13 Is The Letter M

You can hear hear the wind blowing, funneled by the skyscrapers as we can see a pint glass filled with a golden and hazy IPA sitting on a table top high above the busy street of Manhattan.  The lights of the Chrysler building and others shine in the background as the view is what you would expect from 54 floors up in NYC… amazing. As we pan out we see the owner of that beautiful beer, The Hardcore Artist.  He is staring out into the lights as he picks up the glass which has just been delivered to him, doubtfully by Eric Dane and takes a long drink of Barrier Brewing’s Money IPA.

“Thirteen.  That number could represent how many times Max Kael has beaten me in HOW.  Fuck, it could easily be more than that. If this was a few years… shit even a month ago, I’d dig up the exact stats for ya.  Give you the dates I have won… if I ever have. Trying to prove that I can do it again this week.”

Pausing for a moment to take another drink of his beer as the faint sound of horns from stories below fill the silence.  He places the glass down and just shakes his head.

“But come on.  Let’s be honest here.  I don’t really have a chance.” Chuckles Scotty in some kind of attempt to act like it doesn’t bother him.  But he’s not gonna win a Oscar for his performance.

“I’ve always preached… no, never preached, maybe sworn… ya… sworn confidence in myself.  Because I thought that was the only way to make that shit a reality. But reality… has… twisted.  A “Twisted Reality” if you will has brought me down a path that has… well fucking sucked as of late. And believing in myself has… well fucking failed.” Admits Scotty wanting to smash his skull through the glass table top at this fancy fuck rooftop bar.

“I squeezed out a win against Mario as HOW returned after some two years of being away.  Maybe it was the high of HOW coming back that carried me through Mario. But that energy quickly fizzled.  I didn’t take Halitosis serious enough… seems like you did too Max. We all probably underestimated a man in a seemingly joke of a mask, with a blan ass t-shirt and breath that apparently eclipses the alleged stench of my dreads.”  Claims Scotty as he pulls one of his dreads over to his nose to take a whiff and shrugs his shoulders.

“Now I know the idea of underestimating someone is foreign to you Max.  A man that seemed to run through HOW on fucking cruise control at times.  Someone who has never misstepped and could of been called the Midas of HOW cause everything you touched turned to fucking gold.  But you lost to Halitosis and got knocked out of a HOW tournament before the finals. I know… something your not used to. You’re not used to the sting of such a defeat.  Main Event losses at Pay Per Views to men you deem as near equals… that you can stomach. But last week… that was crushing to you. More crushing than losing any title.” Scotty snickers as there is definitely a sense of enjoyment in talking about the man held on one of HOW’s highest pedestals falling from his fucking grace.

“So what does Max Kael do?  Does he congratulate the rookie Halitosis and take his loss like a man?  No. Max Kael whines like a spoiled child who has learned that things don’t always go his way.  But don’t worry Max… you’re facing me this week and I can guide you through this roadtrip of dealing with loss that I am all too familiar taking.  Do I blame my opponent. Rarely. Do I blame myself. Always. But what I never fucking do is lash out and blame HOW. I don’t blame the place that made my career.  I don’t blame the man who has had his foot on the gas pedal of this machine for some eight years before we closed. Ya, Lee is a fucking dick… and he spawned a trash-fuck of a son in Mike… but my losses aren’t his fault.  You’re loss… is on you Max. Try and blame others for HOW feeling stale… but you had a fresh fucking opponent in Halitosis and you fucking lost.” Smiles Scotty as he takes a deep breath of the freshest air you can find in Manhattan before he wets his mouth with some more of his liquid gold.

“See I lost to Zion this week… and believe me… I was and still am fucking pissed. I’m fed up with losing, the shade thrown at me and the state of fucking Florida.  Other than the façade of happiness in Disney… the magic of Harry Potter World… and the deliciousness of Cigar City’s beer… the state blows. Oh and Max… a façade is a faux… or to dumb it down even more… a fake wall that hides the true shit behind it.” As he finishes his beer and on what one would seem is a planned cue, another beer is delivered to his table.  This time a clean glass and a sixteen ounce can of Other Half’s DDH Small Nelson Everything… a New England IPA for those that need education.

