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Published: Written by: Halitosis

Happy, peppy music you’d see in a typical television commercial…

 

SCENE: outside a bathroom door inside a typical, average house.  Nothing special. Non-descript.

The sound of a running shower can be heard from inside the bathroom.

The door magically opens and inside the bathroom, steam fogs up the mirror over the sink and streams from the adjacent shower.

Watching from outside the curtain, the hands of someone washing their hair can be seen.

Move in closer. The curtain mysteriously and magically opens up revealing the High Octane Wrestling World Champion Halitosis inside the shower from the shoulders up.

Oh and yes, he’s wearing the lucha mask inside the shower. Don’t ask. This is a commercial.

Halitosis (voiceover): My shoulders carry a lot of names.

He pours a greenish-blue liquid onto his left palm from a white plastic bottle- the front of the label obscured.   Blindly, he manages to place the bottle back down on a shelf inside the shower.

Halitosis (voiceover): Accidental champion.

Halitosis rubs the green stuff all over the lucha mask.

Halitosis (voiceover): Overrated.

He dips his head under the showerhead and the water rinses off the lucha mask.

Halitosis (voiceover): Unworthy.

As Halitosis continues to rinse off, suddenly another person shows up in the shower. It’s an undertaker. Not the Uber Taker. Not the Order Taker. No, it’s an authentic, dye-in-the-wool late 1800’s era undertaker dressed in all black wearing a top hat with zero expression on his face.

What is he doing inside a modern house? Hey, it’s a commercial, remember.

But we digress…

Halitosis (voiceover): But in the end, no matter what you think, no matter how you think I won this title – the only name you can call me…

The camera cuts to the #97 red High Octane Wrestling World Title belt sitting on a chair inside the bathroom.

Halitosis (voiceover): …THE High Octane Wrestling World Champion….

Halitosis turns off the water.  He reaches up to grab a towel and the undertaker immediately measures the length of his arm with a measuring tape.

Halitosis (voiceover): …well, at least for the next ten days.

CUT TO:

Halitosis has jeans on and grabs his signature and iconic plain black t-shirt with the block letter ‘H’ in the middle.  As he pulls it over his head, the undertaker wraps the measuring tape around his waist.

Halitosis (voiceover): I might be an afterthought in this upcoming three-way match at Rumble at the Rock Nine…

The camera shows him from behind. Halitosis holds his arms out straight to the side while the undertaker measures his wingspan.

Close up on his shirt- there’s nary a flake there.

Halitosis (voiceover): …but you’ll find no flakes here.

CUT TO:

The Theme from the Good, Bad, and the Ugly

A western street circa the late 1800’s.

It’s a gunfight.

Halitosis stands firm on one end of a dirt street. There’s a crowd that’s gathered on both sides of the street. Most are standing out of harm’s way on wooden boardwalks or inside the various buildings along the way.

He wears the lucha mask but dressed as a stereotypical circa late 1800’s cowboy complete with cowboy hat, shirt, vest, chaps, pants, cowboy boots, and a six shooter inside a holster strapped around his waist.

He’s the good guy.

On the other side staring him down? A really, really big guy with a perpetual pissed off expression on his face. He’s definitely all business.

He’s the bad guy.

And the other guy? He’s a snooty, entitled Brit – also dressed in traditional late 1800’s cowboy attire and let’s be honest, looking way out of place in this type of Western setting.

He’s the ugly guy.

The staredown continues and the undertaker measures Halitosis from the top of the head all the way to the bottom of his feet.

Who will draw first? What will happen next?

The tension mounts. Finally, Halitosis turns to the undertaker who’s just about done with his measurements.

Halitosis: Yeah, you might want to move to the side. This is going to hurt a little.

Realizing that it’s about to go down, the undertaker heeds the warning and sprints out of harm’s way to the nearest boardwalk.

Halitosis eyes the two men. The two men eye him.

Who will make the first move?

Halitosis does.  He reaches for the gun.

Immediately, a volley of gunfire erupts.

CUT TO:

The final scene. The sheriff and his deputy kneel next to a bullet-riddled body- presumably Halitosis.

Sheriff: Well, at least he didn’t flake out.

Deputy: Hell, I didn’t see one bit of dandruff on him.

Halitosis’s head pops up.

Halitosis: Thanks Head and Shoulders!

And then his head falls back to the ground.

The camera focuses in on a bottle of Head and Shoulders shampoo rests on the dirt next to him.

Announcer: When it really counts- use Head and Shoulders.

