It had been a while, hadn’t it?
Eight hundred and sixty eight days sandwiched between Refueled LXXI and ICONIC 2023.
That’s a long fucking time, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, a lot can happen over two and a half years. And fuck, a lot did happen. Stories were told. Rumours were spread. Truths were spoken. And lies took on whole lives of their own.
Fuck was it an entertaining period of time.
Hey, did you know that I died? You didn’t? I was fucking shocked too when I heard that one. Headline read:
‘Teddy Palmer, Dead At Thirty Four In One Car Crash’
Why!? I was so young and full of life. And the potential, God the potential I had. Talk about a great head of hair too. But you know how alcohol can be. It’s that cruel bitch who doesn’t love you back, and the bathtub moonshine proved that much to me when it sent rejection at my smooth moves in the form of a Colorado Blue Spruce. I’m not too sure why I was driving a white Ford Bronco in the vein of OJ Simpsons, but regardless, it didn’t stand a fighting chance against the oddly specific tree species name dropped in the news reports.
Do you know what I struggle the most with, though? Why the fuck was I naked from the waist down?
It’s something I, or you, will never know.
But I digress.
Lets jump back to Refueled LXXI. Specifically, Clay Byrd, High Octane’s rootin’ tootin’ cowboy. I don’t think it was much of a secret that I was quite the burr in his saddle. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t fucking touch me in that ring, and didn’t so much as get a sniff of my LSD Championship during his hopeless pursuit of it. Whether it was on some ship in the ocean or as the first two entrants in War Games, he was always left with the same result: a salty taste in his mouth and crippling disappointment. He fucking hated me, and with good reason: I always won.
Now let’s be clear here, that isn’t a humble brag on my part. It’s just facts. We’re not discussing a HOW legend right now, but rather a poorly conceived stereotype of a modern Texas cowboy. Quite frankly, I’m not sure the hulking mound of bitch tits ever really bested anyone around these parts, so bragging about it would be pointless.
I’d ask the man himself, but I notice he ain’t round these parts no more.
I’ll make sure to send my best (Beau)Regards.
But I am a man who is willing to give credit where credit is due. For as wildly ineffective as Byrd was inside the ring, he was quite the force outside it. And no, I’m not talking about behind your back in the Discord DM’s. He blindsided me that ill fated summer evening in his zebra striped uniform, and was relentless in his mission to end my second stint in HOW.
And he fucking did it.
A run that saw me form a faction that went head to head with The Best Alliance, and won. A run that saw me take not one, but two championships from their grasps. A run that put me in the main event conversation once again, much like when I won the Lee Best Invitational back in 2020.
All gone in the blink of an eye.
And that should piss me off, right? Well the thing is, it doesn’t. Not one bit. I’ve been sitting on a secret for two and half years about that night, and it’s time I confess.
My foot was already out the door. I gave zero fucks by that point. If it wasn’t Clay, it’d have been Sektor. Or Sutler. Or Lee himself. What the world saw after War Games was the physical shell of Teddy Palmer. My spirit had abandoned its vessel, kind of like how everyone who I thought had my back abandoned me when shit didn’t go their way.
How you doin’ Local 214?
Three of us created a brotherhood that grew to be something none of us could have imagined. Again I say, we beat The Best Alliance. It might not have been the best version they’d ever fielded, but that’s a debate for another day.
We beat them.
We beat Lee Best.
And then she took her fucking ball and went home.
She showed the world it was never about us, but rather her and her quest to become HOW World Champion. And boy did reality give her quite the bitch slap as that war played itself out. Realising her hopes of winning Ol 97 Red were nothing more than a pipedream had to suck. Realising that as the field grew it was apparent she was nothing more than a midcarder had to be devastating. Walking out on me and everyone who let her be the face of a movement was gutless.
The keyword there being Let. She certainly didn’t earn a fucking thing. She rode the coattails of everyone else, much like she’s riding the coattails of an entire generation’s legacy with the rebirth of an era that died and should’ve remained dead. It’s a fucking disgrace, and poor attempt to control there which she couldn’t here.
I let my dream die because of someone else.
Talk about Deja Vu.
Anyone remember my first stint here? Came in like a bat(man) out of hell, and ran the fucking table during the 2020 Lee Best Invitational. What made it more impressive was I came in as half of a tag team: Red and Ted. Within eight weeks of putting ink to paper, I was Main Eventing March To Glory against Cecilworth Farthington. Sure, the result wasn’t favorable, but Teddy Palmer had fucking arrived. The potential everyone had long spoken of was finally coming to fruition.
But jealousy reared its ugly head.
Teddy Palmer wasn’t supposed to be the one destined to Main Event shows or battle for singles Championships and Accolades. He was the comedic relief to Red’s stoic stature. He was the personality to Red’s physical presence. He was the one who’d make money off merchandise while Red made his between the ropes.
So what did my best bud since preschool do? He took his ball and went home.
And what was I left with? Nothing and no one. I was trying to navigate sobriety in a world not worth being sober in. I was trying to win the love and admiration of the fans when I’d have been more comfortable with them telling me they fucking hated me. I was a square peg trying to fit in a circular hole. And the fucked up thing was I actually made it work for a while. That is until it didn’t, and for the first time, my foot was out the door.
The reason I bring all this up is because it encapsulates the Teddy Palmer you all know: one who has struggled with an identity crisis.
I’d been doing this for sixteen years with a tried and proven formula of who and what I was. Yet when I came here, I assumed the identity of something and someone I wasn’t. An inspirational underdog. A union brother. A man the fans looked up to.
That isn’t, and has never been Teddy Palmer.
Third time’s the charm.
I’m not here looking for support from anyone. I’m not in need of a moral compass to guide me on some self righteous path. I’m most certainly not here to be domesticated. I’m here to eliminate any and all ’what ifs’ that cloud conversations about my career.
Lee Best has provided me with that opportunity in the form of a Final Alliance jacket and a ‘prove it’ contract for 2024. I’ve been given the freedom I was void of as a member of Red and Ted and Local 214. I can finally show the world who Teddy Palmer really is.
And what better place to do it than where it all started four years ago: the Lee Best Invitational.
Hugo, this is where you enter the equation. Now I’d be lying if I said I knew much about you beyond the scarred face. I just don’t. You could be a really cool cat for all I know, even if you used to roll with Jatt and cradle Mr. Whacky for him.
But you do know a little about me beyond what I’ve just rambled on about.
You were ringside when I beat Jatt for the LSD Championship. You had the best seat in the house that night, and you watched me systematically break down your boy, a HOW Hall of Famer might I add, and remove that belt from his grubby little paws. You were also there the following week when I did the same fucking thing again, that time taking the Tag Team Championships with ease.
You know what I was capable of inside that squared circle.
I say was because the man you watched do that, isn’t the man you’ll be stepping into the ring with. No, that Ted was restrained. That Ted played within the rules. That Ted respected the sanctity of our craft.
This Ted won’t, and I’ll be unapologetic in doing so.