May 2nd, 2020
11:57 pm – My Couch
It’s been a long two weeks since the Lethal Lottery.
I made the decision to buy a ticket, so to speak, and like the ninety nine point nine percent who do so, won sweet fuck all. Sure, watching Max slice Flyer’s face with a shard of glass didn’t feel like much of a loss in the grand scheme of things, but the record book will read otherwise. Max Kael successfully defends his LSD Championship against High Flyer and Teddy Palmer. Or something along those lines I’m guessing. And if we’re going to be honest here, I have to acknowledge he now holds that prestigious tiebreaker. His two successful championship defenses to my LBI finals victory. Fucker…
How bout a Best of Five?
To say Ted’s World wasn’t shining quite so bright that fateful evening would be an accurate assessment. My failed attempt to capture the LSD Championship was front and center for the entire world to see and experience. Watching Flyer bleed out on the announcers table while Max scurried off with his Championship was a figurative kick to the nuts, much like the literal one he provided moments prior. Yet another championship setback. That’s three now for those at home keeping track.
This wasn’t my only setback of the evening, however. Fuck no. The Lethal Lottery was advertised as a night of unpredictability, and let me tell you, it most certainly kept its promise.
Lumbering backstage during the commercial break, something didn’t feel quite right. My elbow brace felt much tighter than usual, and the ability to fully extend my arm had disappeared. The doctor on staff asked to look at my damaged wing, but I blew past him in the hallway, brushing off his unwanted medical expertise. Finding sanctuary in the Red and Ted cubicle, I couldn’t get the contraption off my arm quick enough. What I found waiting beneath it was truly horrifying…
A Fucking Scrotum!
That’s right, you heard me correctly. Hanging from the bottom of my elbow was a dangling scrotum. Waving my arm back and forth, it swayed, back and forth. Squeezing it with my free hand, it was solid, yet squishy, if that even makes sense. At best, I could extend my arm into the shape of a ‘V’, and I was terrified to think the Dr. Legget was right, and I rolled the dice on my health and lost on it too.
So I did what any mature adult would do.
I threw on a hoodie as quick as possible to hide my disfigurement. I packed all my belongings as quickly as possible into my gym bag, without care for any form of order. I power walked past every staff member in the building, choosing the best possible route to avoid anyone remotely attached to a medical title. I hailed a taxi and demanded with polite Canadian undertones I be taken to O’Hare International Airport.
And I flew home without informing High Octane Wrestling of the medical development.
Mature adult I said, right? Needless to say, my imaginative fears were put to ease when I visited Dr. Legget. No, a scrotum had not grown out of my elbow. Forgive me for forgetting the exact medical term, but basically I developed an infection, stemming from the elbow injury at the hands of Lord Farthington. Fucker…
The treatment? Simple, really. The good Doc drained all the fluid with a needle, and prescribed an antibiotic to rid the remainder of the infection. Funny enough, post drainage the flap of skin looked even more like a scrotum than before. No worries though, he said that’ll go away too. Probably.
The takeaway in all this was there were no if, ands or buts about this medical diagnosis: I needed to take two to three weeks off while the antibiotics ran its course. Not wanting to alert High Octane Medical of the developing troubles from my initial dislocated elbow diagnosis, I requested the next two shows off, which I was granted with little resistance.
So here I find myself, enjoying Refuelled from the safety of my couch. A bowl of popcorn was popped, butter drizzled on top, soaking through to the bottom, the bowl resting on my lap. Only bits remain as we approach the end of what’s been an entertaining broadcast. My feet are kicked up, and I’m physically relaxed, feeling better than I have since before March To Glory.
Mentally though? I’m on fucking edge.
I’ve enjoyed playing the role of fan these past two weeks, but I’m itching. I fucking miss that squared circle and I need to get back in there.
“With the first pick, The Best General…selects the LSD Champion…My Son…MAXIMILLIAN KAEL…oh yeah, forgot…BAYBEE!” Lee Best snarls through the speakers of my television.
“This is such good shit.” I mumble to myself before shovelling what’s left of the popcorn in my mouth. “Wait…” I choke, trying to push the word beyond the mouthful of butter soaked ecstasy. “Mike! Behind you!” I scream trying to alert the poor bastard, but just like in every horror movie, they never fucking listen.
“Oh Fuck!” Looking around to share in this excitement, I forget I’m alone. “Got em’ good.”
Tara Michaels Davidson sure as fuck did. Well, whomever wore that creepy fucking mask did.
