The sound of Christopher America’s front door being forced open and smashing against the door stop went off like a gunshot. Standing in the doorway, wearing no coat, wet from the night’s rain, was the unmistakable outline of Luis Gonzalez. Luis’ face, contorted and twisted in rage, was lit up in brief glimpses as the lightning flashed outside.
Luis stomped in to the house, moving towards a dim light emanating from the back. As he moved farther in, Luis could feel his anger rise. He continued to breathe heavier and heavier through his nose. For him, this had been a long time coming. For what felt like months, he swallowed his pride and his ego for the sake of his family, for the sake of his father. But that would end tonight.
No more games.
No more servitude.
Luis proceeded towards the living room of Christopher America’s house. Each footstep felt heavy as he thrust it downwards, making no effort to conceal his movements, not that there was much to conceal after breaking in the door.
Each footstep contained the hate for a man who beat his father in front of him, a man who repaid his father’s kindness with assault, and a man who used his father’s health and well-being as a piece of blackmail and coercion.
As Luis entered the living room, he saw the HOW World Champion sitting on the couch, cross legged, illuminated by the light of a fire and a couple of small lamps. He was sipping on a warm drink and looked up at Luis. He smiled wryly as his eyes perked up. He motioned for Luis to join him by the fire, by sitting in the chair opposite from him. But, Luis, he had other intentions.
Luis was slightly taken aback by the casual demeanor that America seemingly showed but quickly pushed that aside. He moved through the open spaces in between America’s furniture walked right up to him and grabbed him by his shirt. The height and weight difference made it difficult for Luis to pull America up out of his seat barely more than a few inches.
Luis: Where… is my… FATHER?!
Luis asked the question through gritted teeth, while practically foaming at the mouth. America, in response, held his hands out showing that he was not going to give Luis what he wanted: a physical confrontation. America knew, at his core, that if he engaged with Luis, he would do something to Luis that both of them regret. For Luis, he’d regret the confrontation and the pain. For America, he’d regret the financial burden that would befall him in placing another member of the Gonzalez family in the hospital.
America continued looking at Luis, showing not only how in control he was, but also how unafraid he was of the boy.
Christopher America: Your father is… secure.
America’s words were chosen carefully, vague enough to not convey location or current state of being but descriptive enough to provide just a morsel of security and assuredness.
Luis: STOP DODGING!
Christopher America: While you were in school, I went to talk to your parents about your father’s care. Naturally, I was concerned. He and I did have our little disagreement and…
Luis tugged on America’s shirt harder. The threads beginning to stretch and tear.
Luis: IT WAS NOT A DISAGREEMENT! YOU BEAT HIM!
Luis drew his face closer to America’s. As he spoke, flecks of spit fell on America’s face. He turned and closed his eyes, feeling disgust at having not only been touched but also spit upon.
Christopher America: You’re right! You’re right.
America turned back to face the boy, focusing on maintaining his wry smile.
Christopher America: Your mother told me that he was having complications from the concussions. And I, concerned for his well-being, talked to her about my private doctor. The one I would go to see if I had concussions. I reassured her that he could go see Dr. Stephens and receive the best of care, but only if we hurried. And so, I had your father flown out to Connecticut immediately. I even offered Bill’s watchful eyes as additional security to make sure he got there okay.
And he is.
I’ve done it, haven’t I?
I told you that as long as you finished out your father’s contract, I would financially take care of him and his medical bills… and I HAVE.
I‘ve kept my word.
Luis looked at America, scowling, searching his face and body for an excuse to punch him. After a few moments, with the evil, smiling visage of the HOW World Champion looking at him, Luis reluctantly released America’s shirt. America’s body fell backwards into the couch. He repositioned himself from the forced landing and straightened out his clothes.
Christopher America: You see, boy, no matter how much you want to paint me as the bad guy, I have done everything in my power to keep you and your family financially stable while your father recovers. I have held up my end of the bargain. I’ve given you a good paying job that will look nicely on a resume. And well, the moves your father and you designed for me have been paying dividends.
