"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
I am 36 years old, make $66,900, live in Portland OR and work as a Data Coordinator.
Section Zero: Background Hello all, happy hoildays! I stumbled upon this subreddit not long ago and have enjoyed the commentary and experiences everyone's shared. Wanted to add another perspective from a mid-30s first-gen American. I've had some missteps regarding careers and finances, but I feel like I'm in a slightly better place now. I tried YNAB in the past but I wasn't consistent enough with it. These days I use Mint to monitor my finances and have a "Finance Friday" each month to review all my accounts and spending. I currently live with my partner TJ and his dog RR. We do not combine finances, but he has been unemployed since March. I have helped him with some bills and basic necessities here and there until he finds his next job or career. My current financial goals are to just maintain a status quo and not get any debt until pandemic times are over. Then I will focus on a house remodeling fund and savings for taking care of my parents. Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? My parents taught us about money from a frugal perspective. They are immigrants who worked in food service/factories. There was always this “save save save” mentality. Even when they started their own small business, we saved like there was no tomorrow. In high school, my calculus teacher bought us all “The Millionaire Next Door” book and had us read it as an assignment - that was my first structured introduction to finances. Did you worry about money growing up? No, there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. I knew that our extended family would support us if needed. Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? Yes. My dad didn’t finish the high school-equivalent in their country, while my mom did finish high school, but no college. My older and younger siblings took a different path in life after high school. I am the first and only in my family to graduate from college. My parents covered all tuition for my two bachelor degrees with the agreement that I support them fully during their retirement and send them gifts/extra money whenever I can. I feel very lucky and privileged that they were able to provide that education for me. At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? 24 when I went on a work holiday abroad. My family was always available to help when needed, but the experience abroad helped me stand on my own feet. As an adult, I also inherited that “save” mentality and put a lot of my earnings towards savings. I didn’t date until my 30s, lived frugally, didn’t go out to eat/hangout with people, shopped thrift stores, and had very few hobbies. I am starting to “live a little” now though. Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Aside from the tuition, my parents have helped with a down payment for my first house and living costs during periods of unemployment. Section One: Assets and Debt Retirement Balance If the place I was working at offered a 401k, I would always contribute up to the company match. I started my IRA in my mid-20s and would try to contribute the yearly max. I've stopped that the past 2-3 years though. My Other Brokerage is some play money, but I got tired of staring it and switched to index funds. I haven't contributed anything to it in a few years.
401k: $34,127 (5% company match on contributions)
Brokerage: $22,421 ESPP
Roth IRA: $40,615 VTIVX
Rollover IRA: $15,760 VTTHX
Other Brokerage: $7,235 VTI
Coinbase: $1,286 ETH (mostly just playing around with it)
Equity if you're a homeowner Purchased my first home for $382,000 with 20% down, right before lockdown earlier this year. Perfect timing, right?? I plan to live here until my retirement. My parents contributed $15k while I used most of my savings for the rest.
Current Equity: $80,371
Savings account balance: $3,073 Checking account balance: $7,800 Credit card debt: I charge everything on my credit card for the points, then pay it off each month using my checking account balance. Student loan debt: Traditionally no student loan debt as mentioned in Section Zero. Section Two: Income Income Progression (listed as gross income with cost of living area): High School
$11/hourMCOL - Helped with small family business.
College and first “career” job
$12-19/hour MCOL - I did events/banquet serving after classes and had an internship doing software administration.
$22/hour MCOL - Junior web developer. I realized after a year that programming was not my calling.
Mental health break
$12/hour LCOL - Work holiday abroad. I got a steady banquet server job for that whole time. It was enough to live minimally in a hostel, do weekend trips, WOOF and figure my life out.
College (again) and second “career” job
$12-15/hour LCOL - Decided to go back to school for a different bachelor's degree. While pursuing that degree, I worked at hotels and events as a banquet server again. I also did “search engine evaluation” whenever there were tasks available.
$36,000/year salary LCOL - Software administrator at a casino after graduation.
$39,000/year salary LCOL - Systemsanalyst at same casino. I left after 2 years, feeling disillusioned with the casino industry. I moved back home with my parents until I could get back on my feet again.
Third “career” jobs
$20/hour HCOL - Entry level advertising role. I was applying to all types of office jobs and that was my only bite.
$45/hour MCOL - Cold-called from a global company who needed someone with my software administrator experience from the casino job. It was an 8 month contract. Although I was starting to love my advertising job, the increase in pay was no question.
$65,000/year salary MCOL - After the contract ended and a few months of unemployment, I landed my current job at the same company. It is an “early career” role according to their job levels.
$66,900/year salary MCOL - Cost of living and merit increases after 2 years on the job. Pre-COVID we got a $5000 bonus each year. They have now stopped bonuses as well as all COL and merit increases.
Main Job Monthly Take Home: Monthly Net (paid bi-weekly): $2,758 Deductions:
Side Gig Monthly Take Home: No side gigs at the moment, but I am thinking of signing up on Upwork.com and doing Excel/data entry projects to help pay the mortgage. Other Income: TJ’s friend will be staying with us for a month in January, who will pay rent of $800 including utilities. Depending on how that goes, we may take on a roommate in the spare bedroom long-term. Section Three: Expenses Mortgage - when I bought the house, the plan was that I would charge TJ a portion of the mortgage costs as “rent”, but since his unemployment I am now covering it all myself. Regular Monthly Payment: $1677.57
Taxes & Home Insurance: $326.52
HOA: $30/year Retirement contribution: Nothing additional than what's been mentioned. Savings contribution: I used to do $50-100/month, but since COVID I’ve stopped contributing to my savings account. Investment contribution: None at this time. Debt payments: $100/month towards TJ's credit card balance of $2,307. Donations: $10-20/month, usually towards Omaze or Planned Parenthood. Utilities:
Natural Gas: $30-80/month
Xfinity internet: $60/month
Cellphone: On my parents plan. Subscriptions:
LinkedIn: $29.99/month for TJ’s job search - he’s found it very useful.
Amazon/Netflix/Hulu: We piggyback off family and friends’ accounts.
Nintendo Switch Online: 19.99/year
Gym membership: Pre-COVID I did Orangetheory for a year. I started to pick up free exercise equipment from Craigslist this year, so we have a small garage gym now and utilize YouTube exercise videos instead. Pet expenses: $10/month. TJ has stockpiled some Costco canned dog food before unemployment, but once that runs out I will likely cover the costs. We also started to make homemade dog food to help supplement. Car insurance: $460 every 6 months. Car is paid off. Regular therapy: I will start in the new year. Not sure what the costs are yet, but I will use my HSA to pay. Vitamins/Medications: $20/month Groceries & household items: $75/month Miscellaneous (eating out, house purchases, gifts, etc): $100/month Section Four: Money Diary Monday 6:30am Neighbor starts up their truck. We joke that it's our natural alarm clock. They idle for about 15 minutes before heading off. I go back to bed. 9am My real alarm goes off. I put the electric kettle on for some morning tea. While it's boiling, I do my morning routine: drink glass of water, take synthroid, use bathroom, brush teeth, quick shower. I then make tea - Jasmine Pearl English Breakfast with dark forest mix. I started ordering loose leaf tea in large amounts back in March instead of small bags or single serving packets. Seems more economical since I drink it daily. I let the dog out into the backyard so he can do his morning routine. 9:30am I go through my daily tasks for work. They entail checking processes and reports to make sure they ran successfully overnight. I then answer some emails and catch-up on Slack channels. 12pm Lunch is leftover roast chicken and quinoa from Saturday. I heat it up in the instant pot. Love that thing! Almost every meal of ours involves the instant pot. We hardly use the stovetop. We then walk the dog to the business park across from our neighborhood. There's a very short trail that runs along a drainage creek by the business park. It's quite muddy, but has a nice woodsy feeling. Over the summer, we saw sumac trees there as well. Free sumac spice! 1:30pm Department meeting on Zoom. Our director announces his resignation on the call. Everyone is shocked! Layoffs were announced for next year but this was not a part of it. I think it's a good move for him and he doesn't have to have this worry of layoffs over his head. 3pm I meet with an engineer from another team and talk about a data source they are in charge of. He helps me out in understanding it and we identify most of the fields that I need for a project I’m starting. 5:30pm I check in with my partner. He's been watching LinkedIn tutorials on internal recruiting, job coaching and general computeoffice skills. It's a career change that he wants to make - something where he can talk to and help people. He doesn't have a bachelor's, only an associates, and hopes these tutorials will get him a leg up in the job search. I sent him some entry level HR admin roles the other day and remind him to apply. I then heat up leftovers: homemade chana masala and rice. I add some butter and coconut milk to thin it out, so there's enough for both of us. 10:30pm I take some magnesium, vitamin D and Airborne. I say goodnight to the dog who sleeps in the office. Then I say goodnight to TJ. He sleeps in the spare bedroom on weeknights due to his snoring keeping me up. I'm a light sleeper while he is a pretty deep sleeper. Daily total: $0 Tuesday 9am I check Reddit Secret Santa. My match seems like a really good person. Not sure what to get, but most likely will purchase something off their wishlist. I wish I was more creative with my gift giving. 11am Meeting with business stakeholder. She submitted a few changes to an existing data process about a month ago. I make the change while on the call and have her test. Success! Marking it off the todo list. I love when we can finish things directly on a call. 12:30pm I come out of my office to make lunch. I notice my partner is not home. I check my messages and see that he's stepped out to pick up a few things. I ask for celery, carrots, and kombucha. $17. I make a quick charcuterie board for lunch: Costco salami, cheese, homemade hummus and Triscuits. It's a simple, fast meal that’s always in our rotation. 