EDITOR’S NOTE: I am posting this promo on behalf of El Hombre Blanco, despite not condoning his actions at the last Chaos, on account of his inability to speak or read the English language. HOW is an all-inclusive company. Please see below for an official statement from the CEO:
On Sunday evening, I was made aware of a vicious backstage assault on one of our wrestlers, a young man by the name of Marvolo. This heinous, cowardly attack was not a part of Sunday Night Chaos and was not endorsed by this company or what we represent. As the CEO of High Octane Wrestling, I have a responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for all of our wrestlers and staff. Our athletes put it all on the line for the entertainment of our fans, but they cannot and will not be subjected to senseless acts of violence once they have stepped outside the confines of their wrestling matches.
In that regard, I have failed.
To the fans, to the wrestlers backstage, and especially to Marvolo himself, I would like to personally apologize not only on my behalf, but on the behalf of High Octane Wrestling as a whole. I wish Marvolo a speedy recovery, and assure him and everyone else that I am doing absolutely everything in my power to investigate and punish the perpetrator of this terrible assault.
I will find out who this “El Hombre Blanco” is.
And I will ensure that he sees Justice.
- Michael Lee Best, CEO of HOW
“I need you to tell me no…”
The voice of Lee Best is unmistakably mischievous, as it crackles across the receiver of the cell phone.
“…but I kind of want you to say yes.”
It’s the most dangerous sentence in High Octane Wrestling. Like all terrible, horrible, wonderful ideas born from the brain of GOD, it all started with those exact words in that exact order. Michael Lee Best can almost hear his father smirking. The words hang still on the other end of the phone, eagerly awaiting a response, but the GOD of HOW already knows how this conversation is going to end. This is how he gets you. A mystery. A controversy. An enticing idea, left in your fingertips to make the final decision. The problem is… Michael Lee Best is tired.
No, not tired.
He was tired five years ago.
At this point, he’s utterly exhausted. Retired. Sitting in a pair of tattered sweatpants on the plush couch of his living room, he sets the PS5 controller down on the coffee table in front of him and turns his full attention to the phone call.
These calls were getting fewer and further between.
The disconnect between the Father and the Son were never born out of malice. There was no ill-will, no elephant in the room, no drama llama eagerly spitting in anyone’s face. The truth was that both Michael Lee Best and the wrestling industry had been leaving each other behind for a long time. Everything was different nowadays– wrestling was more about the fame than it was about the fighting. Actors, rockstars, models, fucking… football teams. A bunch of Gen Z douchebags playing at being wrestlers, but then doing everything in their power never to step foot inside of a wrestling ring. Even in the land of High Octane, a usually protected bubble, things were just going… soft.
Think about the roster right now.
Evan Ward was the hottest bad guy in wrestling right now. Evan Ward. The boyscout. The little stale saltine cracker of a human being whose sole bit of usefulness could have been in bringing Rhys Townsend back to wrestling, but instead he’s wandering around like an old man cutting promos on his own stablemates and yelling WARD GAMES like if he repeats it enough, it might get over. Conor Fuse, the sentient video game reference who couldn’t be more one-note if he was the soundtrack to an actual NES cartridge. Jace Parker Davidson, once a dominant force in pro wrestling, had been reduced to a simpering simp to the Twitter lesbians, who has literally not even spoken to Michael since taking that big fat L in the third round of their HOFC contest. Clay Byrd, who should have done… something… by now, right?
Too much flippy shit, not enough fighting. Too much talk, not enough violence. Too much ego, not enough talent to back it up. The wrestling industry wasn’t what it was ten years ago, and maybe that was okay. Tyler Adrian Best was killing it over in PRIME. Christopher America was having the single greatest run of his career. Everything was going smoothly with the Son of God sitting at home on his couch, so if it ain’t broke, why try desperately to fix it? Sure, Michael’s War Games team consists of more zeros than the check Lee Best writes to settle JPD’s harassment suits out of court. Sure, he’d absolutely slaughtered each and every one of them (barring Conor Fuse, but fuck Conor Fuse) in HOFC matches over the last month, without anyone even really putting up a real fight. And sure, this was shaping up to be the most predictable War Games of all time. But the MACHINE was alive. The MACHINE was healthy, and that’s all that has ever mattered. Michael Lee Best is happily retired, and there’s almost nothing that Lee Best can say to change that.
…so why was he so intrigued?
“What you got?” the Son answers, almost rhetorically.
The trap is set. The hook is sunk.
“A chance to fuck over everybody.”
¿Quién diablos es Marvolo? Pequeña perra enana. No es de extrañar que se quedara corto, ese hijo de puta mide una pulgada de alto en la polla de Cavanaugh. ¿De verdad crees que fue el próximo campeón mundial de lucha libre de alto octanaje?
Eso es ridículo.
Él era una broma. Hizo una broma sobre el negocio de la lucha libre profesional. Hizo una broma de esta empresa. Hizo una broma de juegos de guerra. ¿Adivina qué? El Hombre Blanco no se ríe. No es divertido. Vengo de generaciones de leyendas de la lucha libre y trato este negocio con el respeto que se merece. Por eso ataqué a Marvolo. Por eso lo dejé morir en un estacionamiento. POR ESO tomé su lugar para mí y me inscribí en los partidos de clasificación de los Juegos de Guerra.
La era del Hombre Blanco ha comenzado, y yo soy el próximo Campeón Mundial de Lucha Libre de Alto Octano. Voy a abofetear a Baby Kostoff, a Alejandro Abooboo, a Darin Zion ya cualquiera que se interponga en mi camino. ¿Qué vas a hacer para detenerme?
