Fear Itself

Fear Itself

Posted on November 18, 2021 at 9:51 pm by Mike Best

Great job, Scotty. 

Single best promo of your career. Not gonna pretend otherwise, nor am I going to pretend to be surprised. I bring the best out of people– always have, always will. Because you’re right, I’m the high water mark. Beating me is worth as much as winning a title in HOW, as frustrating as that might be for all of you, and as frustrating as that might be to my father. I am the only S-Tier wrestler in HOW history, and when I say that, you might be blaming that “big ego” of mine again, right? Because I’m arrogant, right? People love to throw those words around– ego, arrogance, conceitedness. The thing is, Scotty, it isn’t true. 

I’m not arrogant. 

I’m exactly as good as I say I am. 

That’s what makes it so frustrating. You wanna punch me in the mouth because the shit that comes out of it pisses you off, but you can’t refute it. You wanna tell me I’m anything less than a God, but you fucking can’t. Facts trump opinions, and facts say I’m the fucking GOAT. Statistics say I’m the GOAT. Everyone honest says I’m the GOAT, and second place isn’t even that close. I’m the high school bully, but instead of ending up working at a McDonalds, I’m the boss that stands over your cubicle and tells you that you have to work the weekend. I’m the guy the movies told you always loses in the end. The who you have been taught would fail for your whole life, only to find out that life isn’t fair. I’m the stepfather of HOW: 

You don’t like me, but you respect me. 

That’s what makes it such an achievement to beat me– because no one does. Guys like Zion and Stevens can hang their hats on wins over me literally a half dozen years ago, because it’s such a rarity for ANYONE to beat me that a single victory over me belongs on a resume. Even you do it, Scotty– you always remind me that you’ve beaten me a time or two in my dozen years in HOW, and the truth is that I don’t even remember those matches. I acknowledge that they happened, and I’m not taking anything away from you. Great job. You beat me. But when I look at my legacy in this company, I don’t have time to count the number of times I beat you. I don’t have time to count the number of non-title matches I’ve won. 

I count the records I’ve broken.

I count undefeated streaks. I count War Games wins. I count championships, and pay-per-view main events. I count the number of guys who quit this company after losing to me, or in lieu of even fighting me in the first place. The things that most people in HOW would count as major achievements make me feel nothing, Scotty. Do you understand how disappointing even a LSD Championship win would be to me at this point? How meaningless it would be to come in second place at War Games? And that’s no disrespect on John Sektor or the LSD Championship, I am just operating on a different plane of existence from the rest of this roster. From the rest of this industry. I have transcended what it means to be a professional wrestler, to the point that winning matches doesn’t feel like… anything. 

Winning the World Title felt empty, Scotty. 

Because I’d done it nine times before that, and if we wanna talk ugly truth, winning my eleventh wouldn’t be any harder. I could walk down to that ring on any given night, on any given show, challenge the HOW World Champion and take his title. That’s not speculation. That’s not arrogance. That’s a statistical fact– I have never lost a singles match when challenging a defending champion in my entire career, from day one. If you beat me for the HOW World Championship this week, and I wanted it back the week after, that’s a phone call for me. That’s a text message. That’s a request to the front office, and I’ll do the rest. The rest of this roster is an elevator on the wrong floor to me, Scotty. 

Not on my fucking level. 

You were right about almost everything in your promo, Scotty. Not this week’s forty five minute episode of “Scottywood and Carey have a conversation” that came after it, but that promo was dead fucking on. It had fire. It had purpose. It made sense. And like I said, you were right about almost everything. You have been my best feud of the era, bar none, rest in peace Max Kael. My heart wasn’t in it with Clay Byrd, and that’s why I made that match go away. And no, I’m not uber jazzed about wrestling Farthington at ICONIC, because he is my best friend and there’s a reason we’ve avoided this match for damn near ten years now. And you were even right to say that I’m afraid of this match, to a certain degree. 

