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Welcome to the proverbial "home stretch."

Taking Hold of the Flame has generated quite a buzz surrounding the namesake battle royal, and the co-main event World Championship Match.

For the battle royal, the shear number of competitors lends itself to the possibility of anyone winning. SCW superstars, both past and present, have signed up to, ultimately, achieve the opportunity of a lifetime, an SCW World Championship match at Rise to Greatness.

One year ago, it was at this very event that James Exeter emerged victorious, and went on to claim his second SCW World Championship thereafter.

This year, the field is marked with former World Champions, and up and comers alike, all wanting that taste of success again.

The question is... Who will the reigning champion be at Rise to Greatness?

That question has generated a lot of buzz as well due to the nature and lead-up to this epic encounter between four of SCW's finest superstars.

For the current champion, he seeks vindication. His acquisition of the World Championship marred by question as to his true "championship status." While another seeks vindication as well, having lost the World Championship, while still garnering another win. The last two, yes, seek their own respective vindication, hoping to prove their worth in the "big picture" of Supreme Championship Wrestling.

Unfortunately, the two "main players" of this match have emerged, due to the controversy surrounding the World Championship's changing of hands.

Jake Starr has repeatedly argued that Hudson never beat him. He merely took advantage of the stipulations. For Hudson, he's argued that he deserves a one on one chance with Jake to prove he's superior.

Ultimately, this entire scenario has no option but to explode this Sunday.

Until then, the verbal exchanges will continue...

As the scene fades in, the game "Cliff Hangers" from the critically acclaimed, and multi-award winning game show, The Price is Right is seen. The actual title has been covered up cheaply, replaced by the words "Climb That Slope." The typical, German, lederhosen-wearing, hiker is also seen, but his face has also been covered up. It has a photo of Jake with his cheesy smile taped on with mere masking tape.

The camera begins to fade out, and sees Jake standing, holding the traditional long, slender, microphone, made famous by Bob Barker. He's dressed in a similar suit, and smiling. He looks over toward his left and nods, and a applause track is played along with the famous theme to The Price is Right. He begins to bow and blow kisses toward the "audience." He mouths the words "Thank You" repeatedly, and motions for the "crowd" to sit down.

The applause track and theme are faded out, and the camera zooms in slightly on Jake, who holds the microphone up to his mouth to speak.

Jake Starr: Ladies and gentlemen, WELCOME!

Another cheesy applause track is played while Jake nods to the "audience."

Jake Starr: I really appreciate you all showing up here today on this SPECIAL, ONCE IN A LIFETIME, NEVER BEFORE SEEN ON TV, airing of...

Jake extends the microphone out, acting as if he's trying to pick up the audience's collective reply. There is silence, and Jake stands, smiling awkwardly, waiting for the track to play. As he realizes it isn't coming, his facial expression changes to an annoyed look, and he looks to the side.

Jake Starr: TRACK TWO!

Jake immediately faces out again, and once again gets the cheesy smile on his face.

Finally, after yet another moment of awkward silence, a brief spurt of the applause track is heard, and then immediately cut to track two, where the crowd collectively chants, "CLIMB THAT SLOPE!!"

Jake smiles and pulls the microphone back in, and once again nods toward where the audience would be seated.

Jake Starr: That's RIGHT! Welcome everyone to the first showing of Climb That Slope! This is a show where we use this, a never before seen prop...

The guy in charge of running the sound equipment accidentally inserts a laugh track in, as Jake speaks. Jake looks to the side, annoyed again.

Jake Starr: That's not where the laugh track goes!

A faint sound of "sorry" is heard from where Jake is looking.

Jake Starr: Ugh... Never mind!

Jake puts the microphone down, and removes the cheesy Price is Right suit jacket, and then looks into the camera with his notorious gaze.

Jake Starr: Alright... Scratch the idea of making this some canned game show-like explanation.

