight."
"I like it!" JBL said on commentary.
"From now on," Hornswoggle continued, "the only way you win a match in the WWH is by knocking your opponent out. Or killing him. Whichever one comes first. That is the only rule. No time limits, no count-outs, no disqualifications. You knock your opponent out and you win your match."
"This can't be happening," Michael Cole yelled. "What the hell is going on?!"
"It's happening, Michael," JBL said.
"And so, we come to the major news. We have no champion anymore. So tonight shall be the start of a 32-man tournament that will play out over the coming weeks, leading up to our first ever pay per view, Payback, 3 weeks away from tonight. Every one of you guys in the ring right now will be taking part. So get ready, because the show starts right NOW!"
"And be sure to stay tuned," Nikki Bella said, taking Hornswoggle's microphone. "Because right after the ad break we will be showing you the brand new WWH championship belt!"
Hornswoggle's theme hit as he waved to the crowd who were on their feet, shocked at what had just happened. He slapped both the Bella Twins on their asses as he walked into the backstage area, leaving a ring full of 32 confused men as the show went to break.
Coming back from the break, a vignette shown the brand new WWH Title in all it's glory, the camera slowly panning all it's luxurious features.
Fading in from the vignette, Hornswoggle was sat on a leather sofa in his office, flanked by both the Bella Twins again. They were muttering something about how stupid John Cena was, when there was a knock on the door.
"Come in," Hornswoggle shouted, rolling his eyes.
In walked Naomi of the Funkadactyls, dressed in her regular gear, tight jeans and a low cut t-shirt.
"Where's your big fat boyfriend?" Brie Bella said.
"Brodus? Didn't Mr. Swoggle fire him?" Nikki said, running her finger down Hornswoggle's chest.
"Ladies, please," Hornswoggle said, standing from the sofa. He looked up at Naomi, who was glaring at him.
"What is this?" Naomi said, her hands on her hips. "You got rid of the divas division?"
"Nobody wanted to watch that crap."
"Mhmm?" Naomi said, waving her head side to side. "Maybe if you put a real wrestler like me in there instead of these pretty girls who don't know the difference between a wrist lock and a suplex, then people would watch."
"Is that all you've got for me, Hornswoggle? Ha-Ha
"Well, honey.. If you really want to fight, then so be it. I'll pull one of the guys out of the tournament and put you in his place instead. How's that?"
"You heard me, sugar. Now get the hell out, because your match is up next!"
The Bellas cackled as the camera shot faded to the ring, where Justin Roberts was ready to announce the first ever match in WWH history.
MATCH 1 - RYBACK VS. NAOMI
"Feed meeee moreeee..."
Ryback's music hit and the musclebound meathead stormed to the ring to the boos of the audience. He slapped his head and stuck his tongue out, awaiting his opponent for the night.
And with no theme music to spur her on, out Naomi crept, with a look of absolute fear on her face. The crowd cheered her, some holding their hands to their mouths at what they were about to witness, some people still believing it was fake.
But it was all real.
Naomi got into the ring and stared down her opponent, twice the size of her, with a look of sadistic joy on his twitching face. Before the bell sounded, she asked for a microphone.
"First things fi-"
"Oh my god," Michael Cole shouted.
Ryback had hit her.
There she was, in all her elegance, out cold on the ground, her long flowing hair spread out across the mat, her dark precious eyes closed over. Blood bubbled up in her nostrils as the paramedics rushed to the ring, referee Charles Robinson throwing up the X sign with his arms.
"Ahhhhhhh!" Ryback screamed again, pounding his chest like a feral gorilla. "Done!"
"And your winner, Ryback!" Justin Roberts announced from the outside of the ring with an uncharacteristic quiver in his voice. The bell rang and the fans booed. Parents ushered their children out of the arena, while teenage girls began to cry, disgusted and appalled at what they had just seen.
But now everyone knew. This was real.
The show faded back in from the ad break to a horrified Michael Cole, who tried to explain what had just happened in softer terms. But there was no way around it. Ryback had just knocked a woman out cold.
Cameras went backstage, where an unconscious Naomi was being loaded into an ambulance. Sheamus and Tensai were stood there, Tensai with his hands in a prayer formation over his mouth.
