There is joy in everything.
Beyond comic books and video games, I’ll tell you what drives me, what really keeps me going through the ups and downs of life and more specifically, the ups and downs of wrestling. As those who have come to know me over the past three years, I am a dreamer. I dream big, I dream often. I dream of my enemies and battles. But the most important dream I’ve ever had… it’s not one I’ve shared before. It’s a frequent, worrisome situation.
I imagine myself around 80-years-old, lying on my deathbed, as a younger version of me enters the room and asks for advice.
“What do I regret?” the fresh faced Conor Fuse wonders.
The room is silent for a significant period, until the 80-year-old Conor builds enough energy to lift his head, look the younger me in the eyes and say…
Not a thing I did wrong, or need to change. No alternative path to take, no need to overthink. Above all else, absolutely, positively, no regrets.
…At least I hope that’s the dream which transpires. The 80-year-old me never does end up opening his mouth.
See, failures can be positives. Steps back are used as leaps forward. My hope is the End of Life Conor Fuse has no problems since he carried himself the right way. Because when I step into the ring, when I choose to lace up my sneakers for another go… every match, from main event to opener, from title contest to throwaway… I plan to give it my all and I am always grateful for opportunities.
Where am I going with this? Well, for one, I’ve been wrestling for a while now and I pay awfully close attention to my surroundings. I see wrestlers grow bitter… fall apart… completely crumble for stupid reasons, despite being in their prime and having everything in front of them. I see athletes who need to get their priorities straight. Live in the moment, enjoy the process of battle. Not the outcomes, as they are often meaningless. So you didn’t win the world championship. At least you fought for it. There will be another chance in the future. You lost three matches in a row. Nobody’s gonna remember three months from now, I promise. Wrestling fans move quickly. What was at the top of the dirt sheets on Monday may be completely buried the next.
I digress. It’s the here and now that matters. The journey. The campaign. The story in front of you. The friends we make, the enemies along the way. This is wrestling. This is life.
I am driven by the story… the reality… of being on that deathbed at 80-years-old. My concern is not seeing a content Conor Fuse. Rather, it’s a representation of others. Who struggle. Cannot live in the moment. I fear Old Man Conor is consumed with nothing but regret and sadness. Wishing I had enjoyed the process more than I did, because I didn’t. Berating myself for not looking past the trivial shit, since I couldn’t.
I like comics, yes. I love video games, of course. They are enthralling, although it is never about the outcomes… it’s the story. It’s Batman vs. Joker and what they will do to each other. It’s the levels you go through when you press start on a new game.
Professional wrestlers are obsessed with their own journeys. Obviously, so am I. Wrestling is a comic book, it is a video game, it’s just a different medium. It’s less about the end result and more about the steps to getting there. Pit two amazing athletes against one another with no compelling arguments and, sure, you can still create some magic.
But it won’t be substantial. It won’t be talked for years after the feud transpired and it certainly won’t elicit goosebumps down your neck upon further recognition.
I am here for those goosebumps. I am here to evoke a response far beyond the average. The war beyond. The never ending battles. The true relationships you make along the way.
Cancer Jiles is special. And yet all I see from him is the antithesis of what this game is supposed to provide.
He complains. Scoffs. Remains stuck on the meaningless aspects of wrestling.
He wants “the main event”.
You don’t find the main event, Jiles. It finds you. To be on last, first, or somewhere in the middle… these aspects are beyond your control. To hold a championship or not, you and I both know they come and go, too.
Jiles, your name holds value. Main events or titles don’t dictate real rivalries…
It’s the other way around.
And that’s why I’m here. It’s why I’ve returned to point you out. You are wasting your time focusing on what you can’t control and what doesn’t matter inside the game of wrestling.
Who? What? When? Where?
Conor Fuse vs. Cancer Jiles was one of High Octane’s greatest rivalries. I don’t care if you couldn’t hang in HOW, or just wanted a change of scenery. You left me without my greatest enemy. So be thankful I found you. Don’t pout, cry, or wiggle your way free. We might not have the main event… the world title may not be on the line, either.
Does it matter?
