Alright, enough of the sappy shit.
EVAN WARD! What is UP, motherfucker? Sorry to make you wait till Friday for a response to your big old wall of grievances, but since I was in my feelings yesterday, everyone knows I need a full 24 hours. I listened to everything that you had to say, and I have a lot of respect for you, so I’m gonna be pretty blunt here and shoot you straight:
You’re saying the same shit Jace said, man.
Note for note. You’d better hope that he didn’t copyright the promo he cut on me a few weeks ago, because otherwise you’re gonna be hearing from his attorney. Oh, this isn’t even about the LSD Title. This is just about beating you. I’m at war with your father and you’re his last line of defense. It’s the craziest thing, like when four movies always seem to come out at the same time, with the same plot. And this puts me into kind of an awkward situation, because what am I supposed to do?
Give you the same rebuttal?
Nah, let me just get the basics out of the way here right out of the gate, then we can get to covering some new ground. First thing’s first, the title fucking matters. The title always matters. I know that you think that it somehow hits harder if you make it all “bigger than just the belt”, but the championships are why we’re all here. If you don’t want to be the king of a division, you’re in the wrong place, and there are other playgrounds for that. You can try to get ahead of what you said all you like, and call me predictable for jumping on that grenade, but I’m not going to apologize for taking the bait. You think I get punched in the face for fun? You think I like stitches and bruises and torn muscles?
Come on, bud.
You and I don’t have some crazy blood feud brewing. You said it yourself— you snatched a War Games out from under me, I snatched a World Title out from under you, and we both claim to throw the best knee in the business. That’s where our conflict begins and ends. Maybe you’re going to war with me because of my last name, but let me make it very clear to you, Mr. Ward… I’m going to war to defend my LSD Championship.
Because it’s important.
Nothing else matters, Evan. Same as I told Jace— all these wars, blood feuds, petty squabbles… it’s all a bunch of temporary bullshit. Sure, the Giants and the Eagles might have heat, but at the end of the season, no one gives a fuck about anything but the Super Bowl. The air has become so poisonous to breathe around here that we have had multiple guys complaining about title shots over the last month. Are you kidding me? Have you all really become so all-consumed by your ground wars with Lee Best that you’re blind and numb to the opportunities placed at your feet?
You think this match is punishment?
What a charmed life you must lead.
Punishment is sitting the bench. Punishment is disappearing from the title picture. Punishment is having to do the work, week in and week out, and never getting a shot at one of the top prizes. There are motherfuckers on the roster who would be kill to be “punished” the way that Lee Best punishes his enemies. You’re in a war of your own creation, Evan… you talked shit to Lee Best’s latest goon squad, and now you’re facing a gauntlet of the men you stepped on to make it to “Ward Games” in the first place. You’re facing the consequences of your own actions, same as Jace did, and just like Jace, that ain’t got shit to do with me.
But you’re smarter than Jace is, right?
Or at least less stubborn.
You’re smart enough, and malleable enough, to course correct. Because the truth is, Evan, I don’t really care if my father booked this match to use me as a weapon. I don’t care if he thinks I’m some kind of tip of the spear for the Final Alliance. I have reiterated week after week, month after month, that none of that Final Alliance shit has a single thing to do with me. Not my rodeo, not my bullshit, don’t care who stays on for the full eight seconds and who doesn’t. I’m just here to fight, man. I’m here to do what I love. I’m here to defend my championship, by any means necessary, against everyone put in my path.
Of course, you think it’s all about you.
Look at the gauntlet I’ve been running, Evan. Killer after killer. Difficult defense after difficult defense. You said it yourself— Lee seems to use me as the final boss, when no one else can get the job done. What does that mean for me? It means that the people I’m fighting are the best of the best of the best. The guys who withstood Solex. The guys who overcame Dan Ryan. If there’s anyone in the world who should be complaining about his dance card, it’s Michael Lee Best, but you ain’t gonna hear a peep out of me, Mr. Ward.
Because I fucking love it.
Because I’m here to fight the best of the best of the best. I love that people think it’s an accomplishment just to survive me. I love that people somehow view a victory over me as something even bigger than a championship, as much as I disagree with the rhetoric. And I love being the final boss of High Octane Wrestling, because it means that I’ve still got it. It means that my killer instinct is still firmly intact. It means that I’m still in my prime, Evan.
It’s the ultimate compliment.