The last three minutes of airtime were intense. The uncomfortable jeers from the crowd could be felt through my television. Fuck, when people are booing a Michael Best beatdown, you know it’s bad. And that closing image of ‘General’ Lee Best with his arms crossed, staring down at his bloody son, yeesh. Can you even describe that as ‘Tough Love’? I almost feel bad for the guy.
Turning the television off, I remove myself from the couch that I’ve created a comfortable, molded ass indentation on. Once vertical, the commonplace stretch is accompanied with the customary caveman roar, cause you know, lazing around is tough on the body. After debating the merits of bypassing brushing my teeth in favor of crawling straight into bed, I rationalize it’ll be my little secret which is good enough for me. I venture towards my sweet retreat, making it steps away from the doorway when…
My phone dances across the kitchen countertop. A new debate now rears its ugly head. Bed or phone? Rest and relaxation versus a potential rabbit hole. Sleep is the word I repeat on loop in my head, but I know the sheer curiosity will drive me nuts. But do I want to be a slave to technology?
Ah fuck it.
Snatching the device off the laminate counter, the message is from Grady. The push alert reads: “IMPORTANT! OPEN NOW!”. Fumbling to enter my passcode, I quickly discover the little Irishman isn’t kidding. Infact, important might not be the proper term to describe how important this is. Yeah, that type of important.
War Games Qualifier: Red and Ted versus Hollywood Bruvs
Wasting no time, I fire off a text to Red that reads: “Allstate Arena. Tuesday.”. As soon as my phone indicates my message had been both received and read, those little convo dots pop up. Soon after, “See you there.” pops up. Thumbs up & Kiss Emoji are my response. He replies with the Middle Finger Emoji. Classic Red.
We’ve got work to do. Now go brush your teeth Ted.
Two Days Later
11:27 am – Allstate Arena
“There she is, boys. Have at her.” I announce to the movers.
Standing in front of the cubicle we’ve called home for the better part of ten years, I outstretch my arms, presenting the grey felt structure in all of ‘her’ beauty. Lined with relics of a past time, ‘she’ truly is marvelous. Every and any Red and/or Ted piece of merchandise you could imagine, Championships claimed through our respective journeys, framed photos of career milestones. It’s not so much a hangout in hindsight, but rather a museum exhibit of our lives and careers.
“Ted, just a question: the fuck is this? Maybe two, who the fuck are they?” Red interjects, pointing at the two men in workers coveralls.
Examining the situation, Red clearly becomes distressed when he puts the pieces of this puzzle together. Cardboard boxes, packers tape, those straps that keep shit shut. His hands quickly grab onto the ‘not-a-man-bun’ on top of his head, and he shoots his thousand mile stare in my direction.
“What did you do?” He snaps.
“Huh?” Is all I can offer.
“What was it this time?”
“I’m uh…not sure I follow.”
“We got endeavoured again, didn’t we? How do we go from War Games Qualifier announcement to shitcanned in forty eight hours? What did you do!”
“Fired? No, ha.” I offer with the slightest of chuckles. “You think they’d fire the LBI Winner?”
My reply does little to comfort Red.
“You mean…it’s…just me?” He stutters in complete disbelief.
“No, geeze man. Calm it down. Neither of us have come close to toeing that line…yet.” I hope what I offer is of comfort. “Although, you do keep leaving the Discord Chat…”
“So wait. You’re not fired? And I’m not fired?”
“Then, once more, I feel I need to reiterate: The fuck is this, and who the fuck are they?”
Waving Red closer, he reluctantly steps in, joining me at the entrance of our cubicle. Slapping a hand on his shoulder, the jovial tone I approached today with has withered away. Looking into the cubicle, a flood of memories rushes through, and I’m certain the same is occuring for Red.
“This is where we move forward, Red. This is where we regroup, and stop living in the past.”
Looking back at the movers, both men stand impatiently. One taps his foot on the concrete. The other looks at his watch. Their problem? Not too sure, they’ve already been paid, so.
“Give us a moment.” I offer them before turning back to Red. “Everything in this cubicle, it means absolutely nothing here.”
“No, it’s only who we are.” He is quick to fire back.
“No, it’s who we were. We’ve been living in the past. And this.” I look long and hard into the cubicle. “It’s been holding us back from moving forward here.”
“You’re wrong, Ted…” He mutters, shaking his head.
“Tell me something, you like losing Championship opportunities?” I say, indignantly shifting my head to the side. “Because I sure as fuck don’t.”
“Of course I don’t like losing. Who the fuck likes losing?”