This IS wrestling, this is life. Bring your story to center stage. Be the best Cancer Jiles you can and I, as always, will be the best Conor Fuse that I can. You’re going to see there’s no need to complain anymore. You have everything you want.
We will have a wonderful bloodbath at PWA. The crowd on their feet, the announcers screaming into their microphones. Some cheer for you, others side with me. Mothers cover their children’s eyes, grown men leap out of their chairs like they are thirteen-years-old. We will battle until neither of us can move. Bring your bandit friends or leave them hanging. I don’t care if I win… and I couldn’t give two fucks if I lose.
In the end, I’ve got what I want.
And Jiles, I promise you… I swear to you… you’ve got exactly what you want, too.
So enjoy it while it lasts. These battles don’t come around often. You’re the center of my attention, the ultimate villain with a bullseye. The COOLYMPUS of PRIME versus the Pinnacle of HOW. And now we stand on the same platform, controlling the wrestling landscape entirely.
Are you ready, Jiles? I wouldn’t want you to regret anything.
A guy like you might never be able to overcome it…
— — — — —
Well HELLO! I can only assume I have a new audience watching my every move due to this crossover madness so allow me to formally introduce myself. For those who don’t know me, my name is Conor Xavier Fuse, although I don’t go by my middle name, no clue why I added it. I have a plethora of pretty sweet nicknames, but in HOW I am The Vintage. I like NES, Atari and all that nifty 80s shit. As you know, I’m a gamer. Clearly, I’m also a wrestler. And surprise, surprise, you recently found out I love comic books, too. Amazing! Anyway, I think I’m decent. Imma try as hard as possible. One look at me and you might think I’m Darin Zion (sidebar: nothing against Zion but hangs with the wrong crowd), otherwise I’m a badass when you push my buttons. Last year I murdered a guy for ten minutes and now, apparently, he’s the HOW World Champion. Just shows you how serious I can be.
Needless to say I fly around the ring and put my body on the line. Never a dull moment, I take each match with the utmost importance. Live or die by the wrestling game, it’s so much fun when you do.
I’ve moved around the Chicagoland area, since this is the primary headquarters of HOW. For now, I find myself in a boring ass, middle-aged bachelor apartment… but I spruced it up as you can see by these sick Cancer Jiles bedsheets I scored on sale from SHOP-HIGHOCTANE.com, the second that sandbagging pencil dick mamma’s boy went running over to, well, mamma’s fed. Safe to say Lee doesn’t want a thing to do with that moronic eGGhead anymore.
But I do.
So I spring outta bed early, I’m a go-getter you see. 6am Conor Fuse don’t need no coffee or sugar rush. Kids, I don’t do drugs, either. …Which is a scary thought because I don’t know what another level of hyper on my dial would look like.
I make my bed. I tuck Cancer Jiles’ mug in tight to my Cancer Jiles pillow. It’s a small single size bed, as you can probably guess I am a single man. I mean, I had a girlfriend before, for like a few weeks. I don’t know if it was ever Facebook official but I’m not that vintage.
Sorry. I’ll keep on the straight and narrow. You newcomers basically need to know I’ve gone through a lot of crazy times in High Octane but none crazier than my interactions with the jobber himself. See, when at the top of his game, Cancer might be the most complete wrestler I’ve ever faced. Honest. Truth. I kid you not. Stop laughing. Fun fact for ya: he defeated Mike Best during THE SON’s legendary title run NO ONE ELSE even came close to dethroning. If that isn’t talent, I dunno what is.
Plus my current time in HOW has been a bit of a drag. It’s no one’s fault other than my own. I keep losing these big matches at the very last second. Lost WarGames to the aforementioned Stronk Godson and passed out in the World Championship match at March to Glory against Christopher America, the guy who took my title to begin with.
Guess I’m in need of some motivation myself.
Cue last month, which is the flashback I’m performing for you ATM. Conor Fuse leaps out of bed at 6am and decides to throw on the VHS tape of PRIME’s last pay-per-view experience, Culture Shock. No way was I gonna stay up in real time to watch it, I had video games to play… other shit to do… but throw on the recording, fast-forward to the middle of the battle royal and watch it from there, that sounds doable.
