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With Retribution now visibly on the horizon, both Jake Starr and Thorn have made it clear that they intend to respect their friendship, yet give it their all, as they both compete for the coveted SCW World Championship. Both men have come out of the gate swinging for the fences, and both hope their "swinging" gives them the added momentum going into this monumental match.

The other factor that could come into play, and both men openly addressed it, is injury. Thorn, obviously the more battered of the two men, was cleared to fight at Retribution, only to be attacked, presumably by Greg Cherry, and left bloodied at Breakdown.

This is not how Jake wanted the lead-up for this match to take place.

He knew, even though Thorn's vision could presumably be effected, the odds were even, going into Breakdown. He knew they both had suffered brutal beatings at the 2 for 1 Special, and knew that, ultimately, they'd both be equally prepared.

Now, thanks to Cherry, the scales have shifted.

Leaving Breakdown, Jake felt as if the match at Retribution now would be "asterisked" or seen as tainted if he won. Thorn wouldn't be coming in fully-functional, and thus, not ready to give the performance the world knows he can deliver. Jake on the other hand, regardless of being involved in a match at Breakdown, still didn't leave as banged up as his opponent.

Regardless... The match is still on!

Thorn is notorious for being a fighter, and Jake still expects Thorn to deliver.

Jake sill wonders if a victory would still hold the same merit.

Nevertheless, Jake's world has become one full of dips and dives as of late. He survived the 2 for 1 Special, potentially became the IWC World Champion, now will face his friend and "brother in blood," Thorn, and also found out he is now a father-to-be.

Since finding out the news of his impending addition to his family, Jake and Roeper have been personally sharing the news with everyone.

To make this possible, Jake chartered the two a jet they could use to fly them to the various destinations, knowing it would expedite the process.

They've personally visited both sets of parents, shed more tears of happiness with them, and then gone on to see some of their closest friends to do the same. They've wanted to see the joy in the eyes of others as they finally decided the time was right to expand their family.

With those initial "revelations" revealed to their mutual friends and family, the two head back to Des Moines, where they land and begin to load up their vehicle. Jake tells Roeper there's one more stop that needs to be made, and she's welcome to go along if she chooses. Citing her exhaustion from the past couple days of constant travel and "family fun," she decides it'd be best if she went home and simply rested.

Jake fully understands.

After packing up their vehicle with her stuff, Jake opens the door to their car, and watches as Roeper get into the driver's seat. He leans in, and gives her a kiss, and makes his way back to the airplane hanger. He informs the pilot of the plane of his final "jaunt" in his travels, and the pilot begins setting up the plane for one more trip.

Once the pilot has secured his flight plan, he boards and tells Jake, already on board, that they're ready to go. Jake says he's ready as well, and the last leg of the trip begins.

Which brings us to the present...

Jake's chartered plane lands at McCarran International Airport, in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Jake has also called ahead to have a private shuttle ready to transport him downtown. After getting off of the jet, he is greeted by the driver. The driver opens the door for the SCW Champion, and begins driving Jake to the downtown area of the city.

As Jake's shuttle arrives downtown, the driver finds a spot where Jake can find him when his business is done. Jake gets out and stands in the middle of Fremont Street once again. The streets are a little less turbulent than before due to it being daytime. Jake takes a deep breath and looks at his surroundings.

Jake Starr: Damn... Why does it feel like I've done this before?

He continues to admire all of the glitz and the glamour that Las Vegas has to offer the world, while enjoying the sights and sounds. No matter how many times he visits, every time he hears someone shouting after winning a big hand at blackjack, or seeing someone erupt after their slot machine hits a jackpot, always brings a smile to his face.

The camera begins to circle the SCW Champion, eventually ending up right behind him. As was the last time he was in Sin City, he stands directly in front of the history Golden Nugget. His head slowly begins to look up at the flashing lights and the brilliant exterior, and he slowly begins to nod.

The camera then begins to complete the 360-degree circle around the superstar, and a definite smirk has graced his face.

After taking a moment to reflect on his last visit to the Nugget, his face begins to take on a much more serious and stoic demeanor. He takes one more, audible, deep breath.

