Family Matters

Family Matters

Posted on March 27, 2024 at 7:16 pm by Mike Best

I want to talk about Noah Hanson. 

I don’t know that I’ve ever said those exact words in that exact order before, but there’s a first time for everything, and I’m doing a little soul-baring as we get ready for March to Glory. Shedding a little skin, out with the old and in with the new. And I read Silent Witness’ open letter to me, and I appreciate it, and I’m planning to respond to it, but for right now I want to talk about Noah Hanson.

Well, it starts with Noah. 

The week after Noah Hanson came back to HOW, I made some quick references to him making his return and told him that everything in the past between us is water under the bridge. I hand waved him. Told him to get to the back of the line. And every week since then, Noah has been doing his best to get my attention, and tell the world that he wants to fight me, and in truth? I’ve absolutely ignored every single word that came out of his mouth. Didn’t acknowledge it at all. Maybe the build up to March to Glory is a weird time to want to finally talk about it, but I’m in a weird fucking headspace and right now, that’s what I want to talk about. So here it goes: 

Noah Hanson, I apologize. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean shit to you, and I’m not saying it should. But it’s owed. I glossed over exactly what I did to you in the last era, and I called us good, but I shouldn’t have done that. Because I don’t just owe that apology to you– I owe that apology to a few guys that are still kicking around, despite years of my absolute disrespect and abuse. Noah Hanson. Brian Hollywood. Darin Zion. At one point, collectively known as Sex and Money. I’m not going to pretend that my first instinct isn’t to immediately start shitting on that name again, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to do what I should have done in the first place, when you first came back and attacked me after my match with Rhys Townsend.

I’m going to acknowledge why you did it. 

REALLY acknowledge it. 

When I first came to HOW, I had it in my head that I was going to be the biggest star in this motherfucker. I touched on that when last we spoke– about the ass beating I took at the hands of Max, and Jatt, and Mark O’Neal. But it was more than that. I got my ass beat at War Games. I lost HOFC matches to both Christopher America and Chris Kostoff. Failed to win the HOW World Title in my first real shot, when I beat David Black by DQ. I didn’t have to look these things up– trust me, I remember them like they were yesterday. I felt like an outsider– like this whole roster of guys who were like a family were just waiting for me to tuck my tail between my legs and run back off to Fisher Price land. It didn’t seem to matter what I did… no matter how much I helped out backstage, no matter how much I got on the radio, no matter how much I tried to be one of the boys. 

I just… wasn’t. 

Getting into the club… it isn’t a small thing. We used to throw the word “lifer” around a lot, though I guess it gets used a lot less these days. HOW was a different company. In 2024, the roster doesn’t feel like a family, it just… feels like a roster. That’s just a product of the times, I guess, but getting into “the family” felt like such a big fucking deal back then. I think maybe I didn’t truly feel like I was in that family until the day that I got my Hall of Fame ring, and that’s why when I didn’t get in the year prior, I had the biggest meltdown in fucking wrestling history. I just wanted to feel like I was part of the club, and you can’t get into that club by just winning matches, or winning titles. You can’t get into that club making banners, or designing merch. I think you just gotta put in the time, and the dedication, and the loyalty, and then one way someone nods at you the right way, and you realize that you’re in. 

Well, I got my ring. 

And I got into the club. 

I guess what I’m trying to get to is just… I don’t know. I should have been better to the guys who were just trying to get into the club. I was such a fucking nerd when I joined HOW. Like, I really thought I was the shit, when in truth I was the absolute shits. Raw, and green, and craving acceptance… I looked back at the man that I used to be, and I was so fucking embarassed by it. So I think that’s why I hated it so much when I saw it in others. When Darin Zion would get so thirsty for my acceptance that I thought he might drink my piss just to hydrate, I could have taken him aside and just made him feel welcome. But I didn’t– I bullied him, and I publicly humiliated him, and I tried to get him to quit. When Brian Hollywood was struggling to get over, I could have helped him. Given him some pointers. Let him know that he was part of the family. But I didn’t– I bullied him, and humiliated him, and I tried to get him to quit. And when Noah Hanson was just trying to get a foothold in HOW, I could have… look, you get what I’m getting at, so maybe let me forgo the rule of three on this one and just make my point. 