"This isn't right," Sheamus said. "Something needs to be done about this."
"But what?" Tensai said.
"Follow me, fella."
The cameras follow Sheamus and Tensai as they paced through the arena, while Cole spoke in hushed tones about how they would keep us updated on Naomi's condition throughout the night. The two men came to the office of Hornswoggle, where Sheamus booted the door down with a Brogue Kick.
"Hey!" Hornswoggle said, as Nikki Bella jumped off his lap. "Don't you knock?"
"What the fuck was that with Naomi?" Sheamus yelled, booting a ceramic potted plant in the corner of the office and smashing the pot into pieces. "You just let that psychopath knock a woman unconscious out there, yer little runt!"
"Who the fuck are you calling a runt, man!"
Hornswoggle tried to get up in Sheamus's face, but only reached his waist. Sheamus started laughing at him.
"Yer pathetic," he said, spitting in the WWH owner's face.
Hornswoggle then lowblowed Sheamus and before Sheamus could retaliate, he was knocked down to the ground from behind by Tensai, who had picked up a piece of the smashed plant pot. The Irishman lay, out cold with blood dripping from the back of his head.
"Sorry about all that, boss," Tensai said, giving the unconscious Sheamus an extra boot in the stomach and throwing the piece of the smashed ceramic pot he had used against Sheamus's back.
Hornswoggle looked Tensai up and down, shaking from adrenaline.
"You know something, Tens', man. You just made it through to the next round."
"You just beat Sheamus, you idiot. You're through!"
"Oh." Tensai smiled a wide grin. "Awesome."
"Now get this redheaded paddy out of my office for me, Tens'. I'm sick of the sight of him already." Hornswoggled brushed off his suit and sat back down between The Bellas, letting out a sigh of relief.
"Sure thing, boss," Tensai said, dragging out the unconscious Sheamus by the arm.
MATCH 2 - REY MYSTERIO VS. KANE
To the surprise of the fans, out popped Rey Mysterio from behind the curtain to the bang of his pyros. However, the little luchadore did not do his usual entrance. Instead, he walked straight down the ramp and got into the ring, taking a microphone.
"Hornswoggle, you piece of shit," he said, not putting on his usual exaggerated Mexican accent. "You son of a bitch, you perro
. How could you do that man? How could you put a girl in the ring with Ryback?"
Then Kane's music hit, Mysterio's opponent for the night. The Big Red Machine walked out, but without his mask on.
"This show is nuts," Lawler yelped in his high pitched tone.
"Damn right it is!" JBL said enthusiastically.
Kane was not even wearing his regular wrestling attire, but instead a denim shirt and jeans. He got into the ring and grabbed a microphone from a production guy at ringside.
"Rey. Take that mask off. Don't let that little demon in the back push us around and tell us what to do."
Rey looked at him, placing his hands on his hips, biting the inside of his mouth as he considered Kane's words.
Kane then turned to the audience and spoke to them. "And my name is not Kane. My name is Glenn Jacobs and I'm a professional wrestler, not a woman beater! I'm not going to stand by and let a poor defenseless wom-"
His microphone was cut off in the middle of his speech.
"Hey, hey! What happened to your-"
Rey tried to speak into his, but his was cut off too.
Then Hornswoggle appeared on the titantron from his office, speaking directly into a camera, the camera close up on his face.
"Kane, Rey. What can I say." He turned back to The Bellas, who were sat behind him. "Hey, did you hear that? That rhymed. Ha-ha! Anyway." He turned back to the camera. "Guys. If you refuse to fight, you get the hell out of MY ring right now, or I will have you arrested on the grounds of trespassing, becuase you two punks will be out of a job!"
Kane and Mysterio stood in the ring, both with their arms folded, staring at Hornswoggle on the titantron. Kane shook his head and mouthed the word 'no'.
"Is that the way it's going to be? Then fine, you're both fired! You hear me? And I'm going to sue you both for every penny you've ever earnt from this sport! Security, get these bums out of the building." He pointed his finger at the camera. "And that goes for EVERY single one you on the roster. You don't fight, you're fired."
