I should’ve been happier for them.
It was another stellar night for me and my cohorts: wins all around, Dan and Eric capturing the tag team titles off Hanson and Zion, and Dan asserting his claim to Halitosis’ newly-won High Octane World Title – and it being accepted by the Champ, in typical fighting, take-on-all-comers fashion.
It was cause for celebration; even Dan, who doesn’t really do post-show drinking and shenanigans too often, went out for a few and allowed us to toast him.
I turned on the smiles and the laughter as I downed my liquor, putting on airs for the good of the team and the vibe of the outing, but truth be told, in those moments I felt more like a pretender amongst the group. Not an equal.
Might’ve had something to do with feeling left behind when it came to title considerations. Something swirled in the pit of my stomach. Not jealousy; more like displeasure.
I was anything but an afterthought, but compared to the rest of the group it certainly appeared that way to me. At least, in that moment.
Every day, for two-plus decades of my career, I’ve done whatever I could to not be an afterthought. Eve Ewing wrote that fortune may favor the bold, but history also favors the men, and never has that been more apparent than in professional wrestling. It’s why I’ve always worked three times as hard to even be considered a peer, first, then later a better, of those who I competed alongside.
And I’d be damned if I let myself sit back and take it now.
Hard work may be rewarded, and before tonight I might’ve been content to keep putting in the time and effort and waiting for my shot – any shot. But in order to be a standout amongst the stellar, I’d need something more than what I’ve been working with.
Biding my time got me this far, with no reward.
And I’ve never been content with complacency…
“Out of all the people in the entire Order of the Ordinary, he had to give me you, Noah.
I’m fresh off leaving a gallon of sweat in the gym of Detroit’s Shinola Hotel, but I can’t help but grin as I open things up. It’s Thursday morning, the day before Chaos 3, and I’m feeling completely pumped at the prospect of facing Noah Hanson. Former HOW Tag Team Champion, Noah Hanson. A decade or so ago, we were both fixtures on the Primetime Central circuit, although he was one of the many colorful personalities in Global Wrestling, whereas I was a PRIMEate, and slowly becoming one of the greatest to ever grace the company.
“I’ll admit: at first I thought you were being served up as the second entrant in the Misogynists on Parade, yet another of the mediocre men that seem to run rampant and unchecked here, but after careful consideration, I’ve decided that Mike Best just has a sense of humor.
“After all, the last time I had any real dealings with you, you were getting tossed over the top rope in a battle royal by MJ and myself. Just as soon as you were there, almost instantly you were gone. A great ego-driven comet, burning so brightly before fizzling away into the night.”
I wave my arm over my head, signifying a comet shooting across the sky.
“So here we are, and now I have something that you probably want back: one-half of the HOW Tag Team Titles. You, with a partner who – if we’re to believe the intrepid reporting on the High Octane website – is so enraged with how your title defense went down that he’s teetering on the brink of an emotional and mental breakdown.
“How is Darin, by the way? Have you checked in on him? Maybe got your hands on a couple of those elusive Popeye’s chicken sandwiches and had a heart-to-heart with him after Chaos 2?
“I know KFC’s your jam and all but I won’t say a word about you cheating on them.”
Index finger to my lips, ‘Shhhh’ing in secret. I wink, for added coyness.
“And then there’s me, who had nothing at all to do with the Industry’s win but is reaping the spoils nonetheless. Me, who is set to square off with two of your lot at Rumble at the Rock with a partner who’s hell-bent on cutting as many HOWitzers down to size as he can while collecting their heads after he’s kneed them off their shoulders.
“It’s our drive that makes us dangerous, Noah. It’s insatiable. I’m sure there are some naysayers out there who think this new Freebird rule rewards those who didn’t put in the effort to actually win the belts. I’m here to tell you, for as I’m hungry to win a High Octane Title on my own, I’m surely going to do whatever’s necessary to defend the belts that my team earned.
“I’d bet all the other collectives in this place would say the same, because there’s honor in being a champion. It’s a responsibility I take seriously.
“So for now, I’m one-half of the tag champs, and that suits me just fine. I’m happy to take up the mantle with Eric while Dan fights Listerine Man for the big #97Red belt, and MJ defends the LSD title in Alcatraz’s prison yard, and Flyer probably rigs some weights to fall on someone’s head. He’s wily that way.
“Unlike you, I can wrangle my partner. Unlike you, I’m fully prepared to continue what I started with you a few months ago. The humiliation can’t sit well with you, Noah. I’ve got a bit of a reputation for doling that out, y’see.
“It’ll be more of the same when I bulldoze through you this week and solidify the Industry’s place as the unstoppable force you all already know we are but can’t stand to admit.
“You, on the other hand, get to be made an example of.
“Again.”Views: 3 Likes: