Possession is nine tenths of the law.
I’ve been staring at that sentence for a long time now, wondering what to do with it. It’s one of those things that just comes to you, and you think you’re going to have a lot to say about it, so you jot it down on a Post-It note for later. “Possession is nine tenths of the law.” Maybe if I keep staring at it for long enough, the genius is going to strike. There’s gotta be something there. I can feel it on the tips of my fingers. Any minute now, right?
Any minute now.
I know that I know how to do it. Words are my specialty. Words in blogs, words on t-shirts, words on a live microphone in a packed arena. I’ve always prided myself on being able to turn chicken shit into chicken salad— in the last two months, I’ve taken two guys floating aimlessly at the bottom of the card to the top of their game using nothing but my words. Using nothing but the power of shit talk, and motivation. Got the two best matches of their careers out of them, because I’ve gotten pretty fucking good at this over the years. It should be easy with you. Possession is nine tenths of the law. Basic premise. Guy I’ve faced a million times over the years. It should be EASY.
I don’t know, man.
Maybe after ten years, I’ve finally run out of shit– that’s one of my biggest fears, you know. Running out of shit. That someday, I’m going to show up at the arena, or sit down to write one of these stupid things, and the words just aren’t going to come to me. That I’ll just be retreading some bullshit I did a couple of years ago, with a new coat of paint on it. Guys have come back time and again over the years, never realizing that they overstayed their welcome, and I’m so fucking terrified of becoming that guy.
Look at Jatt Starr.
There’s maybe one or two people still around who remember that Jatt Starr used to be the greatest wrestler alive. That he used to sell out arenas like they were hiding money under the fucking chairs. These days, people remember Jatt as the guy who came back two or three more times than he should have. He’s become a real Starr– we can see him, but we know that what we’re looking at is just the echo of something that died ten years ago. I don’t like him, but I’m not even trying to disrespect him right now– this is the wrestling business, and it’s fucking hard to leave. You just have to pray that you get out while you’re still near the top.
And that you don’t run out of shit before you go.
I don’t mean to pick on Jatt. It’s happened to so many of us– John Sektor, Rhys Townsend, Mark O’Neal. Guys who thought they could ride high one last time, before realizing that sometimes it’s okay not to get back on after you fall off the horse. They want to feel that rush of the crowd, and get that last big payday, never realizing that all they’re doing is tarnishing their legacy and leaving the wrong memories in the minds of the fans. David Black used to be known as one of the greatest HOW World Champions in history– his last appearance was sitting on a garbage can, telling us that he didn’t want to be a loser anymore.
Guys burn out, and fade away.
It’s one of the things that I’ve always been the most jealous of with you, Max– you have always known exactly how to stay fresh, even in a business that you don’t really belong in anymore. The Herald, North Kaelrea, fucking time travel. Even The Minister, though I know this isn’t quite as calculated as the rest of it. And yeah, I know I’ve been screaming at everyone who will listen that you aren’t Max, you’re the Minister, but it’s… more complicated than that, isn’t it?
I mean, you are Max Kael.
The Minister is the fictional byproduct of a glass of schizophrenic narcissism with a shot glass full of PTSD dropped into it like an Irish fucking Car Bomb. A spooky antique, from a lost generation of High Octane wrestlers, who have failed to adapt and overcome in a new era of professional wrestling. But at your core, you’re still Max Kael. You are my adopted brother. You are a guy I’ve driven up and down the roads with, for better and for worse, for a decade now. I know you’re very sick, and you have a lot of problems, and right now you think there’s another guy running around in your skull making decisions for you right now, but it’s not fucking supernatural or anything.
So no, I’m not afraid of the Minister.
I’m just not, Max. I’m sorry. I know it would be more exciting if I was. I know I’ve been doing a piss poor job lately at all the things I like to brag about being the king of— I sucked at promoting this match. I sucked at building any hype for it, or making it just watch. This whole fucking pay per view was my brainchild, and I’ve slowly watched it all just circle the drain. For fuck’s sake, the Go Home show that I main evented was the lowest rated show of this era, and that’s on my back. That’s my fault. I fucked it up. You live and you die with the ratings as the World Champion, and right now I’m dying.
That is what scares me.
See, I like to pretend that nothing in the world bothers me, and nothing that you say can get to me. But shit, maybe the last original thing that I can do is just tell you the truth, and see what happens. The truth, Max, is that the second you started telling the world that I’m just a lost child who forgets about his toys… you beat me.
You did, man. You fucking beat me.
You’ve made a career out of picking scraps out of the garbage and polishing them into gold, and I envy that so fucking much that it breaks me as a human being. Because I can’t do that, Max. I’m not secure enough in myself, or my abilities. I lack whatever qualities you have that make you unafraid of what everyone is going to think– I’m always off to the next new thing, because I’m so fucking terrified of becoming old hat that I’ve got a closet full of them that I wore once and never looked back at. I need attention so fucking badly that I will do whatever I have to do to get it, and I don’t even particularly give a fuck what kind of attention it is.
Jesus Christ, look at me.
I’m thirty three years old and I have my hair died fucking platinum. I just filed paperwork to start a religion, and its only after the dust has settled that I realize how absolutely fucking pathetic that is. Same old bullshit I did in 2010, and 2012… and fucking 2014. The Church of Lee Best, the Cult of ChristPlow… Our Lady of the Knee… it’s all the same fucking hack premise with a different colored bow at the top, because I’m positively out of shit. Because I need their attention, but I’m running out of ways to get it. And despite throwing everything I can think of against the wall and praying that something sticks, I keep finding myself shying away from the microphone when show night rolls around. I wrestle my matches and I keep my fucking mouth shut, and do you know why, Max?
