You ever become who you hate, Mike?
…I mean, stupid fucking question now I stop and think about it – you’re Mike Best, of course you’ve become who you hate. And then come back out the other side. Y’know.
But I never thought I’d find myself with a World Championship match I felt like I don’t deserve. I planned to be done after that match with Ward. Nothing personal, nothing about anyone but myself. Because…shit dude, I dunno if you’ve done it, but have you ever looked in the mirror and seen the future of a midcarder in front of you if you keep going full time?
Like, I get people are gonna do the usual thing and go “LOL Townsend go win on PPV asshat”, but…whatever. The point’s there. I wrestled the only singles match at ICONIC. I’ve been in one of the bigger matches every single pay per view since I returned – I am a thing, a threat…whatever verbiage you want to use for someone who’s a person to be taken seriously, if you find your name across from theirs on the match card.
It’s like I’ve been gatekeeping the main event scene.
But we both know that’s not what I used to be. So when I’m struggling to even keep that up, I start looking at being someone who’s just gonna go exist in the midcard. Go do things that aren’t around the World Championship.
I get you might wanna do that if you’re you, with all eleven or twelve or whatever reigns at this point, but when you’re me, and you’re in, I think, second place on that reigns list, do you really think going for the LSD Championship is gonna motivate me? Sure, wouldn’t complain if I happened to pick it up along the way, but…it’s not the World Championship.
Maybe it’s petty. Maybe it’s egotistical.
I don’t give a fuck.
I wanted to walk away because I felt like I couldn’t be a main eventer anymore, like I’m not good enough to be World Champion in the year 2024. Y’know?
This has never been a thing I’ve done because I love it. I get I’ve got a good enough wrestling brain that I could be in this business without ever having had to have taken a bump. Nah, this has always been one of those things I’ve always done because I thought I could be the best. Or if not the best, then in the argument. Top three, for sure. Y’know?
So the idea of hanging around to gatekeep the main event scene like a competent Chris Kostoff?
It just does nothing for me.
But this is High Octane Wrestling, right? I make the decision to walk away, figuring two matches – two matches for some loot. I’ll have a go at War Games, and there’ll probably be some other match that’ll get booked, maybe…maybe not, though. So I can just…do one match later this year, remind myself of why I walked away, and go sit backstage with a headset on.
Of course not. First Chaos of the year, World Championship shot.
If you were to ask me when and where I’d like a World Championship shot, we both know that I’d say a straight, plain ol’ singles match on Chaos.
Sure, my pay per view record isn’t great, but the one I have on our weekly shows?
Fuck dude, that’s approaching you levels. Might be better, even. I honestly don’t know. I haven’t gone to the title history and seen exactly what my record is in this, or my record for just World Championship matches on a weekly show…but I think we both know it’s pretty fucking likely to be scary.
So am I the favourite here?
Legit. I get you’re Mike Best. I do. World of respect for everything you’ve achieved in this business…and I don’t say that with sarcasm, or any bullshit. Just straight up.
This was my shit. This was what I built a name off. Being that guy who just relentlessly turns up every fucking week at the same fucking level, that relentless asshole who just wants nothing but the World Championship. That asshole who isn’t interested in Triple Crowns or Grand Slams, that weirdly obsessive fucker who’s somehow, probably because of some wildly uncontrolled psychological condition, has done nothing but hyperfocus on the High Octane Wrestling World Championship.
Yeah. Sure. Reducing me to just this is…probably more than a little reductive, given my contributions in the tag division, and to Ground Zero…but still. If I wasn’t hyperfocused on the World Championship, nobody would ever have given a shit about Ground Zero. Or my endeavours in the tag team division. Y’know?
So we’re now here. My bread and butter. Exactly what I made my name off of. Sure, it’s not when we first had a match on a weekly show for the World Championship, people know who the fuck I am now, and I don’t think you’re gonna take a break if you lose. I mean, I’m probably gone until War Games if I lose, when no doubt, your father will use up the second match on my contract.
But if I win?
Then my second match is at the pay per view. At March To Glory.
And facing me, once again, in a pay per view main event, is right there. If you can somehow get yourself into the tournament. I’d be lying to you if I said I knew what the field was, or if you were in it. I just know it’s happening.
Like I said. Hyperfocus.
And so…I don’t know how I feel about this. Like, I haven’t lost one of these matches – singles, on Chaos – since I returned. Undefeated in singles action. Which is, to me, pretty fucking bonkers. But it’s a thing that’s happened. So I keep coming back around, dude, I really do – am I the favourite here? I…I mean, I gotta at the least, have good odds, right? This, surely, isn’t one of those matches that people are just giving you a successful defence for already.
This, surely, isn’t like one of those matches you kept having with Conor Fuse.
The ones where we already knew the outcome?
It’s gotta be one of those that’s at least, a little in question, I think. But…I’ve been having to sit at home and convince myself of that. Convince myself to try and find something inside so I don’t go fucking embarass myself, y’know? I struggle with it these days. Maybe I wrestled too much, too quickly after returning and I just need a couple months out to recharge, or maybe I’m actually just done. I don’t know. But the motivation, it’s a struggle.
And this? Motivating myself for this?
Man…dude…it’s just. It’s odd, right?
I mean, I suppose I should really take a moment and explain exactly what’s odd, and just…continue to try to convince myself to see if there’s just one more week of Rhys Townsend left.