CAPTION/DISCLAIMER APPEARS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN:
Note: no professional wrestlers were actually gunned down in cold blood during the making of this commercial.”

===

Hack’s Rusty Nail Saloon
Wauseon, Ohio
Wednesday Night
October 30th, 2019

“P-C-W…P-C-W!” chanted over six hundred people jammed tightly together inside an old school saloon type bar.

Hack’s Rusty Nail Saloon.

Located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Airport Highway and Shoop Avenue just outside of Wauseon, Ohio – across from the big supersize Wal-Mart store on the northwest corner, a newer Rite-Aid pharmacy on the southeast corner, and a big ass Circle K gas station cattycorner across the highway on the southwest corner of the intersection.

The titular home of the late Political Championship Wrestling. The place where it all began back in 2005.

The bulk of the crowd filled the main room with the heads of those sitting or standing along the walls silhouetted in black against the backdrop of the neon beer signs.

Folks who were late to the show tonight ended up relegated up to the second level of Hack’s. The upstairs tables were set up in a half circular pattern on the south end of the building to allow everyone a halfway decent sight line to the stage down below.

The main stage occupied the north end of the main floor with a wrestling ring set up and a huge ‘PCW- Political Champion Wrestling’ banner hanging on the back wall. A big screen television monitor sat off to the left and a bank of speakers, microphone stands, and several monitors took up space between the ring and the edge of the stage.

There were three chairs on the main stage.

The man in the middle was Johnny Suave and people referred to him as the undisputed ‘Voice of PCW’- and he was and still is. He resembled the big time country music star Ronnie Dunn- albeit it a much rougher version of Ronnie Dunn. ““All right, let’s give a warm round of applause for PCW Hall of Famer and PCW Original from all the way back to 2005 – Not just unbearable. Not just intolerable.” Suave pointed to the man sitting next to him who shared a striking resemblance to ECW wrestler P.J. Polanco aka…Justin Credible. “He IS…”

The crowd picked it up from there. “JUSTIN SUFFERABLE!”

“You can catch Sufferable as he has returned to pro wrestling with Missouri Valley Wrestling where he is teaming up with the Raconteur of Road Rage himself- Triple R – as the Dark Overlords of Wrestling! Thank you for joining us,” Suave finished.

Sufferable waved back to the riotous crowd and made it a point to kiss Suave’s co-host- who just happened to be a life size cardboard cut-out of Shania Twain – or as Suave introduced her as- the hottest piece of cardboard in professional wrestling.

“And now,” Suave continued. “It is my distinct pleasure to bring out someone who really needs no introduction in our particular universe.   He first appeared in PCW when he was just eighteen years old at the Backbreak Mountain show. He won the tag team titles at Missouri Valley Wrestling twice with Rah. And now, you can call him the High Octane Wrestling World Champion.” Suave stood up and extended his arm towards the side the guest would enter from. “Ladies and gentlemen. He is the Luchador with Insanely Poor Oral Hygiene. HALIIIIII-TOSIS!”

Hit the music.

But it’s not Halitosis’s usual opening music. It’s not Sammy Hagar’s ‘Mas Tequila’ nor it is Aaron Watson’s ‘Live or Die Trying.’ It’s something different.

The high notes from Mike Campbell’s slide guitar playing a riff echoed through the bar. Then an all too familiar nasally voice chimed in.

Well, I won’t back down
No, I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

Halitosis strolled out from the back of the bar to a raucous ovation from the Hack’s Rusty Nail Saloon patrons followed by his manager, E.J. Flack. Flack wore a jacket with an insignia of a ‘garthok’ with ‘Narfle the Garthok’ on the front and clutched a bunch of rolled up plain white paper in his right hand. Flack also sported a pair of headphones like a football coach would wear on his head.

So, I’ll stand my ground
Won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground
And I won’t back down

As Halitosis walked around the front of the stage and slapped hands with the fans, the entire bar began to sing along as one when Tom Petty hit the chorus…

HEYYYYYYYY….bay-bee
There ain’t no easy way out
HEYYYYYYYY I-iiiii
Will stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Someone in the crowd handed Halitosis a can of beer. After he duly thanked the fan, he tipped his head back and poured the beer down into his mouth. Then for some inexplicable reason, Halitosis decided he was going the crush the beer can on his forehead. He crushed the can three times against his forehead until it had been compressed into the thickness of a hockey puck and for dramatic effect spewed the beer out of his mouth- which seemed like a complete waste of a good beer.

