REFUELED XCIII – FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN
Arthur Pleasant© Vs. Steve Harrison
LSD Championship – Ladder Match
“FUCK!!” I yell out as I feel my grip loosen from Steve Harrison’s scrawny fucking neck. The LSD Championship hangs in the balance, mere inches away from the both of us. All I need is about five-to-six seconds and Harrison will lose consciousness. Bleeding as much as he has been, thanks to my ‘au naturale’ razor-tipped elbows, should play in my favor.
Should, being the keyword here.
That’s when it hits me like a sack of fucking doorknobs to the dick. I failed to take a mental inventory of something integral in my preparation for this match. When going through all aspects and probabilities, I completely disregarded the possibility of working against myself.
Some who look back at the tape may even intimate that I wasn’t prepared for this ladder match, but that isn’t the case at all. Fuck that. I’d even go as far as arguing I was just as prepared as Steve Harrison was—if not MORE — and he won the match.
For the weeks leading up to this moment, I had gone over every possibility that might be thrown my way. Cage match. No-Holds-Barred match. Texas Bull-Rope match. Ambulance match. Strap match. Machete on a flaming pole match. Piranha Tank match. Casket full of Scorpions match. Barbed Wire Pillow Fight. Loser has to watch Missouri Valley Wrestling for a week match. Everything I could think of, I went over in great detail inside the hectic machinations of my mind.
When I defeated John Sektor for the LSD Championship, I did the same thing. I took mental inventory of all the methods in which he would try to make me submit. But on that occasion? It paid out in full. No mistakes were made, and I choked Sektor out with a submission hold, as simple as it was, that he never even expected. The guillotine, or as I branded it for concession stand and video game purposes, “The Plague of Mankind”. A move that, from that moment on, would be a part of my in-ring repertoire.
BOOM. No, not CEO’d BOOM ‘cause I’m not about to toss Mike a couple of Benjamins on that trademarked shit, but “BOOM, I just landed on my fucking neck!” type of BOOM.
Before I can even process the insurmountable pain coursing through the back of my neck, or how I have about a pint of Harrison’s blood covering my pale-skinned upper torso and face, the bell sounded. My nightmare became reality, and Curtain Pants finally beat me. Mono-y-mono.
As I lay face down on the mat, I notice a numbing sensation at the tips of my fingers.
Time slips away from me like how I had slipped off that ladder, because I quickly realize I must’ve blacked out for a lengthy amount of time. The arms underneath my biceps are trying to prop me up so I can walk to the back. Turning my head slightly, I see arms belonging to the High Octane medical team holding me from underneath my armpits. The rock stars of sports medicine just doing their jobs in protecting the talent.
Snapping out of whatever fucking haze this is, I shove two of the doctors away from me and watch them fall onto their collective asses. The Steve Miller Band plays “Take My Fucking Title And Run Like The Bitch You Are”, or whatever it’s called, and before I know it, my legs give out from underneath me. I collapse to the steel ramp, lights flashing in every which direction as McVay announces the official decision.
In and out of consciousness, I remember doctors forcing a neck brace onto me like this cone of shame and strapping me to a gurney.
Helplessness swathed over me like a weighted blanket in an enclosed room with no air circulation. The suffocation is real.
The more I think about the lack of oxygen I’m receiving, the more I can feel myself about to hyperventilate.
My throat begins to close.
Fuck. Is this it?
“BREATHE, ARTHUR!” I silently yell.
An oxygen mask is placed over my face.
Is this… is this it?!
If only you could see what I can see, you’d be fucking throwing up right about now.
I tried to speak to you before. I really did. In absolute earnest, kid. But your ‘Master’ wouldn’t allow my words to reach your squeaky-clean ears. So allow me to give it another go.
I told you I was going to hurt your teacher. That I was going to embarrass him. That I would demoralize him. I mean… I did just that, but that isn’t the point I’m trying to make here. This isn’t about the LSD Championship anymore. It never has been for the Devil’s Advocates, son. The point is, I tried to tell you something vital for your career in the long term… but the message was never received. Your hallowed sensei shielded you from the truth, twisting the narrative into some kind of unavailing teaching exercise designed for his own benefit.
