I went to war last night. I went to war for something I believed in. I went to war for something that mattered, and as always it’s a fucking mockery. I guess I should be telling you all about how privileged it felt to be Mike Best’s last opponent. That a period has been put to the end of the sentence and everything is fine. That I respect the man for beating me fair and square in the middle of the ring.
But really? Would you feel that way?
Oh yeah, let’s trot out a guy who hit me with a fucking bottle last week to be the referee. That guy clearly doesn’t have any bias. He’d officiate it right down the middle for sure, the guy that gargles Mike Best’s nutsack with his morning coffee is surely trained to be an impartial official.
“Nothing is amiss Clay, it’s just going to be a great moment for the Chicago crowd.”
Yeah, he definitely didn’t have that powerbomb fucking coming. I must have overreacted or something, I went out there and Will Smithed while Benny Newell was doing his best Chris Rock impression. Except, you know, I practically committed a murder on television and Will Smith can’t knock over a guy with a slap who’s all of five-foot-six while wearing heels. I hope Benny Newell makes it, gets hooked on morphine, relapses, and we find him standing outside The Best Arena charging $5 for a photo with a Hall of Famer and telling the fans not to worry, Mike Best will be there in a few minutes. Fuck him.
Then GOD forbid we actually send out one of our trained referees. I saw Hortega and Boettcher all over the card, but what, they couldn’t get a shirt on in time? Do they need an entire wardrobe team to dress them? Is Joe Hoffman that much faster than Hortega and Boettcher at putting a shirt on, that he was able to rip it off of Benny Newell’s fucking corpse, and power walk to the ring like he’s walking in the mall and the sale at Nordstrom’s is about to start? He’s not even a fucking referee, and I had just powerbombed his best friend through a steel cage door. That guy is definitely going to be fucking impartial.
But no, the Michael Lee Best magical mystery tour has to continue on. We might as well have had a parade for Joe as he waltzed out. More of the disgusting city living shitheads from Chicago would have shown up for that than St Patrick’s Day for fucks sake. So not only does it take upwards of fifteen minutes for an official to wander from commentary, to the back, get dressed, and power walk to the ring, in the meantime, because I have to handle this Benny Newell shit show of a situation, Mike Best gets to hit me with a knee and jumps off of a fucking cage with an elbow to the heart. Concussing me, bruising my fucking sternum, and cracking my ribs.
No big deal though, I just got fucked over worse than George Lucas fucked Anakin Skywalker’s character in the Star Wars movies. All because the “Watch Mike March 2 Glory” show needs to roll on. Oh look, a little GQ ad, I’ve never hated a person more than in that photo. Is “CEO” supposed to be a new fragrance that smells completely like bullshit? Don’t worry, it’s cool. We definitely finished the Mike and Clay story there, nothing to see next, no big deal.
OH WAIT! We have Mike’s first announcement as CEO. Look, my name is still in Mike’s mouth. Surprise, surprise. Nothing bad could come of this, nothing completely unreasonable would ever leave the lips of Michael Lee Best.
“Oh hey Clay, I know I cracked your ribs, I felt your sternum buckle under my elbow. So, next week, in the city where you are the most hated man on the planet…where you may have just murdered an icon, and tried to murder another…where they just threw fucking garbage and shit filled diapers at you…you’re gonna wrestle the NEW face of High Octane Wrestling for the HOW World Heavyweight Championship.”
This isn’t trying to set me up to fail. No possible way, absolutely not, Mike Best’s integrity is the stuff of legend. Jatt Starr writes fairy tales about Michael “The Trustworthy” Best slaying dragons and saving princesses. This is done out of the good of Michael Lee Best’s cold black heart. He had his grinch Christmas moment watching little Joey Who-ffman count a three count and his heart grew ten sizes that day. Surely, this is about making it good with the man who had him dead to rites in the middle of the ring. Nothing about this is a giant setup to tell me, under no uncertain terms, to fuck myself. I mean, he could have just walked out and released me on television. Just humiliated me right there, so I would be forced to tuck my tail between my legs and call up Lindsay Troy asking her for a job at big blue.
But no, that’s clearly not enough for Michael Lee Best. He has to show me how Big League the MLB is and send me up against the guy that survived me beating him half to death with a cast, and went on to pin me in the center of the ring. This isn’t about closing the book, this is making sure the book gets emphatically closed with a giant “FUCK YOU” to Clay Byrd in #97RED ink, in all capital letters, bolded, italicized, and underlined on the back cover. There’s no fucking way this could possibly get stacked against me anymore than it already is, right? Literally, under no circumstances could this situation become anymore of a setup. It’d be unfair, and someone would make a call to the United Nations for the Geneva Convention being violated.
It gets worse.
After watching Conor “I have five seconds” Fuse beat the living fuck out of Adam Ellis, the same guy that all these morons that live in their parents’ basements jerking off to Tomb Raider triangle tits on their PlayStation worship; the nerd who can do no wrong, even if he has his group invade a match and slip him a pair of brass knuckles to win the HOW World Championship…
Yeah, after being put up against that video game obsessed manchild it certainly can’t get worse…
Oh! Look at that! Conor’s friend, stablemate, ally, and the man I tried to fucking murder in an Infirmary at Rumble at the Rock just happened to run into his old pal Michael Lee Best, our new CEO. And guess what? Let’s put him in a car and welcome him to some new super group called “The Board” with Christopher America and our new Commissioner: the fucking wispy dickhead who lives in a castle and broke my fucking arm, Cecilworth Farthington.