The titantron returned to the WWH logo as a team of security swarmed every side of the ring like jackals. Kane and Mysterio stood back to back, ready to take them on, the fans on their feet cheering them on.
"This is real life, folks!" Cole reminded the viewers at home. "None of this is scripted."
The security team all jumped into the ring at once and ran into the two fighters, who took them on valiantly, throwing punches and kicks. But it was too much for them. Twenty men against two. They were swiftly handcuffed and dragged out of the ring, Kane with a busted nose, blood dripping down onto his denim shirt, while Rey's mask was half hanging off his head.
"I said it before, but this is crazy! I've never seen anything like this!"
The cameras followed the two men being taken backstage, were police officials were ready to take them away. They were thrown into the back of separate police cars and the sirens were turned on as the cars slowly pulled out of the arena.
Then, Hornswoggle ran up to the cars and banged up on the windows laughing as a growling Kane and a deflated Rey Mysterio were driven off into the Canadian night.
"Ha-ha!" Hornswoggle laughed, as the show cut to a commercial break.
WINNER: NO CONTEST
"Lord Tensai!" Josh Matthews shouted, running up to the big man as the show returned from the break, Tensai walking away. "You looked as though you were so upset about Naomi, and then.. then you turned on Sheamus, hitting him from behind?"
Tensai turned and grabbed Josh by the face, pushing him up against a wall.
"This is a jungle around here now, Josh. When I came back a year ago, Mcmahon told me I would be the next big thing. Laurinaitis, wherever the fuck he is now, told me I would be a mega star." He reduced his voice to a grunting whisper. "I left
Japan, where I was a star. And for what? For fucking Albert chants and then to dance like a fucking joke with that fat fuck Brodus Clay." He laughed in Josh's face, squeezing him tighter. "Well NO MORE! Now, I am going to be the Tensai that I should have always been. You think I gave a damn about that little bitch? Girls have no place in the ring, Josh, only men. And I am a man.. no.. THE man. I am THE man, and I will prove it when I win the WWH title at Payback."
He threw Josh, who fell back and clattered into a pile of steel pipes holding his face.
-A PPV ad for Payback played, featuring Hornswoggle in his suit talking on a black screen about the "dawn of a new era"-
Backstage, a limosine with blacked out windows pulled up, but nobody got out.
MATCH 3 - ALBERTO DEL RIO VS. ZACK RYDER
Zack Ryder and Alberto Del Rio made their entrances to the ring, not putting on any showmanship, and for Del Rio, no Ricardo Rodriguez, who had been fired earlier that day.
The bell rang and the two men stared each other down from opposite corners. Del Rio edged closer to Ryder, who tried to keep to the outside, throwing little jabs towards Del Rio without coming close.
Then Ryder swung in with a haymaker, but it was no use. Del Rio duck and took Ryder down with a charge, before driving his elbow into his face repeatedly. Ryder tried to squirm out, but it was no use after four smashes to the nose. He fell unconscious and Del Rio had win the match.
After the bell rang, Del Rio leaned back on his knees and looked at Ryder lying there, the paramedics attending to him. Something went missing from his eyes, as though he had lost a part of his soul. He just knelt there, staring, Ryder's blood all over his right forearm.
The half-empty mostly-male crowd chanted "Del Rio", as the cameras faded to a commercial break.
WINNER: ALBERTO DEL RIO
Cody Rhodes was sat in a limosine in a formal shirt and pants, sipping from a glass bottle of water, watching a replay of the Del Rio-Ryder match from moments before.
He rolled down the limosine and watched as the lights of the city of Calgary passed him by.
"Driver. Turn around."
"Take me back to the arena. I have some unfinished business to take care of."
The cameras went backstage in the arena to Sheamus, who was sitting on the edge of a treatment room bed, holding a pack of ice to the back of his head.
He turned around and saw Randy Orton standing in the door in his ring attire.
"Randy," he said, standing up.
"I saw what happened."
Sheamus nodded, casting his eyes down.
"I just wanted you to know.. even though we haven't always seen eye to eye on things. I've got your back on this."
Randy took a step forward and offered his hand to Sheamus. The Irishman paused, looked down, before grabbing it for a firm shake.
"And I've got your back too, fella," he said. "Good luck with your match out there."
