Two Star Talent
Centerstate Bank Loge
Monday April 8th, 2019
While the first show of High Octane Wrestling’s return came to a spectacular and gloriously chaotic conclusion thanks to Eric Dane following Darin Zion’s win over the aforementioned Dane, Halitosis, his wife Laura Bergman, Matt the Manager, Cue-Card Guy, and the Scriptwriters watched the whole spectacle unfold from one of the luxurious Centerstate Bank Loges located just off the concourse between sections 112 and 117 in the lower level of the arena.
Dressed in his street clothes but, as always, wearing his lucha mask, Halitosis leaned back in the lavish padded chair and kicked his feet up on the table. Laura stood next to him.
“How’s your shoulder?” Laura asked.
“It’s good.” Halitosis stretched his arm high into the air to loosen the muscles.
It’d been a hell of an opening night and he was still coming down from the high of not only successfully making his High Octane Wrestling debut but winning two matches on the evening and moving along to the final eight in the World Title tournament.
But now, even with the free for all raging below at ringside, Halitosis simply vegetated and looked off into space, unaware that activity was afoot behind him in the loge.
The scriptwriters busily worked on a script. The Cue-Card Guy scribbled down words on a cue card from the same script. And an noticeably anxious Matt the Manager downed a double shot of Jack Daniels to calm his nerves.
“Okay guys,” Blair Moise’s voice called out. HOW’s backstage reporter, resplendent as always with her flowing blonde hair and her shimmering 97 red skirt, walked into the loge with a film crew to do a post-show interview. “It’s been a long night. Let’s do this.”
Laura slapped Halitosis in the back. The touch of her hand immediately brought him back from his thoughts.
“Yes dear?” he said.
“Blair’s here,” Laura said.
Halitosis acknowledged her with a nod and pushed the chair back with his feet. Matt the Manager quickly downed a second double shot of Jack Daniels while Cue-Card Guy took up position in front of him.
“Good job tonight,” Blair said, making eye contact with Halitosis. “You looked the part.”
Chuckling, Halitosis mouthed ‘thanks.’
The scriptwriters handed Blair the ‘script’ for the interview. After casting a sideways glance in return, she took a quick second to scan through and reviewed the content.
“I think it worked better having you submit the questions to us ahead of time,” one of the scriptwriters commented.
“Me, too,” concurred Blair. She turned to her camera man. “Ready?”
The camera man gives her a thumbs up.
“All right.” Blair positioned herself and began to count down, “Five. Four. Three. Two. One.” The red light on the camera illuminated. “Blair Moise here backstage at the Yuengling Center where tonight, High Octane Wrestling returned in full fury and ferocity. The big story tonight- the HOW World Title tournament that started with twenty-six wrestlers at the beginning of the night has now been whittled down to just eight. Max Kael. Darin Zion. Scottywood. Brian Hollywood. Lindsay Troy. Michael Best. John Sektor.”
Blair then stepped over- and the camera man followed- to bring Matt the Manager and Halitosis into the shot.
“And this man, Halitosis, who surprised everyone by defeating HOW Hall of Famer David Black in round two to reach the elite eight.” Blair put her arm around Matt. One, to relax him. Two, to keep him from rocking back and forth as he spoke (thank you multiple double shots of Jack Daniels in a short time frame). “How does it feel to be in such illustrious company?” she asked Matt.
“Pretty good, Blair,” Matt read from the cue card. “We’re happy to still be alive in the tournament.”
“Take us through the first match with Florence Kearsey,” Blair said. “People thought that the Halitosis-Kearsey battle was the best of the early matches.”
As Matt read back and regurgitated the scripted response on the cue-card magnificently crafted and meticulously put together by the team, Halitosis’s mind began to wander.
Oh yeah. It was a competitive match all right.
Soon, Halitosis had drifted into a sea of his own thoughts…
All I know is that Florence nailed me with that Discus Clothesline and for the next couple minutes I was in complete defense mode. I barely reached the ropes after she slapped on the Single Leg Boston Crab and forced a break.
Yeah, Florence was a tough opponent. No doubt about it. Both of us were tiring though and I just needed to be patient and wait for the opening.
