War Games in my second match.
Well, well, fucking well. Ya boi is an uncomfortable mattress— I’m a king, and if you sleep on me you’re gonna wake up hurting. You know what sets me apart from the rest of this roster? I talk my shit, I tell you what I’m gonna do, and then I do it. Ten men spit straight garbage about what they were going to achieve in Kyiv, and two men told the truth.
Tyler Best and Christopher America.
But we ain’t ready to talk about that, are we? Nah, it’s gonna be a bunch of excuses. “Boomer Fuse would have gone bell to bell, but it was past his boomer bedtime and he got sleepy”. Miss me with all of it. I don’t care who slept weird on their necks. I don’t care who couldn’t focus because they found out their wife was banging the milkman. I am officially the youngest War Games winner in history, and Christopher America is officially the first man to survive War Games THREE FUCKING TIMES. Some of y’all are still crying about never cracking the top five, and meanwhile Team Best set two records in Kyiv that will absolutely never be broken. And hey, speaking of broken records.
WHAT UP, DARIN ZION?
You mealy mouthed, mouth breathing bucket of mumbled excuses and crybaby behavior. You are a walking fucking L, my dude. No matter how many matches you win, no matter how many hot streaks you go on, you have the DNA of a fucking loser. Dr. Strange looked into the future and in over fourteen million timelines, you were a loser in all of them. Your children will have weak sperm and soft heads. Anyone who tells you that they like you is either lying or a fucking loser, too. You threw piss balloons at my Dad’s office? Why even bother? You could have just forced him to take a selfie with you and posted it on Instagram if you wanted to make him look like a fucking moron. I get why your insufferable brain full of wrong went right for urine, though.
Because you’re a fucking pissbaby.
You always have been. I’ve been watching you on TV since I was a kid, between HOW and PWX and every single place you’ve ever tried to command respect instead of earning it. Your promos became so permanently associated with my piss breaks that I feel my bladder twitch every time you open your fucking mouth.
And that’s just in the ring. Backstage you’re a disrespectful little shit who kisses my grandfather’s ass because he’s the only one who can protect you from being beaten half to death with soap socks every time you sleep on a Hall of Famer. And I get why you sleep so hard on everyone… only place you’re winning War Games, winning the HOW World Championship, beating the God of Sons… is in your fucking dreams. Don’t mistake me for my father, Darin. He was the Star Maker.
I’m the Dream Killer.
I walked out of Kyiv on my own two feet and with a choice to make, because I SURVIVED. Because I did what everyone said I couldn’t do. Guys like you, Darin. Guys who said I didn’t belong in the match. Guys who said it was just privilege and because my Dad is the CEO, and all the same shit they said about him when he was coming up. And you know what?
You’re goddamned right it was privilege.
You’re goddamned right it’s because my Dad is the CEO, and my grandfather signs your paychecks. I made it into War Games in my second match ever, because I am a 100% AKC certified pure Best. But Cry On, Zion, cause I didn’t win War Games because of nepotism. I won it because you didn’t. Because Jatt couldn’t do it. Because Boomer and Clay couldn’t do it. Because TEAM LOCKER ROOM didn’t have the fortitude to get the job done, and America and I DID. Ask Solex if he got pinned by “the office” or if it was Tyler Best who put him down. Run the footage back and show me what my father accomplished for me in that ring.
Not that you were there to see it.
At the final Refueled, I’m gonna close the casket on this fantasy you’ve been living out for almost a decade in HOW. I’m going to embarrass you. I’m going to make you call me “sir” and put you over my fucking knee. You’re gonna delete your social media, dawg. You’re gonna go into hiding. You’re gonna join the Witless Protection Program and get relocated to a little town in Fisher Price County, Iowa. And nah, that isn’t a typo. Fucking fifty percent off a half-wit ass bitch. You thought my dad was a bully? Bitch I’m gonna stuff you in a locker and eat your lunch. Your mouth wrote a lot of checks before War Games when you knew I couldn’t respond.
Now it’s time to pay the TAB.
“So how does it look?”
Standing in the mirror, Tyler Adrian Best slowly peels back the plastic wrap and bandage covering, wincing as it rubs against the fresh wound in the center of his chest. While War Games proved to be a dangerous and injurious endeavor for many in the HOW roster, however, this bandage wasn’t covering an injury.