Orton nodded and left the room, as the camera held steady on Sheamus's face.
MATCH 4 - RANDY ORTON VS. THE GREAT KHALI
The Great Khali trudged out from behind the curtain to the sound of Punjabi MC, stopping on the ramp to raise his arms in the air. The first wrestler all night who had performed their usual entrance.
Following him, out came Randy Orton, who walked methodically down to the ring, staring at Khali the whole way. His stoic face read one of confidence, but subtle twitches around his lips gave away an inner feeling of dread at the prospect of facing this giant.
The bell rang, and immediately Khali went to tie-up with Orton, who backed out and slid out the ring.
"What are you doing?" Orton shouted at him, holding his hands in the air at his sides. "Don't you know this is a real fight?"
Khali raised his arms to the crowd and roared, seemingly not understanding what Orton had said.
Orton then went under the ring and pulled out a steel pipe. He circled Khali from outside the ring, who was holding his giant hands up in the Khali Vice Grip position. Then, he slid in, and as fast as he could he jumped at Khali, striking him on the knees with the steel pipe. Khali fell to the ground with a legitimate cry of pain and Orton stood over him.
Khali was shaking his head "no", shaking in pain like a helpless animal.
"It's over," Orton said, turning his back to Khali. "Ring the bell."
"I can't ring the bell," the referee said. "Not until there's been a knock out."
Orton turned back around and looked at poor Khali's face, pleading for mercy. The gentle giant could not even stand, such was the severity of Orton's blow.
Them, closing his eyes, the viper struck. A blow to the head with the pipe.
WINNER: RANDY ORTON
He was dead.
The Great Khali was dead.
"This isn't happening," Michael Cole said in hushed tones. "Ladies and gentlemen, I..."
"My God," Jerry said in a whisper, his voice breaking.
JBL was silent.
The cameras went backstage, where Hornswoggle was sat in his office with The Bellas and Tensai, who had gotten dressed into a sharp black suit. They all looked on in horror, both the girls with their hands over their mouths and tears in their eyes. Hornswoggle buried his head in his hands.
The camera went back to the ring, where Orton was turned away from Khali, still holding the pipe. It cut to a close-up shot of his face, which zoomed in slowly as a tear ran down The Viper's cheek.
A second limosine pulled up beside the one that had pulled up earlier in the night, which nobody had gotten out of. Out of it, stepped Cody Rhodes. The heels of his brogues clicked as he walked into the arena, pushing the camera out of his face.
The camera cut back to Orton, who was still turned away from Khali. He dropped the pipe from his hand, then brought his hands to his face and sobbed violently. The camera picked up his moans. It was unlike anything the WWH Universe had ever seen.
Cody Rhodes' theme hit and the former Intercontinental Champion paced out with a microphone in his hand.
"Cut the music, cut the music."
He slid into the ring and stepped around Khali's dead body without an ounce of respect.
"Randy," he said, pulling him around by his shoulder.
Orton took his hands away from his face, a blubbering mess.
Randy shook his head at him, saying "no".
"You have to listen to me carefully," Rhodes said, spreading his fingers out before Randy's face. "This. Isn't. Real. Have you got that? None of this is happening."
Orton started crying again and dropped to the mat before rolling out of the ring. He slowly walked away, covering the side of his vision as not to see Khali's dead body lying in the ring.
"This isn't real, Randy! None of this is! It's all fake! You're being tricked!" Cody started storming around the ring, beating his hand against the ropes, making them shake. "Randy, listen to me, please! I have evidence, I have proof."
Randy stopped in the middle of the walkway. He looked as if he was about to turn back and listen to Cody, but he bowed his head and kept walking away.
"Randy!" Cody yelled.
"Hey, you. Wiseguy over there in the ring!"
Hornswoggle's face appeared on the Titantron and Rhodes looked up at him.
"Yeah, you. Listen up, you bastard. I gave you the night off, but since you decided to come back, you can have your tournament match right now!" Hornswoggle turned his head. "Tens', go and get his opponent. You know who it is."
"I won't fight," Rhodes said. "This isn't real, Hornswoggle. You know it's not real."
"I have no idea what's going on in your crazy mind right now, but you're making an embarrasment out of this show on it's opening night, and I WON'T stand for it!"