Then it came.
She hesitated for a split second and suddenly everything slowed down.
I moved in close enough to unleash the ‘Breath of Death’ on her.
That stopped Flo in her tracks. Then I followed the game plan.
I spun around and snapped off a sweet spinning heel kick.
That took her off her feet to the mat. Again, follow the plan.
Climb up to the top turnbuckle. Say one quick ‘please don’t fuck this up’ to myself. Leap off the top turnbuckle. Keeping the body straight. Arms out-stretched. Wait for it…wait…flip! I just barely complete the flip when I impacted Florence with my upper back and shoulders.
On the money.
Roll over. Hook the legs.
“Halitosis,” a female voice said from somewhere, cutting into Halitosis’s internal self-commentary.
I remember sitting there on the mat and realizing what I’d just done.
“Halitosis!” the voice repeated with a more urgent tone to her voice.
Sitting on the mat as the crowd cheers, I barely notice Matt Boettcher raising my arm in victory.
I just take in the moment.
“All right. CUT!”
Blair’s sharp tone when she stopped the interview snapped Halitosis back from daydream land.
“Okay,” a confused Halitosis said, looking around at everyone. “Why did we stop?”
Because when Halitosis drifted off into his thoughts, he developed this ‘weird’ expression on his face resembling the goofy look on Ralphie’s face in A Christmas Story in the scene where he’s daydreaming while standing next to the teacher’s desk about getting an A+ on his Christmas essay about the official Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock.
You know, the thing that’ll ‘shoot your eye out.’
Blair shook her head. “Dude, you’re staring off in space as if you’re stoned or something.”
“Oh.” Halitosis chuckled to himself and realizing what he’d done. “Yeah, sorry about that.”
”Well, knock it off already. You do know you’re more than welcome to add your own insight to this interview,” Blair reminded him.
Halitosis nodded. “Nope. We’re good.”
Blair sighed and gestured to the camera man. “All right, let’s pick it up.” The red light came back on and Blair continued on with the interview. “Matt, tell us about the combination of moves Halitosis used to defeat both Florence Kearsey and HOW Hall of Famer David Black tonight.”
“Well Blair,” Matt began, reading word for word everything put in front of him on the cue card, “Halitosis spent a lot of time in training with Dawn McGill and she came up with a plan of action for…
Again, Matt continued to read off the talking points carefully put together by the script guys.
And again, Halitosis drifted off into his own thoughts, thinking back to the night before the first Refueled show when he, Laura, and Dawn McGill sat in McGill’s hotel room and put the game plan together…
(***cue harp music signaling an official dream sequence is about to begin***)
Embassy Suites – Tampa, FL
Sunday April 7th
Dawn, Halitosis, and Laura sit on a bed in McGill’s hotel room at the Embassy Suites- a three star hotel near the campus of the University of South Florida where the Yuengling Center is located.
Lying on her stomach on the large queen size bed and facing the fifty inch flat screen television contained inside a wooden entertainment stand, McGill wore a pair of dark rimmed glasses, a sweatshirt, and a pair of shorts. Her left hand controlled the remote control to the television while she jotted down notes on a clipboard with her right hand.
Halitosis donned his lucha mask, t-shirt and jeans. Laura also has a t-shirt and jeans on. Both sat on the bed on each side of McGill.
The lights were turned down because McGill had her children with her and they slept soundly on an adjacent bed in the room.
Dawn spoke to the couple as quietly as possible, “This is what I want to show you.”
She pressed the button on the remote and the video of a Halitosis match from 2017 began to play on the television.
[…Halitosis loops his arm under and up around Banks’s head and heads to the corner turnbuckle. He runs up the turnbuckle and flips backward…Banks catches him and sets him up for a piledriver…Halitosis kicks his legs and slips out the back door. Both men on their feet.]
[Banks goes up to Halitosis and butts heads. Halitosis lets loose his lethal breath and Banks wilts…falls to his knees.]
Dawn stopped the video with the remote with her left hand and held up her index finger on her right hand. “That’s one,” she pointed out.
