Well, the cat’s out of the bag now, isn’t it?
Congratulations, Jiles. You said you felt like a footnote in your own story, and now I’ve washed you off the fucking page. It’s what you deserve. It’s what your lackluster fucking effort for ten years has earned you. You finally get your HOW World Championship match, live on pay-per-view, one on one, and ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ESCAPE.
And it no longer fucking matters.
Because if I don’t defeat Dan Ryan in the main event at March to Glory, I am retiring from professional wrestling forever. Whether I hold the HOW World Championship at the end of the night or not. Do you realize what that means, Cancer? Do you realize the implication? It means that if I beat you for the HOW World Championship, and I walk into the main event and take a big fat fucking L to Dan Ryan, that the following week on Refueled I will say goodbye forever and vacate the championship. You’ll be out of a job, and the greatest title reign in High Octane History will end not with the roar of your victory, but with the whimper of my handing it over to management.
And it’ll be all fucking eyes on me.
Just the way I like it. HOW’s token narcissist, making everything about himself. The harder you fight to win the HOW World Title, the more you wear me down… the more like you make any kind of a victory you might achieve over me a hollow one. Your winner, AND NEW HOW WORLD CHAAAAAAMPIONNNNN… the guy who is gonna open the show at Refueled, because my retirement ceremony will fucking close it. They’ll have a show in my honor, Jiles. They’ll fire off fucking cannons like I died. Benny Newell is gonna be in shambles, and you’ll be the new face of the show. The new top of the mountain. The new warrior king.
And no one will give a fuck.
For the rest of your career, people will say “Oh yeah, Jiles was the champion when Mike retired”, and it’ll mean fuck all. Just like the rest of your run here. Just like your entire career. Just like the current relationship status of the eGG Bandits. The only fucking hope you have of maintaining an iota of self respect in this entire affair is my winning of the main event at March to Glory. Your fate is literally no longer in your own hands. Your future in High Octane Wrestling is one hundred percent dictated on how fucking beat up I am when I make it to Dan Ryan. And I already told you, Jiles.
I’m looking to take my time on you. Call me Chemotherapy, because I’m in there to slowly shrivel you down Cancer until you’re nonexistent.
I’m not looking to escape that cage.
I was seventeen years old when I started training to be a professional wrestler.
That’s fucking wild, man. Literally half of my life has been spent inside a wrestling ring. Yeah, this is gonna get a little self indulgent. Yeah, it’s gonna be another blog. They’re all blogs, man. This might be my last week as a professional wrestler and I’m the greatest in history, so you’ll pardon me if I wax a little poetically about the past for awhile.
Sometimes I think about what I’d do without it. If I didn’t have to lace up a pair of boots every Saturday night and put my body in the line. If I didn’t have to think up new and interesting shit every week, for a bunch of people who are just gonna digest it and move on to the next thing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m some kind of public servant here, but you’d be lying if you said that being the fucking GOAT isnt the most thankless job in the universe. I’m really fucked if I do, fucked if I don’t.
There’s no winning when all you do is win.
Every week, the target gets bigger and bigger. No end to the challengers, they’re gonna keep coming and coming until one of them succeeds. And trust me, I have no delusions that eventually one of them will. I come from an era of HOW where anyone can beat anyone on any given night, and it’s just not that kind of landscape anymore. But you send Dan Ryan after me enough times, lightning is gonna strike eventually. You send Cancer Jiles after me, and the winning numbers are inevitably gonna come up. Someday, maybe soon, someone is gonna land the shot that ends a dynasty.
Maybe it’ll be Saturday, who knows.
But hey man, it’s lose lose.
It’s kind of taken for granted. “Oh, Mike doesn’t lose matches.” There’s no pat on the back for the best in the business— it’s expected of you. You lose to me, and it was a given. You beat me, and it’ll make your whole career. The only thing that keeps you going on a long enough timeline is spite— once you’ve set all the records, checked all the boxes, and unlocked all the achievements, it’s all you’ve got. Spitefully wanting to stay on top. Spitefully wanting to show them you can go forever. Spitefully wanting to hold the line, and make them pry it from your cold dead fingers.
And then, one day, you run out of spite.
I know my Dad is sick about hearing that I fell in love. He hates it, just so you guys know. He says it’s absolute dog shit, and that it would be sinking my career if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m just head above water the best in the world. He thinks it’s dragging me down, and he’s right. I’m spending too much time away from the gym. Too much time smiling and taking pictures of my dick. Too much time focusing on something other than wrestling for the first time in my life. But more than anything, the reason it’s dragging me down is that I’m just running out of spite.
I no longer need the validation.
You should all be embarrassed that I’ve done as well as I’ve done with one foot out of the ring. I’m really and truly just that good at what I do, and it simply isn’t fair. Some of you work real hard, and I can skate by on the bare minimum. Even now, I’m telling Jiles that I’m gonna punish him for his work ethic, knowing full well that my heart isn’t in this anymore. And maybe that’s not fair, but maybe you should also give me a fucking break. I’ve been pushing myself for eleven years in HOW. I’ve worked the truck. I’ve made the shirts. I’ve done so much more shit behind the scenes than any of you could ever imagine, for the same lack of thank you that Lee Best himself has been dealing with for twenty years. I’ve served my time. I’ve put in my work.
