Funny how history repeats, isn’t it?
No matter how many times I leave this place, somehow I find myself sucked back in through fiery, 97RED Gates of HOW.
Whether partnered with, or faced against, a certain cardboard likeness… I end up Doozed and Abused. Or should I say, Dan’d and Slammed? Ryan’d and Ironed? Whatever. You get the point.
Fuck my head’s still full of fuzz from that one.
Guess that’s what I get for ruining his previous MDK finisher.
Ah fuck it, let’s just get on with this shit already. Back into the past, we go.
The first time this specific recurrence occurred was when I turned twelve years old. It was 1985. I was playing a one on one game of two hand touch football against my big brother. Which basically meant we took turns starting at the end of the yard, ball in hand, staring down the other, who was standing between the ball carrier and two trees on the opposite end. The objective? Get by the defender and run between those trees to “score.”
Now, this was usually a no contest. My bro was bigger, faster, and way more coordinated at the time. He was also five years older than me. Sizing us up back then would be akin to Darin Zion Matthews Zion standing toe to toe with the 4th Wahl.
However, this was the year I finally began to develop some semblance of speed and general athleticism. I saw it in my brother’s eyes when I nearly tricked him with a quick juke. He barely got both hands on my back by the time I was passing him. And he sure as hell didn’t appreciate my personal progress as much as I did.
But, he did still get me tagged.
So his turn was next. He was used to flying by me using the same move I had just tried on him. I was always ready for the move. He used it everytime.
Kinda like the format of a Hollywood promo, when you think about it.
But with his long legs, that damn sidestep was just wide enough to stay out of my reach.
But this year was different, like I said. With a couple extra inches on my reach, I was finally able to graze his back with the tips of my fingers. He liked that about as much as Jiles likes Zeb right now.
“GOT YA!” I remember shouting the words with a sense of pride and accomplishment rivaled only by the twenty-four hours following War Games listening to Sutler pat himself on the back.
“Bullshit, you did!” My brother snapped back at me, continuing to run toward the goal line. “I only felt one hand!”
Blood rushed to my face so fast I could feel the heat on my cheeks. I threw up my hands in protest.
“C’mon! You know I got you! Not fair, bub!”
He spat to the side in response to my plea. Then he said something, at the time, that I couldn’t comprehend. It makes sense now; a truth hidden in a distraction… to throw me off. But then? Well, the words just came out too naturally to ignore.
“Don’t call me bub.” He snorted. “I’m not even your real brother.”
The statement turned me into a statue. Besides my eyes nearly popping out of their sockets, I couldn’t move. Then finally I shook my head, refusing to believe the cold hearted lie he so naturally spouted off. He always did this type of thing to get under my skin, anyway.
“Shut up. You are so! Now give me the-”
“No, really. I’m really not your brother. Not fully, anyway” He had been walking back toward me with the ball in hand, staring straight into my eyes. Unblinking. Before I could even muster a response, he decided to elaborate. “Your dad isn’t my dad.”
Like I said before, making shit up to get under my skin wasn’t a new thing. But he rarely doubled down like that.
“You’re lying!” I wanted to believe the words I shouted back at him, but wasn’t even sure I could. But our dad was the only one I knew. How could he have a different one?
He saw the doubt swelling up inside me, and smiled.
“Your Dad’s name is Larry.” Duh, I thought, as he stated the obvious. “And mine is Harry. You know. The milkman that used to drop by every week.”
Okay, he’s definitely pulling my chain now, I thought. He could’ve tried a little harder to at least not come up with a second name that rhymed.
So I laughed. It was more of an awkward chuckle, but I started to feel better immediately. He saw my confidence coming back, and he didn’t like it.
“Go ask mom.” His tone was absolute deadpan.
Now, back then, safe to say, your youthful Dooze was a momma’s boy. And I knew there was no way my bro would say that without expecting me to run to her and do just that; ask. Not going to lie, that realization scared the fuck out of me.
So I ran.
Within seconds, I plowed through the front door and shouted for my mother. She came rushing from the kitchen, probably thinking he broke my foot like he did two years prior playing the same game.
“What’s wrong, babe?” She looked me up and down as any concerned mother would. “Everything okay?”
Fighting back an influx of emotions, I choked out the words, “B-bub… he just… He just said dad’s not his dad! He said he’s Harry’s son… or something?”
The look in my mom’s baby blue eyes told me everything before she could even muster a response.
Patient Room #FuckMeIfICouldRemember
I hadn’t felt pain like that in a long time. And I’d been put in a wheelchair thanks to HOW before this. But damn is Dan Ryan a strong motherfucker.
No wonder Lindsay’s broken.
At least, thanks to what I can assume is either a shit ton of shots or a morphine drip, I can’t feel my neck right now.
To be honest, I can’t feel much of anything.