She clicked the remote again and the video continued…
[Banks places his hands around his throat and tries to breathe.]
[Halitosis steps back and spins around.]
[SPINNING HEEL KICK!]
She stopped the video again and held up two fingers. “Two!”
Dawn restarted the video again.
[Banks’s head snaps to the right. Then he falls to the mat. Halitosis covers.]
[Two-…Beaver makes the save from the outside. Keels calls out ‘two.’]
“Right there,” Dawn pointed out. “Breath of Death. Check. Spinning Heel Kick. Check. The mistake you made there was going for the pinfall right away. You should have went for the finisher before going for the pin.”
She clicked the remote and the video began again.
[Keels tells Beaver to leave. Halitosis back up and pulls Banks towards their corner per Regina McGill’s instructions. He then climbs up to the top turnbuckle. Halitosis leaps backwards but flips forward landing on his ass on top of Banks. IMPLODING SENTON BOMB!]
[Halitosis dives down and hooks the leg. Keels slides in.]
[Banks gets the shoulder up. Keels holds up two fingers.]
Dawn stopped the video. “I want you to remember this. Think one, two, three. Breath of Death. Spinning Heel Kick. Then go for the Senton Bomb. Be patient. Don’t rush it. Put your opponent away. Then you go for the pinfall.” She paused for a second and then added. “Remember, things you might have been able to get away with at Missouri Valley you won’t be able to get away with in HOW.”
Halitosis nodded, soaking in all the information McGill was delivering to him.
(***cue harp music noting the end of the flashback sequence***)
Back to reality, Blair Moise’s interview with Matt the Manager continued on and it didn’t take long for Halitosis’s mind to wander off again and his internal self-commentary to kick in.
That’s right, two hours after defeating Aunt Flo with the series of moves we’d planned out, I do the exact same combination to David Black.
Breath of Death.
Spinning Heel Kick.
High Angle Senton Bomb.
Hook the legs.
Win the match. Advance to the elite eight. All in my first night in HOW…
“YESSSSSSSS!” Halitosis shouted out of the blue, roaring back to life and launching himself into the air right out of his comfy chair with his fist pumped while stopping Blair cold mid-question.
Slightly awkward pause.
“Did you want to add something to that last question?” Blair asked, nonplussed by the seemingly sudden random display of emotion from the HOW rookie.
Red faced underneath the lucha mask and realizing that everyone in the loge was now looking at him with genuine bewilderment and bemusement, Halitosis displayed a sheepish smile and slowly sank back down into the chair.
“Um, no. We’re good.”
“Okay.” Blair turned back to Matt. “Last question of the night.” She peered back over to Halitosis in the event he wanted to add anything else. Halitosis looked away and whistled nonchalantly. Blair shook her head and again turned her attention to his manager. “Okay Matt. On the next show, Halitosis faces Scottywood in the final eight. What are your thoughts about taking on The Hardcore Artist? Do you think Halitosis can pull off another improbable win?”
Once again, Matt set off to read the perfectly weighted response to Blair’s question from the cue cards. “Blair, Scottywood is a High Octane Wrestling legend. His record speaks for itself. Our team will sit down and put together a plan…”
And after a few seconds of trying really hard to pay attention and not to slip into yet another daydream, Halitosis succumbed to the mental fatigue from the long night and did exactly that.
And like before, his inner self-commentary then took over…
The Hardcore Artist.
Former HOW World Champion.
Three time ICON Champion.
Five time LSD Champion.
Three time HOFC Champion.
Former TV Champion.
HOW Hall of Famer
Connoisseur of fine crafted beer even though the truth be told, I prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer to any of that fancy stuff Scottywood drinks.
I was in the Les Miserables section with Ray McAvay that night in January 2016 when Scottywood defeated Scott Stevens to finally win the World Title after eight long years of trying and nearly caused Benny Newell to overdose on Jack Daniels on live television. That was a great night.
So, yeah I know. My wrestling resume isn’t remotely as impressive. I’ve scuffled along, muddling in the lower levels of the wrestling world for several years.
