Acid Ed v Johnny Rude: The Death of Acid Ed - PART 1

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Acid Ed v Johnny Rude: The Death of Acid Ed - PART 1

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:01 am

Johnny Rude sat inside of his hotel room. He watched old matches of Acid Ed. As he does, he takes notes every now and then. The man was a force to be reackoned with in the hardcore scene, and Johnny Rude knew it. He had faced Max Entropy in a death match once, nearly killing his clone during the fight. So The AntiChrist Superstar was certainly familiar with the blood and guts of hardcore matches. The fact remained, though, that he avoided hardcore competition. It just simply wasn't his cup of tea.


Now though, he would have to overcome that. He would have to ascend to an entirely new level to compete with the maniac that is Acid Ed. Rude himself, though, had been known for his insanity as well. So taking two sadistic sociopaths and making them fight each other was a definitive recipe for a blood bath. The question really was simply this: Who was crazier, Johnny or Acid Ed? It was hard to tell at times, when one considers their resumes. Johnny had been known for savagely and mercilessly torturing his foes.


Acid Ed was known for brutally beating his enemies. Memories of past beatings Rude had recieved at the hands of Ed flashed into his mind. The man was a hammer, and to him, every problem was a nail. This meant that while his tactics were limited, what he did do, he was extremely good at. Johnny considered himself to be more a surgeon's scalpel. Deadly, but with a certain degree of finese as it were. Of course, a scalpel would never be physically stronger than a hammer. In some ways, perhaps, it didn't need to be.


Rude knew that he couldn't engage the man hand to hand for very long. If he sat there and tried to trade blows with The Original Rat Bastard, he would lose and do so horribly. He had to rely on his speed, his cunning, and his ruthlessness to win. At least, that was his hope. Johnny shut off the television set and made his way to the bathroom. He had already changed from plain clothes to his wrestling attire. He looked at himself in the mirror and began to climb into his own head.


To win, Johnny had to swallow it all. The fear, the doubt, the uncertainty. He had to bury it deep within himself and bring out the killer in him. His mind flashed back to thoughts of his match with Benny Blair. Rude remembered grabbing the smaller, weaker man, and tossing him into the gears which crushed his bones and minced his flesh to nothing. But more than the actual deed itself, he thought about his state of mind when he did it. In all his life, he had never gone that far into his own dementia before.


And now, on the cusp of a very important match, Johnny Rude was trying to summon that dementia again. He was trying to coax whatever beast lied within him that allowed him to take a life to the surface. He believed that if he did this, he would have just what he needed to beat Acid Ed. However, the path didn't come without it's own inherit risks. Bringing forth whatever darkness that made Rude a killer would do just that: It would make him a killer again. He wouldn't enter the match with the sole purpose of simply winning.


No, he would enter it with the purpose of killing. Of beating, breaking, and destroying another human being utterly. Johnny didn't know if Acid Ed had ever taken a life in the ring. He suspected that the man had nearly killed plenty of people. But to actually do the deed and cross the line from humanity into something more bestail, he wasn't sure. He hadn't delved that deeply into the history books. The reason for that was there simply wasn't enough time. And so, he crawled deep into his own psyche and let a monster out, just a taste of it.


The full blown fury of the beast, he held back. He didn't want to run into the match guns blazing, full force, not yet. Doing so could cause him to burn out, and he would be damned if he did that. If he had learned anything about hardcore matches thus far, it was this: Hardcore matches were marathons, not sprint races. You had to be able to push yourself beyond normal thresholds for pain, suffering, and sheer endurance. You had to become something more than mere flesh and bone. You had to become a force of nature in order to survive a hardcore match, especially against someone like Acid Ed.


Once he had found satisfaction with his mindset, he left the hotel. The drive to the match site was uneventful. Rude simply sat in the back seat with his headphones blaring. Marilyn Manson's, "Godeatgod" blasted into his head. It was a very ominous, dark song. Not one of the heaviest in Manson's repetoire, to be sure. It didn't need to be, though. The song was eerie and dark enough without heavy guitars. It was just the song Rude needed to reaffirm the mind set. Each time the song played, Rude felt himself sink deeper into the darkness.


The taxi finally arrived at the site. Rude left his iPod in the car, a tip for the driver as it were. Being The One as well as National Carnage Champion, he could always afford another one. The match site was crowded, as he expected. It was a street fight, but there were some areas barricaded off. Security surrounded the starting point of the match, just to ensure no crazed fans tried anything stupid. Or, in Johnny's case, crazed fans who wish to see him six feet under. Rude was NOT, in any way, shape, or form, a man of the people.


He walked towards the actual starting point of the match. The referee and announcers were there, and he saw camera men flanking the entire site. Rude was sure that somewhere, the feed was being sent to the necessary people. The fans at the arena would catch it all, and it would be commentated by John and Hank. Everyone was rooting for Acid Ed. And why wouldn't they? Johnny Rude represented everything they hated, and he openly flaunted his associations with other organizations. Johnny reached into his pocket and pulled out a headset. Placing it on his head, he speaks into the microphone.


Johnny Rude: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, it is I, Johnny B. Rude.


The fans responded with jeers and some trash. Security was tighter than normal, so the trash throwing was down to a minimum. The last thing they wanted was for one of the wrestlers to be hurt by a fan. A lawsuit from one of their stars to a fan would NOT be good publicity at all. Johnny waves to his "adoring public" and continues his speech.


Johnny Rude: Acid Ed, I do not fear you. I never will. Now, I will admit, the last few promos that I've cut against you were, quite honestly, re-hashes. But to be quite honest Ed, it's not as though you give me a lot to work with. But we're not going to talk about the past, at least, not our past. No, we're going to talk about my very recent past. I want you to take a look at my hands, Acid Ed.


Yes, you heard me right, I want you to look at my hands. These hands, Acid Ed, have caused great pain in thier time. Now, I will be the first to say that you are bigger and stronger than me. That, however, means very little. You see, these hands have tortured countless people who were bigger, who were stronger. These hands, Ed, have killed a man. I'm not speaking figuratively, either. I have taken a life in the ring, and I never looked back.


You see Ed, that is the kind of man I am. I will do anything, ANYTHING, to win. I have no morals, Ed. I have no lines, no stopping points. I will go above and beyond to destroy you, to prove my point. That is what gives me my edge over you. While you are a fairly morally bankrupt individual, you're not Johnny Rude, and you never will be. I killed Benny Blar, tortured and mutilated the face and body of Battlestone's bitch, Pebbles. I have hung men and left them to die. I have broken knees, necks, arms, anything to secure the win.


So, I want to ask you something Ed: How far will you go? How far will you go to retain that piece of tin around your waist? Would you leave a man for dead? Would you mercilessly torture the ones they love? Would you outright KILL a man? I want to know, how far will you fucking go? Because Ed, I am going all the way tonight. Nothing will be held back, and no mercy will be given. One of us won't be walking away from this, and I want you to be aware of that.


You need to understand how serious I am. You need to realize that you may very well lose your life tonight. Are you prepared to do that? Are you prepared to die for Fed X? Think about it. Think on whether or not Federation X is really worth it.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ed stares in the mirror as the doctor steps back and lets him see what’s been done. A slight grunt is the only passing bit of approval the man’s going to get for his work, as Ed locks eyes with Grayson and Lars standing on the other side of the room. They both flew in to make the arrangements and ensure that everything happened as Ed insisted that it needed to. On any other night, and following any other demands they would have had to weight the belligerent star’s naked hostility and threats against the leverage he thought he held over them, but after what the cameras filmed Johnny and Deadstar doing to the man, there really wasn’t any chance of them not supporting him on this one.

Ed nods his head a couple of times slightly, and then motions for the doctor to start working the bandages into place. He’s lucky that Rude and Deadstar were just trying to make some kind of gay statement, and used the most common materials they could find. Black ink can be removed completely if you’ve got enough money, the right medical connections and the willpower to sit through the extremely painful process. The body is left in an extremely tender state afterwards, but those are the kind of concerns that Ed simply doesn’t have time for. He didn’t just call upon the full influence of his bosses when it came to finding the best doctor in the world to deal with his ‘situation.’ He also called on them to make sure that Rude’s days of running would be over.

They delivered.

“Von Braun’s making the announcement this morning,” Grayson says as the doctor and his nurse work feverishly to wrap Ed’s soft tissue with a protective layer of gauze and prepare it for a proper bandage wrap. “By the time you fly into Toronto, Rude will either have hit the pavement running for Wrassle, or he’ll be on his way to Richmond Street to go one on one with you.”

“He’ll run,” Lars says with an almost emphatic sense of certainty. “Nothing to worry about Ed. He’ll run because he knows you’ll kill him for this. The little shit talks a big game, but we all saw what happened when he was asked to actually get in the ring and face somebody for the X-Factor Championship...”

“No.” Ed disagrees and with one word makes it clear that he doesn’t believe Lars has this one right at all. He isn’t going to go into the explanation though. Instead he simply says what he knows to be true, “He’ll be there.”

He will be there. Ed doesn’t have a single doubt in his mind. Johnny will be there because a man like Johnny can’t live with the idea that people will forever talk about him as the ultimate coward if he isn’t. But Ed doesn’t say any of that. He doesn’t need to. None of that matters anymore. What matters is that he’s going to do when he’s standing in the middle of the street, with virtually no rules, and Johnny unable to run.

In fact that’s the only thing going through Ed’s mind as the doctor and his nurse finish preparing him. He steps up and looks in the mirror. It will do. He can see on the faces of the two men he’s known for the better part of his wrestling career that they’re worried about the impact what Rude did will have on Ed. They should know better; there’s never been very much that Ed wasn’t willing to do in order to win a war. Now there will just be that one thing less. Ed turns and heads for the door, offering very little in the way of conversation or affirmation to the doctor. If the man wants to feel good about the job that he does, he can talk to his mommy about it.

Lars hands Ed his trenchcoat as he walks past, knowing that the fight will take place out of doors in downtown Toronto at this time of year. Tough or not, Ed’s going to be able to move his body parts if he wants to be able to win the match. Ed, of course, is three steps ahead of such concerns. He’ll go with the same outdoor gear he’s used in the past, complete with a thick leather trench that while durable, also provides him with a great deal of freedom and mobility. Such things are crucial when you’re contemplating what Ed is contemplating. He and Lars walk out the front door of the doctor’s building together, leaving Grayson behind to deal with the insurance paperwork. Lars has known Ed a long, long time but what comes next is a complete shock to him.

“You need me to call ahead and have the driver pick anything up? Any gear?” Lars asks, thinking that for a street fight Ed’s going to want his tungsten titanium hybrid replica Captain America shield, and probably a couple of pairs of brass knuckles.

Ed nods.

“Tell him to stop by my apartment and open the chest under my bed with the code 04-04-86,” Ed says, pretending he doesn’t see the surprise on Lars’ face when the secret combo turns out to be his estranged son’s birth date, “and bring my the two guns he finds inside.”

Lars’ does one of the first truly genuine doubletakes of his entire life. He turns to stare at Ed, but his former tag team partner doesn’t even avert his eyes as he steps into the limo that is waiting to rush them to the airport. He’s already busy thinking about just what he’s going to do to Johnny Rude, and how Rude isn’t going to even suspect what’s coming next. True, Ed’s certain that by now Rude is immersed in footage of some of Ed’s most horrific matches. He’s learning details of things he already knows; including the fact that in order to defeat Ed…..he may just have to kill him. That last thought brings a smile to Ed’s face. Rude will probably take that as a challenge.

The limo doors close and the driver pulls away from the curb. Next stop….the airport.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Johnny Rude is standing in the middle of the street at the corner of Richmond and Spadina, and stretching out in front of him in each and every direction are long streets filled with bars. The direction’s already been chosen for he and Ed of course; east towards Yonge street, where about a half block beyond Yonge they will hit the final bar of the night, after which either man will finally be allowed to try and secure the victory. This early in the night though, neither man is actually expecting his opponent to make it that far into the fight.

During Ed’s ride from the airport he changes into his outdoor gear, and watched Rude’s little bit of a promo. Ed doesn’t laugh, though normally that would be his reaction to anyone who announces that they’re prepared to kill somebody to win. Premeditation is something that the RCMP take very seriously in Canada, and Ed should know. He’s had more than a few run-ins with them in his days. He also raises an eyebrow when Rude challenges Ed to think about whether or not the belt is worth the price Rude intends to take from him for it. Were Ed of a mindset to do any speaking before he confronts Rude, he would point out that this stopped being about the belt a long, long time ago.

This is about pride.

Rude would know the truth the moment he heard the words too. Ed could take the belt back fifteen minutes after the match ended if he wanted to. That was the nature of the Bloodsport division. He wasn’t prepared to walk out into the street and do things to Johnny Rude that he had never even imagined could be done to him in a street fight over the belt. He was more than prepared to walk out there and do them to serve notice though that Johnny Rude was not the man he claimed to be. He was a coward, and worse still…..he was somebody’s bitch.

Wrassle’s.

Once, long ago, Ed would admit that he admired many things in Johnny Rude. He had seen in the young asshole somebody who understood what the industry was truly about, and how far a man had to be willing to go to make his mark on it. To leave behind a legacy that mattered. He had backstabbed and blindsided anyone and everyone who came within a country mile of him, and Ed had stood and watched it all from a distance with a mild sense of pride that he was there to see its humble beginnings. Ed’s admiration didn’t even fade for long when Rude surrounded himself with that farce of a stable known as the Blood Brothers, because he managed somehow to still remain a solo act while within their numbers. Nor did Rude’s growing contempt of Ed and everything he had accomplished deter Ed from watching the star’s rise with interest.

No, Acid Ed was many things, but he was not self-deceiving. He knew what Johnny Rude was, and he knew what Johnny Rude was capable of. But he doubted that Johnny quite knew what it was that Ed was capable of. Ed’s plan was simple; he would throw everything at Johnny that he expected, and when the match reached its peak…..Ed would find out just how far back Johnny had been willing to go to learn about Ed. That moment, when the match hung in the balance…that was when Ed intended to do the unthinkable. The last thing Rude would be expecting.

