Tarah Nova and Aria Jaxon sit in a restaurant in Milan, Italy, trying out the local cuisine after filming an episode of Empire.
Aria: So, nervous for next week. Big matches for both of us.
Tarah: Excited. We can get back, see our babes. God knows what they’re doing without us around. It’s never anything good.
The cameras show Nasir Moore and Aren Mstislav sitting on a couch with two T.V.’s set up next to each other, playing the game Overwatch together. Then it switches back to Milan.
Aria: I’m sure they’re just working out and getting ready for their next show. That’s all they ever do.
Tarah: Mhm… sure.
Tarah (in the confessional): We’re just a week from Malicious Intentions and Aria and I both have huge title opportunities. But we’re just as thrilled to end this long European trip. A lot of things have happened over the last several months. Huge changes for all of us. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is how close me and Aria are.
Aria: I miss our idiot boyfriends.
The opening credits of the show start while “Something New” by GIRLS ALOUD plays. The cast is shown one-by-one: Tarah Nova, Cailin Dillon, Aria Jaxon, Stephanie Matsuda, Alexis Diemos and Cameron Ell Ava. Executive producers Emily Dillon, Aria Jackson-LeBeau and Tarah Nova.
The show switches backstage before the episode of Empire and Stephanie Matsuda is looking at the card for the night along with Brody Sparks and Madison Kaline.
Brody Sparks: Cailin with a prerecorded segment? What’s with that? I didn’t know she left.
Stephanie Matsuda: She’s taking care of some personal stuff. She’ll be back next week for the big show.
Madison Kaline: Personal? Everything ok, damn?
Stephanie (in the confessional): I don’t know all of what’s going on, just that Emily had to leave the tour in an emergency and they had her film something in advance. She’s been silent. I think everyone is a little worried about that.
In Dallas, Texas, Emily Dillon is shown standing outside of a small farm house as she picks up and loads a box into the back of an SUV. She lets out a breath and gets in her car and starts driving away from the farm.
Emily Dillon (in the confessional): I’ve been quiet with the rest of the girls, but I had to leave the European tour and come home because… my dad passed away a week ago.
Emily gets emotional in the confessional and drops her head, reaching up to wipe away a tear. Back in Milan, backstage at Empire, Stephanie’s phone rings.
Stephanie: Here she is now!
The camera shows a sequence of Stephanie dropping her jaw and slowly covering her mouth. She walks off camera to take the call privately,
Stephanie (in the confessional): I was shocked to hear Cailin’s news. I couldn’t believe she didn’t tell me for an entire week. I understood, but also… I thought we had more trust than that. I would be there to help her if she let me. We’ve come so far. A lot of people don’t realize that we started to rekindle our relationship back in December. We’ve been back together since right before she won the Women’s Championship and now we both have a really big moment coming up at Malicious Intentions next week. It’s just crazy to think she did this alone. Sometimes even I underestimate her strength. But sometimes she needs the help.
Stephanie is seen talking to Aria and Tarah and they all share a hug as the scene fades to images from Cailin’s segment. The show segways to a transition of a plane taking off and another one landing. A brief montage of Los Angeles-area scenery is shown before a hot pink nameplate reading “NORTHRIDGE, CA” briefly appears on the screen. The camera pans over the face of a decent-sized building, which is revealed to be Northridge Skateland. Inside, Aria and Tarah are shown carefully avoiding tables and other people as they skate from the snack bar to their table with drinks in their hands.
Tarah (in the confessional): This is the kind of night Aria and I both need right now. Malicious Intentions is close and we have a lot to think about, but if we don’t take time to decompress a little, we’re gonna go insane. We need a little fun to keep us mellowed out, and I think AJ had the right idea with this skating thing.
Aria (in the confessional): We were over in Europe for what felt like forever on the tour before Malicious Intentions, so it feels good as hell to be back stateside with our boys. Every girl on Empire has been training her ass off lately. This show is a big deal, but all work and no play sounds pretty shitty, right?
