And we’re back in 3… 2…

And we’re back in 3… 2…

Posted on May 29, 2024 at 3:39 pm by Evan Ward

It was still Saturday night and Evan was still sitting with Brian Bare on the set of the late night talk show, HOW Aftershock. With the show momentarily off air, Brian Bare leaned across to talk to Evan quietly.

“You know, Evan, although I don’t agree with a lot of what you do and say, your answers tonight have veered in the direction of being socially acceptable.” Brian said candidly, putting a hand on Evan’s forearm. “You’ve surprised me, in a good way. You’re really not as bad a guy as you act.”

Evan looked at Bare as if he were dirt. “Bare, I will hunt down any last living relative you have and force-feed them to you if you don’t remove that grubby little paw from my arm this instant.”

“Wha-” Brian was taken aback by the response to his kind gesture.

“I will peel off their skin and slice their flesh into sashimi then shove it down your gullet raw.” Ward glared at the interviewer, looking as dangerous as a cobra baring its fangs. “Understood?”

Bare swallowed the lump in his throat and removed his hand. “Understood.”

The show’s theme music hit the speakers to cue them into the imminent return to air. The production crew gave the countdown and signalled to Brian that he was on. Brain, however, was still shocked and concerned at the threat Evan had issued and just stared blankly for a few seconds before snapping back to reality and looking at the camera. “Huh, what? Oh, right! Welcome back! The LSD Champion, Evan Ward is still with us and ready to answer your most pressing questions.”

Evan, meanwhile, had instantly relaxed back into a smarmy smile. “Thank you, Brian, it’s always a pleasure.”

“So, as well as winning this lovely championship last night,” Bare gestured at the title belt on the table between them. “You were declared the official captain of the second War Games team. You’ll be heading to Scotland to take on Mike Best’s team in the final ever War Games match. In recent weeks you’ve been very vocal about your desire to be captain. Can you tell us what this means to you?”

“Yes, Brian, I can tell you exactly what this means to me.”  Ward nodded. “I can tell you in a single word: Vindication. I saw the need for a new Captain after Jace buggered off and I stepped up where no other bastard in this federation even tried. So many toss pots whinged and moaned that I didn’t deserve it, that I wasn’t captain material, that some fictitious other person should be Captain. Well fuck you all up the chuffer with a rusty spoon. You saw what I did on Friday. You saw the sheer determination I put into beating Drew, you saw how much I fucking well deserved this. It wasn’t just some misplaced, egotistical sense of entitlement expecting it to be handed the role just because I’m the Awesome Evan Ward. I bled for this. I was tenacity incarnate last night, as I kept getting up and getting up, never quitting, never even thinking of giving up…”

Evan sneered at the camera. “Fuck you all for ever, ever doubting how committed I am to the position of Ward Games Captain. I intend to go all the way. Not just the winning team. Not just survive. All. The. Way. Pinning Mike Best and getting the final elimination of the final Ward Games. Fuck you all for thinking I’m just another paper thin, two dimensional douchebag who coasts his way through life. I couldn’t give two shits if you like me, but to act like I don’t deserve this, like I’m not grafting my damn ass off to get what I want is a bigger insult than anything Mike Best has ever thrown out in a HOFC match.

“I am the LSD Champion.” Ward stabbed a finger down on the arm of the chair. “I am an official Ward Games Captain. I saw an opportunity, I saw something I wanted with every fibre of my being and I took it by force, Brian. By force! I gave Lee Best no choice, I forced his hand, and all that hard work paid dividends. Now I am in a position which demands respect. I am arguably one of, if not the, most important person in the entire federation right now.”

“That is a bit of a big headed thing to say, isn’t it?” Bare retorted, though he was trying to be gentle with it and less accusatory. He was still feeling rattled by the threats during the break. “There are lots of other wrestlers on the roster, not everything is about you.”