2pm My partner is back and we take the dog out for a walk and quick round of disc golf at a nearby park. We mask up and play only a few holes. Disc golf is a pretty frugal activity, you only need 2-3 discs to get started. TJ remarks that my throws are getting better, but then again they weren't great to start with. We talk about Christmas/Birthday gifts on the way back home since he was born on New Years Day. He mentioned snowshoeing but asked to not spend that much. I'll do some research! 5pm I think about personal career projects. Should I put up a portfolio of projects somewhere? I decide to try and pull some Yelp data. There’s not a lot of data points that I was interested in. Regardless, I tinker with it for an hour. TJ asks if I'm hungry. I said not so much, but felt thirsty. Maybe some ginger soup tonight? 7:30pm Dinner is served - ginger carrot soup made in the instant pot. We eat some rice crackers with it. Lately I feel like we've been eating more vegetarian dinners. It definitely helps stretch our food budget. We end the evening by finishing Fargo season 3 on Hulu. Daily total: $17 Wednesday 1:30am I'm woken up by the dog. He's been sneezing a lot and wheezes at random intervals. TJ doesn't have the money for a vet visit but I've offered to pay as long as he calls to make the appointment. I give the dog some coconut oil, rub his belly until he seems better and go back to bed. 7am Garbage day. We usually put it out the night before but I forgot. I get up to go, but TJ handles it. I think, at least. I'm too sleepy to pay attention and go back to bed. 9am I wake up and rinse some dishes that have piled up and put them into the dishwasher. We both grew up in households that had a home dishwasher, but forbade from using it. It was drilled into us that hand washing saves more water, unless you had a restaurant/industrial dishwasher. I think with modern home dishwashers, that's changed, so I wanted to try it out with our dishwasher and monitor the water bill. Don't have any dishwashing pods or powder, so I put some OxiClean in it. 12:30pm I overhear TJ on a call with a recruiting agency. It seems to be going well, lots of laughing. I heat up some taco lasagna that I freezer meal-prepped last month. 2pm Collaborate on a project at work with an engineer. My manager put me on this project since I was asking for an assignment on a more technical team. I'm learning tidbits here and there, but I don't feel like it's structured enough. 5pm I do an Orangetheory-At-Home workout and try to break a sweat. It's not the same as going to their studio. 6pm Charcuterie for dinner. Our fridge is full of store-bought and homemade pickles that go super well on a charcuterie board. Daily total: $0 Thursday 7am I wake up tired. The house has been feeling more cold, which woke me up a few times. We keep the temp at 72F during the day, at night around 68F since we thought the bedrooms keep the heat in pretty well. My mistake! 9am I do my usual morning routine and login to work. My team mostly spends the morning sending each other emojis. 11:30am Lunch today is mini quiche, frozen chicken and veggie entree, and hot dogs. Not the most cohesive meal, but it fills the belly. 12:30pm TJ heads out to his mailbox that's 30 minutes away. He is still waiting on his tax return and a 401k withdrawal. His taxes had to be filed by mail for some reason, then the IRS office shut down due to COVID. So he wanted to see if it arrived yet at the mailbox. He also takes the dog to the vet's urgent care on his way. They didn't have any regular openings available until the end of the year, and the dog seemed to be getting worse. I give TJ $40 to mail a gift package to a friend in France and also reiterate that I'll cover the vet bill when he gets it. 4:30pm I pay some bills, my favorite activity (not)! Sewer bill: $59.44 (billed every 2 months). Geico bill: $459.60 billed every 6 months. Then I follow up with my mortgage officer over email. I had sent her some documents for a refinance quote last week, but haven't heard back. Rates keep dropping, so I'm told, but what does that really mean? I do some research on realestate. 5pm TJ messages me and says he'll be back for dinner. I ask him to pick up some Popeyes via drive thru since we both don't feel like cooking today. Popeyes is currently our fancy “going out to eat” food. $24.17 for a 4pc dinner meal and a 2pc dinner meal. Daily total: $583.21 Friday 8:30am Busy morning at work. My phone is buzzing with emails and Slack messages. I try to answer them while I make tea. 10am Zoom Department happy hour. We reminisce about our director and then play those Jackbox party games. Some of them are hard! 11am TJ asks if he can make me anything for lunch. He suggests savory oatmeal, quick and easy. I tell him that I really appreciate him making meals/doing chores/etc without me prompting. We've been having conversations about "house project management" and mental load because I did most of the chores or I had to continually remind/tell him to do it. I'm really happy to see us progress on this front. I decide to work through my lunch break so I can end the day early. I don't often do that, but I'm ready to get the weekend started. 2pm I check on TJ in the spare bedroom and ask if the dog has been fed yet, since he was nipping at my feet. I notice something off about TJ and ask how he is doing. TJ is depressed about his personal life, career, finances. He doesn't know what to do, spends half the day meditating and reflecting on past trauma. I've been prodding him to get a therapist but he is confused about his insurance. He makes an appointment with a primary care doctor first. I feed the dog some homemade dog-friendly beef stew. 4pm My mom swings by the house (but doesn't enter). She currently works at a school who distributes free USDA food boxes since March. There's often many boxes leftover that would go to waste, so she will grab a box for us. Onions, potatoes, beets, turnips, eggs, cheese, butter, frozen veggies and frozen chicken. She also brought her vintage pasta maker. I asked last week if she ever used it these days and her reply was “no, feel free to have it”. I love pasta and noodles and figure it would be great to make it ourselves as a frugal hobby. 8pm We catch up on Mandalorian and watch silly Youtube videos before heading off to bed. Daily total: $0 Saturday 9am I open up my web browser and look at Craigslist and NextDoor for free stuff. I've been scouring for free landscape rocks, pegboards, and wood for house projects. I had this grand ambition to redesign our backyard. It faces our neighbor and currently the fence is pretty low. They can see into our kitchen and bedroom and we can see them. But y'know, COVID and going from dual income house to single income means it all has to be put on hold. So I've been looking for free items in the meantime. Over the past months, I've gotten planter pots, plant cuttings, a raised bed, stepping stones, all from free listings. I don't see anything worthwhile so I go and make some tea. 11am I look at Amazon and make some purchases for Reddit Secret Santa. A foodie kit, DVD of their favorite movie, and some cute pens for their writing hobby. $54. I hope they like it! 12pm TJ heats up leftover stir-fry for lunch for us. I put on some Binging with Babish and we watch how to make pasta. We have a plan - TJ makes the pasta, I make the sauce. Perfect date night activity at home. We watch some more videos on pasta and noodles to educate ourselves. 4pm I start prepping veggies. Big batch of onions, canned tomatoes, ground beef and butter in the instant pot. Meanwhile, TJ works on the pasta by following Babish's instructions. 7pm We gorge on fresh made pasta and bolognese sauce. It's so good! We end up watching Fargo. 11pm Usually I'll be in bed by now, but it's a Saturday and not tired yet (probably because of all that pasta). We play some Kirby's Dream Course on the Switch. Daily total: $54 Sunday 10am Quick walk around the neighborhood with the dog. He's on a new routine now with the medicine he's taking. It seems to be helping his breathing issues. 11am The pasta maker and flour is still out since we didn't clean up yesterday. There's some old pie crust in the fridge so I roll it out with the pasta machine for mini quiches. (Sally's Baking Addiction blog is my go-to place for her all-butter crust and quiche recipes btw). TJ helps by mixing up the eggs. 3pm I play some Genshin Impact (GI) on my phone while TJ plays Starcraft in the office. I don't usually play gacha games, but the Zelda BotW-style of GI appealed to me. A gacha game is a game with randomized characteitem boxes that you use real-money to purchase a “pull” or to spin the wheel. I know the gacha parts of the game can be a real money sink if you get addicted to them, it’s almost like gambling. My main team is Fischl, Bennett, Barbara and Noelle. I level up to AR 22 and look up free-to-play tutorials for the game. 6pm There's some leftover pasta from yesterday, enough for both of us. I throw in some roasted beets to round out the meal. We watch more Fargo while eating. Almost done with Season 3! 10pm I find a tour operator who offers a small, socially-distant snowshoeing tour up on the mountain. I reserve for two people - this will be TJ's Christmas/birthday gift. $75. Off to bed for another workday. Daily total: $75 Weekly Total: $689.79
Food + Drink: $41.17
Fun / Entertainment: $75
Home + Health: $59.44
Clothes + Beauty: $0
Section Five: Reflections Aside from the car insurance bill, this was a typical week for me, COVID or not. We make the majority of our meals at home and usually splurge on drive-thru/delivery once every other week. I may have overspent on the Secret Santa gift, but I don't often give gifts out to friends. It's not something our family does either. For TJ’s Christmas/birthday gift, we usually talk upfront about costs. I’ve gifted him fancy restaurant experiences the past 2 years, since we can share that experience, but obviously can’t do that now. Snowshoeing is a nice change of pace. The conversations with TJ this week have given me thought on how to approach him differently about finances and working together in a relationship. I’m still unsure about the future financially, particularly as my parents near retirement age and that TJ has pulled out his 401k to pay his debts. I don't know if I can support both my parents and TJ together, so I am finding ways to upskill and/or side hustles without becoming a workaholic or bogged down by stress. Writing this money diary was also the first time where I really paid attention to my past income and current income. I might be contributing too much into ESPP that could go towards the 401k or mortgage instead? I also seem to have been underpaid for what I did in past jobs, even in a LCOL area.
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since i left my first serving job 2 years ago i never really connected with regulars again. casinos are full of both regulars and people you may never see again. i’ve just struggled to figure it out, and i see so many faces it’s sometimes hard. until now! i have 2 tables that come in and request me and they’re both amazing. one is an older couple with a special needs son, who loves me. we always high five and do fist bumps. they’re super kind, love to talk, and tip well. i just had another couple that came in last week, left me a great review, then came back this week and brought me homemade beef jerky. sometimes i feel like a shitty server but these tables remind me that i’m not all that bad.