“Well buddy, we are upto five combined. Five opportunities for gold, yet this cubicle remains void of it. Except, oh wait…”
Walking into the cubicle, I push my way around the poker table that occupies the vast majority of its interior. Once at the back wall, I rip off two straps that were hung neatly and with care: the GCW Television and Hardcore Championships.
“I do have these, right? The two championships I proudly unified.” Reaching behind me, I grab the third GCW accomplishment hung with pride on the wall: the United States Championship. “And you have this one. The workman’s title, if I’m not mistaken. The strap that was supposed to be the fast track to the main event scene.”
“Those were hard earned achievements, on both our parts.”
“Absolutely they were. No denying that. There’s just one problem with them.”
“GCW IS FUCKING DEAD!” I shout, tossing the championships past Red and the cubicle entrance. The metal clangs on the concrete, the belts sliding towards the feet of the movers.
Red quickly grabs his achievement, cradling it in his arms. The thousand yard stare that once existed has been exchanged with a fire the screams ‘you’re lucky you’re on the other side of that table.’ He briefly looks away to check for damage on the center plate.
“Tell me something? You think Mike Best gives a flying fuck about that belt in your hand? Last time I checked, the ICON Championship was the workhorse title around here, not that thing. And those two Championships at Joe’s feet?”
“My name’s Brent.” Brent not Joe mumbles loud enough to interrupt this heated moment.
“Not now, Brad!” Red yells. The movers having had enough with this soap opera, disappear into the depths of the arena.
“Those two Championships? Do you think Max gives a fuck? He didn’t look like it when he walked out of Lethal Lottery with the LSD Championship, a title both of us have failed at capturing.”
“So what, we’re just going to forget all this? Huh? Just toss it in the trash.”
“I never said that. Stop being so dramatic.” I say, Red’s eyes widening as his arms stretch out, pointing at the Championships on the floor. “ I hired movers, not garbage men.”
Having had just about enough, the anger burning within Red doesn’t give two shits about the table separating us. He clasps his hand on the edge closest to him and drives it into my thighs, pinning me against the wall. A normal response in this situation would be concern, maybe a bit of fear, definitely a desire to fight back. I, in turn, opt to let out an exasperated laugh.
“Fucking finally! About time you showed up for the party!”
“I’m going to rip your head off and…”
“Shit down my neck? Great, fucking great man.” I hold my wrist up, looking at an imaginary watch. “Only about, what, four and a half months late? Better late than never I suppose.”
“The fuck you talking about?” He spits, easing off the table slightly, the blood flowing back down towards me feet.
“This right here. This is what you need. Enough of the mopey shit. You’ve been so caught up in Teddy Fuckin’ Palmer that you forgot who Alex Fuckin’ Redding was at his core.”
“How can I not. You won the fucking LBI…”
“And you made the final four! Did Mike Best? What about Dan Ryan? Oh that’s right, they were stuck in the back watching US fight it out. You don’t think it was eating guys like that up to not be in our spot?”
His grip on the table has been fully released. I slide it away from the wall, the legs dragging on concrete worse than nails on a chalkboard. Red looks down at his Championship, then back towards me.
“Do it. It feels good. Cathartic, I swear.” I urge him.
His hesitation is brief, but his leather strap soon joins mine on the floor. He begins to step back, but I motion him to grab back onto the table. “While you’re there…” I say, smirking.
This is his real prized possession: the Poker Table. Rumour has it George Clooney sat at it during filming of Ocean’s Eleven. It’s a rumour I’m pretty sure Red started. Regardless, it’s his baby. Agreeing, reluctantly mind you, I’m unsure he’s actually on the same page as me or if this is a ploy to get his hands around my throat. Up on it’s side and walking out of the cubicle, I swear I spot a tear in the corner of his eye. Once out, we place the table down gently, leaning it against the exterior wall of the cubicle. And…
His hands do not introduce themselves to my throat.
“This ain’t no reboot, rebirth, whatever you want to call it. No. This is progression.”
“You’re…not wrong.” His tone sincere.
“No, I’m not. I learned that the hard way. I wanted so bad to be that plucky underdog for the people, I lost sight of who I was going into battle with Farthington. That role was a circular hole, and I’m a square fucking peg.”
“Stay true to ourselves, and the rest will fall into place.”
“Always has, always will. It’s a stupid cliche, but trust the process. I wasn’t meant to be that underdog. That’s not Ted. And it’s not Red.”
“No, it is not.”
“But you know what is meant to be?”