“Are you copying from Hollywood’s script again?” Ward jabbed a painful verbal barb at Bare. “You might not like it, Hollywood might not like it, but there’s no denying it. Ward Games is all about me. I made it about me. I made it about me last year and I made it about me this year. Anyone who refuses to accept that is either deluded or jealous. Most likely both. They can’t handle the fact that I have spent the last couple of months building up the match when no one else even mentioned it until a week or so ago. They can’t handle the fact my face is now on the posters, front and centre, large as life, when they will all be buried in the crowd at best. They can’t handle the fact this, the final Ward Games ever, will forever be talked about as the rematch of Team Mike Best against Team Evan Ward and the fact all the discourse will be about whether Evan Ward can do it again, whether he can lead his team to victory and liberate the World Championship once again from the greatest champion in the business. None of that is ego, Brian, none of that is me getting big headed. It’s just pure facts. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just facts. Can you, or anyone else, honestly argue against any of that?”

“Well, no, that’s all true, but-” Bare began but was cut off. 

“No buts, Bare.” Ward interjected with a finger of protest held in the air. “Facts. Nothing more, nothing less. Those tossers on the roster might not like how I’ve gone about things but I’ve worked myself to the bone to get where I am, over and over. I’ve done the graft, I’ve never held back. Sure, there’s been times when I’ve thoroughly misjudged a situation, an opponent, and I’ve paid for it, but to suggest I don’t deserve to reap the rewards for my hard work just because you don’t like how I do it is so fucking pathetic. In this business you either force your way into being the centre of the universe like I have or you end up being a great big nothing burger like Hollywood has time and time again.”

“But you’re hardly the picture of a professional work ethic, Evan.” Bare countered. “You complain about being mistreated, you moan about others getting given opportunities you desire, and you regularly try to take the easy way out of matches by cheating.”

“First off, cheating? Have I ever been disqualified?” Ward raised his eyebrows to implore an answer. “No. No disqualification, no cheating.” Ward deliberately didn’t acknowledge his earlier claim of Drew cheating in their LSD Championship match. “I bend the rules, I stretch them to meet my needs, but so does everyone else. Every single wrestler on the roster does it, even baby faced narcs like Drew or Hollywood do it. You can’t take exception with what I do and let them off the hook just because I have a taste for blood.”

Evan paused, waiting for an acknowledgement form Bare, which he seemed reluctant to give but eventually relented. “I guess that’s a fair point…”

“Right.” Evan put a figurative stamp on that subject, sealing it up. “Secondly, sure I complain, I make demands, you think anyone gets anywhere just by sitting back and waiting to be given shit unless they’re already in the boss’ pocket? Hell no! Does my complaining and moaning amount to me just expecting to get handed titles without putting in the work? Hell, the fuck, no. Let me ask you a question, Bare, let me ask you… can you name a single show since I returned where I haven’t been putting in the work?”

“There’s been plenty of shows where you haven’t had matches.” Brian replied.

“Yes, but have I just been at home with my thumb up my arse collecting my paycheck because I’m not booked in a match and that’s all my job’s worth, or have I turned up regardless, putting myself into the limelight even when I’m not asked to and especially when I’m not wanted?”

“Well, the latter, obviously.” Brian admitted. “I can’t think of a single show, off hand, where you haven’t cut a promo, had an interview or caused some sort of commotion.”

“Exactly!” Ward exclaimed loudly. “Thank you, Brian Bare, for telling it like it is. Not a single show. Even when I was trapped in that War Chair, unable to move, unable to speak, I still turned up. Even grievously injured, I still turned up. Even in my darkest, most hopeless days, wallowing in the pits of despair… I. Still. Turned. Up. I don’t give a flying fuck what you think of my approach to wrestling, but to question my work ethic, my conviction to be the very best in the business is a dagger to my heart, Brian.” Evan feigned stabbing his chest with a dagger. “A dagger to my heart! I’m out there, every single week, at the epicentre of all the discourse. Monday morning, around the water cooler, office twats say ‘you see what Evan Ward did on Friday night? That’s fucked up.’ Every single week. The only times guys like Brian Hollywood get that sort of attention is when they get fucked up. This Monday the talk will be all about Brian Hollywood and how I bled him like a stuck pig and then he won’t get mentioned again until he steps in front of another juggernaut of the ring.”

