Posted on March 8, 2023 at 6:15 pm by Conor Fuse


Sunday, June 12, 2022

I lost the World Championship.

As I feel my feet coming to life, I’m helped up the rampway by Hortega and Boettcher.

I lost the World Championship.

It’s a line I knew I would tell myself eventually. Matches are meant to be lost and titles relinquished. As a champion… no, as a wrestler, we come to learn this is what you sign up for. There is a successor waiting for each and every one of us. It’s part of the game and it’s why I play, to push that successor away for as long as I can. It’s the greatest game of all, beyond a rush of 16-bit nostalgia, a button-mashing high score or a chance to take your mind into fantasy worlds unknown, wrestling is by far the highest form of entertainment I have ever come to experience. For if losing my title wasn’t an option… if walking into the ring didn’t put me at risk to be helped off the mat, with no idea what took place… if these options weren’t a possibility every single time I stepped into the squared circle… then why would I put so much effort into wrestling to begin with? The championship wouldn’t matter. I’d feel no rush when I’d win. To accomplish. To survive.

I’d feel no soul crushing defeat when I’d lose, either.

I would never be devastated and I would never have the strength to dust myself off, lift myself up and give it another go.

And yet this time is… different. It is unlike the first World Championship I lost and, in the same breath, the WarGames defeat I felt prior to this one.

I don’t feel devastated tonight. I do not feel as if I’m a failure.

No doubt, I’ll be taking time off. It’s not so much the mental damage, this one is of a physical nature. For the past two years I put my body through hell. Some would say it’s my style and if I wanted longevity I should slow down ASAP. I scoff at these comments. I only have one speed, one will, one level of effort, and there will never be a compromise.

100%. Period.

Hortega shines a light into my eyes as he places me on a hardwood bench. Maybe it’s Boettcher who shines the light. No, wait, it’s Hortega. Definitely Hortega. He’s asking me how many fingers he’s holding up. He’s the French bloke, right? Always counting in his native tongue when his hand hits the mat.

Thankfully, being a partial French-Canadian, my second official language is French. I can count the fingers in front of me.




I see confusion spread across Hortega’s face. Perhaps he’s German. I’m unaware of their language so I won’t be able to count any further.

I lost the World Championship.

I have been thrown for a loop, clearly. I’m seeing two Hortega’s now and approximately six Boettcher’s. It’s fun trying to count them in French, I keep giggling to myself as they converse and, oddly enough, they take a brief moment to look at me with wide concern spread across their faces.

Serious, emotional concern.

Oh yes, I’ll be taking time off after this.

I lost the World Championship.

Back to my initial thoughts. I’m smart enough to realize if I’m situated in front of two referees who look extremely worried for my well being, I didn’t make it out of WarGames. No coast-to-coast, from beginning to end, with #97 in my hands.

It means the title is someone else’s achievement now.

The match comes back to me at a creeping speed. I remember the events from ten minutes ago. Seeing Christopher America and Tyler Best standing across the ring, a blindside attack by a man I ran my mouth on for over six months, claiming to retire at last year’s ICONIC.

I put a major target on my chest without the World Championship and when you add that strap to me, you’re attaching a rocket.

I’m flying right into the sun.

Crash and burn.

Oh, I did.

The last I can recall is hearing Tyler and Chris briefly speak re: who is going to pin me. Then, as I’m screaming… right before I pass TF out, I see those colours.



And blue.

I understand who’s been crowned the Last Level Legend now.

Boettcher returns to shine those lights in my eyes again. He asks me to follow his finger. From right to left. Left to right, holy shit it’s like he has a sparkler in his hands. I fucking love sparklers. It reminds me of when I was five years old. What an amazing light show Boettcher is performing and I didn’t even have to pay for it.

The referees discuss; the pyrotechnic display is on pause. I see someone in a white lab coat. Great. Concussion protocol. My favourite.

My legs kick around. They swing forward on the bench. The last time I was in a similar position, I received a knee to my head and my brother was there, too. Good times, I tell you.

Wait, those weren’t good, I was absolutely destroyed. Shredded apart on the inside, Mike Best reached into my chest, wrapped his massive, battle-tested palms around my heart and pulled it out, proceeding to throw the most important muscle in my body through the Alcatraz window.