The truth really be told, I know exactly who I am- a two star, average talent in a company full of four and five star wrestlers- a middle of the pack scrub swimming in shark infested waters with some of the best wrestlers on the planet.
I have to work harder to maximize my talent. No different from average ordinary people out there who work as hard as they can and do the best that they can do. Grit. Sweat. Determination.
The pressure is on Scottywood. He’s the Hall of Famer coming up against a nobody. He’s supposed to win this match handily against the lowest ranked wrestler left in the tournament because let’s be honest- there’s not a universe where I should ever be ranked ahead of Lindsay Troy.
But on May 3rd at Refueled Two, none of that means a damn thing.
Because Scottywood, once that bell rings, once that referee waves us forward and once the match begins, our resumes won’t make a spit of difference. It’s going to be Halitosis versus Scottywood. Winner advances on to face either Darin Zion or Max Kael in the semi-finals. I’m not just going to keel over at the sound of the bell and let you pin me. And I sure as hell don’t intend to be nothing more than a momentary speed bump on your way to the semi-finals. That would be disrespectful. Disrespectful to you and disrespectful to our fans.
No, I owe you a good fight. Our fans who spend their hard earned cash to come to the arena are owed a good fight. So when I step into the ring with you that’s exactly what you’re going to get- a good fight. Scottywood, you may be better. I may be over my head and out of my depth, but you’re going to have to earn the win. If I do my job right on May 3rd, you’re going to have to work real hard for that final four spot. If I do my job to the best of my ability, you’re going to get pushed and pushed to your limit. And if I really do my job right, max out my effort, work as hard as I can with grit and determination, I’m going to force you to dip into the well of greatness still inside of you in order to defeat me.
And at the end of the match, if you’re the one who gets his hand raised as the winner then I’m good with that. I will simply tip my cap to you and wish you the best of luck in the semi-finals.
But you of all people know that wrestling’s a funny thing though.
Florence Kearsey battled me all over the ring earlier tonight. She was fierce, she was relentless, and I give her all the credit in the world because Aunt Flo put up one hell of a tough fight. But she made one mistake in the match. And I was able to capitalize on it.
And yeah, I know the David Black I wrestled was a mere shadow of the David Black who won two HOW World titles in 2010 and 2013 and countless other HOW titles. But I still had to patiently bide my time and I still had to wait for the opportunity to present itself. And when it did present itself and Black made the mistake of leaving an opening, I was able to take full advantage of it.
All it takes is one mistake.
One mistake can change everything.
One mistake can turn a certain victory inside out and upside down.
One mistake is all I need to pull off another improbable win.
And suddenly, Halitosis became aware that not only had Blair had stopped the interview for the third time, the loge was dead silent. His eyes darted back and forth. He then realized he had his arm outstretched as if he was making a point, his mouth was wide open, and a group of people stared at him as if he’d completely lost his mind.
What transpired in the real world while Halitosis retreated into his thoughts?
One, around the time in Halitosis’s self-commentary where he spoke about knowing exactly who he was- a two star, average talent in a company full of four and five star wrestlers, he began to gesture with his arms.
Two, when Halitosis talked about owing Scottywood a ‘good fight’, his lips started to move as if he was actually talking while continuing to make gestures.
Finally, Blair realized what he was doing out of the corner of her eye and stopped the interview. She gawked at the masked wrestler and blurted out, “What the hell are you doing?”
Halitosis tried to shrink in his chair and generally tried to avoid making eye contact with her.
Once it became clear to Blair that Halitosis would not be answering her question, she continued to press the issue. ”Do you have something you want to get off your chest? I swear you’ve got something on your mind that you want to say.”
Face flushed and slightly embarrassed, Halitosis shook his head no.
“Are you sure?” Blair asked him one last time, trying to give the rookie wrestler every opportunity to express himself.
“No. We’re good,” Halitosis replied.
“All right,” she said turning to her camera man. “Actually, I think we’ve got enough material to work with now.”
With that, Blair and her camera man turned and departed. As the HOW backstage interviewer opened the door and exited, she shook her head and mumbled “I can’t wait to edit this together” sarcastically to herself under her breath.