This all adds up right? The math checks out? Just because Mike Best beat me doesn’t mean I can’t see through his bullshit and know what’s going on. This isn’t the “I respect you” rub of the century from the CEO, this is the seven demotions on the way to getting fired and the entire time they are hoping you quit so you don’t even get to collect unemployment. This is the biggest setup to hit Chicago since what Al Capone did to Bugs Moran’s North Side Gang on Valentine’s day in 1929.
You all thought Lee Best was the brutal mastermind? Nope, wrong again. The SON has eclipsed the Father once more, and here I find myself staring down a conundrum. What’s the point of this? Why give me the opportunity in the first place? Mike knows, Conor knows, they all know that even I’m clearly not this absolutely batshit stupid. So what’s the game? What’s the next ride at BestLand? Why give me the charity title shot after losing at “MARCH 2 THE MIKE BEST SHOW”? Normally shit like this gets handed to Darin Zion, or to Scott Stevens…
They think I’m Scott fucking Stevens now. I guess having your ass handed to you is a thing the Texas contingent of the HOW roster has been doing pretty steadily this entire era. From Dan Ryan, to Scott Stevens… to me… Fuck, they think Conor Fuse is going to fucking humiliate me with my own fucking move.
I swear to everything that could possibly be considered holy, if that little pencil-necked dweeb comes at me with a fucking lariat, I will rip his fucking arm off and beat him to death with it in the center of the ring. You thought what Mike did to Max Kael upset some people? When Conor Fuse dies and the coroner lists the cause as “Bludgeoned to Death with Right Shoulder Ball Joint,” it’ll be great publicity.
Oh, did we talk about how the kid can magically learn how to wrestle your style like he’s a fuckin’ Animorph? Conor Fuse can apparently size you up, and learn your entire fighting style through fucking osmosis. Years of perfecting my craft, and this little two-hundred and ten pound manbaby is going to just go out there and pretend to be me.
That’d be some shit wouldn’t it? Conor Fuse runnin’ ‘round the ring all hopped up on Sour Patch Kids and Mountain Dew like he’s some 300 pound Kodiak grizzly that got into the trash one too many times at Yellowstone. What move is he gonna steal from me? A big boot? I mean he already has choking the shit out of someone until the referee almost disqualifies you pretty much down to a science. I get it now. This is the next Conor Fuse stable: pretty soon Mike, Farthington, America, and JPD are going to be sitting in the back with controllers in their hands playing the next major gaming title release with Conor Fuse… I hear video games are pretty popular amongst early retirees these days, but I don’t think those guys are really the type.
But is Conor Fuse really the type anymore? Hitting Farthington with brass knuckles? I support the shot you took, kid. Beating JJR while the newest version of All-4-One does all the dirty work then sings the lyrics of “I Swear” behind you, getting ready for the newest album drop? That group sure was awesome; you and Jatt might as well have called it Absentee on Arrival. At least you two were around to keep it from being a total mockery of a situation. But really, are you the guy who lives in your mother’s basement playin’ video games anymore?
I don’t think so kid. I think the way you play the game has changed before your eyes. I think the money, the fame, the power, the respect, that all of it added up for you to become something you swore you would be a shining light against. That was the point of the two-one-four right? That was the entire schtick: “look at us, we’re the good guys.” And as we travel down the path to this upcoming War Games, you’re the only one left to continue the fight and apparently, based on your actions, you’ve decided it ain’t worth the extra quarter.
I never thought it was gonna be you. I always had my eyes on Zeb, he seemed like the type that was gonna boil over and turn into some kinda wild man. Get some girl pregnant and need more than the money for bait and tackle. I was actually waiting for it to happen, figured he and I could have a lot more in common once he realized what an extra few dollars did for his bottomline. I figured you’d be the one that became the martyr, Conor. I figured you’d be the one to charge up the battery packs and run at the machine until it gave up, or you broke down.
Or did I have you wrong from the beginning?
I’m backed into a corner, Conor. I’m backed up against the wall and nobody is coming to save me. There’s no light at the end of this tunnel; there’s no happy fucking endings where I sit around with my boys and light a cigar for victory over the Machine. There’s no winning against it, I understand that. Having played by its rules for so long, I know better than most, that there isn’t a day coming that I can kick my feet up. I avoided this fight for that very reason, but now? Now, the hand has been played for me, and I’m sitting at the table with some pretty shit cards.
All I have left, the only thing I have left is becoming the stick that gets put in the spokes. I’ll shudder it and leave it at a stand still; I’ll do as much damage as I possibly can on my way out. I’ll fuck up as many of their plans as I possibly can as I continue my march into the unknown. And I’m going to take as many of their tools and servants down with me, and right now, you may or may not be complicit, but you’re acting as their tool.
