Of Fathers and Follies

Of Fathers and Follies

Posted on March 25, 2024 at 6:54 pm by Charles de Lacy

Radio silence…

That’s what greeted the dashing de Lacy’s successful passage to the Final Four-Way at March to Glory. These were hardly unchartered waters. I was no stranger to HOW’s notoriously cold shoulder. Why, you barely had to cast your mind back a year to know that I had challenged for both the LSD and HOTV titles to little, if any, fanfare. Now admittedly, those first forays into championship relevance ultimately proved fruitless, but the lack of recognition at having got there was a little tough to swallow.

But this. Well, this was a different proposition altogether. A potential shot at Big Red. The pinnacle. A summation of all my hard work and dedication. A crack at the odious Mike Best.

And nothing.

No pomp and circumstance. No back-patting. No teary-eyed eulogies for a job well-done.

No, my emergence from the group was greeted with nothing more than a collective rolling of the eyes. “Once again,” I could almost hear them saying, “de Lacy had teased greatness in the group stages, only to surely falter under the blinding glare of the arena lights come March 30th.”

That was the unspoken narrative.

But why?

Was it merely a case of petty jealousies? After all, there were some much-fancied competitors—ex-champions, Hall of Famers and previous LBI winners no less—who fell short of qualifying from their respective groups. I must have put a few noses out of joint.

Professional wrestling is not an industry known for its camaraderie, and if one dislikes seeing their friends succeed imagine how enraged HOW’s various CTE-riddled matt monkeys must have felt at seeing me, a relative newcomer, coast past the opposition.

And yet…

I had to admit that Mike Best’s dismissal of my title-challenging credentials had stung my fragile ego like the glove-slapping prelude to a duel.

Like it or not, and I most certainly did not, Mike Best had long been king of the hill—a title that left a bitter taste in my mouth, as I harboured an abhorrence for Americanisms—and for as long as most could remember. It was no secret that he was the man to beat. And thus, his words—those cruel, proletarian utterances—bore a significant weight.

The only faint solace came from his addressing me as “kid.” I have never denied my vanity in preserving the youthful visage of the de Lacy line, so being dubbed as such by a man eight years my junior softened the sting, if only slightly, of his cutting remarks.

But beyond the veneer of faint flattery, what cut deepest were his astutely barbed remarks. And amid his relentless mudslinging, Best unexpectedly unearthed a nugget of truth: I wasn’t in this for the long-haul—shudder—I mean, I wasn’t in this for the duration, you see.

No, it was never my intention to stay in HOW any longer than it would take me to secure enough money to pay off my debts and resume my accustomed high living. This, I suppose, could explain my lack of consistency up to this point. It’s hard to maintain focus in the fighting game if your heart’s not really in it. The fact might also go some way to explaining the disdain in which I was held by much of the roster.

I had no loyalty to HOW, nor its longest serving combatants. In fact, if it weren’t for the crippling financial situation I found myself in I would never have entertained Lee Best’s contract offer in the first place. I could never comprehend the blind devotion of those who willingly sacrificed their bodies and minds, or what was left of them, to the whims of a bearded despot with no regard for anyone but himself.

I’m fully aware that this admission may be deemed sacrilege by the devout followers who continue to vie for the old man’s favour. This sentiment extends even to Mike Best, his oft-maligned son, who appears to take a perverse pleasure in catering to a father who, in my eyes, cares little whether he lives or dies.

Yet, I remain indifferent.

Michael, you yourself have mentioned that you suspect you’ll always play second fiddle to Jatt Starr, a man as popular as a turd at a picnic, in your father’s affections. To be relegated to such a position behind a man who isn’t even of your blood? The indignity!

Well, I refused to prostitute my talents.

Unlike the rest of you, I didn’t get into this business for the recognition of an old man with a messiah complex.

Frankly, it irked me that a man of my ability had been forced to slum it with the riff-raff for so long. Good Lord, a stint in San Quentin would have been more humane — not to mention more intellectually stimulating.

Week after week I’m forced to endure the monosyllabic ramblings of you hicks threatening all manner of violence upon one another. All the while, I’m mocked for my verbosity and castigated for nothing more than trying to elevate this great sport to the level it deserves.

Hence my arrangement with Mr Parker Davidson.

While I can hardly condone his actions, he has offered me something few—if any—in HOW ever have. RECOGNITION. Recognition of my talents and recognition of my potential.

Potential.

That word. That fateful word. It haunted me long before I stepped foot in a HOW ring. In fact, it haunted me long before I even conceived of lacing up a pair of wrestling boots.

And it continues to haunt me.

You see, Michael, you and I aren’t as different as one might presume. Besides my discerning sense of style and superior eloquence, that is.

The fact is, there lies a shared burden of parental expectations and the looming presence of a formidable father figure. I’m not one for confessionals, but given your honesty it only seems fair that I spill the beans on my own upbringing, don’t you think?

Not once have I earned the approval of my father. He is a man who regards professional wrestling as nothing more than a sideshow fit for circus freaks and deadbeats. My choice to reject his aspirations for me in academia proved to be a breaking point in our fragile relationship, and I’ve endured the repercussions ever since.

“But, Charles,” he’d lament. “What potential you showed.”