I was a real piece of shit. 

You guys just wanted to be in the club. 

And let me be very clear– Darin Zion and Brian Hollywood are in the fucking club. They’re family. Sure, they’re goobers. Sure, I roll my eyes at them sometimes. But those motherfuckers are in. They deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame for their contributions over the years. They have stuck it out, time and time again, despite being made the butt of every single joke. Love those guys. I hope they stay here forever. And Noah, now that you’re back, I want to let you know that I’d like to see you get into the club, too. You’ve been gone a long time, but I hope that you stick it out, and I hope that you get what you’ve always wanted out of this place, and I’m sorry that I’m half of what held you back in the first place. 

I deserved what you did to me. 

And I’m glad that you did it. 

I was a bully, and a terror, and a monster to all three of you for literally years. And it was just insecurity, man. Holding my spot at the top by putting my thumb down on those I felt were my lessers. Keeping everyone from laughing at me by being sure that they were all laughing at you, instead. It was shitty, it was unfair, and while it may have very little to do with this title match at March to Glory, I wanted to take some time to get it off my chest. You don’t have to accept my apology, or assuage my guilt. I’m not looking for a gold star, here. And if you really want to fight me, then let’s have a match. I owe you that much. I can’t promise not to beat the ever loving shit out of you, but I can promise you the opportunity to get the revenge you feel, rightfully, that you deserve. 

Life is just fucking weird, man. 

What a reflecting couple of weeks I’ve had. 

I know that I’ve been all over the place. First, I’m afraid I’m going to lose, and I’m trying to find a successor. And then I’m telling you that I’m literally GOD, and that my omniscience is making me weak. And now, I’m apologizing to people I bullied like I’m in a twelve step program and calling up the guys I stuffed into lockers in highschool. It’s a lot, and I appreciate you being on the journey. Truth is, as much as people wonder if I’m trying to be a bad guy, or a good guy, I’m just a fucking guy, man. I have my faults. I have my strengths. I’ve always been a good fucking wrestling, and that’s about the best you can say about me. I’m thirty seven years old and sometimes I barely feel like I know how to function as an adult. I bought a car from a dealership for the first time last September, and I literally called Lee Best to ask him what the fuck I was supposed to do, because it was a super adult thing that I’d somehow never done before. 

Life is weird. 

Being a grown up is weird. 

I’ve got gray hair in my beard and the other day, I got anxiety about asking the guy at Moes for more tortilla chips because I didn’t have enough to finish my queso. I don’t know how that is supposed to jive with walking around carrying the HOW World Championship, but for as much as I feel like a God when I’m in a wrestling ring, the second I get outside of it I constantly feel like I’m out of my depth. I guess what I’m trying to say is, like, I know that I’ve been all over the place lately, but I think that’s who I am. I think I’m fucking all over the place. A few days ago, I felt like I had no steam left and I was preparing to lose the HOW World Championship with a little dignity. Earlier today, I felt like a God, and like no one was on my level. And now, I feel like apologizing to the people that I’ve hurt and talking about how weird life is. Maybe it doesn’t fit into three promos with a fancy little bow on top, and maybe it doesn’t all tie together at the end, but life doesn’t always tie together in the end. 

I think all of it is true. 

I think that I’m tired, and that I’m worried that my battery is dying. And I think that I’m a God. And I think that I’m reflecting a lot on the past. And I think that all of those things can exist in the same brain, in the same human, in the same week. But while my feelings about all of this might change from day to day, none of it changes what it going to happen at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night: 

I am going to fight for my fucking life. 

That’s the promise you get from me. No matter what angle I come at you from, that’s always the promise that you get from me. That I will step into that ring, and put all this bullshit aside, and give you the absolute best that I have in me. I have been giving you the best of me for fifteen years, and whatever the best of me entails on Saturday night, you’ll get the best of me again. Maybe I’ll win, and maybe I’ll lose, and how I’ll feel about that might change thirteen times in six days, but I can promise you that I will fight with every punch of strength that I have to walk out of New York City with the HOW World Championship around my waist. 