Well, I know what’s right
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Then fan handed him a beer bottle. Halitosis guzzled the contents down. Then he brought the bottle towards his forehead to bash it against his head but Coach E.J. Flack wisely stopped him before he did.

Again, the bar sang along as one at the chorus.

HEYYYYYYYY….bay-bee
There ain’t no easy way out
HEYYYYYYYY I-iiiii
Will stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Finally, Halitosis made it over to where Suave waited.

“Johnny,” He said as he shook Suave’s hand.

“E.J.” Suave greeted E.J. Flack as he shook his hand.

Then everyone sat down.

“So, do you crush beer cans on your forehead often?” quipped Suave right out of the box.

Halitosis shook his head no and tried not to laugh. “No. Not really.”

“How did it feel to do that?” Suave asked. “Just curious.”

Not the question Halitosis thought he’d get right out of the box. “Strangely enough, it was kind of liberating,” he replied matter of factly.  He slipped a finger inside the mask to make sure he didn’t accidently cut himself. “Yeah. Liberating.”

Suave suddenly developed a mischievous glint in his eye. “So, High Octane Wrestling’s Rumble at the Rock Nine is coming up in less than two weeks,” he said. “Are you in a match? I haven’t heard.”

Halitosis leaned back in his chair and laughed at Suave’s subtle ‘slight’. “Why yes Johnny, I believe I do have a match at Rumble at the Rock Nine,” he replied facetiously and mixed in some more facetiousness when he added: “I’ve been told I’m in the main event where I’ll be defending the HOW World Title against Dan Ryan and Cecilworth Farthington.”

The crowd boos at the mention of Ryan’s and Farthington’s name.

Raising his arms to quell the unrest, Halitosis added: “No no.” He and Suave glanced at each other to acknowledge the crowd’s reaction. Halitosis turned his gaze back to the people. “Look. I have no issue whatsoever with either Dan Ryan or Cecilworth Farthington. None. As I’ve said before, you know when you go up against Dan Ryan what you are getting yourself into. And as for Cecilworth, he’s going to say whatever he’s going to say and I really don’t care what he says. I got it. I’m the decided underdog in this match. I accept that.”

“Okay.” Suave followed up with another question. “For sure, you were the unexpected surprise that came out of the Crackerjack box of the world title tournament.”

“Halitosis has become the Kato Kaelin of the High Octane Wrestling world title scene- the uninvited guest to the party that you can’t get rid of,” Flack commented with more than a little ‘barb’ in his tone of voice.

“Yeah, pretty much,” Halitosis conceded. “I don’t think there was a scenario where anyone – including me – thought I’d win the world title in just my fifth HOW match. But hey. All I did was defeat every wrestler who was put in front of me – Florence Kearsey, David Black, Scottywood, Max Kael, and Brian Hollywood to become the first HOW World Champion in the Refueled era. No matter what happens at Rumble at the Rock- no one’s ever going to take that moment away from me. Then I was booked to face John Sektor after he won the title and I defeated him to become a two-time HOW World Champion. Again, regardless of how I do at Rumble at the Rock- that moment will never be taken away from me either.”

Suave then pointed out, “I know you do have an issue with Farthington’s claim that the ICON title under his reign has become more prestigious.”

Halitosis squirmed a bit in his chair. He really did not want to go there. “Um, Cecilworth’s entitled to his opinion.“

But Coach E.J. Flack didn’t mind breathing fire on the subject. “Perhaps if Cecilworth wouldn’t have lost to John Sektor in the world title tournament, maybe he could have been the one to stop Halitosis from winning the world title. Of course, we’re talking about the same John Sektor who Halitosis defeated in less than a minute to win the world title for the second time.”

Suave turned back to Halitosis. “Thoughts?”

The Luchador with Insanely Poor Oral Hygiene appeared uncomfortable and continued to move in his chair. “My only issue with Farthington is him disrespecting the world title belt.”

“Right,” Suave said.

“I said this to Cassie Walsh a few weeks ago and I’ll say it again,” Halitosis went on. “The World Title is the most prestigious title in HOW – period – end of story. The ICON title is nice – but the HOW World title belt is THE belt. This belt signifies that the holder has reached the pinnacle of High Octane Wrestling.”

