The Stone of Sisyphus

(HOW- Refueled Four- HOW World Title Match / June 14th, 2019)
…Halitosis and Hollywood run at each other. The two men both go for spears, cracking their heads.

Both men stagger and slump to the mat.

Referee Matt Boettcher makes the count.

1

2

3!

DING DING DING

Brian McVay:
HERE IS YOUR WINNER… AND NEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW HOW WORLD CHAMPION…… HALLLLITOOOOOOSISSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

The crowd roar in approval.

Generic Announcer Guy:
“What’s the hardest thing to do after you’ve pushed a boulder up the way to the top of the mountain? Having to start at the bottom of the mountain and do it all over again.

“There have been fifty HOW World title reigns since Johnny Lexicon defeated Michael Norcia in June 2008. Nearly half of the fifty-one title reigns were ‘one and done’ ie…the champion won the title and then lost it on the first defense- the last time being Ray McAvay’s run in 2016 after winning the HOW World title at War Games and then losing to Brian Hollywood thirteen days later at Monday Night Mayhem.

“Halitosis would not get any break from competition following his win over Brian Hollywood. He would be scheduled to jump right back into the fray at Refueled Five to make his first title defense two weeks after winning the stunning, brand new #97 red High Octane Wrestling World Title belt against HOW Hall of Famer Max Kael. This will be the second time Halitosis sets foot in a wrestling ring against Kael. He defeated the Minister of Maxopotamia at Refueled Three using his lethal breath of death to set up his finisher to advance to the finals of the HOW World Title tournament.

“Stepping back into the gym after a busy weekend after winning the title- and a busier evening the night before with his wife, it would not be a shock if Halitosis came out a little flat on the first day of training for his match with Max.

“And he was.”

Dawn McGill- Halitosis’s trainer:
“All right. I knew the score going into Monday morning. I knew that he and his wife might have got a little busy romantically Sunday night after returning home from probably one of the best weekends in Halitosis’s life so I had no trouble with that. Look, it’s an exciting time for Halitosis and his wife. He just won the top title of a major wrestling company- a title he wasn’t expecting to win, hell, no one expected him. And he did it. So I wasn’t going to begrudge him taking a night to celebrate with his wife. I just wanted him ready to go on Monday. Which he was- kind of. Honestly, we got enough work in and I was able to use some of the time to work on strategy for Max. Max is just so hard to plan for. Why? Because when Max is ‘on’ he’s nearly impossible to beat.   We ran into that in 2015 when I managed Ray McAvay. Ray won the LSD title at War Games 2015 by finishing third. His title reign lasted just one defense- against Max who beat him in a ladder match to end his twenty-seven day run with the LSD title. Ray had one shot to get the title back- a match at Simply Marvelous, but Max won that match as well and went on to hold the LSD title for nearly 153 days and eight title defenses before he lost to David Black.

“So, Halitosis was a little sluggish on Monday but Tuesday was a new day. Hopefully, I would see improvement and a little more focus on the task at hand. Did that happen?

“No.

“And I let it go again. I wasn’t going to press the panic button. We had plenty of time to get ready. Again, he’s never been in this position before. Not many people are. Holding the top title in the company just five matches into his High Octane Wrestling career is daunting – even for someone like Halitosis who’s been wrestling for over eleven years in the lower levels of the pro wrestling world. When Ray McAvay won the World title at War Games 2016, I noticed the same drop off in intensity and focus during the run-up to his next match with Brian Hollywood.

“Surely Wednesday would be better.

“Except it wasn’t.

“Halitosis wasn’t sleepwalking through training. But he wasn’t showing the same fire, the same desire, the same tenacity he showed the week before the Brian Hollywood match- and really, the Scottywood and first Max Kael match either. He was still sluggish. Nothing was fluid. He just wasn’t at the same place he was the week before and against Max Kael, that’s a recipe for disaster- a grease fire of epic proportion just waiting to explode. I don’t want that to happen and I really want him to win his first title defense so ultimately I had to become a little more vocal with Halitosis during the training session.

“Halitosis did a little better in the afternoon. We watched film of Max’s win over Scottywood at Refueled Four, made some notes, and he was fully engaged in the process. After training, we sat down and talked.

“Actually, I talked. I told him a story. The story of the Stone of Sisyphus.”

Generic Announcer Guy:
“The Stone of Sisyphus is Greek Mythology. Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra who was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced for eternity to roll a boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down to the bottom once he neared the top.”

Dawn McGill:
“I explained to Halitosis that at this level of competition, when you’re wrestling top wrestlers each and every single week instead of just once of month, the week-in, week-out process of training for a match, wrestling a match, and having to start the whole process over again can be like someone pushing the Stone of Sisyphus up the mountain in an endless loop. It does get to be a grind after a while and it gets harder and harder to put your head down and keep pushing forward.