It was covering a trophy.
“Jesus, Tyler.” Michael shakes his head, looking horrified. “What the fuck did you do?”
The ink on his chest is still swollen.
A wide expanse of wings reach from collarbone to collarbone, surrounding a crucifix centerpiece wrapped in the coils of a treacherous, dangerous snake. The son of a savior wrapped up in the jaws of a serpent, the perfect way to commemorate a feat not achieved in High Octane Wrestling in nearly two eras— dual survivors at War Games, and he was one of them.
The youngest winner in history.
“Come on, man.” Tyler puffs out his chest in the mirror. “It looks fucking sick. My boy Nate does WORK.”
He turns slightly to one side, looking at his new tattoo in the sunlight peering in through the blinds. In a fifteen year wrestling career, Michael Lee Best had never put an ounce of ink into his body— he always said that his body was a temple, and he refused to dirty it with graffiti. But as he’d made very clear over the last few weeks, while Tyler may be his father’s son, he is not his father.
His body wouldn’t be his temple.
It would be his Sistine fucking Chapel.
“Your boy Nate sure did something.” Michael rolls his eyes, plopping down onto the couch. “Well… whatever. Your body, not mine. Have fun eating chops this weekend with a fresh, stinging target on your chest.”
The CEO crosses his arms, slumping down into the cushion. He realizes that he sounds like a grumpy old fuck, but seemingly can’t help himself.
He isn’t done.
“Why the fuck…” Mike sighs, incredulously. “Would you ASK to be booked, and then get that stupid thing carved into you? War Games was like five days ago. You won, Tyler. You FUCKING WON. It took me four years, and you did it in your SECOND MATCH. You should be staring into that mirror with the title over your shoulder. Not a fucking… doodle.”
Jealousy is an ugly color.
Not of the tattoo, of course— the elder Best would sooner eat ass at an IBS convention than sully his body with some wannabe-Banksy bullshit. He’s jealous of War Games. Jealous of success. Jealous that his son has a legitimate claim to the HOW World Championship after his second HOW match, a feat that Michael himself failed at thrice before gracing the title histories.
Jealous of his own son.
“Pop shit, get hit.” Tyler shrugs. “Dude had my name in his mouth like it was his safe word, and didn’t even have the common courtesy to stick around long enough for me to punch him in the fuckin’ mouth. That’s some bitch shit. I don’t play that.”
The God of Sons folds the bandage back up over his chest, re-covering it with the plastic wrap and sliding a v-neck back over his head. A minor black eye peeks back at him in the mirror, his only battle scar from his first War Games.
“He’s a vet.” Michael grumbles. “Don’t take him lightly.”
Michael Lee Best sits forward in his chair, reaching for a soda off the table. It’s a Pepsi— he doesn’t even allow a can of Coke in his office these days. Extreme? Maybe. But they’re the lessons he learned the hard way. By living through addiction. By living through pain. By living through hell.
Hell that Tyler didn’t need to live through.
Lee Best had created a monster in Michael Best. Before HOW, he was just some guy on the indies— a shit stirrer, maybe, but he wasn’t a fucking coke addict. He didn’t do the kind of heinous things that Lee Best had normalized at best, encouraged at worst. Michael Best was a murderer. A junkie. A shit human being, and for the last three years, he’d been trying to right the wrongs of his past. But Tyler? Tyler was a clean slate.
Maybe he was living vicariously.
Or maybe he wanted Tyler to have a better life.
Keep him off drugs. Keep him off the juice. Keep his ego from making childish mistakes. Darin Zion might be a goof, but Michael Lee Best had already made the mistake of writing him off once. 2014, the Jumper of Murder Sharks. A clean pin. Darin had latched into that victory for eight years, like Stevens with that fucking World Title match in 2015. It was humiliating. World destroying. Career altering, to a certain extent.
Tyler didn’t need to make that mistake.
“Nah.” Tyler laughs, coldly. “That’s your thing, dude. Miss me with all that Master Splinter fake underdog bullshit. I’m gonna smash this dude’s skull and stuff his fucking head in a mailbox, bet.”
But he might make that mistake anyway.
Michael Lee Best shakes his head, taking a long sip of his cola and leaning back in his seat. It was hard to fault Tyler for his stubbornness– whether the God of Sons was ready to admit it or not, he had a lot more of his father in him than he thought.