Before the pandemic, one-third of US households with children were already “net worth poor,” lacking enough financial resources to sustain their families for 3 months at a poverty level. Their savings are virtually nil, and they have no financial cushion to provide the basics for their children. Comments || Link
US politicians who engage in “negative partisanship”, referring to hostile, nonsubstantive rhetoric about an opposing party or statements emphasizing defeats of partisan opponents, are not rewarded with higher evaluations from citizens. Voters don’t want representation focused around polarization. Comments || Link
For young adults in the 18–24-year-old age group, pornography was the most commonly endorsed helpful source about how to have sex, as compared to other possible options such as sexual partners, friends, media, and health care professionals. This was more likely for males and heterosexuals. Comments || Link
NASA wants to deorbit the International Space Station before the end of this decade. Axiom plans to replace the International Space Station and potentially save NASA billions per year. Comments || Link
Galaxy-Size Bubbles Discovered Towering Over the Milky Way. For decades, astronomers debated whether a particular smudge was close-by and small, or distant and huge. A new X-ray map supports the massive option. Comments || Link
TIL in 2013, a 9 year-old British girl passed through Turkish customs with a toy passport with gold teddy bears on the front that identified her as a unicorn. Her mother accidentally handed over the passport that the girl had made for her toy unicorn, and the customs offіcer accepted and stamped it Comments || Link
TIL Ants sleep by taking about 250 one minute naps throughout their day. It totals just under 5 hours of sleep. This allows for 80% of their colony to be awake, working and prepared at any given moment. Comments || Link
TIL Jerry Seinfeld is banned from the New York soup stall that he used for the basis of The Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld. Weeks after the episode aired, Seinfeld went in for lunch, and chef Al Yeganeh asked him to leave, unhappy with the moniker the show had given him. Comments || Link
Netflix’s next big science fiction movie is set to debut next week: Outside the Wire, a military science fiction thriller starring Damson Idris as a soldier assigned to assist a classified military robot (played by Anthony Mackie) in a war zone. Comments || Link
A great white shark may grow and use 20,000+ teeth in its lifetime. Also, it has 5 rows of teeth at any given time & will never run out of teeth because if one is lost, another spins forward from a coil-like tooth reservoir of backup teeth in the jaw and spins forward to replace the old one. Comments || Link
During the four years of the Civil War, Ft. Stevens was the closest the confederates got to Washington. During the insurrection on the US Capitol building today, supporters of Donald Trump carried the confederate battle flag through the Capitol as they committed attempted sedition. Comments || Link
“Hey Al the boat is leaving soon!” “Coming!” It’s been a hundred years since the peace treaty with the humans and the fae. Now we are free to go back and forth between our land and theirs. Fae hotels have been employed around the world for them to live in when they visit, and human hotels in the fae land for the same reasons. My girlfriend, Sadie, and I finally had enough money to make the trip to Quendonia, and we are beyond excited. “Tickets please!” “Here you go sir.” “Thank you and please be sure to remember the rules.” That’s right. I printed out the email containing the rules. Sadie hasn’t read it yet, so we should probably go over it. “Hey Sadie, we should probably go over the rules” “Awww but Allison we just sat down.” “If the ticket guy told us to remember them they must be important.” “Fine. what does it say?” As the boat to Quendonia went on we started to read together. I looked around and saw other people reading the rules too. Rules to keep safe whilst on your trip! Never accept food from the Fae. This will cause you to never be able to go home, but this might already be common knowledge due to the news reports. Please only eat the food provided to you by the hotel. When receiving your food, if the person delivering it is: Unnaturally beautiful, has pointed ears, and/or has sharp canines, please accept the food but don’t say thank you or eat it. That was a member of the fae. More on thank yous later. (We also will provide you with a new meal after contacting the reception.) Always be polite to the fae. They can get very offended quickly, and you do not want to know what happens when they are offended. It took us fifteen years to get their king to sign the treaty, and we do not want it broken now. Be careful when accepting gifts. Remember what kind of relationship you have with them. If this particular fae used to hate you until this moment, accept the gift, but burn it right after. NEVER give it to someone else. The fae who gave you the gift WILL know, and they will get offended because you gave their gift away, no matter their relationship with you. AND NEVER SAY THANK YOU. Never ever give them your birth name, or even a nickname for that matter. If they look up your name because you are famous, this doesn’t matter. Just never TELL them your name. Names have power in the fae’s world and the High Fae can control you if you give them your name. If you wish to live in Quendonia and work at one of the hotels or maybe as a boat ferryman, you will be assigned a name you may give them. Never say “thank you” to any of the fae. This implies you owe a debt to them. This can be anything from buying them food or being their slave. Instead, we suggest you say “I appreciate your assistance”. Do not, and I mean DO NOT, go outside in the weeks before and after solstices or the equinox. Their magic is most powerful at this time, and persuasion magic does exist. The hotels have casinos, pools, and arcades for this reason. After you return home, you might notice you can sense magic. It will feel like you are high or drunk when you are too close. If you smell iron, return home immediately, if the scent is stronger there, leave. The fae have gotten a liking to you. They will do anything to get you back to Quendonia-where they can legally do anything to you. If you see any faerie circles (mushrooms or flowers in an unnatural circle pattern), steer clear of them. They are portals back to Quendonia and if you see many of them, the fairies want you back. Even if you are not transported back to Quendonia, time will pass slower in the circle. Centuries could pass outside in minutes. We found a man from the early nineteenth century in one, and claimed he needed to get back to President Jefferson, even though he was long dead. For getting a member of the fae to leave you alone, simply tell them that Swinehard needs to talk to them. He is the king and likes to talk to his subjects. Swinehard will understand why the fae member is in the throne room. (The fae are noesy and he does not like this quality.) If the fae does not leave, abide by the rules and you should be fine. If you follow these rules, you are good to go! “Well, this seems simple enough.” “Yeah… the consequences still seem pretty harsh though. We need to be careful.” “Al… you're such a worry wart. Let’s just enjoy our time together.” Soon after the boat docked. Quendonia was nothing like what the brochures showed. The picture was bright, happy and fluorescent, but it all looked dull and muted. “Babe it’s so pretty! Look at all the bright colors!” Wait, could Sadie not see how dull the colors are? “But it’s grayscale… all the colors are muddy.” “Allison are you serious? Do you need a colorblind test? Ugh. C’mon let’s just go already.” Sadie walked off, leaving me near the dock. I had taken a colorblind test a couple years ago because my uncle is blue-yellow colorblind, but it came up negative. Why couldn’t I see the colors? I hurried after her and we settled into the hotel. It was late so we decided to order dinner from room service. “Roast Beef? Tomato soup with garlic bread? Now I can see why the room price was so high.” “How ‘bout we order something small for the both of us, or share?” “That’s a good idea… well I want the roast beef. What do you want Allison? “The bread bowl soup sounds good.” We called the restaurant and ordered our food. Around twenty minutes later we heard the door knock. “I’ll get it!” “Sadie, remember the-!” “Yeah, yeah I know. “The Rules!” It’s fine.” I still walked up behind her to make sure nothing bad would happen. Sadie opened the door. I didn’t see anything wrong with the attendant at first, until I looked at their face. High cheekbones, perfect hair, glowing skin-and ice blue eyes. Too perfect. Too beautiful. Sadie didn’t notice anything weird because she was admiring the food. “Finally! Than-” “I appreciate you bringing the food up to our room, as it is on the fourth floor.” The fae gritted her teeth. As if they have their own rules for talking with us, her face went back to kind and sweet. She left us and the food quickly. “What the hell was that Allison?” “I suggest you don’t eat that, unless you want to be here forever.” “What?” You’re making zero sense right now.” “Rule one.” “What about rule one?” “Sadie for God’s sake that was a member of the fae!” “Oh… oh shit.” We ordered a replacement meal and were refunded. The rest of the trip went smoothly and Sadie was more careful. I ended up getting to know one of the fae really well. Her name is Jule and she was beautiful to say the least. “Awww man… I don’t want to leave, it's been so much fun!” “Yeah. I feel the same way too, Sadie.” As we started our way towards the boat I heard someone calling my name. Well, the name I gave Jule. “Courtney! Courtney, wait!” “Jule? What are you doing here?” “I came to give you a goodbye present!” “Awww it’s a teddy bear!” I was tired and didn’t mind my words. “Thank you so much!” Sadie didn’t stop me either. We were both tired. We headed onto the boat like nothing happened. I’ve waited for three years. I was convinced that Jule would come here to take me back to Quendonia. The anxiety every time I step outside eats me up. It’s only gotten worse. I just want to know what I owe her. Maybe she’s dead? That would be the best thing ever. I know I said I became her friend but that’s the only way to escape this. I just want to be free. “Allison I know you're worried about what you said back then but you have to sleep.” “Sadie you don’t understand I’ve been seeing them everywhere!” “Seeing what everywhere?” “Faerie circles. She wants me back there.” “Relax. We’ll figure it out when that faerie comes to take what you owe her.” Seven more nights passed before it happened. “Let’s go on a hike! It’ll calm you down.” “Okay…” The teddy bear must have heard us, because I saw twenty circles on the hike. We finished the hike. When we got to the parking lot, I saw her. Still beautiful as ever, with her long silver hair and gray purple eyes. “Jule…” “You owe me something.” Hey this was my first post on here. I hope this makes it past review, because after reading it over it didn't sound all that scary to me. The scary stuff I tried to go for was that anxiety of not knowing when something was going to hit you, or waiting for karma to come back around. If this does make it past review, please give me some constructive criticism! I want to work on writing horror as it's one of my favorite genres. Thanks if you read this! Edit: Thank you all so much for the love! I might do a prequel on a different subreddit explaining why Allison can't see the luring bright colors of Quendonia(This would probably be about her heritage). I will not however, be doing a sequel. I want you to not know if Allison is Jule's slave or simply Jule wanted human food. >:3 The reason I couldn't get back to you all is because I posted this right before I went to bed and I'm still in school! Sorry! Edit 2: Lots of you are asking what Jule wants, so I'll tell you this. Allison and Jule became VERY good friends over the month Al and her girlfriend were in Quendonia. ;)
Family expects me to forget my grief to put on thanksgiving "show" of family support for everyone but me