As he stared out through the crowd, walking unrecognized amongst them, he watched as Rude threatened and mocked and taunted the crowd and he admitted silently to himself that he was still admiring the kid now. Of course that wouldn’t matter in less than thirty seconds. Ed knew that the match would have to start sooner or later, and there was no point in putting it off even a moment longer. This is how it ends for Johnny Rude….not with a whimper….but with a….

BANG!

The sharp resonation of the discharge of two modified nine millimeter handguns raises a scream from the crowd, and they part like the Red Sea before Moses. A great cry does up as they fear for their lives as a strangely garbed man stands amongst them, looking every bit the homicidal terrorist. Rude’s eyes are as wide as saucers as he stares at his legs, where his denim now shows two deep maroon stains, one above each knee. The lower portion of his legs are going numb already, and his mind is actually frozen in a state of shock. He’s just been shot….not once….but twice.

The police have already drawn their weapons and are aiming them at the tall, bandaged psychopath who is standing amongst the fleeing crowd, even though he has already discarded the now empty guns and is starting to walk towards Johnny Rude. They are calling out to him, warning him that if he continues to advance on the man that they will fire. Ed ignores them, knowing that by now Lars has already gotten to their sergeant and he’s been informed that its all part of the show. The bullets in question are little more than riot gear; rubber bullets. The damage they do is sufficient to quell a riot, but is no risk to anyone’s life. At least not when applied strategically.

The blood on Rude’s jeans is from the massive bruising and surface impacting of the rubber bullets, but it isn’t because he’s been kneecapped by bullets. His legs are simply numb from the blunt force trauma. The feeling will almost certainly return before Ed puts him into a coma. Johnny’s mind begins to shake off the shock and process what’s going on around him as Ed hops over the barricade and bears down on him. He registers that its Ed behind the surgical gauze and can’t help but let the edge of his lip curl up just the littlest bit as he recalls the tattoo he left the man with only twenty four hours earlier.

The wry smile at the edge of his face is met with the heel of Ed’s boot…

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pain didn’t even begin to describe what he felt. It was true that he had only been shot by rubber bullets. Still, the bruising was real and for all practical purposes, the legs of Johnny B. Rude were relatively useless. This was a wise move on the part of the Original Rat Bastard, as Johnny lived and died in combat on the usage of his legs. It was how he compensated his lack of actual size against larger opponents. Now, he would somehow have to find a way to fight without his weapons.


Acid Ed stood over Johnny Rude. His guns had long since been abandoned. The Hardcore Living Legend grabs The AntiChrist Superstar by his shirt and lifted him up. Johnny glared into the eyes of his opponent with all of the hate that he could must. Ed’s face, still covered in bandages, twisted into a sickly smile. The smaller man spat into the eyes of his foe. This only proved to be an irritation though. Ed lifted Johnny up over his head and tossed him into a stop sign. His body bounced off of the sign agonizingly, nearly bending the sign in half.


He felt pain everywhere, but Johnny especially felt it in his ribs. The very same ribs that his opponent had injured not long ago. He coughed up small globs of blood and tried to regain his composure. His opponent, however, would not allow him that luxury. He couldn’t afford to. More importantly than that, he didn’t want to. The fire began to burn viciously within his veins. Just the very sight of Rude was enough to make his blood boil. True, there may have been some grudging respect there. But that didn’t replace the fact that in Ed’s eyes, Johnny had become a whore.


He had sold himself out to the one organization of them all that Acid Ed most hated. He had willingly signed his soul away on the dotted line for the prestige, power, money, and faux glory that the other company provided. And, as if to compound his blasphemies, he had had the gall to enter Federation X representing this organization and even went on to claim the top prize. This didn’t sit well with him, especially the means by which he had become champion. With all of this still fresh in his mind, as well as the most recent incident, Ed had plenty of hate stored for The Rudeness.


And so, strangely enough, he waited. Watching Johnny much like a hungry predator watches a weakened prey. His eyes held with them the look of an animal on the prowl. Just when Johnny had reached one of his sore knees, The Original Rat Bastard struck with all the force of lightning. He grabbed a hold of the Wrassle[DOT]Network’s golden boy by his hair and dragged him along the street. Tossing Rude’s head like a melon into a wall of a building, he watched as the man’s face collided painfully with the concrete. As he bounced back from the force of it, Acid Ed grabbed a hold of him again.


Ed raised him high over his head once more. This time, he body slammed the man onto the hood of a car. The sound of flesh and bone colliding with metal echoed across the street. Ed then cupped his hands together and drove them in the form of a double axe handle into the stomach of his opponent. Rude cried out as the air was violently forced from his lungs. Ed grabbed him again by the head and drug him along once more. This time, his eyes stopped at the window of a hardware store. Johnny drove an elbow into his ribs, causing him to release his grip. Rude dropped from Ed and landed onto the pavement.


The Original Rat Bastard would not let him get off so easily, though. He ignored the pain in his ribs for the moment and turned his attention back on his prey. Ed grabbed the still-prone Rude and began to drag him by his hair along the sidewalk. Rude winced as the concrete bit into the skin of his face. He didn’t counter, not yet. He kept his eye on the large glass window which displayed the various goods the hardware store offered. When Ed was close enough, Rude interrupted his steps with a drop toe hold. This send The Original Rat Bastard falling forward into the glass and additionally, into the sore.

Rude crawled over the glass and debris and stopped once he was inside the store. He looked behind him and saw that Ed would be busy for the moment. Shards of glass stuck into his skin, biting into his flesh. The former X-Factor champion crawled as fast as he could away from his opponent. Before he could actually fight, he first had to do something about his legs. Being that he was in a hardware store, an idea came across his mind. People inside the store screamed and panicked at what they were witnessing. A referee followed behind them and assured the people that it was all apart of the show.


After some searching, he had, at last, found what he was looking for: A roll of duct tape. He tucked it away in his pocket. Just as he did this, he heard familiar, heavy footsteps following behind him. He turned around to see his opponent closing the distance between them. Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of this, besides the somewhat bloodied bandages he wore, was the fact that he approached Rude with shards of glass, small ones, still embedded in his skin. Lesser men would have stopped to remove it all. Acid Ed was no such man.


He was a survivor. A man of perseverance that Rude had never witnessed before. Johnny stayed prone as his foe came closer. He reached down and grabbed The AntiChrist Superstar by the shirt and lifted him up. Rude gagged as Ed’s hands quickly found his throat. From there, he felt himself lifted up into the air while both of The Bloodsport Champion’s hands choked the life from him. His eyes were crazed by the lust for blood. As he strangled the life from Rude, he shouted.


Acid Ed: You fucking pussy! You’re the one that should have run, you fucking twat! You don’t try and embarrass me, bitch. I am not one to fuck wi-


His words are interrupted. Rude pulls out the duct tape and rips it open. Ed watches, somewhat shocked and confused by the act. In a matter of seconds, Johnny wrapped the tape around the eyes and head of his opponent. Ed screamed and released his grip from the smaller man. The AntiChrist Superstar hit the floor and looked up at Acid Ed. He bit a piece off of the tape so that it broke from the rest. The larger, much angrier man, struggled to free himself of the binds While he was busy with this, Johnny sought to create distance between the two men.


After a few minutes of crawling away, he saw what he was looking for: A row of hockey sticks. He knocked as many of them down as he could and then grabbed a handful of them. After this, he began to tape the hockey sticks to his legs, two sticks per leg. They would act as makeshift splints for the time being, and allow him to walk. It wouldn’t be the greatest of transports, certainly not as good as actually walking, but it would suffice. Rude pulled himself up and saw that Ed was running right for him. In a last ditch effort to slow the warpath of the Bloodsport champion, he threw a leg up and into his stomach.


The Original Rat Bastard groaned and doubled over from pain. His opponent, Rude, grabbed one of the hockey sticks and slammed it into the back of Ed’s head. The hockey stick snapped in half beautifully, splintering everywhere around them. He fell to the ground from the force of the shot. With his opponent now on the ground and the tides seemingly turning, Rude took the remains of the stick in his hand and drove it somewhat into the arm of Ed. Acid groaned in pain and Rude twisted the stick.


Rude: How does it feel, you bastard? Huh? Tell me, you fucking cock sucker! HOW DOES IT FUCKING FEEL?


Acid: Ugh…you know what your fuckin’ problem has always been?


Rude: What, bitch?


Acid: You talk to fucking much!


And with that, he drove his other fist into the groin of Johnny. The One World Champion dropped to the ground and grabbed his family jewels. Ed pulled himself up slowly and looked at his arm. He ripped the piece of hockey stick out of his arm and cast it aside. While he was doing this though, Rude grabbed the other half of the hockey stick. He slammed it into the boot of Ed. Due to the thickness of it, it probably didn’t do more than penetrate the skin, but it was enough for a distraction. The challenger kicked the side of the knee of the champion and sent him crashing to the ground again.


Johnny did all he could to race to his feet. Or rather, what he considered his feet for the moment. His legs were numb and relatively useless for the moment. In time, though, they would gain some feeling, and that would be when the real pain started. The AntiChrist Superstar grabbed a handful of splintered wood from the cracked hockey stick and shoved it into the eyes of his opponent. Acid Ed cried out and let out a stream of obscenities. With his opponent now blinded, he grabbed Ed’s legs and duct taped them together as quickly as he could.


With Ed now temporarily bound, Rude grabbed two hockey sticks, held them together, and began wailing into Acid Ed with all the force he could muster.

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Stan Daniels

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Acid Ed v Johnny Rude: The Death of Acid Ed - PART 2

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:02 am

“Arghhhh,” it seems almost surreal that it is Rude, and not his victim, who is screaming as he slams the splintering hockey sticks down on top of Ed’s body time and time again.

As weapons they are effective for the first few batteries of an opponent, but after that their usefulness is limited. The problem with Canadians, and something Rude obviously didn’t learn from his time in Calgary, is that they are so wrapped up in the culture of Hockey that they wear it the way that G.I. Joe wraps himself up in the American flag and mom’s apple pie. Perhaps that’s why Von Braun opted to turn two of the wildest and most diversely dangerous men in the history of the industry loose in a city that so reveres the sport; he knew they could appreciate a good fight. In any event, had Rude been fortunate enough to face Ed in some other Mecca of the sport, like say Detroit, he would have found that the store carried some fabulous new composite stick that flexed and gave under duress, and was much harder to shatter and break. To his credit, he made better use of the shattering toothpicks that Canadians cling to with purposeless pride than most hockey players ever get the chance to do.

Through what can only be described as ‘crazed eyes’ Rude stares down at the man who is in equal parts a reflection of himself, and yet everything that he is not. He knows that he’s going to need a better strategy than simply beating on the man with weapons that shatter to put an end to the longest hardcore title reign of all time, and his best option likely lies somewhere out in the street. Rude limps away, his mobility still drastically hampered by Ed’s entrance into the match; a moment which will almost certainly be immortalized in video and poster format for years to come. The mobility will return of course, but when it does Rude will also be forced to endure such agony as he has never had to face in the middle of a match before. He is not quite as far as he would like to be, when from the doorway of the store he turns back to see Ed pulling a pair of garden shears down off of the shelf and reaching for the duct tape that is wrapped around his ankles.

Rude staggers out into the ice cold night air, and looks down the street towards their destination. They’ve only battled for minutes, and they’re already coming up upon their first checkpoint; This Is London. Rude’s already considered the concept of the drinking element of their match and he’s come prepared for it. He isn’t an idiot; bigger men metabolize alcohol with a distinct advantage over smaller ones. Just common biology. So Johnny Rude’s ingested a special drug which staves off the effects of alcohol for no less than six hours. Come tomorrow his head will almost certainly feel like somebody ran it over with a zamboni (and we don’t know yet that somebody won’t!) but for the duration of the match he’ll be able to fight Ed without having to worry about the effects of their drinking. He doubts that Ed is equally well prepared.

“Johnnnnnnnnnny!” the night skies echo like a canyon in summer, and a chill runs down Rude’s spine.

There is a tenor to the voice that brings up thoughts of suffering and pain, and The Anti-Christ All-Star turns to see Ed standing in front of the hardware store they demolished with his gloves drenched in epoxy. Ed waits, just long enough to be certain that Rude sees what he’s doing, and then he reaches his hands down and presses them into the shattered glass that lies in the store’s front window. Rude’s eyes go wide and he tries to hobble a little faster as he slips into T.I.L. and waves for the bar wench to bring him the pint he’s required to drink. He has no delusions that Ed will take a break from his homicidal rampage when he catches up with Rude, yet still he turns his back to the doorway.

Ed’s ribs now ache with a dull soreness that can only come from repeated and focused battering at the hands of a merciless opponent who doesn’t grow bored easily. The side of his head aches, though he suspects that it is a result of blunt trauma passing through the bandages and into the exposed and raw skin beneath. Ed isn’t particularly subject to vanity, or he might be angry at having to cover his face while it heals from what Johnny did. He knows that up to this point his standard attacks and violence are moving the match in a perfect direction. Rude is at a tactical disadvantage, and he’s lost his greatest asset. Ed just has to push through the pain and keep on upping the ante in their battle until it reaches a fever pitch. That will be the time to do the unexpected and take the match completely out of Johnny’s hands. He stalks into This Is London only ninety seconds after Rude does and immediately spots the arrogant bastard leaning on the bar for support. Ed crosses the room in two strides, even as the crowd let out a collective ‘gasp’ at the state of the Original Rat Bastard. His bandages now show blood in a number of places, and some spots appear to have simply soaked through from below.

The smile of satisfaction on Ed’s face as he grabs Johnny’s shoulder and spins him around is replaced by the sound of glass shattering against Ed’s head. A moment later Rude’s already scoops a second empty glass up off the counter and is smashing it into Ed’s head as well. The champion staggers slightly, and Rude throws an arm around his neck and leaps sideways, using his weight to generate inertia and pull Ed around and down, through one of the solid oak tables that sits only a few feet away. The table explodes into pieces, one of which lodges awkwardly into the top of Ed’s head, creating a mixed reaction from the crowd as a cheer goes up for the violence and then a ‘Ewwwwwwwwwwww’ follows when they realize what’s happened.