Maybe that’s related to the painkillers…
Or maybe it’s related to what happened after Dan slammed me so hard into the barricade I lost nearly all motor functions.
But I didn’t lose everything.
I still remember what happened in that parking lot.
At my lowest, at my weakest, there was my brother. Yolk, not blood. My best friend. Or so I thought…
Add eggsult to injury, and spitting a stupid fucking line to boot.
That was the ultimate gutpunch.
That’s when, despite the haze from what was definitely a severe concussion, I knew I had gone wrong at some point. Very wrong.
And yet, as I realized my brother wasn’t who I thought he was… all over again… I couldn’t help but think of the one thing these events had in common.
God, I fucking hate the Milkman.
That Infamous Room
It’s almost exactly how I remember it.
The 97RED loveseat standing in all its luster.
The portraits of Jiles hanging on the wall, in all their glory. And yes, I had my people put my personal favorite one back up, front and center.
For those not in the know, it’s that one with Cancer’s shoulders down on the mat. A single hoof on his chest, attached to a centaur body with the torso and head belonging to our buddy Brian’s best ex-friend, Darin. The match Mr. COOL likes to pretend never happened.
People don’t forget.
Oh, and that fuckin’ fern I hate. I will say I’m a little impressed it’s still alive. Blondie must have Dean watering it for his allowance or something.
It’s been a few moons, I’d say.
Noticed a few names come, a few names go.
But I have to give it to you, Brian. Yours is one of the few names I’ve seen since my first failed frolic in the fields of High Octane, and every single remedial run to follow.
No jokes, no sarcasm, it’s almost as impressive as the beatings and ridicule Steven’s takes while he just keeps truckin’. And, personally, I don’t know how you do it either.
If anything, it’s commendable.
And trust me, I still hate giving you any kind of credit, Hollywood.
But GOD damned, do you deserve some. I mean, how the fuck do you keep coming back to work each week? Or even every other?
Before I ever stepped foot in the Best Arena, I was that guy. I mean, I won a WHOLE lot more. But the idea was the same. Let me explain.
I used to be known as the dude you couldn’t keep down. Only way someone was going to submit me was to make me pass the fuck out. Only way I wasn’t standing the fuck back up after a beatdown was if my legs were broken. Only way someone was gonna keep my shoulders on the mat would be if I had no pulse.
Then I signed a contract with Lee.
High Octane proved, again and again, just how soft I became.
Success can do that to damn near anyone. And I had a lot of it. But the worst part is, when it’s happening to you, you don’t fuckin’ realize it. Not until it’s too late.
So yeah, I had my memories of glory…
But not at HOW. Not at the one place that mattered.
The ultimate test.
The ultimate trial.
My ultimate tribulation.
I can’t even count the times I’ve come and gone. But you know what I can count? The wins I’ve had. On one fuckin’ hand.
And yeah, I’d love to come back here and say the same bullshit I’ve tried to say before. That it doesn’t matter to me anymore. Winning doesn’t matter.
Winning doesn’t matter to The Dooze.
That’s some grade-A level horse shit even Mike’s weathered nose could sniff out a mile away.
Yet you, Brian fuckin’ Hollywood, with your stupid, long wavy hair and punchable face manage to do exactly what I’ve been trying to all this time. But you don’t get the credit for it.
You are, in your own fucked up I-will-never-really-understand-it way, results proof.
Like it or not, you might be one of the few I have had a victory over in this place. But you’ve had more over me. You and your dickheaded, little dweeb named Darin took the only things I ever cared about at High Octane.
The Tag Team Titles.
And my best friend.
My brother in yolk.
The guy who used to stand by myself no matter how stupid I got. The guy who wouldn’t crack an egg without running it by me first. The guy who until fairly recently had a World Title draped over one shoulder, and Tag Title draped over the other… which he shared with an even bigger piece of shit than Zion. But I digress.
This song isn’t about him.
This is your time, Brian. And damn it, you deserve it. You deserve it way more than I do.
Even if you are just the same, I’m a rich bitch, but I’m not anymore, wait yes I am again reused version of your sisyphus self you’ve regurgitated over and over and over to the point where HOW fans could probably write your predictable, center aligned promos for you…
You’re still better than me.
Fuck, I don’t even know what I am at this point. All I know is what I want to be.
What I got to be.
You see, this return isn’t about proving anything, to anyone of you, anymore.
It’s about proving something to myself.
And delivering on a promise I made to GOD the last time I decided to come back.
So it’s time to get religious, Bri-guy. You better pray you have another match in you like the many you’ve had in the past. Because you’re going to need to get back up.
No fanfare. No eggs. No frills. No nothing.
It’s time I finally do what it takes to survive this Hell.
It’s time to finally be me. And nothing else.
Brian Hollywood, it’s time you get properly Doozed and Abused, my friend.
See you at Refueled.
I’ll be just that.