Hubris

Hubris

Posted on December 19, 2023 at 12:06 pm by Mike Best

Hubris. 

Noun. From the Greek hýbris. Extreme arrogance. Excessive pride. Dangerous arrogance. A word that I might have said described my father, up until a few days ago. And I’d still say that, make no mistake. But like I’ve been saying over and over for the last couple of months, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 

But the apple does fall. 

And sometimes it falls hard. 

I have fucked up beyond all measure. There isn’t a better way to express that. I am profoundly embarrassed. Immeasurably humiliated. Scott Stevens is the HOW World Champion. Not by fluke. Not by freak luck. By victory. He fucking beat me. Doesn’t matter who ate a pin, I fucking lost that match. And I have absolutely no one on planet Earth to blame for it but myself. 

It was hubris. 

I was so certain that it was a forgone conclusion. I keep looking back at the things I was posting, talking about how my father booked a safe title defense. How he already knew the result when he laid out the card. I was already thinking about what I was going to do with the HOW World Title after I retained at ICONIC, never even stopping to think that I might not even make it there in the first place. 

FUCK. 

FUCK. 

You probably expect me to spin this. Point some fingers and cry foul and say it doesn’t count because Zion got pinned. Because Stevens hit me with a low blow. Because… whatever. I’m not gonna do that. I’m gonna eat some fucking crow here and call it like it is:

I had this coming. 

And I deserved it. 

I have dunked on Scott Stevens over and over and over again. For ten years. I broke his nose in front of his own son, and then took custody of him. I have made jokes about tampons and done everything in my power to invalidate any win he has ever achieved over me. I have belittled, dismissed, and humiliated him at every opportunity. And when you take a man’s dignity away from him, and you rub salt in those wounds, and you shit directly in his mouth, guess what? That kind of shit… festers. It builds up. You grow this fat chip on your shoulder, and eventually, you burst at the seams. Scott Stevens waited for ten years. He bided his time. He looked for his moment. 

And now, he’s the rightful HOW World Champion. 

No excuses. No cop outs. 

He fucking did it. 

This isn’t me trying to rewrite history and claim I always secretly thought Stevens was the man or something. I have always held and will always hold a negative opinion on Scott Stevens. I think he’s a dork. I think he’s the Lonesome Loser. I think he’s a fucking goober. But my hubris and my arrogance have finally spiraled so far out of control that I failed to remember that he’s still a fucking wrestler. Still a Hall of Famer. Still a man, and you can only push a man so far before he breaks. 

I spent ten years breaking Scott Stevens. 

It only took him one night to break me. 

Maybe you’re disappointed in me for walking up that ramp and taking that jacket, after fighting so hard “for the good of HOW”. Maybe you think it makes me a sellout. Or a coward. Or a liar. Maybe watching me put that jacket on made you think less of me. And that’s all fair, because it’s all true. I’m a liar. I’m a hypocrite. I’m a fucking coward. I ran back to Daddy during the most shocking moment of my entire career, and I joined the Final Alliance. The fuck can I possibly say to defend that? How can I possibly spin that in a way that makes me look like anything but a fraud? Nah, I’ll be the first to admit it. 

I lost respect for myself twice that night. 

And I would do it again. 

If you’ve never won the HOW World Championship, you can’t understand. And I don’t expect you to. There’s nothing in the world that feels like it. Nothing so rewarding. Nothing that will fill you with that kind of pride. It means more than any other title or award you can get, here or anywhere else. It will fill a fucking hole in your soul that nothing else in this world can, and it’s the reason I can’t stay retired. That I can’t just stop. It’s the single greatest feeling in the world. 

So imagine losing that. 

Imagine losing that, to a man who you have belittled for a decade. Who you have made publicly declare that he’s inferior to you in every way. Who you have humiliated to the point that he’s treated like a joke by everyone else. Imagine walking back up that ramp, and staring into the eyes of your own father, and he’s not angry with you. He’s not pleased to see you get cut down. He’s not relieved that your reign is over. No, you look into that man’s eyes, and you can see that he’s embarrassed. 

That he’s disappointed. 

I wasn’t wrong. Lee Best booked what he thought was the safest title defense in history, to protect his ICONIC main event. He didn’t think for even a second that there was a chance I’d walk out of that arena without the championship. And that’s maybe the part of this that’s the most humiliating— it wasn’t the loss. It wasn’t taking the jacket. It wasn’t knowing that a nearly sold out arena watched me eat my words. 

It was what came next. 

It was what happened to Dan Ryan. 

I walked back through that curtain, wearing that jacket over my shoulder, feeling like I had hit absolute rock bottom. And then I saw it. Then I saw the fucking monitor. I watched Jatt Starr standing over Dan, taking him out for the rest of the year, and I saw it differently than you did. I didn’t see a tag partner lashing out at his co-champion. I didn’t see a betrayal born out of resentment. I didn’t see Jatt trying to help his own odds at ICONIC. 