Flack threw in his two cents: “That’s right. Dan Ryan isn’t gunning for the ICON title. He’s gunning for the top belt in the company. Lindsay Troy didn’t say she was coming for the ICON title. Lindsay Troy said she was coming after the World Title. The ICON title is nice. But it’s a secondary title. It looks nice on the mantle but it’s not THE title. Dan Ryan wants a fight. Well, by the time Rumble at the Rock Nine comes around on November 9th, Halitosis is going to be ready and willing to give him exactly what he wants. And Farthington too.  Dan Ryan and Cecilworth Farthington may be better wrestlers- but my message to both of you is this: Halitosis is not going to go away quietly. He’s not going to simply show up and meekly hand over the title belt and disappear into the background. No, he’s the world champion and if he’s going to lose that match, I’m going to make sure he’s going out like a true champion. You’re going to have to be great to take this title away from him. You’re going to have to work real hard to earn that title belt. If I do my job right, in two weeks, you’re going to get pushed and pushed to your limit. If I really do my job right, Halitosis is going to force you to dip into whatever well of greatness you have inside you in order to defeat him for the title because he is going to fight to the bitter end to retain the top title in High Octane Wrestling.”

“YEAH!” shouted out someone in the upper part of the bar. That set off a cascade of applause, whooping up, clinking of beer bottles and shot glasses, and general raucousness that lasted for a half minute.

When the noise settled down to a dull roar, Halitosis tried to take the high road with a more low key conciliatory approach. “All I’m going to say is that the title lineage speaks for itself and this belt is unmistakably – without any doubt in the world – the most prestigious belt in High Octane Wrestling.”

Flack again firmly interjected: “And another thing, I’ve heard this nonsense that Halitosis benefitted from a favorable draw to win the title. I ask – what favorable draw was that? Was that the draw where Halitosis had to defeat THREE High Octane Wrestling Hall of Famers before he had to defeat Brian Hollywood, who defeated John Sektor – another HOW Hall of Famer – and Lindsay Troy – one of the best women wrestlers who’s ever set foot in the ring, in order to win the title? Or was it the time after Halitosis lost the title to yet ANOTHER HOW Hall of Famer – Max Kael – and then came back and defeated Sektor after he won the title from Max – oh yeah, HOW Hall of Famer – to win the title back.”

Halitosis then continued: “Did I benefit from a few things that went my way? Sure. In any tournament, you do need some things to fall into place in order to win. And as for Sektor, he’s the one who came out massively overconfident and got into my face which allowed me to hit him with the Breath of Death.” For the first time, a little bit of frustration crept into his voice. “I worked eleven long years to put myself in this position. So this crap that I somehow stumbled into being the champion and that somehow devalues the title – no – that’s a bunch of bullshit.”

Halitosis’s declaration popped the fans who stood up began to shout and cheer. The crowd in general began to get a little rowdy.

“You don’t luck into winning the top title,” Flack chimed in.  “It’s going to be a challenge but that’s the reason why I was brought in- I eat challenges for breakfast and my job is to make sure that Halitosis will be ready to face the biggest challenge in his wrestling career.  As I said at Chaos Four, the harsh truth is sometimes in life, you have to take on something that’s bigger than you.  At Rumble at the Rock Nine, Halitosis will not run away from this fight.  He will not back down from what seemingly is an impossible task. He will find a way to out-care, out-give, and out-how Ryan and Farthington.  Halitosis will have to climb the mountain against the most insurmountable odds you can think of.  There is no bigger reason to watch Rumble at the Rock Nine next week than to see if Halitosis can shock the world, pull off the biggest upset ever in HOW, and somehow retain the HOW World Title belt.”

“The bottom line is this belt is hard as hell to win,” Halitosis stridently affirmed. “This belt is even harder to retain.”

“Amen,” Flack agreed.

“So win or lose next Saturday night, you will be comfortable with your legacy,” Suave queried.

“Absolutely,” Halitosis declared. “I’m good with what I’ve accomplished in HOW. Eleven years ago, I set a course that led me into the world of professional wrestling and started at a most unorthodox place to wrestle- Political Championship Wrestling. From there, I worked hard – worked at my craft. Every time I stepped into the ring, I learned something new. Every time a ring veteran took the time to speak with me and impart his wisdom upon me – I learned something new. At Missouri Valley Wrestling for those two years I was there, I learned something new every day. HOW – the same. The level of talent here: Ryan, Farthington, Mike Best, Lindsay Troy, M.J. Flair, Max Kael, and so on is staggering. If you can’t learn something new by just watching them at their craft, then I don’t know what to tell you. But to be the World Champion of this company with all those great wrestlers here and chasing you – um – well? This is what it’s all about.”

