If my opponents will indulge me, I’d like to have a brief one-sided conversation. Take a seat, Steve, you’re up first.
I wanna talk about Us vs. Them.
Me vs. You.
Fuse vs. Harrison.
What are you hoping to get out of this encounter?
Your record is decent, sure, but the pressure is mounting. You got hammered in HOFC and you’re on thin ice because of it. Perhaps your last Life? People rip on Lindsay for being “mother-like.” How about what daddy did to you this past weekend. Did he show you God?
Your tough, edgy, over-the-top attitude won’t fly with a dude who’s watched his dreams evaporate in front of him because some brat wanted in the mAiN eVeNt.
The only miracle here will be how you walk away in one peace.
No, I mean peace.
Go back to God and tell him how you were team #2 tasked to pluck the tag titles away from Ray and I and weren’t able to do so. See how nice he plays with you then. Slap? Better hope it’s not a spanking.
This iteration of the Best Alliance leaves me baffled and beside myself. A true collection of goons who can’t do God’s bidding. And yes, you are one of them.
I’m not talking down to you. I’m not superior to you. In fact, I’ve likely accomplished less than you. I’m simply telling you what’s going to happen if you lose. When you lose.
Can you prove me wrong? I doubt you can.
Because the reality is you should be beneath me. You’re disposable to the Best Alliance, you know this, right? You’re a pawn in a game of chess played by a blind man. Figure that out.
Steve Harrison, wasting time engaging Xander Azula in a bravado of “women want me.” Okay. Neat. Congratulations. Your juvenile delinquencies remind me of how I acted when I was 10-bit. A wannabe Boss with a BOT-like mentality.
Sorry, I’ll lose the metaphors.
You’re not that good.
More like mirage.
Nothing you say is sCaRy, no words you drop are shocking. You fit right in there with everyone else. Just Another Goomba. JAG.
God’s Front Line.
I’ve got a lot riding on this match; I plan to get into it later. But a solid secondary reason for a 214 Conor Fuse & Ray McAvay victory would be to see the look on your face when you don’t get the job done. I’m not the guy to give you the reality check of Second Player Status but it will be fun playing a minor role in your downfall.
Gila River Arena – Glendale, AZ
April 24th, 2021
I always show up early. Early means effort. Early means I care. Even on a night such as this, where I have no match in hand, I want to be ready. My plans tonight include taking Jatt up on his interview and making sure I return the favor to Sutler. I can’t take away a World Championship but I’m going to make a consistent effort to screw HR like he screwed me. Jatt, on the other hand, I’m not sure what nonsense I’ll get into.
Walking through the High Octane curtain, I see crew members constructing the ring. My mind wanders, which it often does, to the chaos that will make its way inside those three ropes and four corners this evening.
Sutler, the man of the hour vs. a disgruntled n00b. My former hero vs. COOL Man’s former lackey. And in the main event, Zeb and Ray defend the Tag Team Championships against Steve Solex and Davidson. Little could I predict what bookings would come from God’s pen in the aftermath.
Off to my left, however, it’s much more captivating… or so they say. The octagon for the HOFC. EA Mike vs. Hollywood. Harrison vs. Azula.
HOFC, good times.
Didn’t really work out for me, though.
I stroll over to the octagon, trying to put on my most casual face. The cage is almost erected and yes, you can insert a penis joke if your mind goes there. I’ve said the promo battles for this type of match often involve stroking your own ego in many different ways. Those who stroke, touch all parts.
“Excuse me, sir,” I begin, “I don’t know you but do you know me?”
The man raises an eyebrow. “Sorry, kid, I don’t have much time on my hands.”
His answer tells me he’s not from within the company, so he has no clue who I am. Good. “No problem,” I respond, “I have a quick question and I’ll get out of your way.”
The guy’s arms are crossed. He’s not impressed but he’s waiting for me to get on with it.
“Do I look imposing to you?”
He snickers while leaving. “You’re the least imposing guy I’ve seen today. Even less than him.”
He was pointing to some HOW promotional banner laying in the corner. I’m too busy thinking of my response to look.
“Okay, buuuuuut this non-imposing guy has defeated a number of those faces on that poster. Just because I look like this and act all strange doesn’t mean I can’t bring it!”
