“How do you want to be remembered in HOW?”
It’s a question every one of us have been asked by journalists and fans over the years. But as we approach the next instalment of High Octane Wrestling, it’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot. Joey Conrad, a kid from England that I brought in to… I don’t know, try to relive past glories? Enhance my ‘legacy’? I’m not sure… But this kid is stepping into the ring against the most recognisable face/name/man in all of HOW history that isn’t named Lee Best.
Chris Kostoff – a true living legend. There is absolutely no doubt about it, he will go down as the greatest wrestler ever to set foot in HOW, once this shit burns to the ground, whenever that day finally comes.
I find myself asking where do I sit in that list? I mean… truly. Pushing aside the ego, the self-hype and grandiose bullshit, where does Silent Witness stand in the halls of High Octane Wrestling? And what legacy do I want to leave behind; what do I want people to point at to say “that’s what Silent Witness brought to the table”?
I don’t know how other people see it. I guess it depends on how much of the history of HOW you truly know, because that paints a different picture to the one you might have of me. Everyone says “oh yeah, I followed High Octane Wrestling before I joined”, but let’s face it, nobody fucking does that. You’ll check out a show or two, maybe watch some footage of some of the top guys, then decide if you want to send in that job application. I’ve been doing this shit for 21 years now – I know how it works. I’ve done it. I did the same thing with HOW when I first joined, way back in 2003.
Now here I am, half my life later, reflecting on what was and where my name belongs in the list of greats. If it even deserves to be there at all. Let’s start at the beginning of my story.
I joined HOW in early 2003. I was the commissioner of Thursday Night Turmoil, at a time when Narcotic, Darkwing, Chris Kostoff, Mark O’Neal and Jatt Starr were fucking dominant. Things were very different back then and comparisons are unfair, but if I had to choose what the most difficult era of HOW was to try to carve out a name for yourself, I think I’d choose this one. After a short run, I left. I had shit to deal with that I’m sure was super important at the time. When I came back a short while later, I was lucky – Kostoff, O’Neal and Duck took me under their wing (yeah, I see the pun too, just ignore it) and I joined Chris Kostoff’s Legion of Darkness stable. It was a fun time for me, even though I lost more often than I won.
Eventually, I found my level. It wasn’t at the top end of HOW – that World Title was a long fucking way off. But the LSD Championship – Lee’s Superstar Division, for those of you that may have wondered what those three letters stood for – was mine for the taking. And I took it. First from Splinter, then from Shane Reynolds. In between, there was a run as HOW Tag Team Champion with Mark O’Neal – the first of three undefeated Tag Team Championship runs in HOW – which ended with the division being disbanded. I think it was because the Best Alliance couldn’t take them off our hands, but I’m not sure.
Then there was some time off. There was a lot of time off. I was quite the unreliable talent back in the day. Some might justifiably say that things never really changed that much and it’s hard to argue with that. To be fair, I wasn’t the only one: This might have been one of the times HOW unexpectedly closed it’s doors. I’m not really too sure, but eventually, I returned to HOW. Or at least, I returned to the HOW stable in PWX.
I won the LSD Championship there and brought it with me when Lee reopened the doors a few weeks later. PWX was our stepping-stone to reopening this place and there I was, ready and willing to wave that banner. LSD Championship x3 was a good run – I was HOW Commissioner and orchestrated many a controversial decision in my favour during that time.
I had my second Tag Team Championship win during this time, too. Darkwing and I put the titles in the trash and set them alight. It seems that I may be a heat-killer for those things. I think it was around this time that Max joined HOW, although, it may have been a little earlier. My memory is a little hazy on the timings.
Anyway, Max, Jatt Starr and a rapidly-rising Shane Reynolds took over the World Title division, with John Sektor not too far behind. I had some great matches with Sektor and Reynolds previous to that, but they had surpassed me at this point. Then there were numerous HOW closures and me bailing, until 2008. The “Modern era of HOW” as it’s called. I’ve always hated that. Does that make the original run the “Classic Era”? I’m not sure how I feel about that…
Anyway. 2008. Four-time LSD Champion. The first four-time Champion in HOW history, I believe. I could be wrong about that, but I’m pretty sure it’s accurate. All the World Champions were stuck on 3 and I don’t think anyone had won the ICON four times at that point. Regardless, the LSD Division was mine. In truth, it had been ever since I became the first ever three-time LSD Champion – now that one is definitely true. I didn’t shut up about it for months. Then I became the first ever four-time LSD Champion. Maybe that’s what I’ve brought to the table? I took an entire division, carried it on my back and made it mean something?
That’s the way you would put it in a eulogy, I guess, but the truth is that there were a handful of times I bailed on HOW between all those title runs. I did a lot for that division – you could make a strong argument that I did more than anyone else – but it wasn’t all guts and glory. There were some poor showings in there, too.
I beat Chris Jacobs for that belt. Apparently, I also beat some guy called Steve The Invincible. I have no recollection of that, but just to be clear, he was not invincible. Then, I lost the title to Kostoff and disappeared. I cam back a year later and lost a title match to Scottywood, then disappeared. I retired, or at least, I thought I did. I wasn’t mentioned in HOW again until the 2011 Hall of Fame came around.
I was truly honoured to be inducted into the HOW Hall of Fame. I wasn’t expecting it, but I appreciated it. To be recognised by your peers as someone that has made a contribution significant enough to be considered one of the all-time greats… It’s hard to capture the emotions and thoughts that I had at that time. Humbled, I guess, is the strongest feeling from that time.
