Centerstate Bank Loge
Monday May 6th, 2019
Four weeks to the day after Halitosis not only successfully made his High Octane Wrestling debut at Refueled but he then followed up with a second win later on in the evening, he found himself once again in one of the luxurious Centerstate Bank Loges just off the concourse between sections 112 and 117 in the lower level of the arena.
Leaning back in the lush, expensive chair and wearing his lucha mask (because- keyfabe) while dressed in his street clothes, Halitosis relaxed and observed another chaotic end to a HOW show. This time, Cecilworth M! Farthington deviously outsmarted Scott Stevens and Jonny O’Dell by mysteriously reappearing at the end of the ICON Battle Royale to win the ICON title.
The crowd vented their displeasure at the final result. The two wrestlers outside the ring, Stevens and O’Dell, also voiced their anger at what had just went down- especially O’Dell who thought he’d won the match just mere seconds before.
Halitosis’s wife Laura Bergman, Matt the Manager, Cue-Card Guy, and the ever-present Scriptwriters fill in the other chairs around him.
Laura, dressed up for the occasion in a malta black off the shoulder button-up two-piece dress with heels- okay, perhaps a little overdressed for the occasion, spun her chair towards Halitosis with a question clearly on her mind.
Laura Bergman: So wait a second here. Let me get this straight. Farthington disappeared for most of the match. Then he reappeared and pushed the other guy out of the ring. And now he’s the champion?
Halitosis: ICON champion. But yes. Cecilworth slid under the ropes and hid.
Laura Bergman: Okay. What’s the difference?
Halitosis: You get eliminated from the match by going over the top rope.
Laura Bergman: Oh.
That explanation seems to make sense to Laura.
Halitosis nods at his wife and goes back to his thoughts. If HOW re-opening night had been an unmitigated success with the two wins and advancing into the elite eight, Refueled Two went out and topped the first night. While his wife and crew continue to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in the HOW World Title Tournament so far- his unexpected victory over Scottywood earlier in the night- Halitosis sits back in the comfy chair, closes his eyes, and drifts back in time to the exact moment he won the match and more importantly advanced on to the final four of the World Title tournament…
REPLAY: HALITOSIS vs. SCOTTYWOOD- REFUELED TWO
[[Halitosis ascends to the top rope. Once he reaches the top, he stands high above the turnbuckle as if he’s the King of Mountain. Deep breath. Halitosis propels himself off the turnbuckle and hits a beautiful high angle senton bomb- probably the best one he’s done yet in HOW.
After the momentum rolls him off Scottywood, Halitosis scrambles back to quickly make a cover. Hortega slides in to make the count.
The crowd explodes into cheers as Halitosis gets back to his feet and realizes what he’s just done.
The referee raises his hand while ring announcer Bryan McVay climbs into the ring to make it official.
Bryan McVay: Ladies and gentlemen- your winner, Halitosis!]]
Looking off into space, Halitosis allows himself a smile.
Woman’s voice: Well THAT was interesting.
Halitosis whirls around in his chair and sees a blonde haired woman coming down the stairs into the loge. She’s six foot tall, dressed in a black one shoulder top and mini-skirt combo with a simple pair of black flat shoes.
Her left knee bore the unmistakable, but fading, signature of multiple knee surgeries crisscrossed across her skin. One scar came from an injury while serving in the military overseas. The other scar was a byproduct of a knee injury she suffered in 2009- a souvenir from a match against one Mike Best (back when he was with Dream Wrestling- before he joined High Octane Wrestling) at a WWR Supershow.
Halitosis: Oh. Hey Dawn.
The woman is Dawn McGill. Halitosis’s trainer and chief strategist. She originally wasn’t going to be able to make it to Refueled Two because of prior commitments- Dawn was in Amarillo, Texas for a huge house show that went down Saturday night. But when the show had to be moved to Monday, Dawn was able to fly to Tampa Monday morning to see Halitosis wrestle Scottywood in person.
Dawn McGill: I can’t believe no one saw Cecilworth slip out of the ring. I mean, Doozer was right there.
Down in the ring, the situation turns ugly. Farthington snatches the ICON belt away from referee Matt Boettcher and hightails it into the irate crowd clutching the gold tightly against his chest.
