The Pastor of Disaster

The Pastor of Disaster

Posted on March 27, 2024 at 5:24 pm by Steve Solex

A Night Out With the Boys Pt 2.
April 12th, 2002
Kandahar Province, Afghanistan
Operation Enduring Freedom

The chopping sound of the Blackhawk approaching the LZ (Landing Zone) cut through the night sky. Solex and his crew had just found the terrorist they were looking for, but more importantly they had found the missing Marine. Solex and Reg carried the Marine, Seth, up from the basement and out of the front door of the terrorist hideout. The Marine’s survival was of the utmost importance, but it was a dire situation. He was extremely dehydrated and the wound from the broken bone in his thigh was rancid with infection.

Jimbo and Howard pulled security as Solex and Reg laid him out on the LZ and popped two red smoke grenades to signal the medevac crew. The Blackhawk kicked up a cloud of moondust as it landed less than 20 feet from Solex, Reg and Seth. Three Soldiers jumped from the Blackhawk with a litter – commonly called a stretcher – as they landed and quickly secured Seth to it and without hesitation loaded him onto the helicopter. In an instant the Blackhawk took off again and cut away in the night sky.

“Holy shit, boss. That was quick,” Reg said in disbelief.

“Ya’, no shit.” 

Left it in Afghanistan Pt. 2
March 16th, 2024
Iron House Strength & Conditioning
Nashville, TN

The Marine looked down at his leg, then back up at Solex and said, “Left it in Afghanistan.”

Solex, caught off guard by the comment, cocked his head and instinctively took a step back. He had a number of friends who had come back from Afghanistan or Iraq missing parts of themselves, but for some reason the Marine’s offhand comment triggered a deeper response in Solex.

“What?” the Marine asked.

“2002?” Solex asked as he looked the Marine up and down, his question carrying an unexpected weight.

The Marine gave Solex a perplexed look, clearly confused . But then, like a light had been switched on, his eyes widened with surprise.

“Are you kidding me right now?!” he exclaimed, his voice cracking. His eyes began to well up with tears as he looked down to the gym floor.

Solex placed a hand on the Marine’s shoulder.

“Seth?” Solex wondered, his voice also wavering as he attempted to maintain composure.

Seth, the Marine that Solex and Reg had saved from the Taliban two decades earlier, was standing in front of him – alive and well. Both men stood in silence as they both tried to gather their thoughts.. 

“This is unbelievable,” Seth said, in a low voice.

Solex, also in disbelief, remained silent, just shaking his head. Solex knew the kind of man Seth was and knew the torment that he had been through. Solex wasn’t the type of man to show any kind of emotion, but to see Seth in good health – even thriving – warmed his heart and he couldn’t hide it, so he pulled the Marine in for a big bear hug.

“You fuckin’ made it, bro,” Solex whispered.

Solex pulled back from the hug, and reached into his back pocket, retrieving the small, worn, pocket sized Bible that he had found in the basement that fateful night in Afghanistan.

“Brother,” Solex said, placing the Bible into Seth’s hand. “I think this is yours.”

Seth looked down at the Bible then back up at Solex, “is this?”

“Yeah, man. You left it in the basement that night. I didn’t find it until after we loaded you onto the bird and got you out of there. It was right where you were sitting,” Solex said.

Seth stared at the Bible, his mind racing through the memories of that night.

He looked up at Solex and asked, “Have you been carrying this all these years?”

A smile tugged at the corner of Solex’s mouth. “Yeah, man,” he said. “I don’t know why. I just did.”

Seth smiled as he carefully flipped through the pages scanning through the notes written in the margins that he had written while hastily positioned in his fox hole during his time overseas. He closed the Bible and thumped it a few times in his hand.

“Have you ever read it?” Seth asked

Solex just shook his head. He’d never read Seth’s Bible, nor had he ever even attempted to read any Bible at all.  Seth winked and handed the Bible back to Solex.

“Keep it, brother,” Seth insisted with a smile as he held it out for Solex to grab.

Solex gave Seth a cross look and asked, “You ever read it?”

“Brother, they don’t call me the Pastor of Disaster for nothing.”


Mike, I love you too buddy…no homo.

Mike is my homeboy. He’s one of the bros. That’s legit. Mike and I have are the kind of bros that don’t have to talk every fucking day to make it work; we’re not women, we can handle some space. We can shoot the shit every day, or we can talk once every six months and always pick back up right where we left off. That’s the mark of a true friendship, in my opinion.

Mike’s right in the things that he’s said about me. I am unapologetically me. I don’t give a fuck who tries to come after me, who tries to censor me…I don’t fucking care. I’m not the type of guy to have duct tape put over my mouth and be silenced. That’s why I love HOW; we don’t have that bullshit here. This is the perfect sandbox for a prick like me. In HOW you are encouraged to say the shit that’s on your mind. You’re encouraged to be gritty and crass. It’s what makes HOW, HOW.