Trigger warning for pregnancy loss. Most of these events took place years ago but I had a sort of renewing thing happen that's left me thinking about these events repeatedly and I'm just wondering if I can get some other eyes on this? I'm currently pregnant and stuck at home with a toddler with very little else to keep me busy so I fully acknowledge I'm ruminating and hormonal (plus generally not in an amazing mental place) and.. idk, I'm hoping that by posting some stuff I can get some outside affirmation of 'yeah that's messed up' or 'ehhhh it's not that bad'. The other bit of backstory I'll include is that I grew up with mom complaining about how she didn't feel loved or seen by her family, and constantly told me about how hurt she was by what her family did to her, so she was gonna do things different with me. But when I was 17, I spent a year in pain and scared something was wrong with me - my parents basically told me I was being a drama queen and inconveniencing them with my annoying problems. "Everyone feels like crap a lot we just don't complain about it like you do". Turns out I needed surgery and got a diagnosis that made it hard for me to have kids - but no one ever really acknowledged how they spent that time telling me I was being a drama queen, it just kinda went under the radar. I lost my second pregnancy in 2014 at around 22 weeks in the spring. DH and I were staying with my folks at the time because he was finishing college, I worked full time and then almost immediately lost my job after the baby. I felt like a complete and utter failure - I likely had PPD but with losing my job I had no insurance so no therapy and the anti-anxiety meds my OBGYN provided me when she heard I lost my job made me feel sick so I don't remember if I really took them. We tried desperately to get back on our feet financially and trying to find a job was a nightmare. I ended up finding one I got really excited about and my mom didn't approve - so much so that we got in a HUGE argument and she ended up telling me she wanted nothing to do with me or any future kids because of how the fight unfolded. I knew in that moment from experience her standard in arguments is to believe people are trying to hurt her so she tries to hurt them back - but I took her at her word and DH and I packed up and moved that weekend. Somehow (still not sure how) we ended up kind of fixing things because in October I stood in her kitchen and she asked me how I felt about inviting pregnant cousin to thanksgiving that year. The situation was also different because a grandma who only visited once or twice in the past 20+ years was coming, so it made sense to invite this cousin. I said, "if cousin comes, I won't be there because I will just be reminded of what I'm not having this holiday season - I won't tell you not to invite cousin because that's not fair to her, and I feel really guilty about it, but if cousin is involved, I will not come." I cried, I felt so terrible - she cried with me, comforted me, said she understood, and we made plans for DH and I to come the Wednesday before TG. Then about a week before TG she messages me on FB basically saying cousin is coming. We exchange a series of messages; I say I'm not coming, she tries to get me to come anyway. In various ways, okay, which pissed me off because she had meltdowns when I was a teen if I ever had to change plans because of something beyond my control - suddenly *I'm* the one who needs to make changes. She even says at one point "I knew how you felt........ but [other people] wanted this". Instead of just saying "ok you knew how I felt so this isn't a surprise, I'll see ya when I see ya" I told her how I felt she deliberately betrayed me by knowing how I felt and pushing me to just "change my mind" about something so important to me. (Again, this woman complained to me my WHOLE LIFE about how HER family didn't give a crap about her feelings - and mine apparently aren't important either. Not that they should dictate what everyone else does but god woman, at least stop saying "just change your mind and come anyway".) Next thing I know, Aunt is contacting me and doing the same thing - come to thanksgiving anyway because I just want to see you. This big fight builds up - she does some negotiating to try to get me to come but be strategically out of the house when cousin comes, and I keep saying no, no, I'm just not going to come. She ends up telling me I'm unreasonable not just for not coming but also for "blaming my mom" because "it's a grown up decision". Come to find out that it sounds like her main beef is that she really wants to have this family event show her sons that family is there for you when you go through hard shit, no matter what, and I think is implying that me not coming disrupts her ability to do that? (She was going through a divorce and the kids were having a hard time with it, I originally thought this was when the ex died but he didn't until 2017) Anyway I blocked her and just kinda moved on from it because I couldn't do anything else at the time. I didn't hear from aunt again for a couple of years until I was pregnant with my now toddler. Out of the blue she texts me and invites me & DH to come to their town (like a 5 hour drive) for NYE and stay in a casino. I'm in college at the time and there's no way I'm gonna drive that far to stay at a casino, I'm tired and saving money for school and baby. I remember being on the phone with mom in the craft store talking about how bizarre the whole thing is because like - how could aunt just *forget* this fight we had and invite me to a holiday event like this like it was NDB? And I remember mom kinda being like, huh now? So I say, "Mom, you don't remember that fight? She was mad at me because she thought it was about me not wanting cousin there and taking it all out on you, but YOU know it was about cousin being pregnant and me hurting from losing my baby" and then the silence where.... I realized that my mom probably deliberately withheld that info from aunt. And it was so awkward on the phone because mom never said anything, she just kinda went "hmm" and went back to saying how she wasn't going either. I never respond to aunt's invite, because it just feels so friggin weird and out of left field. I'm PRETTY SURE this is the first time I've heard from her since the fight? I don't know exactly when it happened but around this time aunt sends me a text along the lines of "idk what I did to upset you but I'll always be ready to talk about it when you are". I never responded to this either because it was like... it didn't feel enough like she really wanted to solve the issue, but it was just left open for me to walk through if I wanted to resolve it. At the time, being pregnant and in school, it felt like I was going to have to be the one to remind her about the fight and try to change her mind about why I was upset, and I had no interest - so I never responded. She reached out again as I was getting ready for finals, this time to kind of offer a baby shower. It was several weeks after I had talked to my mom, who wanted to throw me a shower after the baby was born, at her house, with her basically only inviting family so they could all hang out at her house, which is what they did for cousin's first baby. Mom had wanted to do this with the baby I lost and I told her explicitly then, no, I didn't want that - and I didn't change my mind with this baby, I wanted a shower before the baby was born because I wanted to be able to stay home with baby when I had her. Mom never really said "okay, I understand" - in fact I think she said something like "well your grandma won't want to be involved unless there was a baby" which wasn't how she handled the other grandbaby, so that felt like a big slap in the face around my history. [ETA Specifically that no one in the family really wanted to be emotionally invested "until there is a baby they can hold" which left me feeling like I wasn't worthy of support.] I was so terrified this whole pregnancy, I just wanted a baby shower to feel supported after my losses and feeling like I was afraid to even hope for this baby - so it wasn't easy but with the other issues I had with aunt and aunt not just outright being like "I'm sorry we fought about thanksgiving" I was afraid it would be another case of me saying what I wanted and her telling me I was being selfish. It wasn't worth the risk to me. Sure enough, aunt takes this lack of response personally, sends me screenshots of all the times she's tried to talk to me, then tells me I'm "sick" because I got mad at her for wanting a family involved thanksgiving, and I'm "selfish and spiteful", "nothing like the little girl I used to be", that it's not healthy for me to shut her out over one little thing - "and THAT is not healthy". She sends this angry text message along with a screenshot of her text message saying she's open to talking and will always be ready. A second aunt reached out at one point and again pushed for me to bring the baby to my parents' house because it was more convenient for them to be there. Because I had already told mom I wasn't interested in this (so this is at least the third time I'm telling my family I don't want a baby shower after baby is born so I have to leave my house with baby), I express to this second aunt that I've already said this. Second aunt reveals that she and first aunt both just assumed it would be fine and don't understand what the issue is, then does the whole "your grandma isn't going to be around forever" thing, and I'm annoyed that first* aunt - who at this point told me recently I'm spiteful and jealous - is making plans to see my baby again without acknowledging how she's treated me. Not expecting to be treated like royalty, but if I'm so spiteful, why do you need to be involved with my baby? It was also weird because they kept saying "grandma wants to see her grandchild" which is ME, and grandma is perfectly capable of calling me, but doesn't. Second aunt says "well she doesn't have your number" - how odd, because first aunt who texted me that I was spiteful, obviously has my number, my dad obviously has my number, second aunt could also ask me for the number to give to grandma, but no one does. They ended up coming to my parents house and it was dad who negotiated to let grandma see my baby, and he casually mentions "well no one knows what to do because you're not talking to anybody" so somehow I'm just the issue when no one even asks me what I want or what works for me, just expects me to do what everyone else wants me to do. That's basically it up to the sideways stirring that happened recently that I think should go in another post but like... yeah. ETA: added [clarification] and second to last paragraph. ETA 2 corrected reference to which aunt in second to last paragraph.
I wrote these hooks as part of a blog post about why I love setting quests in small towns and villages. You can find that blog post here, and the full list of plot hooks is below. Let me know what you think, and if you have other hooks for a similar setting, feel free to share!
A young single mother was found murdered and dismembered in her home. The mayor suspects that it was the work of dark magic. To make matters worse, her one-year-old child is missing.
There is a forest near the village where no one dares to go after nightfall. Lights are seen floating between the trees, and passersby swear that they can hear someone whispering to them in the dark.
The Rutherfords haven’t been able to bring in a decent harvest since last year. Everyone thought that it was because Farmer Rutherford was a drunk, but now other peoples’ crops are starting to wither and die as well.
Brutes at the Inn
There’s a group of mercenaries that are running a protection racket on the local inn. The innkeeper can’t afford to pay them off any more, but if he misses a payment, they’ll burn his place to the ground.
People in the village are falling deathly ill; a handful have already died, and more get sick every day. No one is sure why, but one of the servers at the tavern swears that the water tastes funny.
The local lord is throwing a banquet, and the party has all been invited. Everyone in town is terrified for them. No one who gets invited to the lord’s banquets ever comes back the same; some don’t come back at all.
The Land Baron
A wealthy landowner just bought up most of the local farmland and threw out the families that lived there. They’ve brought in a massive crew of laborers to start digging. The townsfolk don’t think he’s mining; they think he’s looking for something.
The new priest at the local temple is well-liked, but they never seem to be available during the full moon. Last month, a man turned up murdered right after the night of the full moon. The guard captain is convinced that it’s not a coincidence.
The Traveling Salesman
A snake-oil peddler named Dr. Fabulam arrived in town yesterday hawking his wares. Old Gerald showed up at the tavern this morning swearing up and down that when he passed by Dr. Fabulum’s wagon last night, he heard children crying. Of course, Old Gerald says a lot of strange things, so no one’s sure what to believe.
The Pumpkin Patch
Farmer Daggett came into the village tavern yesterday with dry leaves sprouting out of his face. He said that a stranger in robes came across his pumpkin farm waving some strange metal stick the day before and cursed him with a leafy visage. Before he could do anything, the stranger’s companion showed up: a monster with three heads and goat hooves that wrecked his entire farm. Daggett himself was nearly knocked out, but he thought he saw the two of them heading straight into the woods.
This village is known as the finest producer of beef and pork in the entire region, and the villagers have made a fortune exporting meat to larger towns and cities. Now that you’re here, you’ve noticed something odd: even though carts are leaving the town laden with salted meats every day, you haven’t seen a single cow or pig since you arrived.
What do You Mean, “Bigger”?
Lindy, one of the serving girls at the tavern, won’t stop talking about the rats in the basement. She’s telling everyone that they’re bigger than they used to be. No one paid her much mind, until she went down to the basement one day and never came back up. Even the innkeeper is scared to go down there now.
The Creepy Tree
The grove at the center of town goes through gardeners at an alarming rate. Every couple of months, another one has a grisly accident, and the mayor has to find a new tender for the plants. The townsfolk think it has something to do with the gnarled old tree at the center of the grove. It never grows leaves, but this year, for the first time that anyone can remember, it bore fruit: a single blood-red apple.
The Other Kingpin
Mr. Sharpe, the owner of the local casino, has been used to being the only source of entertainment in the town. Two weeks ago, however, a rich outsider moved into the abandoned building across the street and opened up another casino. It’s just a handful of card tables in a burnt-out hovel, but for some reason, everyone is flocking to it, and Mr. Sharpe is at his wit’s end.
Madame Shadowlight appears at the edge of the parade grounds once a year in her harlequin tent to read the fortunes of all who seek her out. She charges only a copper for her services, and the townsfolk revere her. This year, however, she’s scaring them. Anyone who visits her receives the same grim prediction: impending death. Most terrifying of all: Madame Shadowlight is never wrong.
My (23M) cousin is dating a (52F) woman and I'm positive she’s not good for him but don’t know what to do...