Then there was a loud bang.
MATCH 5 - CHRIS JERICHO VS. CODY RHODES
"Break the walls dowwwwwwwwwnnnn..."
Chris Jericho came out in a pair of jeans and boots and minced down the aisle, furrowing his eyebrows at Cody who stared at him shaking his head. As he walked towards him, paramedics were carrying Khali's dead body down the edge of the aisle on a stretcher.
"Chris, you have to listen to me," Cody pleaded, as Jericho slid into the ring and faced him.
The bell rang.
"Chris, before you do anything, listen to me. Please."
Jericho asked for a mic and got one.
"Okay, Cody, I'll listen to you. What are you trying to say?"
"I have undeniable proof that what we are experience now is not real. It's all entirely fake, synthesized. A simulation, of some kind. And he
is the one behind it." Cody pointed up the ramp to the backstage area, implying Hornswoggle.
"I really don't get what you're trying to say?" Jericho laughed with his troll face. "That this reality we are currently in is some kind of.. game?"
"That's exactly what it is. This is a game, and Hornswoggle is the gamesmaster."
"But Cody. I woke up this morning in the hotel. I ate my breakfast in my room, I went to the gym, I trained. I went back to the hotel and did some DDP Yoga. I sent out a few tweets and I listened to the latest Fozzy CD while I drove to the arena. I got here and heard the news, about Hornswoggle buying WWE." Jericho began laughing, shaking his head. "Admittedly, that was a little surreal. But still. Aside from that, everything is normal."
"You just saw a man die
in the ring, Chris. Is that normal?"
Jericho let out a sigh and shrugged.
"What can I say? Anything can happen in wrestling, Cody." Jericho looked down at his fingernails and back up into Cody's eyes. "Anything."
And before Cody knew it, he was looking up at the lights, dazing in and out of consciousness.
"This isn't real," he yelled, but it was too late. Nobody could hear him above the sound of the crowd booing Jericho, who paraded around the ring.
Then he saw a great light eminating from the lights in the rafters. And in it was his father, and his step-brother, Dusty Rhodes and Goldust. They were in their wrestling gear, standing in the great white lght. He began to float towards them, as light as a feather.
"Dad? Dustin? Where am I?"
"Son, Cody. Now ya need ta listen, and listen-a good," Dusty Rhodes said. "You have to wake up."
"Cody," Goldust said, waving his hand at him. Cody felt himself falling away from them.
"What's going on? Help me, please."
"You have to wake up."
WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO
Then Cody came to.
Except, he was not where he expected to be.
He was in the back of his limosine again, the lights of the city passing him by again. He looked down at his shirt and saw it was covered in blood. A TV screen in the limosine was playing WWH Raw.
"And Cody Rhodes has been knocked out by Chris Jericho!" Cole yelled. "Jericho advances to the next stage of the tournament."
"This night is unbelievable, Michael," JBL said.
"What's going on," Cody whimpered to himself. "Driver. Stop the car."
The car continued to accelerate and everything was a daze to him. He felt as though he was drifting in and out of consciousness.
"Driver. Can you hear me?"
The driver's window was up and blacked out, and Cody could not get it to come down, despite pushing the button as hard as he could. Then the button started to turn into a black liquid and spilt all over the floor of the car. He closed his eyes and looked again, and the liquid was gone.
"Driver, I said stop the car! Something's happening!"
Cody felt the car stop.
Then the driver's window came down.
"Cody?" the driver said. It was a voice Cody recognised, but he could not see his face and could not put a face to the voice.
"Who are you? What's going on?"
"You're awake now. Good. You've gotta go to the ring, quickly."
"Tell me who you are!"
The driver turned his head, revealing his face.
"John Cena?" Rhodes said, sitting forward in his seat. "Why are you driving my limo?"
"I'm not driving it. We've been parked here for half an hour."
"Cody, listen." Cena put his elbow up against the back of the driver's seat. "You know what's happening ain't quite right. You know when you woke up this morning, that something was wrong.. something was different. Listen, carefully..."