“But I also told him great wrestlers find a way. Wrestlers who attain greatness are the ones who figure out a way to keep pushing that boulder up the mountain over and over and over again. I told Halitosis I thought he that he could be one of those wrestlers and I would be behind him every step of the journey. I thought the talk went well. I hoped Thursday, he’d walk into the gym and we would get back on track.

“But, that didn’t quite happen.

“Thursday ended up being the worse day of the week. He actually took a step backwards. Nothing worked. Nothing clicked. Nothing got accomplished. Halitosis was frustrated with me. I was very frustrated with him. Everything that had worked to plan at every single step of the process from the beginning in March all the way to winning the title at Refueled Four, suddenly went totally off kilter and we’d hit the first speed bump in the road. It was eight days to the rematch with Max and Halitosis was not ready to step into the ring with him. My job was to find a way to get him back into the rhythm we’d established for the first four HOW Refueled shows and get him back on track.

“So, desperate times sometimes call for drastic measures. Driving up from St. Louis, Missouri to Mason City, Iowa for a house show, I had plenty of time to think about how I could get my point across to him.”

Halitosis- HOW World Champion
“Okay. I knew when I walked through the door on Friday that I would have to smooth things over with her after what happened the day before. It was just a bad day. Emotions ran high- a lot higher than they should have. I knew how pissed off she was about Thursday. The bottom line is she was right. We were locked in so hard on winning the tournament that I don’t think we gave any thought to what would happen if I actually WON the tournament. Of course, one of the by-products of winning a title is having to defend it. Two days after winning the biggest match of my life, I had to turn around and get back into training mode again. Start pushing the rock back up the mountain again. And I didn’t handle it very well.

I knew somehow Dawn was going to make her point on Friday.”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st)
Halitosis walks into the gym carrying his duffel bag. He’s dressed and ready to go to work. He thinks he sees Dawn on the other side of the ring so he veers to the left to go around in order to go talk to her.

He reaches the corner of the ring and side-steps the metal ring steps.

Halitosis: Hey look. Let’s just forget about everything that happened yesterday and-

He stops when he gets a full view of McGill. Dawn is lounging on an Aluminum Beach Yard Pool Folding Recliner Adjustable Chaise Lounge Chair with a drink in her hand. She’s not dressed to work out. She has a pink robe on with pink fuzzy slippers on her feet. Her face has a Bella Schneider Rejuvenating Anti-Aging Face Cream for Women golden facial mask on to help reduce fine lines, clear acne, minimize her pores and moisturize her skin to firm it up. Her hair is also wrapped up in a plain white towel.

She sees and acknowledges Halitosis. Dawn waves non-chalantly at him.

Dawn McGill: Hey.

After he does a double-take, Halitosis drops the duffel bag on the floor.

Halitosis: Dawn? What’s going on?

Dawn McGill: Nothing. I’m just chilling and waiting.

Dawn takes a sip from her non-alcoholic drink contained in a martini glass complete with a mini-umbrella and other decorations. She checks the time on her phone.

Dawn McGill: My pedicurist should be here in a few minutes.

Halitosis: I’m here to get back to work.

Dawn McGill: So go ahead.

She points him toward the ring.

Dawn McGill: Get to work. I’ll be right here.

Halitosis
“When I saw her dressed up for a day at the health spa instead of in her usual training apparel, I knew she meant business and I was going to be in for a long day.

I just didn’t realize how long of a day it was going to be.”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st continued)
Dawn’s longtime pedicurist Melissa had arrived and begins to work on her feet.

After watching the pedicurist place cotton balls in between her toes and realizing he wasn’t going to win the battle with her, Halitosis grumbles under his breath and grabs on to the middle rope to climb into the ring.

Dawn McGill (to Halitosis): If you’re going to just half-ass it for the next week and hand the title belt over to Max Kael at Refueled Five, I’m just going to half-ass it too. Besides, my feet need a pedicure anyways.

She waves him away dismissively.

Dawn McGill: Go ahead, let’s see you work.

Halitosis begins to warm up in a corner. He does some stretches and is oblivious to the activity underneath the ring behind him. The curtain along the bottom of the ring rises up and there’s movement.

Halitosis
“The last time Dawn got this mad at me, she brought in the three Hanson Sisters to send a message and set me straight. So when I heard the rustling of the ring apron behind me, I knew something was definitely up and she had something in mind. I just didn’t know who she was going to use. But I knew I was about to find out.”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st continued)
*BONK*

Halitosis stiffened up as straight as a board when struck by what appeared to be some sort of brass musical instrument. He dropped to a knee revealing the culprit standing behind him.

