The “Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Downtown” Hotel has been described by Trip Advisor dot com as “fine”, “a hotel” and “has beds” and with a reputation like that it is very easy to understand why a man like Dirk Dickwood would have booked himself a room.
The former friend, advisor and manager of Cecilworth Farthington was very aware that his planned dinner conversation did not go in the manner in which he had hoped nor how he had planned. The emotions of his prior ward will still too raw from the intense locker room chat Cecilworth had with Mike Best post-Refueled and the Triple Champ hadn’t quite yet come to terms with the very clear and true death of his tag partner, Mr. Max Kael. Dirk was hopeful that when they met at the fateful Applebees, the reality of the situation would have sunk in and business could be done. Instead he got an emotional and very childish storming out of the building, a scene he was hoping to avoid by holding the conversation in an incredibly public venue. It was not to be.
Still, time heals all wounds is a saying by idiots and fools but Dirk hoped that this time, given the severity of the situation that the HOW World Champion had found himself in, it would actually ring true.
If an immediate bridge build wasn’t going to happen over one Hitler level steak and one fit for human consumption, the wiley businessman knew that all he needed was a bit of patience.
The more Cecilworth lived his days in the new reality and landscape, the more it would dawn on him the depth of the trouble he found himself in.
Scanning the World Wide Web from the most mediocre hotel room a human could book, he scans for the best and hottest scoops. After a little bit of the browsing, Dirk Dickwood had come to learn that the ChampChampChamp was set up to do a signing outside a Starbucks that definitely had a location and address. A chance for Dirk to be out in the open once more, ensuring that he had the opportunity to meet his former close companion, a relationship torn asunder by Dirk’s concern on allowing Cecilworth to become a World Champion.
To Dirk, Cecilworth had let the pride get to him, his gluttoney of titles had broken any opportunity the man had to see the world in front of him. Sure, it started well… the eMpire became THE force in HOW. The start of 2020 though? To Dirk, his worst fears had been realised.
As Dirk stood in line, he amped himself up, he knew the conversation wasn’t going to be easy. As he stood and waited, he knew the patience he had accepted he needed in this situation was going to be more important than ever. Some of the people around him stunk to high heavens but he couldn’t leave the line. This was going to be his final chance for bridge building. He knew how to get to Cecilworth, so long as Cecilworth listened.
The fear rushed through Dirk as he spotted that Cecilworth was furiously signing pictures without any conversation, never looking up, never making eye contact, a complete disregard or interest for whoever was in front of him. Perhaps he’d wasted all these hours in line.
But the fates came out in his favour, just as he got to the front of the line, his former ward had enough signing for the day. The momentum of the rapid scribbles had ended and CM!JF had raised his head. Dirk knew he needed to seem warm and welcoming at this moment. He beamed his biggest and best whites to the man he had spent more than a decade at the side of.
Not waiting for an invitation, Dickwood decided to dive right in.
Dickwood: I think me and you need another chat.
We find ourselves inside of the Starbucks that we were previously outside of in the last tale. Isn’t that exciting? It is very exciting and you are quivering and pissing your pants with glee, do not lie. I am a narrator, I know you and I know what you are doing.
Sitting across from each other on a small round table sat Dirk Dickwood and Cecilworth Farthington. Dickwood had elected for a small Earl Grey Tea, which if you asked Eric Dane would cost at least one hundred dollars and proves the class and refinement of the former voice of the Champion. For his part, Cecilworth slurped down on the biggest and most sugar embedded frap that he could get his paws on. The air of tension that was so thick and dense during the dinner at Applebees had subsided, the tension was absolutely still present but perhaps not to the scale it was a week prior.
Some of the HOW staff that accompanied Cecilworth to the signing were sat off to the side, keeping an eye on the situation on the off chance that the company’s World Champion would create a public relations nightmare by and I quote “beating the shit out of an old fat dude with a Hitler moustache.” Due to the tiny nature of the table that Dirk and Cecilworth found themselves at, the HOW press team had taken possession of the MEGABELT. Also most likely due to the fear that Cecilworth would use the MEGABELT (™) against the skull of his former manager.
Dirk Dickwood claims it is a Charlie Chaplin moustache and it is his mission to reclaim it for the positivity of the world. Both people at the table seem uncertain on how to start the conversation.
Dickwood: We need to talk about Dan Ryan…
Farthington: Dirk, I am not investing in a Dan Ryan Psychic Network, the man is a shit psychic.
Dirk tries to roll of the frustration that his body is trying to force him to feel. Cecilworth looks like the walking wounded and he’s still trying to play it cute.
Dickwood: Sorry, I should have been more specific… we need to talk about YOUR match with Dan Ryan.
Farthington: Okay, but I still want to make it very clear that Dan Ryan is a terrible psychic. I feel very sorry about his shitty dead abilities to predict my actions. You’d think after five attempts in matches against me, he’d try another plan other than “be cool” and “dismissively guess how Cecilworth is preparing” and for those reasons, I’m out.
Dirk blinks in confusion.
Dickwood: This is a social conversation, not an episode of Shark Tank.
Cecilworth takes a glug of his frothy frap.