Now, I bet everyone is curious to know why exactly I have this little prop, conveniently renamed as to not be sued for using copywritten material, to illustrate a point. It's something that has been on my mind CONSTANTLY since I came back into this business, but even more so over the past week.

See... Before I came back into this business, I went on an adventure. I wanted to really test myself in a climate that wasn't my own. I wanted to push myself in ways the wrestling industry has never done. So... Roeper and I planned a trip for the two of us to the mountains of Alaska.

We wanted to find someone who could lead us up to the top of Mount McKinley. Personally, I figured if I could truly conquer a hike up the highest point in America, I could really consider returning to the ring. So, we contacted several people, hoping to truly find someone local who wouldn't take us on the "tourist hike," but more so on the real "hiker's hike."

So after all of the phone calls, we finally found an Athabaskan-native who'd agree to help us out.

Without going into super detail on the excursion, we reached the summit, and the trip was absolutely worth it. When we reached the summit, our guide looked at us, and told us to haze out over the land of Alaska. He stood behind us, and quoted a renowned English poet, and said:

Great things are done when men and mountains meet.

It gave me the reassurance I needed to have, in order to return. But at the same time, it also gave me a lot of insight as to what the journey would be like once I did come back.

Hence why I have this stellar prop!

This industry is known for it's turnover rate, it's ups, downs, highs, lows, twists, turns, and the occasional transformation into its next "iteration." In a sense... This business is just like a mountain.

This business is just like when man meets mountain.

When I first came to SCW, I was like this little man here, minus the lederhosen. I stood at the base of a mountain knowing there was only one direction I could go. It was just my choice as to whether or not I made the decision to begin the climb...

... And I did!

Within just a few short matches I had captured a championship...

As he says that, the familiar yodeling music from the Price is Right game begins to play, and the Germanic-looking hiker moves up a few slots on the mountain.

Jake looks back over in the direction of the man running the sound.

Jake Starr: ... Oh of course now you get it right!

Jake chuckles, returns his focus back to making his point, and continues.

Jake Starr: ... Anyway, so I won my first championship. It's well documented history! And I began my ascension toward the apex of the mountain.

From there, I went on a solid winning streak, and began to look unstoppable, and never beatable!

The yodeling begins again, and the hiker moves up several more notches on the mountain.

Jake Starr: Then, I was knocked down a notch...

The familiar "loser" stinger, also from the Price is Right, is heard.

Jake Starr: But it didn't stop me from my dreams of reaching the summit.

Which is the exact point I'm at right now. I kept climbing, had a slip up here and there, but still I never have stopped, nor will I ever!

And I know that question has been raised this week!

See, for those of you who don't pay any attention to IWC, for one, I don't blame you. For two, you missed some wild "happenings" this week.

I walked into their building, their stomping ground, and their hostile territory to vie for their most coveted prize. I had a man whose never been able to have my number staring me down. I had a man who simply couldn't bare the thought of losing to me AGAIN, and this time, one on one.

He and I battled from one edge of the arena to the next. We electrified the audience to the point they became completely divided on their loyalties. We brought a new sense of excitement to a bland brand, with mediocre talent. We made sure the other felt the effects of the fight we knew we were going to have.

It was unfortunate for Jason Zero that, like the 2 for 1 Special, and like Tactical Warfare, he ended up on the losing end of the stick, and watched the pride of SCW emerge with the IWC World Championship!

... And let me be honest when I say I thought my night was over. Hell I had HOPED it was over. I hurt. I was beaten. I was bruised. But unfortunately, it wasn't over.

Earlier in the night, two other SCW past and present, battled for the right to call themselves the number one contender. The winner was SUPPOSED to face me that night for the IWC Championship, and when I saw who the winner was, I coveted the opportunity. But somehow, and I'm still not entirely sure how, the winner never got that chance. In fact... It was the LOSER who did. It was someone I wasn't prepared to fight, and that lack of preparation cost me the IWC Championship.

So it was my first, and last, World Championship in IWC.