The two roll up to the table, where Nasir and Aren are sitting down with Aria’s older brother and sister-in-law, Andre and Gia, who have both tagged along for the night. Gia is laughing almost uncontrollably while the three guys untie their skates. Tarah pressed a kiss to the top of Nas’ head before placing a cup on the table in front of him.
Nasir: Thanks, babe.
Tarah: You’re welcome. You know you could’ve just skated over there with us.
Nasir: And risk busting my ass again? No thanks. You’re a lifesaver, though.
Gia: I kind of wish I’d started keeping count now. You guys have spent more time on the floor than you have skating.
Andre: This shit is complicated, okay? We’re getting it. Kinda.
Tarah: You mean to tell me you have enough coordination to like…chase down other grown men and tackle them, but you can’t stand upright on wheels?
Andre: I said “kinda”, didn’t I?
Aria: “Getting it”? By whose standards? When Tarah and I left, you were on your back staring up at the strobe lights and Nas was hanging onto the wall…
Aren: LIKE A BITCH!
Aria (in the confessional): Never a dull moment, I guess.
Nasir: You’re just gonna conveniently ignore the fact that your man fell too?
Aren: I fell ONCE, and that was because some lady and her daughter skated right in front of me. I couldn’t be the asshole who mowed over a mom and her kid, could I?
Nasir: Why not? You’re the asshole any other time.
Aren: I am, and you’re my best friend, so what does that say about you?
Nasir stifled a laugh and shook his head. He opened his mouth to say something else, but he was cut off by a server coming up to their table with their food. Once she left, Tarah reached over to swipe a French fry from his plate.
Tarah: I’m not gonna lie, I was kiiiiiinda more in the mood for Netflix and laziness tonight, but this has been fun. Skating and junk food has been a good fucking substitute.
Aria: See! I told you it would be. Plus, there’s no better entertainment than watching the guys fall the fuck over. Nothing on Netflix is better than that, sorry.
Aren, Nasir, and Andre groaned, causing all three of the girls to laugh. They were just about ready to continue poking fun at their better halves when the DJ’s voice came over the speaker system.
DJ (in the distance): Couples’ skate coming up in two minutes!
Tarah turned to Nasir.
Tarah: You know we’re going back out there, right?
He pouted, taking another bite of his slice of pizza before trying to plead his case.
Nasir: But Tare…the food just got here. And we just took off our skates!
Tarah: So? The food will still be here when you get back, and you can just, ya know, put them right back on.
It seemed the apprehension was shared by the other guys — though whether it was because they couldn’t be assed to have their eating interrupted or because they weren’t anxious to fall back-first onto hardwood again wasn’t totally certain. Aria pulled an all-too-convincing fake pout and leaned her head on Aren’s shoulder.
Aria: Pleeeeeeeeease? Just one more, then y’all can sit here and take down mozzarella sticks all night. Promise.
Aren: Using that face is cheating, but you got me. One more time doesn’t sound too bad.
The guys are putting their skates back on when the lights over the rink lower a bit and “Kiss It Better” by Rihanna begins to blare over the speakers. Gia all but rips Andre’s arm out of socket as she jumps back up to her feet, trying to yank him to his feet.
Gia: C’mooooon, Dre, I love this song. Let’s go!
Andre: …The things I do for love.
Tarah (in the confessional): I don’t think we could’ve asked for a better night off. Cheat day food, loud music, Instagram videos of the boys falling on their asses…it was a damn good night. And we couldn’t have spent it with more perfect people.
The shot transitions back to show the three pairs maneuvering their way to the rink, each skating hand-in-hand — and not falling! — as it fades elsewhere. Several shots of iconic New York City scenery flash across the screen in quick succession before the shot settles on the interior of a large, very state-of-the-art looking MMA-type gym. Inside, a sweaty Cameron Ella Ava is seemingly alone in the otherwise-empty facility, and the brunette’s pretty face is twisted into a fatigued frown as she lays into the heavy bag with devastating punches. Her earphones are in, and it seems like she’s all but tuned out the outside world.