McGill slides in behind where Halitosis is seated and shakes his shoulders back and forth.
Dawn McGill: You did good tonight. Really, really good. You looked like you belonged in there with Scottywood. You were poised and composed at the end. You did everything you needed to do in order to win the match.
Laura leans in towards her husband and rests her chin on the palm of her hand.
Laura Bergman: So do you have a game plan for Max Kael set in your mind yet?
McGill glances at her watch.
Dawn McGill: You know, it’s early enough. It’s not too late to go out, grab a late night bite to eat, and celebrate. Let’s revel in the moment and then we can start worrying about Max Kael tomorrow.
Halitosis immediately jumps up from the chair.
Halitosis: That sounds like a plan.
Laura gets up from her chair and grabs her purse.
Laura Bergman: I think that sounds like a good plan.
Friday May 10th
With the wind whipping through Point Park rhythmically moving the tree branches back and forth and rain off in the distance, Halitosis leans up against a four sided brick building overlooking Chattanooga, Tennessee. The temperature down below sits in the low eighties. Up on the edge near the top of Lookout Mountain, you could subtract a few degrees from the temperature in the thinner air.
There’s a few inquisitive glances from the tourists there to take in the spectacular view at the man in the lucha mask by the brick building. But the scenic view of the valley below distracts them away and Halitosis is able to just hang out without being bothered.
Impatient and unable to stay still for very long, he moves away from the building and heads to the brick and stone border surrounding the building at the top of the hill. Halitosis peers down at the Tennessee River meandering down in the valley in and around Chattanooga. He sits on top of the stone border wall next to a sign that explains everything one ever wanted to know about the famous ‘Battle Above the Clouds’ fought right there on Lookout Mountain during the Civil War in November of 1863.
On the other side, the foothills and small mountains of the Appalachians looms in the background covered in clouds and streams of rain several miles away.
Looking off into space and lost in his thoughts, Halitosis doesn’t see High Octane Wrestling backstage interviewer Blair Moise approaching from under a brick overhang with a cameraman.
Why was she there?
The night of Refueled Two, Blair had rushed up to the Centerstate Bank Loge after the show to try to get an interview with Halitosis. But by the time she reached the loge, Halitosis and party had already departed the arena to go celebrate. So she reached out to Laura Bergman the next day and set up a one on one interview with him. Blair made a specific request that the interview be with Halitosis himself- no Matt the Manager, no scripts, no cue cards.
The gusting wind catches Blair’s long blonde hair as she walks towards him and blows her golden locks back into the face of the cameraman. He tries to push her hair out of his eyes.
Blair calls out to him.
Blair Moise: Rain’s in the air.
Halitosis gazes out towards the west.
Halitosis: Nah. We probably have a couple of hours before the rain gets here.
He steps away from the wall and gazes towards Blair.
Halitosis: Besides, I don’t think I’m that interesting to carry an interview for two hours.
Blair Moise: You would be surprised.
She motions to the cameraman.
Blair Moise: Here will be fine.
The cameraman takes his position in front of Blair and Halitosis. He centers the shot to make sure the picturesque landscape of the Tennessee River and the city down below is in the background.
He focuses in on Blair to start.
Blair Moise (to Halitosis): Thank you for doing this.
Halitosis: Sure. This really isn’t my thing.
Blair Moise: I know. You’ll do fine.
She nods to the cameraman and starts to count it down.
Blair Moise: Five, four, three, two, one.
The red light in front of the camera comes on.
Blair Moise: Blair Moise here in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee. Do you remember the old Sesame Street song that goes ‘one of these things is not like the others…one of these things is not the same.’ Well, here is High Octane Wrestling’s World Title Final Four after the matches on Refueled Two. Brian Hollywood- two time world champion and the last HOW champion before the hiatus. Three time HOW world champion John Sektor. Two time HOW world champion Max Kael. And…
The cameraman brings Halitosis into the shot.
Blair Moise: …Halitosis. I am here with one of the four wrestlers remaining in the tournament- the Luchador with Insanely Poor Oral Hygiene- Halitosis.
Blair faces him.
Blair Moise: Congratulations on your win over Scottywood last week.
Halitosis: Thank you.
Blair Moise: Well, you’ve become the Cinderella story of the tournament. How does that make you feel to be one of the last four in the running for the World Title?
