It is difficult to put your finger on High Octane Wrestling’s definitive event. March 2 Glory, Rumble At The Rock, Iconic… They are all must-see events, every single year. They are all unique. They all pose a challenge that is different to other events. In a little over two weeks’ time, the men and women of HOW will descend upon the Tokyo Dome for the latest edition of possibly the most unique events of all: War Games.
Of course, the title War Games is not unique, we all know that. But when HOW does War Games, it is unique. It is bigger, better than anybody else that does it and there is always a lingering thought of “who might die this year?”
Ok, that might be a little bit extreme, but the threat is always there. Even in the buildup this year, we have already seen a flightless Byrd thrown overboard and a man set on fire, as everybody tries to build momentum ahead of the match – everybody is just a little bit more on edge than they are ahead of the other marquee events on the calendar.
You may have even heard some radio chatter recently about what it takes to win War Games… Well, I can’t help you with that. I could probably write a novella about how to lose a big match, but that’s not what I’m here for today.
Today, we’re going to take a look at who has the momentum heading into the go-home show and who needs to use this last opportunity to step up and show themselves as a threat.
ON THE UP
These guys are amongst my favorites to win the entire thing. They have proven themselves week-in, week-out and deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. They are dangerous – and they are the best in HOW right now.
Teddy Palmer: Nobody on the roster is riding higher than the LSD Champion right now. He has not lost in singles competition since Steve Harrison beat him back in February during the DeNucci Cup, and his only other loss came when Zeb Martin was pinned in a tag team match against StarrSek. He might even have had Clay Byrd beat last week and The Canadian is on a hot streak that any of HOW’s all-time greats would be proud of. He will be one of the favorites to walk out of War Games with the World Championship and the LSD title.
Clay Byrd: Sure, Refueled ended with him being thrown off the USS Octane, but he proved he could hang with HOW’s hottest commodity, Teddy Palmer before that and he recovered well enough to damn near take Doozer’s head off a few hours later. He has been on a tear recently and it wouldn’t surprise many people if he were to win War Games at the first attempt.
Dan Ryan: Losing to Mike Best for the HOFC Championship is neither unique, nor something to be ashamed of. Losing a close match to Sutler Kael is nothing to be ashamed of, either. That is the sum of Dan Ryan’s losses this year and while one could argue that the hulking giant has not been booked a whole lot recently, he is still 7-2 in 2021 and handed Arthur Pleasant his first – and thus far, only – defeat in HOW. He faces John Sektor this week and a win against the Hall of Famer would be a real statement of intent.
Sutler Reynolds-Kael: Maybe it’s because of his competition, or maybe it’s because he will forever be compared to the legends on his family tree, but Private SRK has been low-key on a roll. Sure, Desmond LeRoux and Lester Moregrimes aren’t exactly the best HOW has to offer, and his loss to Bobby Dean early in the year might not have been his proudest moment. Last time out, however, he avenged his defeat in the DeNucci Cup to Dan Ryan and looked good doing it. He appears to have the opportunistic mentality his father had – and Max Kael knew how to go the distance at War Games.
MUST DO BETTER
This group consists of people that are lauded amongst their peers, without having stood out enough to necessarily deserve the plaudits coming their way. They’re not a bad group – but they could be doing a lot more to help their cause.
Cancer Jiles: I’m reminded of a classic Eddie Murphy sketch whenever I see Jiles show up recently. Since beating Mike Best at #MTGMSG, Jiles has beaten Conor Fuse thanks to a fast count from Sutler Kael, won a tag team match and lost a 3-on-1 match against the guy with the worst record in HOW. He’s World Champion? Not for long – unless he gets his head in the game and stops worrying about his tan.
Lindsay Troy: Leader of the 2-1-4, the great hope of the common people… and absolutely out of her depth. LT won the Tag Team Championship with Teddy Palmer against a lackluster StarrSek – where Teddy scored the pinfall – and other than that… It’s pretty grim reading. Steve Harrison? Lost. Jace Parker Davidson? Lost. Lindsay may walk around section 214 as the great hero, and she may lead her troops into battle, but she isn’t leading by example. This week, she has a chance to rectify that and swing the momentum in her team’s favor.
Arthur Pleasant: I’ve spoken a lot about how much I like this guy, but it’s all potential. Lindsay asked him to prove himself and apparently, his win against High Flyer was enough to get him a spot on the team. But High Flyer is old. He’s lost a step, he’s losing almost weekly, he’s… Well, he’s me in my last 4 or 5 years in HOW – and it has been a long time since beating Silent Witness was an impressive feat. Arthur takes on Steve Harrison this week – and beating him would indeed impress.
NEED A MIRACLE
No, not the Steve Harrison kind. These people are lucky to even be on their teams. They have contributed nothing to make me think that they deserve to be in the War Games match and if they expect to be taken seriously, they’re going to have to do something truly remarkable at Refueled tomorrow night.
Darin Zion: Or is it Darin Matthews? I don’t know. I don’t think he knows. That is part of the problem – he has no real identity. He was the guy that couldn’t win a match for love nor money. Now he’s that guy that won a handicap match. Those descriptions haven’t come from me – that’s what Zion-slash-Matthews puts out there himself. One win – whoever it’s against – doesn’t change the fact that he has spent the majority of 2021 on his back, looking up at the arena lights. He doesn’t have a match at Korakuen Hall, so he will have to find another way of making a statement and building on his result from last week.
Zeb Martin: In my latest Witness Report, I forgot Zeb even existed when I said the roster goes from A to X. His three wins this year consist of an outside interference win over John Sektor, an admittedly impressive win against Clay Byrd and Steve Solex, and a tag team match victory where his teammate picked up the win. He is the forgotten man of the 2-1-4 and I suspect he will be quickly forgotten after elimination from the War Games match. Who are you, Zeb Martin? It’s time to show the world.
Scottywood: Seriously, this guy made the squad? I have all the respect in the world for Scottywood – he is woven into the fabric of this company and arguably the greatest LSD Champion of all time (I won’t be making that argument, obviously.) But he should have retired after winning the World Championship. Now, he’s putting his stake in HOW on the line in a match he has next to no chance of winning. We don’t know the details of what his objectives are to keep that stake, but if they include winning the match, he might as well step down now. He lost last time out to Gino. He hasn’t won a match since February against Simon Loveless and he hasn’t won a match against an active member of HOW since the second show of the year. As I said, I respect you, Scotty – but you have no business being in this match in 2021.