The Best Opener
The HOTv logo passes over the HOV, followed by the newly refurbished logo for High Octane Wrestling.
There is a roar from the surprisingly live crowd, and the graphic on the screen changes quickly to the banner for March to Glory as “A Warrior’s Call” by Volbeat begins to pump over the speaker system.
Despite country wide quarantine, nearly every seat in the Roman Coliseum is full. Clips from the last six weeks cut across the screen, capturing some of the more shocking moments of this year’s Lee Best Invitational– the formation of the Group of Death, the debut of 24K, and finally the triumphant rise of unexpected underdog Teddy Palmer, as he taps Max Kael out in the middle of the ring in the LBI Final.
As the video package comes to an end, there is a triple explosion of pyro from the entrance way, officially kicking off March to Glory as the music fades away. We are left with only the screaming of the High Octane Faithful, who have literally signed health waivers and applied for special circumstance permits in order to attend this show tonight. The cameras pan across the crowd, who are all relegated to the original Roman Coliseum seating around the “fighting pit”. Many of them have brought signs to tonight’s show, and the cameramen take a moment to display some of them for the viewers at home.
EYE SUPPORT NORTH KAELREA
TEDDY MOTHERFUCKING PALMER, LBI WINNER
HE’S A LOSER BUT WE STILL LIKE HIM
LEE BEST’S BOOKIE BOUGHT ME THESE SEATS
I APPRECIATE MIKE BEST
KOSTOFF STA PER UCCIDERTI
I WAS PROMISED A LION
HE’S A LOSER BUT WE STILL LIKE HIM
SCOTTYWOOD HATES THIS SIGN
WASH YOUR FUCKING HANDS
WHAT’S A KING TO A G.O.D?
24K IS A HARD NAME TO PUN ABOUT
CECILWORTH STOPPED TWEETING FOR THIS
The camera finally comes to rest on two of the most recognizable faces in wrestling history— Hall of Fame announce team Joe Hoffman and “Big Buff” Benny Newell. Joe is attired professionally for tonight’s event, while Benny is clearly already belligerently drunk and wearing the helmet of a Roman General.
Joe Hoffman: Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is over and it’s finally here— welcome to HOW MARCH TO GLORY! I’m Joe Hoffman, accompanied as always by my broadcast partner Benny Newell. We’ve got an amazing show for you tonight, as we reach the culmination of the Lee Best Invi—
Benny Newell: I’m gonna need you to keep six feet of distance from me for the remainder of the show, Hoffman. Nothing personal.
Joe Hoffman: Come on, Benny. Really? Our lives are inundated with stress from COVID-19 at all turns. It’s all over our social media, it’s everywhere on television. For just one night, don’t you think we could have a little escapism from all of that? To just enjoy some good old fashioned pro wrestling, without the looming gloom and doom of a virus that—
Benny Newell: Coe-Vid what? What the fuck are you talking about, dickhead? The cologne you’re wearing could choke a fucking horse. I just want you away from me.
Joe Hoffman: Oh.
Benny Newell: Yeah.
Joe Hoffman …anyway. Folks, tonight will be a night to remember. As announced yesterday via HOWrestling.com, tonight’s Tag Team Title match will be contested under GAUNTLET RULES, a stipulation not seen in HOW since 2010. The reigning champions, the Group of Death, will face off against the eGG Bandits, HATE, and the four members of 24K.
Benny Newell: I didn’t see Turn It Up Express backstage. Are you sure they made their flights?
Joe Hoffman: No one would no-show their first HOW pay-per-view appearance without so much as a heads up to management, Benny. That would be flagrantly disrespectful. I think you’re mistaken.
Benny Newell: Yeah, you’re right. That would be pretty shitty.
Joe Hoffman: In singles action, Brian Hollywood takes on Scott Stevens, with the loser being banned from in-ring competition in HOW until after War Games.
Benny Newell: I have never wanted to see a match end in a draw so badly in my entire life.
Joe Hoffman: ….and the LSD Championship will be on the line tonight as Max Kael defends his title against three of the most dangerous men in HOW– Chris Kostoff, Alex Redding, and the man called Deacon. If that wasn’t enough, this one is taking place inside of a STEEL CAGE!