Cameron (in the confessional): The good news is, I’m here in New York visiting Jamie at his place here. I’m generally happiest when I’m with him, but Malicious Intentions is dangerously close and I can’t lose sight of that. I’m proud of pulling myself up out of the rut I was in last spring and summer, and I’ve felt more like myself these last few months. The perfect cap on all of that would be to walk into this supershow and win the Empire Cup.
Cameron’s so focused on what she’s doing that she doesn’t even notice Jamie poking his head into the doorway. He walks right up and taps Cameron on the shoulder, startling her a little bit.
Cameron: Oh! I didn’t know you were back.
Jamie: Sorry, love. Didn’t mean to scare you.
Cameron: It’s fine, don’t worry.
She smiled and pressed a kiss to Jamie’s cheek before walking past him to the spot against the wall where she’d thrown her gym bag down. She pulled out her water bottle and sat down beside it, sighing to herself before taking a swig. It was silent for a few moments before Jamie spoke.
Jamie: You’re not, uh…wearing yourself too thin, are you?
Cameron: What do you mean?
Jamie: Look, I know exactly how important this Empire Cup match is for you. I know you have your sights set on winning, and I know you’re expecting a lot from yourself. I know it’s all kind of wearing heavy on you. I don’t want you to, you know, bleed yourself dry before it comes time for you to do what you need to do.
Cameron: You just have to trust me, okay? I know how much I can handle. I just have to be on my toes, you know that. This match is big.
Jamie: I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I’m not worried because I think you won’t win, because I don’t think that at all. I KNOW you will. I just don’t want you to drive yourself crazy in the process.
Cameron smiled, reaching out to interlace Jamie’s fingers with hers. She sighed.
Cameron: I know what you meant. I know you believe in me. I believe in me, too. It’s just a matter of actually going through with it
Cameron (in the confessional): I’m kind of a perfectionist when it comes to my work, I think everyone knows that. No one puts more pressure on me than I put on myself. When it comes to moments and matches like these, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the preparation and everything. I guess that’s where Jamie comes in. I didn’t always have someone to make sure I kept both feet on the ground, but now I do. It makes me more happy than he’ll ever know.
Cameron: Thank you, by the way.
Jamie: For what?
Cameron: For keeping me grounded.
Jamie: Anytime. Now, how does lunch sound?
Cameron: Amazing, actually. I’m starving.
She gestured to her sweaty clothes.
Cameron: Can we go back to the house first, though? I’d kill for a shower right now.
Jamie smiled and nodded and before he got to his feet, extending a hand for Cameron to take so that he could help her to her up as the shot transitioned elsewhere. The word “BROOKLYN” flashes on the screen and Stephanie is shown inside of an empty space walking around with a commercial real estate agent.
Stephanie (in the confessional): The end of the European tour gave me a chance to come back home and look at some spaces for a venture I’ve had on my mind. It’s always been a passion of mine to help the next stars in this business, so I want to start my own gym. So along with training and getting ready for the big match out in Seattle for Malicious Intentions, I’m checking out a few places in Brooklyn around my neighborhood. It also gives me just a bit of time to relax and home.
The show transitions to Stephanie in her apartment cooking dinner. There’s a knock on her door and she looks at the cameras suspiciously.
Stephanie: I wasn’t expecting anyone…
Stephanie scurries to the door and opens it up to Emily standing there with a suitcase in tow and a smile on her face. Stephanie lights up and runs through the doorway to embrace her and lifts her off of the ground.
Emily (in the confessional): I just needed to get away from Texas and put my mind elsewhere. And I know Mia. She worried about me. I figured I’d just surprise her and put her in a better mindset for the big match this weekend.