Rude doesn’t waste any time as he grabs hold of a nearby chair and starts to pull himself back to his feet. He’s already drained his first pint of the night, meeting his obligation in this bar, but he isn’t going to rush away just yet. He has Ed down for the moment and he sees an opportunity to do some real damage to the Hardcore Living Legend. Rude pauses as he balances on his legs, and then he lifts up the chair that so conveniently helped him get to his feet and brings it smashing down across the back of Ed, crushing him back into the floor for a second time. Rude turns and throws his eyes all around the bar, looking for the one thing that will….

“Perfect,” Rude says as he sees that the bar has a second level.

He heads for the stairs and using the railing works his way up each one with painstaking accuracy and patience. He’s been in enough fights to know that rushing at a moment like this will only frustrate his efforts and take him longer than remaining focused. It’s a difficult line for Rude to tread, remaining cunning and rational while tapping into the psychotic side of his nature that he needs if he’s to be able to put an end to the near force of nature that Ed becomes in these things. Twice as he climbs he looks back over his shoulder to guage how much time is still at his disposal, and how long he will have once Ed gets to his feet. It is as he gets near the top, on his second glance, that Ed starts to move.

The Rat Bastard isn’t moving quite as quickly as he was when the match first began, but he is still getting back to his feet as Rude walks along the railing that looks down from the second floor to the bar below. Ed is just back to a vertical base now, and Rude knows that his opponent has no idea where he’s gone. A less tactical man might simply throw something off the balcony of the second level and hope that the impact will change the tide of the match. Johnny Rude is much more cunning than that. He grabs a pitcher from one of the waitresses as she passes by and turns back to the railing. He watches as Ed snatches a pint off of the bar, assuming that Rude has gone on ahead, and drains it in one long swallow. Rude smiles. He has no idea.

Ed feels what starts as a trickle and then suddenly slams into him with the fury of a tempest, and when it passes he turns and slowly lifts his bandaged head to cast his eyes upon his nemesis, who now stands on the upper tier of the club, smiling with a confident arrogance that Ed normally only sees in the mirror; or when he speaks to the Wrassle loyalists who drink the kool-aid. Ed’s sneer in return is a promise, in and of itself, and Rude isn’t so distracted by the importance of his performance that he doesn’t see it. What he’s trying is a desperate gamble, and if it backfires….the match will be over.

“You should have….” Ed pauses as he snarls, and considers what he was going to say as he looks at Johnny's legs, “…never mind. I’ve dealt with that.”

“Fuck you,” Rude fires back as Ed rounds the top of the stairs and turns to charge at him.

Rude does nothing to give away his secret as he braces for the impact and then holds onto Ed as they slam into the railing behind him. The railing, as expected, gives way under the force and weight of the two men, and they plunge out into the open air, hanging for a split second like Superman, before gravity asserts itself and reminds them of their limitations. Rude’s arm suddenly jerks backwards, pulling him free of the scuffle with Ed, and almost ripping out of his socket, but the pain is worth it as he watches Ed rotate in the air and stare up at him from behind the bandages as his back and shoulders smash into the bar and turn it into nothing more than shattered remains.

As he hangs from the roll of duct tape, thankful to MacGyver for teaching him about the wonders of the stuff, he knows that he’s invested a heavy price in this moment. His shoulder is starting to go numb as the roll unwinds slowly, lowering him to the ground like he’s some kind of crazy fuckin’ super villain. The crowd in the bar is absolutely losing their minds over what they’ve just seen, but Rude pays them no mind. His eyes are locked firmly on the body that lies strewn amidst the wreckage of the bar. Is it…..could it really be…..

That easy?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Billy Quickel was a fan of wrestling. Hell, the man ate, slept, breathed, and shit wrestling. From the time his Dad blew beer money to take Billy to his first show, that was the end for him. He wasn't quite sure what it was that appealed to him. Perhaps it was the way that the wrestlers looked. None of them were sickly and weak, like Billy. None of them had brittle bones or broke easily. They were chiseled out of marble, like the statues of the greek gods. Or, so it seemed. From his very youngest days, he had practically worshipped the ground that wrestlers walked on.


He could quote you exact dates, times, and locations for dozens of historic matches. While he wasn't around for some of his very favorites, (Greg The Hammer vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper in the first ever dog collar match comes to mind) he had downloaded hours upon hours of footage. And he wasn't a fan of just American wrestling. Oh no, he was a strong follower of Kenta Kobashi(better known as Kenta Chopbashi to true fans), and Misawa, and Kawada, all of which were referred to now as "geezer elite." He had a profound respect for japanese puroresu style of wrestling. He believed it to be one of the most pure and accurate representations of what real wrestling would be like.


Even with all of this in mind, though, he had a soft spot for the heels. It all started when he watched the footage of the Four Horsemen. Not the Mongo McMichael Four Horsemen or any other half-hearted, weakened roster. No, he was a fan of the originals. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Ole Anderson. They were heels, which meant that Billy SHOULD have disliked them. And yet, whenever he saw them, they were surrounded by women, titles, and immense wealth. They had private jets and limosines, a different girl for every night. They were the kings of kings. Billy wished he could be like them.


And so he trained and he trained. He worked out for six hours a day, every day, for years. He honed his mind and body for the day that he could enter a training fed. He surmised that with his knowledge of the business, as well as the hours of his life wasted watching wrestling, coupled with a strong body, would equate to a promising career. He may have been right on that. The recruiters liked him almost instantly. He went by his real name, but his character was a mix of Mr. Perfect and Flair, with just a touch of Arn Anderson's mean streak. All in all, a solid combination that won him his first gig in a barely legit wrestling organization.


He remembers his first match well. Billy Quickel vs. Bobby The Bruiser. Both were completely new to the business. They could talk a good game, they could play their perspective roles well enough. But when it came to actual wrestling technique, each man fell somewhat short of the other. It was just the way it was. The butterflies ran rampant inside the stomach of Billy Quickel. He must have thrown up about a dozen times before the match. As his music played and his entrance commenced, he considered running. Though he was living the dream, he had his doubts. What if he couldn't hack it? What if all his training was for naught? He had brittle bones after all, which could break easily. The calcium supplements and other treatments helped strengthen them to a degree, but they would never be like a normal man's.


And so, with a stomach full of worry and a heart full of ambition, he went out to his first match. It all went pretty well at first, as far as matches are concerned. Both were fairly sloppy ring workers, but that was to be expected. Bobby had a foot and 200 pounds on Billy, though. Size and weight that he was sloppy at using. So sloppy, in fact, that one missed move changed Billy's life forever. The damage to his spine wasn't crippling, but he would never be able to walk without the assist of crutches, ever. He spent months in the hospital recuperating, and even more time in physical therapy.


Many times, in the night, he prayed to God Almighy that someone would come to take him out. He had nightmares of Bobby returning. The large man would stand over his hospital bed, completely decked out in wrestling gear. He held a pillow in his hand. Billy would scream and protest, but it would do little good. Once the pillow came down over his head, there was little else he could do. He would wake up just before the bitter end, every time, covered in beads of cold sweat. His heart pounding a million miles a minute.


One night, when his nightmares kept him from sleeping, he began to browse the boob tube. Eventually, he came upon CWA. It was a National turned regional, trying depserately to return from a fall from grace. He wasn't very impressed with what he saw at first. The ring workers were sloppy, that is, those who didn't look like they crawled right out of a retirement home. Those that did were full of hype, but not much else. He was about to turn off the television when something happened. The lights in the arena dropped. At first, he figured, some Undertaker wannabe was going to come out.


Much to his surprise, that was not the case. Instead, a scantily clad woman wearing a collar crawled out from behind the curtain. Behind her came a man who stood at five feet and eight inches. He was fit as a fiddle, and had a physique, but he was small. He wore a dress shirt, black tie, and bondage pants. His dirty blonde hair laid about his face unkempt and untamed. His appearance displayed a frantic mix of order and chaos all in one. This intruiged young Billy greatly. Interested, he kept his eye on the TV.


And then, this strange man spoke. And what came out of his mouth was pure vertigo. He was untested. A newbie in a sea of newbies. He had accomplished exactly nothing, but he spoke as if he was the king of the world. Instantly, Billy knew that this man was somehow different from all of the others. In what way, he wasn't quite sure yet. He would find out though, and when he did, he would never look back. That night, he discovered the name of his new wrestling idol. He would become a man that the wrestling world had never seen before. Sure, they had their fare share of potty mouthed bad guys. Sure, they had plenty of men willing to push the envelope. But no one seemed to have as little care for convention as Billy Quickel's new hero: Johnny B. Rude.


From then on, the young man was hooked. He watched any and every promo Johnny Rude was ever involved in. He witnessed Rude's climb to glory, claiming the CWA World title. His heart pounded in his chest as he watched as Lars, leader of The Blood Brothers, in union with Maverick, went on to screw Rude out of his beloved title. He cried alongside Johnny that night, or rather, in his head, he did. Billy witnessed Johnny's ascention to NGPW was even more impressed with the brazen youngster. He made no apologies. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. He backed down from no one and took whatever it was that he wanted.


For Billy, Johnny Rude represented everything he wanted to be. He had fame, he had glory, he had power, and he even had a slave who would follow his every whim. A woman who let Rude savagely beat her, in front of thousands of fans, for fun. Sometimes, Billy would record the promos where Rude would beat his submissive. He would close his eyes and re-play them, listening to Trauma's cries of pain. Only, instead of her screaming Johnny's name, she screamed his. Eventually, he recovered to some extent from his injuries and was sent home.


Falling into a deep depression, it was Johnny Rude who got him through his days. He would spend hours online, looking up every detail on the man. From his birth date to his favorite things, he wanted to know it all. And his hard work paid off. Billy managed to acquire footage of Johnny Rude's earliest days in feds barely worth mentioning. He treasured the footage, as it added a degree of humility to him. It showed that even Rude was a man, which seemed unlikely when witnessing some of his in-ring exploits. Billy treasured this footage amongst any other footage he had ever gathered.


Time passed and as it did, Billy's fandom never wavered. Not even when Johnny vanished after his OWC loss. Not even when he vanished again from NGPW and went to UCE. He watched his idol with all the love and adoration he could muster. The UCE was, for Billy, like a great orgasm. In that his hero got all of the praise and success that had eluded him in Japan. He watched as Rude claimed his first UC, snatching it from three time Stable Wars champion, Haley. He cursed and screamed as Genocidal Dreams leader, Switch Back, took it from him. Even then, in greatest triumph or worst failure, Billy was there.


And so too would he be there again. Only this time, things were different. Now he sat inside the bar that he was sure that Johnny Rude and Acid Ed would arrive at. His eyes widened as he witnessed Rude drive Ed into the ground. The Original Rat Bastard showed no signs of getting up. Rude stood over his opponent a nearly broken man. His legs were in terrible pain, his arm was numb and senseless. How things had spiralled so out of control so quickly was beyond his reckoning. Still, even amidst all of this chaos, Johnny held onto hope.


He drove a few boots into Acid Ed for good measure. The champion showed no signs of getting up anytime soon. And so, while he was one to brag, he was also one to know when to cut his losses. Johnny staggered out of the bar and made his way to the next location. While he did that, Billy quickly walked out of the back exit. He had his trusty walker with him and did his best to move silently with it. It was a difficult task to be sure, but he did as best as he could. Tonight was an important night for Johnny Rude, and Billy wanted to be there to share in Rude's glory. Johnny walked up several blocks, his body looking worse for wear, but finally, he made his way to the second bar.


Meanwhile, Acid Ed's head moved slowly. Pain rocked through his body in a way he hadn't imagined. His eyes opened slowly and his mind took a mental inventory of everything that was around him. It took him a few minutes to remember where he was, and why he was there. His eyes turned hate-filled again as he remembered Rude suckering him into some kind of trap. As soon as he collided with what lied below, he was out. Still, Acid Ed couldn't believe that he had fallen for such a lame trick. He was better than that, smarter than that.


The fact of the matter was, Johnny Rude was getting to him. The AntiChrist Superstar must have known it, otherwise he wouldn't have banked so hard on the fact that Ed would blindly follow him. The fact that such an insignificant pissant as Rude managed to get one over on him infuriated him. Hell, he was surprised that he could actually get angrier. After the little tattoo stunt that Rude had pulled, Ed seriously considered killing the youngster there and then. Considering how the match had been going, he may still get the chance yet. The Original Rat Bastard slowly sat up with his head spinning.


Meanwhile, Johnny Rude took a seat at the bar. A scantily clad brunette walked over to him and he made his order. He gave her the once over as she prepared his pint. She was definitely supple for her age, 28 or so if he could guess. He kept his thoughts to himself for very important reasons. The first of which was that a girl like her probably got hit on constantly. The second reason was that, quite honestly, to Rude, Demonica Vile was the hottest woman on the planet. He was, sadly, a sappy romantic like that. The drink was sat down before him and he took it with his good arm.


Now, his instincts told him to drink quickly and run. And to be sure, that is exactly what he wanted to do. His body, however, had other plans. It always seemed to at this stage in the game. His mind screamed at him to drink and run. He WANTED to drink and run. But that wasn't what was going to happen. Sometimes, flesh overrules the wills of the mind. And at this moment, the flesh begged for some kind of reprieve, even if it was only momentary. And so Wrassle[DOT]Net's golden boy sat down and slowly drank. His mind raced, planning out the next stages of the match.


Unfortunately for him, this was a huge mistake. Not only had Ed recovered, but he was right behind Johnny. No none had said anything for the simple fact that they wanted to see The AntiChrist Superstar get his ass handed to him. Acid grabbed a chair and slammed it accross the back of Rude. The One groaned and went limp on the bar. Ed grabbed him from behind and lifted him over his head. In one intense motion, he body slammed the ever living crap out of Johnny accross the bar. It was so brutal, so intense that Rude's spine nearly broke and his body bounce off of the bar and landed on the other side. Ed walked over the other side of the bar and grabbed his opponent. He slammed his body onto the bar again. This time, not as hard. He grabbed a beer bottle and poured it all over Rude.


Ed: You wanna play, FUCKER...we can play....


Billy watched from the door way as Acid Ed lit a match. He was just about to drop it when Billy shouted.


Billy: S-STOOOOP!!!


Ed froze in mid-motion. He looked up and saw the small, weak man in the walker. He chuckled and spoke.


