Training had been long, hard, and very fucking draining. If I wasn’t in pain, eating, or shitting then I was in the ring learning to compete as a one-eyed wrestler.
Everyone at HellsGate let me have everything that they could muster.
I don’t think I’ve ever trained so hard in my life.
I collapsed onto the bed inside of the room inside of Becca’s house behind the HellsGate facility. I took a swallow of water from a bottle on the nightstand and let the mild painkillers do their trick. My head sunk into the pillow and it wasn’t long before I drifted off to sleep.
Or so I thought.
Inside the black nothingness of dreamless sleep, I felt myself begin to get overheated. My skin began to perspire with sweat. I didn’t recall getting under a sheet or a blanket, but my skin was boiling at this point.
Before I knew it, I opened my eye and I was right back in that wasteland of Hell. Everything along the landscape was on fire but unlike last time I did not have both functioning eyes. The pain was also very prevalent and intense. More so than it has ever been before. I reached for my eye while screaming in agony before the voice from the flames I spoke to the first time spoke.
“I told you that I would be seeing you again soon.” The voice taunted with amusement.
I tried to look around with my one good eye while trying to ignore the pain. This time there was no Grim Reaper or any other entity. I did notice a large throne placed off in the distance, but it was engulfed by an inferno of flames. They were insanely hot to the point that I couldn’t make out a form other than the throne itself, but the voice for sure came from there.
“Wait… don’t tell me. I died training for my match at March To Glory.” I bit off the words with condescension and anger.
“That would be entertaining but no.” The flames responded. “I’ve been watching what you’ve decided to do with this second… or is it third… chance at life. And frankly, I’m kind of bored with the whole situation.”
“I’m happy to you view my life as a sitcom.” The sarcasm was very apparent.
“I have a question for you…” The flames began, completely ignoring my sarcasm. “Just what do you plan to accomplish with all this tedious training that you’re doing?”
I furrowed my brow and looked towards the throne with contempt.
“I plan on retaining my LSD Championship belt and to do that, I need to run through Steve Solex.” I answered. “After that, I plan on going through each member of the Final Alliance. Along with every single person Lee Best decides to throw at me until there is no one left to protect him.”
The flames let out a very obnoxious groan.
“You professional wrestlers are so trivial and boring.” There was disdain in the flames’ voice. “I don’t think you’re quite grasping the situation here, mortal.”
“Grasp the situation of dying and going to Hell?” I asked. “The situation of signing over my soul just to get another chance at life? Yeah, no, I’ve never done that before. I’ve only ever seen it happen on television and in movies.”
“All of that might be true, but I didn’t agree to send you back to that realm just to sit back and watch you try and beat Steve Solex in a scavenger hunt.” The flames complained. “As the owner of your soul, I sent you back to be an instrument of pain and destruction.”
“Cool, I get to become Ghost Rider.” I shook my head.
“You’re getting on my nerves, mortal.” The flames hissed.
“Got under the skin of the Devil himself, new greatest achievement unlocked.” Conor Fuse would appreciate that comment if he was here.
The flames around the throne grew in intensity.
“You’re supposed to be an agent of Chaos. A harbinger of the unavoidable reign of fire. I didn’t grant you everything that I did, just for you to play patty cake with a senile war veteran!” The flames displayed their anger in a very extreme way.
“Other than giving my life back and this everlasting pain in my eye. I don’t appreciate the presents all that much. Can I exchange them for a gift card to The Red Lobster?” I quipped as the pain ratcheted up to another level.
“That pain you feel is not really pain at all.” The flames replied cryptically.
“It sure as fuck not a tickle.” I snapped.
“What you’re feeling is a surprise growing inside of you.” The flames confessed. “It’s going to take a while to manifest, but when it does you’ll have a very interesting experience. However, it comes at a very steep cost.”
“Of course it does, because why the fuck not?” I shouted in frustration. “What is it this time? What else could happen to me if I use this so-called surprise of yours?”
“Every time you use my little parting gift, it will take significant time off of your life span.” The flames informed with a sinister satisfaction. “Could be a week, a month, or a few years. Who knows? However, when your life span ends? You’re dead, once and for all. There will be no going back, no deals to be made. You will spend eternity right here, whether you like it or not.”