My heart isn’t barely beating this time. In fact, it’s beating quite steadily. It’s hammering inside my body as I think of my loss… a solid World Championship run but a campaign that ultimately comes up short.

Yet I feel no sadness, no depression setting in. As I continue regaining my senses, I realize Hortega, Boettcher and the doctor are continuing to chatter about my disposition.

The last thing I’ll do is deliberately walk away from this championship L but their expressions tell me I’ll be physically unable to compete for a while.

However, my head continues to unclutter. I realize it was Hortega who shined the light into my eyes and not Boettcher. He’s Dutch, not French. Of course!

There’s a large bump on the side of my skull, I’m bleeding in seven different places and I did not succeed tonight.

Many will say I’ve failed.

I lost the World Championship.

But my feet dangle, freer than before. My head wanders and sways from side to side. The edge of my mouth curls upright, in what I can only assume is a mischievous grin, while my mind dances around the potential of what this loss might present.

I lost the World Championship.

I am at peace.

I am free.

Because even though I have not won tonight, it does not mean I’m done. It does not mean I’m a loser. It doesn’t humble me. I take chances with my life inside of the wrestling ring, world title or not.

It doesn’t mean I’m not a threat or I can’t rebound. Since the moment I walked into High Octane Wrestling, I witnessed a whole new world before my eyes.

I have been searching for an opportunity like this to grasp onto for a long, long time.

I lost the World Championship.

In its place I gained a new opportunity.

“Mr. Boettcher,” I say, with a tilt of my head and a smirk of my mouth. “Savez-vous combien de temps je serai absent?”

— — — — —

June 30, 2022
Dearness Living Community – Boiler Room

There’s an internal pressure building on top of my shoulders. I feel it each and every day but it’s not a bad pressure. Surely, if I didn’t have two years of triumphant experiences inside the High Octane ring, I’d be taking this pressure a lot differently. It could destroy me otherwise. Now, it’s fueling me.

I want this pressure.

I NEED this pressure.

It’s everything I’ve worked for.

“Yes, put those pipes over there,” I point The Game Boy towards the right direction as my former bodyguard… the large, oversized, hulking, nearly bursting out of his jeans and mammoth of a man places ten twelve-foot high metal bars in the corner of the boiler room. The Game Boy appears infrequently. It wasn’t long into my HOW campaign where I realized I didn’t need him by my side every second. I could rely on myself for wins, I could fly around the squared circle with ease and collect victories on my own time.

Needless to say I wasn’t going to ask Walter or anyone else from Dearness to help me construct this prison. Plus I’m nowhere near powerful enough to lug all this shit. Had to call my giant BOT.

Game Boy exits into the darkness so he can retrieve ten more metal bars while I drop down to my knees, pulling out a ruler and a pencil from my pockets, beginning to mark up the cement floor.

“Do you need a tape measure, son?” The voice is obviously familiar. It’s the DLC’s oldest resident and the only real Elder I connect with, Walter Newport. I didn’t hear him walk down here but then again he moves at an extremely slow speed. There’s stealth in that strategy, I tell you. Maybe one day I can learn from it, I move too fast.

He tosses me a tape measure and gives a sarcastically warm smile. “Much longer than a ruler.”

“Thanks, Wally,” I reply, beginning to scribble some markings on the ground. “I guess I’m still working through my concussion.”

Walter doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t need to. If there’s an opportunity to help me out, he will speak his mind and I will obviously take his help and support.

I roll out the tape measure from one end of the location to the other. There isn’t a lot of space in the corner of the boiler room, I’ve really closed myself off.

That’s kinda the point.

“If I make a mistake,” I say, following my pencil along the top of the measuring tape, “I’ll only make the room smaller. It’s not a bad thing.”

Walter gives a shrug. He doesn’t understand but he’s trying to. I mean really, it shouldn’t be a surprise. I moved myself into an old folks home, a fucking old folks home. Like literally I convinced them to let me stay because Jatt Starr beat me in 2020 and Jatt Starr is old. This sounds stupid but trust me, back then the context made sense. Maybe. I dunno. I digress. Either way, in 2022 I’m going to build myself a prison, my own personal dungeon/hell. I don’t plan to move into it yet but when the stakes are high… … …

And I will stay until I’ve accomplished my goals. 100% completion.