Everyone began to question whether or not it'd make me want to give up, and feel like I failed. Many began to wonder if losing a belt the same night I won it would be detrimental to the mental aspect of my game.

Let me make it clear... It didn't do a damn thing!

I know that those over in IWC will look at the new World Champion and think that he's superior. But all I can is this... If he was superior, he would have earned the shot on his own, instead of doing whatever he did to get it. One day, he and I will cross paths again... Somewhere! When it happens, he'll realize why he was simply LUCKY enough to win on one night, and any thoughts of doing it a second time, are purely DELUSIONAL.

Jake looks back at the prop and the climber.

Jake Starr: ... But it didn't end my hopes and my dreams of continuing on. My goal that night was to beat Jason Zero, and embarrass him, and I did that. I lost later that night which simply means, I don't have to even think about IWC anymore. I don't even have to think about showing up there as well.

Now... My focus is 100 percent back where it belongs.

Losing at Paranoia was, in a sense, a blessing in disguise. As I said, I can merely focus on what truly matters. I can focus on regaining what I believe I never truly lost. I can now resume my role as the climber SCALING the mountain, and not sliding backwards.

So I look back on those words that my guide told me. When he said, "Great things are done when men and mountains meet," it really began to click with me just recently on how true that is. Seriously, think about it. Think about that phrase. Think about what it's saying.

When Sir Edmond Hillary stood at the base of Mt. Everest, he knew he was taking on a task many had already failed in accomplishing. He knew that, even if the worst should happen, and he pass away, he'd forever be enshrined in history as someone who attempted to tackle that mountain. The thought of dying or not making it didn't keep him from trying because the thought of success was that worth it.

It's the same for me. My mountain is and was SCW. I conquered it once, and I've been labeled as one of, if not the primary guy to beat and face. Championship or not, I've earned the right to be perceived that way. I know conquering the mountain again will bring me equal, if not more success.

... But as everyone already knows, if I want that opportunity, I have three other men I have to make my way through, and over, in order to achieve my ultimate goal again.

These three men all stood beside me at Tactical Warfare. These three helped me get another notch in the win column, and for that I do thank them, but for the fact I was stripped of my World Title because of it is just not kosher.

So I look at the three, and see that each one of them wants to be the top dog.

First, there's Justin Davis. A man whose name I seemingly have said more times than Christian Savior and Stacy Kissinger. He's a man who has done everything he can to remain a viable threat to any championship belt I have held onto here.

Our paths have crossed numerous times, and it's well documented I feel most of those times were because of Davis's apparent luck of the Irish. But this time, as I've said, I see him a little more differently. I see him as someone who is here because he did contribute to our team winning Tactical Warfare.

So to that I say, he belongs in this contest.

But I also look at this whole situation with him and wonder, why? Yeah I know I said since he's hung around, he belongs apparently, and I am a firm believer in the addage, "where there's smoke, there's fire." But you can't help but question why is he here? What prompted the management and booking staff to put him on the side of Hudson, Thorn, and myself, and not swap him with one of the four others?

It's just something that's continually crossed my mind.

He's coming into this match wanting to shut a lot of people up, and honestly, I'm probably one of them. I've said a lot about him, saying how little I think of him, and honestly, that really hasn't changed. I'm learning to grow some respect for the guy, but that doesn't mean I have grown fond of him. I still see him as someone who's the fortunate recipient of good luck, someone who is merely a stepping stone towards my ultimate confrontation with Hudson, and someone who stands the slimmest chance of winning this match overall.

But he still has those desires to quite those like me.

He knows what has been said about him in the past. He knows that people have seen him as someone who is lucky. But I know how confident he is in his own game. I know how much he believes he can actually be the one who truly emerges victorious, and claims his first World Championship reign.

He believes in himself, when nobody else will. And speaking from experience, that's a trait a champion must have. When I first came into this business, nobody believed in me. Everyone wrote me off. Everyone thought I would never make it.

But I did! I achieved greatness, and a status as someone you don't want to mess with.