I’m allowed a little victory lap, thank you.
But the race is almost over.
I didn’t have some grand plan to tell Dan Ryan that I’d retire if I couldn’t beat him. The words just rolled off my fingertips, and I decided not to backspace them. It’s what was in my heart, and it was the first thing that felt right on paper in a long time. I fought my way through that HOFC tournament and it got me good and hard, but even that started to fade after a couple of weeks. I’m just saying the same shit over and over, because there’s nothing new to say. I’ve done it all, said it all, and achieved it all. I ran a Cult. I played Jesus. I had amnesia once. I kidnapped a Catholic panda, did cocaine and fucked a hooker on a prison plane (Sorry Katy, I know you read these, it happened). I’ve been rich, I’ve been broke, and I’ve been homeless. I spent a whole year wearing a golden cast on my arm that I was allowed to use as a weapon because it was deemed medically necessary by a very questionable physician.
After awhile, it’s all deja vu.
I beat Eric Dane in a high school gym in Halkumsville, North Carolina. Beat Dan Ryan twice. Beat Lindsay Troy at ICONIC, beat Rhys Townsend literally thirty three times, and killed Max Kael and Chris Kostoff. I retired Christopher America, and retired Aceldama… twice. Got into a shitty Fisher Price Hall of Fame run by a drunk in under six months. Held all their titles at one time, as a goof. Convinced another company to write me into their title histories, just as a goof. I’ve held an actual Women’s Championship. Fucking… what is even left for me to do but retire?
And I mean it. Really retire.
Look, I talk a lot of shit, but we all know that it’s a fifty fifty shot that Dan Ryan walks away with the HOFC Championship. We all know it’s a fifty fifty shot that Jiles escapes the cage. And Kurt Angle KNOOOOOWS he can’t beat me, so he isn’t even gonna try.
Penalize me, Lee. Steiner math will ALWAYS be funny.
Point is, I might be the best in the world, but I’m fucking tired. HOW is full of killers, and I keep on skating by out of spite. But I’ve fucking run out of spite. I’ve run out of drive. I no longer give a fuck if I keep adding record days to championship records that will already never be broken. I want to become the HOFC Champion– I think it’ll make for a fun little ride before it’s all over. I want to hold the HOW World Championship until someone is man enough to take it from me. But after that? Once the gold is down the drain?
I’m ready to be done with this.
So there won’t be any loopholes. Won’t be any returns. Won’t be going back on my word. I’ll hang out and work the truck, like I used to. I’ll produce a match now and then, and keep on designing merch for the company. I might even keep running SixTime, just to keep myself in shape. But I always had wrestling when I had nothing else, and now I have something else. Now I have someone else. I met a human being who makes me okay with who I am, and made the validation of a bunch of strangers seem less important. I get to be more than a wrestler. More than a champion. More than a Hall of Famer.
I get to be a boyfriend.
And then a husband.
And a stepfather.
I get to be a silly asshole and build pillow forts with a couple of little girls who need to learn the most efficient way to build a pillow fort. I get to stop spending half a week coming up with the meanest things to say to my friends, just because I have a match to promote. I get to just be a person, and learn what it means to be happy. I don’t care if you think it’s bad for me, Lee. I don’t care if anyone thinks it’s too soon, or happening too fast. I don’t even really care if I’ve just talked about it too much, and it somehow costs me the HOW World Championship. What shall be shall be, and if I’m no longer the greatest wrestler in the world, then it is time for me to go home, put on a pair of sweatpants, and start to figure out exactly who Michael Lee Best is when the cameras turn off.
Because I don’t know him anymore.
I don’t know what’s the truth, or what is a lie. I don’t know what shit talk I mean, and what I don’t. I don’t know if I’m the best, or if my reputation strikes fear into the hearts of my opponents and gives me that mental edge before the bell even rings. All I know is that wrestling was what I had when I had nothing else, and I will be thankful to it forever. If Dan Ryan beats me at March to Glory, and that’s that, then I will forever be indebted to this company and this industry for giving me something fun, profitable, and mentally stable to do for the last decade and change. And if I win?
Then I’ll see you next Saturday, boots laced up.
This match is seventeen years in the making– the ultimate gamble, go big or go home. Win two matches in one night, cement my spot as the greatest of all time, or lose everything and retire. Sometimes, you just have to take a gamble and see what happens. Can’t play it safe forever. Jiles, I wish you all the luck in the world on Saturday night. You’re gonna need it. This might be my last night as a professional wrestler, and I have absolutely everything to lose. No reason not to leave it all in the cage. No reason not to go all out. If you’re salty that I said you have no work ethic and called you a fucking midcarder, then do something about it. Fight me harder. Beat me. Win the HOW World Championship. Take it from my hands, because it will humiliate you if you lose, get fired, and then watch me vacate the belt from your couch.
Two careers on the line now, bud.
At least mine is complete.