Cena fell silent and looked up into the air. Cody tried hard to listen. Then he could hear it. His own voice, cutting the promo he felt as though he had only cut moments before. Before he had seen his father and his brother in his vision and before he had awoken in his limosine.
"I'm.. already there?"
"Go and shock the world, Cody. You were born for this moment."
"How do you know?"
"I guess I'm Superman after all," Cena laughed, smiling modestly. "Nah.. but really, isn't it obvious? This is a miracle, Cody. You must have been born to do this."
"You're right," Cody said. "And Khali?"
Cena cast his eyes down, a morose expression coming to his face.
"I don't know," Cena said in a dry tone. "But quickly, you have to get out there, now."
Cody nodded and jumped out the car. He stumbled down the arena corridor in a daze, noticing the second limo that he arrived in earlier. Everything was fading in and out of his mind. Was this real? Was any of this actually happening?
"What the thfuck?" Jack Swagger said, putting his hands on his head as Cody walked by him. "How can you be... if you're..."
But Cody kept walking, dizzy, propping himself up against the walls. He reached Gorilla position and everyone who was stood there jumped up in horror.
"Hit my damn music," he said in a grog, before stumbling out from behind the curtain in front of the thousands to his theme tune.
He stumbled down the ramp, noticing the fans either side of him were in stunned silence and disbelief, some of them jumping up and down crazy.
He saw Jericho standing in the middle of the ring, and he saw Jericho's face turn as white as a ghost when he saw him coming down the ramp.
Then he saw his own body, lying in the middle of the ring unconscious. He saw the horror of his own body still and lifeless, and image that he knew would scar him for the rest of his life.
But what had life become?
Then Jericho fell to his knees, before falling back and banging his head against the mat. The referee, quivering in fright, took a torch to Jericho's eye.
"He's unconscious," the ref said. "Cody has won this. Reverse the decision."
Rhodes span in position, trying to keep his balance, as the arena whirled around him. He saw Hornswoggle running down the ramp briefly, but before he could see what was about to happen next, everything was black.
WINNER: CODY RHODES (REVERSED DECISION)
The cameras came back from the break and Hornswoggle was stood in the middle of the ring with a mic in his hand. The bodies of Jericho, Cody Rhodes and the second Cody Rhodes were all being stretchered out of ringside.
Some fans had fled the arena in terror, screaming Satan, while some had fell to their knees and praised the Lord.
Hornswoggle had his head bowed in the middle of the ring, listening to the jeers around him, to the religious cries, to the sobbing and wailing.
He raised the microphone to his mouth.
"I don't know what just happened," he said in a dry voice. "But, like they always say.. the show must go on."
"The show must go on?" A voice said over the loudspeaker from behind the curtain.
Wade Barrett walked out onto the stage to a minimal reaction from a crowd in stunned silence from everything that had happened. He was wearing a casual white shirt and a pair of formal trousers with brown leather shoes.
"The show must bloody go on?" He said. "A man died and then a crazy man appeared to clone himself infront of the entire world on camera, and that's all you can say? That the show must go on?"
Wade hopped up onto the ring apron and got into the ring, circling the downtrodden Hornswoggle.
"Mr. Swoggle, sir."
Hornswoggle looked up at Barrett, wincing his eyes.
"Let me tell you, Mr. Swoggle.. this is the GREATEST wrestling show I have ever seen. I'm sat there in the back with some of the lads, and we're bloody lovin' every moment of it."
The crowd booed.
"I-I just can't believe.." Cole said.
"I don't know what to believe anymore," King said. "Did I die and go to hell when I had that heart attack last year?"
"Feels more like heaven to me," JBL said.
"I mean, how did you do it? That illusion with Cody Rhodes? And even more, how did you manage to get Khali to act so well at being dead?" Barrett laughed. "But really, Mr. Swoggle. This is a fine-"
"It's all real!" Hornswoggle yelled, pushing Barrett in the knee. "I don't know what happened with Cody Rhodes, and I didn't mean for anyone to actually die. Especially not Khali! But I didn't know any of this was going to happen!"
Barrett s......ed and shook his head.
"If you don't think it's real, then how about you have a fight right now. The main event."
"Eh?" Barrett said. "I didn't see that in the program.."