Benny Newell: Pretty sure those guys are fucked, Hoffman. Have you seen Max’s new eye? I’m pretty sure it fires lasers. Not like the lasers that make a cat lose his fucking mind, either. I mean like MOTHERFUCKING DEATH RAYS. Max Kael has a MOTHERFUCKING DEATH RAY, and you can’t suplex that.
Joe Hoffman: There’s no such thing as a– you know what? Yes. Yes, Benny. Max Kael has a death ray in his eye.
Benny Newell: GROUP OF DEATH… RAY!
Joe Hoffman: …..
Benny Newell: …….
Joe Hoffman: An exciting card, folks, but March to Glory has always been, and will always be, about the culmination of the LBI. Teddy Palmer will forever wear the crown as the man who won the 2020 Lee Best Invitational, but tonight he will take on the same challenge that so many winners before him have taken on– tonight, he cashes in his ticket for a shot at the HOW World Champion.
Benny Newell: I would drink my own fucking piss to see Teddy Palmer win the HOW World Championship tonight, Joe. I’m not exaggerating. Cecilworth M’Shitbag Farthington broke my fucking arm and I haven’t shut the fuck up about it for a month– do you know how hard it is for me to jerk off now, Joe? With one fucking arm? I gotta set my phone against the couch, press play, and go mastbidextrous with it. It’s like I’m getting a handjob from an angry drunk. And if the video ends before I’m done, I gotta pull my hand off Little Benny, pick a new video, and by the time I’ve got my hand back on my cock, I’m half fucking soft again! It takes me like twenty minutes to bust a–
Joe Hoffman: Could you focus, maybe? This is a lot of information.
Benny Newell: Oh, right. Look, all I’m saying is that I FUCKING HATE Farthington. He’s the Stepfather of HOW– I hate him, but I am forced to respect him. I’d blow four guys while five guys watched to see Teddy beat him, but he hasn’t lost a match in almost a fuckin’ year, Joe. LITERALLY a year, if he beats Teddy Palmer tonight. So hopefully I have a lot of piss drinking and dude blowing in my future, I don’t know. Thoughts and prayers.
Joe Hoffman: …also tonight is Mike Best Appreciation Night.
Benny Newell: You’re just gonna gloss over the SON OF GOD like that?
Joe Hoffman: Benny, I’m gonna level with you buddy, I’m thinking about social distancing myself away from you long after this whole Coronavirus thing clears up. Like maybe permanently. I kind of just want to start the show.
Benny Newell: Fuck you then, I’ll pay the man his PROPER homage. Ten years ago, almost to this very day, the man known at the time as Michael Po–
“Dad, how come nobody likes me?”
“Cause you’re a mothafuckaaaaaaaaaaaa…”
Before Benny can finish (seemingly a common problem for him lately, thehead bopping intro to “Motherfucker” by Hopsin begins to slap over the sound system, heralding the arrival of the SON OF GOD, Michael Lee Best.
Joe Hoffman: Looks like he didn’t want your homage, Benny.
Benny Newell: He’s a busy guy, Joe. It’s MIKE BEST APPRECIATION NIGHT!
Michael Best slowly makes his way out across the pit and toward the ring, attired in a swanky looking suit and a black surgical mask over his face with the Group of Death logo across the front. He holds the ICON Title into the air, looking out into the crowd as he bobs his head to the sweet jams of his own entrance music. As soon as he reaches the ring steps, he wipes the dust off his shoes onto the apron and ducks into the ring, where he borrows a microphone from Bryan McVay.
Benny Newell: See his mask, Joe? He can smell your fucking cologne from all the way out there! You’re stinking the whole fucking joint up!
Joe Hoffman: Do you even watch the news, Benny?
Benny Newell: I can barely watch porn right now, Joe. We went over this.
The screaming crowd hurl both cheers and boos at the Architect of the Group of Death, as he paces the middle of the ring with a presumed smug smile on his face, beneath the mask.
Mike Best: Boy, are you people stupid for being here tonight.
This gets a hearty boo from the multinational fans in attendance here tonight. There is a large expanse of empty put between them and the ring, for obvious reasons.