Mike Best is inarguably the best professional to ever step between the ropes. He has beaten everybody that’s been put in front of him, he has more records and accolades than I feel like researching.

Countless people have quit HOW because they can’t beat Mike. People have fucking retired because they can’t beat Mike. People have started their own companies because they CAN’T BEAT MIKE!

He is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. 

He is The Man.

He is exactly what he says he is: He is the Final Boss.

And none of that is parody…it’s the fucking truth.

Plain and fucking simple truth.

There’s a reason that he wears gold Jordans: Game recognizes game.

If Davidson fining him every fucking day didn’t make you think of Jordan wearing the number 23 instead of 45…you’re a fucking moron and should leave wrestling right now. I’m not even joking.

Now, look…I’m no fucking idiot. I’m a long shot to win this match. This match has two former World Champions, a guy that has a rocket strapped to his ass, and then you’ve got Steve Solex. I’m not the self deprecating type, but even I know this is gonna be a tough one for me to win.

But here’s the way I look at it: I’m going to die one day.

I’m going to fucking die, and there’s nothing that I can do about. I’ve come to terms with that. I came to terms with that a long, long time ago. I came to terms with my own death when I was across the pond playing the five rules of dodgeball with Taliban bullets. This is the kind of shit that none of you will ever understand. You know what that’s done for me? I didn’t turtle up about it like some bitch and start worrying every day. I dug in and drove forward. Coming to terms with all of that gave me the ability to take risks and to get the fuck after it. I know that I’m going to die, so why in the world would I play it safe? I’m not, I don’t have the time to play it safe!

Every morning that I wake up is another shot at life for me. Another opportunity for me to burst out of the gate and go on the attack. I know that I don’t have the time to do anything else but go after my goals. I have to execute, execute, execute. I have time for nothing else.

This isn’t just another night for me, another title shot. Unlike certain people around this place, I don’t get a ton of those, so every one of them counts. This is the night that I will solidify my place in the Hall of Fame. This will be the night that every single one of my haters can stuff their foots in their fucking mouths. This will be the night that I stand on top of the mountain and look down on everyone else…for the first time in HOW.

The night that I found Seth in that basement in Afghanistan, he was a fucking mess. He hadn’t eaten in days, he was concussed from the blast of the IED that he and his team had encountered a few days prior, he was extremely dehydrated, but he never lost faith. He knew that if he kept faith, he would find a way back home one way or another. Everytime I think about it, it inspires me to be better. It inspires me to get out there and get after it.

Unlike Seth, there are thousands of guys who never made it out of Afghanistan. When I am beating my feet on the pavement, or pushing Iron I think of those brave men and women. The ones who never got to come home. I do it all for them. So, why would this title match be any different than those times? It’s not.

I have the extreme honor of going up against three of the best that HOW has to offer, and then I get to finish the night by going one on one with the motherfucking GOAT. Truth be told, this is the path that I prefer. This is the path that makes the most sense to me, no matter how much of a pipe dream it may seem…I believe that I can do this.

But good God, if I have to listen to Silent Witness rip off Rocky one more time, I might just go throw a flash bang into his dressing room and blow his fucking brains out before the match even starts. I know who winning is done, you one-eyed dick fiend, you don’t need to try and be witty about it. I’ve fought in actual wars, don’t try and lecture me on the attrition of combat. I’ve closed the distance with the actual enemy, stood up against actual tyrants, and I’ve won.

You’ve been back in HOW for twenty-fucking-minutes and what, everyone is just supposed to toe the line and show you some kind of respect? You may be on a bit of a streak, but its pretty fucking clear that you’re as rusty as the failing bolt on an exploration vessel full of billionaires on its way to see the Titanic.

Focus your energy in the right place, Witness. You’ve got no business mentioning the World Champion at this point. You don’t have the stamina or the fortitude to survive the opening match, much less advance to the main event, no matter how much you try to convince yourself.

The only thing you’ve got going for you right now, is that you’re not as obviously annoying as Charles de Lacy. Skinny Bobby Dean with a thesaurus is an interesting personality, no doubt, but it’s nothing short of … fucking annoying. It’s so bad, I had to say it twice. Every day I wake up hoping that Charles de Lacy has died, and every day that motherfucker disappoints me.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was John Sektor talking some shit. Putting the onus on Mike is a clever way to do it, but also a bit cowardly. Honestly, I thought more of the guy…but when it comes to winning a World Championship, you can’t really expect much of anyone other than the fact that they are going to do whatever they can to win. It was also naive of me to think that anyone in the Final Alliance could be trusted when the entire foundation of the group was built on me turning my back on The Highwaymen.