Three generations of Best, and Tyler could be the greatest of them.
He was a blank canvas.
But he was young. Arrogant. Stupid. Taking a match seven days after War Games was a dumb idea in the first place, much less wasting his time on Zion. Everything to lose and nothing to gain. Just calling it like it is, no one on the HOW roster was gonna pat Tyler Adrian Best on the back for beating Darin Zion. It’s expected. It’s old hat. It’s what’s supposed to happen. But if the youngest Best slips up, and doesn’t take it seriously?
War Games becomes a fluke.
Darin Zion becomes Adonis Smyth.
The Legend in Training snatches his water bottle and gym bag off the hardwood floor, throwing it over his shoulder as he heads for the door. As his hand reaches for the knob, he’s stopped by the words of his father.
“Wait.” Michael utters, almost commandingly.
He was so close to avoiding it.
“Sunday’s creeping up.” Michael says, the concern rising in his voice. “ You still haven’t voted. You can’t possibly be considering taking the bag.”
The hand of Tyler Adrian Best lingers against the door knob. He doesn’t turn.
“Still don’t know.” Tyler answers, flatly. “Same as when you asked twenty minutes ago.”
“Tyler.” Michael stares into the back of his son’s skull. “It’s the World Title.”
The God of Sons still doesn’t turn around… and he also doesn’t answer. The silence in the room hangs heavy, as though the ceilings could collapse in on themselves like a dying star.
“It’s your second match!” Mike half shouts, in disbelief. “It’s fucking unheard of. It will never happen again. You’d be the youngest champion in history… the fastest champion in history. Faster than Ado–”
The CEO of HOW stops suddenly, catching his own tongue before he goes any further. The damage appears to be done, though, as Tyler slowly turns around this time. The look of annoyance on his face is quickly washed away by a spreading smirk, a little bit of menace in his eyes.
“No, say it.” Tyler laughs, cruelly. “Faster than Adonis Smyth beat you. Cause it’s all about you, right? YOU couldn’t win War Games. YOU couldn’t win the World Title. Well guess what, Dad? I did win War Games. I do have a claim on the World Title. And it’s my decision. I get a vote like everyone else does. And whatever I choose, I’m choosing it for myself. You can keep living in the past if you want, but you signed me to be the future. This ain’t about you.”
He stares into the eyes of his father.
“Not anymore.” Tyler half whispers, turning back toward the door.
He turns the knob, stepping out into the hallway and sharply closing the door behind him. A long sigh escapes the mouth of HOW’s youngest War Games winner, as the weight of the world goes to war with the already heavy chip on his shoulder. Who the fuck was Michael Lee Best to tell him anything? A sperm donor. The dad who went out for smokes when he was in utero, and didn’t come back until it was time to cash the check.
“I fucking won War Games.” Tyler grits his teeth, muttering to himself. “You wanna treat me like a toddler, maybe you should have been there when I was a fucking toddler.”
Without a second thought, he whips the water bottle down the hallway, about as hard as he can. It explodes against the floor with a sharp crack, sending water flying all over the place. All week, he’d been inundated with “advice” from The Board– a bunch of vets out of their prime, all telling him how they’d handle it. How much the title meant to them. How it didn’t matter what was in that bag, because he had a legitimate claim to the single highest honor in all of professional wrestling, and he’d be a moron to consider anything else an option.
But they didn’t give a fuck about his best interests.
And they didn’t know what was in that bag.
It wasn’t so cut and dry. Wasn’t such a simple decision. The contents of that bag could have equally been seen as an affirmation or an insult, and the choice wasn’t the no-brainer that everyone thought it was. The HOW World Championship was truly the greatest honor a man could earn, and earning it at eighteen years of age wasn’t just an accomplishment– it was the fucking achievement of the century. Every member of The Board had already cast their vote for the next HOW World Champion, and now it was Tyler’s turn. And the truth was that he’d already made his decision right there in the ring at War Games, when he saw Boettcher hold that big red belt over his head. The same belt that Michael Lee Best had held ten times. The same belt that was his legacy, and his birthright.
It was time to make the call.
“Hey Siri.” Tyler mutters, into his watch. “Call Lee Best.”
Fuck the Son of God.
Tyler was going straight to GOD himself.