Stephanie (in the confessional): I had no freaking clue Emily was just going to show up. I just… I was just so freaking happy to see her. She doesn’t always get to come to my place in Brooklyn because we spend so much time on the road together instead. So to have here right her… it was just perfect.
The two share a short kiss and Stephanie grabs Emily by the hand and pulls her inside into the kitchen and they finish cooking together before the sequence transitions to them sitting on the couch and eating together while a movie plays in the background.
Emily: So how is everything going as far as the search for a gym spot?
Stephanie: There’s plenty of space out there, but putting it all together is a little more of a challenge than I thought. I think I’m going to have to put a ton of time into this to get it really going and off the ground.
Emily: Why don’t you hire someone that can help you run it and take a little of the burden off of you? No one said you had to do this all alone.
Stephanie: I mean I have people in mind and everything. There’s still just a lot of like — really little things that have to come together for this to work. And even with all the available space, I want this location to be perfect. You know?
Emily (in the confessional): Mia has been talking about this for a long time. Probably as long as I’ve known her. She credits having a place like this when she was younger with really steering her in that right direction and I couldn’t be more supportive of the idea of her doing it herself. I just don’t want to see her get burned out. She wants to do everything. She wants to rule women’s wrestling and she wants to train the aire apparent.
Stephanie: You think you’re ready for this weekend? I never imagined Formation would have this big of a match.
Emily: Really? I always knew. I mean AJ has been on fire for months. She’s really worked her way into this position and the stuff we do together has been so fun and incredible to see. Throw you in the mix, it’s like a cherry on top. You and that… whatever her name is chick. Meow or something.
Stephanie: It’s Mao actually, but yeah. She’s been a huge part of my character.
Emily: But you don’t even talk anymore. Like, I don’t get why you wouldn’t want to speak. This chick is always screeching just like she did for Carlos Rosso. And I’m not sure if she’s been a huge help or whatever, but hey — I guess — you are in a title match so what do I know?
Stephanie (in the confessional): What some people don’t realize is how much Emily really deeply cares about all the different directions people go in this division. She’s always trying to advise people whether they want it or not and trying to push them to challenge themselves. She really sort of comes at the whole business from a different mindset.
Stephanie: How are you doing with everything with your…
Emily: Mia, I don’t want to talk about it right now. I’m just letting the hectic schedule keep my mind busy.
Stephanie: I’m sorry. I just…
Emily: It’s ok, babe. Oh, hey, I’ve got to catch a flight in the morning so I’ll be out kind of early.
Stephanie: You can’t stay longer?
Emily: Mia, I’ve got to get out to Seattle and make all these appearances and such. Part of being the champion.
Stephanie: You hardly ever stay around here.
Emily makes a pouty face and moves closer to Stephanie on the couch, leaning into her snuggling up.
Emily: I promise you. I’ll try to make it to Brooklyn more. Can we get through this weekend first though?
Several shots of desert scenery are shown before a hot pink nameplate reading “PHOENIX, AZ” pops up on the screen for a few seconds. The feed transitions to bustling Downtown Phoenix before moving to the interior of a grocery store where Alexis Diemos and her husband Eclipse are no doubt snatching up the necessities for their large brood back at home. Eclipse is hanging back a few paces pushing the cart while Alexis is walking ahead, grabbing a boxes of cereal and containers of oatmeal from the shelves.
Alexis (in the confessional): I say it all the time, but being a good wife and mother is the most important thing in the world to me, even more than being a great competitor. I’m proud of the strides that I’ve made since I came back to EAW, but it can get sort of taxing, can’t it? The traveling, the training, all of it. As much as I enjoy it, that’s just the truth. Times like this where I’m back at home just doing normal mom things, that’s what keeps my head clear, and I especially need that clarity now with probably the biggest match of my career so far looming at Malicious Intentions.
Eclipse raises an eyebrow as he notices Alexis is a little too fixated on a couple of boxes on a low shelf. At last she holds them up for him to see.
Alexis: What do you think the kids would like better — Nature Valley or NutriGrain bars?