Halitosis folds his arms. He’s uncomfortable with the attention.
Halitosis: Thank you Blair, I appreciate it. But to me, a Cinderella story is Milan, Indiana’s- a tiny rural Indiana town with a population of one thousand, one hundred and fifty- high school basketball team winning the Indiana state basketball tournament in 1954. A Cinderella story to me is the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team, a team full of amateurs who defeated the Soviet Union in Lake Placid, Nork…er…New…
He pauses after stumbling over his words and resets.
Halitosis: New York. Or the Loyola of Chicago Rambler basketball team last year that made the college basketball Final Four. That in my opinion is a real Cinderella story.
Halitosis shakes his head.
Halitosis: I don’t see myself as a Cinderella story. This is my job. This is what I’ve done for a living since 2008. This is what I’m being paid to do- to wrestle and to entertain.
Blair Moise: Sure, it’s your job and all that. But you can’t deny the fact that quite frankly, no one thought you’d be in the position you’re in three matches into your HOW career. Did you conceive that there was any way you’d be in the final four?
Halitosis: Oh. No.
Blair Moise: Why?
Halitosis: Because I’m well aware I’m a two star talent trying to make a living in a company full of great wrestlers. I know I don’t have the talent that Sektor, Hollywood, Max, Scottywood, and the others have.
He points to himself.
Halitosis: So? I just keep my mouth shut, go out there and do the best I can, and try to work harder than everyone in order to get the most out of what I’ve have.
Blair Moise: Okay.
She decides to try another tack.
Blair Moise: So if you don’t consider yourself a Cinderella, do you believe you are more of a Cinderella Man?
Halitosis starts to respond to refute her suggestion. But then he stops before his mouth makes a sound and considers what Blair is saying. Then he talks.
Halitosis: Oh. That’s interesting.
Halitosis gets the reference Blair is making. Cinderella Man is the nickname of former professional boxer James J. Braddock. Braddock famously won the heavyweight title in 1935 from Max Baer after he’d lost everything during the Great Depression of 1929, had to quit fighting and apply for government welfare in order to feed his family, and then fought his way back to the top.
Halitosis: I know I’m a middle class schmuck. The Braddock comparison I can relate to. But I also can’t help but think about hundreds of wrestlers- working for companies that tend to get the Fisher-Price label- who would give anything to be in the position that I am. I think about the friends I left behind at Missouri Valley Wrestling and how hard they work for an opportunity just like the one I’ve received. So from that standpoint, I see myself as their conduit- their champion. Their underdog.
Blair Moise: So you definitely see yourself as an underdog?
Halitosis: I mean, if you want to see me as an underdog that through his determination, willpower, and persistence tries to fight his way to the top, I’m okay with that. If you want to see me as someone who competes and gives it all he has every time he goes to the ring, I’m your guy.
Blair Moise: But you have the experience to back it up.
Halitosis: I’ve picked up ten years of experience wrestling at all the small venues, the bars, the county fairs, you name it, I’ve probably been there. I’ve wrestled in more places than I can remember.
Blair Moise: What has been the biggest change for you coming to HOW from a much smaller wrestling company?
Halitosis: Well, obviously the bigger venue. But, hell, I’ve wrestled in that type of environment too. You were with us two years ago when Rah and I participated in 4CW’s big tag team tournament and we wrestled down in Sydney, Australia- won- and then flew to their big Bad Company pay per view show to wrestle in Tokyo, Japan.
Blair nods in agreement.
Halitosis: I’m good with big crowds. All I know is it comes down to this, before the match Dawn McGill gives me a game plan. After she gives me my marching orders, it’s my job to go out to the ring and execute the plan- because I know that if I go out there and do exactly that, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to win the match. That’s all I’m doing and so far, Blair, it’s worked.
Blair Moise: Okay. How about wrestling-wise week in and week out. What’s the difference there between the two companies?
Halitosis: Back at Missouri Valley Wrestling, when things were going right, I would be hopping and feeling really good about myself. When things doesn’t go so right, I tended to hang onto it maybe too long. I think that’s probably the biggest thing that Dawn’s been trying to drill through my head. I can’t do that at HOW and I’ve been trying to adjust since day one here.