It reminded me of how much I loved what we do. What HOW gives us. I came back. Five-time LSD Champion. First ever five-time LSD Champion. “The Greatest LSD Champion of all-time” as I would often say – and maybe I was, I don’t know. But I took the title from Shane Reynolds, beat Scottywood and beat David Black. I was in the form of my life and as runs go, although it was just the three defences, I beat some of the greatest people ever associated with that title. I’m proud of that one.
Then I lost it in a “Title for Title” match against probably the greatest talent we’ve ever seen walk through the doors of HOW: Mike Best.
I never managed to beat Mike. I came close once, but I was never in his league. I think that’s a timely reminder as I run through all my achievements that I am certainly not the best thing HOW has ever seen. I’ve had my moments – a lot of them – but… I have to keep my feet on the ground, here.
What that loss did do, though, was give me a taste of what it was like to challenge for the big one. It was the first time I’d ever truly thought that maybe – just maybe – I had a chance… And that chance was coming, but in the meantime, I won the Tag Team Championship for a 3rd time, with my good friend Rhys Townsend. We held it for 13 days and lost it in our first defence. It’s the only time I’ve ever lost the title. I won it back a few months later with Narcotic, but once again, Lee scrapped the title. Four-time Tag Team Champion, undefeated 3 times. That’s pretty good, right? You know… if we ignore the fact that I clearly don’t know how to hype that fucking belt, to the point where the boss has to scrap the fucking thing.
And then, it was my time. July 26th, 2012. One of the best days of my life.
Silent Witness defeats Max Kael for the HOW World Championship.
You know what, fuck the fourth wall for a minute. I was fucking shaking reading that. I lost all control of my hands for a minute; I could not believe what I had just read. Rarely have I been prouder in my life than at that moment when I could call myself HOW World Champion. I had come to terms years earlier – remember what I said about that 2003 group – that I would never win that title. So to actually achieve what seemed like the impossible… Well, that was an incredible feeling. Especially to do it against a writer of Max’s calibre, whom I have so much respect for.
Ok, ok, I’ll get back on the other side of the wall, Lee…
Then I beat Max again. Then Townsend and Ward. Then, I had to leave. The title was vacated. I am, in a very poor sense of the word, an undefeated HOW World Champion, but there is no glory in that statement.
To be honest, I wish I had stopped there. Going out as HOW World Champion. But, eventually, I came back. Then I left. Then I came back. Then I left. All of this with nothing noteworthy to mention. Then, there was UTAH.
I deeply regret that whole situation. I should never have gone there. I was leaving HOW on good terms – I needed time away – and then… I don’t even know what happened. There was a whole thing going on with Mike, Cecilworth and Lee… It was none of my business and I should have stayed out of it. Anyway, I ended up going to UTA for all of five minutes and hated pretty much every second of it.
I’m going to step back over that wall for a moment and say to Lee that I am sorry for my role in all of that. I should never have shown you or the fed so much disrespect and if I could take it all back, I would in a heartbeat. I was wrong and I can only apologise. Ok, back in character…
Nothing good ever happened for me in HOW after my World Title run. Seven years later, I’m still hanging around, trying to get some kind of closure, I guess. But I know my time has come to an end. It’s time to let the next generation carve out their own legacy. That’s what I wanted to achieve by bringing Joey into HOW, but after just three matches, he has abandoned me. Yes, I know you’ve been wondering why Silent Witness is delivering this promo instead of Joey Conrad. Well, it seems Joey has decided to sign with somebody else.
And this seems like a good time to wrap up my story in HOW. I cannot wrestle anymore. I don’t enjoy it anymore. So my very last HOW appearance will be in Joey Conrad’s corner one last time before he moves on to new management, as he stands across the ring from a man with probably the greatest legacy in HOW. Chris Kostoff.
So, now you know why I’ve been thinking so much about my own legacy.
I’m proud of what I achieved. I was the face of the LSD division for a long time, although Scottywood took over that mantle a long, long time ago.
You are the greatest LSD Champion of all time, Scott. You have been irreplaceable for HOW over the years and your dedication to that title far surpasses my own.
I was World Champion once, although that was somewhat tainted.
I am a Hall of Famer…
… that abandoned HOW and started some kind of war against it, for no real fucking reason.
So, how do I want to be remembered for my time in HOW?
In the end, I guess it’s quite simple. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of friends here, outside of the ring. Some great friendships, some good friendships and, of course, some friendships that only seem to come to the fore when HOW is being mentioned – and that is ok.
So I hope what I leave behind is that I did my best to help my friends when they needed it and that I made this whole fucking circus more enjoyable for them. Thank you to each and every one of you that has made this enjoyable for me. I could single out many people that have, but there’s only one that I will.
Lee, the commitment you have put into this place for seventeen years is beyond anything I could ever imagine. Over the years, you have made hundreds of people’s lives just a little bit easier by giving them a place to showcase their talent. I genuinely don’t know what I would have done without your support during some tough times over the years, including this one that’s just starting out now. As I move from being active talent into a staff role here, I know I will always be able to rely on your support. Hopefully, somewhere along the way – between all the headaches – I’ve been able to repay some of that back to you.
So. This is it. The end of an era. Silent Witness: HOW Hall of Famer, World Champion, five-time LSD Champion, four-time Tag Team Champion, never ICON Champion but definitely should have been at some point… Signing off.
… Oh. I also orchestrated the rape of a tiny little chihuahua by a German shepherd in a doggy gimp suit. I’ll probably just be remembered for that.