“Never forget the blood, sweat, and tears
The uphill struggle over years, the fear, and
Trash talking and the people it was to”
- Nobody’s Listening, Linkin Park
Christopher America looked out the window of his private jet and smiled. His plan for the main event worked flawlessly. Sektor’s lack of preparedness was met with swift justice. And now, the real work had to begin. The flight out of Cleveland was a welcome relief. It was a truly awful town that both bred and celebrated mediocrity. And if there is one thing Christopher America considered himself now, it was not mediocre. The rumble of the jet’s engines provided a slight rumble that seemed to almost gently rock America to sleep. And as America began to doze off, he was quickly jolted awake. Bill of “Right’s Talent Agency” shook him. America eyed Bill and quickly nodded.
Bill: It’s time.
America wiped at his mouth, made sure his hair looked good, and wiped his eyes. He then held out his hands as if to ask Bill if he looked okay. Bill nodded. America then crossed his legs and pressed his fingers together at chest level. He allowed a slight smirk to curl the left side of his lip as Bill held up his tablet with one hand and counted down with the other.
Christopher America: Welcome to America Airlines, legally distinct, the best kind of distinct, with patent and trademark pending. You’ll find that I’m at home where I’m at right now: thousands of feet above almost everyone and looking down on each and every single one of you. By now, you’ll undoubtedly have seen through my ruse.
No, I don’t have vertigo.
No, Sektor’s weak pat did not give my incredibly massive brain some type of damage. The Gold Standard is a prepared wrestler. Ready to take on all opponents. He does not take himself, his team, or his opponents lightly. So, whatever the hell walked through my dressing room and competed in the main event was not The Gold Standard.
And that… that really pisses me off.
I hate watching as Hall of Famers come back and just disappoint people. They take up space and they take away from the money that I could be earning. And they… God… they remind me of who I used to be. And I have worked too damn hard for too damn long to be reminded of that version of myself.
And that brings me to you…
On my flight from Cleveland back to Chicago, I had a lot of time to think about when this day would finally come. The day you and I would step foot in the ring together. Not as tag team partners or part of some large multi-man match. But as singular opponents. Just you versus me. And I thought about it because it will never get to be what I ultimately wanted it to be: Jatt Starr against Christopher America. Two of HOW’s greatest competitors, in their prime, going at it, for the HOW World Championship.
No, we’re getting something else entirely, aren’t we?
For starters, you’re not Jatt Starr anymore, are you? You’re Simon Sparrow. You’re someone else. You’re something else. And to be honest, I don’t know what that thing is. It wears your face, Jatt. It’s stolen your voice. It’s taken your moves and turned them into something that feels bastardized. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it ever since Dead or Alive when I watched you and Tyler Best go at it. Tyler begged for Jatt. But you didn’t budge. The Board demanded Jatt. And you didn’t budge. The audience cried out for Jatt. Still nothing. And when you didn’t give us Jatt, Tyler tried to beat it out of you as if he was trying to pull the Hulk of Jatt Starr out of the Bruce Banner that is Simon Sparrow.
And he couldn’t.
That… that takes determination. Skill. Endurance.
It takes discipline.
I admire that. That commitment. That dedication.
That commitment and dedication that you’ve shown in separating yourself from Jatt Starr is the same commitment and dedication I have shown to separating my current self from my past self. The only difference is that this current version of myself is the better of the two versions. I’ve upgraded. I’ve adapted. I’ve evolved. To put it simply, I’m like America after the Louisiana Purchase. Bigger, better, stronger.
But you’re different.
What is Simon Sparrow, exactly?
I think I know.
I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on it.
Simon Sparrow… is a shield. It’s a protection. It’s a shelter.
Simon Sparrow is a way to shield the legacy of Jatt Starr from himself. He allows you to separate yourself from yourself. Two different people. Two different legacies. Independent of each other. Jatt Starr’s in the Hall of Fame. Jatt Starr’s been HOW World Champion. Simon Sparrow has done neither of those things. And the thing that’s frustrating about that is not only that you created this persona to shield yourself in an attempt to avoid tarnishing Jatt Starr’s legacy, but that it also shields me from facing Jatt Starr, HOW legend, one on one, for the first time in my career.
Well, let me clue you in on something…
I DON’T NEED OR WANT YOUR FUCKING PROTECTION!
I am perfectly fine taking care of myself and I don’t need or want your help.
The truth is, I don’t care what you call yourself. You can call yourself whatever you want. You want to identify as male or female? Fine. You want to identify as a cartoon character and run into a fucking wall with a painted on tunnel? Fine. I don’t really care. What I really want is for you to turn back the clock almost 15 years. I want to square up with the man, the myth, and the legend that I know you can be. That way I can say that I beat the best version of you. And I know it can be done because… because I had to do it.
I had to turn back the clock 15 years on myself. Except I didn’t create another fucking identity to do it. I didn’t run away from the problem.