Farthington: Sorry, it has been a very long day.
The minute Dirk Dickwood begins to lean towards Cecilworth, the tips of his fingers joining together to form a small triangle. As he utters every syllable of the next state, the triangle bounces and points towards CM!JF each time.
Dickwood: So, remind me C-Money, how have you been winning your recent batch of matches?
Cecilworth looks over to him bum and bandaged arm, a level of hate pours out of his eyes to his own limb for the failure that has had to function in the way that he desires.
Farthington: Why with the great and grand Article 50, HOW’s most powerful submission finisher in the history of the company. It has tapped out many legends like Jack Harmen and Ms. Troy. There was also one time I used it on Jack Harmen and somehow pinned him at War Games with an armbar. That was very confusing but also a thing that happened. Still, the Article 50 has always done the job.
Dirk leans in closer, the approach of the hand triangle to Cecilworth’s chest growing ever near.
Dickwood: If we’re going to have this conversation, I really need you to stop acting cute. I’ve been watching the shows, I know what has been happening and I need you to answer honestly. You may not appreciate it but I’m going to open your eyes. I just need you to stop this passive aggressive twee answer bullshit and give me the actual answer. Since Rumble at the Rock, since you became World Champion, how have you been winning your matches?
Cecilworth rolls his eyes in the back of his head like a naughty child being told off for shitting on the kitchen carpet for the third time this month. He fists his frap and takes another gleeful glug before deciding to answer.
Farthington: Okay, fine, I’ll play along for now. I have been winning my matches because my eMpire family has had my back. That dastardly Industry keep on trying to interfere in my bouts and Max and Mike are there to ensure that their tomfoolery and hanky panky don’t ruin another clear win for the Mighty MegaChampion. Which is a term that I will soon be trademarking, you can count on that.
Dirk nods in a satisfied manner, he’s spotted his opening.
Dickwood: And how are things with your “eMpire Family” going right now?
Yes, Dirk Dickwood did use airquotes and I think that alone clearly proves that he is the villain of this piece. Cecilworth for his part leans back in his chair to create a bit of distance between himself and Dirk.
Farthington: You already know the answer, we discussed this at dinner.
Dickwood: It’s not much of a discussion if you storm out the meal like some form of adult toddler before we even get a chance to explore the issue.
Cecilworth, starting to lose interest in the conversation cradles his temple with his good arm, the implication clearly being that this chitterchatter is sending home on a one way ticket to nappy town if it continues on in the manner in which it currently is.
Farthington: Look Dirk, forgive me if I’m not on engaged best friends term with you at the moment. There’s that whole matter of your secret plan to fuck me out of the World Championship at Rumble at the Rock that’s just gnawing away inside of me. I’d greatly appreciate it if you could get to your goddamn point lickety split.
Dirk is locked and loaded with his silver bullet, he knows he has one chance to get Cecilworth’s full attention and he needs to grab it quick.
Dickwood: You need to be fucking terrified on Mike Best right now.
A bewildered MegaChamp blinks his eyes, cocking his head like a confused dog who just saw their owner wank into a sock for the first time.
Farthington: You fucking what mate?
A concerned aide at the table to the side spots the warning sides of the interaction getting ready to fall apart and chooses to interject into the conversation.
Aide: Mr. Dickwood, I think Mr. Farthington is going to head off..
Farthington shushes down that statement.
Farthington: I’m not going anywhere. THIS desperation is absolutely wonderful. THIS I need to hear.
Cecilworth crosses his legs and sit up straight facing Dickwood was an “all ears” pose.
Dickwood: I’m not playing around here Cecilworth, this isn’t an underhanded tactic. You’ve seen how Mike has been since his own father decided to emasculate him live on national television for the whole world to see. You thought that your bond was stronger than Lee Best’s mind games but my sources told me that the post-show locker room conversations proves that to be anything but. Lee get in his head, he’s doubting himself and he’s amping up to prove his worth once more.
Farthington: How the fuck would you know?
Dirk gives a casual shrug of the shoulders.
Dickwood: I got the same creepy CCTV perv as Dan Ryan. You know that locker room has a camera and mic on at all times, right?
Cecilworth scribbles down something on a piece of paper, he does not look very pleased.
Dickwood: No matter how long things have been good between you and Mike, you knew that his ego would only cope for so long. He didn’t mind your historic ICON title run because he was the undefeated king of OCW at the time. Now, OCW is dead, buried and Mike Best is active on the HOW roster again. How long did you think your de facto stable leader was going to let his junior get the glory?
Farthington: I’ve said it a million times before Dirk, the eMpire is a family, not a business arrangement. We care for each other.
Dirk lets out a sensible chuckle.
Dickwood: BULLSHIT! So… which one of you checked in Max when he was tossed off a fucking building if you are a family? Surely the two of you rushed out in a panic, your family was in very poor condition. I’m sure you didn’t let mysterious North Kaelrean forces hurry the corpse out of the scene. I mean, you’re a family, right. Seems like something a family might want to look into.
Farthington: I mean Max is Max but me and Mike, we’ve always agreed that there is zero interest in competition between ourselves.
