SOMEWHERE IN CHICAGO
FEBRUARY 12, 2023
“Mr. Godson, please come in, take a seat.”
Less than 24 hours prior, Stronk was strapped to a gurney in a dirty, disease-ridden warehouse, having an experimental super steroid injected into his bloodstream by his former manager Abdullah Choi. Now, one day later, his head is swimming, his muscles feel weak. He’s not in a good place, at all. The serum—or whatever the hell it was that was in the terror-inducing needle that was plunged into his arm—has rendered him depressed and sloth-like.
However, beneath a somewhat debilitating layer of lethargy, he feels something roiling deep inside. His heart rate at an all-time high, he can feel it thumping aggressively beneath his chest plate. A low bass in his ears. Hands feel cold and rigid. A general full-body malaise… a toxicity that only seems to be intensifying with each passing hour.
Stronk enters the rented conference room in an upscale Chicago hotel, finding a dapper man seated across a long rectangular table, the brim of the man’s top hat tilted down, partially concealing his eyes.
The man wears a jet-black turtle neck, which makes Stronk think, fleetingly, how uncomfortable it must be to have tight, itchy fabric constricting one’s neck. He prefers blasting bare chest, or, if shit’s formal, a deep, deep V-neck. So deep it might as well be a vest. But the dapper man looks wholly content, the turtle neck but a snug and stylish embrace of the throat.
Stronk: “Stronk is tired. Stronk should sleep.”
Stronk, barely able to keep his eyes open, cracks a can of Liquid Stronkumms that was previously poking out of the pocket of his gym shorts.
MOB’s cane whips across and SMASHES the skinny aluminum can out of Stronk’s hand, sending it careening across the room, where it smacks against a wall, spraying its putrid contents over some curtains. The swift action barely registers in Stronk’s sleepy state.
The point of the cane fixes on the center of Stronk’s trademark expressionless profile.
MOB: “No more of that piss, I’m afraid. It’s a crutch. You will learn to live without it.”
MOB: “I’m sorry, did I stutter?”
Stronk shakes his head faintly.
Stronk: “No. You did not.”
MOB: “That’s what I thought.”
Prompted by the whistling of an electric kettle, Michael Oliver Best stands up from the table and makes his way over to a credenza positioned in the corner of the conference room. He drops a tea bag into a cup, fills it with hot water, and then turns back around.
MOB: “Believe me, I know what’s best for you. Think of me as an extension of your revered Papa Best. He’s my dear brother, you know. And he’s the one that contacted me and requested my services. Starting today, I am your new manager, and under my management, Stronk Godson will reach heights never before thought possible. You can call me Uncle Oliver. In time, maybe Uncle Oli. But not now. We’re not there yet. You must earn my respect… and I yours.”
Stronk nods, slowly processing this new development.
MOB returns to his seat at the table.
Stronk: “Yes. Stronk will not drink Liquid Stronkumms. Stronk will drink other things. Stronk will do as Uncle Oliver wishes, if that is what Papa Best wants.”
Parched, Stronk sees a pitcher of water positioned in the middle of the table, just out of arm’s reach. Thankfully, Michael Oliver Best is a highly perceptive individual, and uses his cane to push the pitcher toward Stronk, who then clutches it with both of his meaty hands and tips its contents down his gullet.
MOB: “Yes, that’s right. Water. You will drink water. A hydrated fighter is a capable fighter.”
Stronk finishes drinking, then unleashes a ten-second belch, which MOB wafts away disapprovingly.
Stronk: “Yes. Water is good. It does not make Stronk’s insides tremble.”
Michael Oliver Best nods, before removing his hat, setting it down on the table beside him, and tenting his fingers.
MOB: “Excellent. You will also abstain from alcohol and drugs. I don’t know what your idea of a ‘good time’ was before you came under my administration, but going forward you will walk the straight and narrow path. You will sleep eight hours a night, every night. Up at six; in bed by ten. Your days will be spent training. There will be no outside distractions. Do we have an understanding?”
MOB: “Then let us get to work, shall we?”
SOMEWHERE IN CHICAGO
MARCH 8, 2023
Inside STRonk’s leased Chicago penthouse, Michael Oliver Best stands in the living room with his back to a large OLED TV mounted to the wall. On its screen appears to be a PowerPoint presentation, with the title slide reading:
BUILD. BACK. BIGGER.