Someone once said you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. The day Cancer Jiles ran away from HOW, I was determined to find where he was going.
And follow. Like a leech. A groupie without wanting that kind of physical connection.
Also, it doesn’t hurt when there’s a few other names in PRIME I’m interested in getting my hands on. (I’ll leave those names alone… for now.)
OH! There he is, the eGG Man himself, the guy who convinced everyone in PRIME to hate him. It’s a brilliant strategy, the n00b is barely doing fuck all inside the ring. Conserving energy while the rest of the group goes balls to the walls.
I give my head a shake. Typical Jiles Bandit nonsense.
You know, full disclosure, when I first joined HOW I was told Jiles was a joke. I was informed of all the losing he did. Time after time. I was encouraged to work with someone else. ANYONE else.
“Don’t wrestle this guy, half the time he won’t show up.”
Funny, that’s the tagline on our PWA2 match.
Things never change, huh?
And while I watch this battle royal, you can’t help but agree. The guy is worse than a sloth. You sit there and think “he won the PRIME World Title?”
Yeah, he did. His run was decent. His work was solid. He had lit a fire under his ass. That’s the key. He’s a brilliant villain. I’m not gonna dive into comics too much, okay? I don’t want to bore you… but there’s an iteration of The Joker where he stops giving AF about everything. No robbing. No murders. He even stops laughing.
Batman retired. There was no fun to be had.
This fucking Bandit is the exact same way. He’s a genius. Terrific. You just gotta unlock his potential.
The battle royal gets down to the final TEN and guess who’s still there… Cancer Jiles. He’s done nothing the entire time and yet remains front and center. Yeah, he helped eliminate Elise Ares (good riddance to useless space) but the key word is HELPED. He didn’t do it on his own.
For a while there, I was almost foolish enough to believe CJ was gonna win. But then another clown appears, (a guy I retired from HOW BTW – who’s nowhere near as funny as I am) Cecilworth, and he throws Jiles over the top rope. Therefore, my interest in the PRIME battle royal is kaput.
My interest in PRIME, however, has peaked.
Knowing my nemesis well, I rise from my couch and pull back my Cancer Jiles curtains to reveal the sun is rising. I turn towards the living room, close my eyes and take in the surroundings. A Cancer Jiles throw pillow. A Cancer Jiles lamp. A Cancer Jiles salt shaker, used to sprinkle salt on my popcorn. I mean you name it, I’ve got it. You gotta dive in the deep with your most heinous villains and I am hereby consumed by the code.
I can feel a rush of excitement up and down my spine as I walk to the center of the room and stand on my eGG rug, Jiles’ face plastered across it.
“The time has come?” I ask myself tentatively. Then I take a glance back at my tv, with the VHS paused right at the part where a dejected Cancer Jiles hits the floor.
“Lights, Cancer, ACTION!” I feel giddy.
Getcha game face on, Fuse! You’ve got a reason for infiltration but we’re gonna have to develop a whole new demeanor.
I flip my shoulders forward and my arms come along with them. I crack my knuckles, grit my teeth and give my neck a stretch.
Time to get to work.
Your Rogues’ Gallery needs you!
— — — — —
HOW World Championship:
Cancer Jiles (C) vs. Conor Fuse
April 17, 2021
The dickwad has a picture of the world title wrapped around his tights for crying out loud.
The bell rings, we circle around. There’s also a guest referee but he’s been DOA for so long he doesn’t really matter. No, who matters is my opponent, the guy I didn’t think I could live up to.
At this point in time, I was afraid of him.
To be clear, it’s me, Conor Fuse, challenging for my first ever World Championship against the current HOW title holder, Cancer Jiles. Like I said, the dipshit is fresh off defeating Mike Best, the be-all, end-all wrestling prodigy. Maybe I have a right to be scared of Jiles because of what he achieved.
When I walked into the American Airlines Arena on this night, I thought a victory was a Hail Mary. I mean… it ended up being a Hail Mary, I lost. Jiles cheated and I got heavily screwed by a few outsiders, too. But this is not an outcome I complain of.