Mike Best: You can say what you want about High Octane Wrestling, but I’ll tell you this much— we fucking show up, and so do our fans. Thank you for making this a fun night of brutality and entertainment, instead of a fucking bummer like the rest of the world is right now. Sincerely, thank you.
There is a self-congratulatory roar from the crowd in Rome, as Michael nods his head in acknowledgement in the ring.
Mike Best: We talked about staying in Chicago and doing this in an empty arena, like so many other companies are doing, but that’s not how we fucking roll. Dad talked about moving it someplace closer, like Mexico or UTAH, but both were recently closed without notice. But do you know what I told him? I told him FUCK THAT, we’re going to Rome, because Rome is a place near and dear to my heart.
Another wild cheer from the crowd– a shameless cheap pop, as any good charismatic sociopath knows how to draw from a group of people by saying the name of the place that they’re in.
Mike Best: It was in this very arena, ten years ago, that I became the man that I am today. That I transformed from a man pretending to be Jesus into the true SON OF GOD. It was in this very arena that I had my very first HOW pay-per-view main event, and got powerbombed through THIS VERY FLOOR. It was in this very arena that the entire trajectory of my career changed forever, and it is an honor to be standing in this ring tonight after achieving the next great milestone of my career. My sixth HOW ICON Championship– I stand here tonight with more ICON Championship reigns, and more total days as champion, than any wrestler in HOW history.
Once again, applause and cheers from the crowd. The hellacious battle between Mike Best and Dan Ryan at least won the respect of the HOW fans, even if their adoration seems to ebb and flow from week to week. Mike Best will go back to being the most hated man in most arenas next week, but tonight is a very special night.
Mike Best Appreciation Night.
Mike Best: For all of you watching me from the back right now, I want you to look at the belt on my shoulder. I want you to understand what this championship means. For all of the records that I’ve set, and all of the championships that I’ve won, this white leather strap means more to me than fucking any of it. It means more to me than eight World Championships. It means more to me than the Hall of Fame ring on my finger. This ICON Championship– this record setting championship– is symbolic of everything that my career has been to this point. It’s the belt that sparked the never ending wars fought by Mike Best and Max Kael for the last decade. It’s the belt that helped to bring Dan Ryan, a man I fucking respect more than you can ever know, into the Group of Death. It’s the belt that ignited Cecilworth Farthington, and turned him rightfully into the household name that he always should have been. This belt is a fucking star maker. This belt is your ticket to the big time, kids. And if you want it?
He lowers his eyes, staring directly into the hard camera– the mask on his face distorts, as you can practically see him sneering beneath it.
Mike Best: You’re gonna have to go through me. So while you all watch me out here with this microphone in my hand, know that I’ll be watching you all night. I’ll be watching, and taking notes, because if you want to be standing here in this ring ten years from now? If you want to be shamelessly celebrating yourself, like I am here tonight? You’re going to have to pry this fucking belt from my cold, dead hands. You’re going to have to fucking kill me. Because I am Michael Lee Best. I am the Son of God, the Architect of the Group of Death, and the TRUE ICON OF HOW.
He takes a step back, his body language relaxing as his eyes lighten.
Mike Best: But hey, this is March to Glory. This is the place where I have struck down LBI Winners, and I have succumbed to them. The place where I have seen careers destroyed, and seen stars get made. I am proud and excited that the Group of Death is walking into this show with every single championship in HOW, and I am very, VERY much going to enjoy watching them bring those belts home with them all over again. Make no mistake– I bet my Dad’s money on Teddy Palmer, but the real cash? The BIG BEST BUCKS? Those are on Cecilworth Farthington tonight. Good luck buddy. I love you. I’m sorry.
He cackles beneath his mask, at a joke meant for basically no one.
Mike Best: Now if you’ll excuse me, the Son of God is going to take his rightful throne at the side of the FATHER… and we’re going to watch a MOTHER… FUCKING… WRESTLING… SHOW!
Raising an eyebrow, Michael literally “drops the mic”, listening to it feedback throughout the Roman Coliseum as he ducks out of the ring. He makes his way up toward the Emperor’s Box, where Lee Best is already seated, as HOW takes its first commercial break of the evening.