He wants that recognition, and that inner feeling too.

If he wants it though, he's got a hard road in front of him to achieve it. It's not a sandy beach. It's not a fun and bouncy trampoline. It's a treacherous path of jagged edged rocks, steep cliffs, and certain failure looming around every turn. The question is, can he brave the elements, the landscape, and the trials that are there in front of him?

The answer this time, like the rest, is no...

Jake takes a deep breath, and lets out a big sigh. Inside he can feel the tension of this match growing, and knows that the path won't be easy.

Jake Starr: Then... You have my friend Thorn. He's a man who's yearned for this for so long, and I hate that he hasn't been given his just-due of a true one-on-one title shot. Hell... Out of everyone in this match, he's the only one who has never gotten a one-on-one World Title shot.

Honestly, it's sad to see...

He's paid his dues in this business, and is one of the few who hasn't been rewarded properly.

But honestly, I can't let that effect my outlook on this match.

Thorn is a dear friend, yes. But right now, I see him as someone standing in my way of recapturing the SCW World Championship. I see him as someone who is just getting an opportunity at the wrong time of his career. I don't think he peaked at the wrong time though. I don't think we've seen what Thorn is truly capable of, and hell, maybe this Sunday we will find out. Maybe this Sunday Thorn will bring a new facet of his game to the ring, and completely shock the world, I just don't know.

I'll admit, part of me hopes he does. Part of me hopes we see a side of Thorn that nobody knew existed. I wouldn't mind seeing a dark and demented side of my friend show up, and do everything in his power to emerge victorious.

But what I'm truly afraid of, is that he's going to allow his emotions to get the better of him. He faced some tough times recently, and all have seemingly been at the hands of another one of our mutual opponents. He's been threatened with physical violence, and even threatened with potential death. And honestly I'm fearful it may skew his judgment. If that is the case, he could end up doing something that screws him in this match.

And I hope that isn't the case! I know he's smart, and I know he's someone who has a strong head on his shoulders, but when someone literally puts your LIFE in jeopardy, and threatens to completely end it without missing a beat, things can change. Outlooks can change. Rationale can change.

But... If he brings a new side of him to this match, he and I could eliminate Hudson and Davis, and in a sense, throw our own sh!t at the fan, and have ourselves a one on one battle for the ages. We could dictate the outcome of this match, and bring the World Championship back to our fraternal order. In the end... Be it Thorn or myself... If the World Champion comes home, the night will have been a success.

Jake, again, glances back at the climber, picturing himself in that position, and the mountain in front of the climber as his quest.

Jake Starr: Now... In my eyes... I stand at the edge of the summit. I see where my flag once stood claiming it was my ground. But unfortunately it seems someone else has tried to lay claim the mountaintop I once stood atop, and in my opinion it was claimed unlawfully, and that just doesn't fly with me.

And that lawbreaker is, who else, Josh Hudson!

See, since the match was announced, he's done nothing but run his mouth. And by run his mouth I mean talk non stop for HOURS on end, only rivaling that of Zero and Savior. He's tried to verbally pick me apart. He's tried to say I make "boring" and "tireless" rants, and then subsequently does them himself. He's proclaimed himself royalty, God-like, and many things like that. He's simply, well, been kind of a girl in this whole situation.


I know very few guys who throw the kinds of temper tantrums and such that he has done lately. He's reminded me a lot of Katie Steward, actually. I mean on Breakdown, he literally put Thorn in a noose, hoping it would get him HIS WAY to face me one on one. He has this feeling of entitlement that nobody quite knows where it comes from.

One thing he claims is I've done nothing to have earned the right to call myself "all that," or "the man to beat."

Wow... Umm... Hang on...

Jake reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a sheet of paper. He unfolds it, looks at it, and begins to murmur to himself.

Jake Starr: ... Ok let me have a look at my resume here... Umm... What do we have...?

... Longest reigning Adrenaline Champion...