Because I have absolutely nothing to say.
For the last couple of months, I’ve been gritting my teeth and smirking for all the world, while I told them that I couldn’t give a fuck less about facing you at No Remorse. I waved you off without a care in the world, and I pretended it was beneath me to have anything to say to you, and it was all one hundred percent, certifiable horseshit. It’s because after ten years in High Octane Wrestling– after ten years facing you— I have absolutely nothing new to bring to the table, and I am absolutely terrified of flying to Tampa and facing you at FiveTime Academy. That’s why I blew you off in the interviews. That’s why I’ve been playing this bullshit aloof card. That’s why I pretended I didn’t give a fuck, when you dragged my ex-wife out and mocked me for my inability to hold on to anything long enough to really possess it.
Possession is nine tenths of the law.
Nope, thought I had something that time. Fuck. I don’t get it. I mean, the wordplay is perfect– I’m the champion, you’re the challenger, and you think you’re literally possessing the body of Max Kael on some poltergeist shit. Doesn’t it seem like the kind of shit I could vamp an easy twenty minutes on, before dunking on you with some trash talk at the end? Doesn’t it seem like I should have figured this shit out by now?
This is my whole fucking thing, Max.
I get in my opponent’s head before a match, I make them doubt themselves, and then I get into the ring and throw some fucking knees. What I do in the ring isn’t hard to do. I don’t have magic knees that hurt more than other people’s knees. It’s a whole package, this schtick of mine– – I talk shit real good, I’m hard as fuck to keep down for a three count, and I throw a knee. It’s the Holy Trinity that has guided my fucking career, but its kind of an all-or-nothing affair.
Two out of three ain’t bad, but it doesn’t beat The Minister.
It doesn’t beat the man who is immune to mind games– at best, I managed to irk you a little bit by pretending that I didn’t give a fuck about our match. I played against your ego, to minimal success. To call it a victory would be grasping at straws, and in the long run it didn’t exactly help my chances in Tampa. You one hundred and fifty percent have the mental edge at No Remorse, and I don’t know what I can do to change that. I don’t know how to beat you in a match where being “hard to pin” doesn’t matter, because you chose a match in which the only goal is to escape. I don’t know how to step into your spooky little Home Alone house on August 22nd and retain the HOW World Championship.
I’ve survived you for a decade, Max.
I survived chainsaws, shivs, and shanks. I’ve survived ninjas, and Mexican kidnappers, and the crown of thorns you jammed into my skull in 2011. I have beaten you more than I can count on two hands over the course of ten years, and you’ve pinned me one fucking time. I have survived you, Max. I survived the Hobo King, and Wilhelm Kael. The Rise of Elenore and the Subterfuge of Sutler. I made it out alive through the Best-Kael Accords, held my breath through the Unstable, and made it out of War Games with a hole in my face and a belt around my waist. I have survived every incarnation of you, and now, for the first time in my career, I just don’t know how the fuck I’m going to do it anymore. I don’t know how to get into your head. I don’t know how to get the advantage. After everything that I have overcome during my ten years in High Octane Wrestling, it turns out that my greatest weakness was laughably simple to find:
A man without a weakness.
The Minister doesn’t care about anything. I can’t hurt his feelings. I can’t hurt his pride. I can’t make him doubt himself, or second guess his strategy. There is nothing I can say, nothing I can do, nothing I can imagine, that will make him so much as stagger in his determination to get what he wants from me. There’s no witty t-shirt that is going to save my ass, no stupid dad joke that is going to save my soul, and no offensive catchphrase that is going to save me at No Remorse. I’m officially out of shit, Max, so if you’re somewhere in that thick ass skull, I hope that you’re proud of yourself. You finally accomplished the one thing that you’ve always wanted to accomplish– you’ve become better than Michael Lee Best.
It’s just too bad you aren’t here to see it.
At No Remorse, I will walk into a fight with the disadvantage for the first time in my entire career. Over the last two months, I have been beaten down physically, emotionally, and mentally. You have broken me down to my base components, and you get everything that’s left on August 22nd. But before you laugh that awful wheeze of a laugh and bare those razor teeth at me with a victory sneer, I want you to remember one thing: possession is nine tenths of the law, and there is one thing left that I possess.
I’m still the champion.
I may be out of shit, and I may have lost my edge, but I haven’t lost my HOW World Championship. Maybe I will. Maybe you’ll drag my bleeding corpse out of Five Time Academy just a step behind you, and you’ll claim it for yourself. But until that final bell has rung, I am the HOW World Champion and I will fucking act like it. I will take you to your absolute limits. I will shoot threes and throw knees with my dying fucking breath. Because if I’m going out, Max, I’m going out with a blaze of fucking glory. I’m not leaving any room for lackluster returns. I’m not going to become a fading Starr, I’m going to go fucking supernova and take as much of you with me as I can on the way out.
If you want to take what’s mine, you’re gonna fucking earn it.
So let’s do this one more time. No more stupid jokes. No more witty put downs, or rehashing the past. We’ve wrestled a lot of matches in a lot of different rings, but this is officially the one that matters, and to the winner goes the spoils. The HOW World Championship. The premiere prize in this business, and for as much as I know you might not give a fuck about it, I know you sure as fuck care about taking it away from me. And if you want to break me, Max, you’re going to do it all the way. You’re not going to drain the last of my fucking will out of me and leave me to fade away in the prime of my career, because I will not allow you to. Because you haven’t come this far to rest now. Because I know you won’t stop until you’ve taken it all, and I won’t stop until you fucking make me. The HOW World Championship is mine. It is my most valued fucking possession.
Possession is ninth tenths of the law, brother dearest.
And I’m a possessive motherfucker.