Acid Ed: Just who the FUCK are you?


Billy: Your worst nightmare...


And with that, he pulled out a revolver. Security saw it, and was mere seconds away from tackling him. But not before he got off a few shots, one of them piercing the bar and hitting Acid Ed in the kneecap.


Billy was subdued, but he had saved his idol's life.


His own existance was now complete.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

At the trial, two months after the match finishes and long after most of the wrestling world has moved on to other things, Billy Quickel’s indictment will come complete with a testimony from the most unlikely of sources; Positive Joe Power. Joe will be called as an expert witness on the psychology of hero worship and the impact of wrestling on the post-modern man’s masculine identification process and will give a riveting testimony about how Billy should not be held accountable for his actions. Joe will argue, back with an enormous amount of empirical data, that Billy was conditioned over the course of his lifetime, to believe that his actions would have no serious repercussion on Edward O’Herlihy, and that he was, in fact, simply playing a role in a larger social drama.

Joe Power is forgiving that way.
________________________________________________________________________________

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuarghhhhhhhhhhhh!” Ed’s throaty and hoarse cry carries with it an animalistic undertone that is both terrifying and understandable to anyone and everyone who isn’t already fleeing for their lives.

The scream dies in Ed’s throat, choked out by his almost insurmountable will to endure, and his fierce desire to break Johnny Rude. His hands come away from his knee, where his flesh is torn, and blood slowly pools out of the wound. He’s lucky, though at the moment it certainly doesn’t feel that way; the bullet didn’t break the kneecap, but at the angle it entered simply reflected off of it and chipped it as it exited from a second wound on the side of the knee. That, of course, is a delicate observation and beyond the medical understanding of the man who now howls in pain as he clutches at his knee. His eyes are wild, crazy with pain and anger, but behind that suffering is a canny intelligence that is looking beyond his broken opponent for something else.

Ed spies what he’s after and uses his one good leg to lift his weight and throw himself the six or seven feet to what he’s after; Johnny’s roll if duct tape. Rude had used the material, combined with broken hockey sticks, to make splints for himself, giving him mobility when otherwise he would have none. Ed is nowhere hear that delicate with his body. He grabs what is left of the roll of silver tape and starts bandaging it snugly around his leg. The bartender is already coming across the room in an effort to help Ed put pressure on the wound, and he suggests to Ed that he not move until the EMTs arrive. Ed promptly punches him between the eyes and knocks him the fuck out.

“Anyone…..errr……anyone else think…..I need a…….unggg……fuckin’ doctor?” Ed’s challenge silences the room, and causes more than a few of the onlookers to recoil out of fear. The man is clearly beyond the point of sanity. He points to one of the waitresses who hasn’t fled from the bar in fear for her life and barks out an order for a pint. As she goes to get it, Ed’s eyes fall on Rude, who still is barely moving on the ground where he lay when Ed was shot. “First this,” Ed says to Rude, though he knows his opponent cannot hear him and he reaches out and takes the pint from the waitress. It is gone before she has time to take a step back from the Hardcore Living Legend, and Ed drops the empty glass on Rude’s chest. It shatters when Ed puts his weight on it, driving the breaking shards into Johnny’s flesh like a surgeon’s scalpel. Ed might only be a blunt instrument when it comes to his approach to dealing with ‘issues,’ but even his most hardened of enemies will admit that the instrument in question is the most effective they have ever had to deal with.

Johnny starts to clench his abdomen as the glass drives into it and threatens to sever crucial muscles. The pain his body is now enduring is unlike anything he’s had to suffer in a very long, long time. Johnny opens his mouth, the naturally defiant words and attitude thinking to vomit forth, but his world is already spinning before he can speak and then everything is black.

“No.” It is the only word that Ed says as he walks behind the bar and finds the bar’s fire extinguisher. The Original Rat Bastard has something else in mind for Johnny Rude, and his current state of unconsciousness is unacceptable in pursuit of that. He snatches a bottle of 150 proof as he rounds out from behind the bar to where Johnny is lying and then he turns and surveys the crowd.

He spots the kid with the stains on his fingers and smiles. Compulsive smokers are easy marks in a crowd; they where their stupidity like a badge of honor. Ed holds out a hand and for a moment there is the question of what it is that he wants, but the kid knows. He knows and his mind already understands what it is that Ed is going to do with it. He shakes his head; as though he has a choice! Ed takes a step towards him, and his hands dive into his pockets, fumbling almost comedically for what Ed wants. A second later the Zippo is in Ed’s hand. Ed pours the alcohol on Johnny, making sure that he gets all of the right spots, and avoiding the wood of his splints.

It would be too hard to get the wood to go out, and this isn’t about killing Johnny. Not yet anyways. Ed flicks open the lighter and stares at its mesmerizing flame for a long moment and then turns and starts to walk away from the bar as he drops the lighter into a pool of the alcohol. It ignites and the flames arc along the path Ed made for them and onto the body of the Anti-Christ All-Star. Ed doesn’t look back, but he knows that the pain of his skin starting to ignite will put an end to Rude’s little trip to dreamland. As he steps out the door, Ed sets down the fire extinguisher, knowing that as soon as he’s gone somebody will have it in their hands and be running to save Rude’s life.

As he stands in the night air, letting the cold northern wind cut through him like the scythe of the reaper, Ed is alive again. For the first time in a long, long time he feels every single beat of his heart and he knows that what blood remains in his body is working double time to keep him on his feet. Ed isn’t an idiot, regardless of what some of his enemies might like to think; he knows that his body can only go for so long, and he knows that Rude’s tough enough and creative enough to find ways to do even more damage to him. He reaches into the inside pocket of the trench coat that he’s wearing and pulls out a needle. He takes the protective cap off of the end of it and looks up at the skyline with a smile as he drives it through his clothes and into his chest.

Ed turns around as he hears the maniacal screams coming from inside the bar he’s just exited. Johnny’s awake. Good. Ed turns and spots the third bar that they must hit as they fight their way up Richmond Street. He considers for a moment whether or not its time for him to turn the tide against Johnny once and for all, but at less than half way through their battle he knows that its still a little bit premature. Soon though. Very soon. Instead, Ed starts across the street….at a jog. That’s the beauty of a shot of pure adrenaline; his body no longer recognizes its own limitations and his mind is on fire with awareness. He will pay a terrible price for what he’s done to his body tomorrow, but for now he’s going to cheat his own flesh of its opportunity to fail him.

Ed reaches the third bar even as he hears the screams of Rude hitting the night air and calling his name. The little shit’s probably good and mad after the wake-up call that Ed left him with in the last place. Good. Johnny has gotten too far into Ed’s mind in this match, and Ed’s seeing that more clearly now. He’s been leading a merry little trail and Ed’s been following it like a mindless brute. That changes now. Ed’s ready to start taking advantage of the terrain and his familiarity with Toronto and its denizens. He turns and makes eye contact with Rude from across the street. Ed smiles, and while he knows that his bandages hide a good portion of his facial expressions, even Rude can tell that he’s being laughed at. He curses and starts out across the road, his eyes never once leaving Ed.

“Good,” Ed mutters under his breath, “keep coming.”

Ed turns and vanishes through the doorway of the bar, knowing that Johnny’s body is running on its own internal supply of adrenaline now. Waking up to see flames engulfing you will do that to anyone. Likely he has some nice crispy pieces which are going to need tending by a doctor when the fight is finished, but they will hardly be unique to the rest of his body by that point. Ed slams a hand on the bar as he gets inside and wastes no time in draining the pint that is put in front of him. He gives a quick look around. This is his kind of bar; a good Irish watering hole. Ed’s eyes survey the landscape and know immediately that Rude won’t find any lifelong supporters here. No crazed lone gunmen to spare him. This place is filled with Ed’s kind of people; hard nosed and mean spirited.

Rude kicks the door, and Ed makes a note that he’s gotten more mobility back in his lower extremities. The pain will kick in shortly, but before it does and while his body is firing on adrenaline, Rude’s going to be faster; more dangerous. Of course Ed isn’t a slouch right now either. He’s tricked his body into believing that it’s running in pure survival mode, and as Rude is silhouetted in the doorway Ed lets fly with a handful of darts that he’s snatched off of the boards that are just to the left of the solid mahogany bar. He smiles a little at the sound of them finding flesh, but then can only stare in awe as Rude steps into the actual bar, letting the light fall on him. Four of the darts found nothing but fatty tissue, and almost certainly didn’t cause enough pain to even register for the man. It’s the other two that open Ed’s eyes wide.

Rude slowly lifts a hand and plucks the one from his forehead with almost an air of disdain. With a flick of his wrist he sends it back at Ed, who is just barely fast enough to get an arm up and knock it out of the air. The second one, which Rude pulls from his neck, catches Ed in the thigh and sends a brief sharp pain through his body. His adrenaline buries the pain in an instant. Ed braces himself, knowing that once Rude comes across the floor for him, this match is over. In a place like this, where nobody will make any effort to stop him from killing the man, Ed can work rude over like a manikin. He just needs to wait for Rude to….

“Idiot!” Rude’s first word is a stinging mockery of Ed, as his hand flies out and snatches a beer off of the tray of a waitress who passes just a little too close to the door. Rude starts guzzling it, even as he turns and runs back out into the cold night air.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuck!” Ed screams and slams his hand down on the bar. He thought he had done it; pushed Rude far enough to take away his survival instinct and force the man to act without thinking. He was wrong, and now Rude’s got a head start. With the mobility coming back in his legs, Ed knows that he’s going to be even more difficult to deal with now. Ed turns and runs across the room, clearing the distance in less than three steps as he pulls the door open and dashes up the two steps and out onto the street. His eyes look left, but his ears immediately tell him what a mistake that was.

The squeal of the car’s tires draw Ed’s attention faster than his body can react. The Sultan of Suffering does not even have time to revert his attention in the direction that the car is coming from, opting instead to simply jump upwards as quickly as he can. With no momentum working in his favor, Ed knows he won’t avoid the impact, and all he can hope to do is minimize it. That is the last thought that goes through his head before everything goes black.

Rude steps out of the alleyway a few doors up the street and stares at the carnage. Ed lies in the street, the result of his impact with the oncoming car. His body careened up into the windshield and then when the driver stopped came rocketing off the front of the car and slammed into the asphalt like street pizza. Rude smiles. So far he’s maintained control. So far, he’s been the driver. Well, actually this time it was…

“I…I don’t know about this…”

“Shut the fuck up,” Rude snaps at Deadstar. “Look out! I’m gonna finish this right now!”

Johnny heads for the driver’s side door, as Ed lies broken in the street.

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Stan Daniels

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Acid Ed v Johnny Rude: The Death of Acid Ed - PART 3

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:04 am

His body screamed at him in ways he never knew were possible. His legs were on fire from the rubber bullets they had been shot with earlier. His body stung excruciatingly due to the burns he now suffered because of one man. The very same man who had beaten him time and time again before. The same man who was responsible for the situation he was currently in. That man, was The Original Rat Bastard, Acid Ed. Johnny sat inside the car of his most useless manager, Dead Star. The former UCE commissioner struggled to drag the body of his star's opponent. He managed to do it, but it was a tall order indeed. Rude watched as Ed was drug to the very back of the vehicle. Johnny popped the trunk open and aided his manager in tossing Ed into it. With the door slammed and Ed confined, there was very little he could do to hurt Rude now.


Once that dark deed had been completed, Dead Star returned to the driver's seat. Johnny buckled himself in and his manager did the same. With that out of the way, the former UCE commissioner began to drive. Rude searched his car frantically for something. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched as Rude rummaged through the glove compartment. He cursed and punched the dashboard. Dead Star, keeping one eye on the road, spoke to his client.


Dead Star: What are you doing?


Rude: I'm looking for pain pills. You HAVE to have some here, don't you?


Dead Star: As a matter of fact, I do. I just knew you'd do something stupid and need them.


Rude: Fuck you. How was I supposed to know Ed was going to come to the party with fucking pistols, hmm?


Dead Star: I suppose you have a point. So, to the arena?


Rude: Fuck no. I am sick of this fucker's shit. I have something else in mind for him.


And so, Rude began to give him a set of directions. He wasn't as familiar with Canada as some, but he had a few choice places memorized. This particular location was a cemetary. Dead Star didn't understand why Rude wanted to go here. Things would have been so much simpler if the duo simply went to the destination stated at the beginning of the match. They could leave Acid Ed trapped and claim victory. What Dead Star didn't understand was that this wasn't about the match anymore. It had stopped being about the match right around the time when Johnny and Ed dove off of the stairs of This Is London.


It was about something far worse. Part of it was a matter of superiority. Two warrior males fighting for dominance in a given territory. One man wanted a piece of what the first had worked for. And the first man, very obviously, didn't want to share. So, the root of Rude and Ed's conflict lied in a very primal struggle for dominance. And yet, there was still more than even that to it. It was, in part, a clash of young vs. old as well. And even still from that, Ed was testing Johnny. Even after everything they had been through, Acid Ed didn't exactly hate Johnny Rude. Sure, he was very dissappointed in him for representing what he called, "those faggots," in the other organization, and even more dissappointed when Rude refused to wrestle for the company. But it wasn't a matter of hate, not exactly.


It seems strange, when one considers all that they had put one another through thus far. Ed was pissed as hell at Rude for everything that Johnny had done, and most certainly, he wanted to dish out more than an equal amount of punishment, but it wasn't a matter of hate, exactly. Because even with all the evasive crap that Johnny had pulled earlier in his Fed X career, Ed saw what impressed him initially in the youngster. Especially today, proving that he could go pound for pound with the much physically stronger Acid Ed. The Original Rat Bastard's mind wasn't on this, though. His mind was on just how he would escape his current predicament.


It was quite a situation to be in. Thankfully, his arms and legs weren't bound. The only problem was that he didn't exactly have a lot of room to move around in. Ed could hear Rude and Dead Star talking through the wall of the trunk. He couldn't make out what was being said exactly, but he didn't need to. Acid Ed could give a shit less what two little, as he would say, "cocksuckers," had to say to one another. His eyes frantically searched for something which would help him out of the situation he was in. Thankfully, it seemed as though whatever fates people like to call God smiled upon him. His eyes fell upon a tire iron. He reached for it as best he could, but somehow, he fell short. Ed cursed to himself and tried again.