Eclipse chuckled as he took a step toward her, taking both of the boxes from his wife’s hands and dropping them into the cart. He grabbed a few more boxes and tossed them in as well.
Eclipse: I think they’ll like both and we shouldn’t ponder it. I also think you’re using little things like snack bars to distract yourself from how important your match in Seattle will be.
Alexis: Is it that obvious?
Alexis (in the confessional): So…he’s right. As usual. I’m beginning to think he’s too perceptive for his own good.
Eclipse took a step toward Alexis with a knowing smile on his face and wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
Eclipse: All you want is to show people that you should be taken seriously. You want them to know that the things you did way back in RUW weren’t just flukes and that’s the same woman that they see week in and week out, but you can’t make that your priority. The only thing you have control over is the ability to keep doing what you’re doing. Keep climbing. You do that, and everything else will just fall into place.
A slight smile crossed Alexis’ face and she reached up and bopped the tip of Eclipse’s nose with her finger.
Alexis: Thank you, my dear. I needed to hear all of that. I’ve never really been in this situation before, you know? With having home stuff to handle and having something huge at work to deal with. I mean, there’s always something going on at home, but…I’ve never gotten an opportunity like this one before. Maybe I’m thinking too far into all of it.
Eclipse: That’s not true at all. All of those things you’re feeling — the anxiousness, the trepidation, the excitement — it’s how you’re supposed to feel. It means you take this seriously. It means that this is where you’re SUPPOSED to be.
Alexis: Come Malicious Intentions, that battle royal is where I’m supposed to be. In the winner’s circle, no less. But as for right now…
She gestured to the cart.
Alexis: We’re supposed to be a couple of aisles over. We’re not quite done here yet.
Eclipse: After you.
The two continued on their way as the feed transitioned to the next shot. The show goes through a montage of shots from Seattle and shows a nameplate on the screen reading “SEATTLE: MALICIOUS INTENTIONS” and then swiftly moves to images of the show being set up and the crowd filtering in. Tarah and Nasir are shown talking just outside of gorilla position as she waits to enter for her match.
Tarah (in the confessional): It’s really nerve wracking to have this match. There’s a lot of really high-risk stuff me and Brody are going for in order for this to be unforgettable. And also, Brody is a little unpredictable with how she executes some of those spots.
Nasir: Are you nervous?
Nasir can’t stop smiling as he looks at Tarah and pulls her in for a tight embrace. Aria appears nearby, getting ready for her own match later on in the night and hugs the two of them from the side.
Aria: She’s got nothing to be nervous about. This crowd’s not going to know what hit them.
Tarah: I’m not nervous. Just ready to do this thing. Anxious.
“Boss’ Daughter” by Pop Evil hits and she grins as she backs away and winks.
Tarah: Here we go.
A few moments from the match are shown, as well as Nasir reacting. There’s a huge reaction from the crowd as Tarah takes a nasty injury near the end of the match and Emily is shown looking at the monitor with concern as Stephanie speaks to Mao behind her. The video transitions to medical staff loading Tarah on to a stretcher and moving her up the ramp to applause from the crowd. Emily appears backstage next to Nasir and Aria as Tarah comes through the curtain. Aria gives Tarah a hug as the stretcher moves slowly backstage towards the ambulance and Nasir walks along holding Tarah’s hand. Emily runs up beside and grabs Tarah’s other hand.
Emily: You looked amazing. I’m so sorry.
Tarah: No regrets… right?
Emily: I miss you Tare. I’ll be there as soon as I’m done here.
Tarah: I’m ok. It’s just a flesh wound.
They both laugh and Nasir is seen rolling his eyes and even smirking.
Emily: Ok, tough girl.
Emily (in the confessional): Tarah and I have been close throughout my career here, but our schedules had taken us in different directions. And I had to be like on this other side. The hardest transition for me was going from being the friendly girl to this intense, world-beater that only cares about herself. I don’t get to see her and AJ as much when it’s not at the shows.