Game Boy emerges with more dungeon bars. He, unlike Walter, is nowhere close to stealth mode. Then again he does have ten massive pieces of metal with him.

“Over there, bud, thank you,” I’m not sure why those words come out of my mouth because clearly Game Boy knows where to bring them. Maybe I’m trying to prove to myself I have the wherewithal to understand WTF is going on, as I did spend two weeks circled into a ball, with my head spinning round and round and round. It’s good to know I can figure some things out.

Thank you, Cecilworth. Now I need to construct this prison.

“No experience in this field, huh?” I look up to Walter and give him a wink. “I always took you for an architect when you were younger.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, son,” he replies, “not of interest.”

“Yeah, me neither.” I mention, clearly struggling to draw a straight line from one end of the room to the other. “Although I did build a lot in The Sims video games, I guess that doesn’t really count. Oh, and I’ve played in tons of Zelda dungeons before…”

I stand up and take a step back.

“Then again this is a different form of dungeon.”

Walter shrugs. I typically lose him with the video game references.

Game Boy vanishes into the darkness, he’s got at least two more rounds of metal bars to fetch while I continue trying to specifically map out floor plans.

“You don’t have to do this son,” Walter reminds me, for what is the tenth time this week. I’m gentle on the response because I know he cares and, also, I really need the guy. He’s going to have to feed me three square meals a day. He’ll be the only Elder with a set of keys, too. Lock me in, free me to the world on specific wrestling events ONLY.

I am not to be released otherwise.

“I have to do this, Walt.” Like I said, easy on the response. “When I feel ready to reside in the prison, I will. Once my body has recovered and I can return to HOW, I’ll begin my most important campaign.”

To be honest, Walter hasn’t heard my full reasoning as to why I’m doing this. I usually stop there, or I tell him I need to channel another side to me. A darker side. Yes, absolutely. This is paramount. But there are many reasons at play. Perhaps I should tell him some…

“Walter, when I joined High Octane Wrestling I saw it,” I put emphasis on the next statement. “How important the battle can be. It gets personal. It consumes you.”

I pause, roll up the measuring tape and place it in my pocket. This part of the conversation requires my full attention.

“I’ve proven I can hang in HOW, I’m a two-time World Champion. Some say I’m on a Hall of Fame path if I keep this up. But like wins and losses ATM, the Hall of Fame doesn’t appeal to me.” That’s a strong statement, I’ll let it sink in. “What I’m saying is by now I’ve established myself, Walter. I could RAGEQUIT, end my career and my name will hold value. Any wrestler who steps in the middle of the ring with Conor Fuse from here on knows they’re gonna get the best. Sure, some will continue to dig at me… ‘HOFC me’… run my name into the ground because I love video games and I’m a human man-child. Side-bar, I’m well aware of my shortcomings. Wrestlers will poke fun, they won’t understand who I am. They’ll rip on me because I’m a kid at heart. ‘Cause I’m trying to construct…”

I open my arms to what Game Boy and I are attempting to build.


Again, I give my speech a moment to settle.

“However, no one will undermine my abilities. My accomplishments cannot change and they dictate who I am as a wrestler. Say whatever you want about Conor Fuse the person. Conor Fuse the talent… is deadly.”

I can see I’ve lost him in my ramble.

“Okay, the quick and easy. I’ll try; I’m long winded.” I recollect myself and go for the ultimate pitch. “I don’t care if I win another championship. Love me or hate me, I’m going to make you earn a victory. My past accolades are meaningless and my future championship runs are fucking pointless unless I have… more.”

I can feel my heart racing at the thoughts.

“When I stepped into the ring with Sutler Reynolds-Kael and Mike Best, they made me feel something I never felt before. Something incredibly powerful and I lost it along the way. It was BEYOND wins and losses or the Hall of Fame. It was past the surface level, Walter.”

I think I’m getting through to him.