Meanwhile, Rude and Dead Star had almost reached their destination. Johnny had found a bottle of vicodin inside his manager's vehicle. Hidden in a shelf under the seat, there were several bottles of medication. Rude settled on vicodin because it would help kill the pain without the hallucinagenic side effects. He downed several of them dry. He gagged a little from doing this, but he knew that it would be worth it. The AntiChrist Superstar leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. Soon, relief would wash over him in an awesome wave. Soon, he would be able to function again. He looked at the mirror above him and saw a tranquilizer gun and a shovel.

Rude: Dead Star...you read my mind.


Dead Star: What can I say? After working with you for as long as I have, I've come to see how you think.


Rude: Is it frightening?


Dead Star: God, yes.


Dead Star shudders a little. The car reaches it's destination fairly comfortably. Once the vehicle was parked, the two men exited the vehicle. Rude could feel the medicine beginning to work it's magic. They approached the trunk cautiously. Acid Ed could hear their heavy footsteps approaching. He had managed to grab a hold of the tire iron. His fingers coiled around it tightly, as if it was his life line. In a matter of speaking, perhaps that was what it was. He closed his eyes and continued to listen for the footsteps. They had stopped short, just before the trunk. A sick smile curved his lips as he knew what would happen next. One of them would open the trunk. It didn't matter which. Whoever did would get a face full of tire iron.


The trunk opened swiftly. Acid Ed leaped up and swung the tire iron with utter abandon. The metal rod collided with the head of Johnny B. Rude. The AntiChrist Superstar fell to the ground and placed his hands at his face. He had nearly lost consciousness from the attack. Blood poured down his face. Ed looked to Dead Star and let out a primal growl. The commissioner, spineless as he was, ran away almost instantly. The Original Rat Bastard then turned his attention to Johnny. He drove several heavy kicks into the already damaged ribs of Rude.


Acid Ed: How do you like that, you fucker? Have you fuckin' had enough yet? Huh? Have you?


Rude: Fuck you, old man. Suck my dick, you pussy!


Acid Ed: Oh, I'm a pussy? You sure about that?


Ed grabbed Rude and threw him into the trunk. He then pulled half of his body out so that his legs dangled inside the trunk. He then grabbed the door of the trunk and slammed it mercilessly down onto his opponent's legs. The AntiChrist Superstar let out a terrible cry of pain as he felt his legs nearly break. Ed cursed and laughed as he saw his opponent's body flop and squirm. He watched as the smaller man fell out of where he once was and hit the dirt below. Ed then looked at where he was. He hadn't really taken a large amount of time to really think on where he was. Now that he had, he couldn't help but smile.


A graveyard did indeed seem somewhat fitting. He grabbed his opponent by the hair and began to drag him into the necropolis. Due to the large amount of damage that had been done to his legs so far, Acid Ed didn't have a huge fear of Johnny popping back up anytime soon. And so, he took his time as he drug his foe along. He breathed in the cool night air and let it fill his lungs. The air chilled his insides somewhat and he exhales a long breathe which resembled dragon's smoke due to the cold. Snow crunched under his heavy feet as his eyes explored the cemetary. It was then, under the light of the full moon, that his eyes fell upon something strange.


It was strange, and yet still, altogether wonderful in a way. There, towards the very back of the cemetary was a solitary grave. A large pile of dirt was next to it. He figured that this trip was all planned by Rude, including the empty grave. Acid Ed looked down at his opponent and slammed his face into the snow. The little, as Ed would say, "Fucker," planned on burying the man alive this entire time. It was a ballsy move on Rude's part, but not one of the smartest he's ever come up with. Especially when one considers just how everything has turned out. Ed drug Rude right along to the grave site.


He lifted Rude up over his head and slammed him into the grave. Johnny groaned and hit the dirt hard. He opened is eyes and looked around him. As soon as he saw where he was, he immediately began to scream. What Acid Ed didn't know was that Johnny Rude had been buried alive before. The experience had forever left a scar or two on his psyche, and he never wanted to be in this situation again. Ed watched as The Antichrist Superstar struggled to try and free himself. Everytime he would come close, Ed would drive a boot into his face. After the third time, Rude seemed as though he was out. Ed wondered just why Rude acted like so much of a, as Ed would say, "chickenshit." He shrugged and began piling the dirt on with his bare hands.


That is, until something happened. A shot rang out in the darkness of the night. Ed's eyes widened as he felt something hit him in the back. It felt like a bullet at first from the force of the shot, but that clearly couldn't be what it was. A second shot rang out, and Acid Ed's body went limp. He felt himself lose consciousness almost instantly. He fell forward and landed into the grave, right on top of Rude. Dead Star walked over to the grave with a tranqulizer gun in his hand, a shovel in the other. With Ed and Rude both unconscious, he dropped the gun and began piling shovel fulls of dirt onto the Fed X'ers. He smiled as he did this, even whistled, as he knew that this was a Wrassle owned cemetary, with not a police station in miles.


Dead Star: Sorry Johnny...but your mission was to go on, win the X-Factor, and leave. You were never supposed to come back, you stupid bastard. And now...Wrassle has no use for you.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Sorry Johnny but,” Dead Star says, his voice with just the right tone of condescension and arrogance to reveal that he was not, in fact, the spineless coward that he’s been portrayed as for all of these recent months. “your mission was to go, win the X-Factor Championiship, and leave. You were never supposed to come back, you stupid bastard!” Dead Star took a breath between thoughts and threw some more dirt down on the grave where his one-time marquee signing lay motionless. He was speaking the absolute truth, though Rude was not awake to hear it. “And now…Wrassle has no use for you.”

Dead Star was the laughing stock of Wrassle for some time, and his federation was called UCEless, and not without just cause. So who the hell was the man standing over the open grave and slowly shoveling dirt on top of two of the most influential stars in the entire wrestling world? Those with some insight into the truth would know; Dead Star is an agent of the EC. Not an agent like Johnny and Chance thought that they were when they first came over to the renegade organization, but an actual agent.

Too many people look at the decline of the UCE and think that it is a measure of Dead Star, and his abilities. What they fail to do is look beyond the surface and see the cunning, dangerous mind that was first granted government of the organization, or his rock solid relationships behind the scenes to those in the right places of power. This is a man of enormous loyalties, though not to self-promoting jackasses like Johnny Rude. No, his relationships with Rude, much like his signing of Rude, was all a strategic placement guided by his masters in the EC. Men to whom he was willing to pay the ultimate loyalty, and to whom he has demonstrated that loyalty at great sacrifice to himself.

“To think I spent all that time letting you treat me like shit you little piece of garbage,” he spews out violently as he pauses to look down and watch Johnny’s eyes try and open. They flutter a little bit, but ultimately it stops and Dead Star offers a snort for a laugh and shakes his head. “You couldn’t just stick to the plan could you? You couldn’t be a good little soldier and just prove Wrassle’s superiority. You had to try and be clever. You with all your fuckin’ useless little games, and all the while you were never clever enough to see that the biggest game being played…..was on you.”

The truth went far deeper than Dead Star’s words, but it didn’t matter since Johnny Rude was not awake to hear them. Acid Ed on the other hand had a little something going for him that Dead Star had not considered; his body was mainlining pure adrenaline thanks to the shot he had given himself. True, the tranquilizers are designed to put a man down and keep him down for a good long time, but that doesn’t factor in against elevated levels of adrenaline. So while he is not yet functional and mobile, Ed is cognizant of the words that are being spoken, and he tries his best not to give away his awareness to the man who is slowly piling dirt on top of him.

Ed too has a little ace in the hole to play tonight. Its something that he would never expect either Rude or Dead Star to know about, but given this new light that is shining on the former commissioner, and special operative of the EC, Ed begins to wonder if he might not be as clueless as he at first appears. Johnny’s study of Ed taught him a great deal about the Hardcore Living Legend’s propensity for violence and suffering, but it was not in depth enough to underscore just how many facets Ed’s cruelty can manifest in. He isn’t satisfied with simply destroying a man physically if he believes that there is a chance to demolish him emotionally as well. Why leave behind an opportunity to recover, when you can snuff out all hope before it grows into courage?

Ed dares, for a brief moment, to flutter his eye and gain some kind of image of where Dead Star is standing and how much of an effort it will take for him to close the gap between them when he gets the strength back in his extremities. What he sees is the former manager, who was once a bumbling fool, standing over the two of them and wiping his brow. His body language is different, and it speaks volumes about who he really is. As a man accustomed to being in combat, Ed curses himself for never picking up on it before. That tells him one very important thing; Dead Star isn’t just sneaky and conniving, he’s dangerous. He was able not only to hide his mental cunning, but to mask his physical confidence, which is truly impressive. He suppressed his body’s natural arrogance and pushed down its confidence, replacing it with the posture and movements of an introverted fool. And Ed, like so many others, bought it hook, line and sinker. He almost smiles, knowing that nobody will be angrier than Johnny Rude at the revelation.

“One assignment shithead,” Dead Star suddenly starts speaking to himself, as the crisp night air keeps him alert and forces him to take frequent breaks so that he isn’t breathing too hard. A man can get hypothermia from taking in too much cold air, and not giving his body time to process it down to a temperature that it can handle efficiently. That Dead Star knows this is actually kind of scary. “I just needed to make this one fuckin’ assignment work,” Dead Star snarls as he rests, “and they were going to promote me. No more working in the trenches and being their fist. I was going to sit at the table and become an equal. All I had to do was find a way to take you out of the picture before you could become a national embarrassment for them. I mean…..how fuckin’ hard could that be?!?”

Apparently harder than Dead Star would have liked because he suddenly picks up the shovel and swings it like his name is Barry bonds. The shovel’s head collides with the unmarked gravestone and it shatters right at the base of the shaft. The head falls useless to the ground and then slides forward, drawn by gravity and the tilt of the earth down into the grave. A second later, as Dead Star breathes deeply, trying to let his rage subside, he watches as the head of the shovel falls into the hole and clips the ear of Johnny Rude. Rude starts awake, pain shooting through him at the side of his head.

He lets out a primal scream as the last thing that his mind recalls is that he’s in a grave, and then he feels the dead weight of Ed pinning him down in the hole, and sees the dirt that is lying loosely on them and he snaps. Rude starts flailing and screaming, now oblivious to the pain that is coursing through his body and threatening to shut it down. Instead of the panicked and fearful reaction that one might expect from Dead Star though, the man simply stares at Johnny from under a furrowed brow and then takes a moment to step over the side of the grave and drops into the hole with the competitors.

Rude gets one arm free from its position trapped beneath Ed and immediately lashes one and clutches onto Dead Star, but the man’s former commissioner coolly reaches down and takes hold of the hand. Rude has a wild and crazed look in his eyes, but Dead Star returns it with a smile as he takes hold of the man’s hand….and breaks one of his fingers.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu……..” Rude starts to scream out a curse, his mind as confused as hell by what’s just happened.

The last thing he remembers Ed was kicking him down into the grave. Now he finds Ed unconscious on top of him, and Dead Star…..DEAD STAR!!!.....just casually broke one of his fingers. Instead of pushing him further into madness, the act clarifies things for Rude, though through a broken haze of psychosis. It explains why he’s still in the bottom of a grave, and why dirt has been shoveled not only on top of Ed, but on top of him as well. Dead Star is betraying him.

Why no longer matters as Rude’s eyes burn a hole through the steaming piule of shit that is now lording above him and smiling at him with just the right kind of sickness in his eyes to let Johnny know that it has all been a well orchestrated act up until now. The truth, and Rude isn’t slow to realize it now that he’s confronted with the evidence of it in an undeniable fashion, is that he’s been played like a Stradivarius by a master. Rude opens his mouth, not to scream in pain or anguish, but to unleash a torrent of profanity meant to clarify the maelstrom of thought that is racing through his pain addled brain at the moment, but instead he falls silent as Dead Star rather casually puts a boot into his face. Blackness swallows Johnny once more.

Dead Star slaps his hands together, wiping the direct from them almost as casually as he appears to be wiping them clean of Johnny’s stain as well. He turns to vault himself back out of the hole, clearly prepared to finish the job he’s started when Ed finally chooses to make his move. He rises up as quietly as he can, knowing that his body is not yet in the condition he would have liked, but also recognizing that he’s unlikely to get another shot at Dead Star without giving up the higher ground. Just as Dead Star pulls his torso up above the fulcrum of his ascent he suddenly feels resistance, and his eyes go wide and his hands paw at the earth around him in an apparent effort to resist being pulled back into the grave.

The dirt though is loose, and there is no traction to be gained by clawing at it, so Dead Star’s efforts bear no fruit and he is dragged back into the pit, feeling enormous blunt impact slamming into his kidneys even as his feet feel the bottom of the pit once more. An elbow slams into the back of his head, driving his face forward into the hardened dirt wall of the grave, and Dead Star silently curses himself for not having noticed the change in Ed’s breathing when he became conscious. His nose gives under the impact, and blood starts to flow out of him like a spigot’s been turned on.

“Going to fuckin’….” Ed starts to make a promise that Dead Star has no intention of letting him keep.

As the Original Rat Bastard spins Dead Star around intended to do further damagae to Rude’s former manager and put an end to the pendulous swings of momentum in the match, he is greeted instead with eyes filled with dirt. Ed shots in a mixture of frustration and pain as the filthy EC whore’s hands scratch at his face, rubbing the dirt in through the bandages and into his iris’. It would seem that the EC’s field agent isn’t quite as panicked as he appeared when Ed dragged him back into the pit. In fact, he had enough presence of mind to fill his hands with the easiest weapon he could find, and he knew exactly how and when to put it into use.

Just who the fuck was the REAL Dead Star?

“Stupid beast,” Dead Star says with an almost casual flair as he shoves Ed away into the other wall of the grave and then drives out his fingertips and smashes them into Ed’s throat, causing almost instant swelling and depriving him of the much needed oxygen to properly recover. “Stupid, useless tool of a weapon that you are. Did you think you would stop what he couldn’t?”

