Bill sat there in stunned silence. He felt like he was sinking down into his chair, yet remained completely motionless. Darkness began to creep in around the sides of his vision. His lips split and his mouth started to hang open in disbelief. After a few seconds of saying nothing, he licked his lips, blinked his eyes, and furrowed his brow. His mind began to race as it tried to process the seemingly endless thoughts, feelings, and rationale behind what America just said.
Christopher America: I don’t really know what’s been going on with you but clearly what’s been going on with us isn’t working. You’re not happy being here and I don’t want you to feel like…
Bill: Shut up.
America looked up at Bill, meeting his eyes. Bill was a mess of emotions: rage, hurt, and contempt. All for the man sitting across the table from him.
Bill: It’s just that easy for you, isn’t it?
Christopher America: I didn’t want to…
Bill: Yes, you did. Of course, you did. You sat there and strung me along for God knows how many minutes, talking about replacing shitty things in your life with good things, even naming ME as a good thing that happened to you and now, I’m just done?
Well, you’ve said your piece so now I’m going to say mine.
When you hired me on, I was desperately looking for a client. I was looking for someone that would help me get a footing in this profession. And when you came to me, not me to you, when YOU came to ME, I was so happy and excited. When you hired me and we agreed to our terms and our pricing, I was even more ecstatic. It was more money than I expected. The work was hard and I knew with you coming back to wrestling that there was no guarantee that you’d stay back. But when you did and you won at War Games, you made my business.
I took on more and more responsibilities for you because I had nothing else going on. But, soon after your success made it’s way around Chicago, others came calling. I had comedians fresh out of Second City, ready to make it big, ready for the big time, call me up and ask me to represent them. And I turned them down.
I turned them down, Chris.
Because you were a sure thing. You were a name brand. You were for all intents and purposes an established intellectual property. I didn’t have to do any additional work to market you or promote you or sell you. The Best Family wanted you and I gave you to them.
That money padding your bank account was because of the contract I negotiated with them. Those initial appearances, merchandise royalties, the subsequent renegotiation at the beginning of the year… that was all ME!
Bill was fuming, practically foaming at the mouth as he continued.
Bill: All those training regimens that helped you with your matches, the scouting on your opponents that helped you get inside their heads, the food you ate, the gyms you worked out in, the cars and planes you rode in, that was ALL ME!
But you know what wasn’t me, Chris?
You going off script and messing with Solex’s eagle. You getting your dumb ass abducted, tied up, and beat down for the world to see. You AGAIN going off script with our game plan for Stanislav. You introducing a hardcore element to the match. The same element that was your own undoing. YOU attacking a fan! YOU hiring a bunch of others to do MY JOB!
MY JOB THAT I DID PERFECTLY!
You taking a man and beating him in front of his kid so that you could feel numb, even for just a little bit, because you got embarrassed. You ridiculing and humiliating a bunch of hard working people. You USING ME and MANIPULATING ME into thinking we were friends.
YOU DID ALL THAT!
America’s face was awash with hatred.
Christopher America: I DID….
But before America could even formulate a thought, Bill steamrolled him.
Bill: It must be so easy for you to blame everyone and anything else but yourself!
And you’re right, Chris. You’re not the man I entered into an agreement with a year ago. He’s gone. He’s LONG gone. The Chris America that I entered into an agreement with was someone that you could respect. Someone who paved his own way. Someone who, by how you tell it, GREW THE FUCK UP! Someone who reflected on past mistakes and made sure not to do it again. That Chris America is the same man that put aside his differences with Mike Best but at his CORE was still Chris America.
You’re not Chris America. You’re a sniveling, conniving, piece of shit disguised at him.
The Chris America I knew wouldn’t have hired ANY of those other men. The moment they applied, he would’ve tasked me with giving them a “thanks, but no thanks” and sent them on their way. That same man would be out there week in and week out preaching about how AMERICA got him to where he was today. He’d talk about how his love of America trumped everything.