But now you have the chance to gain a monopoly in wisdom once again. A second opportunity to look into the eyes of the enemy and see the unsought, yet invaluable, truth. An opportunity to save yourself when the Kingdom’s walls come crashing down around you.
Out of the ruin of fantasy and into the bitterness of reality, two choices are born.
One, find yourself a new mentor and continue to choke in your own afterbirth here in HOW.
Two, stop being a fucking pussy by hiding behind a made fucking guy on the roster.
If you dare to pick option two? Know that you’ll have to put your big boy pants on and start traversing down this winding, unforgiving path all by your fucking lonesome in order to ascertain just what you’re actually worth. Let your fucking balls finally descend and test your mettle on your own. I’m not saying you won’t lose from time to time — everyone loses, even your good ole Uncle Arthur— but at least you’ll be testing your own limits and not expanding someone else’s past where they’ve already broken.
But, of course, if you’re not comfortable taking the training wheels off yet? Then find someone who wouldn’t do you the disservice of putting the bumpers on your bowling lane. Seek out a new ward who wouldn’t protect you from the filth and decay. Find someone willing to send you down, waist-deep, into the flames of hell so you can witness how high they rise around here.
Someone… like us.
The Devil’s Advocates.
Don’t let someone else shape you into their pretentious, false image through some sort of middle-age crisis or mortality complex.
Stick by someone like Jeffrey or myself, who will tell you, without mincing a single word, “Fuck Jason Whatley and whatever he thinks about you.” because not giving a shit about what some mouth-breathing fucking neckbeard thinks— who hides his diminutive stature behind a snarky blog— is something a real teacher should’ve taught you long before now.
Or don’t heed our advice and expect us to treat you like the usual moron who looks at us and sees nothing more than torture porn addicts. We’ll oblige your preconceived notions. Jeffrey will smile at you from afar, licking his lips with a hunger for your flesh. Then when you think he’s going to bite your face off, he’ll lay you out on your fucking ass and hit you with a beautiful, awe-inspiring Shooting Star Press. Game over. One, two, motherfucking three.
Or maybe I’ll be the one to lead you astray. Like a slave lost to his own wild imaginations of freedom, I’ll deceive you by reaffirming your perception that I am a surface creature. A competitor with no defining characteristics to construct an ounce of talent in that ring. Then? When you least expect it? When Sektor-san nods for you to go for the kill, I’ll learn you the fuck up at maximum warp and show just how experienced I am in the art of the eight limbs.
With expertly placed, bone-crushing strikes, I’ll give you a glimpse into the crystal ball of how hard I have devoted years of my life as a Muay-Thai martial artist. How I have out-wrestled and out-struck some of the best competitors in this business. Then, when I kick your fucking stupid face in and leave you lying on your back looking like a chalk-outline model with the facial features of a Picasso painting, you’ll understand just why I am someone you do not want to tangle with.
I will demonstrate why I am the exact advisor you need in your corner, allowing you to fall down, fail, and inspire you to get the fuck up again and move forward.
The choice is yours, Adam.
Despite what His Master’s Voice may whisper in your ear, it always was and it always will be.
You are the conductor of your own orchestra, Adam. You always have been. You’ve always been self-empowered with that gift. Even as a rookie in this business.
So just fucking remember that when I break your goddamn ear drums into itty-bitty little pieces with a Calamity Pain, and watch you break down and cry in your deafened state like the little Missouri Wrasslin’ neophyte bitch you fucking are.
24 HOURS LATER…
From the Desk of Arliss Peters:
Following his LSD Championship loss to Steve Harrison at Refueled 83, Arthur Pleasant has gone through a series of neck tests to determine whether he has suffered any damage from that frightful fall he took from atop the ladder.
