ROCKET MORTGAGE FIELDHOUSE – LOCKER ROOM
TWO HOURS REMOVED FROM END OF SHOW
“Oh yeah. Now we’re getting somewhere.” I say out loud as my long, sweaty, stringy hair drapes down the front of me, creating this makeshift veil of sorts to keep prying eyes away from what I’m doing. And what I’m doing is sitting on a bench in the men’s locker room with my ring gear still on. It’s mere hours after Jeffrey and I’s match and… goddamn, that felt good. Lifting that two-ton monster up in the air and pulling the behemoth down across my knees. I could literally feel the cartilage in his nose shatter apart upon contact. It was academic after that, obviously. One, two, three. Get the fuck out of our ring and hit the showers, kemosabe.
Having just come off a win against the tag team of Steve Harrison and Chris Kostoff, with whom I have officially dubbed “SteveOff”, I scroll through the phone in my hands. My thumb swipes up multiple times as I check out HOWrestling dot com and take a quick gander at the card for the next Refueled that’s already been posted.
Damn. They work fast.
“Holy shit.” I say out loud.
They’re… giving me John Sektor?
For… the LSD Championship, no less?
Or… do they think they’re giving John Sektor, Arthur Pleasant? Because there’s a difference.
“Hm? ‘Holy shit’ what, exactly?” calls out Arliss Peters, Esq., who I completely forget is still on speakerphone. His voice seems to be rife with intrigue. Sometimes I forget how easy it is to talk to him, given how big of a pro-wrestling fan he is.
“They put me against John Sektor. For the LSD Championship.” I say with an unparalleled level of pride inside my voice.
“Nice? Is that… is that a good thing or a bad thing?” he inquires with an abundance of ignorance.
“Both, Arliss. Depending on how you want to look at it.” I quickly reply, contemplatively.
There is a brief silence between us as my eyes scan down the rest of the card, glimpsing the next set of Maurako Cup matches. I also notice that my friend and tag team partner, Jeffrey James Roberts, has a match against Xander Azula. He should run roughshod over that walking, tatted up tumor and retain the HOTv Championship yet again, but hopefully he doesn’t make the mistake and underestimate him.
I have faith in my friend just the same he does in me, rest assured.
“And how are we looking at this?” asks Arliss, who seems to be preoccupied with a plethora of things happening in his office.
Underneath the wall of my raven-colored hair, I respond with, “We’re looking at it like this, A-Money: it’s good. REALLY good, even. Especially for me. But, really fucking bad for Señor Sektor.”
I can hear the lightbulb go off in his head through the speakerphone after Arliss snaps his fingers, remembering something specific.
“Isn’t Sektor that Stretchy McStretcherson guy? The HOW Hall of Famer that-”
“-uhhh likes to stretch people? Yep. That’s the guy.”
There’s a chuckle on the other end. The stench of doubt emanating from Arliss can gag a maggot. But… fuck it. Like Sektor, doubt only solidifies my strength and makes me all-the-more committed to my cause.
“Aren’t you afraid he’s going to do the same thing to y-”
“Not without a leg to stand on, I’m not. C’mon, man. You being serious about that question, or are you trolling me?”
Another brief silence. I decide to speak up and break it.
“I think it’s high time we did something about that, too.” I quickly follow up.
The more I think about John Sektor’s amazing mat skills and prowess in making people tap out or putting them to sleep? The more I think about what that championship meant long before Sektor got his filthy wrestling purist hands on it. Which might be half an oxymoron, but whatever.
“About what, exactly?” says Arliss, his voice cutting through the air like a crackle of thunder.
My scoff at the question is obvious because it forces me to envision John Sektor’s tired ass collar-and-elbow and waist-lock bullshit. Tangentially, of course, I decide to go off on a tear.