BUILD. BACK. BETTER.
STRonk sits on the floor. He’s never gotten used to having furniture—if you recall, he and Abdullah Choi lived for six months in a suburban Minnesotan house without a stick of furniture in it—and so the couch, chairs, futon, etcetera, have all remained completely unused in the two months he’s called this ‘sky house’ home.
MOB: “Mr. Godson, it’s been three weeks since your former manager, whose name I do not care to learn, injected you with an unknown chemical cocktail. Apparently the little weasel spilled the beans to my brother in a futile attempt to curry favour. His claims of its extreme efficacy were assumed to be the talk of a drug-addled mad man, but since I assumed the role of your handler I have carefully journaled your weight gain progress. And the results have been… unexpected, to say the least.”
Uncle Oliver clicks a button on a remote, causing the presentation to skip ahead to the next slide.
The slide shows a picture of STRonk prior to the injection of Abdullah Choi’s secret growth formula. STRonk groans, seeing himself in such a diminished state. Even though he’s had to deal with the jarring image staring back at him in the mirror each day, it’s still difficult to accept.
MOB: “There you are three weeks ago. Two hundred and thirty two pounds. Strong, yes, but a shell of what you once were. Now, have you noticed any changes to your body? Your physique?”
STRonk looks down at his chest, his arms, his stomach, and shakes his head no.
MOB: “Then you are delusional. Here you are as of earlier today…”
MOB clicks the button on the remote again. The slide remains the same, but the ‘before’ picture (with “232 lbs.” written over top of it) shifts across to the left hand side and a ‘today’ picture appears on the right hand side, allowing for comparison.
The ‘today’ photo is staggering. STRonk’s pecs have tightened, his arms have become larger and more vascular, his abs have begun to show again.
STRonk did not question MOB’s request to photograph him in the nude earlier that morning, as that was something Abdullah Choi did quite often, though Choi used the pics he snapped as content for a secret STRONK OnlyFans page, from which he earned a generous monthly sum from thirsty old women and gay dudes.
The number written over top of the ‘today’ pic is “270 lbs.”
MOB: “Do you see?”
There’s a long pause.
Ahh yes, the crushing veil of chronic body dysmorphia.
MOB: “Mr. Godson… you have somehow gained nearly forty pounds in three weeks. That’s thirteen pounds a week, Mr. Godson. That shouldn’t be physically possible.”
STRonk stands up and turns toward the sliding glass doors leading out onto the balcony. He flexes, scanning his body up and down in his reflection in the glass. It takes a moment or two, but eventually it clicks—he is getting bigger. Not quite what he once was, but he no longer looks like a walking skeleton (in his own distorted view; no one in their right mind would ever call a 5’9”, 230-pound man “skinny,” but perception is reality).
STRonk: “STRonk sees. Yes. Uncle Oliver is correct. STRonk is physically impossible.”
More flexing, as a faint, awkward smile forms on STRonk’s face.
MOB clicks a button on the remote again. The ‘before’ and ‘today’ images of STRonk shift again to the left, and a CGI-enhanced rendering of ‘future’ STRonk appears.
Over top of it: “307.1 lbs”
STRonk genuinely smiles for the first time in… maybe ever? Maybe he smiled once when he first tipped up over the three hundo mark in the spring of 2022, or when he would feed MONGO chicken skulls in the backyard. But this… this feels different.
MOB: “Based on my careful calculations, assuming the majority of your progress was front-loaded, I estimate you’ll be back to your ideal STRONK weight by…”
He clicks the remote one final time. The PowerPoint skips to the next slide… which is the WAR GAMES 2023 logo.
If you’d asked STRonk a month ago whether he wanted to once more endure the brutality of HOW’s War Games match, he probably would have answered no. STRonk suffered a serious concussion at the hands of Clay Byrd when he was powerbombed through a table. And STRonk, despite his imposing size back then, never truly wanted to hurt anyone.
Even in the lead up to his match against Conor Fuse at Rumble At The Rock, whom he blamed for his beloved MONGO’s untimely death, STRonk felt he needed to put on a bit of a show of aggression. He wanted to get revenge for MONGO, but the idea of brutalizing Fuse never truly excited him. He’s always been an overly empathetic person whose violent tendencies had to be coaxed out of him by the nefarious Abdullah Choi through mental manipulation.
