Here in the Land of Cleve

Here in the Land of Cleve

Posted on February 9, 2023 at 3:33 pm by Dan Ryan

”If you choose bad companions, no one will believe that you are anything but bad yourself.”

– Aesop, Aesop’s Fables

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My Own Brand of Therapy

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Chris.

Champ.

I think we got off on the wrong foot. I meant no disrespect, of course. And I assure you, I have no plans to disrupt your place at the top of the food chain unless I am chosen and challenged to do so. But in the meantime, as I said before, I admire what you have been able to accomplish upon your return, and there’s nothing but appreciation for the red, white and blue force of nature, I promise.

Yet at the same time, I’m starting to get the idea that you are willfully choosing to pretend not to understand my story. You’re acting like one of those people who think that I was hatched out of an egg, a newborn, and signed a contract with High Octane Wrestling four years ago, without considering why I was sought out to come here in the first place. I was signed to be part of War Games. Do you think that was because I was a fresh-faced rookie with potential? Does that make any sense to you?

I think you’re better than that, Chris.

All of my time, every match and moment I’ve had in a HOW ring up until this return I consider a failure. That’s a fact that I won’t deny or run from. I came back from retirement a shell of my former self and truth be told, was in no condition mentally or physically to compete in War Games, or any competitive arena at the highest levels of this sport. That is, however, where I quickly found myself, yes, again. Main event after main event. Big show after big show. I lost more of those than I won because I wasn’t me. I just couldn’t run from my reputation.

And what was that reputation, Chris? Let’s pretend you don’t know.

I know the trap very well, trust me. This is the part where my ego is wounded and I start listing off all of my accomplishments, all of my championships, all of my big moments in this sport from the late 90s to the late 2010s, giving you a big semi-truck wide opening to hit me for bragging about myself, especially since obviously, anything I did before retiring and then signing with High Octane… it doesn’t matter. And that’s fair.

It’s a solid trap, Christopher. I respect it. But I’ve been doing this too long to fall into the traps, champ. If you really think I’ve never been where you are or been as high as you are, that I don’t know what it feels like to be in your position, I invite you to ask your boss some time. He won’t bullshit you. He’ll tell you the cold, hard, honest truth. He always does. Or don’t. Ultimately I guess it doesn’t matter. Things will happen however they happen, respect or not, understanding or not.

I don’t know if I’ll take that title from you or not. But it won’t be because I’m wrong, Chris. It won’t be because I’m wrong.

And I can tell you now, I’m not here to judge you. Don’t worry about that. I’m not going to tell you what you are. You already know. I don’t have to hold that mirror up to your face. But I will analyze you. Everyone analyzes you. You’re the motherfucking World Champion. The world is analyzing every step you take. They’re all watching, waiting, looking for weakness, looking for cracks in the armor. And I’m not exempt. I will analyze you. I have a job to do. You telling me not to do it is stupid, and I don’t think you’re stupid. A little insecure, probably, but not stupid.

But let’s not argue, my friend. There will be a time and place for us to eventually try to rip each other’s heads off. It might happen way, way earlier than I expected, or we may have a bit longer to wait. But here’s the one constant I know about myself when I’m given the chance. I always find myself challenging for that top spot again eventually. It’s inevitable, as inevitable as the sun rising every morning.

I want you to do well, and I wish you a long, healthy, happy reign, champ. I really do. You’re on the right side. I’m on the right side. Let’s not spoil it with insults and verbal jabs. There’s not even a guarantee that we face each other anyway. In fact, the overwhelming likelihood is that we don’t. You will probably draw someone else, and you’ll go out and you’ll defend the World Championship, and I’ll be there if you need me, just like I was at ICONIC, so long as that draw isn’t me.

And if it is me, you’ll simply have to deal with an aging professional wrestler, now in his 40s, after a long and illustrious career, out only to prove to himself that he still has what it takes. And I think you’ll do fine. I think you will. And I’ll be okay, too. After all…

I’ve been here before.

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Fascinatin’ Joe

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Man, Joe.

I almost feel bad for what I’ve done.

You’ve never really done anything to me, never screwed me over or treated me badly, and yet there I was, running out and dumping you on your head, then dumping Sunny on her head. You were just lying there unmoving and sad, and I felt a twinge of guilt go through me. But then I remember you bit the hand that fed you, and I felt okay about it again.