Because of HIPPA Compliance, the results of said tests cannot be revealed. However, when inquired by various media, Pleasant’s attorney Arliss Peters had the following to say:
“While I cannot discuss the results of tests Mr. Pleasant has undergone, I can inform you that Arthur has suffered no damage to the nerves or spinal cord. A myriad of tests have been performed, including an electromyogram. Other tests performed were advanced imaging, a CT scan, a myelogram, an MRI, and several X-Rays. It’s standard testing for any athlete who might have suffered a trauma to the neck or spine.”
The screen goes still as I thump my left index finger and pause the video on my tablet. Thinking for a moment, I tap my index and middle fingers on my bottom lip.
Do I want him to give a medical update on my behalf? The world watched in awe as I fell twelve or whatever fucking feet, landed on the back of my neck, then bounced about a foot until I laid unconscious on my belly. Surely the smarks, and perhaps even a few resentful malcontents hoping I would simply quit or be too injured to compete so soon, are wondering about my condition.
“You good, Artie?” genuinely asks Arliss. I toy with the idea of verbally expressing a creative cock ring analogy as to how I was feeling at the moment, but I decide to leave it out of the narrative. ‘Sides, there’s always next week.
“Just a stinger. I’m not dead. I’m not paralyzed. I’ve been through fucking worse than what happened with Harrison — though it rarely ends with beating MYSELF and gifting my opponent a championship—but I’ll be just fucking fine.”
Arliss signs, empathizing with Pleasant’s unfortunate luck during his first (and only) LSD Title defense.
“Sorry, bud. That was-“
“Save your ‘sorry’ for someone who warrants it.” I say indignantly, “It was my own damn fault for getting a little overzealous with my elbows. Hahaha.”
Rubbing the ends of my elbows, I continue.
“I just… I just wanted to open the miserable prick up the same way he did to me last year. I had salivated at the thought of opening Harrison’s skull up and spilling his styrofoam peanuts all over my ring for just about a whole year. Then? In that one instant? I had a fifty-fifty shot of Harrison’s blood working against me in the big climb up those slippery steps. And when it all comes down to it, I lost the coin toss.”
I chuckle as I become lost in thought, but another painful jolt forced me to wince and brought me back to real-time.
“Shit fucking happens. It is what it is. But I WILL get my rematch and take back what’s mine. Until then? I’m more focused than I ever have been on taking what is OURS — mine and Jeffrey’s — and that is the High Octane Wrestling Tag Team Championship. We’ve been waiting for this opportunity for months and now? It’s here. I mean, it’s really. fucking. HERE.”
Arliss, who more and more, day by day, has become more of a friend and confidant than mere legal counsel, listens intently while I pace back and forth in my stupid fucking neck brace. Ugh. As soon as the 72 hours were up, I’d be ripping this fucker off, lighting it on fire, and leaving it on someone’s doorstep to put out.
Each time I make it to the other side of the office, I turn around like Michael Keaton in that cumbersome 1989 Bat-suit.
“I don’t really think anyone realizes just how good of a team we are. How simpatico Jeffrey and I are with one another. How attuned we are to each other’s needs, wants, weaknesses, and strengths. We’ve beaten every team that has been put on the other side of the ring from us, save for ONE, and that team involved the best competitor in this damn company… and, well… David Noble. Through a technicality, we’re forced out of the Maurako Cup. But you know what?”
Pleasant stops pacing back and forth and simply looks at Arliss.
“We made the best out of that and beat us a couple of fuck wagons walking around and calling themselves something they don’t even know the true meaning of.”
I rub my hands together, as eager as Sektor heading to Friendly’s for that early bird special.
“And now? We finally have our shot. Against a man, dangerous though he may be, that I fucking know inside and out. And, of course, his little dopey protégé.”
Pointing at his neck brace, “This aside?” he chuckles, “I like our chances.”
Arliss interrupts me. Rude.
“Still. You have to have some kind of Spidey-sense that Sektor is going to target that neck of yours much in the same way you went after his leg and back in your previous match. Right?”