Now maybe it is the thousand dollar bill flashing out on the table… maybe it’s an arrangement he makes at every bar to keep the beers coming when his glass is empty.  How I Met Your Mother calls it “The Kennedy Package”… but Kennedy probably didn’t drink beer… or good beer. It was the fucking sixties… it probably all sucked. So let’s coin it for Scotty and call it “The Woodson Package”.

Plus who can’t chuckle a bit at the words wood and package being together.  

Now… deep breath and let’s crank this rant into high octane mode.

“Façade… it’s the perfect word to describe this so call enlightened Max Kael.  Now trying to show everyone else the light that he has found to bring them out of the dark woods they have been lost in for so long.  Christ… I’ve heard this same fucking shit from so many preaching… and yes, preaching is the right word this time… the same old nonsensical babble.  Calling on me to join him and his righteous battle instead of standing and fighting to expose the facade and the truth behind it.”

Scotty’s eyes… yeah, he has two still… they roll as he can’t believe that the great Max Kael is trying to pull such a Busch beer league stunt on not only him but all of HOW.  Finally getting a moment to pause, he pours his newly arrived can of beer into his glass. Admiring the hazy golden color of the hop packed New England IPA, he takes in the aromas for a moment before downing his first taste of the beer.  Go check his Untappd for thoughts if any of you aren’t still stuck sucking down your tasteless Dud Lights or Yucklings and give a fuck what he thinks about a real beer.

“Because there is a truth somewhere Max.  It’s not the words coming out of your mouth.  I don’t fucking believe a single one of them. Weeks ago… the proud adopted son of Lee Best, Max Kael-Best or whatever bullshit you called yourself left me in a bloody fucking mess and stole one of my dreads.  As some kind of trophy? As retribution for attacking Mario in OCW and beating his ass at Refueled One? Or maybe just because you’re a sadistic fuckstick with a hair fetish too. It doesn’t matter. After all that, am I really supposed to believe your olive branch and invitation to join you?  Here is my dumbed down answer in case you haven’t guessed it yet. Fuck off Max.”

No mistaking that response as Scotty is so ramped up he doesn’t even take a sip of his beer before diving back into his rant.  I think he might be… sobering up. Don’t worry Scotty fans… I’m sure he will be ok.

“See, instead of spewing nauseating bullshit tweet after tweet I left the Florida man and woman infested, dick shaped state of Flo-rida, fuck him too and found my place of peace.  Any bar in New York City that serves craft beer. While this one is a bit pricey… fourteen fucking bucks… inflation for elevation? Fuck this bar and it’s fifty-four stories. But the point is Max… I’m not afraid of who the fuck I am.  You call it stale… I call it confidence. I don’t need to change…. or find the light… Jesus… Jewish Jesus… haha… or Buddha to fucking feel better about myself. Maybe I’m not as great as Maximilian Kael… but maybe you aren’t either anymore.  Time takes its toll on us all and maybe… maybe the fact… the truth is that Max Kael is slipping.  Those missteps might be Father Time claiming his victim, like he always does. Maybe he’s devalued you and maybe Maximillian is now Maxithousand.” Suggests Scotty with a tilt of his head and a couple raised eyebrows as he pulls a thousand dollar bill out of his pocket and places it under his pint glass.

“Yes Max… over a twenty year career in wrestling I’ve made some fucking cash.  How fucking scandalous! I’ve ran federations like NGW, HATE and ENCORE, which I still own their rights and libraries.  I’ve held just about every job here in HOW… while being a wrestler mind you. Commish, GM, arena owner and general wHORe of whatever needed to be done.  I’ve busted my fucking ass in this business and especially here in HOW. So the fact you want to shit on it and think I’m gonna join you in tearing it down.  Again… Fuck off. Let’s leave no question that there will be a fight on the thirteenth… hmmm… thirteen. Maybe there will be some luck on my side. I mean you have owned me how many times before… I can’t argue that some luck might be needed.  But we’re gonna go down this path one more time… and fuck it… I’m pissed now and I’m digging the stats up. We’re gonna take that trip down memory lane later this week just because it’s gonna piss you off.” Rants on Scotty as he has to take a pause before he dives too far down the stats rabbit hole.  