No regrets, right?
He hits me, I hammer him in response. HARD, between the eyes. He stumbles. Falls. Collapses. Tries to pull himself off the canvas with a dumbfounded expression.
Yeah, hoe. You shouldn’t have looked past Conor Fuse.
Soon after I attempt a moonsault. You know, I’m a high flyer. He moves and I smack the mat. Then he starts kicking me. Hard. Relentless. Fuck, it hurts. He’s barking at me, too. Lots of jaw jacking. I believe his wheels are turning. He didn’t think I was a threat before…
I can only assume when someone’s wrestling career is over, there are specific events you can point to and say that was a momentum shift. For Conor Fuse, this is one of them.
And the other…
#1 Contender Match:
Cancer Jiles vs. Conor Fuse
July 3, 2021
Same match, much different circumstances. Jiles doesn’t have #97. In fact, if I defeat him tonight… I’m receiving the next title shot.
Times have changed, and in the span of a mere two-and-a-half months, that’s how quickly you can go from being on top of the world to a serious crash and burn. Or, in my case, from having no confidence…
To building upon a legacy.
I have his moves scouted. There’s no cheap shit he can get away with here. Trust me, he wants to cheat. He wants the easy way out, I can feel it. I know him better than he knows himself.
Nothing can stop me. It’s my match to win… it’s my championship to take.
Spoiler alert: I wind up doing both.
But as I climb to the top rope, ready to perform my 450 splash and subsequent pinfall attempt… I can’t help but look down at the broken mess of a villain, with a hint of concern on my face.
I owe this man everything.
In April, I lacked confidence. But hanging with Jiles proved I COULD be a last level guy if I put legitimate work into my career. Hell, I almost survived WarGames, where the entire roster was gunning for CJ’s championship and I outlasted everyone but one.
I even outlasted Jiles.
I measure the Bandit on the canvas. I prepare to leap off the top rope and into the unknown.
It’s my promotion now.
I’m the man.
The main event.
I crash into him. Hook his leg. And that three count falls rather quickly. I should celebrate… leap up, scream into the rafters and focus my attention on what’s to come.
…but for a moment, I remain on the mat, right beside my enemy. Even if I want to move, I don’t. Dare I pat him on the shoulder? Would he take to this affection? He’d never do the same for me.
Jiles accomplished what he wanted and now he has been sucked into the abyss, back to where he came from. He returns to fulfill the role I was told he played before I arrived.
Loser. Joke. Has-been.
Ring announcer Bryan McVay bellows my name on the microphone. Referee Joel Hortega wants to raise my hand. The fans are cheering loudly. I need to embrace this opportunity as I push off my opponent and hear the roar of the crowd…
Soon enough I’d learn that indeed, I was right. Our rivalry is over. Weeks later, Jiles moves on from High Octane, while Conor ascends to levels beyond his wildest dreams.
My heart falls into my stomach, a sour demeanor across my face.
I can’t accept it.
There’s no fun in this victory, if it means we can’t continue…
— — — — —
Saddle up, bro. ‘Cause Conor Fuse is making the jump to PRIME. I’ve spent the past seven days mapping out every step. I’ve called in some favours… nothing big, just a pack of dudes from the local comic club. I told them to find green Riddler suits, bring whatever they’re currently reading and join me in places like Kansas City, Denver and Albuquerque (Lindsay, why u booking in Albuquerque???). We’re gonna cause some… chaos.
I wash my Cancer Jiles plate and place my Bobby Dean fork and Doozer butter knife in the cupboard. Ya gotta have a few trinkets of the other guys, too. It makes The COOL merchandise feel at home.
Is it strange I have a ton of Jiles memorabilia?
That was a serious question.
Anyway… as you’ve likely got the impression by now, I live for this shit. The battle, the war, the story.
I march into the hallway, lean down and pick up my eGG Bandit duffle bag. I flick a pair of t-shades across the bridge of my nose, stick a line of barley in my mouth and start chewing like a southern hick.
“Time to save my enemy,” I state, snatching my car keys and marching out the front door.