But something has changed.
The chemical concoction fueling his preternatural physical growth also powers an undercurrent of malevolence and aggression. And now that STRonk has begun to realize, thanks to Michael Oliver Best, that he’s well on his way to becoming STRONK once again, violent thoughts begin to flood his mind. And for once they do not disturb him; he feels no need to repress them.
He wants to bring them to reality.
And War Games is the perfect environment in which to do so.
STRonk: “YeS. THat means STRonk WILL be four HUNdred POUNDS by the ENd of the yEAR.”
His heart races. He hops up and down on the balls of his feet, shaking out his arms. He cracks his neck.
STRonk: “STRonk will DESTROY. STRonk WILL violATE.”
Humanity drains from his eyes. He stands, unblinking.
STRonk: “BUT WHO should STRonk crUSH FIRst?”
Like a dog salivating over prime rib.
MOB: “An excellent segue, Mr. Godson. Thank you. Let me ask you something… how do you feel about Jace Parker Davidson?”
STRonk: “JACE is STRonk’s beST frIEnd.”
Michael Oliver Best turns the TV off and paces the living room floor, contemplatively.
MOB: “Is that so?”
MOB: “Interesting. If my so-called best friend were to, say, murder a beloved pet of mine, I’d have to seriously rethink our relationship. But perhaps you are just a very forgiving man.”
Confused, STRONK’s brow furrows.
STRonk: “WhO diD JACE ParKER DAVIDson MUrDER?”
MOB: “You had a bull, did you not? I think his name was Mitch?”
Nodding, Best stops pacing and walks closer to STRonk, staring him dead in the eyes.
MOB: “Jace killed MONGO.”
STRonk disbelievingly begins shaking his head from side to side, uttering “no” over and over.
MOB: “Yes, Mr. Godson. My brother—your Papa Best—recently received irrefutable proof that it was Jace Parker Davidson, and not Conor Fuse or Bobbinette Carey, that murdered MONGO.”
STRonk: “CaN STRonk SEE thE PROOF?”
MOB: “Now, why would you want to subject yourself to that, Mr. Godson? Why would you want to experience that pain? Do you not trust your Papa Best?”
STRonk stands there, conflicted. Papa Best has only ever been good to him. A surrogate father, as the nickname implies.
Jace Parker Davidson was his best friend…
But Papa Best… is family.
STRonk thinks for a while before finally responding.
STRONK: “NO. STRonk BELIEves. PAPA BEST wouLD NEvER LIE to STRonk.”
It hurts him to believe it, but he does. Truly. He has never, and will never, question Papa Best. His word trumps all others.
MOB: “Good. So, the question then is, Mr. Godson… with this new information you now possess…”
He places a hand on STRONK’s shoulder, still gazing intently into his eyes.
MOB: “…what the fuck are you—we—going to do about it?”
MARCH TO GLORY
SOMEWHERE IN NOT-AMERICA
MARCH 12, 2023
Michael Oliver Best marches defiantly through the parking lot of Old Trafford, with STRonk following closely behind.
Less than thirty minutes prior, MOB made his return to HOW, revealing himself to be in possession of the LSD Championship, the title that JPD and Solex were both searching for throughout Manchester United’s homebase.
While MOB distracted Jace Parker Davidson, STRonk shocked the world, attacking him from behind, betraying the man he once considered his best friend, and showing himself to have regained a significant amount of size.
A camera crew catches up to them as they are about to hop into a black Cadillac Escalade piloted by a chauffeur.
MOB turns to face the camera without prompt, as if expecting them (because, let’s face it, he probably arranged for them to be there as he and STRonk made their getaway).
MOB: “Jace, you made a fatal error, I’m afraid.
“You thought you were bigger than the Final Alliance.
“You thought with all the success you’ve had as of late that you did not need to bow down and kiss the Jordans of the man that made you what you are and gave you everything you have.
“My brother took your eye… and now I’ve taken your friend and business partner.
“And to be frank, if I didn’t carefully explain to Mr. Godson that tonight’s attack is merely an appetizer to the violent main course that will undoubtedly follow at some point in the months to come, you would likely have lost far more than that, sir. So count yourself lucky.”
STRonk stands in the background, a frenzied look on his face, twitching constantly as though his body won’t allow him to remain motionless for more than a second at a time. He watches intently as his manager continues to speak into the camera.