And instead, over time, you allowed your love for a championship and being a winner stand on equal footing with the love you have for your country. Even worse, you’ve allowed it to take over your love for your country.
You’re not even Chris America anymore. You’re Chris… Something. Chris Generic. Chris Global. I don’t know!
But you’re not him!
You haven’t been him in months!
Slowly America stood up. His lips were parted ever so slightly as he puffed air through them.
Christopher America: Do you know what HE is doing right now?
HE is licking his wounds after a loss. HE is NOT the PRIME World Champion. HE is a LOSER, a MAIN EVENT LOSER!
Because HE put his love of his country over winning their championship. You know that money you enjoy? The raise you got? That’s me! That’s my hard work! That’s my effort! You enjoy that because of me!
Bill: Because I helped you and I negotiated it!
America shook his head in disagreement.
Christopher America: You can plot and plan and scheme all you want but the execution is what matters.
I AM THE ONE WHO EXECUTED!
I AM THE ONE WHO WINS!
I AM THE GOD DAMN WORLD CHAMPION!
EVERYTHING RESTS ON ME! EVERYTHING RESTS ON THAT… SINGLE… CONSTANT!
Bill looked at America with a mix of fear, anger, and sadness in his eyes. Tears welled at the corners.
Bill: You’re deranged. You’ve been manipulated and you don’t see it yet.
But you will.
Christopher America: Manipulated? Of course, I am. You think I don’t see it?!
I’m not stupid!
I’m not a fucking child!
It’s not my first dance with Lee Best or Mike. Do you think I don’t understand what I have? The Alliance… the Board… it’s an uneasy bargain. I HAVE TO PUT THIS CHAMPIONSHIP ABOVE EVERYTHING! It’s how I stay in the good graces of the Alliance. It’s how I enjoy the benefits of facing someone like Xander Azula and not Conor FUCKING Fuse again. It’s how I have won part of my matches. And it is how I… stay relevant.
America practically punctures his chest as he points at his own chest.
Christopher America: I… I am too important a player to NOT be brought into the fold! And I intend to stay that way!
If you want to talk about manipulation.
Then tell me, who’s your other client?
Who did you sign? Who came crawling to you looking for representation?
Bill remained silent.
Christopher America: No. Come on. Tell me!
Bill continued standing there. He knew he’d been found out.
Christopher America: Is it some agent-talent confidentiality clause?
America squinted, looking for a hint of something on Bill’s face.
Christopher America: No. There’s no one, is there?
Bill blinked, trying to clear the tears from the corner of his eyes. Amidst this, he tried to show conviction and steadfastness until finally…
There’s no one.
Christopher America: Of course there isn’t. Because I’m the meal ticket, aren’t I?
I’m the man.
You had people straight out of Second City lined up? What were they going to pay you with? Free meals and chuckles from the Laugh Factory? The chances of you finding the next Belushi or Farley or Murray are practically zero.
Bill: You’re right, Chris.
I did try to manipulate you.
I tried to shake whatever is happening to you from solidifying its grip on you.
Bill began to collect his things. Shamefully, angrily he packed them away.
Bill: You know, I never asked you to stop being Christopher America. I never stopped you from your quest to be World Champion. I never stopped you from saying some of the most god awful, insane, hurtful things to your peers. Never once did I stop you from lambasting Joe Bergman for his failed marriage, Steve Solex for his patriotism, Conor Fuse for his gaming, or Clay Byrd for his introverted nature.
Because I knew.
I knew that that’s the game of wrestling. That’s how the business works.
Bill pointed at his head and his bicep.
Bill: Because it’s as much about what’s up here as what’s here.
All that I asked you to do was that when you weren’t there… when you weren’t in the ring… when you weren’t doing something for wrestling… that you turned it off. That you not take out your frustrations and anger on me… and certainly not Mateo and Luis. Establish a separation between your personal life and your professional life.