“I can deal with that.” I could feel every muscle in my body tense and every joint pop from the level of pain I was in. “So, when will this surprise be ready for me to use?”
“Could be in about a month. Could be more. That’s completely up to you.” The flames tried to pretend not to know the answer. “The more hate you foster, the more destruction you cause. The more pain and suffering you bring about will help grow my surprise even faster. And when you finally use it? There will not be much that can stop you.”
“Pain and suffering?” I paused for a moment. “I plan on causing Steve Solex a lifetime of pain and suffering in England.”
“Is that so?” The flames questioned. “It seems to me that you’re just flying by the seat of your pants.”
“I’m not going to stand here and claim I have it all figured out.” I said honestly. “I have no idea why a man that claims to be a proud American. A man that gets shitfaced drunk and sings God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood. Would ever hold a PPV in England on a fucking soccer field. But the boys in HOW? They seem to love that shit, fucking hypocrites.”
The flames let out a slight chuckle.
“I also have no fucking idea why Steve Solex thinks he can keep bouncing around different factions and partners like the village whore.” I spat with a disgusted taste in my mouth. “He likes to go off on people like Bobbinette Carey, but it’s not like Solex hasn’t suckled from the teet of relevance since the very moment he darkened HOW’s doors.”
“And yet he’s a member of whatever a Final Alliance is.” The flames chimed in. “He’s the man that’s looking to benefit from the pain and suffering caused to you by a bald social security recipient.”
“Mr. War Hero is just nothing more than a tiny green army man on Lee Best’s chess board.” I remarked. “The only Soldier Boy that gets an ounce of respect out of me is Jensen Ackles. Even putting them in the same category should be a sin worthy of being sent here and getting stuck in an endless conversation with you. Solex is going to get his. He’s going to get so fucking hard that his ex-wife will achieve orgasm for the first time ever.”
“We’ll see if you can make good on that promise.” The flames scoffed. “Just don’t use up that surprise too much too soon. I look forward to seeing far less of you here before your time is ultimately up.”
“I don’t care when I have to spend the rest of eternity down here.” I fired back. “So long as I have Lee Best right here beside me to torment, then I’ll be just fine.”
Flames from all around shot to the sky with a blinding fury and the next them I know I’m sitting up on the bed like I was hit with a bolt of lightning. I was covered from head to toe in sweat and my heart was racing.
I reached for my eye as the pain took over every other sensation.
I lowered myself back down onto the pillow. I glared up at the ceiling and focused on the one thing that has played in my head since Chaos 024.
The fucking smile of Lee Best.
HellsGate Training Facility
Outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado
Friday, March 10th, 2023
The HellsGate Facility was dark and kind of quiet. Seeing as it was Friday night, everyone had either left to go enjoy the nightlife or headed home to relax during the weekend. I found myself on my back in the center of one of the rings. I looked up at the lights above the ring with my one good eye. I extended my arm out like I could reach the bright light from my position on the canvas. I could hear and also sense that Abdullah Choi was scurrying around somewhere along the ring apron, but I didn’t bother to look over at him. I just continued to look up at the light.
“I’ve trained as much as I possibly can in the time I’ve had here before MTG on Sunday night. I’ve done everything that I could do as far as the wrestling aspect things goes. If I don’t walk out of Manchester with the LSD Championship belt, it won’t be due to a lack of preparation.”
I’ve had that belt in my possession since fucking August of last year. Not having it in my possession at the moment made me feel naked.
“It’ll be due to Lee Best. It’ll be due to members of the Final Alliance. It’ll be due to Lee Best letting Steve Solex investigate every nook and cranny of Old Trafford before the event even begins. It’ll be due to everything you can think of that doesn’t involve Steve Solex’s natural God-given abilities.”
There was a smile tugging at my lips, but it wasn’t one of happiness or amusement. It signified that I was so angry that I couldn’t do anything but grin at how hot my rage boiled.
“But that’s the story here, isn’t it? No matter how close we get to MTG, Lee Best continues to stack the deck that much higher against me. He dared to do the one thing to me that would put his very existence and his company in danger. I would admire the audacity of it all if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s a petty motherfucker. A mere pauper that thinks of himself as a GOD, but I just can’t get it out of my head. I can’t stop picturing that fucking smile.”
I bounced the back of my head off the canvas a couple of times.