“I am going to lose again. I am going to be pinned many times. World Titles will come and go but rivalries, Walter… real, intense, life-altering moments. Those don’t come and go. Those… well, those…”

I lower my head. I feel a sense of intensity swoop over me.

“Can last forever.”

I still see he’s having a hard time putting it together. Why do rivalries mean I have to lock myself into a prison? What does one have to do with the other? Maybe there’s a flaw in my design but I’m already on the cement floor, laying out measurements so I can build this prison to the exact specifications I require.

“I’m locking myself down here no matter what, Walt.” I state without looking up to him. Am I starting to question if this is the correct method? “When the time is right, I am gonna reside here and I am not leaving until I get my rivalry. Until I can pull myself into an extremely dark place and take the World Championship back.”

“But I thought you said the World Championship doesn’t matter?” Walter questions.

“It doesn’t,” is my sharp response. “But in order to draw someone else in… in order to build a forever rivalry, I have to extend myself. The truth is it doesn’t matter to me if I win the World Championship but it’ll matter to the person I take it from.”

Yeah, it’s flawed. Holding the World Title by proxy is vital. In other words, if Walter would continue to argue with me, I would merely say the belt is a MacGuffin.

So I’m going to work myself into a mind frame where I’ll take that MacGuffin away.

And then I’ll have my own MacGuffin.

A rivalry that can build. Grow. Flourish.

Which is kinda like my own MacGuffin. It makes my heart pound.

“Dude, you’re straight-fucked,” I mumble to myself as I hear Walter slowly slide away, into the darkness and up the stairs, realizing he doesn’t grasp my mentality and our conversation will go no further. “Straight-fucked, buddy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

— — — — —

Dearness Living Community – Boiler Room
Conor Fuse’s Homemade Prison

It has been a perfect set up so far. I have resided here for over five months. What started as an opportunity to channel a killer’s mind frame and seek payback on a very large and imposing figure (Stronk Godson), has led me to my first real one-on-one World Championship opportunity since the summer of 2021. I battled my way through two extremely tough opponents and I would do them ill will if I packed it in now. These walls have a sense of security to them, but they can also provide false hope and too much confidence. Although I haven’t been pinned in a one-on-one match for a year and a half, I can’t get too self-assured.

I sit, cross legged in the middle of my prison, a few days out from flying halfway across the world and meeting #97, Christopher America, in the center of the ring. Since I made a commitment to be locked inside these walls, I have done nothing more than make my way to the High Octane television shows and retreat into this dungeon thereafter. I’ll admit, it’s boring. I’m not out finding trouble as usual but I’m definitely going down the right path because I have one final step pending.

My eyes take me around the boiler room. By now, I’m familiar with every crack in the cement walls, every rust stain on the pipes above me. This room has been etched in my mind for eternity. I could close my eyes and draw it out to scale.

Soon, Conor, soon.

I am taken back to the moment I’ve been holding onto for almost a year.

I lost the World Championship.

My heart pumps. Excitement flows through my veins thinking about the opportunity.

I lost the World Championship.

It’s amazing how one sentence can motivate me and not in the typical way I would’ve thought. I mean here I am, in the basement of a boiler room, rotting away. My mind, peeling back layer by layer. The lengths I have gone to over these five months. I made a man’s heart stop. I demoralized another. I never knew I had it in me.

It is so quiet. Peaceful. A sanctuary. A safe space where I can be in my thoughts and spend time alone.

Although I am not alone.

I failed to mention that upon my request, Game Boy brought more than metal bars to this dwell. There’s a massive flag hanging on the cement wall of my prison. It’s been here since I moved in, I just didn’t mention it yet.

I turn my body. No longer am I staring at the prison bars but, instead, I am looking at the flag.

No, it’s not the flag of the United States. That would be too easy. I need a direct moment to feed off. A capsule in time I can pour onto my subconscious.

Nourish. Obsess. Rejoice.

It’s a photo. An image. A flag capturing a moment. It’s one of High Octane’s most accomplished citizens, eyeing the World Championship as I lay at the soles of his feet, knocked out cold.

I lost the World Championship.

And I gained something even greater in return.