Although still doubtful, the passive aggressive non-responses from CM!JF has came to a clear and complete halt.
Dickwood: You never had something he wanted, you never had an avenue to his return to glory. His father reminded him of who he was and he’s been losing his goddamn mind since. He’s not your good pal Mike anymore. He’s not going to pose for cute matching t-shirts, you’re not going to buy the cheapest Mexican wrestling masks you can find for the giggles. He’s… Mike Best again and I know exactly what he’s thinking.
Cecilworth gestures for Dirk to expand, clearly now taken in by the tales that he is weaving.
Dickwood: Real talk, Mike doesn’t believe he can beat you. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want the HOW World Championship. What if, perhaps, Michael thinks that he has a better chance against Dan Ryan as champion? Is there not a situation in a few days time that would allow Michael to create his “easier” option. Seem to me a ninety seven minute Iron Man match would be perfect venue to ensure that he has the World Championship that he needs to return to the throne. He’s scared of you, he’s not scared of Dan Ryan. This isn’t HOFC Mike Best, happy to be HOW’s garbage man. That was last month… Lee Best, he’s awoken the beast and you need to be on the alert.
The previous relaxed Cecilworth, who mere seconds ago was laughing Dirk’s theories off now shoots bolt upright in his chair, fully willing to pay attention.
Farthington: So… how do I protect myself? Just in case. Y’know, as insurance?
Internally Dirk tries to hide the gleeful smile that is trying to burst forth.
Dickwood: By letting an old friend stand in your corner…
I don’t need to beat Dan Ryan. Dan Ryan needs to beat me.
Some of you may think of that as a stereotypical metaphor, that Dan Ryan carries more demons in our contest than I but let me assure you, I am no cliche delivery man, I mean my statement quite literally.
To win the World Championship, the glorious 97 Red, my life’s work and greatest achievement, Dan Ryan must beat me. He must do what he has yet to manage in five failed attempts across the ring from me and actually find some way of defeating me. If Dan Ryan fails to do so, Dan Ryan does not become HOW World Champion.
As I said, I am being very literal right now.
For me to leave as HOW World Champion, for me to remain the MEGACHAMP, the almighty Farthy Three Belts, I just need a tie Dan. I just need to deny you a pinfall, submission or disqualification for ninety seven minutes. I don’t need to pin you, I don’t need to make you tap out. I just need to outrun and outlast you. If for some reason you sneak in a cheeky little pinfall, I just need to play quick catch up. All I need is a tie Dan. I am not entering this match to kill myself for a victory, I am entering the match to leave as Champion, I am leaving this match to kill the Dan Ryan aura once more.
It will hurt you far more than me if the tough, hard brutalizer of a Texan just couldn’t get it done when standing in the ring with Cecilworth Farthington for a sixth time. Look at my reign so far, Daniel, your little buddy Jack can yell coward, The Industry can cry foul all they want but… I always leave with the goods.
You need to beat me.
I enter into this match slightly broken, with my alliance of compatriots cast off into the proverbial dumpster fire… well… I suppose literal dumpster fire in the case of Max Kael. I enter into the match concerned that my closest friend in this industry is going to help YOU win because he’s more confident he can beat you than I. He told me as much in the locker room, he doesn’t know if he can beat me. You don’t know if you can beat me. I know that I can, and have, beat both of you. Oh it was a cage, you cry. Oh it was a tag team match, oh it the other guy ate the pin.
I mean, you’re not wrong buddy but all I see in the record books is another Cecilworth title retention.
That’s all I need Daniel.
We have ninety seven minutes in the ring together.
It doesn’t matter how long you jog, it doesn’t matter how many sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups and stair runs that a human being does… ninety seven minutes is a long time. People discuss epic sixty minute contests for a reason, the strain to a human is already immense at a full hour and yet in the infinite wisdom of HOW’s GOD, we are about to embark on something that no one in this industry has or will likely ever do again. He is trying to kill us both, he is trying to send us into cardiac arrest and you know, if we went full throttle, if I was stupid enough to go for the victory and not the tie, if I sweated out every little drop of liquid that remains in my body over an hour and a half, Lee Best could very well get his wish.
Good thing I just need a tie.
We’re going to attempt to keep ourselves alive for ninety seven minutes of intense wrestling action and I know the tremendous strain you will put upon yourself to finally pick up that much needed DUBYA against me. Maybe you’ll catch me, maybe you’ll manage to slip a fall your way. That’s why I have the Article 51. Just in case.
I’m not an idiot, I’m no fool, I’m in no condition to lock you snug and tight into the Article 50, and hell, if I could, with your behemoth build, HOW’s most brutal submission hold could easily feel like the annoyance of a mosquito bite. I know it didn’t get the job done at Rumble at the Rock and my arm was at a full 100% then.
At Iconic, I stand in the ring as HOW World Champion.
The bell will ring.
Ninety seven minutes will pass.
I don’t care what precedes the announcement, what qualifier is attach, what couched terms are used to help you save face.
The only thing I need to hear when that bell rings for a second time is “AND STILL…”
I don’t need to beat you.
You need to beat me.