Turn-It-Up-Express vs. MJ Flair and High Flyer
Back from the quick advert and official kickstart to Mike Best Appreciate Night, we cut back to the announcers as its time for our first match of the evening.
Joe Hoffman: And with that, Benny, we’re ready for our first match!
Benny Newell: Maybe you are, Hoffman, but I’m ready to skip this one and get on to the second.
Joe Hoffman:With the GOD of HoW expressing his intent on putting the spotlight on the tag division in a post – Lee Best Invitational world, I think knowing the number one contenders is going to be just as important as knowing which team leaves here with the gold!
Benny Newell: Is it? Am I supposed to be impressed by a tag team match between a team that lost to the frickin’ Egg Bandits a week ago, and a team made up of two wrestlers that have lost literally everything in the ring going back a good six months? Only one thing I can say to that.
Joe Hoffman: Drink?
Benny Newell: Well, if you insist…
Joe Hoffman: … Let’s get to ringside.
In the middle of the ring, Bryan McVay looks appreciatively out into the crowd, noting their noise.
Bryan McVay: This opening contest is a tag team match scheduled for one fall with a thirty minute time limit! The winners will be named the number one contenders for the High Octane Wrestling World Tag Team Championship!
Joe Hoffman: The stakes are high, Benny!
Benny Newell: Sure. They clear the curb by at least an inch and a half.
CUE UP: “Turn Up the Radio” by Autograph. The fans in the Colosseum get up, enjoying the cheesy – yet – tasty riff of classic hair metal.
Bryan McVay: At a total combined weight of six hundred seventy two and one half pounds, Rick Dickulous… Matt Klazzic… TURN. IT. UP. EXPRESSSSSSS!
Joe Hoffman: They may have come up short against the Egg Bandits, but they’re not short any amount of energy tonight, Benny!
Benny Newell: You wanna pander to the crowd, fine – you pander to the crowd. But these idiots don’t even speak English, they’ve got no idea what they’re cheering.
If the Turn-It-Up Express is worried about their opponents, the potential tag team champions, or the fans’ reaction, they don’t show it at all. They play to the fans, doing their level best to get the crowd on their feet and, to their credit, they largely succeed.
Joe Hoffman: Losing last week certainly hasn’t dimmed their enthusiasm, Benny!
Benny Newell: It’s dimmed mine.
Bryan McVay: And their opponents…
After the initial declaration from Ozzy, CUE UP “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix.
Bryan McVay: At a total combined weight of three hundred, fifty nine pounds, and accompanied to the ring by the King of Extreme, Eli Flair… EMM JAY FLAIR… AND JACK… HAAAAARMEEEENNNNNN!!!
Joe Hoffman: Quite a different feel from the Express, Harmen and MJ come out without playing to the fans, but they’re still just as electric at the sight!
Benny Newell: Please. They’re begging for some recognition. Once they lose, we can get back to the actual wrestlers.
Joe Hoffman: So you’re rooting for the Turn it Up Express?
Benny Newell: I’m looking for a four way countout and a bomb threat.
Joe Hoffman: Remember fans, those comment cards can be sent to Benny Newell, care of High Octane Wrestling, PO Box–
Benny Newell: Oh, shut it! What I want to know is, who’s the old man and why’s he here?
Joe Hoffman: That’s MJ Flair’s father, Eli Flair, and my little cheat sheet here tells me that he’s a fifteen time former World Champion all over the world, and that he’s traded wins with Jack Harmen several times over!
Benny Newell: Please. If he was worth anything, why didn’t he have any of that success here?
Joe Hoffman: …I’ll let you ask him that.
The bell rings, and the four combatants are in the ring, hearing some final instructions from referee Matt Boetcher.
Joe Hoffman: It looks like we’re going to see Flair start off against Klazzic in this one!
Benny Newell: Mistake…
Joe Hoffman: Oh?
Benny Newell: Matt Klazzic might have the weight advantage against Flair or Harmen individually, but Dickulous outweighs both of them put together! Start off Rick, let the other two bounce off him for ten minutes, then just squash ‘em when they run out of energy.