"There is no program! There is no script." Hornswoggle grabbed Barrett by the knee of his trousers. "Everything that's happened actually happened. I'm just as confused about Cody as you are, man, I don't know what I just saw!"
"So wait.. you're telling me, that you bought WWE today and I just saw Cody Rhodes clone himself? And Ryback actually knocked out a woman? And Great Khali actually... died?"
"Yes, god damn you!"
"Alright. Then, what next?" Barret laughed.
Then came the sound.
MAIN EVENT - THE UNDERTAKER VS. WADE BARRETT
The gong stuck once again, twice and third time.
Then the eerie choral sounds and the church organ. Barrett and Hornswoggle felt the flames as they rose from underneath the titantron.
And then they looked around, and they realised the arena was empty.
"What's going on?" Barrett shouted, frozen to the spot.
"I have no fucking idea," Hornswoggle said.
Then out he came. The dark lord. The dead man.
Footstep by footstep he walked to the ring, tredding carefully like pondstones across a river of flames.
Barrett looked around the arena and started to see the place had become engulfed by the fire of hell. Hornswoggle went to back out and slide away, but Barrett grabbed him by the scruff of the neck.
"If I'm going down, you're coming down with me," Barrett said through gritted teeth.
An evil wind blew through the arena, chilling Barrett to his core.
And the Undertaker, in all his terror, took the steps up to the apron. He removed his hat, revealing his shaved head, and the thunder exploded around them. Lighting hit ringside, igniting it with the fiercest of orange flames. Hornswoggle and Barrett were trapped, sweating from the heat, but chilled from the blow of the icy wind.
"You," Barrett said, staring the Dead Man down without fear in his heart. He knew that this was his destiny.
Undertaker snarled at him and removed his trenchcoat.
"Let the boy go into the flames of hell," Undertaker growled in his baritone voice.
"I'm not a boy, I'm not a boy, I'm not a fucking boooy!" Hornswoggle screamed. He ran towards The Undertaker, charging at him with his head.
All Undertaker did was raise his hand and Hornswoggle stopped. Then he vanished.
Only he and Wade Barrett were left stood, face to face in the middle of the ring.
"Let's do this then," Barrett said, raising his fists.
Undertaker stared a hole through Barrett, then nodded and raised his own.
The bell rang.
Both men circled each other as the timbre drums began to sound around the arena. Druids were playing a death march within the flames.
Barrett brushed the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand.
He threw the first jab at Undertaker. Undertaker blocked it.
Then Undertaker threw a jab at Barrett, catching him on the chin. Barrett stumbled backwards but maintained his composure. He wiped his mouth, looked at the blood on his hand and laughed.
"I thought it might come to this," Barrett said, and he lowered his fists. "I knew when I came out for the final segment, that you
would show up. Bloody typical. I guess WWH is just as predictable as every other wrestling show."
Undertaker looked at him with curious eyes.
"Or is it?"
Barrett pulled a gun out that was tucked in the top of his pants and aimed it at The Undertaker, releasing the safety.
"Back off," he said.
Undertaker took a few steps back, smiling.
The flames crackled around them. Another gust of ice cold wind blew through the arena.
"Why are you smiling, Dead Man?"
"You just answered your own question." Undertaker laughed a deep, menacing laugh.
"How d'you mean?"
Undertaker shook his head at him and snarled.
"How can you kill what is already dead?"
And then he fired.
And fired again.
The Undertaker fell to the floor, his chest pierced twice by the bullets.
The flames grew larger and larger, and soon the rafters were on fire. Wade panicked and tried to devise a way out, but he could not see one. The cold wind blew colder and harsher, and he was struggling to see. The drums of the druids' death march grew louder and they began to chant.
"Taker!" Barrett shouted, finding it increasingly hard to see anything as mist began to blow around the ring in a tornado.
He staggered forward and saw his opponent's dead body laying there, where he had fell. It was still, in peace within the chaos.
"Taker, get me out of this," Barrett shouted through the cacophony of the tornado and the fire. "Save me!"
He shook Taker by the shoulders, but he was not responding. Just a carcass, lying on the floor.
And then he sat up.
And he grabbed Barrett by the throw.
"No," Barrett choked, seeing the smile grow back on Taker's face. His eyes had turned to pure white. "No, no, no!"