I took no pleasure in his disappointment. Truth be told, it pained me a great deal.

However, the difference lies in our responses to these pressures, Michael. While you may have chosen to acquiesce to your father’s whims, I made the decision to forge my own path, to become my own man.

I always consoled myself that I was doing the right thing, fighting for a noble cause. This was a sport of integrity and I excelled at it.

But that no longer seems to be the case.

Mike Best is the best HOW has to offer. Of that there is little doubt. But this isn’t a glowing endorsement of his qualities as a professional wrestler. It’s a damning indictment of just how deeply this industry has fallen into the gutter.

Don’t get me wrong, a world title on the old resumé and the ensuing riches that would come with it would do me no harm. I’m not such a contrarian as to claim that. However, I had to confess, it clearly meant less to me than Best and co.

But that is precisely what makes me such a dangerous proposition: I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I’m not fighting for the approval of some fat-arsed rednecks cheering at ringside, or the knuckle-dragging “boys in the back”. No, I was fighting for my financial emancipation. For a shot at a brighter future. A life I had once savoured and now craved with even greater hunger.

Let us dive into the crux of the matter, shall we? It appears our dear Michael, in his inimitable style, has waxed lyrical about the upcoming contest and the potential contenders to HOW’s crowning jewel. His musings, though lacking in finesse, offered a keen insight into his assessment of the different characters involved and their relative merits.

Firstly, let me explore his gushing tribute to the triumphant spirit of Steve Solex, who, according to his number one cheerleader, is a veritable James Brown of the ring—the hardest-working man in professional wrestling, and a hell of a guy to boot. Well, allow me to interject: despite Solex’s undeniable virtues, he’s just as prone to inconsistency as I am, if not more so. In fact, at CHAOS 42, you may remember I laid bare Solex’s true colours—nothing but muscle, with scarce a hint of intellect— when I hit him with my Dandy’s Decree and secured a much-deserved win.

Far be it from me to partake in the tired old game of ‘I am the man that beat the man.’ After all, those of us with even half a brain understand that those reigning atop the hierarchy possess the capability of triumphing over any challenger on a fortuitous evening. However, it’s worth noting: if Best holds Solex’s virtues in such high regard, perhaps he should exercise a touch more caution in recognising the threat I present.

You see, Michael, while I can’t deny that Solex does indeed ‘give a fuck,’ as you so eloquently put it, don’t fool yourself into thinking that I do not. Though our paths to success may diverge, my drive and determination are no less formidable than his. My motivation is just as strong. It’s just… different.

And yes, while I’m certain you’ve encountered countless men who’ve fallen short, let’s not overlook the fact that you, too, are susceptible of an off night. Why, I recall a rather humiliating defeat to Scott Stevens tarnishing your record just before the turn of the year—a man who couldn’t even progress beyond the group stages of the LBI. Another man I dispatched with little effort.

And while I acknowledge your point that there may be numerous contenders vying for your crown, please don’t do me the disservice of equating me with the likes of Teddy Palmer. I remain steadfast in this arena, albeit begrudgingly, and until I extricate myself from my current predicament, I’ll exert every effort to ascend to the summit.

As for your claim that there’s absolutely no one on planet Earth interested in witnessing a March to Glory main event featuring Charles de Lacy versus Michael Lee Best, I beg to differ. My dear friend Mickey happens to be rather keen on the notion, if you must know. Personally, I’m positively itching for it. As long as there’s still breath in this tired body, I’ll do everything in my powers to snatch that belt from your cold, dead hands… and then promptly depart with it at the earliest opportunity.

I harbour no allegiance to this cesspool of a company and regard those who do with the utmost disdain. Why would you choose to squander your talents for a man in Lee Best, who evidently holds you all in such contempt?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I wouldn’t want anyone to assume that I’m disregarding the other contenders in this free-for-all.

While I can’t claim to be well-versed in the exploits of the esteemed Silent Witness, it’s logical to conclude that a former LSD champion of such stature is indeed a formidable force to reckon with. Furthermore, his eye-patch—seemingly worn as a badge of honour by every HOW ‘lifer’—serves as a testament to his dedication to the cause.

The man who truly gives me pause is Sektor. Don’t let that Tom Selleck moustache fool you; he may have the look of a third-rate P.I., but he’s a ring warrior through and through. Having squared off against him myself, I can attest firsthand to his toughness. Then again, the last time our paths crossed, I didn’t have my man Mickey by my side.

Ah yes, my not-so-secret weapon.

You see, in a Fatal-Four-Way match, it’s a bit of a gamble; countless variables can throw things off course. That’s why having someone like Mickey in your corner is crucial. I’ve learned that the hard way. He’s not just there to keep the fans off my back, but to ensure that my meticulously laid plan goes off without a hitch.

So in closing, no, stepping into the Fatal-Four-Way won’t be the proudest moment of my career. And if, and I admit it’s a big if, I were to emerge successful and ascend to the main event with Mike Best it wouldn’t define a career in which I have already achieved a great deal.

But what it would do is offer me a chance at salvation. A chance to reinvigorate a career that has for too long lain dormant. A chance to silence my critics, to secure my independence. But finally, and, perhaps most importantly, a chance to shut my old man up!

And if that’s not motivation enough, I don’t know what is.