Flair and Klazzic circle each other for a few seconds, and they lock up in the middle of the ring! Klazzic immediately presses the advantage and walks them to the corner where he’s asked to break it up! Cheap shot on the three count!
Joe Hoffman: Boetcher gives him a look, but that’s all!
Benny Newell: What’s he gonna do? He broke the hold!
MJ steps out again and they lock up one more time, and Klazzic powers her backwards again – though with noticeably more difficulty this time. It looks like MJ is actively fighting him this time. Klazzic maneuvers them around so that he’s backing her up into his own corner, and she’s trying her best to dig in her heels!
Benny Newell: If you were smart enough to cheat, now’s the time.
Joe Hoffman: Flair pulls his head in close to hers! SHE DROPS DOWN! MODIFIED JAWBREAKER!
Her knees hit the mat as Klazzic’s face bounces off her shoulder and he staggers back, holding his mouth in pain! Running clothesline drops him to the mat! Cover!
Benny Newell: Amateur move, trying for one that early!
Joe Hoffman: Flair had Klazzic off balance, you never know! Double axehandle to the small of the back as Klazzic rises to his feet, and an atomic drop! Klazzic staggers forward into a right hand from Jack Harmen! Belly to back suplex from Flair! She bridges!
Joe Hoffman: Flair kips up, and Klazzic scrambles to his corner, and he tags in his partner!
Dwarfing Flair, Harmen, and Klazzic in turn, Rick Dickulous steps over the top rope and slowly moves towards Flair. The fans buzz in anticipation as she looks left and right, and she fires a right hand!
Benny Newell: Really? We’re gonna try that?
Joe Hoffman: Another right hand from Flair! Rick Dickulous just letting her hit him!
Benny Newell: Of course he is. Look at him, those punches are like the buzzing of flies to him!
It’s true, his expression hasn’t even moved. Flair off the ropes, and she comes off with a shoulder block – Dickulous fires his arm out, and he catches her and drops her with a devastating uranage! Cover!
Joe Hoffman: Look at the power of Rick Dickulous, Benny! One hit and he nearly got the three!
Benny Newell: Imagine what he’ll do after two hits!
Dickulous pulls Flair up by the hair and shouts into the crowd, asking if they’re ready. They reply in the affirmative, as Dickulous picks her up in a fireman’s carry and drops backwards, sandwiching her between his body and the mat! Another cover!
Rick pulls Flair to her feet again and whips her hard into the ropes, and she ducks a big boot!
Joe Hoffman: Flair with the tag behind Rick’s back! I don’t think he saw!
It was more of a ‘hail mary’ tag, but Flair manages to catch Harmen’s outstretched hand on the rebound, and on the return, Rick gives her a huge backdrop, even as Harmen climbs to the top! Matt Klazzic trying to get his attention even as Rick Dickulous stays on Flair to try and finish her off.
JACK HARMEN WITH A MISSILE DROPKICK FROM THE TOP ROPE! Rick’s feet get tangled up in Flair’s legs and she makeshift drop toe holds him, stun gunning his neck on the top rope! Flair to the outside, and Harmen off the ropes, and he sends another dropkick, this time into Rick’s knee!
Benny Newell: Stay on that guy on the outside, please? Old man river shouldn’t touch anyone!
Joe Hoffman: Eli Flair on one knee, checking on MJ, but he hasn’t done anything to interfere, Benny!
Harmen stays on Rick, chopping and axe-handling him in the back and between the shoulder blades. Jack with a pulling/dragging belly to back suplex, and he manages to bridge!
Kickout by Rick! Dickulousrolls to a knee and tries to clear his head, while Jack heads outside the ropes, and a slingshot clothesline puts the big man down again! Tag to Flair!
Benny Newell: I can’t wait to see this blow up in their face.
Flair and Harmen get on either side of Rick, and they hook his head for a double suplex! Rick hits the mat hard! Flair with another tag, and a pair of closed fists to the face even as Rick climbs, dazed, back to his feet! A brief word with Harmen and the High Flyer sets himself up against the ropes, even as Flair climbs to the top! Harmen off the ropes! Missile dropkick catches Dickulous in the chest while a low roll block takes out his legs! Harmen with another cover!