Luis: You enjoy this.
America smirked and chuckled to himself.
Christopher America: Enjoy it? No. Enjoy doesn’t begin to describe it. I RELISH in it. I have…
America took a deep breath, as if he were taking in the rich aroma of an amazing meal set before him.
Christopher America: I have missed THIS.
I have missed this side of me for oh, so long.
Luis kept his eyes on America as he backed away.
Christopher America: You know, last year, around this time, I got to enjoy the company of Ukrainian soldiers on my way to War Games. I got to watch them struggle against Russian soldiers. I got to see how those Un-American dogs dealt with Putin and his forces. Some of them chastised me for how I treated them and I quickly realized… who really cares which of them won, as long as there were a few less Un-Americans on the planet.
Christopher America: Nevertheless, messing with those not on my level, messing with their cultures, their petty war… it was exhilarating. And I followed that up by taking a former military man, a man who served his country, and ridiculing him in front of the current military service members.
And that’s when I got hooked on it, again.
See, people think that mind games help give you a psychological advantage over your opponent. And they’re right, but they don’t understand the balance in the equation. Oh sure, mind games allow you to demoralize your opponent. But, they also help me. It invigorates me. I feed off that negativity.
America got up and began making his way over to a nook at the back of the living room. He pulled open the cabinets and took out two glasses. He filled them both with ice and then reached into the bottom cabinet pulling out a two-liter bottle of Pepsi. He began to fill the cups and paused momentarily. Without turning back, his eyes looked to the left to see if Luis had moved. Seeing nothing, he smiled and finished pouring the drinks.
Christopher America: Want one? It’s the most American of soft drinks. Red, white, and blue all day.
America smiled wickedly as Luis continued to scowl. America shrugged his shoulders and poured two drinks anyway.
Christopher America: Degrading Un-Americans. Making them feel less than they are. Putting them in their place. Making them feel ashamed. It’s part of who I am. I can’t exist without it. I tried to but… I didn’t like what I became as a result of it. People called me a sad version of myself. Bill said I lost the “America” in Christopher America. They called me other names and they were all right. For some reason, I lost that part of myself. From Rumble at the Rock until around March To Glory.
Maybe it was the threat of Conor Fuse. Maybe it was the record looming over me. Maybe it was me worrying that Mike would screw me over and rehash a feud with me that we’ve done time and time again, despite he and I both knowing he’s the better of us.
Whatever it was, I had somehow shed myself of my American moniker. I found myself lost. And thanks to… a certain Russian… I was able to rediscover the parts of myself that I love so much.
That’s why I’m still champion.
That’s why I reminded people on Chaos about just how stupid it is to open your mouth against me.
America walked casually over to Luis and handed him the Pepsi. Luis took the glass but took no drink. America, towering over the lad, locked his eyes on Luis’ and took a large gulp.
Christopher America: It’s why I reminded your father not to judge me.
Luis squeezed the glass in his hand hard.
Christopher America: You see, boy, I understand how you feel. I understand it more than you care to realize. More than most people want to admit. You see, I, too, have lost the thing that I loved. Twice, in fact. And now that I have her back, I don’t want anyone taking her away from me again.
Luis balked at the comparison. He opened his mouth for a retort but America continued.
Christopher America: Oh, what? You think because of who I am and the things that I’ve done that I’m somehow incapable of love?
Luis: Your love of that championship is hardly the same as what I feel for my father. You project yourself onto that title. It’s just another way for you to love yourself.
America sneered at the interruption but continued on.
Christopher America: Being away from her for years, I thought that somehow, someway, I would just… get over it. But you never really do, do you? It’s always there.
America tapped his temple as he took another drink.
Christopher America: Right there. In the back of your mind. You know, my World Championship… she’s called me every year. Hoping. Begging. Pleading. Wishing that I would return to HOW. Wishing that I would put my body through hell again for her at War Games. And for as long as I could, I tried to ignore that voice. I tried to push her out or drown her out, but she is a persistent mistress.
America paused and looked up and off to his left. He raised a finger in the air and smiled wickedly.