Flack added his own thoughts. “We’re done fighting this narrative and we’re not going to wrestle this match on Twitter.   We’re going to fight this match at Alcatraz.  We know we’re going up against two superior wrestling talents in Dan Ryan and Cecilworth Farthington.  We know and accepted the ongoing narrative that Halitosis is the ‘underdog of underdogs’ in this match. We know and accepted the narrative that it would be the ‘miracles of miracles’ if Halitosis found a way to defeat both Ryan and Farthington next week.  Halitosis winning the match would be a bigger upset than Leicester City winning the Premier League title in 2016.  Halitosis winning this match would be the bigger upset than the ‘Miracle on Ice’ when the US Hockey team defeated the Soviets in 1980 or the time Appalachian State defeated the University of Michigan at the Big House in college football in 2007.  Halitosis winning this match would be the equivalent of Bowling Green State University defeating the University of Alabama to win college football’s national title.  If we are accepting this narrative, I think you can safely say that if Halitosis wins next week, it will be THE biggest upset in HOW history- bigger than Dawn McGill’s upset of Tim Shipley in 2011 to win the LSD title – bigger than Adonis Smyth’s upset, also in 2011, of Mike Best to win the HOW title.”

“I’m not wrestling for an Industry,” Halitosis interjected. “I’m not wrestling for an empire. I’m wrestling for the people. When I walk into Alcatraz Prison on Saturday night – November ninth – the forgotten man in this match – the afterthought – that other guy who just happens to be the world champion who’s in the match with Ryan and Farthington – the underdog – I’ll walk in as the guy who no one thought in a million years would be the HOW World Champion and the man no one in their wildest dreams believed would be the HOW World Champion twice. When I step into the infirmary at Alcatraz, when I face Dan Ryan and Cecilworth Farthington, I’m wrestling knowing that you have my back. YOU. The people. You are my faction. Not an Industry. Not an empire. You are. You are the reason I’m sitting here right now as the HOW World Champion. And you are the reason that somehow – some way – I am going to move heaven and earth to find a way to overcome the odds – to shock the world – to leave Alcatraz the same way as I entered- as the HOW World Champion. Dan Ryan and Cecilworth Farthington may have more talent.   Ryan and Farthington may have the pedigrees required to be the great wrestlers that they are that I don’t. Ryan may have the Industry behind him. Farthington may have an eMpire backing him. But none of that matters because I’ve got you. I promise you we’re going to fight like hell and we are going to fight with everything we’ve got to overcome the steep hill in front of us. We’re going to climb that mountain one more time. We’re going to come out victorious because an Industry – or an eMpire – can’t defeat us – it can’t defeat the people.”

“Johnny, we know what we’re up against,” Flack added.  “Halitosis is just one man and how can one man take on the Industry?  How can one man take on the eMpire?  Well, because Halitosis has the Les Miserables behind him.  And we all know that Halitosis has the people behind him.  One man can stand up and fight but he cannot overcome an Industry or an eMpire all by himself.  But one man backed by the people can.  It’s going to be tough.  It’s going to be one hell of a challenge.  But with the people behind Halitosis, at least it gives him a fighting chance.”

One more time, the fans occupying Hack’s Rusty Nail Saloon rose to their feet and made noise.

“All right.” Suave raised his hand to get the people to quiet down a bit. “Tell us this. What does being the HOW World Champion and holding that title belt in your hands mean to you?”

“Wow,” Halitosis said. He leaned back in the chair and exhaled. “You know, it means everything. This is what you dream of when you join a big time wrestling company- holding the top title. This is what eleven years of blood, sweat, and tears is supposed to cumulate in. Being in this position at this particular time. But regardless if my title reign last just twelve more days or if I somehow survive the match with the world title and my reign is extended even longer – nothing is ever top the feeling of leaving the ring after winning the title belt for the second time. No post-match shenanigans. No one trying to spoil the moment. Just me in the ring and then walking back down the aisle with the belt held high – trying to share the moment as long as I could with the people who’ve been behind me since day one here.” Halitosis pointed at various spots in the crowd, lower level and upper level. “You. The fact that I go into Rumble at the Rock Nine as the reigning HOW World Champion for the second time is by far the highlight of my career. The fact that – once again – yet again this match at Rumble at the Rock Nine is the most important match in my life says it all.”

Again, the crowd rose up and gave the Luchador a hearty ovation. Sitting next to Halitosis, Flack grinned and nodded in approval with how his new charge was doing.

“All right,” Suave said, wrapping things up.  “I want to thank both of you for stopping in tonight and good luck to you on November ninth at Rumble at the Rock Nine.

Flack nodded in return.

“Thanks Johnny,” Halitosis replied.  “Always good to catch up with you.”

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