I didn’t really keep up with shit when I was gone, Mike. I didn’t really watch you ascend to having more World Championships than anyone should really have…I just came back, and it had happened. Sure, you were…you were probably better than me back in the day, but I don’t think I’m patting my own back when I say we were rivals. I don’t think it’s too much of a push to say that we were even on the same level. So I come back, and, all of a sudden…you’re like fucking God to these boys.
And, being fair?
But…like I said. I felt like we were rivals. When I went, you were a little ahead, but reachable. Now? Now, it’s fucking ridiculous.
So…did you achieve an even higher level after I left? Did you somehow improve on being possibly the greatest professional wrestler to ever lace ‘em up? Have I been left behind? Not just in the way that I think I have – that I can’t do it how I want to do it, but actually, genuinely? Like…did you get better, or did everyone else get worse?
So I don’t know man. I don’t know what this match is gonna be. I don’t know what it means to me. I’m not entirely sure why I’m here. I kinda don’t get why your father has put me in this match, despite my desire to largely retire from in ring action. Because what, I win, we get ANOTHER World Champion…sure, I won’t fuck with the belt, I’ll cut promo after promo about how much the belt means to me, but do I want it the way I used to want it?
I…I’m not sure I do.
Which, if you didn’t understand before – is kinda why I want to go disappear into the shadows. Because I’m not sure I want to put the grind in to be High Octane Wrestling World Champion anymore. But again, I’m here, in this match – that’s whiplash enough, and it’s against you, who’s somehow ascended to a level ridiculously high above literally everyone else in the federation. Or who’s ever been in the federation.
And it’s just like…am I supposed to win? Am I the favourite, or if not the favourite, is it pretty close to being even, as far as the gambling goes? I don’t know. I really don’t. And I get it man, I get it sounds like I’m going around in circles, but just think about it for a fucking second, man. Just one second.
This Championship we fight for on Chaos has meant literally everything to me and my career, and I’d made peace that I was done with it. But…I am apparently not. And it’s exactly the match I would have asked for if I was granted a singles match for that championship. Yet…I don’t wanna be here. I worry I’m gonna disgrace that championship. Disgrace the work we’ve both put into it to make it into the most prestigious championship in all of professional wrestling. Disgrace all the work that every motherfucker who’s ever strived to have even just a chance to challenge for that championship has done.
Because that’s also part of it, right? I’ve been busting my ass to get this shot since I got back here, since I signed that contract post War Games. And I didn’t get one – but instead, I watched a whole bunch of disrespect towards this championship, towards the work that me and others were doing to try and get a chance to get a shot at the thing, some of which was shit you did. And so…I’m here now. I have that shot. Despite all my own doubts. Despite still not winning on pay per view.
So maybe I don’t get it. Maybe I don’t get why I’m gonna be the guy stood across the ring for you with the belt my entire career has focused on on the line. But does it really matter? Like, if I can get my head out of my self doubting ass, and bring the best I have – whatever that is – to Chaos on the weekend, will I be the one who comes out with my arm raised, because again, going back to shit I already said, history suggests that might just fucking happen.
But I don’t know man. This isn’t like it used to be for me. This doesn’t feel like life or death. I could quite happily have stayed home in Cardiff, smoking various types of expensive, imported medicinal cannabis, steering Cardiff City to Premier League safety on Football Manager 24. No, really. I could have. I wouldn’t have been even the slighest bit annoyed that I would be watching someone else get a shot at the World Championship – in the same stupid, petty way I spent the previous six months. If anything, I’d be happy for them – wishing them luck, but expecting them to lose as they come across the monolith that is Mike Best.
And you can’t hope that he’s gonna have a week where he’s gonna slip up and be a little bit shit. That already happened – and that’s how we end up with Scott Stevens on the list of World Champions. Nah. That ain’t Mike. Slips once, but never twice, never in quick succession. So…y’know. Obviously not gonna be easy. Especially not since this is probably the sort of match that you’re actually gonna be motivated for, right?
So here it is, man. I can’t promise that it’s gonna be like 2011, or 2012 or whatever – when we went at it like two men who had literally fuck all else going on in their pitiful lives other than a quest to be recognised as the greatest to ever do this shit.
You won that battle.
Nah, all I can promise is that I’m here – at the end. I don’t know if you’re near yours, but…I don’t want to be someone who isn’t Rhys Townsend. I don’t want to be some guy who turns up occasionally in an attempt to be scary, like some occasionally summoned boogeyman to frighten the rookies with…because that isn’t me. I don’t know how to do this shit other than the way I just did it – the way I burned myself out doing, trying to get near this very match that we’re…y’know, scheduled to have this week.
So I don’t know, man. Maybe this is the match that kicks off my last World Championship run. Maybe I win here, and lose at March To Glory…or maybe I win at March To Glory and retire as World Champion. Yeah, Lee – I won’t sign a new deal with any guaranteed dates on it should that happen. I will retire. But yeah – maybe this is the start of that. Maybe it’s gonna be what everyone fucking hates to see – the same old boring Rhys Townsend wrestles a Singles Match on a Weekly Show and Wins gimmick.
If you haven’t gotten the idea yet…I don’t honestly know what it is that’s gonna show up. I just know it feels different for me. That the win doesn’t matter as much as it used to…that I just wanna show up and show out one last time.
I don’t wanna get miserable about this shit, dude. I got some weed that quite genuinely tastes like some fruity shit and life is pretty decent. Maybe I never achieved what I originally set out to do. Maybe I never did become the greatest to ever do it. Maybe you did.
But do you think either of us will care about that if I win on Chaos…?