The question is rhetorical, and the strike to the throat is followed quickly by a series of body blows and then an elbow that ricochets off the side of Ed’s head and puts him back on the ground. Perhaps it is because he has no concern that he will be stopped at this point, or perhaps it is his true inner arrogance finally set free, but this is the moment that Dead Star chooses to share what he knows; and he knows a great deal.

“They chose you, you know,” he sneers as he stands over Ed, watching the man struggle for breath and fight for what may well be the last moments of his life. “For all of your hate and contempt for them, they made sure that you were perfectly prepared to be their tool. All it took was a little prodding here and there by them to ensure that Johnny said and did the things that would force you to do their dirty work when the time came….and it came didn’t it. Johnny was done. Finished. He had no more interest in playing the little game in this backwater place, and he was going back to New York, or maybe Japan. There was just one problem…the plan had never been for him to come back. Johnny’s too much of a wild card. Too big a threat to the bigger picture. He’s useful as a weapon, sent here to ruin what your employers are building…but he’s a problem when he comes back home. They did everything they could to convince him that there was nothing left for him there, and still he insisted he was done here and going back. So they had him make one final, little decision…to provoke you. And you? You did what you had been programmed to do all this time. Bravo.”

Dead Star starts out of the grave, but as he reaches up to lift himself out he hears it. Its soft at first, and another man might simply dismiss it as the wheezing of a man desperate for air in his lungs. Dead Star, whomever he truly is, is clearly no ordinary man. He knows what it is, and it confuses him enough to stop his egress and capture his attention. He turns, almost slowly, and frowns as he sees a slight pull in the bandages on Ed’s face and knows that he’s smiling amidst the coughing and blood.

“You…..” Ed tries to speak but his body isn’t making it easy, “…....you….................didn’t….............count….............on….o..o...one….thing.”

Dead Star doubts that. The EC have taken everything into account.

“Yeah?” it isn’t a question, it’s a challenge. He turns to pull himself out of the grave, no longer interested in wasting his time. “What’s that?”

CLANG!

Dead Star’s head opens up like a watermelon at a Gallagher show, and his eyes roll back in his head as he falls into a heap in the grave. The impact jars Johnny and he comes out of his semi-conscious delirium in time to think that he’s completely lost his fuckin’ mind.

“ME,” the terrifyingly beautiful woman standing on top of the grave replies. “Hello Johnny.”

Ed smiles beneath his bandages. It had been a decent plan when he put it together, but in light of everything else that’s going on….it has become a brilliant plan. Now if only it plays out the way that it should. His eyes glance over at Johnny, and Ed is almost certain his opponent is no longer sure what’s going on. Nothing he believed appears to be true. Betrayed by Dead Star? A pawn of the EC? Perhaps he could have dealt with that. Perhaps.

But this?

Johnny’s mouth finally shapes a single word as he exhales, “Trauma.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the time frame of one simple night, everything had been turned on its head. What begun as a simple mission to silence one of his largest detractors turned into a fall from grace. In all of his wildest dreams and greatest fantasies, never would he imagined that he would have been betrayed by Dead Star. Why would he believe that? After all, Dead Star had been one of the most encouraging commissioners Johnny Rude had ever worked for. More encouraging than Maverick in the beginning, more so than Chevalier, Dead Star had believed in Rude every step of the way. Or at least, that was how it seemed It just now dawned on him how cleverly this ghetto swerve had been set up.


Of course they would choose Dead Star, of all people, to keep an eye on Johnny in his Chicago efforts. Despite his behavior in the eye of the public, Rude had trusted Dead Star. After all, the former commissioner had done nothing but good by him. Bringing him into the fed after he had been rejected several times before, allowing him to become a multiple times Universal Carnage and BMF champion, why on earth would Johnny ever expect to be screwed by someone like that? He wouldn't, not in a million years, and the EC cleverly banked on that. He would act not only as manager, but as watch dog over the loose cannon they had set upon from there.


From then, it was all a matter of time. Everything that Dead Star had said was true. And Rude felt like the biggest fucking idiot ever for believing it all. Rude supposed that the saying was true, that at the root of every belief was a lie. And this was, quite possibly, one of the biggest lies he had ever been told in his entire career. All of that, though, seemed trivial. The EC "Invasion," Johnny Rude's role in it, and even his subsequent suffering of a swerve seemed small compared to what stood over him. He stared up at the dark sky in disbelief. Although, it wasn't the sky that he stared into. It was the dark brown, almost black eyes of Kate Moran, better known to the world over as Trauma. He watched as she helped Acid Ed out of the grave.


He didn't move, at first. How could he? The unconscious body of Dead Star lied beside him. Blood oozed from his head and poured out into the hungry earth. Johnny blinked several times as if to wrap his mind around what he saw before him. The last time he had seen Trauma, she was walking out of the door, literally. They had fought for what appeared to be the millionth time. Not long ago, she had been held captive by Haley of The Network. This was done as a sort of blackmail against Rude. He had won the BMF for the very first time that month, and fully intended on using it to give himself TWO shots at the UC Title, should he have needed them. Trauma was how Haley prevented him from doing it. While she was in Haley's care, the fiendish cousin of Johnny XS had given Kate dozens of femenine empowering reading material.


She had escaped captivity a changed woman. No longer would she succumb to submissive urges. The desire to be used, abused, and degraded was out of her system. Now, she was an empowered woman. She was in control of her life and the very first thing she wanted to do as an empowered woman was make her long time oppressor suffered. And so, she remained in hiding. Training her mind and body for the wrestling world. She had no honest intention of entering The Wrassle[DOT]Network just yet. Instead, she had simply chosen to watch Rude. It was his bid in Fed X that caught her attention. More specifically, it was his conflict with Acid Ed that made her seek The Original Rat Bastard out.


Johnny hated those who resembled himself. This was because in all reality, he hated himself. Trauma was with him during his cutter days, and she knew all too well how little he thought of himself. He masked this in bravado, profanity, wit, and hatred, but his weakness was obvious to see for those who knew how to look. Kate was one such person. After contacting Acid Ed, she and he formed a plan to screw Rude over. Neither one of them had expected Dead Star's role in this little dark passion play. It was quite the surprise, but in the end, it was inconsequential to their goal. Ed reached down into the grave and pulled Johnny Rude out of it.


So paralyzed by shock was he that he didn't even fight back. Instead, he simply allowed himself to be carried into the air like a weightless child. He fell to the ground painfully, once again on his sore ribs, and wondered why they hadn't completely broken just yet. Trauma still held the shovel in one hand. She wore a black fur coat and gloves, as well as high heeled boots. Knowing Kate as Rude did, he was positive that under the heavy coat was some extreme fetish wear. It was an addiction for her, one she indulged in despite the weather. She turned to Ed and much to Johnny's horror, they shared a kiss.


It was then evident that their relationship was well beyond the physical. Rude coughed several times as the air hit his lungs painfully. Breathing hurt, moving hurt, even thinking caused him pain at this point. His mind and body was overwhelmed with sensory deprivation. Trauma pulled away from Ed and turned to Johnny. A confident, sadistic grin twisted her lips.


Trauma: Johnny....did you miss me?


Rude: You...*inhales* can't be...*exhales* real. You...can't be.


Trauma: Now lover, you know that isn't so.


Ed took a seat on one of the graves. The tranquilizer which had been injected rather forcefully into his body was taking it's toll. It managed to somewhat cancelled out the adrenaline in his veins. The two chemicals intermingled and caused Ed some pain, but more importantly, he felt fatigue. One could only endure so much pain, inject so many fluids into their bodies, before they began to feel the toll. And so, with Trauma firmly in control, he chose to take a back seat.


Rude: Kate....why? Why are you doing this?


Trauma: I can't believe you have the NERVE to ask me that, you fucking cockguzzler.


Ed laughed at hearing the fit, but petite woman use the word, "cockguzzler." It was positively adorable to him. His eyes squinted as Trauma swung the shovel accross the face of Rude. The AntiChrist Superstar's head swung violently to one side and collided with a grave stone. He slumped onto the ground and groaned painfully. His world spun, he was most certainly concussed. The fact that he was able to stay conscious during all of this was a miracle in and of itself. He tried to crawl away from Trauma only to have the shovel driven into, once again, his injured ribs. He heard a snapping sound which could only mean that they finally had broken. Rude screamed, or rather, tried to. What came out was a gurgle of blood and saliva. Trauma spat upon him and spoke again.


Trauma: Where do I start, Johnny? Let's see...rubbing my face in cockroach guts? How about making me use Chance's vibrator so that you could shove it in Phil Stone's mouth? Pimping me out to other wrestlers for favors? Is the list long enough, you FAGGOT!?


Acid Ed: Holy shit, he actually pimped you out?


Trauma: Yes, Ed, he did. Don't worry, I'm clean.


Acid Ed: I worried for a second, there.


Rude rolled so that he was on his back. Trauma stared down at him with eyes burning like orbs of fiery hate. She raised the shovel over her head and brought it crashing down towards Johnny. Rude just barely scooted out of the way. The shovel still connected, but it did so with his foot and not much else. He winced from the blow, but that is all. Johnny grabbed a hold of a grave stone that he was beside and used it to pull himself up. He was uneasy on his feet, so much so that he dropped to his knees. Trauma lifted the shovel up again. Rude looked at her, the moonlight shining beautifully behind her in the clear night sky. He looked at her, into her contempt filled eyes, and all he could do...was laugh.


The shovel came crashing toward him again. He moved so that it would hit his shoulder. The very same shoulder which had been previously hurt that evening. Pain stabbed him like so many hot needles. It caused him to nearly hit the ground again, but he refused to. Instead, he kept himself on his knees. Trauma took yet another swing and this time, Rude leaned into the tomb stone. The shovel hit nothing but air and Rude could feel the wind of the strike blow through his hair. He laughed even hardr now.


Trauma: ...What...what's so fucking funny? Huh? Tell me, Johnny!


Acid Ed: He's lost his fucking mind, that's what.


Trauma: It's over Johnny, you can't scare me anymore. You can't intimidate me, I am in control!


She swung once more. This time, however, everything was different. Johnny threw an arm up and managed to block the swing. It stung his arm to do so. The pain reverberated through his arm and made it shake a little from the impact. Still, he would not be deterred. He simply couldn't stop laughing. His ex tried to pull the shovel back for another strike, only to have Rude grab a hold of it. He pushed his arm forward and sent the handle of the shovel into her face. She let out a small cry as Rude tossed the digging tool to the ground completely. He then closed the distance between himself and her and backhanded her forcefully. Ed watched this with a look of shock, and, mild amusement on his face.


Rude: Honestly, Kate, do me a favor, would you?


She placed a hand to her face. Kate touched where she had been hit and looked at her hand, then at Johnny. Her visage was covered in disgust and hatred. This made The Antichrist Superstar smile even more.


Rude: It's almost been six months now, and you're STILL out for revenge? Really Kate, you need a new hobby. You tried this bullshit before with my other ex, Siren, remember?


Trauma: That was different, that was-


He kicked her in the face forcefully. The woman went nearly unconscious from this. Rude was about to lay into her with the most savage beating she had ever endured when he heard footsteps behind him. In one fluid motion, Johnny ducked, turned his body to face Ed, and proceeded to drive his shoulder into the stomach of The Original Rat Bastard. Acid Ed doubled over and dropped the shovel. Not content with anymore interruptions, Rude took his opponent and executed The Obscenity(a spinning neckbreaker), onto the metal part of the shovel. This would stun Ed for a brief while, which was all that Johnny wanted.


Rude turned around saw that Trauma had risen to her feet. Her arm swung towards him violently. The moonlight reflected off of what she was holding and instantly gave away what it was: A knife. Johnny grabbed it with one hand and punched Trauma in the face with the other. She fell backwards, right into the grave, on top of Dead Star. A disgusted Johnny Rude walked right over to the grave. Inside of it were two individuals who represented his past. One was a trusted ally, the other was an ex who just simply wouldn't go away. And so, he unzipped his fly and urinated on the both of them, his middle fingers extended.


Rude: Fuck the both of you. Especially you, Kate. Yeah, I was a real asshole to you. And you know what? I fucking enjoyed every minute of it. You were a stupid, weak whore, and you always will be. The reason you were so "poorly treated," was because that was what you fucking wanted. Or rather, what you THOUGHT you wanted. In the end, your crazy fucking ass didn't know what you really wanted. You still don't, you stupid fucking whore. Fuck you, you stinky sewer skank.


Rude zipped his fly triumphantly. He breathed in the night air and let it calm the fire in his lungs. His celebration was premature, as Acid Ed grabbed a hold of his head and bent him backwards, dropping him with a DDT to the dirt.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Johnny’s head was spinning and his brain felt like it had been used as the basketball for the U.S. Olympic team’s game against Spain. The rest of his body was not feeling a whole hell of a lot better, but it wasn’t the physical damage that had the Anti-Christ All-Star’s head aching so badly. In the space of about two minutes everything that he knew to be true had turned upside down. Dead Star was not his friend, or even his ally. The EC did not think he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. More than even those two things…Kate was not dead. Johnny starts to crack a bit of a smile at the corners of his mouth as he realizes what he has just done to put the useless bitch in her place. He opens his eyes to assess just how much shit he was in, and his heart almost stops.

Ed is standing above him, the tattered bandages that wrap his ugly face are still flecked with blood, and he holds in his hand a gun. It is the second time this night that Ed has stood in front of him with a gun pointed directly at him, and gently squeezed the trigger. Johnny barely has time to think ‘Fuck me’ before everything in his world goes black again. Ed tosses the spent tranquilizer gun into the dirt with no respect for the piece of equipment and then looks into the grave at Trauma, who is slowly getting herself back to her feet.

“Clean yourself up, and then throw enough dirt in there to make waking up a truly traumatic experience for that asshole,” Ed says with a tilt of his head towards Dead Star. “Johnny and I have something to finish.”

Trauma opens her mouth to argue, but the look on Ed’s face takes that option off the table. She may not be the doormat that she once was, and she sure as hell does not take orders from the Original Rat Bastard, but that does not mean she’s interested in crossing Ed when he’s in the middle of something like this war with Johnny. She just glares at Rude as Ed leans down and grabs the former X-Factor Champion by the hair and starts to drag him away. Trauma takes a moment to note that Ed did not even offer to help her out of the grave. Probably because he believes she can handle it by herself. Probably.

