Pens are very powerful tools when you think about it.
The pen by itself does very little, that much is clear, it’s purely a device of function. Some in High Octane Wrestling have used it as a weapon to great effect and the Chicago optometrist industry is eternally grateful. To those people the pen is a display of force, reminding people that even the smallest of objects can yield painful results in the right hands.
The pen has also been used recently to buy title opportunities, to buy legacies, to buy back total control. The Best Family used it to reclaim entire control of HOW in a completely bloodless coup. A signature here, an initial there and Scotty gets his title shot, Mario gets his tag tournament and Michael Oliver Best gets his foot in the door.
For Cecilworth Farthington, the pen became something of an enemy. In good faith negotiations, he signed his name on the bottom line to return to the world of High Octane, he signed his name to the Best Family, agreeing to finally give them what they had been begging for.
Someone who could actually challenge Mike Best in the HOFC cage.
For months, people had watched endless challengers fall into the same pathetic traps, allowing their oversized egos to get in the way, their wounded pride to direct their actions. All that was down that pathway for those fools was a knee to the face and a kindergarten counting lesson.
Mike Best is very good at riling people up, it’s a remarkable talent. A verbal matador with an endless parade of bulls chasing his red rag. One by one, the heffers lined up and swore that they knew the secrets and every single time, the rag got gored and the matador viciously struck back. Some proclaimed intellect, others, an innate ability above their peers, more still insisted they weren’t most girls. Yet when the bell rang, they all transformed to a nose-ringed beast, rushed forth and ate the knee.
Cecilworth Farthington was different.
It was hard for Mike Best to press Cecilworth’s buttons, he’d be pressing his own in the process. The same could be said of the reverse. It was a unique situation, friends of similar minds make the very worst of enemies. Both men were certain the other would avoid going down the “mutually assured destruction” pathway.
So Cecilworth sat, once again with pen in hand. To return to wrestling was the option presented. No one night appearance, no special ICONIC title ‘bout backroom deal. No, this time he was being asked to fully commit to a return to HOW, limited dates was the carrot, sure, but our dear hero’s concern wasn’t HOW fulfilling their end.
It was him fulfilling his.
For almost two years I had to carry the weight of ever growing expectations. I became the first ICON Champion of the Refueled era. Hell, I was the first CHAMPION of the Refueled era and that gets attention, that gets eyeballs. Sure, there was a World Champion to decide and a tournament to finish but the eyes were on me to give meaning and purpose to this new run. If I flopped as ICON Champion and became one of numerous champions, passing the title around as casually as the 2016 HOW World Championship, I would be making a joke of the very title that made me a name in the first place. I could not and would not let that happen. I was booked to fail, I was booked to fall. Monsters, legends, Bandits… I faced them all and on any given week, I could have been caught.
But I wasn’t.
I strived, I survived, I kept clawing my way through my defenses. Some weeks I was dominant, while others, I was praying just to come out the other side of the match with my dignity intact but EVERY week, I remained YOUR ICON Champion. Every week I added a little bit more to the reputation of the belt, every week I added a bit more reputation to this era in HOW and fuck me, considering the World Champion was “guy with bad breath”, the company fucking needed the reputation.
While the World Championship was passed around for Halitosis to Kael to Sektor to, somehow, Halitosis again, I remained.
The stability factor.
The ICON of Refueled.
It really fucks up a guy to go from a twitter punchline Week 1 of the company’s relaunch to being their hidden ace mere months later. You start to feel like the future of the company is riding on your shoulders, that if you slip up you are proving the Refueled Era to be inferior, you are proving that you ARE inferior.
I came out of War Games in one piece, I had survived a battle and remained ICON champion. Tired, yes. Burnout? Oh, very much. Champion? You betcha.
It takes a lot to walk away from War Games as a champion, you are put into a very tight spot, fighting against the very best of the company in a match where everything is to play for. Hardly anyone ever walks out of that match with the same title they walked in with, I did and I fucking killed myself in doing it.
For anyone waiting for me to fail, it was the time to strike. When you have an empty tank, it doesn’t take much to get caught.
Isn’t that right, Doozer?
The man who almost fucked the whole thing up. If he’d just had a little bit more charge, #FarthyAllBelts likely never happens, the eMpire probably fizzles out and we’re still talking about the legacy of The Industry.
Doozer had the chance to change the course of HOW history. Maybe he would’ve ushered in an era of competition as opposed to outright domination.
He just needed a little bit more charge.
I don’t forget these things, they are locked in my memory like a steel fucking trap. I’m honest and I can admit that I was looking past you. I was looking to the World Championship, I was looking to dual wield title belts. I was exhausted, I was broken but in my head, you were a mere speedbump that I could easily run over in my journey towards Alcatraz and HOW History. I didn’t need to worry about this defense, Doozer barely shows up to work, which remains very ironic given the history behind the name.
Piece of cake.
Piece of piss.
Fuck, bud, you almost had me. You could be the man crowing from the rooftops that you’d taken advantage of Farthington’s hubris and fucking humilated him. I certainly wouldn’t have just submitted my ballot as a HOW Hall of Famer. Another mediocre ICON title run by Cecilworth Farthington does not a Hall of Fame career make.