“And yet I’m the undeserving one?” Evan let out a forlorn sigh. “I’m the guy who hasn’t earned my way to title shots? I might be a cannibal but I’m not a sociopath. Cannibals have feelings too!”

“Speaking of feelings,” Brian steered the conversation to a new subject. “Your love life has had some questions raised about it recently. Do you see a future with your partner?”

“With Nettie?” Ward turned a smile at the mention. “Oh, definitely, Brian, she might seem like a cold hearted, ice queen of a bitch who hates my guts, but underneath all that murderous rage, she truly loves me. I hear her people have this thing called a cookout? That sounds right up my alley, if she takes me there, I can cook up some mystery meat for her friends and she’ll be all over me.”

“Her… ‘people’?” Bare said cautiously then shook his head. “No, no, we’re not going there. No, Evan, I mean your wife. I’ve heard some talk that she’s trying to find you and talk to you about what happened between you last year. Do you think there is a chance you could mend your bridges and get back together with her?”

Evan looked like a rabbit in headlights. He was flustered and his mouth flapped soundlessly as his mind scrambled to find a way out of answering the question.

“Nettie is certainly-” Ward began

“No, not Nettie.” Bare interrupted. “Sara. Your wife. Do you want to see her again?”

“Ye- bu- wha-” Evan spluttered. Anxiety spread across his face and he clutched at the arms off the chair before his fight or flight instincts took over. He lunged out of the seat towards Bare and the show cut to a screen which told the audience there was momentary technical difficulties and the show would return shortly. A high pitched beep accompanied the onscreen message.

Some minutes later, the show returned with Evan once again sitting in his seat, looking like a caged animal as he wiped his mouth, while Brian Bare was dishevelled and now had a weeping bandage on his ear.

“So…” Brian swallowed nervously, a wince of pain flashed on his incredibly shaken face. But he was a professional. He would finish the interview regardless of the risks to his wellbeing. “That brings us neatly back to your upcoming title defence against Brian Hollywood. It’s book as a first blood match, what are your tactics going into this match?”

“I’m just gonna bite him.” Evan shrugged.

“Bite him?” Bare shrunk back into his chair.

“Yeah, I’m going to lock up with him and bite him until he bleeds.” Ward said simply, as if it was the most obvious tactic in the world. “Why risk trying to get to a weapon and hit him in a way which busts him open when I can just bite him? I do it all the time in normal matches, it makes you wonder why they even bothered booking it. If Hollywood gets close to me then, well, I’ll just do that.” Ward points at Bare’s banadged ear. “If you think about it logically, this is going to be the easiest title defence ever.”

“So you’re not worried at all?” Bare raised an eyebrow.

“What could happen, really? Is he going to run away so fast I’ll trip over and bust my nose on the ground chasing him? Am going to bite him and before I break his skin, his cloths catch my gum and make them bleed? Unlikely.”

“You did lose an inferno to Silent Witness by hitting him with a Third Generation Award Winning Knee and accidentally letting your leg catch fire.” Bare suggested and then immediately regretted it.

“Touché, Bare. Tou-ché.” Ward said with narrowed eyes.

“Well, that’s all the time we have left for tonight, Evan.” Bare said hurriedly. He instinctively offered a hand out but very quickly recoiled before Ward could shake it. “I would say it’s been a pleasure, but…”

“Oh, it’s definitely been a pleasure, Brian.” Ward grinned, leaning out of his chair to forcibly grab Bare’s hand for a tight, threatening handshake. “I’m sure I’ve left my mark on you… on this show, and it won’t soon be forgotten.”

“Quite.” Bare pulled his hand back again, worried it would be eaten. He turned to the camera. “Remember to tune in to Friday Night Chaos, folks, where Evan will have his LSD Championship first defence against Brian Hollywood, and Mike Best will attempt to fight through a packed gauntlet to retain his World Championship going into War Games. Don’t miss it!”

The show’s theme music plays as the camera once again dollies out to the canned applause of the nonexistent audience. Brian Bare could be seen leaving the set very promptly while Evan picks up his LSD Championship belt and raises it high in the air.