“People fucking like us. So get your head out of your ass ‘Willing Villian’. Fucking Grow Bro.”
“Heh. That’d look good on a shirt.” Red says half heartedly, Grady’s ears somewhere out in Chicago land ringing.
“And they fucking hate The Hollywood Bruvs…”
Red laughs, knowing that of all the things I’ve said, this probably is the tidbit that rings with the most truth. Looking around at the minor dismantling that has taken place, full acceptance finally overtakes Red entirely. Nodding his head, his trademark grin grows from the corner of his mouth.
“Then let’s give the people what they want.”
Two Man Stable.
Everytime Red or I speak those three words, it’s as if one of us shit in someone’s cereal. The idea that we view the term ‘Tag Team’ as derogatory is laughable. Really, it is. The two of us have nothing but respect for tag team competition, and the great trailblazers of the industry who put tag team wrestling on the map. Case in point, Mario Maurako. The newest HOW Hall of Famer returned home to oversee the very division he left his undeniable mark on. It would be an absolute honor to one day win those Championships, shake that man’s hand and offer the sincerest ‘Thank You’ either one of us have within us.
Competing as a Tag Team has never been an issue amongst us. History has.
Through the annals of Wrestling History, more often than not, Tag Teams have served as a vehicle of sorts, for one of its members. Be it ego within the ranks, management murmurs of who the breakout star might be, or at the core of every performance, crowd reactions. Sure, not all Tag Teams were destined for such a fate, but as I stated, more often than not.
It wasn’t long ago, the two of us found ourselves in the same boat. And no, it wasn’t Teddy Palmer looking back at Alex Redding. I was the weak link. I was costing us matches. I was pulling the pink slips out of the mailboxes. I was getting booed out of bingo halls and rec centers. I was ready to quit, and accept my fate that Red and Ted had run its course.
Enter The Two Man Stable.
Red wasted little time telling me to stop whining like a little bitch, work through the rough patch, and persevere. We were never going to be Red or Ted. This duo was not and never will be a vehicle. Two dangerous men have a steering wheel of their own, and have lived through many ups, and have worked through a fuck tonne of downs.
So laugh at our term. Scoff at it. I don’t give a fuck. Red certainly doesn’t. Just remember the laughter when we do eventually win those Tag Team Championships. Or when one of us win HOW singles gold for the first time. Was it laughable when I won the Lee Best invitational? Nah, didn’t think so.
I don’t think it’ll be laughable when we qualify for War Games either.
We are Red and Ted. Not 24K. Not The Hollywood Bruvs.
A team within a team. A vehicle so obvious to literally everyone with a pulse, it’s fucking sickening. The Hollywood Bruvs attach themselves to the Legendary Andy Murray and the competent Perfection. Their debut was a ‘game changer’, or so we’ve been told. Well I’m going to let you boys in on a little secret here: no one gave a fuck about your debut. Andy Murray though, now that grabbed headlines.
And the two of you knew it would. So kudos for that, I suppose.
Problem is, you think you’re riding Andy to the moon and back. And sure, in some ways you’ve already went for a ride with the big scot. Name me any other team who has ‘HOW Tag Team Championship’ on their career highlights list who also have:
A.) lost in their quest for the straps.
B.) were handed them by the team that beat them.
C.) in turn lost them in their first defense.
Wow boys, that’s some fucking special trip. When I put it like that, it comes off like some terrible fucking joke, right? Yet you’re still prouder than two pigs in shit when telling anyone who will listen that you were HOW Tag Team Champions. Congratulations. Hope you enjoyed it, because it won’t be long before Andy pulls the trigger and realizes the journey forward is a helluva tonne easier without deadweight.
Now that leisurely stroll of yours, while the two of you were sipping on whatever the fuck you call those things, we were trudging through the trenches. I was fighting in the main event at the Coliseum, giving Farthington my fucking all. I didn’t have anyone holding my hand through the two and half month journey to get there either. Red was waging war with not one, not two, but three absolute titans of this company. Did we both come up short in those journey’s? Yeah. But did we do it by ourselves with our heads held high?
You’re fucking right we did.
Refueled, we do the same. We walk out with our heads held high. The big difference this time around, our hands will be held high too. We embark on our next journey: War Games. We set our sights on every Championship this company has to offer and stop living in the past. You two? Well, why don’t you go guzzle on one of them smoothies or film another shitty commercial. Better yet, scout out who the two of you will leach off of next. Just don’t plan on main eventing War Games.
That’s for Red AND Ted.