Ed makes his way back to the car that Rude and Dead Star used to bring him to the cemetery and studies the ground all around the trunk. After a second of squinting in the darkness he spies what he is looking for and drops Johnny, letting his head ricochet off of the bumper, just for fun. Ed takes a couple of steps and the reaches down and shoves his hand into the freezing snow that cakes the graveyard like a nice winter’s blanket. When he pulls his rapidly discoloring hand back out of the snow a second later the car keys reside in his grasp.

Ed presses the automatic trunk release and hears the click of the mechanism giving up its seal. Leaning over, Ed takes hold of the lip of the trunk and swings it upwards, revealing the dark interior where they held him while they transported him to the site of his potential burial. Ed scours it to make sure that he does not leave any weapons for Johnny to use, as Ed was able to find when he was trapped inside. He does not know how long the tranq will keep Johnny unconscious for, but he does know that he’s not taking any chances. Once he’s certain that the trunk is completely empty, he picks Rude back up and shoves him in. Ed slams the trunk down, and then walks up to the driver’s door and climbs in.

As he turns the engine over, and listens to it fire to life in the cold night air, Ed knows that he could end the whole thing right here and now. Johnny is unconscious, and Ed isn’t. An empty grave lies out here, in the middle of nowhere, and it would be nothing for him to shove Johnny into it and be done with him once and for all. The mere fact that he is the only one still walking around the company tomorrow will be more than enough proof for anyone and everyone about just which of them is the man to be feared more. For any other maniac in a war with Johnny B. Rude it would be a good enough victory.

Edward O’Herlihy is not any other maniac.

He presses his foot down on the accelerator and turns the wheel as the car springs forward into motion. Ed knows, almost intuitively, which direction he needs to go, and he drives on autopilot. His mind is wrapped up in bigger things. Ed had planned from the beginning to do something to Johnny that nobody had ever been able to do. Defeating him was not enough. Beating him in a savage explosion of violence would have been enormously satisfying to Ed, but it would have done little to permanently satiate his animalistic need to dominate the man. He could have killed him, of course. An accidental death in the midst of a brutal and barbaric match was hardly unheard of in the industry’s history, and contrary to what Rude thought that he knew, it was not beyond Ed to do such a thing. His regard for human life was….limited.

So if all of those outcomes lay before him, why was it that Ed had Johnny in a trunk and was on his way back to Richmond Street? Simple. Ed’s plan had been bigger than any of them. He did not want Rude beaten. A simple victory would not be enough. And while killing Rude would make it clear in no uncertain terms that he was indeed the alpha male, and the Most Dangerous Man Alive, it was a quick, transient dominance that would not linger in a way that could continue to amuse Ed for years to come. No, Ed had decided long before he engaged in the match that he would do what nobody had done before; Ed was going to break Johnny Rude.

Not his body, which has already been smashed, and battered and broken. No. Ed’s goal was far more permanent and long lasting. He wanted Rude to react to the sight of Ed the same way that he did the very idea of being buried alive. He wanted to scream himself awake at night, filled with terrors born of this confrontation with Ed. In all the years that they had gone back and forth, and in all the time that Ed had watched and seen that ‘something special’ in Johnny they had never set foot in a match against each other with so much invested in the outcome. Once this match was signed, Ed knew that it had to be more than just a fight. Its outcome needed to do more than simply dictate which was superior on the night.

Johnny would break, and prove once and for all that he was not now, nor would he ever be the equal of Acid Ed….or he would rise above and in doing that he would forever separate himself from others of his generation. Ed did not hate Johnny Rude, despite the fervent hostility that displayed in every aspect of the games they have played with each other for the last few months. Ed could have played those games for months upon months. In the past he would have, and thought nothing of doing it. Perhaps even taking the time to lift a championship or two from Johnny’s waist as a means of driving home his physical dominance. But he would have played the game, and done so without even glancing at where the finish line was.

So what changed? Johnny. He changed when he came to Federation X not to prove that he was the greatest, but because the EC sent him. He changed when he tried to be clever and avoided facing Marlowe in the ring through a series of cunning maneuvers. He changed when he decided to lean, and heavily, upon Dead Star and others to ‘get over.’ He changed when he began to expound on his self-worth based upon his ability to win big tournaments. He changed when he stopped being Johnny Rude and became Wrassle Generic Heel Product #21,328. No, Ed did not hate Johnny B. Rude, but he DID hate everything that Johnny was becoming in his pursuit of EC approval.

So the phone calls went out. Ed called in favors from people that owed him them long before he stopped being Acid Ed the California surfing high flyer and became Acid Ed, the Most Dangerous Man Alive. He used resources that he had once sworn not to call on unless his life was in danger. He pulled strings and leveraged situations that some people had almost allowed themselves to forget, and almost every person had prayed were dead and buried. He did all of those things to reach out and find out the truth about certain…..aspects of Johnny’s past. Where Steele was, and what the condition of his body was. What had happened to Trauma….really. Who could be manipulated into understanding Ed’s purpose, and who simply had to be told that the plan was to break Rude.

Johnny hadn’t seen it, but it had been one of the most cleverly planned and positioned evenings of his life. Right up until the point that the wild card had been played. Dead Star betraying Rude had NOT been a part of the plan, and it had almost played out to the detriment of Ed’s agenda. Almost, but not quite. He quietly thanked some amoral godlike entity for making Kate into the cunning, vindictive bitch she had become. Her timing saved everything, though Ed had hoped that seeing her would finally push Johnny over the top. It did, but not in the way Ed had expected.

“Kid might not be too weak,” Ed mutters as he throws the gear shift into park and shuts off the engine.

Walking slowly to the back of the car, Ed steps back about three feet and clicks the trunk release. He waits about three seconds and then suddenly the hood flies up and Johnny lunges out, swinging and clawing. Ed watches, the amused expression on his face covered by the bandages he wears as a reminder of Rude’s most recent assault on his ego. Rude’s hands clutch nothing but air and he falls, slamming into the asphalt about six inches from Ed’s feet. Johnny can almost feel the kick that is about to land in the side of his head, and prepares himself to spin out of its way as soon as Ed lifts his foot, but it never happens. Johnny raises his eyes just enough to see where he’s at.

He can instantly see that the finish line of their competition is once again in site. Ed’s brought him back to where it all began. Johnny frowns, wondering why. He knows that neither of them is fighting for a piece of tin anymore, and he also knows that neither of them cares if anyone witnesses their victory. So why? His mind is pulled from the distraction of the question by the site of Ed’s trench coat landing in a pile on the ground at his feet. Rude knows what that means and uses his hands to push himself both up and backwards. His eyes lock onto Ed’s and he sees the Hardcore Living Legend standing in front of him.

Johnny can see that it is taking every ounce of Ed’s will to remain on his feet, and he knows that Ed’s body is as battered and broken as his is. Each of them is dealing with the kind of pain that would have any other competitor giving in to the sweet embrace of unconsciousness right now, and Rude knows that this is where it will all finally be decided. Once and for all. Here, in the street, where Ed’s fighting style and technique are the upper hand that he requires. Rude does the only thing he can think of, and tries to take the immediately advantage. He lunges forward and swings his left hand in an arch that should have connected with ed’s head and toppled him sideways.

Instead Johnny barely sees Ed’s movement, but he suddenly feels himself pulled off balance and turning through the air. The asphalt slams into his shoulder blades, a shark reminder that the ground is not the same as canvas, and then his eyes focus and he sees Ed’s uninjured knee dropped across his forehead. Rude’s mind races as he tries to anticipate what Ed will do next. Most likely grab him by the hair and use the brass knuckles…making the natural counter to stick a thumb in Ed’s eye. Johnny prepares to…

Ed’s weight suddenly lifts off of his body and Rude tries to take in what’s going on. A flying attack, or maybe he’s going for a weapon. He blinks twice to wash some dried blood from his eyes and then sees Ed once more. He isn’t speaking, but he is standing a few feet away and motioning for Johnny to get to his feet. Rude scrambles back to his feet and for a second his body tenses, waiting for Ed’s next move. It doesn’t come. No trash can lid flung at his head, or kick to the balls as he gets to his feet. There are no footsteps of a Talent Nazi ambush charging in behind him. Just Ed standing a few feet away and waiting.

Johnny steps forward to test a ridiculous theory that’s popped into his head…and Ed steps into him and the two men lock up. Rude cannot believe what’s happening. He pulls a knee up into Ed’s abdomen, and then when the collar and elbow breaks he shoves a forearm into Ed’s thorax to knock him back a step or two. He follows that with a punch from his good arm, putting everything that he can behind it, and half expecting Ed to simply stand in and return punches. He doesn’t and the fist staggers Ed just enough for Johnny to take two small steps and leap into the air looking for a dropkick to Ed’s chest. His legs explode into agony as he goes for it, but they obey. It is both a miracle and a mistake. Ed’s body spins, and Johnny’s feet slam into nothing but air. Ed’s arms are around his midsection even as he starts to fall, and instead of slamming into the ground again, his back is stopped about eighteen inches from the ground by Ed’s knee!

Rude’s back explodes into pain once again, and for a brief moment he wonders if he has enough left in the gas tank. A quick look at Ed tells him that the bigger man is running on empty as well, but it is simply pure force of will that is keeping him going. Johnny redoubles his resolve and rolls over to get up, but by now at least he understands what’s going on.

Ed is changing the rules.

Rude studied every piece of big footage on Ed that he could get his hands on, and he came to one simple conclusion; Ed is the most dangerous hardcore fighter alive. What he didn’t do was go all the way back to the beginning. The time in Ed’s life when he played everything on the straight and narrow and imagined that one day he would be the next Ric Flair. Ed studied with a passion for a singular reason; to become the most technically gifted performer the sport had ever seen. But long before the wrestling world could learn that about Ed, hardcore took hold of the sport, and Ed took hold of hardcore. Rude, like so many others, sees Ed’s arsenal as a one-dimensional assault that although lethal can be predicted.

Of course this realization Johnny’s just had changes everything…

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Stan Daniels

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Acid Ed v Johnny Rude: The Death of Acid Ed - THE END

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:11 am

Johnny Rude does not like Acid Ed. If you made the mistake of thinking anything other than that, you are a fool. There is no grudging respect between the two men, or some unspoken bond that might one day blossom into a friendship. This is not the story of one man coming of age against the repressive older generation that makes him earn his place and then embraces him. At no point in his life is Johnny Rude going to look back on this night and remember with fondness the turning point in his career as the moment he finally went to war with Acid Ed.

Now that we have made that clear, let us finish this tale…

Rude’s chest heaves and each breath is like drinking shards of broken glass. There is no relief for the aching bones and straining tendons of his body in the form of the icy winter air that wraps both of the men in its pitiless embrace. Rude breathes deeply not because he enjoys the painful sensation that emanates from his chest with each inhalation, but because his body is burning from the inside out with exertion and only the relief of extra oxygen is going to allow his muscles to continue to respond long enough for him to get past Ed and to the finish line.

He can see it, only two hundred meters from where he now rests on one knee. It taunts him, like an ex-lover locked in a passionate embrace with a man he’s always hated. It is in his peripheral vision and it will not be ignored, regardless of how hard Johnny tries to force it from his mind and focus on the task at hand. He blinks twice as his chest burns, and then his eyes come into focus on Ed again, and he sees that the man with all the meaningless names is breathing deeply and resting lighter on one leg than the other. Both men are hurt, and both are digging deep to find the extra reserves they will need for the climactic confrontation.

They both know it is coming at any moment.

“Y-y-you…..” Rude sucks in some more air, before he exhales and drives out enough to form some more words. Even this is painful, “…c-c-cunning……old-d-d……fffffuck.”

Ed doesn’t answer him, choosing instead to simply nod his head in a subtle gesture that acknowledges Johnny’s unspoken accusation. Ed can almost hear it as clearly as if Johnny is sharing a cup of coffee and describing it to him; ‘you arrogant old fuck! I never knew you could wrestle like this…..hell…..I don’t think anyone knows!’ Beneath the bandages that he is wearing to protect his exposed tissue from the ravages of open air as it heals, Ed’s face contorts with pain and he steels himself against his body’s aches and pains. It wants to quit on him; to give up this fight and try again on another day. Ed’s will is greater than his body’s desires though, and he is already contemplating what moves to use next. What style will be the hardest for Johnny to deal with.

Rude’s legs are arguing with him, and he knows that if he simply tries to make a run for it, counting on his superior speed, that they might win the argument before he wins the match. If that happens, Johnny has no doubt that he will not only lose the match, but that Ed will be on him like a dingo on a baby. What will be left of him after that won’t be worth having, here or in any other wrestling organization that might touch him. He knows that in order to win this, he’s going to have to out-wrestle Ed. Johnny’s brow furrows as he silently scans the street for a weapon. Any weapon will do, if he can only use it to put down the raging animal that is standing across from him. Nothing is easily accessible though, and he knows he won’t have but another second or two before Ed is back in motion. Rude makes his decision.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Folks, we’ve got cameras back on the action again,” John Paragon’s voice calls the action while millions of fans from around the world watch in almost rapt silence. “We’re not yet sure where they disappeared to in the middle of the match, but when they left Dead Star was driving one car, and an unknown driver appeared to follow them out of our camera-ready zone. When they returned, Dead Star and the other person were nowhere to be seen, and it was Rude, not Ed who was in the trunk of the car.”

“Which is all really interesting John,” Hank interrupts his partner’s rundown on what they know, “but what I want to know is why Ed doesn’t have the girls on his hands, and why that Wrassle lover Rude isn’t being smashed into little bits and pieces. What the fuck is with the wrestling bullshit?!”

“That’s an excellent question,” John admits as they watch Rude suddenly leap up from his leg and try for an overhand strike that might catch Ed unprepared, “but its going to have to wait! Nice punch by Johnny, but his next one’s blocked. Rude blocks Ed’s knee lift towards his abdomen and then shoves both fists into Ed’s stomach.”