... Former SCW AND IWC World Champion...

... Won the Chamber Match...

... Beaten superstars like Asher Hayes, Rachel Foxx, Justin Davis, Jason Zero, Christian Savior, Greg "The Fat F_ck" Cherry, Hurse, Katie Steward...

Jake shrugs. He folds the paper and puts it back into his pocket.

Jake Starr: I don't know, I think I've done some things lately to deserve the right to say I'm "all that." In fact, I know I have.

And unlike Hudson, I'm man enough to admit my slip ups...

See, as of late Hudson has ridden the waves of saying he's "undefeated," and "unbeaten." What he isn't saying is that he's only counting the last 11 months of his career, which only seem to span 16 total matches. He won't admit to what happened PRIOR to that. Yet, he'll brag about being a TWO TIME World Champion?

Now look... You know, I'm not always the sharpest tack in the box, but I could have sworn that in order to have MULTIPLE title reigns with ONE championship, a loss has to be in there somewhere.

OH WAIT! You mean he's selectively telling people what he wants them to hear in order to merely hype himself up?


It is!

Hudson only knows how to toot his own horn, and be a stale and generic "heel" to the crowd. He knows how to find the easy and CHEAP ways to try and upset people, rather than really using your head, and being somewhat cerebral about it.

It really is quite... Oh how should I put this? Oh yeah, rookie!

He simply is another example of someone who doesn't know what he says. He tries to play up what others do, while subsequently doing the same thing himself.

"Oh he rants and raves and talks and talks... So I'll do 4 hours of blabbing talking about how boring, stale, repetitive, and boring and stale it is!"

Yes... He's that dumb!

He's taken over a spot that I occupied for a reason. He's taken over my spot atop the SCW mountain, and I'm here to make sure I take it back, and send him flying over the cliffs edge. I'm not afraid of facing him, and I'm damn sure not bothered by his feeble attempts at talking "down" to me. I simply want my rightful place back.

But... I'm a realist. There's not just going to be him and me, so I might not be able to accomplish it this time around. He may score a cheap pin somewhere, and retain. But he's no champion. He doesn't have the drive to be a champion. He may look red hot right now, and sound better than ever, but I promise you this, it won't last. He'll burn out on his drive. He'll come to a point he just can't do it anymore. He doesn't have what it takes to be a truly LONG TERM champion. He knows it, management knows it, and the fans know it.

I can't begin to tell you how many times fans have approached me to say that I shouldn't worry about him, and eventually, like a small candle, he'll melt away and just become extinguished. THE FANS EVEN SAID THAT! This isn't me here! These are those who make sure SCW is making the money that pay people like he and I.

And if they even see it, I honestly have to believe it's true!

So I hope he's out there, I hope he's listening, and I hope he's conjuring up yet another LONG, DRAWN OUT, WORDY, and OVERLY DESCRIPTIVE rant to bless our ears with. Because the more he speaks, the more he overcompensates for his LACK of championship prowess, the more likely it is that I will walk into Taking Hold of the Flame as a challenger, and out as the TWO TIME, SCW World Heavyweight Champion.

With those final words, Jake takes one last look at the climber, and repositions him atop the cartoon mountain. He stands there, staring at it, and grinning. He knows that this is the ultimate ending point for his journey, and he knows what has to be done in order to achieve it.

The scene fades to black with Jake's expression going from a grin, to a much more serious look, as the realness of the situation begins to creep into his mind.

With Taking Hold of the Flame merely days away, he knows his work is cut out for him. He knows Hudson is hell-bent on proving he can beat Jake, while at the same time he knows Thorn and Davis want to emerge as the surprise victors in the contest. Will he be able to overcome the, seemingly insurmountable odds? Will he be able to prove Hudson wrong, and show the world that he is rightfully the World Champion still?

The answers lie this Sunday, where the four men will put it all on the line to achieve SCW superiority, and also for the victor, an undoubted sense of redemption for whatever their motive was.


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