I laugh at the obviousness of this strategy.
“Of course he will. He’d be a simpleton not to. The Sektor Stretch even focuses 90% on the neck area. In a way, the shoe’s on the other foot in this one. But here’s the thing about that: I’ve been on the mend and I still have another week to fully heal. I’m younger, faster, and smarter than John in every conceivable way. I don’t need cryotherapy on every fucking limb on my body just to get out of the bed in the morning.”
My smile is as wide as STRONK’s chest.
“You know, you’re quite the sound board, Arliss. I usually hate lawyers in such an unyielding capacity that I envision deplorable acts of violence against them. But, you’re alright!”
Arliss scratches the back of his neck, equal parts relieved and disturbed.
“T-thanks? I think? Hehe… heh.”
That’s when the decision was made. Right then and there.
“Fuck ‘em. Don’t upload it.” I tell Arliss as he sits back in his full-grain, straight from the animal’s hide, leather office chair.
Rubbing underneath my scruffy chin, I smile, revealing my jagged, shark-like teeth.
“Couldn’t be more.”
Seems like we’re destined to do this forever, aren’t we John?
But hey, since I know exactly what it takes to fucking beat you? I don’t mind fighting you forever. Plus a day, if need be.
In the last month or two, you and I have put on clinic after clinic in that ring with one another. But this time? We get to do it with friends.
You got Adam.
I have Jeffrey.
Sorry about your fucking luck.
The Devil’s Advocates FINALLY put a stamp on the certification process of what we’ve known ALL ALONG: that we are the best fucking tag team in all of professional wrestling and there isn’t an eGG Bandit or Ascended Supremacist that would dare to come back here and say fuck all about that. I also don’t give a shit how many tag team partners you’ve had, Sektor. Whether you’re coming at us as part of StarrSek Industries, or plucking Scott Stevens down from the bottom of the ladder back up to tag team prominence, or using your student for your own means, you’ve never had a team like us coming at you. Fucking never.
Jeffrey James Roberts is a man who can come into HOW with little to no experience and just DOMINATE fuckers like you and flavors of the month like the influx of new blood I’ve seen in the locker room. He’s a natural. Hell, maybe even SUPERnatural. Go for your German suplexes, your rolling katahajime’s, and your turnbuckle river dance thunder bombs all you want, motherfucker, ‘cause that boy’s gonna stuff your shit in a big ole basket and break it over your goddamn head.
Then comes the hot fucking tag and I finish what I… uh, already finished… and choke you the fuck out once and for all. Or maybe this time Jeffrey and I unveil our new tag team finisher to the world and destroy you in under five-minutes with a well-orchestrated shock and awe number.
Either way, this is what’s gonna happen. The Old Man gets put out to pasture by the most dangerous fucking duo to have ever graced a sports complex since Jordan and Pippen. All-the-while the Young Gun you keep under your broken wing is liberated from the douchebag mat wrestling purist who’s selfishly grooming him to be the next ‘John Sektor’ when he should guide him into becoming the first Adam Ellis.
Like it or fucking not, The Devil’s Advocates are coming for those HOW Tag Team Championships with the fury of a thousand storms. We are the tempest of calamity and chaos whose parents forbid their children from watching HOTv. We dismantle all the overachievers who dare to cross us, and decimate the weak who are too afraid to even think about approaching that line.
We have beaten some of the best tag team specialists in the history of HOW and… that was only in five matches. Just think about what we can accomplish by taking those titles and holding this entire division hostage.
Truth is, the HOW Tag Team Championships have been ours since the beginning. Since the titles were reinstated and an entire tournament showcased why it should have never been sidelined in the first place.
At Refueled 95? We, the uncrowned ones, finally receive the coronation we deserve.
April 22nd, 2022
With my neck finally feeling comfortable enough to bump around a ring, I decided to take a nice long drive from my home in Las Vegas to the heart of Chicago.