You see, I, too, have been on a journey. When I started in HOW, I was Christopher America the patriot. A man so in love with his country that it often clouded my vision. I thought for the longest time that “America” was the end goal. And even hearing that now, I don’t know what that even means. How can “America” be an end goal? And you’ll notice that I didn’t handle things well either. I held a couple of different championships off and on for an amount of time barely worth mentioning. When I got serious, and I mean genuinely serious, that’s when I started sniffing the main event. That’s when the World Championship opportunities came.
But had I lost a part of myself doing that… in getting serious?
I think so.
“America” fell to the wayside. I became more reserved. More introspective. More… unlike me. I sold out. I bought in. Whatever you want to call it. I became corporate and greedy. I was flush with cash, bought stadiums, and imposed my will through that money. In a weird way, I almost sold America for money.
Which, thinking about that now, is probably the most American thing I have ever done.
When I came back for those mediocre stints, I thought that I could just resume where I had left off. But I couldn’t.
I was lost.
I wasn’t the person I was and I didn’t like the person I became.
And I think the straw was that Rumble at the Rock where I faced Mike. And so, I went away. And I figured a couple of things out. But the main one… the one that started this whole ball rolling… was that I hated myself.
And to be completely honest with you, I still do.
There are things about my past, about my history as a wrestler, that I have to absolve myself of. No amount of bleach can clean it. No amount of medicine can cure it. Only through actions, only through this run can I fix it.
And so, I don’t care what you call yourself. I don’t care if you’re Jatt Starr. I don’t care if you’re Simon Sparrow. I don’t care if you combine them and call yourself Captain Jatt Sparrow. All I care about is that you bring the very best version of yourself to this fight. Because what you’re going to get is the very best of Christopher America. And this version of Christopher America fully embraces that past part of himself that was the super-patriot, the one that put America first before all things. You’re getting the Christopher America that was introspective, the one that put his ambitions for championship gold before all things.
And it’s combined into this chimera… this amalgamation of personalities and ambitions and drives. You’re getting a Christopher America who puts his desires to be the best World Champion on par with his love for America. And that makes me fucking dangerous.
And to prepare for you, I know I have to push myself farther than I ever have.
Oh sure. You’ll bring your catchphrases and I’ll bring my brute strength. You’ll bring the nicknames and I’ll bring my technical prowess. You’ll bring a cocky attitude and jokes and I’ll bring the harsh dose of reality.
Because I’m not entering this match under the assumption that this is going to be a one-on-one match. No, this is a handicap match, isn’t it?
You see, you might step into the ring as Simon Sparrow, you might even leave as Simon Sparrow. But at any given moment, at any given time, you could flip that switch to Jatt Starr. Or vice versa. Maybe I’m the one that finally draws Jatt out and you show up as him and leave as him. Either way, I’m going to be prepared for it. I refused to be caught off guard. I’ve worked too damn hard to have this title slip out of my hands now when I am so close to achieving my goals. And there’s only a few left for me to achieve. They are daunting but I am ready for them.
I need to retain the HOW World Championship so that I can go on to do something I’ve never done…
I’m going to enter the main event at Rumble at the Rock as the HOW World Champion.
Then I will go on to beat Steve Harrison and complete my collection of Highwaymen defeats. Where I will then go on to compete, for the first time ever, in the main event of ICONIC. And at the end, at the very, very end, is me… alone… as the longest reigning HOW World Champion in history.
And saying all this, if this does manage to pull Jatt Starr out of you, I’m not so sure that I’m really going to get the real Jatt Starr. I can’t be sure that it’s not Simon Sparrow wearing a Jatt Starr mask – just you trying to further mask your insecurities, another shield for the real Jatt Starr. I mean, that’s why you did the shit you did on Chaos, right? Just self identify as something else to keep on hiding, to keep burying the real Jatt Starr further and further down.
I’m betting you don’t even know the real Jatt Starr anymore. He’s such a distant memory, such a foreign concept to you at this point.
At Chaos, I’m going to win because everything rides on this.
My goals of main eventing Rumble at the Rock for the first time as champion, main eventing ICONIC as champion.
This is the moment.
This is my moment.
In 2010, I beat Jatt Starr for my first HOW World Championship. And in 2022, I’m going to beat you one more time to retain that HOW World Championship.
It all comes full circle at Chaos.
Bill flashes a thumbs up as he stops recording. He lowers the tablet and looks at America.
Bill: You look exhausted.
America closes his eyes, takes his thumb and middle finger, and places them near the top of his nose.
Christopher America: This fucking nightmare. It’s like physically, I rest and recover. But mentally, it just takes so much and I feel exhausted even though I’m not. I’m in this vicious cycle where I need to sleep because I feel exhausted but sleeping makes me feel exhausted.
Bill: Have you seen a doctor, maybe it’s a sleeping disorder?
Christopher America: No, I think I can handle it on my own.
Bill opens his mouth to protest and America nods in frustration.
