Mike Check: Underestimated
There are a lot of words that describe me, but surely “underestimated” isn’t one that comes to mind when you think about Michael Lee Best, is it? Pompous, sure, I’ll own that. Sneaky, vile, cruel, hey sure, if the shoe fits. Talented, accomplished, successful– I think they should be near the front of the list, whether or not the rest of the populace agrees. But underestimated? You don’t hear a lot of people calling this High Octane Hall of Famer… underestimated.
Truth is, I may be the most underestimated athlete in the history of the sport.
When I first came into High Octane Wrestling a decade ago this year, I was just “that guy from DREAM”, and they were so busy writing me off as the guy who lost his first match (and only match, ever) to Max Kael that they didn’t notice when I turned around and captured the HOFC Championship just a month later. Not just captured it, but did so in a match that overshadowed the rest of March to Glory and became the fucking main event– the only HOFC main event in the history of High Octane pay-per-view.
They underestimated me.
When I stepped into the ring with Crow just a few months later, I was just “that guy pretending that he’s Jesus”, and they were so busy writing me off as a goofball, destined to float around the middle of the card, that they didn’t notice when I snatched the ICON Championship from the top of the ladder and retired Crow forever.
They underestimated me.
When I walked down the ramp at my very first ICONIC, I was just “that guy who got put into the main event because Lee is his Daddy”, and they were so busy writing me off as a product of nepotism and politics that they barely even took notice when I walked out of that match with the HOW World Championship– the first of eight, a record no one has ever and will ever come close to surpassing.
They underestimated me, and they still do.
Mike Best gets title shots because he’s Lee’s kid. I could have made it my ring tone for the last ten years. Of course Mike Best got into the Hall of Fame, his Dad owns the company. The words are etched deep enough into my skull that I won’t be shocked if they end up on my fucking gravestone. I have heard it all, seen it all, and read it all, done more creatively than half of your dickheads think you’re going to be when you start going off about Mike Best’s Daddy and his silver fucking spoon.
I ain’t never been handed a goddamned thing, so go ahead, keep underestimating me.
I didn’t get into the HOW Hall of Fame because my Daddy gave me an in, I got into the Hall of Fame because a jury of my peers looked at everything I had accomplished in High Octane Wrestling and they put my name down on the dotted line. Some of them liked me, some of them hated me, but none of them could deny me any longer. None of them could keep pretending I was just some spoiled child who’d had the world handed to him.
Lee Best never stepped into the ring and won me a championship.
Lee Best never handed me the World Title and made me the sole survivor of War Games.
Lee Best never snuck me a fucking shiv at Alcatraz and helped me fight my way out of Solitary.
Lee Best wasn’t even allowed to cast any of the votes that put me into the Hall of Fame.
Everything I have ever been given in HOW was an opportunity. See, that’s how this business works– you get an opportunity, and either you make the best of it or you fuck it off and hope the next one comes around soon. I clawed and scraped and lied and cheated and you bet your fucking ASS used and abused my relationship with my father to make opportunities for myself, but I also never wasted a single goddamned one of them.
All of you? You’ve wasted your opportunities, and now you write me off because you’re bitter.
Every Lethal Lottery was an opportunity. Every War Games was an opportunity. Every single Lee Best Invitational was an opportunity. And if you can’t say that you’ve ever captured a moment of greatness from one of those events, then you fucking wasted it. And now you point the finger at me, and you call it nepotism, because I did what you couldn’t.
Because you fucking underestimated me.
As I write these words, I can’t take a full deep breath without my ribs bursting into flames and trying to forcibly eject themselves from my body. Last night, I stepped back into the ring for the first time in over three years, with an OCW Hall of Famer. The Big Bifford, six foot six and four hundred, eighty eight pounds of fucking danger. And it wasn’t an accident that it was Bifford. It wasn’t an accident that it was the biggest, baddest motherfucker they had. And it wasn’t an accident that it was last night, either.
Last night, that big fat Hall of Fame fuck huffed, and puffed, but he couldn’t blow Mike Best down. He crushed me beneath all five fucking hundred pounds of him, and I kicked out. He drove me head first into the canvas, with a move that has ended careers, and I kicked out. He threw every fucking thing he had at me, and I fucking. Kicked. Out. And then I aimed my knee into his face like a motherfucking assassin and I pinned him dead to rights in the middle of the ring.
And you might say… Well you cheated. You’re goddamned right I cheated. If you want a good clean fight, go watch a high school wrestling tournament. This isn’t a game. This isn’t just for funzies. This is goddamned war, every single time you step between the ropes, and I was fighting for my reputation. I was fighting for my family. I was fighting for the eMpire, and I was fighting for my life. So I clawed his fucking eyes, I kicked him in his fucking scrot sack, I knocked the fucking referee dead to rights, and I beat him over the goddamned head with a giant wooden fish with my goddamned name on it because I WAS THE FUCKING FISH AND– well… I guess that’s a long story, and now isn’t the time nor the place.
Big Bifford underestimated me. He took one look at this shit head kid from who, and he asked “Who the fuck are you?” He didn’t watch tape. He didn’t get into the ring and work on the fundamentals. He didn’t scout a single fucking thing I ever did– he walked into the ring, confident that he was going to put me away, and he fucking didn’t. Because I don’t pretend that I’ve won every single match that I’ve ever been in, but I fucking win the big ones.
