Good call, Mike. No punchlines this time. I like truth and honesty, too.
And the honest truth is, you’re absolutely fucking right.
There’s nothing I can say or do that can erase the fact that you’ve beaten me twice, that you’ve held the world title and made it so there doesn’t seem to be a worthy challenger on the horizon. You retired the ICON at my expense, defended your World Title against me. You ended Max’s life, even though it’s not what you wanted. You elevated yourself to the absolute peak of our sport, and none of that bothers me, not because I’m not competitive, not because I’m not spending every spare second trying to figure out how to beat you, but because I’m proud of you.
I’ve been watching you — up close and personal — for a long time now. We’ve been friends, we’ve traveled, we’ve had long talks about our lives, and I’ve seen…. watched while you masterfully manipulated everyone around you – women, opponents, your dad, everyone. I’ve watched you ascend and call yourself a GOD, because who’s to say you’re not? All evidence points to you being the absolute king dick in this business. I saw the drug-fueled binges that were always destined to end in a meltdown and a reawakening; binges that came from BOREDOM. You and I both know that I’ve been in exactly the same position as you, years ago when my knees were stronger and my body more resilient. I’ve stood on that same mountaintop, undefeatable, more gold than a statue at the CPAC, and I’ve walked into more than one company owner’s office and said, plainly….. I’m BORED.
No one in your world understands you like I do, because I am you. If time’s finally starting to pass me by, and you’ve taken up that mantle, I’m glad it’s you and not some dumbfuck who can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground. I’m glad it’s someone who took his inspiration from me and fucking ran with it. I’m fucking proud that the one dude who has openly admitted to being a fan, a friend, a brother, is the one who made himself into the best wrestler in the world.
I guess you think that’s offensive to me. That’s not a shot; it’s a restating of facts. This is where we are. I’m not offended by anything you said so much as I’m offended that you think I’m stupid.
Are you under the impression I’ve survived this long because I’m a moron, Mike? You didn’t mean it that way, right?
Don’t play me for simple or stupid. I never believed any of that bullshit, and that’s not even an insult. Not for one second did I ever believe you were “terrified,” you “didn’t know if you could beat me.” If you pull that fake nervous shit with everyone else, why wouldn’t you pull it with me? Why cross your fucking fingers, Mike? No matter how much Lee won’t shut the fuck up about it, I’m not Kostoff. I’m not a fucking mindless brute who only knows how to throw elbows. No, I know you because I know myself, and you’re on a level and in the middle of a run that has you believing, without a doubt in your mind, that you can’t be beaten, and that there are no more challenges.
What’ll I do next?
What I’ll do is fight.
That’s what I always do. Win or lose, for 25 years, I fight. You’re thinking hard about hanging ‘em up. Will you say that publicly? No. But I already know. There’s no more challenge in this, as far as you’re concerned.
I guess it’s my job to extend your career this week, to make this challenging again.
So, no punchlines right now. Good call.
I may not be as consistently unstoppable as I used to be, but I still have that inside me, and it’s only a matter of time before it shows its face. And when you eventually lose, and you will lose eventually, it’ll be because that boredom caused you to take someone lightly, even when you’re far too smart to do so. You can’t avoid human nature, Mike. This is a world of repeating cycles. It’ll happen. It already has.
This has been a good start. I look forward to the inevitable end of pleasantries.
I’m proud of you.
Get some rest. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.