Dude, Conor, he’s long gone. Save it.
My eyes go back to the octagon. “Maybe not today, or anytime soon. Hopefully, if you figure it out, you can be as imposing as…”
I take a look at the poster and the spot the man pointed to.
“Bobby?” He can’t be serious. He had to be pointing to somebody else. …Right?
Okay, you can bring me the Cap-i-tain now.
Take a seat in front of me, COOL guy.
If you can humor me for a moment, I want to speak some hard truths with you, too. Recent championship contest aside, of course. I’d like for you to take a step back and look at those you’ve surrounded yourself with. I don’t mean it in a Good vs. Bad, “battle lines are drawn” notion, either.
Look. Seriously, go look. I’ll navigate you. HOWrestling.com -> Roster -> The Stables. See what collection of BOTS are in front of you.
This works for you? Really? This?
So Big Boss asked you to join his !ranks and it was blindsiding because you always thought it’d be the other way around, right?
Jiles, it SHOULD be the other way around.
A guy that powerful, that terrifying shouldn’t feel the need to approach anyone. But he did. And why?
Because you’re the only wrestler with any sense of credibility to your name.
Want proof? How many losses has the BA collected over the past two weeks? Outside of you, have they won a thing?
I know you don’t have to be COOL with the people in front of you. As you told me, you’re using them for protection.
But can any of them do THAT? They can’t even protect themselves. Might as well be better off spitting on your own shoes.
Sure, Sutler, he did a nice job as referee. He’s legitimate. He’s also not part of the team.
Your partner, Harrison. Player Two Harrison? He had a nice little run in HOW until he met the big boys and got cocky. His attitude will be his ultimate downfall. Watch. I won’t have to tell you ‘I told you so.’
I’d say you could’ve dialed up Jatt or Mortal Kombat Sektor but they’ve fallen harder than my gaming skills after I turned 19.
Go ahead, spin my narrative. “What about your friends, Conor? They don’t have your best interest in mind.” Let’s say they don’t. They’re still a lot more talented than your pseudo makeshift group. After all, we’re systematically dissecting the BA.
LSD Championship? Teddy’s.
Tag Team Titles? LT/TP.
World Championship? By the skin of your teeth, you can give yourself this accolade. For now.
Cancer Jiles & The Best Alliance?
More like Cancer Jiles & The Putty Patrol.
When I run this through my head, I start to feel sorry for you, champ.
This weekend, I hope you know tag teaming means actually relying on someone else’s help. It’s a whole different story. In other systems, I was quite the accomplished tag team specialist.
This is going to be your first dose of BA reality. Harrison won’t pull his weight. And you’ll have the added fun of knowing Lindsay Troy, the High Octane mother finished strapping a bib to Peter Parker Davidson and fed him baby food. Mango apple carrot kale.
Mmmmm carrot Kael.
What’s Teddy gonna do to Hughie? Place your bets. We are in Vegas.
And then, I seek revenge and retribution, finding my traction as a major player in High Octane, accompanying the main event talent I’m already surrounded with.
But it’s not just about me. It’s about us. It’s about driving the final nail into the BA coffin.
Call it blissful ignorance from a guy who’s only starting to understand the war game we play. Tell yourself any lie you have to in order to survive. You won’t walk out of Vegas with the tag team championships. You won’t walk out of War Games as the World Champion.
They say a good gamer always uses his resources.
I’m a good gamer. I’ll use the resources available.
Gila River Arena – Glendale, AZ
April 24th, 2021
“Seriously, you need to chill.” This is what I’ve been telling myself for the past hour after Refueled went off the air. Most of us have left, Union or BA but I typically kick around. However, tonight I’m kicking around because someone else is, too. I can feel his presence. It certainly is menacing.
Yadda yadda, Jatt handcuffed me and I got Sutler back. Fortnite tournaments account for something. And now I am tasked with safe keeping belts I didn’t win. The High Octane Tag Team Championships.
It’s one thing to fail and hurt myself. I can deal with that. Losing to Jatt, Hughie, COOL. It sucks but I and I alone take the L. This is a new experience entirely… having to guard other belongings.