“All that mat wrestling? The months and months of gross, vomit-inducing submission moves that’s been on full display for the entire world to see? Nobody gives a fuck about that type of wrestling anymore. HOW’s currency is blood and the value of it has plummeted since Sektor’s self-restoration project began. It’s pathetic and, frankly, gonna kill this company if it continues. Mark my words. Adam Ellis should abandon ship before the rickety old Sektor ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean.”
I can hear the clickety-clack of keys being typed from the speakerphone. Clearly, Arliss is typing up some kind of letter–perhaps a cease and desist or something of the like—and is only half-listening to me vocalizing my issues with the LSD division.
“The machine that creates that dying breed of a style has been broken for a long time. LONG fucking time. Leave that pussy ass ground game shit to a reboot of the HOFC or the goddamn Olympics. ‘Cause technical wrestling is not what the LSD is supposed to represent. Give me back the fucking carnage of a light tube sticking out of someone’s neck or choking someone to the brink of death with a fine piece of barbed wire. Pieces of flesh sticking to it and everything!”
I pull at my hair, frustrated from what we’ve had to witness for the past 200 days.
“Deathmatches. Chairs. Fucking razor-dipped apples being thrown around. I want the works, Arliss. THE FUCKING WORKS! But? It’s time to liberate the LSD Championship from the clutches of a heretic.”
“It’s not?” nonsensically asks Arliss.
For the love of God. He’s really pissing me off with his preoccupied behavior. I didn’t spend nearly all of my year’s $9,700 salary on his retainer for him to not pay attention to what the fuck I’m actually saying.
“Go back to sleep, Arliss. You don’t even know what I just said. That is not what the LSD championship was designed or destined to be. It’s not some exemplification of technical wrestling excellence or some artsy-fartsy fucking horse shit. It’s supposed to represent everything the purists hate about pro-wrestling. Purists like John Sektor himself.”
I give a slight pause once I realize how caught up in my own words I’m getting. I can’t help it, though. With great derision, I lament over the bastardization of a championship that was once as much feared as it was respected. And now? It might as well be a toy trinket sold in a Happy Meal at McDonald’s.
As much as I can’t stomach, process, or remotely get through a single Jatt Starr promo, when I saw him throw Lindsay Troy off the scaffolding to claim that cup of coffee for a title reign? It made me want to be a part of something. Not just something, actually. THAT. It made me want to be a part of THAT.
The… sheer calamity of it all. It’s the embodiment of everything I have ever sacrificed for the last 14 years of my life since leaving America. So I’ll be damned if I’m not the fucked up face representing the blood and sacrifice it takes to not only survive a division like the LSD, but to be crowned its King absolutely.
After a long silence, I again break through it with some words of great magnitude.
“If John Sektor wants to continue waxing mat wrestling and submission poetic with his little circle jerk of purist cunts, then he can fucking dig up the ICONIC Championship. But that LSD Title? It’s m-”
“Listen, Mr. Pleasant. Can this wait?”
Suddenly, I’m thrust back into reality.
“Sorry, it’s just that I’m up to my eyeballs in paperwork here at the firm. Now, if you’d like, we can discuss whatever else it is you want to discuss later this week. How’s Wednesday or Thursday sound to you?” Arliss inquires, audibly scribbling something onto a notepad on the other end.
“Yeah. Yeah, later this week works, I guess.” I agree, somewhat absentmindedly, as I feel myself drifting further and further into some kind of reverie.
“So let’s figure ou-”
I press the green “End Call” button on the touchscreen before Arliss can even finish his sentence. Not like he had anything more important to say, anyway.
Suddenly, I have an epiphany.
There’s somebody I need to see.
The only problem is getting him to meet.
Fucking family. You know?
Before I verbally eviscerate you right here and now, John, like I’m going to physically do after I kick the fuck out of your meniscus at Refueled, allow me to give credit where credit is due.
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: you’ve held that belt for a long time. And an especially long time for a place as competitive as HOW is, to boot. Kudos to you for that. No bullshit. In fact, if my research stays true to me here, I think it’s the longest reign with that title since the late Max Kael’s run. More on him later, but for now, let me just acknowledge that impressive feat. An especially impressive one given the nature of the beast here.