Eso no es retórico, perras estúpidas.
¿Qué vas a hacer para detenerme?
War Games es mi patio de recreo. Me bañaré en la sangre de los débiles y me llevaré el Campeonato Mundial de Alto Octano. Traeré gloria a mi patria y seré el orgullo de mi pueblo una vez más. Soy el destructor de Fisher Price. Soy el Conquistador del Proboard. Soy el hombre que entró en un torneo de veinte dólares solo para asegurarse de que Eric Dane tuviera un mal día. ¿Crees que me importa una mierda asegurarme de que un vaquero triste tenga su momento? ¿Crees que me importa que Mike Best y su grupo infantil Bad News Bears no tengan sexo? Soy un PUTO SEÑOR DE LA GUERRA.
Prepárense para ESTAS RODILLAS, mis amigos. Hoy comienza la era del Hombre Blanco.
- El Hombre Blanco, Who Is Absolutely Not Mike Best
“Jesus Christ, it’s beautiful.”
Lee Best trick numero dos: show you something shiny.
The hardest part about getting Michael invested these days was convincing him to come into the office. Keeping him engaged was the easy part— it was getting him engaged that took all the real work. But then, after nearly fifteen years together in HOW, it isn’t like Lee Best hasn’t learned a few shortcuts when it came to his only son.
The mask was a short cut.
A gorgeous fucking shortcut.
“I’m just saying, son.” Lee Best smirks, with a shrug. “We’re only even standing here today because you made a phone call. You dragged me back into this, SIR, only fair that I do the same for you, now that you’re in permanent sweatpants mode.”
The man isn’t wrong.
About any of it.
It was Michael who fueled the flames, pulling his kicking and screaming father back into the game. Minding the tides during the CAUTIOUS times. Holding down the fort through health scares and travel days and all the bullshit that life throws at you. Michael and Lee had stood side by side all the way, firing the machine back up and watching it chug back to life as though it had never gone away in the first place… fifty fifty partners.
But that was nearly five years ago.
50/50 had become hindsight.
The Son of God runs his hands through his hair, smoothing it between his fingers. He hadn’t been pulling his weight for a long time now, and it wasn’t something he was in denial about. He was practically a CEO in name only— visits to the office were next to nil, and he hadn’t been doing a goddamned thing for months but sitting on his couch playing video games. Lee Best was doing this all on his own, abandoned by his son during one of the hardest years of his life. The Father didn’t ask much of the Son these days, but today, he was asking.
Maybe Michael owed him one.
Maybe a lot more than one.
“I don’t know, man.” Michael shakes his head, but keeps his eyes fixated on the mask. “I’m…I think I’m done with War Games. I don’t even think I’m in that kind of shape anymore.”
A lot more has declined than his engagement.
It was a slow descent from the top, but if you look back at the timeline, you can pinpoint the moment it began. Not just the night. Not just the hour. The very fucking second.
Seven minutes and fifty seconds.
Seven minutes and fifty seconds into the one night tournament for the HOW World Championship, when the Son of God was beaten clean in the middle of the ring by his best friend, Cecilworth Farthington. The tenth reign of HOW’s winningest champion ended not with the roar of a lion, but with the whimper of a fucking lamb, and it had changed the Hall of Famer forever. Not because he was bitter. Not because he was angry. Not even because he was humiliated. It changed him forever, but it changed because he became… human.
He was mortal again.
One of the longest winning streaks in all of wrestling history ended in seven minutes and fifty seconds, and it reminded the Son of God that his nickname was just that. A nickname. A mirage. A reputation that preceded him, but also a reputation that was getting harder and harder to live up to. The shattering of that facade wasn’t bad news.
It was the fucking best.
Retirement was freedom. An unshackling of Michael Lee Best from the ball and chain he’d created through his own mystique. It was expected that he would win. Expected that he’d be the champ, the main event, the whole fucking show. Going home, putting on some sweatpants, and firing up the PlayStation was the single greatest release he’d felt in his life, outside of the night he made Tyler, and he’d leapt headfirst into it the same way an addict handled everything. To great excess. Even those HOFC matches, back to back? They’d taken a toll on him. He was out of ring shape. Gassed. Thankful for third round knockouts, because going the full five might have been too much for him. To come back for a whole ass War Games?
It was… terrifying.
“Up to you.” Lee crosses his arms, picking the mask up off the desk. “America broke your record. He’s coming for the rest of them, too, so the choice is yours. If you’re happy with where you left off… if you think you ended things the right way… go home, Son. Clock out. No hard feelings. I think it’s a great idea, but… it’s your decision.”
Lee Best trick numero tres.
He tosses the mask toward his Son, watching as it lands into Michael’s outstretched hands. Kneesus stares down at the luchador mask, gripping it between his fingers as he feels a lump forming in his throat. He takes a deep breath, lowering his head as he slowly pulls the mask over his face. It conforms almost perfectly to his skull, fitting like a second skin as his eyes rise back up to meet his father’s.
It feels… right.
Michael Lee Best is retired. After ICONIC 2021 and one last lukewarm match against Clay Byrd, he hung up his boots and put on a permanent pair of sweatpants. ChristPlow has been taken to the rapture. Kneesus Christ only does cage fights these days, to dwindling crowds who have gotten bored of the bit. But somewhere deep down inside of the Son of God, there exists a creature who doesn’t give a single fuck about his aching bones. A creature who doesn’t care about winning streaks, or apostles, or breaking records. A creature who damn near killed Eric Dane in cold blood, and who sacrificed Lindsay Troy’s knees to a fucking Chupacabra and felt nothing.
He is El Hombre Blanco.
And he is going to win War Games.