It’s an interesting number is it not?
A prime number.
A shade of red.
And the exact length of time that Dan Ryan and the ChampChampChamp Cecilworth M! J Farthington are expecting to duke it out during the main event of ICONIC live on some form of viewing device. Last I checked it was a Zune exclusive but I never attend the PR briefings so that may have been updated in the preceding decade.
Mere seconds after our intrepid hero had finally reached the pinnacle of the wrestling industry, ole Papa Lee just had to jam his finger on the scale once more. No time for celebration, no time for congratulations, just a salty news post decreeing that Dan Ryan and Cecilworth Farthington would duke it out at ICONIC one last time.
Lee was going to get his pound of flesh though, of that he was certain. He’d jammed them in cages, in War Games, in a god damn rusted upon, tetanus ridden infirmary but every single time, the desired result for the HOW visionary was the one he was hoping against. Every single time, Cecilworth Farthington stood as a better man than Dan Ryan.
That’s a very upsetting thing to a man used to pulling all the puppet strings, a man very used to controlling his roster. For basically two decades Lee Best pulled the levers of power, tugging them as hard as fully erect fun size bar of future HOW Hall of Famer Darin Zion on his fifteenth view of the latest Star Wars film.
“Sex in the snoke hole just gives me urges” he probably said in the same manner that the entire HOW staff wished him the best on his vacation.
Still, the GOD of HOW finally had a World Champion who didn’t quite fit into the natural categories he was used to. Cecilworth Farthington wasn’t an enemy that Lee could raise an army against, the Triple Champ certainly wasn’t a former ally that he could pull to his side. At Rumble at the Rock, HOW had a World Champion that was never meant to be. A World Champion that could see through GOD. A World Champion who knew the strength of his family, the eMpire, was leaving every single other member of the roster in their dust.
A wide eyed Lee Best would spend weeks weeping at his desk, concerned about the perception. Concerned about new talent being scared off. He booked the eMpire in big matches, because surely, surely at some point they had the fail. The legendary Ms. Troy, she could wrestle the ICON Championship away from CM!JF, dashing the champ’s hopes of becoming the longest reigning champion in HOW history. If that fails, Jack Harmen, the High Flyer, a Hall of Famer, a legend, a person who owns a club, he could catch CM!JF sleeping on the next show with a World Championship victory that would shock the world. Oh, that failed too? Never mind, put the pressure on the Industry then, put THEIR title on the line, make it clear they were the final line of defense against the hostile takeover of High Octane Wrestling by the eMpire.
Cutto: The eMpire winning the Tag Team Titles.
ICONIC though, the final line of defense, the fail safe that GOD had planned the moment the World Championship was strapped around the waist of Cecilworth Farthington. 97 minutes straight in the ring with the hulking brute known simply as Dan Ryan. Lee had hoped it will all come to a close sooner, that he would get HIS HOW back but he knew, he KNEW that despite all the close calls Cecilworth had escaped in his battles with Dan Ryan, there would be no shortcuts that could be taken in an Iron Man Match. This would be the one, this would be the broken emergency glass. This would end the reign of terror.
Lee Best’s final line of defense against The eMpire Dynasty.
Last we left the HOW ICONIC World Champion (who is also Co-Tag Champion with literal corpse Max Kael) he was having what would medically be declared as a “touch of the sads”. Still not fully recovered from the damage done to his arm by Dan Ryan during the Tag Title match last month and fully aware of the impending marathon that he faced at ICONIC, the fear had sunk in.
Max was probably dead.
Last he spoke to Mike, things weren’t exactly smooth sailing in the locker room after the show. GOD had decided to speak and the SON had listened just a little too deeply.
Dirk Dickwood had tried to fuck his career over and then tried to weasel his way back in during a thouroughly adequate meal at Applebees.
You know, now I think about it, I hope Dirk left a tip of at least seventeen dollars.
His entire career he had someone backing him, someone in his corner, someone in his ear. An advisor, a friend, a small spark that could support him in concocting the schemes that got him to the mountain top.
He couldn’t even beg his disdainful father for help, what with his tragic passing due to Eric Dane’s incredibly dense brand of daddy’s sauce.
He had never been alone in his career and he was panicking.
Farthington: Doctor, doctor, give me the news.
The trainer’s room of the Five Time Academy was in a state of disrepair at the moment. Due to the high amount of maulings that would take place to the poor and innocent trainees any time that the eMpire decided to pop their head into Mike Best’s enterprise, most of the medical supplies were in need of replenishment and a rotating group of athletic trainers had walked into and immediately out of the job due to the immense pressure it took to work with members of the eMpire.