Jackson C. Horne: So this is the great Halitosis. HOW World Champion. The fucking Luchador with Insanely Poor Oral Hygiene.

*BONK*

Horne nails Halitosis again with a cornet (ie…a brass instrument similar to a trumpet but different due to its conical bore, more compact shape, and mellower tone quality) sending him forward and hanging on to the bottom rope to keep him from falling all the way out of the ring.

The cornet was now bent.

Halitosis
“Yeah. I didn’t expect that. How in the hell did she convince Horne to be there?”

Dawn McGill
“I have my ways.”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st continued)
Dawn winks at the camera while the pedicurist begins to paint her toenails.

A tag team named the Kings of Old School-Bobby Ricky Michaels and Marty Gibson-Lane also came out from underneath the ring. They were two older wrestlers in their early forties, past their primes, but had just signed on with MVW with Horne as their manager.

Gibson-Lane races across the ring and jumps on Halitosis’s back pressing his neck down over the middle rope.

Jackson C. Horne: Dawn McGill says there’s a real wrestler in there somewhere. I call bullshit on that because all I see is someone with the worst fucking gimmick in pro wrestling in front of me.

Horne motions to Michaels who’s standing on the top turnbuckle. Michaels leaps and hits a guillotine leg drop and again pushes Halitosis’s neck down on the rope.

Jackson C. Horne: Prove me wrong dammit!

Michaels holds Halitosis up on the ring apron while Gibson-Lane climbs to the top turnbuckle.

Jackson C. Horne: Come on! Prove to me you’re not a mid-carder, outlaw mudwrestling fucking talent enhancement curtain-jerker!

Gibson-Lane jumps and missile dropkicks Halitosis off the ring sailing down to the floor.

Jackson C. Horne: Prove to me you’re worth something!

Tumbling to a stop some fifteen feet away from the ring, Halitosis lies on the floor spread eagle.

McGill then offers sage advice while her stylist uses a pumice stone to shave off the calluses and dead skin from the bottom of her foot.

Dawn McGill: You’ve got to find a way to push the rock up the hill.

Halitosis lifts his head and glares at McGill.

Halitosis: Gee, thanks a lot Yoda. I’ll get right on that.

His head falls back to the floor.

Halitosis
“But seriously folks, The Kings of Old School. I haven’t seen those guys since their tag team title run in PCW back in 2010. I heard they went into semi-retirement a few years back but it looks like they’ve decided to come back and somehow convinced Horne to also come out of semi-retirement.

“Well, it could have been worse.”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st continued)
Michaels and Gibson-Lane climb out of the ring and take their time approaching Halitosis- who’d just scraped himself off the floor and back to his feet-wobbling in place.

Man With Distinct Polish Accent: Hello Halitosis!

Halitosis spun around. There was a two hundred and seventy-five pound, six foot three inch man with Polish descent standing in front of him.

Man With Distinct Polish Accent: Long time, no see!

Halitosis
“She brought back the Foul Pole? The Foul Pole? Another PCW refugee from nine years ago. What the hell?”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st continued)
Halitosis turns toward McGill. She’s not even watching what’s going on at ringside. A wash cloth covers her eyes, her right foot is propped up on the foot rest and adorned with cotton balls in between each toe and the left foot soaks in a foot bath.

The Foul Pole cracks his knuckles and prepares to get down to business.

Halitosis: You’re killing me Dawn. You’re killing me!

In the middle of being pampered, Dawn does manage to raise her hand and subsequent middle finger in response.

Halitosis
“In the event you’re wondering why he’s called the Foul Pole?”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st continued)
The Foul Pole rears back with his right arm and unloads a mighty sweeping uppercut he intends to drive into Halitosis’s stomach- except it lands several inches lower and smashes into his balls.

Halitosis doubles over and falls to his knees, wind completely taken from him, leaving him gasping for breath.

Halitosis: I think I burst an intestine.

Halitosis
“That’s why.”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st continued)
Michaels and Gibson-Lane haul Halitosis back to a semi-standing position.

Dawn pulls the wash cloth off and sits up in her chair as Melissa continues to work on her feet.

Dawn McGill: Dude, you think this is bad now. This is going to be a picnic in comparison to being in the ring with Max Kael next Friday.

Halitosis feels two stiff forearms against the back of his shoulders and nearly goes down again. Michaels and Gibson-Lane hold him up.

Dawn McGill: You think you’re getting your ass handed to you now? Let me tell you from experience, Max will take ‘ass-kicking’ to a whole new level if you don’t figure this out before Refueled Five!