I’ve won the Solitary Confinement Match. I’ve Won War Games. I’ve won the main event of literally every major pay-per-view, at least once, I’ve won every title I’ve ever had an opportunity to challenge for, at least once, and usually a fuck of a lot more than that. I’m in the Hall of Fame, I am a recognized name, a recognized brand, I am cash positive in the bank and I have had sexual relations with women who you aren’t even really attractive enough to jerk off to. But on that long and storied list of accomplishments, do you know the one thing I’ve never done?
I’ve never won the Lee Best Invitational.
It’s the one big, glaring hole in my trophy case. The one constant reminder that if I say I’ve done it all, I’m lying not just to you, but to myself. The one itch that brought me back into the ring after all these years, even after I swore I was retiring young. And a lot of you will look at that track record, and you’ll think that this is my Achilles heel. That this will be just like all the rest– that because Mike’s Daddy didn’t step in and give him the easiest road, he won’t be able to see it through till the final. You’re going to underestimate me, like you always do, and it’s already begun.
Johnny O’Dell says I’m green as a gator dick, and that’s fine. He says that Lee “let’s me play for the team”, and “protects his asset”, and that’s fine too. He says that Darkwing and Kostoff aren’t going to take to the likes of a guy like me in the locker room, and even that’s fine– I don’t have the heart to tell that broke bitch relic of the early 2000’s that I am the man who literally removed Chris Kostoff’s head with a shovel three years ago, just because it was a Friday and I fucking felt like it. It’s all fine.
In fact, Johnny, keep on underestimating me.
Go ahead and underestimate Chris Diamond, too– get cute and call him Neil and make up a bunch of shit about him because you’re too lazy to do your homework. Look at his ridiculous fucking visor and his stupid facial hair and think that he’s not a fucking killer, because I’ll tell you right now that if you keep sleeping on Chris Diamond, you’re never going to have to worry about finding out whether or not Lee Best needs to “protect me”.
Never underestimate the desperate, Johnny. I see you living on the fucking streets and sleeping on shit stains, and I see a fucking loser. I see a man hungry to climb out of that hole and achieve even just a moment of real greatness, one shining moment where you don’t have to feel like a failed piece of shit. I see that in you, and I know it makes you a killer. I don’t see you as a washout. I don’t see you as a relic. I don’t see you as a has been. I see you as the most dangerous man in the fucking world, because there is a fifty percent chance that you’re going to step into the ring with me and try and make your name on tarnishing mine.
But you? You’re so focused on getting to me, you’re forgetting about a man who might be even more desperate than you. A man who like you, should be looked at like a fucking killer. A man who will stop at nothing to end you where you stand for the right to face me– for the right to try and fucking end me too. For the right to go all the way to the final, and capture his first ever HOW World Championship.
While you’ve been swimming in the fucking gutter trying to work out your best impression of “homeless but still too cool for school” chic, Chris Diamond has been pounding on the glass ceiling, in the ring, night after night, trying to achieve that same greatness you seek in this tournament. But it’s been all he’s fucking thought about, Johnny.
While you were trying to figure out where to get drugs, he wanted that belt. While you were looking for your next meal, he wanted that belt. While you were thinking about how much money you could make by stepping back into the spotlight, he was only thinking about that. Fucking. Belt. You want this, Johnny. But Chris Diamond needs this, and he will break your fucking jaw in two places long before you ever get the right to step into the ring with me.
And yeah, fuckface, I mean it when I say “the right” to step into the ring with me.
I was seeded number three overall in this tournament by a council of my peers, not just Lee Motherfucker Best. Christopher America, one of the men in this world who hates me the most, knew that I belonged there. Rhys Townsend, one of my longest running rivals in the sport, thought I belonged at number one. And I’m a fucking killer too, Johnny, make no mistake about it.
Maybe it’s not the official Lee Best Invitational, John, but this is all I have left to complete the set. This is the last accomplishment I need to put it all in the cupboard and walk away– if I can’t get it done in this tournament, I may well never have the opportunity again. Diamond can always earn another title shot. You can always suck dick for an errant fifteen bucks that’ll get you through the weekend, John. But for me? This isn’t about the money. It’s not even really about the title, because no disrespect, but I’ve been to THAT show eight fucking times now.
For me, winning this tournament is about winning this tournament.
About proving once again that I’m underestimated. About proving once again that I’ve done this on my own, using the same opportunities that others have wasted over the years. About proving one last fucking time that I didn’t get here because of LEE Best, but because I’m THE Best. Walk around every single day for ten years watching your accomplishments being written off as the will of a wrestling promoter. Listen to the haters, day in and day out, tell you that you only got where you are because of your last name. Fight for your life, every fucking week, and find out of the haters makes you weak, or makes you stronger.
I am fueled by the haters. I am fueled by the subtweets and the judging glances. I am fueled by every one of you motherfuckers who says I can’t do it.
C’mon, boys. I’m fucking begging you. Refuel me.
I’ve made a career out of it.