Because I’m in the club. 

Because this place is my family. So whether I’m feeling 97%, or I’m feeling like I’m the greatest human being to ever lace up a pair of boots, I will always do what is best for my family. That means giving you everything I’ve got. That means putting on the best show that I can. That means fighting as hard as I can, because being the HOW World Champion means being the best wrestling in High Octane Wrestling. If I walk away from March to Glory empty handed, I don’t ever want anyone to feel like the man that beat me beat me at anything less than my best. I don’t want anyone in my family to have an asterisk next to their name. And please, make no mistake, there is absolutely no part of me that intends to lose this championship. Not at March to Glory, or not ever. I might not be delusional enough to believe that I’ll hold this thing forever, but I am prideful enough to say that for as long as I do, you will have to fucking throw everything that you’ve got at me to take it away. 

Fifteen years.

Fifteen years ago, I wandered into this company young, and dumb, and with big fucking dreams. It’s so insane to me to think that all these years later, I am defending my twelfth HOW Championship. That doesn’t even sound real. Sounds like some bullshit someone made up, and hoped that no one would ever fact check. I apologized to Noah, and Darin, and Brian, but I guess I’m not quite done apologizing yet, because maybe I owe a few more: 

Charles de Lacy, you’re right. I was dismissive as fuck over you. I treated you like an afterthought, the same way that guys like Jatt and Shane Reynolds did to me when I first joined HOW. It wasn’t fair. You fought your ass off and you earned your way into an LBI Final (which I remind you again, I’ve never done). I may Believe In Steve, but I would like to shake your hand if you make to to the main event. I will promptly knee you into oblivion once the match begins, but I’m serious– I’m sorry, Chuck. You worked hard, and you deserve to be acknowledged for that. 

John Sektor, you are a flaky fuck, but you are the single greatest flaky fuck in the history of HOW. I have always been jealous of your ability to disappear for literally any amount of time, and then reappear and fucking dominate. There would be nothing shameful about seeing March to Glory end with you raising the title over your head, and it would not be the first time that you’ve stood over me in March with Big Red in your arms. If it’s you and I in the final, then no, it will not be “boring and predictable”. It will be a fucking honor, John, just like it’s always been. You’re an absolute cunt and a good friend, and I apologize. 

Steve Solex. I don’t owe you an apology. I have sucked your dick for an entire pay-per-view period, and the only thing I’m going to be sorry for is the beating I am going to have to put on you if you survive to the main event. 

Which I hope that you do.

Because I Believe In Steve

And then there’s Witness. I know that this is a little “list off all your opponents”, but that’s not really what this is all about. I’ve kind of slept on the fact that there are this many possible banger matches in the World Title match at March to Glory, and it’s because… you’re right, Witness. I’ve made it all about myself. One of you is about to be crowned the LBI winner, and fucking props to you. You came back from the longest hiatus imaginable, and you made it this far, and I hope to fuck that you stick around and that you meant everything that you said. I can see the fire in you, Witness. Don’t waste it. And I’m sorry for doing the thing I always do, and making everything about me. You’re family, too. Fucking love you brother. Would be honored to kick the shit out of eachother at Madison Square Garden, if that’s the way it goes. 

And that’s it. 

No fancy sendoff. 

No swerve at the last minute. I love this place. HOW has been the biggest part of my life for fifteen years. It’s hard to regret anything when you’ve had a career like mine, and I just want to thank all of you for making this the fucking best decision that I ever made, sitting in front of AOL Instant Messenger when I was just a dipshit 21 year old. And I know this all sounds like the preamble to a retirement, but we all know that it isn’t. I don’t know where my head is right now, and I won’t properly know until I finally step between those ropes, but I do know that you are all my family. Good luck to everyone at March to Glory, and I’m fucking amped to see who wins this year’s Lee Best Invitational. And no matter who steps into the ring with me in the final, and challenges me for the biggest prize in all of wrestling, know this: 

If you beat me, you fucking earned it

But if it’s up to me?

You fucking won’t