What do you even say after twelve years?
I’ve been stuck on that line for about two days now, coming back and staring at it every now and again. The little cursor blinking at me, begging me to elaborate. To answer the question I was posing not just to all of you, but to myself. It turns out that it isn’t an easy question to answer. High Octane Wrestling has been my entire life for twelve years, and in that time I think I’ve let you all into every crevice of my life. Nothing left in the shadows, everything out in the open, my entire human experience over a dozen years laid bare for everyone to see.
I have worn my life on my sleeve.
And you’ve been here to witness it.
Last week was the coolest night of my life. Getting into the ring with three of the cornerstones of HOW over the years, and the chaos that ensued. Finally meeting Narcotic face to face, and shaking his hand backstage even though he ate a knee to the skull by mistake. Pinning Darkwing and Jatt Starr at the same time in the most preposterous ending to a match in the history of HOW, maybe. We went to war out there, and maybe it doesn’t hit the same for the rest of you, but that’s one of the proudest nights of my life. To be in that match, and to be considered on the level with guys who I used to just be a fan of from the outside… that was really, really cool.
This has all been really, really cool.
The outpouring of support from the rest of the roster has been amazing. Hearing from guys like Conor Fuse and Arthur Pleasant about how much they enjoy my work. Text messages from Dan Ryan, who was still watching from the faraway of retirement. Even managed to get a quick word in with my nephew Sutler this week, even if it was short and to the point. Scheming about how it all ends with Uncle Ollie, getting surprises in the works for once the boots get hung up. Even all the messages from people still calling bullshit… it’s been a lot of fun, and man I’m gonna miss competing in this place.
But all good things come to an end.
High Octane Wrestling has been therapy for me, like it has been for so many others. I talked about my childhood molestation and used it to promote a match. I vented about my divorce, and used it to fuel a final run with the HOW World Championship. The HOW fans and wrestlers have been here for break-ups, health scares, injuries. Ups, downs, and half the time it all went sideways. And now here I am, writing what is probably the last ever series of Mike Best Blogs™, and it’s oddly hard to know where to even begin.
First of all, thank you.
For the best twelve years of my life, I would like to say a heartful, sincere thank you to the HOW fans, the HOW wrestlers, and most of all to my father, Lee Best. Without the fans, whether you have loved me or despised me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I let your cheers carry me, and more often than not, I let your boos fuel me, and it lead me to become the single greatest wrestler in the history of HOW. Without the boys in the back, some of whom have become legitimate lifetime friends, I wouldn’t have been tested. I wouldn’t have been molded from the Son of Lee into the Son of God. Twelve years ago, I showed up on the stoop at HOW with a Fisher Price title looking like a piece of coal– all those years of pressure and intense competition are what pressed me into diamond, and I will always be thankful for that.
And then there’s Dad.
Yeah yeah, pandering. But the truth is, you motherfuckers will never have an inkling of what it takes to keep the lights on around here. Not just the cash. Not just the booking. Not just keeping it all together on show night. Lee Best is a wrestling promoter, a therapist, a police officer, a firefighter, a teacher, and a loving father… not just a father to me, but a father to all of us. This big codependent circus only stays lit up because the ringmaster makes it so, and I promise you that places like PRIME aren’t going to have the run that HOW has had and has continued to have since 2002. It’s nothing on PRIME. It’s nothing on SHOOT. It’s nothing on PWA, or MVW, or any of those other companies… HOW is a machine, through and through, and Lee Best is the gear that keeps it running.
So thank you, Lee.
Thank you for being my Dad, and my friend, and for giving me a cool playground to bully the other kids in for a dozen years. You found me on an instant messenger, flew me out to Chicago, put a Santa hat on me, and the rest was history. I owe you a debt of gratitude that will never truly be repaid, and I hope that someday you’re back around to read this, and to let me start to repay you. But I promise you that from the second the ink is dry, and I become the CEO of High Octane Wrestling, I will do everything in my power to keep this company alive in your image. To do for others what you have always done for me. To do my fucking damnest to be a friend, and and a promoter, and a police officer, and a firefighter, and a teacher, and a father to the people who need me in HOW. I will take a bullet to protect what you have created, and to keep anyone from turning it into something you’d never want it to be.
The second I become the CEO.
Forgive me for getting the wishy-washy goodbyes out of the way up front. That was my retirement speech… not gonna be some big opening segment after March to Glory where I say goodbye, because it isn’t gonna be about me anymore. I’m gonna put on the suit and do my job, and you’re only gonna see my face when decisions need to be made or announcements need to be announced. I’ll be doing my work backstage, and when that “HALLELUJAH” hits on the rarest of occasions, it’ll hopefully feel a lot like “UNDEAD” hits now. I can only hope. Big shoes to fill. But that’s then, and this is now, and I’m not the CEO of High Octane Wrestling just yet– I have one last piece of business to handle before all that.
You entitled little bitch.
You poor baby, you. You earned yourself a shot at the HOW World Championship, and then you got yourself an arm boo boo on a Black Friday sale. I heard everything that you had to say on Refueled… your little sob story, about how you played the Good Boy™ and the good soldier, and got your arm broken for it. You get in front of the camera and you wanna play the victim, after literally setting my legacy ablaze and burning my life’s work to the ground. I didn’t break your arm, you dumb son of a bitch– Cecilworth Farthington snapped that motherfucker in half like Twix after Rumble at the Rock.
Shoulda been a Snickers.
At least they have some nuts.