I get what you’ve been doing with Missouri Valley Wrestling.

I once started up a small promotion to compete against the big boys and provide an alternative, a place for underutilized and disrespected men and women in this sport to learn and thrive, and I confess that I don’t really know the inner workings of MVW, who’s calling the shots and whatnot, but I understand the mentality. I’ve been there. I have empathy for the moves you made, but unfortunately, you also put your neck out on the chopping block willingly.

You openly flaunted your double-dealing, and it bit you in the ass… or, more accurately, the top of your head and neck.

And that’s really all this is. You wrote the check, and I gave you your receipt.

Now, it’s not like you have nothing to be happy about. You followed up said head-dumping by going out the next week and winning the HoTV title from Great Scott, and I don’t think even you thought that was gonna happen. The kid has been on a roll, but you put a quick, fast end to that, didn’t you?

You are the champion, Joe. And that puts you squarely back in my sights again.

This isn’t like the situation with Christopher, you know. He and I need to learn to work together. We’re a team, and I have no doubt that we will get past this awkwardness and make it work. But I have no such allegiance to you. And it’s not just about one of your boys signing an exclusive deal with a rival company.

Please. Nothing so short-sighted. You tried to rise up against the boss, and you failed miserably. You joined up with Clay and his crusade against Lee and what did it get you ultimately besides turning Clay Byrd into a very very sad cowboy? But who cares, right? He’s off singing Sweet Baby James under an old oak tree somewhere in West Texas and you’re the HoTV Champion.

Ain’t it funny how things work out sometimes?

And besides, if it hasn’t sunk in yet that the Best family always looks out for its own ahead of anybody else, then I just don’t know what company you think you’ve been working for. This is a family business, and you’re not in the family. Now look in the mirror and repeat that ten more times.

You’re not in the family. So don’t sit there and go off on a rant about unfair treatment or hypocrisy. You, Adam Ellis, the Alabama Gang, you’ll never know that benefit. So let it go. Stop bitching about it. All you’re doing is raising your own blood pressure, because I promise you, as far as your little gripes go? Lee Best does not… give…a fuck… about you.

Not one single little baby fuck.

You’ve found your niche, Joe. You’re the champ. Be happy with it. Don’t get greedy. Lee Best lets you stay alive. That’s your birthday and Christmas present all wrapped up in one. Just keep your fucking mouth shut, live, and let live.

Oh, and tell Sunny next time she decides to hit me with a bottle of liquor…

I prefer Bulleit Bourbon.

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Saving Jace

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Jace, before we start…

Why are you so horny?

Also, why do you spend so much time on OnlyFans??

Sorry, I couldn’t think of anything better.

Okay, that’s out of the way.

Jace, here’s the thing. You are the LSD champion. You have held that belt so long that I don’t even remember when you first won it. I mean, I’m getting older, but I’m not so old that I’m getting forgetful just yet. It’s just been that long. You should be celebrated. Probably not by women who know you, but by the rest of us, yes… And you’re right, you made the HoTV title relevant in the first place. You made it something to strive for.

CELEBRATED.

You should be celebrated.

Lee Best is one of your biggest fans. I’m one of your biggest fans. And we aren’t your Only Fans, either. There are many more where we came from that respect and acknowledge your importance to this business and to this company.

So why oh why are you complaining and whining so much? It’s so beneath you, man. The King of Wrestling is upset about Scott Stevens of all people. So he cost you the tag titles. Did you really want to keep teaming with him anyway? And he screwed you over at the last Lethal Lottery. Who gives a fuck, Jace? I’m not coming at you, I’m asking you legitimately, who gives a fuck? It’s Scott fucking Stevens.

This is a man who supposedly is part of a Texas wrestling dynasty, yet if you actually go to Texas he’s known more for doing funny local furniture store commercials. I don’t even know if he’s really from Texas if I’m being completely honest. Back in the DEFIANCE days, I showed him a photo of some of the cattle on my ranch and he asked me what they were.

He’s not worth your time. The tag titles were nice to have, but not at the cost you would have had to pay. You can get those belts back with somebody else. The stain of having to team with Scott Stevens is forever.

And maybe that’s the thing. Maybe you’ve been forced to be associated with the dregs of East Texas for so long that you forgot what it’s like to get in the ring with a quality opponent.