“Ed can’t be fighting like this….” Hank bemoans, not knowing that this was Ed’s strategy from the very beginning; to take away every area of certainty that Johnny had in the match and to break his mind and then his body. It isn’t going as well as Ed might have hoped. “I……I….think I’m going to cry.”

“Not just yet I hope Hank,” John says with a much more upbeat tone in his voice, “because Ed just blocked Rude’s running clothesline attempt and spun it into a reverse Russian leg sweep. Rude’s face just bounced off of the road, and they only just barely missed the edge of the sidewalk! Ed isn’t letting up now either, as he just executed a spinning shoulder breaker that looks like it might have pulled Rude’s arm right out of its socket.”

“I…..could get use to this!” Hank starts to come around, seeing that his hero and brother Talent Nazi is using the sweet science of wrestling to inflict terrible pain on Johnny Rude. “As long as he’s dismantling Rude….I guess I’m okay with not seeing him open the douche up like Haley’s legs on a first date.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The truth is the Rude’s arm didn’t get pulled out of its socket by Ed’s move; it got slipped from the socket earlier in the night when Rude cleverly baited Ed into charging off the balcony at This Is London. What Ed did was take the already injured arm and put so much torque on it that it completely separated and left Rude biting through his bottom lip in agony. His resistance to pain is really quite impressive, and if he hadn’t already decided to kill Johnny, Ed might take a moment to appreciate it. Instead he pulls Johnny up with his bad arm, smiling beneath his bandaged face as he sees the pain in Rude’s eyes.

“How’s the arm?” Ed manages to snarl the taunt out as he shoves an elbow into Rude’s ribs, going to work on the earlier injuries as well.

Rude motions for Ed to lean in to hear the answer, and Ed, being the good sport that he is, opts to lock in a front facelock instead. He plants his feet, getting ready to lift Rude into the air for what might be as simple a move as a suplex, or as complex as a Roman Piledriver, but the Anti-Christ All-Star is already thinking his way through the assault and he uses his free hand to stick a finger through the eye socket of the bandages and into Ed’s actual cornea. A shout elicits from the throat of the Original Rat Bastard, and Rude smiles as Ed staggers away from him trying desperately to wipe away the tears that his eyes automatically produce. They’re damned hard to reach with bandages on your face.

“Its fine,” Rude answers back, the arrogance of greatness sneaking back into his battered voice, “how’s the tattoo…..cockface?”

Ed charges blindly towards the sound of Rude’s voice, counting on the move to catch the smaller man unprepared and give Ed a little extra time to clear his vision again. It’s a calculated risk, and it backfires when Rude executes a picture perfect drop toehold that sends Ed to the ground and slams the corner of his head into the sidewalk. Ed’s hands go to his head almost instantly, but Rude isn’t even looking. He’s already standing on the hood of the car and taking two big steps to leap up into the air. His body rotates in an inverted 270 degree spin and he comes down with his knees right into Ed’s ribs. The cracking sound is so vivid that a fan in the front row of spectators actually vomits over the guard rail.

Rude’s eyes once more find their way to the finish line of their match, but he tears his attention away from it and back to the man on the ground instead. This is his chance to do what others simply have never been able to do. Not Max Entropy, nor Chevalier, nor Jason Storm, nor Stryfe himself have ever put Acid Ed on the shelf once and for all. Rude’s ego won’t let him chase the mere win in the match; he wants a victory that will forever echo in the history books. He wants greatness. Rude forgets the finish line and looks down, spying Ed’s hand. He stomps on it, breaking at least two fingers and pulling forth an actual scream of agony from the Hardcore Living Legend.

“How fuckin’ tough are you now?” He sneers at Ed as he circles him and lines him up for a football like punt.

Rude rushes in for the kick, but Ed pushes up with his good hand and blocks the kick, using the momentum of his rise to drive his shoulder into Johnny’s stomach and lift him off the ground. Ed doesn’t stop moving, partially because he’s concerned that if he does, it will be for the last time this night. He carries Rude nine feet across the sidewalk and towards the brownstone that is overlooking the scene of their battle. They stop as he drives Rude’s injured ribs into the brick and mortar and then staggers backwards and allows his opponent to slump to the groun.

“Pretty fuckin’ tough,” Ed manages to grit out between clenched teeth as he summons forth the hate that drives a man like him. “Pretty fuckin’ tough.”

Rude doesn’t answer. He’s having too much trouble pulling enough air into his body through the puncture to his lung from the broken rib. It isn’t serious yet, but if the match goes on for too much longer, it is going to be. Rude’s head is on a swivel as he tries to regain his bearings and figure out where Ed is at. He scans the street, but he doesn’t see Ed anywhere. For a moment he actually thinks that Ed might have seized the moment to head for the finish line, but then he mentally tears a strip off of himself for thinking such a thing. For Ed the finish line is where Johnny stops moving! Rude knows this, so he continues to search.

It takes him .25 seconds too long to think about looking on a vertical plane.

On any other night it would be the perfect evening to be out for a walk along the scenic scops and bars of Toronto’s Richmond Street, only a block removed from its world renowned theatre district. The air is cold, but crisp and clean, and the white snow that is everywhere looks like a blanket of Christmas cheer greeting you as you shop. The full moon sits high in the sky and casts that little extra bit of light on your path, letting you see just that little bit better. Or at least it did for Johnny Rude, until something blocked it out.

Rude looks up just in time to see the massive form of his opponent soaring down off the ledge of one of the brownstone’s walk-ups. Ed wraps an arm around Rude’s head as he passes and the sudden jerking motion pulls Rude awkwardly off balance. His head slams into the concrete of the sidewalk, and a gash opens along his left temple. The crowd recoils in horror as the blood stains the perfect white blanket of snow that is as much as fifteen feet away. That isn’t the bigger problem though. Johnny’s lung? The twisting motion of the impact made the internal injury much worse. It takes Ed almost twenty seconds to get back to his feet after the terrifying move, but when he does…..Johnny isn’t moving.

Ed stares down at the man who has become such a bane to him, and for what seems like an eternity to him considers what his next move should be. To those watching, he casts his eyes on Johnny and sees that it is over, and begins the slow, tedious and painful walk towards the finish line, and reclaiming the championship belt that is, and has always been….HIS. Ed’s gait is small, and his steps are mixed between staggers and stumbles as he fights just to keep his body in an upright position. This fight…..or rather war….has all but broken him in so many ways. It has taken everything that he has to give, and even as he gets closer and closer to the finish he is fighting off the doubt that he might not have anything left within him. That he might not be strong enough to take those last steps across the line.

By the time he gets to within twenty feet of the finish Ed is moving like the last man to cross the line at the Boston Marathon. His feed do not so much leave the ground with each stride as they do slide along it, creating as little friction and resistance as possible. Ed has only steps left to go, and the crowd is actually on its feet and cheering this outcast as he gets closer and closer, when he hears a great roar of shock and terror go up from the fans further away from the finish line. Ed pauses, with only a step or two left to go, and turns to see what it is, and he can barely believe what his eyes are showing him; Johnny Rude is using his former leg braces as crutches and is trying to drag himself towards the finish line.

Johnny is not doing this because he still holds out hope that he can defeat Ed. Even the raging bravado of Johnny Rude knows this fight is over. No, Rude is driving his body well beyond the limits of human tolerance and endurance because every step closer to the finish line he takes makes it clearer to Ed that this war is far from over. Ed stands, his mouth agape and stares in….awe….at what he is witnessing. Almost without thinking Ed staggers back a couple of steps, and lets his body cross the finish line. A great roar goes up amongst the onlookers, but Ed isn’t watching. His eyes are locked on Johnny’s as he waits to see just how far the kid can push himself. How far down he can reach, and how much anger he can summon to fuel his body when nothing else will. As he watches, somebody drops the Bloodsport Championship onto Ed’s shoulder.

He doesn’t care.

The fight stopped being for the belt about ninety seconds into it. The finish didn’t happen when Ed broke the barrier of the line, it happened when he hit the flying bulldog and felt Johnny’s head crack against the cement like the shell of an egg yielding against the side of a mixing bowl. Except that it appears that it didn’t exactly end then at all. Ed realizes as he sees Johnny struggling to force another step, almost thirty feet away still, that he’s smiling beneath the bandages, and he wonders for a moment why.

Then Ed starts to walk towards Rude.

One can only assume his unsteady strides are carrying him closer and closer to one final, anti-climactic confrontation between the two men who have driven themselves far beyond the competition of their sport. As Ed closes the ground, and Rude continues to squeak out a few more steps, the men’s eyes are locked in a war of wills. Each has already admitted in the look he is giving that his body is beaten, and can fight no more. But their wills…..there they are still battling an unending struggle to be better than the other.

About a foot and a half from Johnny Ed stumbles and as he rights himself, Rude wonders for a moment if he can bring the stick in his good hand up and around fast enough to catch him in the side of the head. He doubts it, but he so desperately wants to try. Before he can though…..he hears the sound of a car backfiring. It would have no significance if his eyes were not locked on Ed’s and he didn’t suddenly see the intense, burning fire of hatred in them suddenly replaced with confusion. Rude watches in something approaching shock and terror as Ed sinks slowly into the snow, staining it crimson from an inconvenient hole that has appeared just off-center of his chest.

Ed’s back hits the snow, and Rude is suddenly screaming. In his head he wonders who is crying out; screaming for somebody to call 911. It will probably be tomorrow before his head clears and he realizes that it was him. Rude’s eyes frantically search for help, but a wind has picked up and the snow is no longer simply lying on the ground. It is lifting into the air, floating all around them like they are only toys in a snow globe, and Johnny cannot see the spectators to call out to them for help. His hands suddenly feel very warm, and it takes a moment for him to realize that they are pressed firmly against the wound in Ed’s chest, trying in vain to hold back the tide of his life leaking out onto the ground. Rude’s voice once more makes noise, though he is not quite certain what it is saying.

Everything slows down for him. He feels each beat of Ed’s heart in the form of a new tide of warm blood rushing against his palms and his hands now run slick with the blood of his enemy. Each moment is captured in time for Johnny Rude, a picture that he will carry with him through the end of his days. He feels Ed’s hand wrap in his hair and for a moment he thinks that the man is flailing blindly in pain, but for the first time since Ed hit the snow, Rude looks into his eyes and sees that the man is staring wildly at him. His fingers are not wrapping in Johnny’s hair by accident, and with all of the will he has left he pulls Johnny closer, for his voice is very weak right now.

“Y-y-you…have….t-t-to….t-tell…..” Ed coughs and blood is clearly visible settling in the back of his throat. His teeth are stained with red and he forces air out of his mouth, just to clear his throat. “T-t-tell….Joe….I…..a-a-alwaaayysssss……”

Ed’s body is caught up in a cough and then he falls silent, and Rude’s eyes go wide. In all his life, in all the battles and wars he’s fought, Johnny Rude has never……NEVER…..felt so utterly helpless as he does right now. What comes next will echo in Johnny’s dreams for the rest of his life. It will not be the moment Ed hit the ground, or the feeling of warmth washing over his hands as his enemy’s body went cold that will stay with him as he ages, but rather the word that for no explicable reason he utters next.

Rude’s eyes are wild with confusion and panic as he sees the man who lies on the ground at his feet grow still, and he whispers helplessly a single word, “Help.”

It is a word that slips past his lips for perhaps the first time in his life for a truly altruistic purpose, and yet Rude says it much too quietly to be heard. He can almost feel Ed’s life simply….slipping away and there is nothing that he can do. He knows this.

And then he hears it.

First it reaches his ear as simply another sound brought on by the swirling winds and the nature of the rising winter storm. Then he hears it again. A second time and he starts to look around, squinting against the bitter wind that stings at his flesh, and he thinks that perhaps if his eyes are not playing with him he sees a shadow moving in the wind. The third time he knows he is hearing the approach of somebody walking on the snow, the crunch of it compressing into itself as the person’s weight drives it down against the unyielding asphalt below. Johnny’s opens his mouth to call out for help again, but before he can a terrifying thought occurs to him; what if it isn’t help coming?

What if somebody is coming to finish the job?

Johnny’s eyes dart down to Ed, who’s face is starting to lose its color, and then he looks back up into the haze of white and wind that envelops them where they lay in the street. Johnny’s body tenses as he sees the shadow amidst the storm start to clarify, walking towards him. His eyes dart around, and he wonders if he can find a weapon; something to defend himself. His hand falls on the broken hockey stick, and he finds the sudden strength to seize hold of it and bring it around in a wide arc. As he does, he also turns to look once more, and this time he can see the figure clearly, walking across the city’s blanket of snow towards them.

Johnny drops the stick, and his jaw hangs open.

The Shepherd of Men has come.

He walks out of the storm, seeming almost to melt from the snow rather than to walk through it, and as he approaches Johnny begins to realize that he and Ed lie at the heart of the storm. It dances all around them, throwing up snow and whipping the very air into a tempest, and yet they are relatively unaffected. Johnny grabs his left hand with his right, hoping that he can stop his hands from shaking, but all he manages to accomplish is to send chills up his arms and into his spine. He almost cannot believe his eyes; The Shepherd of Men has come! Johnny has to think it a second time just to be sure his mind is not making it up.

“Thank you,” NightHawk says quietly to Johnny as he kneels down and slips his arms under Ed’s prone body, “for looking after my friend.”

Johnny cannot find a voice to speak, as he watches in rapt silence as this enigma scoops up the broken body of his enemy and lifts him almost effortlessly out of the snow. One of Ed’s arms hangs loose at his side, and Johnny tries hard not to notice the way that blood is trickling down it and dripping off of his index finger. Instead he lifts his eyes to the man in the cowl and tries to understand what’s happening. Somebody……shot Ed? The Shepherd…..came for him? Called him…..a friend?

“W…w…w…” Johnny tries to find the strength to speak but words fail him. Its all been too much for one night.

Instead he simply watches as The Shepherd turns, and starts back into the storm, the lifeless body of Edward O’Herlihy cradled in his arms, carried as a mother would carry a newborn. As the storm whips around him, Rude can almost swear that he hears a few last words before fatigue overtakes him and he succumbs to his injuries.

“Come Edward, it is time to go HOME."

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Stan Daniels

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Re: Acid Ed v Johnny Rude: The Death of Acid Ed - PART 1

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