Christopher America: Okay, I get it. I’ll go see a doctor… AFTER this week. I need to dedicate all of my time and energy, whatever there is, on this World Title match. Right now, nothing else matters.
Bill nods silently as America shifts in his seat. He again looks out the window as the engines sound and rocking of the plane begins to soothe him. Sleep envelops him.
The earth underneath my feet was soft. It was red. Was it clay? I don’t know. Each footstep sunk into the earth and was a struggle to pull out. The path ascended and I struggled more and more with each step. I stumbled and fell to one knee. Another flash of red as I noticed the HOW World Championship for the first time on my shoulder. The strap flew forward. Instinctually, I try to reach out and catch it but I’m moving too slowly. It hits the red earth and becomes stained. I chuckled to myself and pulled myself up.
I ascended the path. At the top, I saw the stone throne. I readjusted the belt strap over my shoulder and sat down. Throngs of faceless people stood before me. I could not tell if they were cheering for me, screaming at me, or crying out for me. I felt my arm raise, my fingers uncurl into an open palm. And I acknowledged all before me.
A wave of supreme satisfaction washed over me.
I feel content.
After a few moments, I feel a presence.
And then I turn around.
I see before me an enormous mountain, no discernable path upwards. No footholds, no ledges. Just sheer, smooth cliff face.
There’s something there!
I walk to the mountain. I place my hand on the cliff face. I run my hand along it and stop. I push my fingers in. My hand pierces the rock. The first grip.
I pull myself up and a second grip now reveals itself. On the cliff face I see a crudely drawn American flag.
Have I been here before?
I raise my head upwards slightly.
A face emerges from the cliff. Sunken in eyes, black as the darkest night, the face looks around, looks down and scowls a familiar scowl.
I look beyond the face — farther up.
The fear swells.
And then I wake up.
America wakes up and exhales sharply. He squints his eyes and exhales again. He rubs his eyes and slowly allows his eyes to take in his surroundings. Registering the plane, he looks out the window and sees ground. The rumble from the engines wasn’t there. America looked around the plane and saw Bill sitting to his left.
Christopher America: What time is it?
Bill looks down at his watch.
Bill: 4:19 AM. I cleared it with them that we could stay here. This is… probably the longest you’ve slept in some time. I was hoping that this was probably it… that you were over the nightmare.
America shakes his head.
Christopher America: No, still there.
Bill: Let’s go home, then.
Bill gets up and begins to collect his things. America collects his luggage and the two depart the plane.
Bill: I’ve got you an appointment with a doctor specializing in sleep disorders and another with a dream interpreter.
America sighs an exasperated sigh.
Christopher America: I thought I said after this week?
Bill: You did but I can’t stand you looking like this. To be honest, I’ve had one on the books since you mentioned it a few weeks ago. And now, you going to go out there and defend that title in a week and if you think you’re going to go out there mentally exhausted, you’re kidding yourself.
Christopher America: …
America stands there looking at Bill, saying nothing. Bill’s face was more openly defiant, as if daring the world champion to challenge his logic. America looks down at the HOW World Championship. A lot of thoughts run through America’s head in that brief moment. Whatever was going on wasn’t going to be fixed in a day or even a week’s time. But on the other hand, getting set somewhat straight, even slightly, would open him up for some semblance of relief.
America knew how much the HOW World Championship meant to him and he knew how much he meant to her. In his head, he wanted to push on but deep down, he knew. It wasn’t the time or the place to be selfish and stupid. If he had grown this far, he was going to need to grow farther.
America, still looking at the championship and holding her, nods in agreement.
A feeling of relief washed over Bill who was not wanting to fight in that moment.
Christopher America: Fine. Let’s do this. But understand that this won’t fix itself soon. I’m telling you this so that you can tell me this later when I’ll get pissed off about it, when I get angry about it. In the meantime, I need to be focused on this match. I have a lot riding on this match.
People think I came back to HOW to prove something to the fans or to prove something to the boys and girls in the locker room. But I didn’t. I came back to HOW to prove something to myself.
Because I’m the only one that’s ever truly mattered to me.
And I am tired of looking at the other members of this roster and seeing reflections of my past self in them.
I just want to see them and not me.
America drops his bags.
Christopher America: Every time I look at them, I see my past fuck ups. And it’s…
America closes his eyes, puts his fingers to his temples and rubs them in circles. He lets out another long sigh, revealing the toll of his mental exhaustion.
Christopher America: … it’s becoming more difficult for me to keep under control. I see them and I just see a weaker version of me. I see that goofball who lost to Bob Jared, I see that idiot who ran around with the AoA, just happy to be associated with a group, I see the man who caved at Rumble at the Rock against Mike.
I HATE IT ALL!
America screams through gritted teeth.
Bill: You aren’t that person anymore. It’s in the past. Focus on where you’re headed… on where you’re going… on the goals you still have left to achieve… and leave the past you… for all it’s successes and faults… buried.
America doesn’t say anything. He simply stands there, letting Bill’s words hang in there before he picks up his bags and exits the plane.
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