But instead, your professional life, all its toxicity and negativity has consumed you.
Christopher America: It has to! To be champion this long…
Bill: NO! No, it doesn’t! It didn’t before. It doesn’t have to now.
Bill finished packing his back and snatched it off the table.
Christopher America: Where are you going?
Bill: Home. You dismissed me. And now I have to get my shit together. I have to get back out there and advertise, market myself to others.
Christopher America: Oh no! You don’t get out of your contract that easy. No, you’re going to finish out your contract. When the timeframe is up, you’re gone, but not before then.
America’s voice turned into practically a sadistic growl.
Christopher America: I’m going to get my full money’s worth out of this partnership.
Wait… that was it?!?
That was your opening shot?!?
Your opening shot was to compliment me for 50% of your promo and then try to build up your confidence for the other 50%?
How sad. How droll. How pathetic.
You know what sucks about facing you, Xander?
You’re a desperate rehash.
To be quite honest, you’re barely worth the words that are flowing out of my mouth right now. At least when I insult and talk to others, I know that I’m going to get a return on my investment. Maybe something witty and clever is thrown back in my face. Maybe I’ll get my ass beat in the middle of that ring. Maybe they’ll even come close to beating me before I once again force feed them defeat.
I wish you were just simply better than you are.
I wish you hadn’t allowed Scott Stevens into War Games, not because he’s a threat. He really fucking isn’t. But, because you’ve given him a single solitary crumb of success in this company… and you know what that means? It means that for the next ten years, Scott Stevens is going to talk about that victory over you, that victory that propelled him into the War Games match, like he just won the HOW World Championship. He’s the living embodiment of the meme where the guy celebrates winning, bathing in champagne, only for you to pull back and see that he’s gotten sixth place. For the next decade, he’ll remember it as him “fighting against the odds” and “defying the world” and “showing the establishment” and all the other boring bullshit people like he and you try to tell yourselves in the dark of night to make yourselves feel like you are worth anything.
I wish you were better at fighting.
I wish you could actually decimate opponents in the ring. I wish you could actually back up your moniker of “The Fighter.” But you can’t even do that, can you? No. You see, Clay Byrd took the fucking best you had to offer and walked into the tag team match with Conor Fuse like it was nothing. You were an annoyance. A gnat to be swatted away. A dog to be put down. A zit to be popped. You lasted longer than your last match with him? Who fucking cares? That’s a loser mentality from one of HOW’s biggest and perennial losers. And the sad part for you is that across the infinity of the multiverse, probability SUGGESTS that in at least one universe, you’d be a fucking winner. But it doesn’t GUARANTEE that, does it?
Well, the good news is that I don’t need to traverse all of time and space to realize that in NO FUCKING UNIVERSE is Xander Azula considered a winner.
I want to explain to you the difference that I see between you and someone else employed at this company.
When I look at someone like Brian Hollywood, I see someone whose career is like a shitty car. Frequently breaks down. Takes a lot of work to get going. May even start from time to time. But when you’re looking for reliability and something to take you from point A to point B, you can’t count on it. Oh sure, you’ve tried numerous times to get it going. But in the end, it’s a lost cause. Not because the car is inherently bad, by any means. Rather, it’s because you’ve already put too much time and effort into the thing that you really don’t want to get your hopes up again by investing more time and effort into something clearly designed to disappoint you.
But the thing is, that for all the faults and problems with Brian Hollywood’s career, for all the starts and stops that he’s had going, you don’t even have that. See, there’s nothing to stop because you NEVER got started.
I told you not to lie to me, Xander. I told you not to tell me that our match would somehow be different or that now would be the time that you are going to show everyone just how good you are.
I hear it in your voice.
Even you don’t believe the shit you just spewed.
You’re pissed off I ignored you? Bitch, you’ve done nothing worthy to get my attention. You barely have it now! I heard what Mike had to say about you in your HOFC match. I heard how he basically turned up in his first promo for five seconds and was like, “Nah, Xander ain’t worth it.”
