I envy the HOW roster.
Yes, dipshit, I know I said I pitied them. This may challenge your entire world view but it is possible for a person to feel two things simultaneously.
Honestly, we have the densest fan base I swear to god. Light bends around these fuckers.
I envy the HOW roster because they seem to possess a remarkable talent that I lack, the ability of rapid recovery. It doesn’t seem to matter how my colleagues are twisted, stretched, maimed or defamed, they still get into the same ring week after week and wrestle. They don’t even have to change their styles. If a member of the HOW roster was beheaded on live television, they’d show up the next week wrestling like they did ten years prior.
This talent for rapid healing is not one I possess and it is one of my greatest sources of envy. When I wrestled a ninety seven minute long Iron Man Match, my body went through such hell that it took me weeks to even consider re-entering the ring and yet, almost two years later, John Sektor and Jatt Starr could have been pieroting like fucking ballet dancers the week after they went through equal hell.
Clay Byrd was tossed into an uncaring ocean from the peak of a fucking battleship and he still was wrestling like normal a couple of weeks later. Looking into the face of death itself and being saved solely because you were one of Lee Best’s special boys for a few months and you carry no mental or physical scars. Clay Byrd is still Clay Byrd, big beard, wears a hat. That guy.
I guess given this remarkable Wolverine-esque healing ability, I shouldn’t really be all that surprised that you made your grand return at last week’s Refueled after a snapped your arm. Confused? Certainly. Not surprised though.
I had you locked in tight, I felt the tense agony that you were going through, it fueled me, it fed me because let’s be real, if we were two different men, given your build, you’d crush me like a fucking twig. I’m not a regular guy though, not your typical six footer, my arms are like steel wires, once they get wrapped around you, there’s no avoiding horrific injury.
So as I yanked and yanked and you struggled, I finally heard it, I finally felt it. You went snippity snap. You were gone, you were out of the running, I was going to get that match I was owed, I was going to stand in the ring with Mike Best one on one.
Yet, HOW’s superhero serum kicked in once more and Clay Byrd returned to crush the back of my skull in a situation where a mere mortal would be far from healthy.
I’d try to argue that Clay Byrd was special in that regard but I’m not a fucking moron, so I won’t, we all know the truth.
The members of the HOW roster are built differently.
Chris Kostoff was beheaded on live pay per view. He still wrestled for years, no one knows how.
Our new boss also lost his head, not in a metaphorical way, in a very literal way. Max Kael stole one of his eyes. Yet there he was, standing in Liverpool, fucking up my match with Mike Best, two eyes and a head on his shoulders.
I am not mocking any member of the roster for enduring their agonies and continuing to fight. This is not a belittling of their sacrifices to make it to the top of the heap, this is admiration and yes, a little bit of anger.
I have seen members of this roster dance with death, I have seen men electrocuted, I have seen men crucified. I have seen men set on fire. Every time a horrific event happens to a member of the HOW roster, they’re there the next week ready to fight. Their fighting style unchanged, their methods the same.
I want that.
I saw my close friend Max Kael go from being thrown off the building of an arena, directly into a literal dumpster fire and a few weeks later, stood by his side as he retained the Tag Team Titles for us a couple of weeks later. This wasn’t a case of me picking up the slack for a charred member of the eMpire, he did the heavy lifting, I was the dead fucking weight.
It took a physical event of no return to finally stop Max Kael wrestling and even then, I’m not all that convinced he’s gone for good. Probably a delusional coping mechanism on my end but it’s MY comfort blanket and you can’t have it.
When I see Scottywood maim someone, half the time himself, with a barbed wire hockey stick and everyone just carries on like it was a wristlock, I get jealous.
I do not possess the HOW wrestler gene, I do not have the protection of magical wizards. Cut me, maim me, crucify me… you won’t be seeing me around for some time.
I tried to be safe, I was always a late entrant at War Games, I certainly used a few cheap tricks to keep my match times short, I evaded the more brutalistic and grotesque matches that you can find in the HOW catalog.
Yet, I still fucking cry when I bend over to tie my shoe laces these days. Simple activity is a reminder of what I put my body through to get my ICON Title records, my World Title run, my Hall of Fame spot. I’m glad I’m childless because I can’t imagine the agony I would be in just trying to lift my imaginary child.
By simply showing up to WRESTLE, I destroyed my body.
I was never bred to be a monster and I envy those who were.