Trainer: First of all, I’m not a doctor…
Farthington: Okay nurse, whatever…
Trainer: Not a nurse either.
The frustrated trainer was taking the deepest of breaths as he bandaged up the tweaked arm of CM!JF.
Trainer: Why the hell were you here with a blow up doll at 2am anyway?
Farthington: I needed to test myself, I needed to know that I could do it.
The trainer walks over to the bare cabinet and begins to rummage through the remains of a once ample bounty of the finest medical supplies to find a roll of tape, completing the job and all going well, ejecting himself from the conversation he has found himself party to as a prisoner more than a participant.
Trainer: And how did that go?
Cecilworth breaks eye contact with the man in front of him, choosing to turn his attention to the interlocked TripleMegaBelt he has created by linked the HOW World, HOW ICON and HOW Tag Team Titles together. The centrepiece of his dinner with Dirk, Cecilworth had decided he quite liked how it looked, a monument to his power and prowess. Also, at this point it was the only thing he had, so he had to cling tightly to it. Refusing to make eye contact with the trainer as, he responds in the nature of an indignant teenage child.
Farthington: I’d rather not talk about it.
A small roll of tape is found by the trainer as he has a little chuckle to himself.
Trainer: Don’t tell me that a large mound of inflatable plastic managed to take you down…
Cecilworth ponds discussing a YouTube video he saw where a blow-up doll performed a Canadian Destroyer but decides that in fact, this is probably not a very sensible point to make. Instead he pulls the ripcord on the current avenue of discussion in the hopes and aims of protecting what little remains of his own sanity.
Farthington: So, you’re the kind of man who looks at people’s arms and bodies and such and not in a sexy and kinky way. Next week I got myself a big ole match with a big ole boy, do you think this arm will keep itself together?
Trainer: I wouldn’t recommend putting too much strain on it.
Cecilworth purses his lips, considering his next question very carefully.
Farthington: So, say, as a pure hypothetical that I was scheduled to be in a ninety seven minute long wrestling match with a very well built chiseled statue of a human being who could toss me around like a bag of laundry if he so desired. Do you reckon that my arm would hold up okay in this totally and purely hypothetical situation?
Deep in thought, the inevitably temporary part time trainer of Five Time Academy considers his next words very carefully, fully aware of Cecilworth’s deep and personal passion to yank arms off real good at the establishment by those who he views as having personally wronged him.
Trainer: In this… purely hypothetical situation… most people would advise against attempting to wrestling for ninety seven minutes straight on a bum arm. The long term damage that you could be inflicting on yourself in such a situation…
CM!JF scrunches his face tight, less than delighted at the response provided.
Farthington: So, say, and again, purely hypothetical, that I was going to fucking do it anyway. How would you advise approaching such a contest?
Trainer: Very carefully.
Cecilworth’s small office in the Five Time Academy is certainly not just a re-purposed broom closet that he decided to take over despite having absolutely no professional duty with the establishment. We find the heavily bandaged Triple Crown Champion furiously scribbling on a drawing pad with his one good arm. On closer inspection, the drawings appear to be of potential grappling moves. The art session is interrupted by Five Time Academy Trainee Gary Tongueman, last seen being a victim the Cecilworth’s Article 50 during a training session that may have got slightly out of hand.
Tongueman: Mr. Farthington, you told me when to alert you when, and I got “the muscle freak opens his grim visage”. I’ve brought the footage over as quickly as I could.
Not breaking away from his sketchbook, Cecilworth begins to question the incredibly nervous trainee.
Farthington: Where was he?
Tongueman: Ice skating and… then some jogging. Some real slices of life.
Cecilworth continues his careful artisan handcrafted wrestling move plans as Tongueman stands in the room, slightly awkward, uncertain what to do.
Tongueman: So… do you want to watch what he said?
Farthington gives a tired sigh, still not breaking away from his plans.
Farthington: I know what he said, I just wanted to know where he said it.
Tongueman looks over at the World Champion with fear in his eyes, afraid of making any sort of wrong move after his previous interaction. His eyes peer over at the clearly heavily bandaged arm, which gives him some light relief of the situation.
Farthington: Why are you still here?
With a dismissive hand wave from Farthington, Tongueman doesn’t need to be told twice and makes a mad dash out of the very small confines of Cecilworth’s Five Time “office”. We stay in the office for a few seconds as the scribbles and draws continue. Satisfied at his creation, whatever it may be, Cecilworth leans back in his chair, looking very triumphant.
Farthington: Well, if I don’t have the strength to lock in the Article 50… I will unleash my latest masterpiece.