These belts are property of Teddy and Lindsay. Freebird cheat codes or not, the people who matter know the rightful champions. I can’t be the person who loses it for them.
I’ll be honest, this is a game I don’t know how to play. I am given the opportunity to defend an achievement that isn’t mine and it has me concerned. I’d have to be concerned… I’m about to approach a figure I never thought I would.
Breathing heavily, I’ve been pacing back and forth in this hallway for at least thirty minutes. A lot went down tonight and we’ve still got many weeks to go. My confidence is up and down but with each day, I get a little stronger.
Wish I could better look the part, though.
A backstage crew member walks by.
“Is he?” My voice trails off as I ask him, pointing to the locker room down the hall.
“Yeah, he’s there.” The man says, sensing who I’m referring to before he exits through the backdoors.
Tag Team Championships on the line. And I’m not a real champion.
I find myself creeping closer to the locker room door as I think about this. Yes, I asked COOL and Harrison to take a seat as I spouted off at them. Before I reach the targeted locker room, I make a quick detour into the bathroom.
Looking myself in the mirror.
“Take a seat, Conor.” I snap.
Got Cancer again this week, huh?
He’s gonna beat you.
Maybe. This time I have help. My help is better than his. By a mile.
Okay. Tell yourself that.
I just did.
Humor me, now. What if you lose? Everyone else in 214’s got their victories. You’ve failed once. Fail again. Lose Lindsay and Teddy’s possessions. Does this put you in any better position than Harrison facing the swift hand of God?
Theoretically, yes. I’m not gonna be emasculated.
But you’ll emasculate yourself.
You know me well, Conor.
I have a question for you, young gamer…
Do you ever see yourself being The Man here?
Who says I want to be?
Everyone wants to be.
The thought never crossed my mind.
That’s nice. Be a cute little side piece.
What’s wrong with that?
Stop asking questions. You know the answers.
Fine, be a dick.
You better bring it this weekend. You’ve got more to lose than ever before.
You can call out these hard truths, shout at your opponents. They deserve it. But don’t think for a second I won’t hold you accountable, either. Imagine being the one who failed. The weakest. The fun dumb gaming guy who stands with the rest of them but is no better off than Solex or Clay. Hell, you know what? Solex is better than you. He’s got accomplishments. He’s been around. He has a history. Clay’s new, give the guy a break. You ripped hard on Harrison but he’s collected plenty of wins. One against LT. You can lean into Us vs. Them but you better work on yourself, first, kid. Don’t lose sight of the importance of this match. Establish yourself. Rise. Overcome. Achieve.
I find myself moving away from the mirror. At least I’m holding myself accountable. Nobody from BA looks in the mirror.
I make a B-Line out of the bathroom and into the locker room without hesitation. The man I’m looking for is there, resting on the bench, looking straight ahead into the abyss. I take my most serious voice along with me.
“Listen, hi…” I’m starting to trail off. Pull it together, dude, I don’t think he has patience for pointless discussion. “I know we don’t know each other well, if at all. But I know you. I’ve watched you for years. I get it, I’m a funny clever punkass kid who likes to game but there’s nothing fun or clever about what’s been going on recently. Nothing fun for me and particularly nothing fun for you. What that man has done to you, the bullshit games he’s consistently played… you never deserved it.”
I can’t grasp how he’s interpreting me, or IF he is.
“I don’t only respect you, I fear you and it has taken A LOT for me to stand in front of you, clueless to how you’ll react. I’m not gonna ramble about my dumb power-ups, discord, or anything along those lines. We are in a war and it’s only going to get worse. The more we win, the more he will throw at us. We don’t have them completely down just yet but I’m confident we can. These tides are changing. They are weakening. I’m not asking you to like me; I’m not asking you to be my friend.”
I let out a huff.
“All I’m asking for… is a little advice.”
Finally, he slowly turns his head, staring an icy hole through me. I think he wants to rip my head off. My heart is fucking pounding.
“I don’t know the proper way to convey this. I- I’m-” I’m struggling for words.
“Ah, gave it my best.” I mutter to myself, taking the door handle to see myself out.
“Sit down.” The voice says to me.
Yes, Dan Ryan.
No turning back now.