The charred remains of the Farthington Estate’s Hedge Maze served as a reminder of the life that Cecilworth Farthington had rejected after the untimely death of his father due to a tragic white fluid incident.
Cecilworth had made the call to reject his inherited Lordship, his predestined path to be part of the upper echelon of British society. With his fame in the United States growing and the HOW World Championship around his waist, he was certain that he didn’t need to be handed anything. He had become his own man, he had made the Farthington name his. When people discussed the name Farthington, no longer was it Lord Farthington smoking cigars and making shady backroom deals in the world of British politics. No, now Cecilworth’s high profile 2019-20 run had made him THE universal Farthington.
He treated his father’s ashes as a joke, carrying them around for a little comedic skit where an unwitting attendant at the Roman Colosseum pissed them up and this brought Cecilworth great joy. Reveling in the delight of celebrity, of power, of status… he was metaphorically pissing in his father’s eye and loving every minute of it.
The hubris of youth. The young man’s folly. Cecilworth had forgotten that when you’re at the top, there’s only one direction left to go.
That moment in the Colosseum, that unquestionably victory against Teddy Palmer… Cecilworth hadn’t realised he’d peaked.
In the months that followed, his Tag Team Title was freebirded off his waist and into the hands of 24K. He surrendered his World Title to his best friend. He lost the LSD Title to Cancer Jiles in a matter of seconds.
It was less of a gentle climbing down from the summit, more of riding an avalanche to the depths of the cold, uncaring sea.
So now he stood in the mess he’d made and was rubbing his own nose in it.
That’s when a friendship was formed. People didn’t realise how early the bond was created. Jace Parker Davidson didn’t until it was way too late.
Jace, buddy, you lost to me because I had the best coach I’ve ever had in my corner.
You just thought he was in yours.
2015 was also when the question got asked. For six… seven years… that question has remained.
Yet every time we come close to getting our answer, something happens to rob me of the opportunity. I came back to fight in the HOFC division, I promised everyone that I would work my way up from the bottom of the rankings and I did just that. I started with Bobby Dean, worked to Brian Hollywood, took out Clay Byrd (hey buddy!) and finally avenged my loss to Cancer Jiles to claim my rightful place as the number one contender to the HOFC division’s champion.
Then they killed the division.
I climbed the ladder, they shoved me off, set it on fire and pretended that it never existed in the first place. Mike Best went on to be rewarded a shot at Conor Fuse. I was rewarded with three months of free HBO from my cable provider, which I got use of because my phone didn’t ring a single fucking time.
I came gunning for my buddy and his father decided that he would rather sacrifice his own life than let that HOFC fight happen. Think about that.
I truly believe that Mike had no hand in the end of the HOFC division, in the cancelling of our fight. I truly believe that he is just as eager
But now his uncle gets Frankensteined back to life and robs me of the opportunity again… that’s two family members running interference. If Max Kael’s corpse shows up with a 69.420% stake ownership of HOW in a couple of months, just as I’m about to get another match with Mike and announces that he’s shutting down the company, I’m going to start asking questions.
As much as I’d like to paint a grand conspiracy with the idea that Mike has been using his family members to duck me, the truth is much more mundane and has already been stated.
We’d kill each other.
Whether your Lee Best or Michael Oliver Best, losing your top two talent in an in-ring murder/suicide is just a bad business decision.
People are likely rolling their eyes at me, curious why I’ve been so upset about the change to ICONIC.
Please, I hope at this point you can put together the fucking child’s jigsaw that I’ve painted for you over the past couple of months.
I don’t know how much longer I’ve got.
Did no one wonder why my HOFC fights were so short? Two of them ended in under twenty seconds for Christ’s sake.
In my big return to the wrestling world, I quickly pinned Scottywood after I kneed him in the gut.
Last week, I put Doozer away like I was fighting a sleeping baby.
Had people internalised that idea that I’m just that remarkable and unquestionable dominant in both the cage and the wrestling ring?
Dummies, I HAD to end those matches quickly. I had to throw everything, and in Scotty’s case, the kitchen sink because if those matches were allowed to go long, then… eesh, I’d probably be rolling down to the ring in the O2 Arena in a wheelchair.
I’ve been trying to save everything I have left for one last match…
A match against Mike Best.
Now you petty motherfuckers have ruined it and ruined me.
“My father was a great man. A sick psychopath. An uncaring father. A complete and utter bastard. Still, he was a great man.”