Jake Starr: Well... Here we go again!

Jake walks into the front door and heads right for the Guest Services/Reservations Desk.

The waiting line is rather short, and Jake is quickly motioned by an attendant to come up for assistance.

Desk Clerk: How may I help you sir?

Jake Starr: Presidential Suite please?

The woman looks at Jake puzzled.

Desk Clerk: I'm sorry sir, we don't rent that room out anymore.

Jake smiles, and pulls out his ID. He sets it on the counter and the woman picks it up to look at.

Jake Starr: ... There should be a key on reserve for me.

The woman realizes Jake knows what he is talking about, and inputs his name into their system. As her screen changes her eyes widen. She looks up at Jake, both in shock, and in worry.

Desk Clerk: I'm terrible sorry, Mr. Starr. I didn't realize who you were!

Jake continues to smile.

Jake Starr: No worries at all! It's all completely ok! I don't expect the world to know who I am all of the time.

The woman lets out a sigh of relief and a chuckle as well.

Desk Clerk: With as many faces as we see a day, I can't remember them all!

Jake Starr: I wouldn't expect you to!

Desk Clerk: ... And also with all of the new security measures he put in, it's insane what we have to do now!

Jake Starr: Ha ha... I can imagine!

The woman continues to type into their system.

Finally, she grabs a key from their box of inactive key-cards and swipes it into the system. The screen gives her a confirmation number to validate the card is authorized on the Presidential Suite door. Once the card is completely setup, she hands it, along with Jake's ID, back to him.

Desk Clerk: Here you go, sir!

Jake Starr: Thanks!

Before Jake can leave, she quickly engages him again.

Desk Clerk: Before you go... Can I ask you one more thing?

Jake Starr: Of course!

Desk Clerk: Do you really know him? Like... "Know him-know him?"

Jake Starr: Ha ha! Quite well actually!

Desk Clerk: What's he like?

Jake gets a big and sly smile on his face.

Jake Starr: If you really want to know... You're his type! You could find out really quickly.

The woman blushes and bites her lip seductively. Jake winks at her and walks towards the bank of elevators.

She quickly exclaims at him, asking if he knows the elevator code that goes along with the key-card. Jake motions the numbers 0-0-6 at her, and she nods.

Jake reaches the elevator bank, and is immediately lucky enough to get a completely empty transport to the Presidential Suite. He inserts the key-card, and a audio prompt immediately asks him for the access code. He punches it in, and receives a "Thank You" from the elevator voice.

As the elevator ascends, Jake leans back on one of the railings inside, and enjoys the ride to the top.

The elevator dings, signaling the arrival at the right floor. As the doors open, instead of seeing the hallway filled with doors to the smaller suites, the entire area has been gutted into a giant lobby. All that remains is one door at the end, to the Presidential Suite, some plants, and one security guard doing Sudoku.

Jake immediately notices that the area is much cleaner than the last time he was here.

Jake approaches the one door, and flashes the key-card at the security guard. The guard nods, and Jake walks to the door. He sticks the card in, and the door opens itself up.

Jake Starr: Well that's fancy!

Jake walks into the, now lavish, penthouse, and definitely remembers that this is how it was many years ago.

He walks into the lounge area, and immediately begins to pour himself a drink. He also reaches into his pocket and pulls out a fresh Cuban cigar. He punches the end, and smells it.

The camera, currently extremely close to his face, begins to zoom out. A man now stands in the entrance to the lounge, and is immediately recognized as Jake's friend Agent oo6.

Jake lifts his cigar and lights it. He blows out his first puff of smoke, and grins.

Jake Starr: You know... I brought one for you too!

oo6 chuckles.

Agent oo6: How is it you always know when I've arrived?

Jake Starr: I know your ora!

He chuckles again, and walks into the lounge.

Agent oo6: So... What brought you to my humble abode atop the skyline of "Lost Wages?"

Jake begins to reply, but is immediately cut off by his friend.

Agent oo6: ... You know I don't loan out any money!

Jake Starr: You're money's no good to me!

Agent oo6: My money is good to everyone!

The SCW Champion smiles, and finally turns around. He begins to admire all of the surroundings.