Well, guess what, Jace Parker Davidson. Today is your lucky day… maybe. I’m your man. All I have to do is be the one man out of seven who draws your name, and we can go out to that ring and we can put on a motherfucking show for everyone. I promise you, I won’t screw you over. I won’t take shortcuts. Those days are over for me. Just a good, honest-to-GOD fight. A goddamn fight. That’s how you like it, right? I know it’s right up my alley. Maybe we can even get the blood flowing if you’re up for it. And the rumor of a cage? Hot damn that sounds like fun.

I know that you put your big boy pants on every week, that you work your fuckin’ ass off, and you put your best foot forward every time you go out to the ring. You represent HOW as you should, and I’m right here to do the same thing for as long as I still have breath in my lungs.

If I’m drawn to be your opponent, I’ll promise you this. I won’t feel cheated. I won’t feel disappointed. Three champions are possible. All three are Hall of Famers. I have a 3 in 7 chance to lock up with a Hall of Famer. If that doesn’t get your blood pumpin’, I’d have to ask just what the fuck you’re in this business for. These are the most prestigious championships in professional wrestling, and if anyone… and I mean anyone… thinks that’s something to laugh at or wants to thumb their noses like it doesn’t mean anything, then they aren’t worth your fuckin’ time, Jace.

Me? I’m worth your time. Pray that it’s me who draws your name this weekend.

I wouldn’t want you to be bored.

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That Was Yesterday

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I made a firm decision last year.

Everyone and everything that came before, everything I was or did or said, all the people I associated with, and every business deal I ever cut.

They never happened.

As far as I’m concerned, they never happened. I don’t feel sorry for myself. Fuck that. I have no time for self-pity. Self-pity is a waste of fucking time. I’m a man of action, and I’m taking the time to make moves that reposition me as the man I want to be. I have a short amount of time to rebuild myself, but I’m gonna do it anyway.

I had so many people come to see me late last year. Some of my old friends are not my friends anymore. And honestly? That doesn’t really bother me, because if a friend isn’t there for you when you really need them, they aren’t much of a friend, to begin with. The people who did reach out, who were there for me, are my friends now.

Isn’t that sweet, nice, and heartwarming?

Fuck you.

I’m not the first man to make a huge fucking mistake, but I’m going to own it nonetheless. I didn’t kill anyone, but I’ll take my lumps anyway.

For now.

I’ve always been a fervent believer in accountability, and I’m going to take responsibility for my own actions. They were no one else’s choice, no one’s fault but my own.

But while I’m keeping my mouth shut and taking the shit that’s being flung at me now, the time for absorbing all of the well-deserved abuse will eventually come to an end. Eventually, I’ll say ‘enough’, and I won’t let myself be a punching bag anymore.

It’s so easy for some of you to run your big fat fucking mouths, so easy to talk your shit and act as if you’ve never so much as farted in church. I shouldn’t be surprised. Bunch of slow-minded, weak-ass cunts.

Well, my conscience is now clear. My slate is clean. I took my beating, but now I’m gonna start fighting back. You got your free shots in. No more. I still hit as hard as I always did, and I can still rip your fucking head from your shoulders if I want to. Hell, I’ll do it while you’re running your trap if you want it to be a little more exciting than usual. Anyone who has something to say, come up to me and say it. Maybe I’ll listen. Maybe you’ll lose endorsement deals because I’ve slapped the taste out of your mouth.

Eventually, if people can’t shut the fuck up about it, I’ll shine a light on some of their transgressions, too. All these self-righteous fucks throwing stones as if they’re a bunch of goddamn choir boys. Some of those motherfuckers were right there with me, right beside me, benefiting from the shortcuts I took, getting some attention for shit I did to put myself on top. They’re happy to reap the benefits, but when the shit goes down, where the fuck are they? Nowhere to be found. Or even worse, helping to lead the crusade.

Oh yeah, word gets back. Even those little whispers you whisper to your ‘friends’ about me when you think no one’s listening. So please, by all means, say what you need to say, throw those stones, say your piece. But once you’ve said your piece, I suggest you shut the fuck up, because I’ve been in this game for 25 years, and I’ve seen lots and lots of stuff goes down. Trust me…

Pepperidge Farms ain’t the only one who remembers.