So at Refueled 92, the best way I can fuck all of this up for “The Board” is by beating you and walking away with the #97RED lady. I’ll be the wrench thrown into the plans, I’ll be the stick in the spokes, and sadly you’ll be the rider of the bicycle that has to fall on their face.
This might all sound like any other Sunday for you. That someone will come at you for the World Heavyweight Title under completely normal circumstances. Conor, there are no normal circumstances for me; I don’t get that luxury. The man I fucking despise, the promotion I fucking loathe, have made a mockery of me. The place I defended from all comers has finally cast me aside. So I’ll cast you aside, so they can’t use you against me, ever again.
What other choice do I have? I have to overcome you, Conor. I have to overcome the circumstances, I have to overcome my own debilitations, I have to become something I swore I never cared to be. And I have to do it to survive, Conor. Not to survive you, but to survive the Machine. I get my hands on the red leather strap? The first step to their plan, maybe it’s your plan even, falls to the wayside. It’s the only thing that can level the playing field for me. And I’m going to destroy you to get it. I’m going to use you as an example, an example of what the fuck happens when you back me into a corner and think you can end a Behemoth.
I might not go out on my own terms, but I’ll be damned if I’m going out on theirs or yours.
Fuck them, fuck that, and fuck you.
See you at Refueled.
“It hurts to breathe,” the Behemoth croaked out. He sat on the porch of the ramshackle home in Springfield. After the match at March to Glory, Clay Byrd had nowhere else to go. There wasn’t a group of friends and family waiting for him to limp to the back, there wasn’t someone to lean on in his darkest moments. So he came here, parked his car cockeyed in Steve’s front yard and stormed the porch like he owned the place. He slouched; if he tried to sit up, the pressure of his upper body on his lower body would cause him to wince. It was bad enough that every time Steve talked, the Monster from Plainview had to try to turn towards him without aggravating his sternum.
“That’s what happens when a two-hundred and thirty-five pound man lands on your chest elbow first from fifteen feet, Clay,” Solex said with a bit of a smirk. He had a beer of his own in his hand, but the pile of cans at the Behemoth’s feet told the tale of the evening. The two men sat in silence, the moonlight illuminated the yard, and Solex’s bug zapper provided the symphony of background noise.
“So what’s next?” Steve asked, taking a sip of the PBR in his hand and looking towards the Behemoth with concern. Clay had been at war with Mike Best for almost six months now. His friend needed a break. He needed to heal, he needed time, and none of that was an option.
“I’ll be out of your hair in the mornin’, Steve. I just need a place for tonight. I don’t want to get you involved,” Clay said through short, labored breaths. Each time he inhaled, it caused a shooting pain down his right side. The Number One Dad fired his own beer down and added his can to the pile, before cracking another one.
“Do you want it to be over?” Steve asked. He needed to know the answer to the question because it was imperative to his next decision. If Clay was going to be like so many others and run away to the blue hills he needed to know.
“No.” Clay’s breathing became more labored as he tried to sit himself up in the chair. Solex rushed over and helped the enormous man situate himself as comfortable as he could be, letting his friend recuperate in the chair for a few moments.
“Then what are you going to do about this match with the gamer kid?” Steve looked for a reaction; he was still evaluating his decision with the Behemoth. He hadn’t dragged Clay hundreds of miles into Missouri for a random weekend of indy wrestling. There was a purpose.
“I’m gonna kill him,” Clay began to shake, one arm grasped his ribs while the other destroyed the chair he was sitting in. Steve smirked and shook his head.
“You know what this is, right?” Solex looked away from his enormous guest and stared out at the truck parked in his immaculate yard. He heard the lawn furniture creak behind him, and then felt the weight of Clayton Byrd’s massive hand leaning on one of his shoulders.
“I know exactly what this is, Steve: a load of horseshit masquerading as a steak. I’m not as dumb as I look,” Clay tried to chuckle at the end of the statement but he had to grip the bannister of the enclosed porch before he collapsed.
“You’re not going to Chicago by yourself, Clay. We’re a team, we’re partners, we’re friends. I’m not letting my friend walk into whatever this is by himself,” Clay’s steel blue eyes met Solex’s for a moment. The Behemoth nodded and patted Solex on the shoulder.
“I paid Harrison,” Solex said as he looked out at the black F250 in his yard and shook his head. He turned back towards the Behemoth who tried to speak but Solex cut him off.
“You owe me.” Clay once again nodded his head with Solex’s words, The #1 Dad wasn’t joking, and the smirk faded from his face. Clay’s eyes lit up knowingly.
“Whaddya need me to do?” Clay asked, the labored breathing was still there. But he was determined to stand up straight and match Solex’s posture.
“Well, for starters, you can stop feeling sorry for yourself, and you can figure out how you’re going to kill that PlayStation nerd,” Solex said with confidence while Clay nodded along.
“I’ll handle it in the ring,” Clay’s demeanor had switched from one of concern, to borderline menacing. The two men exchanged a handshake and half hug combination. Solex then stepped off the porch and into the yard.
“And I’ll take care of business outside of it.”