Jake Starr: Wow... Love what you've done with the place...

Agent oo6: Sure beats living like a hobo again!

Jake reaches in his pocket and grabs the second cigar. He hands it over to oo6.

Jake Starr: What made you take out the other suites?

oo6 lights up his cigar.

Agent oo6: Eh... Mainly the damn economy. It's been hard getting people into the damn casino for gaming purposes, let along getting the "Whales" to pony-up for the suites. So I decided I'd make it a giant lobby with 12 security cameras, and I'd always know who was coming.

Jake nods as he takes a puff.

Jake Starr: Makes sense... Especially with what the looters had done! Oh... Speaking of... Ever catch those guys?

oo6 shakes his head.

Agent oo6: Haven't even tried or bothered!

Jake is befuddled.

Jake Starr: Why?

Agent oo6: They didn't take anything valuable to me now. Nor did they take anything I really want to waste time and money finding.

Jake Starr: Ah!

oo6 then returns to the original question.

Agent oo6: ... So... Why the unannounced visit?

Jake Starr: Wanted to break the news to you in person!

Agent oo6: If it's wrestling related, believe me I've kept up!

Jake Starr: I figured that... But it's not. Roeper is pregnant!

oo6 nods and smiles.

Agent oo6: Bout time you learned where the penis went! Congratulations!

Jake laughs and thanks his friend for the comment.

Agent oo6: ... So... Why are you bringing cigars then? I thought I was the one who was supposed to throw the dog and pony show when you brought news like this?

Jake laughs and the two sit down in the leather seats oo6 has put in his lounge area.

Agent oo6: What else brings you out here? I know you well enough to know you didn't come out here just to tell me this news.

Jake shrugs.

Jake Starr: I kind of needed a mental break too. We both know baccarat and blackjack have always been good at helping me achieve that goal.

Agent oo6: True... You know my offer still stands right?

Jake cocks an eyebrow in confusion.

Jake Starr: What offer?

Agent oo6: Remember before we went out that night against Jesse... I made a deal with you...

Jake's mind begins to race. Since it happened so long ago he has to troll through other memories to try and find out the "offer." After a few minutes of time to think, he remembers, and is shocked that oo6 even remembered saying it.

Agent oo6: ... It STILL stands!

Jake Starr: Dude... I can't move us to Vegas!

Agent oo6: I told you man... You could have the Golden Gate! My company owns it, and we could sign a deal slowly selling it off to you.

Jake smirks.

Agent oo6: I'm serious bro... Most of the casinos around here are up for sell anyway. Since I've been able to still turn a profit I've bought a couple of them. The Golden Gate's always been your favorite place. Hell... You don't even have to run it! Hire your own guys. Hell keep my team there. You and Roeper could live in the Suite there.

Jake slowly shakes his head.

Jake Starr: You and I both know Roeper wouldn't go for it. ESPECIALLY with a child on the way.

Agent oo6: Dude... You know University Medical Center here. You got your first ambulance ride to that place!

Jake Starr: Yeah because my childhood friend decided breaking bones outside the Gate would be fun!

Agent oo6: See! Even more reason to own it!

Jake continues to laugh.

Agent oo6: ... Just think about it. You guys could start your family out here, have another source of income, and you would have good places to eat. Sure would beat stuff in Des Moines.

Jake Starr: Dude... I...

Agent oo6: Call the boss up and see... Hell... After your done wrestling, you could come celebrate with me! In a sense it'd be like old times!

Jake Starr: True...

Agent oo6: Call her!

Jake takes a deep breath and sighs. Part of him actually has this desire to move to Vegas and live in his favorite casino. Another part of him knows his home is in Des Moines. His frustration and indecision is obvious through his facial expressions, and his frantic puffs on his cigar.

Agent oo6: What harm is there in asking?! Hell... If all else, you could still own the place and stay there when you decided to come out here!

Jake hadn't thought about that aspect of the proposition. He elects to succumb to the peer pressure, and throw the idea out at his wife.

Jake reaches into his pocket and pulls his phone out. He dials up his wife, and puts it on speaker. As she answers he quickly throws the proposition out to her as, "What would you think about moving to Vegas?"