The Hall of Famer is standing in the middle of the remains of the maze, crouched down and mindlessly rubbing his hand into the ash that remains on the ground. It’s clear that he’s invited the HOTV cameras to join him at this moment as it doesn’t have the air of their typical voyeur content.
“He exiled me to America because I wanted to be a professional wrestler. He said I’d brought shame to the family name. I was his only child, the sole heir, the future Lord. Yet, I’d embarrassed him, I’d brought shame upon the House of Farthington, we were a tabloid punchline. An easy joke for the lazy comedian. He thought it better to rid himself of me than to try and understand me and my interests.”
The cameras catch Cecilworth wrapping his paws around a small clump of weeds that are by his side. He tenses up his arm and yanks them out of the ground in a manner familiar to Clay Byrd, Benny Newell and Kostoff.
“I spent a lot of time being angry at him, I spent a lot of time cursing his name. When Eric Dane forced his chunky jizz down the old man’s narrow throat, I truly believed that he’d finally got what he deserved. Yet, as I’m sure Mike would attest to after he kneed his own father’s skull directly off, it doesn’t heal the hurt. It doesn’t heal the years of pain. It doesn’t answer any questions. All it does is release the endorphins for a short, quick hit. I think for both of us, we were chasing our father’s acceptance, not their pain.”
Despite trying to project strength in his voice, Cecilworth’s face tells a very different story. His lip is quivering and the constant blinking indicates an attempt to hold back a flow of tears.
“Over the last year, I’ve started to wonder if carving out my own path was the right call. I could be sitting in front of a fine oak desk writing now, writing pathetic letters to newspapers complaining about the “Grouse Shooting Tax” or some shit as the new Lord Farthington. Basically living a lifestyle as close as you can get to the modern day hedonist. I’d be guffawing with other men in tuxedos as we complained about how morally loose the female species was getting these days. My entire life would be planned out, no challenges, no struggles, just endless cheese and wine.”
There’s a content pause in Farthington’s line of thought, as if he’s allowed himself to imagine his life in a parallel dimension and the comforts it would have brought him. He allows himself to dwell in the warm glow of a better life for a few moments before a nearby car honk brings him crashing back into his current reality.
“I think my father wanted the best for me, I think that’s why he was SO angry when he felt I’d let him down with my career choice. He thought he’d spent his life’s working setting up a comfortable future for me and this whole wrestling thing was me slapping him square in the jaw.”
Cecilworth leaps back up from the grounds.
“I’m here because I want to acknowledge what he was trying to do. I want to acknowledge that his mistaken sense of pride tore us apart unnecessarily. I want to acknowledge that if I’d followed his path, his plan, my body would be a fucking better state right now. I want to acknowledge that for most people, he would be seen in the right.”
If you paused your screen for just long enough, you’d swear you were starting to see tears drop from the HOW Hall of Famer.
“I also want to acknowledge if I’d been a good little Lord, I’d never have met my best friend,”
Cecilworth starts to rub the ash up and down his arms, as if trying to create his own pagan ritual off the top of his head.
“And that’s why these grounds will be left to rot.”
Why are you here?
Why are you in this match?
I think that’s a fair question to ask.
I know my answer, I know Mike’s answer. We earned our spots here. You could generously apply the same logic to Clay Byrd but the rest…
I’m sure every single one of my ICONIC opponents would be able to give me an answer without turning into a pathetic stuttering mess. They’ve all got goals, they’ve all got ghosts that they are chasing. They’ve all achieved SOMETHING over the past year in wrestling.
To be World Champion, particularly in a field like this, you need more than achievement, you need PURPOSE and that’s where I start struggling.
Jatt Starr is a HOW Hall of Famer. He has held every title in the company. He is an incredibly decorated talent. He is able to care about his daughter’s death and write Braveheart fanfiction at the same time, so we know he’s a multitasker too. Jatt Starr has done everything there is to do in High Octane Wrestling.
So why does he need this match? What does winning this match do for his life? How does this match help him catch the man who shot his daughter? How does winning this match allow him to become a more caring father? In the reality where Jatt hears the mat slap three times and gets 97red leather wrapped around his waist, where does he go next?
A man just shot his daughter, so what, he has some good natured grapple fights with the boys? Wrestling to show that the potential murderer hasn’t shaking his self belief is admirable but I’m not sure how it gives him that extra drive towards the World Title in a match stacked beyond belief.