Twelve years of my hard earned money were poured into SixTime Academy, but it wasn’t just about the building, Clay. My championships were in there. My awards were in there. Every t-shirt I ever made, every piece of gear I ever wore into the ring. Letter from my brother, photos with DeNucci… over a broken arm, Clay? Over a title shot?
You got the fucking title shot.
You came up short, bud. Just like I did. Just like I got squashed down in seven minutes and fifty seconds in that ICONIC main event, you fucking failed. You had the same shot everyone else, and maybe even a better one– you never even had to face me. The only motherfucker in the world who could beat me in seven minutes managed to do it, and you were free and clear. But you’re the victim here? Somehow, you got shortchanged? I think maybe you shortchanged yourself, Clay… cause you make no goddamned cents.
Not a typo. Get smarter.
I don’t think you understand what kind of match you begged like Keith Sweat for, Clay. You poked a bear that you never should have poked, because you made me something that I haven’t been in a long time. You made me hungry. You made me angry. You took something away from me that I legitimately can never get back, because of a piece of leather and gold that says “champion” on the front. You weren’t good enough to win the HOW World Championship at ICONIC, and you decided that the ensuing tantrum was gonna take me down with you.
Have you truly thought this through?
You’ve stepped into a cage with me twice before, and I knocked you the fuck out like LL Cool J’s mama herself instructed me to do it. But you didn’t face the Son of God, Clay… you fought shit talking, part-timing, half-goofing Mike Best who was more interested in breaking your spirit than your bones. I was coasting, bitch. I’ve been coasting for the better part of three years, and I’ve coasted on fucking TOP.
Oh, and by the way.
I don’t really give a fuck how you respond to this, but don’t do some dopey ass video on a burned down ranch talking saying corny shit like “Reckon HOW changes a man, yup” and chewing on some fucking wheat grass. Go blog for blog with me. Prove those last two matches were the fluke that you believe they are in your mind, cause I’ll tell you now that the ringside judges said they were never even close. You aren’t on my level. Your elevator doesn’t even come to my fucking floor, Clay. You’re a dirt fuck redneck and I am the single greatest wrestler on the planet, even on my last day of work.
Or don’t, you fucking pussy.
It doesn’t matter.
My bare minimum has beat your try-hard best every single time we’ve stepped into a ring together… but this time is gonna hit fucking different. Because when we step into the cage this time, I don’t really care about dismantling your arguments, or making you look stupid in front of the fans and the boys in the back.
I don’t just wanna hurt your feelings, Clay.
I wanna hurt you.
Do you understand that at March to Glory, there’s no tomorrow for me? It doesn’t matter if I win, or if I lose. It doesn’t matter if I get hurt. It doesn’t matter if you break my arm, or my leg, or put me in a fucking wheelchair. I can be the CEO sitting down, but you? You have a whole underwhelming career ahead of you. A War Games to come in third at. At Rumble at the Rock to aimlessly be booked into some kind of contender’s match. An ICONIC to break a leg for or something, because it’s the shopping season. You have something to lose, Clay, and that’s why you fucked up. Cause you took everything from me.
I have literally nothing left to lose.
The truth is, you can’t beat me for the same reason you’re mad in the first place. This isn’t about a broken arm, or a title shot. It’s not about me, or what I’ve done here in HOW that you think its rotten and distasteful. It’s about you, Clay. You took a shortcut and signed up for a bloated, overinflated, “for sure gonna lose some dudes after War Games” Best Alliance, instead of cutting your teeth in this company the hard way. You put on the jacket that says “We’re The Guys Who Fuck You Over” and then you were surprised when they fucked you over. You came back from injury feeling better and stronger than ever, but still couldn’t win the big one at ICONIC. I wasn’t your problem, Clay.
But I became your problem.
You made me your problem.
Because once again, you’re trying to take a shortcut. Cut me down on the night of my retirement. Send a message. Kill the King, in hopes that the rest of the subjects will respect it and bow. But heavy hangs the head that wears the crown, Clay Byrd, and you don’t get to claim the throne before I have fucking abdicated it. Now, instead of one man riding off into the sunset, two careers are gonna end at March to Glory… it’s just that only one of them comes with a pension. I can and will fight like it’s the last match of my entire career, and you’ve never seen that Mike Best before. You saw the tenth World Championship, but you never saw the nine that came before you. You didn’t watch me claw my way to the top… you just watched me stand on top of the mountain and piss on everyone below me.
Your reputation is too small for a crown this big, Clay.
And you’re gonna suffer for it.
You pissed on twelve years of my life and then flushed them down the toilet over a dispute we could have settled on Facebook. You wanted war? Well, motherfucker, now we’re going to war. Inside of a real steel cage. Thick bars, no pussy ass chicken wire. And no escape, either… you aren’t getting yourself kneed into victory at March to Glory like Jiles did. And I know in your head, you think this one might be close. That maybe you can squeak out a victory over the winningest champion in HOW history.
You are going to get fucking killed out there.
You’re gonna take more knees than the Million Man March during the national fucking anthem. But hey, that’s just more clever word play… let me make it a little more real for you, Clay. I am going to beat the absolute shit out of you. I am going to forcibly smash my patella against your skull, over and over again, until you are unable to walk. Until breathing becomes difficult, and labored. Until you are a whimpering, writhing, lifeless lump of useless flesh in the middle of the ring, without the ability to get up and leave that cage of your own volition. You’ve called me a psychopath and a sociopath and a murderer, and maybe you’re right about all of those things. But at March to Glory?
I’m not going to kill you, Clay.
I’m just going to make you wish I would.