Blair sneaks a peek behind him. It appears Halitosis’s weather forecast that the rain would be a couple hours off may have been a little off. She sees a definite rain shaft coming out of the dark clouds nearby and a cool wind whips up causing the collar on the coat she’s wearing to flutter in the breeze.
Blair Moise: Max Kael.
A wry smile creeps onto Halitosis’s face.
Blair Moise: Whatcha going to do against Max?
Halitosis: Max is going to be tough. When he’s switched on, when he’s at his diabolical best and at his most ruthless inside the ring, he’s damn well impossible to beat.
Blair Moise: How do you train for a match against Max Kael?
Halitosis: You train a lot.
He pauses again while Blair chuckles at his response.
Halitosis: Yeah. I’m waiting to see how Dawn does decides to train me for this one. Last week, she sicced the Hanson Sisters on me while getting ready for Scottywood and I got a good little whuppin’ at their hands. I have no idea how she’s going to top that.
Blair Moise: Can you beat him?
Halitosis: Sure. Anyone can be beaten, Blair. Ray McAvay defeated Max in the third HOW match of his career by knocking him out with a seven iron. Now, I’m not going to use a seven iron like McAvay did and I’m not under any delusion that the Max Kael who McAvay wrestled will be the Max Kael I’m going to see in the ring on May 17th.
Blair Moise: Okay. How do you defeat him?
Halitosis: By doing the same thing I’ve been doing throughout the tournament. Follow the game plan. Wrestle smart. Keep fighting. And when the opportunity presents itself, make sure I’m there to take full advantage of it. What happened in the Scottywood match? I was down and out midway through. I had to crawl back to the ring and beat the ten count. Scottywood let me get too close and then I used my breath and turned the match in my favor. Will Max make the same mistake? We’ll see. But just because his wrestling resume overshadows mine by a long margin doesn’t mean I’m just going to roll over when that bell rings next Friday because that’s just not going to happen.
Now it’s Blair who takes a little extra time to think about her next question.
Blair Moise: When I interviewed your manager last month after Refueled One, you were clearly deep in your own thoughts. I know you had something going on in your mind but you didn’t want to share it on camera. I’m asking you now. I would really love to know what was going on in your mind that night and what you were thinking about.
Halitosis becomes a little uncomfortable…even shy.
He looks up. Down. Left. Right. And finally, he just answers the damn question.
Halitosis: Well Blair, I’ve already touched on some of it. I was thinking about the match with Scottywood. My lack of wrestling resume. The fact that I am a marginal talent trying to make a go in wrestling in the big time against some of the best wrestlers on the planet. That I have to work harder to get more out of myself in order to compete against the best wrestlers on the planet. I was thinking about our fans who come out and spend their hard earned cash and how we owe them a good fight. So on May 17th, when I step into the ring with Max Kael, I promise that’s exactly what the HOW fans are going to get- a good fight. But none of this means a damn thing, not the pre-match sideshow, not the pre-match smack talk, none it matters once the bell rings.
Halitosis faces the camera.
Halitosis: Then it’s Max versus Halitosis. Max isn’t going to get a free pass into the finals. I’m not just going to lie down and let him pin me. I will give Max the respect he deserves because he is a legend in High Octane Wrestling and a Hall of Famer. But after that bell rings, I will step forward and go to work- no different than what average ordinary people do each and every day of the week- work as hard as they can and do the best that they can do. I may be outgunned talent-wise, but if I do my job right, Max Kael is going to have to work real hard, Max Kael is going to get pushed and pushed to his limit, and if I do what I’m supposed to do to the best of my ability, Max Kael is going to have to be great in order to defeat me. With grit, sweat, determination, I will go out there and face Max with one purpose and only one purpose in mind…
Blair Moise: And that is?
Halitosis: Now that I’m in this position- the final four, I’m going to do everything in my power to see this through to the end. I’m going to try and finish what I’ve started.
Spits of rain begin to fall leave dots of water on the bricks.
Halitosis: I’m going to try and finish the job.
Blair decides this is the perfect place to end the interview.
Blair Moise: Thank you Halitosis.
She waits for the light to turn off. It does.
Blair Moise: Well.
She breaks out a wide smile.
Blair Moise: This one should be a lot easier to edit than the last interview.