So this is a really juicy tale per se and it involves my cousin who is the same age as me and has been my best friend since a youngin and his 52 year old twice divorced with 4 kids girlfriend. I will refer to my cousin as Jordan and his woman as Sara. I'm from Tucson & Jordan lives in Palm Springs, California and we talk about once a week. About 6 months ago he told me had met a girl but didn't really call her his girlfriend and therefore I didn't really probe because it's common for him to meet girls off of tinder and then discard of them shortly thereafter. He told me she was older and that really didn't surprise me either because when he was living in Iowa with his father prior to moving back to PS he had dated a woman in her 30's . On top of that, when he was 16 him and his friends went to Huntington beach and at the hotel they were staying at he lost his virginity to a 30 year old woman. Ever, since then it's been "I like my older women cousin" to which I would reply yeah you like that roast beef (IK I'm gross) so its always been a running joke between him and I. Anyways, he never really mentioned this girl anymore after the first mention and so I didn't think anything of it figuring he just moved on like the rest of em. Fast forward a few months, his dad who lives in Tucson came over to my families house for a steak dinner and he said he'd been having terrible headaches but we really didn't think anything of it because he's a former collegiate wrestler who'd go for walks everyday and was in pretty good shape for a guy in his mid 60's. Not even 2 days later Jordan's father calls him and says the headaches are persisting, he can't keep food down, and the pain is so bad that he can't even sleep. Jordan like the good son he is drives straight down to Tucson to take his dad to the hospital (he knew his father was stubborn and wouldn't call us or even EMS to take him). While Jordan was down here he gave me a call to update me on the condition of his father (diagnosed a brain bleed) and mentioned he had came to town with his girlfriend and wanted me to meet her but they had already turned back around and left town because he had to get back to work. So I told him next time. My dad and I picked up his father from the hospital the next day and he was a bit weak and had lost ten pounds but it sounded like he was recovering. In the mean time, Jordan had called me and we were discussing the wellbeing of his father and it was on that phone call that he revealed to me his girlfriend was quote "50". I told him I didn't care as long as he was happy and told him I was happy for him but also reminded him that his twenties are precious and girls who are 50 can't have children lol. He knew I had his best interest at heart and everything was going to be fine as I really didn't care that much. Next couple of days go by and Jordan calls me scared because his dad won't pick up his phone and when I tried his number I got an answer but no one speaking on the other end, being a former EMT that scared the shit out of me and so I rushed over there. When I got to my Uncles house I banged on the window and door and got no reply and so I called the FD and they got in through the window and sure enough he was in the state he was before he went to the hospital but worse (could only speak in single words and couldn't get out of bed). The FD suspected a stroke and took him back to the hospital. So after getting him transported, I gave Jordan a call and he shot right back down to Tucson with his girlfriend Sara and had re insisted that I meet her so I just said sure give me a call after you see your dad and I'll come meet her. A whole day or two goes by and I hear nothing and figure out he had gone back to PS. So I'm thinking he was apprehensive about me meeting her which I thought was odd bc I pretty much said I didn't care. Fast Forward a couple weeks and his dad is out of the hospital and recovering at our house in our guest bedroom. He's getting physical and speech therapy in our home for a perceived stroke resulting in a brain hemorrhage (I think). 2-3 weeks go by and the vomiting, headaches and weakness return so we are advised by the home care nurse to take him to the hospital again so we take him to a different hospital nearest our house. Not even 2 days go by and it was determined through a CAT scan that he had lung cancer that had already metastasized to his brain. Of course we're all devastated and Jordan comes back into town again with Sara to see his dad. My cousin never brought her to the hospital (although Im wondering if he would've if covid didn't limit visitors) but my dad who was spending every day all day with my Uncle said Jordan would show up late to their agreed upon time to visit his dad (who is essentially non verbal at his point) and meet with DR.'s to discuss his condition and treatment and then leave after a few hours to return to the hotel with his woman. (sometimes saying he was going to return but never doing so) Pretty much it was determined based on his dads condition that radiation and chemo weren't an option and that it'd be best to put him in hospice. After all this was determined he was put into hospice care at our house and Jordan had to return to PS to get back to work planning to come visit every weekend. A few days go by and we could tell his condition was worsening quickly so he came down Saturday morning and arrived at our house Saturday evening and not even 2 hours after Jordan arrived his dad passed away in his arms. Even though he was non verbal and couldn't even open his eyes I truly believe his dad waited for him. So we arranged the funeral services and Jordan made it known that he'd be accompanied by Sara and we'd all be meeting her for the first time. Of course with us being so close he wanted me to meet her first. The day before the funeral I go over to their hotel to meet her and so i get there at first and it's a bit awkward as expected but we have a couple beers and get to talking and that's when I find out that she's actually 52, has 4 kids and is twice divorced mentioning that her first husband "picked up the bottle" after she left him and ended up dying from something liver related. I then proceed to ask how they met and they look at each other and go "you want to tell him? No you tell him" she says so my cousin goes on to tell me they met at a Casino and in my head i'm like hmmm I've only been to a casino once but I gathered that if you're looking for wifey material you best look elsewhere. So im a little skeptical but I brush it off because I'm there to support my cousin who just lost his father. We have, a couple more beers and hit the hot tub at their hotel and continue to reminisce mostly telling stories about his father and then we go back inside to watch Jordan's raiders play. This is where the tides shift, we're watching the game and one of the players has a fairly large diamond chain dangling from his neck and Sara goes "Put that N***er chain away" and I look to the left bug eyed and say "Woah, that's not cool. I don't play that shit" she's dead silent and so is my cousin and it's awkward between her and I the rest of the time but the part that irked me the most was my cousin was sort of rude and condescending towards ME for the rest of the night. So at that point im thinking to myself ok I definitely do not like this woman at all...whatsoever. But his dads funeral is tomorrow and it's not about me so we just gotta trudge along. To make matters even worse, I give Jordan a copy of the eulogy my brother wrote. My brother is his dad's Godson and Jordan didn't want to do the eulogy because he was still so hurt and shocked and public speaking isn't his strong suit. My brother asks if there was anything he'd like to add, perhaps a story or something he wanted to mention about his father. He takes a pen and writes "I'd like to thank my Uncle ***** (my dad) for taking all the appropriate measures to get my dad the care he needed while he was sick and especially Sara for her endless love and support during these hard times" or something along those lines. Keep in mind his father never met this girl and neither had anyone in our family except for the shit impression she left on me. Now before I even expressed my opinion of her to my parents they said yeah we're not putting that shit in there and so that comment was left out completely. Are my family and I blowing things out of proportion or is this completely un fucking acceptable? You have to understand, from the time Jordan's father got sick until he passed it was literally 5 weeks. We have never experienced sudden death in our family like this and we spent 90% of those 5 weeks at his side and when he died so suddenly it literally crushed us. It was just a huge slap in the face to us and most importantly his father that all he had to say was that he was thankful for this woman with shit character who came into his life 7 months ago. So my question to you guys and please please please I need some insight is with Christmas around the corner and him most likely wanting to bring this woman into our household for xmas festivities what should we do? Am I overreacting? I just feel bad because my cousin is living with this piece of work in Palm Springs and she's literally all he has there and if I were to tell him don't bring her for xmas dude I just feel like that would be another blow on top of just recently losing his father. At the same time, my family and I know she's not good for him therefore don't want her around, my cousin is not mature for his age and I just don't see anything remotely positive amounting from this girl. Please help, I'm so lost as to what to do in this situation. PS his mom and my mom have already expressed their disdain towards her to Jordan and while I haven't directly but I'm sure he knows what I'm thinking. He doesn't seem to care and has a skewed perception of her.
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Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 1: Welcome to the New World
Jon Moxley is a name many associate with AEW - after all he is their current reigning and defending Undisputed Champion of the World. However his reign has fallen flat. He has felt empty and like he’s missing something this whole time. I put it down to COVID. His champions coronation promo saw him say that the real champions were the fans, and he would fight for them. But when they were gone he felt empty. So as per the prompt, we will remove COVID-19 from the situation. So in a perfect world, this is how I would... Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 1: Welcome to the New World The events leading up to and including Revolution stay indictable. It was a good build with the Moxley joining The Inner Circle fake out and the mini-tournament that spanned across Bash at the Beach and the Jericho Cruise ship. The Dynamite after he makes the same promo about how the real champions are the fans and he will defend it for them. The week after he then has his list confrontation with Chris Jericho. Jericho and The Inner Circle stand in their private box above the fans, cutting a promo while Jon is in the ring. Jericho says it’s was a fluke and he wants a rematch. “We ain’t in the fed anymore Chris, I ain’t handing out rematches like candy”. Jon storms up and beats down on all of The Inner Circle, hitting Jericho with a Paradigm Shift through the table covered in popcorn and bubbly to the crowds roar. He then celebrates with the title among them. Then at Blood and Guts, it’s The Elite vs. The Inner Circle. Once we’ve just entered The Match Beyond, with Cody finally leaving his cage to join the match, The Bucks lock him out. They call The Inner Circle to a truce as they beat the ever loving fuck out of Kenny Omega and Adam Page. They mug the two men, as Cody is forced to watch his best friends and the foundation of his company destroyed. The Bucks leave the structure and double team Cody on the outside. They then leave. The rest of The Elite put up a good fight but since it’s 5-3, they obviously lose to The Inner Circle. Next week The Young Bucks come out to cut a promo stating what they did what they did. Simply, they don’t need The Elite. Well not they don’t need The Elite, because they are the elite, they don’t need the human Dusty Memorial, video game nerd and alcoholic. Since they’re EVP’s, they insert themselves into a match against Omega and Page for the tag titles next week. It’s just as good as Revolution, maybe even better as they both have even more passion within them to beat the others. In the end The Bucks hit More Bang for Your Buck and pin Hangman for the win. They are your new AEW Tag Team Champions. After losing Blood and Guts to The Inner Circle, after his best friends Matt and Nick Jackson turning on him and Cody and Adam Page, after losing his AEW Tag Team Championships to Matt and Nick, Kenny Omega is at rock bottom. The week after losing the tag titles, he wrestles Darby Allin in that weeks main event in a TNT Championship tournament match. Kenny comes out to a lukewarm reaction while his opponent Darby Allin gets a huge pop as he rolls down the ramp on his skateboard. He jumps off the skateboard, through the middle ropes and rolls into the ring. Ringside member throws the skateboard back towards Darby and he kicks the match off hot with a skateboard assisted Dropkick! Allin takes Kenny to the corner and hits a Hesitation Dropkick. He then hits a Snapmare and Springboard Meteora! Kenny is already dazed and the match has only gone a few seconds. Kenny goes for a lariat but Darby ducks and hits a Pele Kick followed by Rolling Youshi Tonic! 