You taught me a very valuable lesson – in High Octane Wrestling, there are no days off. There are no easy matches, no moments to just go through the motions. You taught me that every minute of every day, I have to be ready, I have to be in shape, I have to put my body through hell if I want to succeed and for that I would just like to say…
Seriously, fuck you Doozer.
I spent the best part of the last year with regular visits to the hospital from my incredibly broken body due to that god damn lesson. I am a shell of the man I once was because of that fucking lesson. I dropped a towel on the floor yesterday and it took me twenty bloody minutes to bend down and pick it up because of that fucking lesson.
Cecilworth Farthington doesn’t wrestle much these days? No shit. There’s a reason for that.
Cecilworth wasn’t really sure where the magical manilla envelope had come from. It was just sitting in his locker when he wrapped up his on-air promo piece during the Lethal Lottery. No sign of who was making him the offer. The Ghost of Lee Best? The elusive Michael Oliver Best? Michael Lee Best? It didn’t matter really, it just meant that he had a decision to make.
I mean deep down he knew he couldn’t just waltz into ICONIC, win the World Title off his best friend and then kick his feet up on the sofa for 2022. That was and is a completely absurd idea. By even agreeing to the ICONIC main event he knew that he’d basically signed the next year of his life away.
There’s just that slight difference when confronted with the fact that the perception is about to become reality.
The contents of the envelope were the reality.
A contract for 2022.
A contract he knew he had to sign.
Cecilworth took a quick study at the details. The money was good considering his limited schedule, on-par with fellow Hall of Famer and current LSD Champion John Sektor, from what he’d read in the tabloid rags. Less dates too.
Last time he’d enter negotiations with Lee, the sticking point was more based on the size of Darin Zion’s paycheck than it was about Farthington’s self worth. Times really had changed a lot in two years.
To commit though, to sign on the line. To flick that mighty pen, he was also making himself a promise.
He needed to leave ICONIC as World Champion.
Anything else and his grand return would result in humiliation.
So as he flicked through the pages, one question remained:
Could he actually do it?
Doozer, bud, I love you. That may sound like a condescending head pat from an arrogant prick and, fuck, it’d be hard for me to argue against that. It doesn’t make it any less true. Some of my greatest joys during my time back in HOW have been sitting in the back and watching the long, extravagant, wearing-out-its-welcome-but-still-hilarious-to-me Bandit skit of the week. Recruiting new members, irritating Lindsay Troy, allowing Max Kael to think that he had musical talent – it was all beautiful comedy.
I was always one of your biggest boosters in the back, wagging a rally towel any time the Bandits went to battle for gold and glory. I was almost proud that it was Jiles who allowed my long enduring suffering to end when he took the LSD Championship away from me.
I saw flashes of brilliance from you too. Always a single victory away from finally actually making your mark in this era of HOW. A few seconds shy from shaking the reputation of being a Discord punchline. I mean some might even think it’s a strategy, that you play down your efforts as lure, get people to nibble on the bait of an easy night in the right and then you fuck up their world.
I keep waiting for the world fucking though.
“Oh, he’s acting as Jiles’ slave on the USS Octane as it travels to Tokyo, I can’t wait to get to the fireworks factory of this story!”
Less fireworks, more of an ignited fart, I would say.
Every time I get invested, every time I get a little bit of hope that there’s finally going to be amazing payoff to the adventures of Bobby, of Jiles, of Doozer, I end up disappointed and left hollow.
Maybe that’s the actual punchline. The anti-comedy of eternal disappointment.
I killed Jiles two weeks ago and yet there he was on TV last week, flopping out of a battle royal unceremoniously. Honestly, I think staying dead would have probably been more dignified.
It’s always the deal with you and your friends (or is it enemies at the moment, I lose track), the follow through is the disappointment. No one lusted after my blood, no one seeked to destroy everything I hold dear. No, another aimless flop in a multi-man match was all we were treated to.
It makes a man wonder why he would even bother.
Yet, that’s the exact tactic. By being endless disappointments, you sometimes shock the world. It’s why no one should ever take any of you lightly. The minute you are viewed as write-offs, that’s when you are at your most powerful.
So, I’m going to reveal a lilsecret.
I asked for a match this week. There’s no Best Family conspiracy. No secret deals where Mike is using his family’s authority to soften me up before ICONIC. I wanted to wrestle. I want to know what I can actually do. I want to know what I’m still capable of. I’m not sure if I’m the wrestler I once was, I’m almost certain that I’m not but the bravado in me thinks that the fight is still there, buried deep and it just needs a spark of ignition.
I can think of no better opponent to test this theory out on. If the game has passed me by, you’ll catch me, you almost did before but I know where I went wrong and now it’s important to test whether I can put that vital knowledge into action.
If I’ve lost a step, if you can leap on my weaknesses, perhaps I don’t deserve my match at ICONIC. Most of the roster has convinced themselves that’s already true, it would certainly make those voices grow.
The problem is that I NEED my match at ICONIC. It’s a point of professional pride and something of a family affair you see.
You threaten this Doozer.
You threaten my return to the throne. You threaten my return to the top. You threaten my destruction of hope for our roster full of troglodytes.
You are the exact match I need.
I thank you for that.
I also apologise in advance.