MOB: “You said on CHAOS 24 that the Final Alliance underestimates you, Jace.”
Michael Oliver Best smirks and wags his cane from side to side in the camera’s lens.
“The Final Alliance does not underestimate you.
“You are being assessed correctly, and it’s become increasingly clear that your abilities and efforts are simply inadequate and do not measure up.
“You are to blame.
“Just as you are to blame for your reprehensible treatment of the man standing behind me right now.
“You always make the wrong decision, Jace. It’s sad.
“Mr. Godson, however, may not be academically smart, but he is rational, he knows where his bread is buttered, and he’s got no time for parasites like you.
“Let’s face facts… Mr. Godson and yourself should have won the PWA Tag Team Titles back at Dead Or Alive, but you, and you alone, fell short. Your mediocrity dragged this poor man down to your pathetic level. But that is the past and now that I’ve entered the picture the future is bright for Mr. Godson. Blindingly.
“So get past that weird little fella Zion first… and trust that we’ll be waiting to snatch that LSD Championship from you, I suspect without much resistance.”
MOB turns back to STRonk.
MOB: “Anything you’d like to add, Mr. Godson?”
STRonk takes a step forward, then grabs his tank top and effortlessly rips it from his torso. He flexes every muscle in his 270-pound body, his eyes bloodshot and maddened.
STRonk: “JAce PARKER DavidSON. YOU took whAT STRonk heLD DEar. You DESTROYED iT. YOU knoW whaT YOU dID. YOU took STRonk’s meat BUSINess and MAdE IT terRRIBLE and BAD. YOU MURDERED MONGO. MONGO LOved YOu. STRonk will TAKE EVERYTHING froM yOu and LEAVE YOU witH NOTHING. YOU FEAR STRONK AND that is SMART. YOU SHould FEAr STRonk. STRonk Is TO be FEARED. STRONK wiLL CRUSH youR TINY skULL and MAKE yoU BeG FOR MERcy BUT THEN GIve YoU NONE BECAuse STRonk has NO FUCKing MERCies TO GIVE.”
Michael Oliver Best runs his hand over STRONK’s newly buzzed head (MOB suggested a new look to coincide with the gradual return of the BEEF), before shooing away the camera crew.
MOB: (smirking) “And they say this man isn’t eloquent.”
With that, MOB and STRonk climb into the SUV, which quickly takes off toward the parking lot exit.
Another one-eyed imbecile that will feel the wrath of the King of Stallions.
I’ve only been at Mr. Godson’s side for a little over a month now, mostly lurking in the shadows, but I already feel I can read the man like Tolstoy.
That is a famous author that wrote books above a ninth grade reading level so I’m sure they were of no use to you.
I can sense that, with his recent resurgence of strength and musculature, he wishes to make an example out of you. And I think you and I both know that he will. He is more than capable, as he’s beaten you once before.
Your loss is an eventuality.
Mr. Godson has a real hate on right now for morons with messy early 2000s hair, garbage tattoos, and eye patches.
You’re effectively the trial run for what we will do to the current LSD Champion.
There’s not much more to say.
You haven’t been relevant in years.
You’re bottom of the standings.
Mr. Godson is fighting down.
Really. Thank him for giving you another shot.
Because while Clay Byrd may have been the 2022 Wrestler of the Year, Mr. Godson—STRONKY Baby, as my brother likes to call him—was the true undisputed sensation that swept the wrestling world.
Who has made a greater impact or been more over in their first year in HOW than STRONK GODSON without so much as challenging for the HOW World Championship?
You know why the man hasn’t challenged for that title?
Multiple titles. Months ranked number-one in the promotion. The first-ever custom entrance theme.
Why didn’t Mr. Godson challenge for the top title?
Christopher America is champion and Mr. Godson’s respect for him is unyielding.
You hold no such respect for anyone, Stevens, and yet what did you have to show for your efforts last year? What was holding you back?
A lack of talent is the only thing I can think of.
Not to say you never possessed any. You were once a very impressive competitor here in HOW. You’ve held many titles, been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
But that’s the past, and it’s time you came to grips with a simple fact of life:
Time spares no man.
And on CHAOS 25…
Neither will Mr. Godson.
See you at the Best Arena, you underwhelming, over-the-hill, gutter worm.