Her response was clear.

The idea was a bomb.

As the scene slowly begins to fade out, the loud chastising of Roeper is clearly heard at both Jake and oo6. oo6 does he best to try and remedy the situation by doing his best to convince her the same way he convinced Jake.

Whether or not the convincing works remains to be seen, but the scene concludes with the two enjoying their celebration of Jake's news, and continuing to try and work over Roeper.

Retribution looms, and Jake knows he has a full plate in front of him. Baby, Thorn, two championships, and potential casino are all in his future, and he needs to show the world he's ready to combat that. If he can't handle the pressure of all of the weight at once, what's to say he could handle more than one of those options at a time at all. Regardless... He knows his next focus solely is on Retribution, and his date to the "dance" with Thorn.

A Social Misfit will emerge victorious. The question just remains... Who will it be? And how will he pull it off?

Jake Starr: Tick... Tock... Tick... Tock... The clock continues to tick, bringing the inevitable closer and closer to becoming a reality, bringing something anticipated by many to be the quintessential test of the bond of a friendship, a brotherhood, and an alliance to a head.

Like it or not... Desire it or not... Wish it or not... It's here!

As I've sat back and really begun to process everything going on in my life, I've really begun to wonder what the "final outcome" to all of them will be. Will I be a good father? Will my child like me? Will Brandon ever truly surface again? Has he run off and joined a cult, and someday we'll see him on a documentary about their wacky religious practices? And finally, will I be able to overcome the emotional ties I have to Thorn, to be able to treat him like any other opponent, emerge victorious, remain SCW Heavyweight Champion, and still keep the Misfits united?

Honestly... These are all questions I have no answers to.

And I hate not having answers!

To some of those questions, I have a while to figure out the answers to, and I accept that. I accept not having answers about a newborn that, well, is still basically the equivalent to something the size of a rabbit turd. I also, for the most part, accept that I don't know what happened to Brandon. Hell... He's done things like this before. He's run away, done his own thing, and POOF, reappeared again as if nothing had transpired. He'll have answers for me when that day rolls around, but until then, I'm simply stuck in wonder. But for the last questions... No matter how much smack is talked, no matter how much confidence is laid out there for everyone to listen to, ultimately, it's the one set of questions that is the most difficult to spawn answers to.

And like I said... I don't like it very much.

It's not like I haven't really been in this situation before either. I remember back in the early days of my career, the days of the OWF, the days when I was a punk-kid, and I won my first World Championship. My first defense was against my long-time friend, Bane. I walked in thinking I was unstoppable. I thought, "Oh he's my friend, he'll let me win and we'll go on!" I was wrong. I was beaten. I lost.

I lost because I thought a friendship would just hand me a victory because I was the "higher ranking friend." I lost because I felt that I was the champion, so my friends should do everything they could to pander me, and treat me like they worshiped me.

The feeling that came after losing to someone so close was, in a nutshell, devastating. Not because I lost to my friend, but because it was only then did I realize WHY I lost. It was only when I understood what my mindset had caused that I realized I couldn't allow emotions to come into play with championships in this business.

Thankfully... Bane knew the mentality I was in going into the match. Bane knew what caused me to act like I did, and react like I did. The patchwork to mend that friendship, and that alliance was swift, and it was relatively easy.

Since that incident, I've never been in that position... Until now!

I look ahead and I see someone who is as hungry as Bane was when he walked into the match with me all those years ago. I see a man who's willing to lay it all on the line. I see someone driven.

I then have to look in the mirror and wonder if I'm the same person I was all those years ago. I have to look myself in the face and ask myself if I expect Thorn to just hand me the victory that I feel I deserve because I'm the champion of the Social Misfits right now. I have to wonder if, after all is said and done, will it all be as easy again. Will Thorn and I be able to just move on knowing we gave it our all, and ultimately can focus on whatever task comes next?

Again... These are questions that have really forced me to re-evaluate myself.

I want to think... No I want to believe that I'm going into this match believing Thorn is deserving of his opportunity, and ready, willing and able to emerge victorious in it. I can't say, though, that I don't believe I don't deserve to win after what I have proven. I can't lie and say that what I have accomplished isn't something I feel has reached its climax yet.