1......2.....Kenny barely kicks out. Darby then recovers in the corner while Kenny is flushed. Kenny regains his composure and begins to fight back. He hits a V-Trigger and starts to go back and forth with Darby. Darby however counters out of a One Winged Angel and hits a Backstabber followed by Coffin Drop. 1.........2.......3. Darby Allin advances. Jon Moxley is interviewed by Tony Schiavone about his accolades thus far and his ultimate goal. Jon tells Tony that so far he’s done all he needs to do, and that’s kick ass. And by being the quintessential ass kicker, he got the AEW World Championship. Darby Allin, Chris Jericho, Pac, Kenny Omega - all have succumb to him. Tony asks if he sees himself as being morally correct. Jon responds with “I used to know a guy who often said: I’m not a bad guy, but I’m not a good guy. You know what he was? He was THE guy.” Moxley says how he is that guy in terms of accolades, being the king of the AEW mountain. Lastly he’s asked on who he thinks will be the first to step up to him. “I don’t know who they are, but they can kiss being able to walk for the week following goodbye is all I know.” On the final episode of Being The Elite now that The Bucks are gone - we see Adam Page and Kenny drinking at a bar, the fall of The Elite never being so present. The episode ends when Kenny leaves the bar and heads to their car, and in the rain finds a pair of aviator shades resting on the seat of his car. He puts them on and we see a man we haven’t seen in a long time - The Cleaner. This clip is replayed on Dynamite with some higher quality. That same Dynamite the Casino Battle Royale is announced to take place on Dynamite to determine who will challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing. New rules are input - all 21 entrants will draw a card. The suit of their card will determine when they come out. Each suit come out in one batch at time intervals. For the first 5 entrants - all those entrants are of the Spades deck. Then entrants 6-10 will be of the Clubs deck, 11-15 the Diamonds and 16-20 the hearts. Everyone enters at 90 second time intervals with the Joker coming out last as the 21st entrant. The winner faces Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing. Jon Moxley cuts a promo the week before the Casino Battle Royale and roasts everyone of the possible people to win the match and face him. He comes at Jericho, MJF, Pac, but mainly Kenny Omega. Spades: 1- The Butcher 2- The Blade 3- “Broken” Matt Hardy 4- MJF 5- Dustin Rhodes Butcher and Blade start the match off. A tag team being 1 and 2 in these type of matches always draws a pop and the two go at it before the crowd explode for Broken Matt Hardy! We hear his old Impact theme and he walks down, finally broken, finally free. MJF follows suit and the boos rain down because as soon as he locks eyes with Hardy, he starts imitating he’s got a broken back and the crowd want him dead. Dustin Rhodes come out next and has a nice moment with Matt before they start fighting. Butcher and Blade then begin to team up and try and eliminate some people. Hearts: 6- Jake Hager 7- Diamond Dallas Page 8- Billy Gunn 9- Tommy Dreamer 10- Sonny Kiss Jake Hager comes out and tries to dump Dustin out immediately. They go back and forth before they eliminate each other brawling over the ropes. DDP then comes out to a big pop, followed by a big pop when Billy Gunn comes out, followed by another big pop when Tommy Dreamer comes out! Tour of the dads! DDP gives everyone a Diamond Cutter, and Gunn gives a Famouser to MJF. Sonny Kiss comes out and has a face off with Dreamer. Kiss then bashes Dreamer’s face into his ass like last year. Clubs: 11- Shawn Spears 12- Joey Janela 13- Wardlow 14- Masato Tanaka 15- Jimmy Havoc Break from the comedy as Shawn Spears comes out and we’re getting serious. Spears takes out Billy Gunn as soon as he walks in, takes out DDP, goes to eliminate Dreamer but Dreamer gets out and fights back. Joey Janela and Dreamer have a hardcore brawl, Wardlow comes out to help MJF and they fight with Butcher and The Blade. Throwback spot, as Masato Tanaka comes out! Jimmy Havoc comes out, and joins the Dreamer and Janela fight. They use a couple weapons, before Havoc knocks a kendo stick over the head of Janela, before hitting an Acid Rainmaker to Dreamer and he falls through a table as he falls out! Diamonds: 16- Brodie Lee 17- Jeff Cobb 18- Michael Nakazawa 19- Lance Archer 20- Kenny Omega Brodie Lee gets a huge pop when he enters, making his AEW debut tonight. He comes in and Discus Clothesline’s everyone, before dumping out Sonny Kiss. Butcher and The Blade go to eliminate Brodie Lee, but Lee gets out. Butcher and Blade turn around and are tossed out by Wardlow and MJF. Jeff Cobb comes out and has a monsters brawl with Brodie Lee. Cobb and Lee take down everyone in the ring, and then - Michael Nakazawa. He comes out and looks at Cobb and Lee, side to side, oh boy he’s made a mistake. He undoes his thong and does his general antics before Lance Archer comes out making his AEW debut! Archer, Cobb and Lee all surround Nakazawa. Oh Jesus he chose the wrong day to be a human. Wardlow then walks in and to every direction he looks, a monster surrounds him. He then walks through a gap and simply dumps himself out to avoid harm. Then all the monsters have a huge fight. Final entrant before Joker and it’s who we’ve all been waiting for, it’s Kenny Omega. Joker: 21- Chris Jericho Jericho walks out with the Joker card in hand, as Pyro shoots off around him. Jericho nails a Judas Effect to Masato Tanaka who collapses to the outside. Jimmy Havoc and Joey Janela bring a ladder into the ring and take down everyone. Janela climbs to the top of the ladder and goes for a Diving Elbow to a pile of people below him, but Jimmy Havoc from behind climbs up and locks in a barbed wire bat assisted choke hold! Then everyone below team up to push them to the outside! Broken Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho have a fight, and Jericho wins, tossing out Hardy. Eight remaining in the ring and finally after everyone hit their finishers, Wardlow is tossed out, followed by Lance Archer eliminating MJF with a Razor’s Edge to the outside, into Wardlow. Kenny Omega eliminates Shawn Spears with a mighty V-Trigger and he starts to have a great contest with Jeff Cobb. However now it’s Jericho teaming with Jeff Cobb as they’re Inner Circle buddies. They both team up to eliminate Lance Archer. Jericho then thinks “right, Cobb’ll just throw himself out won’t he?” Jericho then berates Cobb to get out, let him win - TOUR OF THE ISLANDS FROM COBB!! Kenny Omega picks Jericho up and it’s Double or Nothing 2019 all over again. Omega and Jericho start to go at it. Jericho throws a Judas Effect but Omega ducks and throws him out. Omega then looks down at Jericho and gets his win back from him. Jeff Cobb and Kenny Omega are the final two left standing and they go at it. Cobb uses his amazing strength to nearly eliminate Kenny so many times but he fails each time. Omega then manages to get Cobb up on his shoulders, One Winged Angel! Huge pop at this as Omega v-triggers Cobb out to win the match. After the match Jon Moxley walks out. He walks up to Omega and holds his title high. On the go home show, Omega then comes out with Michael Nakazawa, Riho and Adam Page behind him. Omega is in a white t-shirt and his tights. The foursome stare down Moxley and he tells Moxley that this isn’t the old him - this is the best him. “I have got this group of guys by my side and my lover back in Japan standing with me. I got rid of those punk ass bitches Matt and Nick, I got rid of everything from my recession era - all I need now is your AEW Championship.” The two close the show with a gigantic stare down before Double or Nothing. Double or Nothing 2020: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Kenny Omega - AEW World Championship Kenny enters first. It starts with a video playing on the titantron of a montage of Kenny’s road to being led here as a version of Devil’s Sky plays. It features his friendship with Kota Ibushi, Michael Nakazawa, Riho, Adam Page and finally leading him to this moment. It finishes with a quick recap of their beef over the past few months. Jon won the first time - but that wasn’t an official match in the record books. Kenny has everything to lose going in here. It’s Double...or Nothing. We hear an angelic voice singing the same “hoooohhhhhooohhh” on repeat as Kenny slowly rises on an elevator. During this the angelic voice is mixed with the pounding beat of the Terminator 2 soundtrack. Finally all sound stops, and Kenny walks forward. LittleVMills is on the side of the stage singing Battle Cry live from the opening piano notes to him roaring “The Best...BOUT...MACHINE” and we’re finally able to see Kenny. He steps forwards as pyro shoots through the sky, as he awaits his biggest match in AEW. Jon Moxley makes a big entrance too as we see his entire journey from the limo to ringside with the title slung over his shoulder. He rolls into the ring and leans back like he did at Double or Nothing 1, and the match is on. Straight away Kenny hits a V-Trigger and the two start throwing punches at each other. It’s hog wild to begin with. Kenny hits a tight rope knee drop to Mox. Mox ducks a lariat and hits a Neckbreaker to Omega! Omega runs into the corner with a Corner Back Elbow! Omega then vault jumps to the top turnbuckle, Moonsault by Omega!!! Omega runs the ropes but Mox ducks his attack and catches him with a TKO! Moxley hits an Inverted Atomic Drop and goes for a Neckbreaker but Omega gets out and connects a Superkick! He hits a Rope Run Diving Knee Strike! 1.......2.....Kick Out by Mox! Mox rolls to the outside to recover. Omega goes for a Calf Kick through the bottom rope but Mox catches him with a European Uppercut! Mox rolls back into the ring and hits a Snake Eyes to Omega! Omega lays on the apron now as Mox stomps him viciously through the ropes. Omega gets back up and goes for a Slingshot Spear but Mox catches and hits a Draping DDT!!! 1.....2.....Omega gets his foot on the ropes!!! Mox pulls Omega up. He goes for a Vertical Suplex but Omega reverses into a DDT!! Omega hits a Shin Breaker followed by running the ropes and hitting a Bicycle Kick! Omega goes to do the the finger gun taunt but Mox having none of it, Running Brainbuster from Mox! He looks like he’s gonna cover but Omega spins around into an Armbar. Mox pulls Omega up and hits a Spinning Sit-out Powerbomb! 1.......2......Kick Out!!! Mox gets Omega up and plants him on the top rope with an Atomic Drop. He leaves him laying there as he dives from the middle rope with a Clothesline to Omega! Omega falls to the outside. Mox rolls out there and throws him into the steel steps. Mox goes for a Kitchen Sink but Omega dodges and Mox’s knee goes splat. Omega rolls back into the ring but immediately goes flying with a Tope Con Hilo! He goes for a Exploder Suplex into the barricade but Mox gets out, Spear into the barricade! Mox could easily win by Countout here but he wants to win properly and most of all hurt Kenny some more. He throws Kenny back into the ring but Kenny Superkick’s him off the apron. Kenny rolls to the outside and buries Mox under a pile of mats from the floor. He then hits a Springboard Double Foot Stomp onto Mox! Now he throws him back in. Omega hits a German Suplex and lines up a V-Trigger. He jumps for it but Mox dodges and hits a Piledriver! 