The feed shows a hug between Tarah and Emily as she’s loaded into an ambulance and then moves backstage to Alexis getting ready for her match in the main event along with Madison. Cameron enters the scene as a blurred out person she was talking to walks away.
Cameron: You girls all ready? I can’t believe we have our own event and we’re headlining the show.
Alexis: I’m just really focused on making sure I leave some sort of an impact.
Alexis (in the confessional): My career has skyrocketed over the last few months. The Coven has become more of a spotlight. It’s all going well. Malicious Intentions felt like another chances to say, ‘Hey, I’m here and I’m not backing down anymore.’
Madison: You’ll be fine, Alexis. We’re all behind you.
Cameron: She’s right, Alexis. I have to say things are so different now. There was a time where I would have never imagined we would have this opportunity. We fought and scraped for this.
All three girls smile for a moment before Alexis breaks the silence.
Alexis: Well there was a time where no one would have thought I had a chance to win a match like this. Those days are behind us.
Cameron (in the confessional): I’m truly happy with where things have gone in EAW for women. I remember when we had to beg just to be on a card. I’ve been honored to be as successful as I have here. I’ve worked really hard to reach a point where people expect great things from me. I’ve set back and watched as other girls had big moments. I’ve been happy for them all along. But, I’m ready to take the torch again.
The show transitions to more shots of the crowd and the atmosphere around Malicious Intentions before going backstage to just outside the gorilla position again where Emily, Stephanie and Aria are getting ready for their match for the Women’s Championship.
Production guy: Again, the order of entrance is Cailin, Cloud and then Aria.
Emily: You ready, Mia? You look nervous as hell.
Stephanie: Relax, Em. Geez, not all of us fight title matches all the time.
Emily: All the time? What? I haven’t had that many title matches…
Aria: You’ve had more than all of us.
Emily: Ok, whatever. Anyways. We’re just fine.
Aria: Hey, that’s my thing!
Emily: Ok, that can’t just be your thing.
Stephanie: She has a point, Aria. But also, it sort of is your thing.
Aria: Thank you.
Aria (in the confessional): This match has had a ton of hype and we’re all ready for it. Formation was such a transformational time in our lives. It brought is all close together. It raised the bar for all of us in this company. We still catch flack for that time when we were a group, but we’re all better because of it.
Stephanie (in the confessional): It feels years in the making, really. I mean… we all knew this could happen eventually. We all hoped this would happen. And now it’s reality.
Production guy: Cailin you’re on in about five.
Emily turns to Stephanie before walking into gorilla position and just tilts her head and smiles.
Emily: I’ve been meaning to tell you. I’m selling the farmhouse in Texas. I ended my apartment lease in Cleveland. I’m moving to —
Stephanie: What? Why!?
Emily: Let me finish before I have to go on. I’m moving to Brooklyn.
Stephanie: Oh my god.
Emily: You’re going to need a solid support system when you start this gym. I want to be there for you and be there beside you.
Stephanie: Are you asking to move in with me?
Emily: Well, no, I mean I can find my own place and everything —
Stephanie: Will you?
Emily just blushes and nods and smiles as Stephanie kisses her and pulls her in for a hug, lifting her slightly off the ground as Aria laughs and smiles behind them.
Emily (in the confessional): We’re about to go out for the biggest match of her career. And we had this really special moment. Are we ready to live together? We’ll see. Last time didn’t go the best, but we’ve both grown quite a bit since then. I’m excited.
“New Level” by A$AP Ferg plays and Emily backs away from Aria and Stephanie and picks up her title as she moves through the curtain and enters the arena to a chorus of boos. The show transitions to a few highlights of the women’s title match with Emily celebrating a win thanks to interference at the end. Then it shows several highlights from the Grand Rampage match and ends with Cameron holding the Empire Cup above her head while and celebrating her win as the show fades to a logo screen.