The Foul Pole steps forward to deliver the coupe de grace.

Dawn McGill: You gotta push the rock up the mountain…

Woozy and barely able to stay on his feet, Halitosis sees the Foul Pole rear back.

Dawn McGill: Stop overthinking everything and just push the goddamn rock!

The light switch suddenly turns on. Halitosis suddenly becomes alert. A plan has suddenly materialized and formulated in his brain.

The Foul Pole again delivers a long, sweeping uppercut leaving plenty of time for Halitosis to react. At the last possible second, Halitosis uses what energy he has to leap straight up so The Foul Pole’s fist just brushes by underneath him. Michaels, on the other hand, is not so lucky. He takes a direct hit to the jewels, gasps, and releases Halitosis from his grip.

Not done yet, the Foul Pole launches a second uppercut. This time, Halitosis ducks and rolls out of harm’s way and the punch continues on connecting with Gibson-Lane’s jaw. His eyes roll up like the wheels on a slot machine and he crumbles faster than Michael Spinks did against Mike Tyson in 1988.

Dawn McGill: Push it!

Crouching down, Halitosis notices the Foul Pole is now off-balance and wide open. He springs back to his feet and delivers a taste of his own medicine. Halitosis swings his leg forward and punts The Foul Pole square in the balls causing the Polish wonder to double over in excruciating pain. Halitosis places his hands side by side under each other shoulder. He then grabs hold of the Foul Pole’s far hand and swings him over and down to the ground in a semi-circular motion causing both to fall to the ground and the Foul Pole’s neck to impact his shoulder.

Scrambling back to his feet following the neckbreaker, Halitosis surveys the situation.

Marty Gibson-Lane- knocked out cold.

Bobby Ricky Michaels- doubled over on the ground in the fetal position.

The Foul Pole- dazed on the ground and barely moving.

Jackson C. Horne? He’s standing near the ring, cornet raised up in a defensive posture, and coming to the realization that he could be in a bit of trouble here.

Halitosis smiles. He points at Horne who drops the cornet and raises his arms, trying to beg off as only a true heel would.

Dawn McGill (shouts): And TIME!

Dawn McGill
“THAT’S what I wanted to see! Halitosis had to think on his feet, dig deep, and fight his way out of a tight situation. He needed to find the spark to rekindle the same fire, the same desire, the same tenacity which got him to this point- the stuff that he was doing when he was in the tournament. The stuff he’s going to have to do again if he’s going to defeat Max Kael.”

(Training Session – Mason City, Iowa- Friday June 21st continued)
Grinning, she makes eye contact with Horne.

Dawn McGill: What do you think about that, Jackson?

Horne’s body language read ‘ehhh, fair to middling.’

Jackson C. Horne: He did all right.

McGill is less than impressed with the faint praise.

Dawn McGill: He proved you wrong just like he’s proven everyone else wrong all along.

Horne still puts up a fight.

Jackson C. Horne: He hasn’t proven anything as far as I’m concerned. I’m still not convinced-

And that’s where she draws the line.

Dawn McGill: Still not convinced? You’ve been riding him unmercifully for weeks now because you hate his gimmick. Every word out of your mouth is how his gimmick sucks, it sucks so much that you normally would refuse to acknowledge its existence because it sucks, you wouldn’t dignify yourself with commenting on his gimmick because it sucks- right? But when he was attacked today, did you actually notice when Halitosis fought back he did so without using his bad breath gimmick – all his parlor tricks that you rail against every week- and still managed to kick their asses?

Horne begins to respond but then…

Dawn McGill: DID you?  

Jackson C. Horne: . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dawn McGill: Or did one too many Turtle Pecan Cluster blizzards freeze your brain?

Jackson C. Horne: . . . . . . . . . . . . .

He’s got nothing.

Dawn McGill
“Now, after a rough week Halitosis needs to refocus on Max Kael. Why? Halitosis going to have to be even better this time than he was last month when he faced Max. Why? One, I don’t think we caught Max on his best night last month. Two, because Max Kael is a great wrestler and great wrestlers always find a way to raise their game when there’s a title on the line. And three, we’re not sneaking up on people anymore. The Best Alliance attack after Halitosis won the title made it crystal clear that he ain’t flying under the radar any longer. He’s the world champion. He’s the one who has the big bullseye on his back now and this week Max Kael is the one taking aim at him.

“But if I do my job right, I will get Halitosis properly prepared for Max Kael. I will get him in the right frame of mind for Refueled Five. I will get him to grind it out in training. I guarantee you on Friday June twenty-eighth Halitosis is going to set foot in that ring and push that goddamn stone all the way up to the top of the mountain and prove the naysayers wrong again.”

 

 

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