“The fucking smile on his face after he stabbed me in the eye with that pen. The smile he had on his face after Steve Solex pinned my shoulders down to the canvas for that fast three count. The smile that is etched into my brain as he watched Solex attack me after that match. He had his moment, but moments are fleeting. He’s moved all chips to the center of the table. He’s gone all in on Steve Solex of all people.”
I cackled a little in a fit of hysterics but soon regained my composure.
“Does that make you feel good about yourself, Solex? You have to ask yourself, is he stacking the deck in the favor of Christopher America against Conor Fuse in the same way that he’s doing for you against me? Of course not, that would be insulting to a wrestler of Christopher America’s pedigree.”
I closed my hand slowly into a fist and held it there as it blocked out the light shining down into my eye.
“All of this over-the-top macho bravado is corny and overplayed. From the growing of that dirty dish rag that you call a beard. Finally, to you being on the ‘special medicine’ to make you ‘swolex’ because that equals wins, right? You’re not STRONK but you’re welcome for having all the available products from the company that I OWN to make you feel man enough to step into the ring with me. Cut the corners, lie, cheat, and steal from every other successful wrestler that you can, Steve. We all know that originality isn’t your strong suit.”
I lowered my fist and then ran my fingers through my hair in an aggressive manner.
“Tell me something, Steve. What are you going to do when Stronk becomes STRONK again? Do you think Lee will continue to entertain your little mini STRONK act or will he kick you to the curb for the real deal? Let’s dig a little deeper, what do you think Lee will do if you don’t walk out of Old Trafford as the new LSD Champion? After all the effort and after all the advantages placed in front of you. What do you think he’ll do if you fail? Especially, considering a loss by you could mean that Conor Fuse could potentially become a Captain for a War Games team?”
I managed to sit upright in the center of the ring and let my questions linger in the ether for a few moments.
“A lot hinges on you, Steve Solex and I got to say whether you realize it or not. All the pressure sits squarely on your shoulders. If I don’t walk out of Old Trafford as the LSD Champion then it’s not a shocking thing. I’ve only got one good eye and I’ve already held the title for 200+ days during this reign. A reign that saw me as the leader in the total days as LSD Champion before it even started. I’m padding stats at this point. But what if you lose at Old Trafford? What if you walk out of Manchester empty fucking handed and Conor Fuse is a Captain of a War Games team?”
I cocked my head to the side a bit and mulled over the questions I just asked.
“Can’t blame Christopher America for losing to Conor Fuse. He’s a former two-time World Champion and has even been mentioned as a possible HOF candidate. Besides, with War Games coming up it’s not like Lee Best would just kick the winningest War Games competitor ever to the curb. Not going to kick Stronk to the curb either, especially if he becomes STRONK by then. Marvolo has been gaining traction, Charles De Lacy looks promising, and being that it’ll be War Games season. We all know that Mike Best will once again rise from the depths of some trashy white girl’s vagina to be active once again.”
I paused for a moment as the smile on my face grew a little wider.
“Where does that leave Steve Solex on the Lee Best totem pole?”
I had thoughts on an answer to that question, but I thought it would be more amusing to let Solex’s mind toil over it.
“I hate to have to admit this out loud, but since I came back to HOW in April 2021, you’ve been a thorn in my side, Solex. No matter how many times I’ve swatted you away like the pest you are. No matter how many times I’ve stepped over your lifeless carcass on the way to the shitter while hammering out a tweet, you just keep coming back for more. Your persistence isn’t admirable, it’s asinine. And yet, no matter how hard I try, you keep popping up as the speed bump on my road to adding to my legacy. You got into the HOF by accomplishing NOTHING. It is the heist of the century in professional wrestling. You’re not going to top that. You should have just retired on the spot and rode off into the sunset, but here you are.”
My smile turn into a sour expression quickly as I held out the palm of my hand and began counting off.
“You keep hanging on and for what really? Being giddy over costing me a chance of winning the HOW World Tag Team Championship belts in my very first match back? What good did that do you? It led to me steamrolling over you to win the HOTv Championship belt with a reign that turned it into something prestigious. But you wanted revenge. That’s why at War Games last year you dropped me throat first across some barbed wire to eliminate me from the match. But you weren’t just trying to prevent me from a fourth reign as HOW World Champion. That was you trying to end my career and my life. Sadly, that didn’t work out in your favor and everything went right back to normal. Like me beating you for the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts. Then again beating you twice at ICONIC to retain the LSD and HOTv Tag Team belts. Scoreboard isn’t looking good for you, Steve.”