Christopher America: I can even hear her now. Can you?
America looked at Luis with anticipation. Luis looked at his employer with confusion and fear. He knew that something had gone. Sanity, logic, whatever. It was now off the table when dealing with the man who beat his father in front of him.
Christopher America: Of course you don’t. Because you aren’t worthy. None of you are worthy. None of you have EVER been worthy.
It was always me.
It was ONLY me!
America took a final drink, emptying the glass. He looked over at Luis’ drink briefly before turning to go back to the bar in the nook to pour himself another.
Christopher America: Your father knew how much the HOW World Championship meant to me. His moves… they, uhm… they helped me keep her. And it’s for that reason that I am paying for his medical bills. It’s why I’m keeping you on.
America nodded to himself, as if he was trying to convince himself of something.
Christopher America: I’m also keeping you on because I know that someday, he’ll get better. And you two will be back to the way things were. And I’m going to hire you… both… officially… as my new trainers.
The World Champion turned towards Luis and his eyes flickered for but a moment.
Christopher America: Because if my feelings for the HOW World Championship are anything like your feelings for your father, then I know the depths and lengths that you’ll go to… to make sure that he recovers.
To make sure that your family is okay.
America looked contemplative as he spoke the next few words.
Christopher America: And to make sure that I pay for what I’ve done.
America took another large drink and walked right up to Luis, unafraid.
Christopher America: But I need you to understand something.
When that day comes… you are not going to be facing a sniveling, little man. You are not going to be facing a coward. And you certainly are not going to be facing a PUNK KID who barges into people’s homes making demands from unfavorable positions.
You, BOY, are going to face a MAN… a man who will do ANYTHING to retain his championship and a man who will do ANYTHING to preserve himself.
And God help you if you find me on that day and I do NOT hold the HOW World Championship.
See, unlike your country, America dominates EVERYTHING it sees and EVERYTHING it touches. That’s MY inheritance from MY country.
America shriveled up his face in contempt.
Christopher America: Yours is poverty. It’s neediness. It’s helplessness. You… your father… your country… you should be thanking me. You should be thanking HOW. You should be thanking us for granting you our presence.
The patriot’s eyes flashed with malice. The thunder outside echoing his sentiments as if serving Luis a warning.
Christopher America: So, until then. Stay in your lane. Stay where I put you. Like the good dog you are.
And I’ll stay in mine… above you. Got it?
America leaned in close to Luis’ face as he spoke, practically returning the favor from earlier, as flecks of spit and saliva hit Luis’ face.
Christopher America: And your job, you piece of shit, is to help me for War Games.
You’re going to do something that no DOCTOR has been able to do, what my AGENT has been unable to do… and YES what your FATHER was unable to do.
America breathed heavily as he slowly backed away from Luis’ face. His head shook with fury. His face turned red. His teeth gritted. All as if he were about to ask Luis to move heaven and earth for him.
Christopher America: You are going to help me to learn to work with a bunch of filthy, Un-American ingrates who feel that they are OWED this championship or BACKSTAB me for this championship.
You’re going to help me stay on my toes, keep my head on a swivel, and how to have eyes in the back of my head.
You’re going to train me hard in anticipation and predictability.
Luis maintained his frown but looked away like a broken dog. He closed his eyes and nodded in agreement. Silence hung in the air between the two men for a moment before Luis opened his eyes. He looked at America with defiance.
Luis: Fine. You want help, right?
Luis’ eyebrow rose slightly with an idea.
Luis: I’ll help you anticipate things… I’ll help you prepare for the things that come. The things that show up… when you least expect it.
America’s eyes narrowed. He saw through the veiled threat and smirked. His eyes went wide with glee.
Christopher America: Wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m going to do something I’ve never done before.
I’m going to give you all an advantage.
And I’m doing it so that you have a true and full understanding of the kind of person I am.
I’m going to peel the curtain back on myself.