With that in mind, I feel like we should take inventory on three points of convergence for this match. Or applicable elements, I guess you could say. Just for a second or two, I promise.
- Element One: They say “The man makes the title, not the title makes the man.”
Does it, though? Your entire goal throughout your championship reign has been trying to get back to a place you once were. To the John Sektor of yesteryear who earned his way into the Hall of Fame. To relive, if not surpass, the moments in your career that you can speak fondly of to your children and grandchildren one day with a gleam of joy in your crusty old eye. Without that very title you hold, you’d still be in a steady mental and physical place of decline.
So does that substantiate this first element? With John Sektor, absolutely not.
- Element Two: They say John Sektor has made the LSD Championship one of the most sought after titles in all of High Octane Wrestling.
Have you, though? All I have to do is look at the paltry list of challengers you’ve retained against—High Flyer, just one example of many—and I can say with absolute certainty that you have not.
- Element Three: They say Arthur Pleasant is a watered-down version of Max Kael, who is nothing but a quitter when the going gets tough in a HOW wrestling ring.
Am I, though? To that second claim of this third element, because I like to work backwards and shit, I could tell you I’m not a quitter until I’m 97 shades of M.O.B. blue in the face. But it won’t matter. ‘Cause once I went on my excursion after War Games with the promise to return down the line—which I clearly delivered on—THE PERCEPTION~! became a construct for the weak-minded and sheep to believe in. So, believe it if you want to. In fact, I implore you to. Because I don’t have to assure you that neither my brain, nor my mouth, nor my goddamn hands know the meaning of the word “quit”. All I have to do is escape submission after submission after fucking submission and just kick the ever-loving fuck out of your leg. Once that’s done, reality will instead reveal itself to you.
As for being a watered down Max Kael? Given the high praise the man carried with him to his untimely grave, I can’t say I’m too bothered by the comparison. I’d hate to think what other people think when this watered-down version of Max Kael has actually beaten them. ‘Cause what does that make them, then?
You look at those three elements that sit above this match we’re about to have, and suddenly it makes people think. It makes people go, “Shit, when I look at the long list of people John has defended the LSD Championship against, he’s only had one actual challenge.”. Then they think about it in an even deeper sense and go, “So now Arthur Pleasant gets a crack at it? How the fuck is this any different from Sektor’s previous defenses?”
An interesting notion, for sure.
But since we’ve taken inventory on this match, allow me to enlighten you, John Sektor, Hall of Famer, badass mat wrestler and purveyor of the submission arts why exactly this is going to be your last LSD Championship defense.
I’m not some fat fucking redneck piece of shit from Missouri Valley Wrestling, taking up a marquee spot at ICONIC simply because the only people who were available to face you at the time were more fucking interested in the World Title than everything you represent to a belt you continue to devalue and degrade.
I’m not some perennial loser who’s too oblivious and stupid to know he’s considered nothing but a rest stop, or an oasis in the desert of his betters, on any given week for any given member of the HOW roster. Nope. Not gonna pussyfoot around the hard truth and then lie and tell someone, like you did on both occasions, that he’s anything but what I just said he is. I don’t believe in pity fucking someone to death and having them believe they ever actually had a shot at glory. It’s a disservice to both oneself and the one who buys into the mendacious stories all in the name of raising their self-esteem half a fucking inch.
I’m not some evangelist-sounding, monotone-speaking, vanilla-looking lady boy bitch who probably gets mistaken for Stanley Tucci in public far more often than he actually wins a fucking match. I’m not some puffy-looking Texas Cowboy who drops opportunities more than he drops his G’s. I’m not even an idiotic former tag team partner; whose mere name invokes embarrassment and ridicule on the daily despite sharing a Hall of Fame spot with someone as good as yourself.