You were just wrong about why

I’m scared as fuck of this title match. I have to be. It’s my psychology. It’s what I run on. When the serotonin dries up, and dopamine stops flowing, and you stop feeling any sense of accomplishment winning over, and over, and over again, do you know what you’re left with? Do you know what your work week looks like? It becomes impossible to get hyped. It becomes impossible to push yourself. It becomes impossible to succeed, because you already have everything you could have wanted a thousand times over. 

10 World Titles. 

8 ICON Titles. 

The Hall of Fame. 

I walked into an indy company in 2019 and got into their Hall of Fame in six months. I held all of their titles but one, concurrently, and went undefeated. Then I left on bad terms, but the owner keeps asking me to come back for one more match. I’ve won everything that there is to win in HOW twice. There is not a single person on the roster that anyone is dying to watch me fight but Farthington, and I managed to give it to them in the most unsatisfying way possible. What’s left for me? What’s supposed to keep me going and motivated? We’re always talking about positive vibes around here… positive vibes? 

Ain’t a positive vibe left in my body.

I got fat stacks of cash and I live in an apartment. I’m fuckable but I ain’t fucked since July. I drive a Toyota, I shop at TJ Maxx, and my cell phone is three years old. I deny myself every basic pleasure my career brings with it, because if I don’t stay hungry, and I don’t stay angry, and I don’t stay FEARING, then I don’t feel fucking ANYTHING. 

So you’re right, I’m afraid. 

But I’m not afraid of you. 

I’m afraid of losing this championship to a man I called Ronald McRasta for twelve years. I’m afraid of losing this championship to a man I have mocked and derided and shit on for my entire HOW career. I’m afraid of seeing a cake with my face on it, and remembering that this time I took that L for real. I have built you up to be a joke and now I’m in danger of being the punchline. And I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, just between us girls:

I did it on purpose. 

I have been using that burial shovel to dig my own grave for twelve years, Scotty. I have dunked on you for over a decade because it makes you dangerous. It’s the oldest tenant of wrestling— don’t bury a guy, or it’s gonna look real stupid when he beats you. That fear of losing to you? That fear of making you do your best work against me? It’s not what’s going to lead to my downfall, it’s what is going to fuel me to slam you through that canvas to the concrete below and hold your shoulders down for a three count. 

That’s it, Scooter. The God’s honest truth. 

No one on this roster has been able to put that fear into me in twelve fucking years. 

So I put that fear into MYSELF. 

Career matches. Death matches. Stupid side bets and stipulations. Absolute verbal burials. It’s a game, Scotty. A game I’ve been playing with myself to push myself to succeed, and it’s the reason I became who I became. On paper, if you beat me at Refueled, it isn’t the end of the world. Just a necessary step toward becoming an eleven time champion, which I’d do with ease the second I felt like challenging for it again. On paper, it’s just a match. Just a title I’ve won ten times before. Just another Sunday. But in practice?

I’ll lose to Scottywood. 

Do you know how humiliated I would be? It wouldn’t seem humiliating to the crowd, or to the boys the back— they, just like I, recognize that you have talent. That you’re an all-timer. That there is no shame in losing a match to you, especially when the stakes are this high and you’re the best you’ve ever been. You gotta understand that this isn’t even about you. Has nothing to do with whatever color your hair is today, however many piercings you have, or how many times you and Carey have a conversation about lunch in the middle of a wrestling promo. It’s about ME, Scotty. It’s all in my head. 

It’s The Perception. 

I may as well tattoo your fucking name on my face if I lose, Scotty, because I’ll never look in the mirror again without seeing you. You’d be staring back at me, laughing. Mocking. Looking down on me, like you were eight feet tall and I was the smallest motherfucker on earth. The first man to pin me in six years, etched into my brain like a TV someone forgot to turn off for two weeks. As a matter of fact, there’s another little sidebet I’ll make for myself: if you beat me, I’ll tattoo that little anarchist symbol onto my neck. And why stop there? If you beat me, I’ll wear a shirt to the ring for the rest of the year that says “I Got Beat By Scottywood”. I’ll advertise one of your shitty beers in a weekly commercial. I’ll shave my fucking head. Seriously, I’m not kidding. You don’t even have to put anything up. Sidebet locked in, challenge accepted. 