That man… was retired.
That man… hadn’t wrestled a match in months.
That man… hadn’t stepped inside an HOFC cage in a long while.
And what did he do? He waltzed right in, took your dumbass to school, beat you like you were a whore who owed him money, and waltzed right back out.
Also, you think my relationship with the HOW World Championship is weird?
Of course you do.
I’ve heard the same thing from Joe Bergman, Clay Byrd, Conor Fuse, and dozens of others.
You know why?
Because I’m hearing it from people who have either been incapable of holding the World Championship as long as I have or, simply put, they aren’t fucking good enough to win the World Championship. And that includes fuckwads like you.
You know what else those same idiots had in common? They thought I was a flash in the pan. They thought that I was running out of energy EVEN back when I was facing Solex. The problem with you Xander is that you’re an insignificant speck, looking up at a being at least 50 steps ahead of you on the evolutionary ladder, and judging me by your tiny, insignificant worldview. I have more energy in a single strand of pubic hair than you have in your entire fucking body.
Don’t believe me, then test me. Test my resolve. Test my endurance. Test my ability to push through the pain. TEST THE MAN WITH MORE WAR GAMES VICTORIES THAN ANYONE! Test the man with the conviction and commitment to the World Championship like no one else.
Oh, and speaking of commitment…what was wrong with my commitment ceremony?
Not a wedding, mind you. A commitment ceremony.
What’s wrong with dedicating yourself to the HOW World Championship? What’s wrong with making the most important prize in this company my sole focus? Please, Xander. No, no, no. Clearly, with all your experience with the World Championship, explain to me, THE man with the longest HOW World Championship reign in history, what’s wrong with that?
You know what? Don’t bother. We both know you’re going to provide a bullshit answer or backpedal your way out of that blunder.
In fact, at this point, Xander, I probably wouldn’t bother with another fucking promo.
There’s nothing that you can do to make me consider you as a legitimate threat. You’re nearly half a foot shorter than I am. You have less muscle and less mass than I do. You have a similar shitty chest tattoo like Arthur Pleasant. The only difference is he at least had the fucking decency to wash out, take his tail, tuck it between his legs, shove it up his ass, and never appear again. You’re still here alive and kicking like that’s a fucking accomplishment.
Well, it’s not.
It just means you’re too stupid to read the writing on the wall.
You upset you’ve never been looked at for an opportunity like this? What the fuck have you done to deserve an opportunity like this? At least Brian Hollywood lucked into his with the Lethal Lottery. But you can’t even say that, can you?
Opportunity for an LSD Championship match? Washed out.
Opportunity at the World Title in War Games? Washed out.
You’re just like everyone else. A self-entitled douchebag who looks up at the GOD of HOW, holds out his hand, and asks, “When’s it my turn?”
It’s fucking pathetic.
YOU’RE FUCKING PATHETIC.
Imagine hanging your hat on getting your ass kicked week in and week out only to show back up the following week and do it all over again, thinking that you’re proving a point, thinking that you’re sticking it to the man. Imagine looking yourself in the mirror and celebrating how god awful you are on a weekly basis. And then and ONLY then, wondering why you haven’t had an opportunity at the World Championship one on one.
At Chaos 29, I’m going to do something that you’re going to love.
I’m going to give you the true Eternal Circle.
I’m going to ensure the cycle continues one more time.
Azula comes out. Azula gets his ass beat. Azula sulks back to the showers. Azula shows back up the next week to do it all over again.
This match isn’t going to be a main event.
It’s going to be a slaughter.
I want to hear the crowd begging me to stop as I absolutely pummel your face in.
I want to hear the screams of women and children everywhere as they witness a massacre in real time, unable to stop it, unable to look away.
After all, I have to do what every good champion does…
I have to make sure our fans feel like they got their money’s worth.