“But oh… you pinned me on Chaos!”
I raised my hands into the air and slapped the sides of my face in pretend shock.
“That definitely makes us even… for sure. You, Steve Solex, who graduated from the Brian Hollywood school of ‘This time it’ll be different!’ I’m sure after you lose at MTG you’ll be spinning that old Rolodex of failed gimmicks like you were trying to get to showcase showdown on the Price Is Right. How many times do I have to beat you before you accept the truth? How many times do I have to steamroll over you before you realize that you’re more suited to sitting behind a desk? Setup with a laugh track, opening fake letters like the absolute worst episode of Blue’s Clues? How many times do I have to prove to you that you hit like a girlie man…”
I raised my arm into the air and begin hitting myself repeatedly right over the eye patch of the eye that was stabbed. It hurt worse than words could ever explain, but I was dead set on not letting my body language or facial expressions show it.
“Before you realize those pussified punches of yours did absolutely nothing post-match on Chaos? A senior citizen with a pen did more damage to me than a man that served our country ever could. But that’s just the thing though, isn’t it? Ignorance is bliss when you’re Steve Solex. I’m sure you’re going to come at me with Pirate jokes, one-eyed jokes, Onlyfans, and Twitter thots jokes. I bet you’ll even go back to when I had rainbow-colored hair and play those classics until the wheels fall off. I was absolutely one of those blue hairs that you love to talk about. I am the personification of the problem with this country.”
I lowered my fist from my eye to my chest and keep punching away.
“Come do something about me, Steve Solex. Bring yourself and all of the pseudo-disgruntled war vets that you can find, who are only a step away from donning white hoods with you. I won’t be a hard man to find in England.”
I stopped and took a few beats to compose myself.
“But the question remains… how am I going to overcome the odds? How am I going to retain the LSD Championship belt? That’s simple.”
A hint of the previous smile teased the corner of my mouth.
“I’m not going to outrun Steve Solex. I’m not going to know Old Trafford as well as Steve Solex. I’m just going to do what I do best. I’m going to do what I’ve been trained to do. I’m going to beat the fuck out of Steve Solex. I’m going pound your skull into any and every surface that I can find using my boot. And I’m going to keep doing that over and over again until you’re nothing more than a puddle of mush that used to be a human being.”
“After that? I can take my sweet ass time searching high and low throughout Old Trafford until I find MY LSD Championship belt.”
“Lee Best tried to turn this match into a farce, but even so, it’s still a match for the LSD Championship. I might not be able to pin your shoulders to a canvas, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use anything available as a weapon. That doesn’t mean I can’t crack open that melon on top of your shoulders and dig out that tumor with my bare hands.”
“And for those five seconds, you’ll think I’ve saved your life. Well, that’s before I take that tumor and make you fucking eat it. Lee Best took wrestling out of the equation for YOU, Solex, but raised the stakes of violence to all-time levels for ME.”
“He could book me against you in a game of King of the Mountain, Hop Scotch, or fucking Chutes and Ladders, but it wouldn’t matter. Regardless, I would use wrestling and violence to beat you in every single one of them.”
“I am the FOREVER ICON Champion, which makes me the King of Professional Wrestling.”
“And I am the GREATEST LSD Champion that has ever lived, which makes me the King of Unadulterated Violence.”
“I am the King of EVERYTHING be it Pirate or not.”
“And at Old Trafford? It won’t be a celebration for Manchester United or them getting blown the fuck out. It’ll be about coming together because I’m going to REUNITE you with all of your fallen brothers and sisters.”
“I’m going to make you suffer far worse than any tumor could ever make you. And then… in an instant, it’ll be all over and everything will go dark. You’ll be the first but soon, one by one, all of your so-called colleagues will join you. It’ll be a GameChanging experience, especially when Lee Best finally arrives and joins all of you in Hell.”
“The world a cold, cruel place. Come warm yourself by my fires of damnation.”
“I’ll watch you all burn with a smile that only Lee Best himself could be proud of.”
GLORY GLORY DEEZ NUTS, BITCH