No, John. I’m not any of these other talentless fuck wagons who have challenged you on the “SEKTOR IS BACK!” tour. I’m Arthur Motherfucking Pleasant. Your greatest challenge to date. Whether you like it, hate it, or want to ignore the gut feeling down in the pit of your stomach that hit you how a night of binging on pizza rolls and deep-fried butter hit Bobby Dean’s toilet the moment you saw my name booked against yours… you know this to be 100% true.
Speaking of Bobby, I’m surprised they haven’t thrown him to you yet. Or Doozer. Or any of the eGG Bandits, honestly. They’d go along perfectly with the theme that’s been created by you, exposed by me, and remembered forever by the sheeple once I end your historic reign as LSD Champion.
If they were right about the LSD Championship being so coveted, then why are the sad acts I’m following the only challengers who’ve taken their shot at you? Hm? Why not, you know, actual fucking legitimate threats? What about my friend Jeffrey, who’s decimated about 85% of the entire roster? Or Mike Best, who was bored for something like ten goddamn years? Or our current reigning World Champion Conor Fuse? Or the man whose career I ended with one Calamity Pain to the fucking face in Cecilworth Farthington?
Why did it take nearly Two. Hundred. FUCKING. DAYS. for you to defend the LSD Championship against someone actually fucking worthwhile?! Why did it take you just twenty-some odd days short of Max Kael’s record run to face someone worth a good goddamn?!
Why, after the better part of a year, did it take a guy like me to FINALLY get an opportunity at “the most coveted championship” in HOW?
I’ll tell you fucking why, you slightly younger, less grey, Wilford Brimley-looking CUNT.
It’s one of two reasons:
One, because they believe Arthur Pleasant is exactly the same trash that you’ve been padding your entire reign with, so why not feed you another one en route to March To Glory?
Two, because they realize it’s time for a change and to correct this widespread lie that the LSD Championship, with John Sektor as its “Gold Standard”, is the most coveted title in HOW.
You, like the rest of the locker room who aren’t on board with the Devil’s Advocates, can believe in the former all you want. But it’s my job—and I’m quite fucking good at my job — to prove the latter.
Food for thought.
But now that we’ve taken inventory for this match? Allow me to enlighten as to why this is going to be your last fucking title defense.
‘Cause I don’t give a flying, flaming, High Octane level FUCK about how hard you believe in the
philosophy fallacy that John Sektor will never quit. With that knee in the shape it is? Hijo de puta, you don’t even need to quit like I do. You don’t even need to be pinned like I do. All you need to do is show up with that bum fucking leg of yours, watch me deliver kick after kick after fucking kick, and the referee for the match, whether that’s Boetcher or Hortega, will simply call it.
And then? Just like that? McVay will announce to me, you, and the rest of the HOTv subscribers watching…
… AND NEW LSD Champion: Arthur Pleasant.
With the snap of a finger, or in your case a leg hanging on by its sinewy tendrils of torn muscles and shredded ligaments, your historic reign ends and the Devil’s Advocates get to add one more piece of gold to their ever-expanding trophy case.
So do me a favor, John. Rocktape the FUCK outta that knee. Ice it. Heat it. Massage it. Inject cortisone into it. Go sit in a Himalayan salt cave and smoke a fucking joint to some Bob Marley if helps you make it across the parking garage at Mackey Arena. Then, muster up whatever strength you have left in that destroyed leg and walk out to the ring in front of all those braindead Hoosiers of West Lafayette. That’s all you need to do.
Once I hit the ring? I’ll take care of the rest.
I’ll do that championship the honor it deserves by mangling your entire fucking leg so badly that, by this exact time in 2023? They’ll be calling whatever tournament they decide to have next “The Sektor Cup”.
Because you know the truth, Gold Standard.
Yes, you fucking do.
As good as you are? And you’re GOOD, John. Make no mistake about it. You’re simply not good enough… you’re simply not Hall of Fame enough… and you’re sure as hell simply not LSD enough…
… to beat me.
At Refueled 87? Not only will it be the end of the line for your comeback tour, but it’ll be the ultimate liberation of the LSD Championship.