1.........2......KICK OUT!!! Kenny gets up. Mox connects a Bicycle Kick and goes for a Butterfly Suplex but Kenny counters midair into a Frankensteiner! 1........2.....Kick Out!! Omega throws elbows at Mox before Irish whipping him into the corner. Mox gets his foot up before he hits the corner, then grabs Omega and hurls him into the corner. He connects a Kitchen Sink and goes for a Paradigm Shift but Omega gets out and hits a Butterfly Piledriver! 1........2......Mox Kicks Out!!! Mox goes for a Lariat but Kenny ducks and hits a Basement Dropkick. Kenny goes for an attack but Moxley catches with a Kneecap Brainbuster!!! Mox goes for a Piledriver but Omega slides out and hits a Rolling Fireman’s Carry Slam + Moonsault combo! 1..........2........MOX KICKS OUT!!! Mox gets back to his feet and dumps Kenny to the outside. Kenny goes for a Hanging Soccer Kick but Mox ducks and hits a Belly to Back Suplex from in the ring onto the apron to Omega! Omega looks like he’s not gonna get up for 10 but he manages to get on the apron and connect a Springboard Missile Dropkick while Mox was posing! Kenny hits a Cross-Legged Fisherman Neckbreaker! He goes for a Superkick but Mox twists him around and hits an Exploder German Suplex into the corner! Mox connects another Kitchen Sink! He goes for a Paradigm Shift with Kenny’s feet hanging off the top ropes, but Kenny gets out and sits on the top turnbuckle. He then jumps from the top ropes onto the actual rope and hits a Moonsault to Mox! Mox lays on the second rope which lines up a V-Trigger from Omega! Omega then hits Croyt’s Wrath!!!! 1..........2.......KICK OUT!!! Mox rolls to the outside and walks up the ramp. Kenny runs for him he’s caught by a Bicycle Knee and Paradigm Shift onto the steel! Both men can barely get up but they do so. Kenny then hits a Kotaro Krusher on the ramp! They both rush back to the ring. Mox scoops Kenny up and charges into the corner. Mox hits a Scoop Slam followed by a Death Valley Driver! He then hits a Dragon Suplex! He runs at Omega for another attack but Omega catches and hits a Pumphandle Dr. Wiley’s Bomb!! 1..........2.....Kick Out!!!! Mox gets up and throws elbows at Omega. Mox finally connects a Paradigm Shift! 1............2........KICK OUT!!!! Omega hits another Kotaro Krusher followed by a massive V-Trigger! He gets Mox up for the One Winged Angel but Mox gets out and hits a Neckbreaker as he comes down. Mox goes for a Running Knee - Omega catches - MOXLEY LIFTS HIM UP INTO A PARADIGM SHIFT!!!!!! 1.............2...........3!!!! Jon Moxley defeats Kenny Omega to retain the AEW World Championship (33:41) Brian Cage won the Casino Ladder Match, and so has a match with Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship set in stone. It’s announced to take place at Fyter Fest. Taz cuts a promo hyping up Cage and how dominant he is. Jon Moxley interrupts saying to Cage - “the only reason you’re here is because everywhere else your piss would melt the cup.” The Machine then attacks him with a Lou Thesz Press, raining down closed fists. Moxley rolls him over and lays in some shots of his own. Taz pulls his client off and takes him away, meanwhile Cage shouts profanities at Jon. Jon raises his AEW World Championship in triumph. The next week we see a video package we would of seen when Cage was in Lucha Underground; of him throwing giant tires around, beating up gangs of thugs, and training like the machine he is. This can all be filmed at Cody’s wrestling school. At the end of the video he says the famous line “I’m Not a Man, I’m a Machine”. Meanwhile Taz is showing up on Dynamite, confronting and calling out Moxley. Moxley responds to Taz saying he’s got his own manager to help him in the fight against Cage. And similarly to Taz/Cage, this manager is fairly similar to Moxley. He is also a famous anti-hero, who chose to not go to the other company. Taz will learn very soon who he is, if he keeps bugging him. June 10th edition of Dynamite - Cage and Moxley have a sit down interview with Jim Ross. Both men are strapped in chairs under chains, meaning they are forced to stay apart from each other. Jim Ross firstly asks Moxley what he thinks of Brian Cage. Moxley puts Cage over first by saying he is probably the strongest and biggest guy in AEW, but that don’t mean two shits when he’s fighting Jon motherfuckin Moxley. Mox is the toughest son of a bitch in AEW, and the most crazy. “You may be a machine, but I have fought men similar to you (Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32) and I didn’t fear em’ whatsoever because I’m fearless.” This births the tag line “Madman vs. Machine.” Moxley is then asked about who is manager is. Moxley responds it’s up to Taz if he wants to find out. Taz says Moxley’s manager is irrelevant, because he could have an entire army in his corner and they still couldn’t stop “The Machine” Brian Cage. The Exalted One begins to hold Dark Order meetings where they discuss Jon Moxley and Brian Cage. Mr. Brodie Lee says that he should be AEW World Champion right now, and that the title should be with The Dark Order. Evil Uno tells Mr. Brodie that he got some information on speculated candidates for who can be in Moxley’s corner. Brodie cuts him off by grabbing him by the tie, and pulling him in for a punch on the nose. “What a mark...” Lee says as he sits back down. Everyone else then murmur in agreement when Lee says that. “YOU WILL NOT MUMBLE AT MY SPEECH - I AM TO BE RESPECTED.” They all laugh in fright. “Better.” The meeting ends when the lights go out and we hear the sound of a crow squawking. Next week Moxley does his own training video package where he beats up a punching bag with a black baseball bat. Brian Cage then makes the challenge to Jon Moxley, Machine’s Rules Match. The rules are: for the entire week before Fyter Fest, Monday to Sunday, both Moxley and Cage have to do Cage’s training routine. As soon as the sun bursts out, you have to start training, and you only stop when nightfalls. And this being Florida in June, you’ll be training for a long time, in absolute heat. This is how Cage lives, and if Mox trains like this for a week, they’ll both be in peak physical condition for the match. Moxley accepts, and neither show up on the go home because they’re training. Fyter Fest 2020: Jon Moxley (c) (with ???) vs. Brian Cage (with Taz) - Machine’s Rules Match for the AEW World Championship Both guys enter out looking real jacked due to their recent training. Taz is the backing man of Cage of course, meanwhile Moxley comes out solo. The UK crowd at Wembley Arena are loving Jon as he walks out through their seats, stopping every once in a while to celebrate with the title with a nearby fan. Justin Roberts asks him where his manager is, and Moxley says he’ll come when he comes. Moxley then goes to take off his jacket, and once he turns around HE SPRINTS AT BRIAN CAGE WITH A LOU THESZ PRESS!!! THE BELL FRANTICALLY RINGS!!! The commentators jump out their seats at the sudden attack and begin to call the action. Moxley let’s rest when Aubrey demands so. He then looks at The Machine Lynn on the floor. CAGE KIPS UP!! Brian flexes, then hits a Scoop Slam to Moxley! Cage then takes Moxley down with a Lou Thesz Press! HE PULLS HIM OFF THE GROUND INTO A DEADLIFT SUPLEX!! Cage lands in a seating position and looks at a nearby camera, pointing to his biceps. Cage flexes his muscles while Taz looks for a mic. He grabs one but the fans immediately start booing. Moxley slides out and grabs it out of his hands. “Save everyone a headache.” HE BONKS TAZ ON THE HEAD WITH THE MIC!! Taz stumbles back into the announce desk. Mox rolls back in but he’s caught by Cage. CAGE HITS HIM WITH A POWERBOMB INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!! Cage lariats Mox head off and scales the ropes. FIVE STAR LARIAT - MISSES!! MOXLEY LOCKS IN A FUJIWARA ARMBAR!! Jim Ross screams about Cage’s formerly torn bicep and how much pain he must be in. The Machine displays this with his facials. “Any man would give up at this moment...(as Cage rises out) but he’s not a man, THIS IS A MACHINE!” shouts JR as Cage pulls himself out. CAGE HITS A F’N 5!! HE FLIES WITH THE FIVE STAR ELBOW DROP FROM THE TOP ROPES!!! 1.........2........KICK OUT!!! Cage pulls him up and goes for a TORNADO CLAW - BUT MOXLEY KICKS HIS BICEP WHILE HE’S SPINNING!! LARIAT BY MOX!! Jon then picks him up and hits A RUNNING BULLDOG, CAGE LANDING ON HIS ARM! They roll to the outside. Moxley goes for a Standing Kimura, but Cage with a HIP TOSS ON THE FLOOR!! BRIAN CAGE THEN HITS A GERMAN SUPLEX TO JON INTO THE GUARDRAIL!! The guardrail shakes at the hit and the fans feel a Moxley-covets guardrail on their laps. Taz meanwhile sets up a chair for Cage. CAGE THEN HITS ANOTHER GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE OUTSIDE ONTO THE UNFOLDED CHAIR!! Cage rolls back in to taunt while Moxley lays dead. He eventually crawls to the apron. Jon lumps his body onto the apron and grabs the second rope to get up. No time to waste though as CAGE BRINGS HIM IN WITH A DEADLIFT SUPLEX INTO THE RING!! CAGE COVERS - 1............2.......KICK OUT!! Cage pulls him up and hits a a CURB STOMP!! He then tries for the CHAINLINK - BUT MOXLEY GETS OUT!! JON HITS THE MACHINE WITH A MONEY CLIP!!! MOXLEY IS COMING BACK BABY. He starts to stomp on the arm so Cage can’t hit the Weapon X. Cage still tries for it though and fails, and IS THEN HIT BY A RUNNING BULLDOG!! MOXLEY GOES FOR THE DRILL CLAW!!! CAGE COUNTERS INTO HIS OWN DRILL CLAW!! 1..........2........KICK OUT!!!! Cage throws MOXLEY into the ropes and runs for a Tiger Feint Kick - BUT MOXLEY SPINS AND REBOUNDS WITH THE (wacky line...). MOXLEY LIFTS HIM UP WITH A OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX!! Cage rolls out, but MOXLEY THEN DIVES OUT AFTER CAGE WITH A SUICIDE DIVE!! PARADIGM SHIFT ON THE FLOOR!! They both lay dead. Cage gets up and crawls in, but Jon is still down. Taz screams for the ref to start counting and so they do. But it’s cut off...the arena is in darkness. “Could...this be Moxley’s mystery manager?” The fans start to get loud as a spotlight moves to the entranceway. Then...crow’s squawk... Jim Ross has a hernia on commentary with enthusiasm, “GOOD GAWD TONY, DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE HIM? ITS THE STINGER!” STING HAS ARRIVED! He makes his march down the ramp with a baseball bat in hand. He marches down and points the bat at Taz, who shakes his head in fear. Taz tries to console him - WHAM!! BAT SHOT TO THE MIDSECTION!! He throws Taz in the ring and LOCKS IN A SCORPION DEATH LOCK!!! MOXLEY SLITHERS UP BEHIND AND HITS A KICK TO THE MIDSECTION - PARADIGM SHIFT!!!! 