Just keep stacking that fucking deck. 

Just keep making it harder for myself. 

Competitively edging myself until I have absolutely no choice but to cum. That’s the difference between us, Scotty– I’m at my best when I’m trapped in the corner. I convinced myself I was the underdog against Conor Fuse. Against Max Kael. Against Dan Ryan. But hey, you can look at those names and say that at least that was plausible. What about Bobby Dean? Did anyone in the world think that Bobby Dean had my number? 

Because I fucking did

I believed it more than anything in the world. I paced around backstage, rambling to the Group of Death about how he was going to shock the world and beat me. Humiliate me. Make me look like a fucking idiot. I burst through that curtain like I was fighting for my life, and then I literally beat him into a fucking coma. Saw red, and didn’t stop until I was literally torn off of him. Like an animal left starving in a cage. Like a feral fucking lion, Scotty. That’s how I went six years without taking a real loss. That’s how I held the HOW World Championship just shy of a year, and intend to do it again. That’s my fucking WHEELHOUSE, Scott. That’s where I do my best work, in that little corner with no way to escape.  But what about you? 

How do you fight under pressure? 

Because you’re on the same road to Hype City that I am, but I don’t think the train is quite so imaginary for you. I think the stakes are real. I think this is your last shot at me, because you’ve had more matches against me this era than literally anyone, and you’ve played the last piece of leverage you had for another shot at me. You’re the best you’ve ever been, more confident than I’ve ever seen you, and this match… it’s the best chance you will EVER have to beat me. Maybe the last chance. 

So what happens if you fail, Scotty? 

I can see the vomit on your sweater already, Rabbit. 

I can get off the train any time I want, but you’re riding it till the end of the line. You’re not getting another title shot. The monumental rise of Scottywood in this perhaps final era of HOW will have been just another crash and burn– it is literally all or nothing for you here, and this match will determine the way that people look at you for the rest of your career. All you’ve ever wanted is to be treated with respect. To have your talent acknowledged, and have people recognize that you deserve that ring on your finger. And for the first time in your entire career, you have the chance to make that fucking happen for YOURSELF. It’s entirely up to you, and it can only go two ways: Failing to beat me means slinking back into the undercard, swapping wins with guys you know you’re better than and waiting around to see if you get drafted to War Games. 

But a win? 

Over Michael Lee Best? 

You’d be made, Scotty. You’d be on the Mount Rushmore of HOW. You’d be back in the main event, and no one– NO ONE– would ever be able to say a word, ever again. Not about your place in the Hall of Fame. Not about your record. Not about your fucking haircut. Because you’ll have done something that no one else here has managed to do since the iPhone 6S came out. A real achievement that no one can ever demean, ever again. 

And I think you’re gonna fuck it up. 

Because you could have been a main eventer eight years ago, Scotty. You could have been this all along, but you can’t handle the pressure. What else has been stopping you? What’s different, right here and now, from the way things were two weeks ago? Two months ago? Two years ago? What has made you a fuckin’ loser your whole life, and me a winner, when we’re cut from the same 97 Red cloth? Two lifers, two ride or die HOW Hall of Famers? You can’t take the heat. Every time the pot gets a little too big, you fold like a fucking lawnchair, because that is the ONLY real difference between us. I called you Ronald for ten years, but we’re both clowns, you and I. Just different kinds. 

Cause they’re afraid of me. 

And they laugh at you. 

Catch me in the sewer with a red balloon swallowing souls because I’m afraid that if I don’t, I might have a bad day. Catch you at Jatt Starr’s birthday party this weekend, turning those balloons into fucking giraffes. We’re the angel and devil on the shoulder of an elite professional wrestler, and where you fall apart, I get a thousand feet taller. Where you get a Game Over, I Level Up. Where you fail, I succeed, and this week, the pressure literally couldn’t be higher.  You have a chance to fuck up the ICONIC main event. You have a chance to shut me up forever. You have all the ammo in the world and you get to go last. 

Go ahead, Scotty, shoot your shot. 

No pressure.