Oh sure, it’s easy to pull the thread on the tapestry of lies that someone like Joe Bergman weaves and watch it all unravel at the slightest touch. But to do that to myself, to peel back the curtain that I hide behind? Why that’s… that’s tantamount to self-sabotage, isn’t it?
Actually… this is me throwing down the gauntlet.
When I peel back this curtain, you’ll know everything. Nothing will be hidden from you.
This business and this company in particular… it… it rewards the despicable, the underhanded, the gross, and the violent. Look at the list of World Champions. Explore the lineage and history. Learn it. Study it. Analyze it. And then tell me how many of those men and women never caved in to the pressures of moral and ethical decay. Which ones stayed the righteous path? Which ones walked out of holding the HOW World Championship unscathed?
There’s no one.
For those World Champions still with the company that think this doesn’t apply to you, I dare you to challenge this notion. Much has been discussed already of Joe Bergman’s hypocrisy while competing as Halitosis. Or, Bobbinette Carey’s greed when she screwed over Shane Reynolds. Or Conor Fuse’s false innocence to try to throw his opponents off their game.
By holding this championship, I am doing each and every single one of my opponents a favor. I’m even doing a favor for the fans. By holding this championship, I prevent the further decay of their heroes. I save them from what they don’t have the strength to do. They can’t rise above the corruption and so I assume that on to myself.
Willingly. And happily.
And do you know what I get for that? Do you know what I get for saving them from themselves for nearly a year?
Not a thank you.
No. Rather, I get constantly mocked. I’m treated as if I’m a weak champion. I’m disrespected and degraded. And what I find hilarious is that some of those people are the same ones that I beat to retain this championship.
Because I was brave enough to dream? Bold enough to pursue? Dedicated enough to see it through?
So, if I am what they say I am… if I am the lowest of the low… if I am a piece of shit… if I am a piece of garbage… if I am a worm or insect or some other bottom feeder… then what does that make them if they couldn’t even rise above the dirt and the muck to become something greater?
What they all fail to realize and I’ve quickly learned to accept, is that we’re all selfish. We just don’t say that quiet part out loud. Until now. There can be only ONE World Champion. And yet, when you seek your own happiness, like I have, like I do now with my championship, I’m ridiculed and lambasted for it. Because MY happiness isn’t THEIR happiness.
They want to take my happiness from me. The happiness that I literally hold in my hands. Like a transcendent being, I literally hold tangible emotions in my hands. And the rest of you, you want to take that from me. You want to take it and just expect me to accept it?
No, I don’t think so.
If anything, I’ve showed you that your miserable lives can survive 300+ days without finding your personal happiness. That, in turn, tells me that it’s okay to hold on to my happiness for another 300+ days. And another. And another. And another. For all time. Until I either can’t physically wrestle anymore or the day I die.
You see, each of us, each wrestler, we’re trying to do the impossible. When you have incredible moments in the ring, time slows. We get to relish in those moments longer than we’re supposed to. When you have hall of fame careers, you begin building something that will hopefully outlast yourself. And when you have all of that and set records like I have, you begin chasing immortality.
But it, too, is a lie.
Our time on this planet is finite. My time in this company is an even smaller window. And so, I had to make a choice when Tyler and I agreed that I would become the World Champion.
I was going to make the most of every second.
I was going to reward the faith that Mike and Lee Best placed in me.
I wasn’t going to ask for victories. I was going to take them.
I was going to show each and every one of you the difference between a pro wrestler and a fucking main event talent.
Because, even now, every breath that I take in, every beat of my red, white, and blue heart, puts me one step closer to the day that I will no longer be able to rise up and defend my championship.
And if I can’t hold this championship… then I don’t want to be here.
So, there you have it… a taste… with more to come…
Digest this advantage I give you…
Because when you don’t outlast me in the cage… when you lose to me in that match… when I have my arm raised in victory… doing what only Aceldama before me has done… when I retain the HOW World Championship in the cage… you won’t be able to say it was because of some unfair advantage… or because you didn’t fully understand what I was capable of… or you didn’t realize the depths that I would sink to in order to keep her.
You’ll all know.
And you’ll be left with only yourselves to blame.