I’m coming, buddy. I’ll pick you up when you’re down.
And then some.
— — — — —
tO CaNcEr JiLeS,
Why so serious?
Actually. It’s a legitimate question. I’m not doing a Heath Ledger impression here. Why are you so bent outta shape about not MAIN EVENTING this and that?
Dude, just fucking be. You’re Cancer Jiles.
Nevertheless, because I know you’re not capable of truly living in the moment, that’s where I come in. For I am here to save you, Jiles, and you are very much welcome.
In 2021, you ran away when we should’ve had so much more time together. We were never given the opportunity to bleed, tear one-another limb-from-limb, or render the other unconscious. We were never given the chance to see eye-to-eye, either. Where I would tell dead baby jokes and you would laugh; where you could complain how useless Bobby and Doozer are to their faces, and I could subsequently spit at the soles of their feet, without repercussion.
Regardless, you fled HOW. You left the company you overachieved in after showing your real potential. You defeated the man no one else could, because, when push came to shove…
You proved you were the best wrestling had to offer.
The real main event player.
And yet, somehow, someway, you also believed the competition grew too fierce. Silly me, here I am putting words in your mouth. Am I wrong? Why you run, boy? WHY YOU RUN!? WarGames got too tough and, as a result, you fell apart like the crumb you are.
Why do I believe in you when others don’t? Maybe I’m the problem here. But when the stakes are high and you reach the finals of the Almasy Tournament… become Universal Champion… and even main event COOLOSSUS… I can’t help but think you ARE the 8-4 mega boss you were born to be.
(FTR you should’ve beat that pie-in-the-sky-wannabe-Conor-Fuse in that main event, too.)
So CJ, listen. I give you what you want – you give me what I want.
Me: a battle, a war, a full blown feud they will talk about for years to come.
You: main event, money, attention, fame. The focus, a laser, a straight-one-shot back to the top of the charts. You don’t have to wrestle a half-baked simp or goofy cult leader with a 1-87 record. You stand across the ring from the real deal, the two-time HOW World Champion, the bell-to-bell WarGames survivor, the gamer who never backs down from a fight.
Jiles, I am ten times the wrestler I was two years ago. “When motivated” is not a question for me. I am ALWAYS god damn motivated. You never have to worry, I will be there for you.
Can you be there for me?
I sleep in Cancer Jiles bedsheets. I have an eGG Bandit night robe. I live, eat, breathe, fucking piss yolk from my vas deferens all because I am itching to battle the first serious enemy I ever came to know.
There is joy in everything, Jiles. Do not shy away.
It does not finish at PWA2.
You can help me find the conclusion, although I’m in no rush. Bring the greatest version of yourself, as I will obviously bring mine. We will create a war unforeseen.
It goes beyond HOW vs. PRIME, and Lee vs. Troy. We are the focus, they are the spectators. They send us into battle and we line their pockets with carnage.
Don’t quit on me now; don’t quit on me ever.
You want the main event? You want the world championship?
I’m your path towards it.
Does it end with us killing each other, or do I actually get to tell those dead baby jokes to you after all?
You gotta meet me halfway, bro. Win, lose or draw, it doesn’t matter. It’s the story that gets my blood pumping. It’s the path to where we go from here. It’s always been that way. It’s the spirit of wrestling.
Now let me show you-
Let us show the world what a true rivalry looks like.
It’s Conor Fuse vs. Cancer Jiles. Hero vs. villain. Enemy vs. enemy. Whatever lens you want to view it through, it’s two of the elite, with no signs of slowing down.
So pucker, kiss, gear up. There ain’t gonna be any goodbyes tonight. We walk into the abyss and forge our own path. Rip me apart and I’ll bleed for you. You’re a stuck pig, so I’m not too concerned with the amount of yolk you will spill.
And when the bell tolls and the match is over, there will be a smile on my face no matter the result. I didn’t come here to read a comic book or play a video game. I came to continue my own story, to live vicariously through myself, where I am that 80-year-old man on my deathbed.
With no fucking regrets.
I promise you’ll receive everything you want, Jiles.
In many ways you already have…