Cecilworth flips the sketch book closed, the camera can not detect anything inside, only the title that is scribbled on the front.
Pleased as he is at his creation, Cecilworth knows that his secret document only deals with prong one of the two prong problem. Sure, he may have a way to deal with his inability to snuggly lock in the Article 50 in a way that had brought him many of his victories to this point but that does very little to support him in addressing prong two.
Surviving Dan Ryan for ninety seven minutes.
As is often the case when you hold three quarters of the championships available in a company, you have a certain obligation to make public appearances. Some angry guy from Mr. Woodson’s office had spent the last ten minutes of Cecilworth’s cell phone instructing him on how to get to the Starbucks signing session that had been arranged. Our Triple Threat thought he was being smart by using the old “there’s lots of Starbucks” excuse but after a lot of legal threatening mumbo jumbo, he decided it would make his life easier just to attend the bloody thing.
Interacting with the often disgusting and undeodorized HOW faithful has never exactly been the preference of Farthy Three Belts but he’d accepted it as part of the evils of the job. The MEGABELT is once again by his side at the signing table that has been set up in front of Starbucks. Cecilworth takes his place at the table and looks forward to seeing what could be technically termed as a “massive fuck-off line”. An emotionally exhausted Cecilworth accepts his lot, knowing that it is going to be a very long day indeed for the champ.
As the line opens, the leader of the pack rushes forward to the table wearing a classic “Cecilworth Farthington Is My Favourite Wrestler” t-shirt.
Fantastic Farthington Fan: OH GOD! It’s you! I can’t believe it’s you.
Farthington: The feeling is very mutual.
An aide at the side of the table grabs the fan’s phone and sets up the shot.
Aide: One photo with the champion and move on.
As Cecilworth leans in to smile the grimace that anyone caught in these meet and greets bares, the eager beaver of a fan leans in to dump some praise on the champion.
FFF: I bet you’re ready for Ryan! That old dinosaur, he’ll be dead before the ninety seven minutes are up.
Cecilworth keeps the handshake locked in and pulls his young fan in tighter, wide eyed and manic, the insecurities begin to leak out.
Farthington: Ninety seven minutes is a very long time. Longer than any wrestling match I have ever had in my career. Probably a good hour longer. It would be a remarkable hurdle to leap over for any athlete in the prime of their career at the peak of their physical fitness. Let’s have some straight talk here, how many people can actually say they would be able to go FULL FORCE for almost one hundred minutes without going into some form of cardiac arrest? Could anyone? Could anyone say with real, genuine confidence that they would be able to do what the owner of this company has forced me to participate in? It’s insane. It’s insane what has been asked of me.
The aide steps back into the conversation and helps to gently break the very tight handshake. He returns the fan’s phone and ushers them out of the line.
Aide: Cecilworth, you can’t do that to members of the public, we’re not insured for that!
Farthington: Do what?
Cecilworth looks very indignant at the accusation that has been thrown his way.
Aide: I saw that glint in your eye, you were thinking of locking that poor kid in an armbar. I’ve seen that face enough times on television to
Farthington: Please… look at me…
Farthington gestures towards his bandaged arm.
Farthington: I’m in no condition to armbar anyone, disgusting members of the public or otherwise. Speaking of… do you think we could just do a napalm airdrop of deodorant on this crowd? I’m starting to wretch real hard over here.
Aide: That’s definitely not a thing.
Farthington: It should be.
Cecilworth looks at the massive line in front of him.
Farthington: I don’t think this whole camera thing is going to work if I want to make it to fucking Iconic on time. Signed eight by tens only is the new law.
Aide: That’s not what these people paid for…
Farthington: And yet, that’s what they are getting.
The hours begin to fade away as the line starts to dwindle. Cecilworth signing one picture after another, tossing it towards the disappointed man and calling for the next, never even taking a second to look up from his stack o’ photos. One person after the next, Cecilworth scribbles something that could generously be declared his name and moves on. Every so often he utters a brief “hello” or “I hope you enjoy Iconic”.
Three hours into the situation, CM!JF takes a big swig from his water bottle.
Farthington: My arse is getting numb, can we start wrapping this thing up?
Aide: But there’s still a ton of people waiting…
The expression that crawls across the face of our Best Boy could closely be described as a combination of bemusement and indifference.
Farthington: That doesn’t very much sound like a me problem.
He decides to see what remains of the line for the first time since he sat down. As Cecilworth finally looks up from his furious session of signing autographs, a smiling face greets him and not exactly one he wished to see.
Dickwood: I think me and you need another little chat.