He tried to kick at The Dead Man, but it did no good.
And then he felt it.
The choke slam.
Now he was lying on his back, looking up at the ceiling, his vision a blur. But he could see the rafters were in flames and the tornado had grown wilder.
He heard the Undertaker, chanting something in an ancient tongue, of which he could not be certain. Latin? No. Something otherworldly. Something of ancient times.
Then the flames began to turn to glitches, perfect two dimensional sheets of electricity, and the whole arena turned into a dome of , like the inside of a computer screen.
"It's.. not... real!"
Cody Rhodes had entered the ring, bounced off the ropes and hit his disaster kick on The Undertaker. Undertaker stumbled backwards and fell against the turnbuckle.
"Wade, grab my hand!"
The ring had begun to turn into the two-dimensional computer glitch that the flames had. The tornado had become horizontal bars, scattering around. Undertaker's face began to change, shifting, showing John Cena's instead of his own.
"You deceived me," Rhodes screamed and grabbed Undertaker, hitting him with Cross Rhodes.
Then Barrett pushed himself up, grabbing onto the ropes. But the ropes began to melt in his hand, turning into blue and white electrodes of another dimension.
"We have to go!" Rhodes said and he grabbed Barrett by the hand, pulling him out of the ring, before the ring exploded in a distorted error, a corrupt file. The sound of a million 56k modems playing at once, and The Undertaker's laugh within it.
"No!" Barrett said, pushing Cody off him. "Let me fight!"
"You will never beat him. Not here!" Cody said, and he pulled Barrett with a force he had never felt before, up the aisle, dragging him like a child.
"No! No!" Barrett screamed, wanting to fight The Undertaker. "I can't lose this match!"
"What match?" Cody said, pulling on Barrett's arm like a tug of war. "There is no match! There is nothing! This existence is not real! Nothing is real and nothing was ever real! We have to go, Wade!"
The Barrett caved in and let Rhodes drag him with his mighty force, jut as the arena began to cave in on itself.
WINNER: NO CONTEST
They made it behind the curtain on time, panting and breathing in the natural air.
"Are you okay?" Teddy Long was stood in Gorilla position, wearing a suit and bow-tie. "That was quite a match, playa."
Barrett looked around. Half the roster were there, standing and clapping. Rhodes was still collapsed on the floor. Barrett knelt down and touched his neck.
"He's alive. I can feel his pulse." He looked around, face to face at the smiling roster. Del Rio was stood in the corner, the only one not smiling. Barrett could see a darkness in his eyes that he may not have recognised had he not seen the same darkness in Undertaker's.
"Where's Hornswoggle?" Daniel Bryan said, sat on chair by one of the monitors. "We saw him vanish out there."
"I don't know," Barrett said, not turning to face Bryan. He walked over to Del Rio instead, looking into his eyes.
Del Rio nodded up at him, then cast his eyes back down to his side.
"Be brave, mate," Barrett whispered to him, patting him on the shoulder. It was all he could think of to say right then.
But Del Rio walked away with his hands in his pockets, down the corridor to some other part of the arena.
Barrett turned to look at everyone. They were all watching him. Paramedics were tending to Cody on the floor.
"He.. he ran in to save you," AJ Lee said, swinging her feet as she sat on a table.
"I know, darling. I know."
Barrett knelt back down and looked at Cody's face. He knew he was young and had been through a lot that night. Even he, himself, had not expected to see what he had seen. But what he had seen was even less surprising than what he was about to see.
"Guys," Hornswoggle's voice shouted from around the corner, down the corridor.
His footsteps approached. The sound of bare feet slapping against the floor.
And then they all saw him.
He was fully grown. 6'4, lean and handsome, but with a stranger hue in his eyes. A darker one. He had thrown on a medical bathrobe to cover himself. The cuffs of his miniature Armani shirt were still around his wrists.
"I don't know what happened to me out there." He grinned, looking down at his new body. "But I know that whatever happened.. episode 2 is going to be off the chain."
The camera panned back across everyone stood in Gorilla and froze on an image of them, as Off The Chain by Bobby Roode began to play and the credits rolled
Episode 2 next week