I honestly feel, going into this match, that it will be different than my one other similar experience. I really don't see myself neglecting my opponent in the manner I did before. I just can't allow myself to do it again.

Every time I have suffered a loss in SCW, it was due to a mental lapse of my own. I've allowed myself to believe I was unstoppable and unbeatable. I allowed myself to believe I was "deserving" of something, rather than believing it was an achievement I was, simply, destined to have. Every loss has come because of my belief that I was impervious to defeat.

This match is, ultimately, a test. Thankfully it's a test, or a challenge should you want to call it that, that I have realized early enough to, hopefully, curb my inner feelings. I know myself well enough to know that, if I don't start this inner "battle," I'll suffer dire consequences for it.

I have to do this right... Thorn is...

Thorn made it clear he is on a mission. As expected, he hopes to turn many heads, and prove he's worthy of the "big time." Thorn is a man who, I believe, is out to prove the same mission I did when I first arrived. He wants to become one of the "new class" of leaders in SCW, and feels he can do so. Unlike me, however, he has elected to take a longer route to get there. For some, like myself, the path is a quick one. Three matches in, you're a champion. For Thorn, it's been a longer path. He's had many more matches than I had prior to becoming someone considered a "major player" in SCW. But in the end, we still are vying for the same goal from some of our peers in the back, respect.

Even though I hold the SCW and (as far as I'm concerned) IWC Championships, Thorn and I are STILL pretty much seen as "expendable commodities." Which I don't quite understand. Why does the "old guard" of SCW seemingly fear change so much. Why do people like David "I'm Here, No Gone, Ok I'm Back, No I'm Leaving Again" Miller feel as if the people don't deserve the respect others from the past do?

It just doesn't make much sense to me.

But... One thing I can say that, well, is surprising, is the fact that, for once, I am seen as the potential "favorite" in this match. Again... It's something I cannot allow to phase me. Thorn isn't someone who is a pushover. No matter what inner issues I may face with myself, I know he has earned his chance to fight for this championship. Favorite or not... This match will be another I can't just allow to get the best of me!

Thankfully there is a sense of solace knowing that the SCW Championship will not leave the grasp of the Social Misfits. It's a warped sense of solace... But it's a sense of solace nevertheless.


I know, no matter what questions may be posed, no matter what "battles" I may fight before Sunday, no matter what distractions come into play, what the value of this match is. For Thorn, as I've said, it's a chance to truly break out of the shell of the "mid-card" world, and show what he is capable of. He has a chance to go out and show that even with a few losses here and there, he is still someone worthy of being in the main event. He could snatch an opportunity right out of the air, and, in a sense, have his day of "Retribution." He would show the world he belongs.

For me... The value is much less "broad."

See, winning this match wouldn't necessarily prove anything to people in the back. That's not a knock on Thorn, but think about who I've already beaten, and many of those people still don't seemingly think I'm worthy of any praise. No... What this match would do for me is simply help me exercise a demon that I've simply done everything I could to avoid for all of these years. Winning would keep me on track of becoming the greatest World Champion SCW has ever seen...

... I say just World Champion because we all know that the doppleganger of Chris Griffin will emerge if his little streak is ever in jeopardy...

... I want to be the person to rewrite the record books in SCW. One, by one, I want the records to fall. I want the records to cease to exist as they were, and as many here seemingly love to have them remain.

First it was the Adrenaline Championship.

Next... It's the SCW World Championship.

After that... Who knows? Most wins in SCW history? Better record than Jay Gold, which I must say shouldn't be a hard one to achieve.

The opportunities are there for me here in SCW. It's my job to capture them. It's my job to take them by the horns, and achieve them. I have to be the one to climb over the hump. I just can't expect it to be handed to me, beg for it so I get it, or just wait for someone to threaten something I've already done. I have to seize the chances.

At Retribution, a chance is there for me. It may not have the same clout as others, but in my eyes, to redeem myself, and avenge another mistake in my life, is worth more than any belt, any amount of money, and any amount of praise or respect someone can give.

Thorn will be my personal "Retribution."


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