Or at least, a place that will be the heart of Chicago once all the renovations are complete.
And, you know, if Clay Byrd doesn’t burn it down.
“Well, how about this for timing?” I call out, golf clapping at my tag team partner after witnessing him bouncing all around the ring like a fucking half-luchador. Each member of the EPU looks in my direction as soon as they hear me. Tensing up, they looked to be PRIMEd for a fight. Classic paranoia, if you ask me.
Banners for TEN-X are hung everywhere in this place. They definitely didn’t skimp on the vinyl. I expect they’ll eventually be supplanted for much more luxurious, perhaps even electronic, signs. The renovations are extensive; which, in a way, brings out the charm in this place with the lone ring set up in the middle of it.
After a long and arduous renovation process, this place would look exquisite. In fact, dare I say it would look better than my father’s place, Champ’s Legacy. Both would be warehouse type facilities, but this felt more attuned to my needs.
The closer I skip to where Jeffrey and the EPU are, the more tense it feels inside the building. I can hear a grunt of dissatisfaction that is no doubt emanating from MurderDaddy, who immediately heads out of his office to see why I would walk on these grounds.
Oh yeah. This is gonna be fucking FUN.
One of the EPU guards shouts “HALT!” in my direction. “You are to IMMEDIATELY turn around and go back!” he continued, flexing some mythic authority he thinks he has over me.
“No, I think… yeah, I think I’ll stay, actually.”
Pointing up into the ring, “See that guy? That’s my tag team partner. We’re going into the biggest tag team match of our respective careers and… you want to deny us time to practice for such a monumental event? Come on, guys. Have some compassion for us! We’re honest men!”
The EPU team all look at one another.
“Absolutely not.” responds the guard who has been speaking to me. “I know what you are both capable of separately. Together? Well, I’m afraid we can’t allow that.”
“Oh. So you know what we’re capable of in there? NICE. Maybe you should send a message to the rest of the tag team division. Still, I’m gonna have to insist that you let me in there ‘cause-”
Without warning, I sprint to the ring and slide under the bottom rope. The EPU all draw their firearms at us as Jeffrey and I share a smirk in the center of the ring here in TEN-X. Mike Best is going to blow a gasket if he finds out there’s a stand-off between the EPU and HOW contracted wrestlers happening before he can even get a second coat of paint up on this place.
“Relax guys. I assure you there’s nothing sinister going on here. I just wanted to practice with my partner.”
Their firearms remain drawn on us.
“Well, fine. Not gonna lie. It’d be kinda funny if they shoot us both. Probably the only way John and Adam could ever retain against us. Hahaha.”
Jeffrey smiles and I chuckle. Suddenly, I can hear a familiar voice walking toward us.
“Just gotta cause trouble no matter where you go, eh Artie?”
Dan Ryan walks in our direction.
“Oh hey. If you want an autograph, I’ll be happy to give you one, fluff-n-puff.” I say, purposely trying to get a rise out of the only man who has pinned me one on one in a High Octane Wrestling ring.
Dan Ryan’s steely gaze turns into an inferno about to set my entire body ablaze.
“Kidding, D-Ry! You never could take a joke, couldja?” I say, turning my attention back towards Jeffrey.
Ryan smiles before saying, “But I can still take you, Arthur. Just in case you were wondering.”
I laugh and before I can even respond, the King of Murder Style turns around and heads back to the office.
With my attention now on Jeffrey, “Listen, I have an idea for a tag team maneuver. Could be what finishes off our opponents. We never really discussed having one before so, I figured now would be a good time.”
I look back out at the EPU, who have since lowered their weapons after a blink-and-you’ve-missed-it nod from Dan Ryan before he left for his office.
“Come on, whadda ya say, Jeffrey? Should we push the button on that?”
Jeffrey nods, and with six words, he instantly makes my entire day. Maybe even the entire week.
“What did you have in mind?”
Looking out towards the office Dan Ryan, and then the EPU team, I breathe a sigh of relief.
“You’re gonna love this…”