Conor Fuse was the last World Champion. He lost his belt, then he was sad. Then Jace Parker Davidson and his female property tried to make him a happy lad instead by making video game references and you know what, gosh darn it, it worked because Conor Fuse is a very, very simple lad.
Why do you want to be champion again Conor? You’re the hero? I don’t understand much about the world of vidja games but I would have thought the guy who attempts to hoard all of the treasure to themselves at all times would have been more of a villain.
It seems you’ve already overcame your demons Conor, you came down to the ring in Liverpool and said the word “rank” over and over again like some kind of faulty demented drawstring puppet. I’m very happy for you. I just… I don’t know what that difference maker is for you. That thing that will put you head and shoulders above the competition, that emotional pull that’ll drive you to the top of the pile.
I think you already caught your ghost Conor. You and Jace can have a lovely spirited match outside of the ring, away from everyone else.
I’m going to try and understand Jeffrey James Roberts’ motivating factor for victory. He doesn’t want to be champion, his benefactor just encourages it. He’s more excited by the people he can hurt…
Man, you have no idea how hard it was to avoid going back to the “face eating” well.
Shit, I just did it, didn’t I?
JJR doesn’t know what he is, he doesn’t know WHY he is. So Jeffers, you overcome the odds, you become dual TV and World Champion, does it free you from the prison of your own making? I wouldn’t have thought so, that’d be a real fucked up legal system.
Monster instincts can really take a man far, we’ve seen it time and time again in High Octane. Certain names like Kostoff get discussed in hushed voices.
Being a monster alone doesn’t get 97red leather around your waist, no matter how much flesh you pick out from the pristine chompers.
Jace Parker Davidson wants to be in the HOW Hall of Fame. If you were unaware of this, I’m sorry that your subscription to HOTV expired in 2020. If we had a magazine, that thirsty fucker would have been buying up every single piece of ad space for an elaborate “for your consideration” campaign. That way, he hopes you’ll forget about that time he lost the TV Title after getting face-sat on by a man with beshitted underwear.
His motivation I kind of get. The final show of the year, a chance to make a statement, a chance to get everyone to forget about all of the failures of the past year. I’m just curious if he’ll spend more time trying to fight for the title or campaigning towards Jatt, Mike and me for a Hall of Fame spot. I hope he brings stickers, I love stickers.
As an aside for one second – Jace, no one has forgotten what you are, no one has memory holed “the real Jace”, there’s no secret talents you’ve been hiding since 2016. The truth is much harsher, you are a relic of the past. While others chose to modernise, you clung to the schtick that allowed you to coast, you became a nostalgia act so slowly you didn’t notice and in the harsh light of 2021, we are no longer amused. There’s no “real Jace”, just Jace. Just the Jace there always has been.
Still, enjoy your chats with a doctor who is incredibly conveniently knowledgeable about the wrestling industry, she seems like a nice lady.
Clay Byrd scares me a little. His purpose and motivation is clear. I snapped his arm and despite his amazing healing abilities, I can imagine that he would quite like to smash my smug little face in. I also imagine he’d enjoy crushing my best friend who helped to orchestrate the injury. That’s the kind of drive that could really push someone towards the HOW World Championship.
Fortunately for us, Clay’s record for victories in title matches is a perfect circle.
As one of the few men who has held the World Title (and actually fucking kept it, Conor), I know that trivial motivation will not get you to the end destination. Talking about wanting to punch Mike Best in the face doesn’t mean you can actually do it. Did any of you watch the past year of Refueled? Of the Pay Per Views?
Baby town frolics aren’t getting you the gold.
I don’t have many matches left, I think I’ve made that clear. I’m not going to keep returning, hoping to find my former glory like Jatt or Jace. I’m not going to sulk in a corner until Uncle Olly gives me a good boy treat like Conor, I’m not going to ruin a display of friendship and cunning and then piss another opportunity up the wall like Clay. I’m certainly not going to show up for an audition at the Asylum Film’s version of Hannibal like Jeffers the Narc.
I was happy enough out of the ring. After ten years of struggle, I had achieved, I had surpassed expectations, I had stunned my naysayers. There was only one thing I’d EVER return for.
Mike Best, one on one.
Now it’s been fucked.
I will gladly join my best friend to demonstrate what actual friendship looks like at ICONIC. I would be delighted to fuck up all of your lives until only he and me remain. I have the sense that if he were to win the match, he’d consider the question answered. He’d feel like he knew.
There’s only one outcome that gets me what I want.
Cecilworth Farthington, HOW World Champion.