Seems some people, like Max apparently now, don’t appreciates history and reliving it.  Maybe cause it’s a daily reminder to Max of what he used to be… and what he is now. How that pep in his step might be gone.  Lost forever to the annals of time.

“So go ahead with your new crusade Max, call me and HOW stale.  Cause come June thirteenth there will be fresh Maxithousand blood running down your face, down that fucking eye patch, down on to that fucking canvas at Refueled Four inside the REDACTED Center.” Mocks Scotty who actually has a Sharpie on him and takes a nice whiff of the intoxicating marker.  You know you love the fucking smell… admit it.

“Woooo!  That Sharpie high is pretty nice… I see the fun in those tweets a bit now.” Laughs Scotty as he chases the Sharpie with some beer and starts to calm down from his rant rage.

“Now we may be opening the show… but I say that means shit.  So let’s go Max. We’re two HOW Hall of Famers. This is a match that should headline a fucking Pay Per View.  But we are not and there is some blame on us both for that. There is blame on us both for the state of HOW. One point we can both agree on, is that the return of HOW has been less than we all imagined.  Less than what we and all the fans had hoped for. The bar may have been set high, but HOW has always managed to reach and surpass it. So consider me motivated Max. Motivated to go out there on the thirteenth and give you the Scottywood that you deserve to face.  The Scottywood that the HOW fans deserve to see. And I want you to bring Maximilian. Because for all the jabs calling you Maxithousand and saying that time has caught you… I wanna beat Maximilian. I wanna beat THE man who has been a cornerstone of HOW ever since I arrived so many years ago.”

Scotty just nods his head… offering a rare showing of respect for Max despite neither rarely seeing eyes to eye.  Even when teaming in The Best Alliance. They were an alliance… but because of circumstance… a mutual understanding that it was BEST for them at the time.

“And if I don’t win… and we all know the chances of that are high.  Then I walk out of Refueled Four with my head held high that I lost to Maximilian.  That I lost to the man most would argue is the greatest wrestler in HOW history. Not Jace Parker Davidson, not John Sektor, not Shane Reynolds, not Jatt Starr… and not even your so called brother Michael Best.  We give the fans of HOW the match of the night right out of the gate and prove to them… prove to ourselves that we are far from fucking finished. Because I’ve always said… when we are finished… when HOW is truly over… you’ll have to pull my lifeless body out of that fucking ring.” Boldly claims Scotty in a kinda over the top way to try and prove a point.  

Though with his reckless style of fuck my body wrestling, it’s not the biggest jump to take to see that as a future reality.  I mean how many wrestlers on the HOW roster wouldn’t hesitate to finish… truly finish for good Scottywood? We don’t need to count, but I think it’s safe to say more have been sucked off my a certain calf.

“Because that is what I have given to this shit Max.  I have given everything. Just like you have given everything.  This is what we fucking do… so let’s fucking do it. Because for all our battles this may be the very last one.  The last time that the HOW fans may get to see Scottywood vs. Maximilian Kael. So let’s make it one that the fans will never forget.  Let’s spark the ignition of the machine back into fucking gear. Because I can’t go back… I will not go back to a life without HOW. The past two something years have fucking blown.  From what I remember of them. So I need this and I am not ready to give it up again… and I know you are not either Max.”

Finishing the rest of his drink, he takes the thousand dollar bill and places it back in his pocket.  Not even his has got enough money to drop that on a couple of beers. Plus I think he wants to hold onto it as a little bit of motivation.  A reminder that we all slip at times… but as cliche as it is… it’s what we do after that. It’s whose blood do you spill on that canvas next.

“On the thirteenth day of June, the true Hardcore Artist will be awoken again.  Not now… or ever teaming with you Max. But I will give you the fight that you and all the HOW fans have been looking for.  You want the excitement back in HOW… well ask and thou Max shall receive. I’m coming win or lose to get my blood back and show everyone that we aren’t just back as some nostalgia act.  That “The Hardcore Artist” Scottywood is not yet dead.”

The wind continues to blow as in just thirteen days on the thirteenth we may see the end of HOW… or the spark of a new era… the final era of HOW.  Where those winds blow is anyone’s guess. But if anyone can help shift them in the right direction… it would be Scottywood and Maximilian Kael. So I wouldn’t be placing any bets just yet against… The Machine.

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