I saw my father’s Plan B. 

I saw him put me back into ICONIC.

I saw my mentor, my hero, and one of my best friends get tossed in the fucking trash, because in my father’s eyes, I had single handedly ruined the main event of ICONIC and now it was up to him to fix it. I don’t believe that Jatt made that call on his own. I don’t believe that was his idea. I think Lee Best had a contingency plan that he never expected to have to enact, and I forced him to do it. I forced him to walk out there with that jacket and resort to Plan B. What happened to Dan is my fault. What happened to me is my fault. What happened to fucking HOW is all my fault— my own hubris. My own actions. My own failure. 

But I will make you a promise here and now. 

It will never happen again. 

My father called me lazy. He was right. He called me checked out. He was right. I’ve had one foot out the door ever since I came back, and I wish I knew why. I can blame him, and the culture. I can blame the fans, or the roster. I can blame a lot of things, but at the end of the day, I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me. I thought that this little self discovery and self improvement journey that I’ve been on might help me figure it out— might help me become a better person, and get past this mental block that’s had me so lazy and fucking distant. I guess I was wrong… becoming aware of what human garbage I’d become didn’t help me get better, it just made me… aware. 

So fuck it. 

May as well embrace it, yeah?

Scott, I would very much like for you to enjoy the next couple of weeks. Wear that championship. Take it to every event you attend. Sleep with it under your pillow. Do whatever you have to do to revel in that hole in your soul, suddenly filled by that magical feeling of being the World’s champion, because I can promise you that I’m coming to take it back. That I was sleeping on you, but that come ICONIC, that nightmare is over. And this isn’t my taking you for granted, Stevens. This isn’t me assuming that you can’t get the job done, because very obviously you can and you did. I don’t think it’s going to be easy this time. 

But I am going to fucking destroy you. 

I’m going to finish the job that I should have finished when you were weak. When you were at your lowest. I have spent so many years stringing you along and toying with you and humiliating you, but all it did was make you come back stronger. Angrier. More determined. They say that if you’re going to swing for the king, you’d better kill the king, and unfortunately for both of us, you are now the King of HOW. This isn’t hubris. This isn’t arrogance. This isn’t me assuming you’re beneath me, Scott. This is, for the first time ever, me acknowledging you as a competitor. As an equal. As a threat. Because you proved that you’re a threat. 

You beat me. 

See I fucked up. 

But so did you. 

I’ve done a lot of shitty things to you over the years, Stevens, and I’m not saying it was right. I’m not defending it. I’ve been a bully and a shithead and a royal douchebag. And honestly, I’m not even apologizing. I’m just acknowledging. But if you thought that it was rough being someone I felt was below me, then just wait until you feel what it’s like when I take you seriously. 

I’m going to fucking end you. 

That’s not trash talk. 

It’s not posturing. 

It’s not hubris. 

I’m going to end you, Scott Stevens. No tampons. No embarrassments. No fucking jokes. I am going to carefully and systematically break you, and then I’m going to tear you apart, limb from fucking limb, and then I’m going to take my championship back. I don’t know what stupid shit is going to come out of your mouth after you read this, but I can promise you that it doesn’t matter. Take it seriously. Make a joke of it. Don’t acknowledge it at all. It doesn’t matter to me. There’s nothing you can say— no series of words strung together that is going to change what I’m going to do to you at ICONIC. 

That’s my fucking belt. 

It’s mine, Scott. 

If you think there is anything I give a fuck about more than that title, then you don’t know a thing about me. I don’t give a fuck about what people think of my new red jacket. I don’t give a fuck what people think about to beating me. I don’t care about any of it, Stevens, the only thing I give a shit about is getting that belt back. I don’t think you actually fathom the depths to which I will goor the morals I will compromise to achieve that. I don’t think you understand that you and I have never had so much as two minutes of a real wrestling match in all the time I’ve known you. I don’t think you can comprehend the difference between the man you stepped into the ring with on the Go Home show and the man whose eyes you will look into at ICONIC. 

You achieved something, Scott. 

You deserve to be commended. 

I will never say you didn’t earn it, that you don’t deserve it, or that the way you won the title isn’t legitimate. But I will promise you, with every fiber of my being, with every ounce of anger and resentment and bitterness in my soul, that you don’t know what’s coming. You aren’t prepared for it. And you will not beat me again. Talk all you want about ICONIC 2015. Talk all you want about history. Talk all you want about my father and my last name and every statistic you can drum up, Stevens. 

It will not matter. 

My name is Michael Lee Best and I am the single greatest professional wrestler in the history of High Octane Wrestling. Fuck the records. Fuck the stats. Fuck the numbers. On sheer force of will… on pure desire and talent… there is no one who can stop me when I take those fucking sweatpants off. No one who can hold me back. No one who can contain me. I am lacing up my boots and looking at you with new eyes, Scott, so I hope you’re fucking ready. 

I am the World Champion. 

Thanks for reminding me.