1...........2...........3!!!! JON MOXLEY HAS RETAINED THE AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - BUT ALSO NOTABLE - STING IS ALL ELITE!!! Jon Moxley defeats Brian Cage (21:12) With Fyter Fest in the rear view mirror, a lot of questions are left unanswered about Jon Moxley - and also his new manager. Or even is it his manager? Are they just friends? Was it a one off? Is Sting going to show up again? All of these are answered on the next Dynamite, back in the States. Moxley firstly thanks the United Kingdom fans for being crazy sons of bitches, “I had a great time with y’all.” He addresses the appearance of Sting, and answers the questions I just proposed. “I needed a buddy heading into Fyter Fest, and Sting was my best choice.” - actually, I’ll let the man speak for himself.” Sting then enters out. However, he isn’t “Sting” - he’s Steve Borden. Literally, the make up has been washed off. Steve takes the mic, wearing his finest three-piece suit and shades, the other hand holding his bat. Sting says he’s not here out of vendetta for the fed, he’s not here to push himself to the moon - he’s 61 years old. But after being let go, he’s found a place to put that piece of his heart that belongs to wrestling. His real home is with his family, but his heart will always belong to pro wrestling from a professional standpoint. He’s got a lot of friends here, and he gets the hype. He wants to hang with his buds and watch the new generation unfold. The week after we get a #1 Contenders Match for the AEW World Championship between the #1 and #2 on the Power Rankings - Darby Allin and Lance Archer. Allin wins to become the number 1. Darby Allin is then confirmed to be Jon Moxley’s opponent for Fight for the Fallen next week. Allin had recently gone through most of the TNT tournament but was eliminated by Cody due to some Archer interference. How he got his win over Archer, who goes berserk after the match. Afterwards Moxley and Sting come out to shake hands with Allin. The show hands with the shot of Sting and Darby Allin shaking hands ahead of Fight for the Fallen. Fight for the Fallen opens with a Darby Allin promo. He films it in the style of his normal promos, but has a clear message. He starts by telling Mox the David Starr line: “going from one billionaire to another isn’t a paradigm shift, sounds like the same fucking thing to me.” He then tells Mox his days of making barely a buck off of nearly dying in the ring have been dead for 10 years, but Allin this time last year was living that life. Jon spent the decade in cozy McMahonLand getting a million dollar salary, before he somehow changed the landscape by collecting an even bigger salary. Mox knows the struggle Allin lives, but he’s forgotten it. He’s not an anti-hero rebellious badass, he’s a corporate shill. Later on, Mox then cuts a promo responding to Allin. Jon says he hasn’t gotten soft, he hasn’t forgotten the struggle. Mox says he worked his damn ass off to get to be World Champion. He fought off the entire Inner Circle. Darby Allin got a single win and had to steal David Starr’s line. When Mox says they aren’t in the same league, he means it. But now Allin wants to talk big. He wants Mox to get down and dirty, live that CZW life he lived, he’ll do so. “Darby, I didn’t forget it, I just grew past it. But I’m a sucker for nostalgia and wants new is old, so Darby - it’s No DQ.” Mox walks off from the camera and that’s the last we see of the world champ before the match later - which is now No DQ. Fight for the Fallen 2020: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Darby Allin - No Disqualification Match for the AEW World Championship Allin is challenging and has a Moxley cutoff mask with an eye cut out. He wears this and gets in Jon’s once he enters. Moxley gets in his face and gets slapped back, causing the beating to begin. The bell rings and the match has started. Jon continues with stomps at feeling disrespected. He throws Allin into the ring post and follows with a Back Body Drop. 1.......2....KICK OUT BY DARBY!! Moxley grabs a mic as he looks down at Darby. “I was once like you...never being able to stay down - always had to keep fighting and never listened to people’s cautionary advice. But now we’ve come full circle, and I want you to slow down and stop. But you won’t, and I know because I wouldn’t. ALLIN THEN PULLS HIM DOWN AND LAYS IN ELBOW SHOTS TO THE DOME!! Jon looks furious and rushes Allin but HE HITS A TILT-A-WHIRL DDT!!! ALLIN THEN LOCKS IN A FUJIWARA ARMBAR WITH PUNCHES TO THE HAND AND JOINT MANIPULATION!! Excalibur says he’s trying to take Jon Moxley back to his old self and that place through this level of violence. Moxley pulls him off BUT HE’S HIT BY A FRONT DROPKICK INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!! MOXLEY THEN CATCHES ALLIN WITH A CLOSED FIST TO THE JAW!! Allin falls like a ton of bricks and is bleeding from the mouth. Moxley then scales the ropes and hits a DIVING ELBOW DROP TO DARBY!!!! 1..........2.......KICK OUT!!! MOXLEY THEN HITS HIM WITH A KITCHEN SINK STRAIGHT AFTER!!! 1...........2..........KICK OUT!!! Moxley gets agitated at Allin not staying down. He shouts at him again, BUT ALLIN WITH A LOW BLOW!! HE THROWS JON OUT AND HITS A SUICIDE DIVE!! He lands on him with more punches and elbows. MOXLEY THEN THROWS HIM OFF RAMP INTO THE RING POST!!! Allin lays dead. After a bit of recovering, Moxley picks him up and throws him into the ring. He walks from the corner - stalking his prey. He toys with it before the kill - LOCKING IN AN STF!! Jon looks into Allin’s desperate eyes as he screams in pain. Allin places a middle finger in his face! MOXLEY BITES THAT FINGER!! ALLIN ESCAPES AND HITS A DOUBLE FOOT STOMP ONTO THE BACK!! He throws Moxley outside and STOMPS HIS FINGERS INTO THE RING POST!!! HE THEN DIVES FROM THE TOP WITH A SPRINGBOARD BACKSPLASH!! Allin and Moxley both lean against the guardrail, panting. Darby then gets up and checks under the ring - AND PULLS OUT THE CRACKER BARREL!! THE CROWD ERUPT!! Moxley kicks him in the gut before he can use it and throws him over the guardrail! MOXLEY THEN CROSSBODIES OVER IT!!! He throws him into the railing on the stairs. ALLIN THEN JUMPS OFF THE STAIRS WITH A SEATED SENTON!! HE THROWS MOXLEY INTO THE RAILINGS, AND THEN INTO A GROUP OF FANS CHAIRS!! Allin starts to climb up the railings, going for a Coffin Drop onto Moxley laid across the fans seats. Moxley gets out the way though and pulls him down. They then walk down the stairs into a more open area, WHERE MOXLEY HITS DARBY WITH A TRASH CAN ACROSS THE BACK!! He carries the lid with him as well as Darby back to ringside. Jon sets up a table for later use. Moxley goes to smash the lid over Allin’s head but he shoulder barges him in the midsection! ALLIN THEN PUSHES JON INTO THE APRON!! He throws him back in with the lid. He also pushes the Cracker Barrel inside. HE HITS A TRASH CAN LID ASSISTED COFFIN DROP!! BUT MOXLEY CATCHES WITH A REAR NAKED CHOKE!! His ribs hurt from the trash can lid though and so Allin easily gets out. DARBY THEN WITH A SUPERKICK TO THE HEAD! HE HITS THE FLIPPING STUNNER FROM THE CORNER!! HE THEN HITS MOXLEY WITH THE PARADIGM SHIFT, HIS OWN MOVE, ONTO THE CRACKER BARREL!!!! 1...................2.................KICK OUT!!!!! Moxley is so pissed at Allin stealing his move, he takes him to the apron. He goes for a Paradigm Shift onto the apron - but he rethinks it. HE INSTEAD HITS A PARADIGM SHIFT OFF THE APRON THROUGH THE TABLE!!! This is the second time they’re both laying in crumbled wood after a Paradigm Shift within about a minute. Moxley pulls himself up and GOES FOR A GOTCH-STYLE PILEDRIVER ON THE OUTSIDE!!! ALLIN GETS OUT AND THROWS HIM IN THE RING, AND HEADS FOR A COFFIN DROP!! MOXLEY HITS HIM MIDAIR WITH THE TRASH CAN LID!!! HE THEN ROLLS UP DARBY ALLIN!! 1........2........3!!!! MOXLEY WINS!!! Allin gets his shoulders off the mat just afterwards and tries to get up, but he falls to the mat in pain - the pain of defeat. Jon Moxley defeats Darby Allin (17:33) Jon Moxley has just competed his third defence against Darby Allin, and it hurt him even in victory. The Dynamite after he brings out Allin and Sting to the ring. He tells Darby at Fight for the Fallen he felt like he was wrestling the Jon Moxley from 10 years ago. A stupid kid jumping onto barbed wire or light tubes for a slice of pizza. He wasn’t able to say “no”, he kept going. He couldn’t listen to people telling him to slow down and take it easy - he had to give it 110% every time. That is now who Darby Allin is, and he is now the person telling him to stop. He just wants to put what they did to each other in the past and move forward. Hell, Jon think they could make a good team. Darby chuckles at the idea, but shrugs and says he’s down. Sting then complaints Allin, saying he sees a lot of himself in Darby too. The week after then it’s set to be a Tag Team Match - with Jon Moxley and Darby Allin teaming up for the first time. They will take on the trio that have recently took AEW by storm - Death Triangle. They would immediately make enemies out of Jurassic Express, with Pac being disgusted goofballs like them take the air time that should be his, and the fans support that should be his, and the rankings spots that should be his. They face at Double or Nothing - with Death Triangle coming out on top. At Fyter Fest they would win the inaugural AEW Trios Championships in a match with the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy, and since then have been dominating everyone they’ve passed. The match main events the show, with Fénix and Pac representing Death Triangle. Sting and Pentagon Jr. are in their teams corners, and during the entrance we see Sting and Pentagon stare down in the centre of the ring. Both famous for being black and white face painted anti-heroes, with voices of silence and an affinity for darkness and weapons. The match ends when while Moxley is on the top rope looking for an Avalanche Paradigm Shift - Fénix threatens to assault Sting on the outside, which distracts Jon. Pac then shoves him off the top turnbuckle to the mat, and HITS A BLACK ARROW!!! 1.............2...........3!!!! PAC PINS THE AEW WORLD CHAMPION JON MOXLEY!!! This means Pac is now in line for an AEW World Championship match. He cuts a promo on Jon Moxley the week after and is grinning maniacally. He reminds Moxley of their match from 10 months ago on the October 23rd and 4th ever edition of Dynamite. They went to a draw, but this time around we will have a victor. Pac then tells Jon he makes him furious - to watch him get all these scumbags (points to the fans) to like him. Why? Why would he stoop so low? Because he’s insecure. He hides his lack of wrestling skill with weapons and blood, and these bloodthirsty warthogs (points to the fans again) eat it up like the vile little leeches they are. On the week following’s episode of Dynamite, Darby Allin is teaming with his best frenemy Cody against Brian Cage and Ricky Starks. It ends when Allin rolls up Ricky to win. Brian Cage then decimates Allin. Moxley comes to his rescue however. Moxley and Cage stare down before getting into a tussle. Cody and Ricky Starks go at it, but Cage and Starks start to double team. Dustin Rhodes then makes the save. Death Triangle come out from the stage, but then the lights go down...ITS STING!! Not Steve Borden, he’s back in the makeup and wreaking all hell upon Death Triangle. The show ends with Cage and Starks retreating to the stage where they group up with Death Triangle, meanwhile Sting walks to the ring to stand beside Cody, Dustin Rhodes, Jon Moxley and Darby Allin. This all leads into possibly the biggest tag team match since Blood and Guts. A Ten-man Tag Team Match main events the August 22nd edition of Dynamite. It consists of Pac, Fénix, Pentagon Jr, Brian Cage and Ricky Starks teaming up to take on: Jon Moxley, Cody, Darby Allin, Dustin Rhodes...and Sting. In his first ever match in AEW, and his last ever match in wrestling. Retiring on that Rollins match is not a way to go out, and after 35 years in wrestling - this is a match to go out on. The only spot I’m having him do is: be tagged in, hit Fénix with a bat, lock in the Scorpion Death Lock, Fénix escapes, they both rush to their corners to get hot tags. The rest of it is mayhem between 9 other supremely talented men. The heels win after Fénix pins Moxley. This sets up a lot of things. Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage and Pac vs. Jon Moxley at All Out, as well as Fénix getting an AEW World Championship match in the future. The final week before All Out sees Jon Moxley and Pentagon Jr. face off in a non-title bout. If Pentagon wins, he’ll get a future championship match. All of his other teammates have pinned Jon, so if he doesn’t do it he’ll miss out on the biggest opportunity of his career as well as be considered the weakest angle of Death Triangle. They go to war in the main event, with Pentagon Jr. hitting a Mexican Destroyer onto the floor at one point. Pac and Fénix try to interfere, but Mox uses them against Penta. He docks an attack and Pentagon ends up diving into his partners. They end up costing him in the match, meaning he will miss out on an AEW World Championship match. Will Pentagon repay the favour to Pac at All Out in 3 days? Who knows. Moxley tells Pac however that since he think that Jon can’t wrestle, he’s making it a Pinfall and Submission Only Match. All Out 2020: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Pac - Pinfall and Submission Only Match for the AEW World Championship Continues in the comments...
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