So you say whatever you want about me, man. Talk shit on my father. Insult my son. Talk about PRIME and call me Mitch and tell the world that you’re going to turn me into a bloodied fish. You aren’t gonna hurt my feelings, because it all ends the same way. You can show me respect, or disrespect. You can overestimate me or underestimate me. You can walk into that ring with a smile or a scowl, but it all ends with a fight. My favorite thing in the world. The thing that I’m best at. I love to talk my shit and use my wordplay and make my jokes, but at the end of the day, I’m not the champion because I’m the best at insulting people, bud. I’m the champion because inside of that ring, I am an undisputed killer.
The single greatest of all time.
And still doing it. Week in and week out, never resting on some shit I did last year, or last month, or last show. Always hungry for the next big win. The next title defense. The next title shot. You’re goddamned right I want a piece of Conor’s World Title. You’re goddamned right I’m salivating over the potential opportunity I have at In God’s House, if I am afforded that opportunity. But if you think for a second that I’m ready to cash in my chips and hand this title off to anybody, then you haven’t done your research, Evan. I will never hand this championship to anyone.
You’ll have to take it from me.
You don’t have to like it, Evan. You certainly don’t have to like me. But you need to respect the opportunity that you’ve been granted this week, and you need to get a little perspective on what it means. You need to look in the mirror and realize that not only are you currently just reaping what you’ve sown, but you’re doing it with a bum leg and a list of enemies that far outweighs your friends and allies. You think I’ve never been there? You think I don’t live in that world nearly 24/7?
Trust me. I get it.
I’ve been a piece of shit for most of my life, Ward. You’re still dipping your toes into the shallow end of a pool that I’ve been diving into the deep end of for years. You’ve spent 90% of your HOW career as a goody two shoes Boy Scout, so I understand that this might all be new and strange to you. Having nuance. Having depth. Not stopping to help every little old lady you see trying to cross the street. There used to be a thousand guys who would charge out of that locker room to lend you a hand, and now it’s whittling down to the small handful of guys who still have your back.
Appreciate those guys, Evan.
They’re all you have, now.
A lifetime of good deeds can be undone so fucking quickly, and you’ve undone them all. If you think you’re going to draw any sympathy for suffering the consequences of your own actions, you’re mistaken. Again, trust me, I get it. I know. I could donate everything I owned to an orphan charity, take up a vow of silence, and dedicate the rest of my life to helping the fucking needy, and I’d still go down in history as a lying, cheating, miserable scumbag. Those are the paths we chose, Evan, we just chose them a little differently.
So embrace it.
Embrace being alone. Embrace the conflict and turn it into opportunity. I don’t want to hear a single fucking excuse this week when I climb that ladder and snatch that LSD Championship down. I don’t want to hear about a war with Lee Best. I don’t want to hear about the Final Alliance. I don’t want to hear about a bum leg or a screw job or a fucking conspiracy. It’s you and I out there, and it’s a fight for the LSD CHAMPIONSHIP. Bring Trent. Bring my old friend Rhys. Bring Ground Zero back from the dead and storm the fucking ring, Evan… do whatever you need to do to feel like you’re gonna get a fair shake, because I can promise you that I’m going to do whatever I have to do to retain my championship. Not for my father. Not for the Final Alliance. Not because I’m some ultimate weapon.
For me, Evan.
Because I’m a champion.
Because I’m a fucking scumbag.
Because I don’t care if everyone fucking hates me.
I embrace it ALL. You can have all the dreams you want about working me over, incapacitating me, making me… flop like a fish, or whatever. But I am the number one ranked wrestler in HOW. I am the greatest champion of all time, by the numbers. You can approach me with respect, approach my title with respect, and tear down the fucking house with me at Chaos… or you can play the same game Jace played, and fuck around and find out the same way Jace did.
Doesn’t matter to me, man.
Choice is yours.
Live your best life.
But on Sunday night, I don’t care about the HOW World Championship. I don’t care about what they’re gonna say when the match is over, or anything they’ve said leading up to it. I don’t care about what they’re serving at catering, I don’t care about that embarrassing thing I said in sixth grade that made everyone make fun of me. I don’t care about the bridges I’ve built or the ones that I’ve burned, Evan.
I care about climbing that ladder.
I care about defending that championship.
LSD has stood for a lot of things over the years, but I can promise you that right now, it stands for Lee’s Son Dominates. That you will not be a one in my loss column. That any hopes you have of ending my reign are false hopes. If I were you, I’d train extra hard for Sunday night, Evan….
I’ve already got a leg up on you.