Harmen with another tag, and he and Flair scoop Rick one more time, and a double irish whip! Double elbows – RICK WITH A DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE!
Joe Hoffman: There’s that size advantage again, Benny!
Benny Newell: Only size advantage I’m concerned with is my super sized drink, Hoffman! Fill me back up!
Joe Hoffman: We got a long way to go before the finish line, partner! Pace yourself!
Harmen climbs to his feet, with Flair just a second behind – and Rick with a hand around each throat! Double chokeslam! Rick with a pin attempt on Flair, but referee Matt Boetcher says no, Jack Harmen is the legal man! Rick scoops Flair and sends her over the top rope down to the floor! Cover on Harmen!
Joe Hoffman: You have to wonder, would it have made a difference if he had gone for Harmen first?
Harmen’s hair in his hands, Rick drags him over to his corner and tags in Matt Klazzic to a pop! Powerbomb by Rick Dickulous! Klazzic with a cover!
Klazzic with a scoop, and he sends Harmen into the ropes! Rebound… Jumping knee drops him back to the mat! Harmen rolls to the far ropes to try and pull himself up, and Klazzic is right on him and he helps him up, and a belly to belly suplex! Another cover!
Joe Hoffman: So close for the Turn-it-up Express!
Benny Newell: Close doesn’t matter unless you’re lobbin’ bombs, Joe!
Joe Hoffman: That doesn’t sound right.
Klazzic with a tag to Rick, and he sends Harmen into the ropes again. Harmen rebounds, and Klazzic drops his head and lifts a high angle backdrop!
Joe Hoffman: RICK CATCHES HARMEN ON THE ASCENT! POWERBOMB! COVER!
Benny Newell: So did they just turn it up… to eleven?
THREE! KICKOUT! KICKOUT!
MJ Flair with a hand on the ring apron behind everyone, unnoticed.
Joe Hoffman: What do they need to do to put Jack Harmen down?
Benny Newell: An injection usually handles strays.
Rick with another tag to Klazzic, and they whip Harmen into the ropes again! Harmen leapfrogs Klazzic, however, and he runs into Rick’s fist! Boetcher at the four, and he cautions Rick to leave the ring! Dickulous with a scoop and a slam, however – FLAIR PULLS HIM OUT OF THE RING!
Benny Newell: Disqualify her!
Joe Hoffman: Neither of them are legal! Boetcher is keeping his attention on Harmen and Klazzic, where it should be!
Klazzic with another cover!
Foot on the ropes!
Outside the ring, Rick takes a swing at MJ, but she dodges him, steps backwards onto the ring stairs, and jumps on his back, arms locked around his neck!
Harmen stares, glassy-eyed, into the crowd, just in time for Klazzic to scoop him again and send him into the corner! Harmen pops out as Klazzic rushes him!
Joe Hoffman: LOCOMOTIVE! LOCOMOTIVE!
Klazzic’s head snaps back as Harmen’s foot makes contact, just as Rick runs backwards into the ringpost to try and dislodge MJ from her sleeper/choke!
Joe Hoffman: Cover!
DING DING DING!
Benny Newell: I can’t believe these two idiots won something!
Bryan McVay: Here are your winners, Jack Harmen and MJ Flair!
Flair lets go of Rick as she hears the bell, and he spins around with his fist cocked and ready, but he holds up as he sees the referee holding Harmen’s hand up in victory! Both of them slide into the ring to check on their partners while the camera briefly pans to Eli Flair, applauding from the outside.
Joe Hoffman: We’re off to an amazing start here at March to Glory as the remnants of the Industry have halted their skid! Can they keep the momentum going and topple the tag team champions, whomever they are after tonight?
Benny Newell: It really depends on who has the gold after the gauntlet, Hoffman!
Joe Hoffman: You’re not wrong-
Benny Newell: But the answer’s no.
Joe Hoffman: Would it kill you to say something nice?
Benny Newell: Probably not, but I don’t want to risk it.
Joe Hoffman: …Moving on.
The action cuts elsewhere…
We cut to backstage at The Coliseum where we see two of the competitors in tonight’s Tag Team Championship Gauntlet match