Great Western Woodlands
Thursday, August 3rd, 2022
From the moment Jace touched down in Australia, he knew exactly what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go. Facing STRONK! in a singles match was a task within itself. However, beating Godson in an Outback Brawl was a whole nother matter. With unmeasurable amounts of Estrogen in his system and his rapid muscle mass decline. Jace knew that if he was going to survive the match with STRONK! that he needed to get to the land down under quickly.
Instead of exploring the coast and other majorly populated cities in Australia, Jace decided to head toward the Outback itself. He found a small isolated town where he got to know a couple of the native people and got a cram session on everything you needed to know to survive living in the Outback. Once he felt up to speed, he began to purchase everything that he felt he needed. The first major purchase was a motor home big enough to shelter him in a pinch and spacious enough to fit the supplies he needed for survival.
The next purchases were gallons of fuel for the motor home and gallons of water. He purchased a satellite phone and brought along his camcorder. He brought a generator to power the items he had with him. A tent, a backpack, and a couple of different knives, weapons, first aid kits, and cookware were essential. From talking to the native people of the Outback, he learned that he needed to stock up on beer. It sounded odd to him but when you live in such an isolated place, beer was like currency to these people.
He set out alone and drove toward the Great Western Woodlands. He managed to make it to a small town where he could give supplies and water should he need it. After making a friend or two in the town, thanks to a nice cold beer or two, he decided to drive out further into the Woodlands where he could rough it on his own. He had water, fuel, cookware, and a variety of tools but what he didn’t bring was actual food. No, he wanted to survive off the land itself. He wanted to get to know the area and what lived inside it on an up close and personal level. Most Australians don’t even try to do what Jace was attempting to do.
It would have been easy to stay inside of the motor home the entire time. Away from any dangers that might lurk deep inside the wooded areas. It certainly was a shelter from all the flies. Goddamn, the fucking flies were everywhere. The locals had warned him but nothing had prepared him for this.
All that being said? If he stayed inside where it was safe then nothing would be accomplished. So, the HOW Hall of Famer ventured out and exploded as much as he could. He took in the surroundings, the area itself, and places someone could either hide or attack someone from. He took note of the kind of animals he saw, he found a spot where we could get water just in case he found himself in need. He went back and set up his tent in a spot he thought would be suitable. He went back to the spot where he found water and decided to step into the water and do some fishing the old-fashioned way.
He was, of course, terrible at it.
But he was persistent and managed to catch two decent-sized fish, On the trek back to his tent, he managed to find a couple of pockets full of fruits and vegetables. He set up his campfire, cleaned and gutted the fish, and then set up his cookware.
Mundane tasks but his body was on autopilot. Doing what he needed it to do to make sure he’d have food in his stomach tonight. His mind was so far away. It was on Michael Oliver Best and STRONK! It was on Lee Best and the HOW World Championship belt. It was also on Samantha Tolson and everyone else in his life that he kept at a distance. Being alone with one’s thoughts could drive a person crazy. But for Jace? This was something he ran away from for long enough.
The smell of the fish cooking filled his nostrils as his mind venture back a day before the incident with Tolson. Back to when he went to STRONKUMMS LLC warehouse to tie up some loose ends.
STRONKUMMS Manufacturing Plant
Somewhere in Minnesota
Tuesday, July 25th, 2023
The inside of the manufacturing plant of STRONKUMMS was dirty and was a horrible offense to one’s sense of smell and appetite. Jace had traveled here after Chaos 038 from Argentina. The final show before 97RED was in the books and Jace felt the need to come talk to the employees of the STRONKUMMS brand.
The moment he stepped inside the workers were in shock and awe. It wasn’t often that Mr. Davidson had made an appearance inside the building. So, rumors of why he was here and what was going on spread like wildfire. Jace went through all the proper channels to shut down work and have everyone who worked there gather together. He had things he needed to say and didn’t feel like repeating himself multiple times.
The STRONKUMMS workforce had gathered on the production floor. The main office door opened and the HOW Hall of Famer stepped out. He walked along the aisle would hovered over the production floor and looked down at all his faithful employees. Davidson took a deep breath and then began talking to the workers.
“I know you all have been either keeping up with what is going on or at the very least heard rumors of things that may or may not be happening with STRONKUMMS LLC in the future.”
Jace paused as the workers mumbled to each other.
“I’m here to give you the truth,” Jace stated. “And the truth is that Mr. Godson and I are no longer business partners and we are definitely no longer friends. I was given control of this company but it seems that my acquisition of the STRONKUMMS brand may have gone against the true wishes of Mr. Godson.”
The mumbling of the workers got even louder as panic began to stir among the masses.
“It is true that I will be fighting Mr. Godson at the 97RED PPV for the HOW World Championship belt.” A small section of the workers cheer. “However, it’s also true that I’ve put this company on the line in that match also.”
The mumbling turned into full-blown anger and booing. Jace raised his hands into the air to try and calm down the workers.
“I understand your concern.” There was a sense of empathy in his voice. “But we have to start dealing with the fact that after 97RED that Mr. Godson might return to full control of STRONKUMMS LLC. I don’t know exactly why he wants the company back. Maybe MOB told him I stole it from him. Maybe Lee Best is greedy and wants to corner the market on any and everything that says STRONK! on it.”
The anger and uncertainty among the workers continued.
“I also don’t know what Mr. Godson’s plans are with the company should it fall back under his control or even if he plans to continue to keep this place up and running.”
The workers below shouted like they were ready for revolt against Davidson like he was to blame for all of this. The sound of someone walking along the aisle was nearly drowned out by the upset workers before a voice called out.
“And just what have you done to upset all of these fine people, son?” Jace turned his head around and looked at his biological father Terrence Miles Davidson.
“Why are you even here?” Jace asked in frustration.
“You put me in charge of running the day-to-day operations of the company in your absence. You also accepted my offer to get you and this company out of this sticky situation that you’ve gotten it in.” Terrence answered smugly. “And besides, it’s not just me. It’s WE.”
Jace raised his eyebrow until suddenly fellow HOW Hall of Famer Nettie Carey walked up to the two of them and curled her arm around Terrence’s arm.
“Oh, my Silver Fox, why didn’t you tell me that we were going to have company?” An evil smirk spread over her lips as he looked over at Jace. “I would have done some shopping and made sure that OUR son would have juice boxes and Lunchables to enjoy during his visit.”
Jace got in his father’s face and yelled. “What the fuck is she doing here?!”
“You placed me in charge here, did you not?” Terrence asked rhetorically. “It just so happens that my love has a wonderful business sense of her own. She’s proven herself to be very, very useful to me. Oh, and she’s also family so I should ask you, son. Why would you expect her to be anywhere else?”
“I don’t have time for this shit,” Jace growled. “Just go away or shut up. I’m telling these poor people that they might not have a job after 97RED.”
“Now why in Heavens would you do that?” Terrence inquired.
“Because it’s true.” Jace snapped back.
“Is it?” Terrence pondered out loud while tilting his head.
Jace just looked at his father in confusion as Nettie spoke up.
“It almost sounds like he plans on losing on purpose to STRONK! at 97RED.” Nettie chuckled before her expression turned serious. “Oh shit, you didn’t tell him yet, did you?” Carey questioned as she looked up at Terrence. “You’re are so deliciously naughty, my Silver Fox!” Nettie leaned up and kissed Terrence on the cheek.
“Jesus Christ, will you two just fuck off?!” Jace shouted as he looked up at the ceiling.
“That is no way to speak to your mother!” Terrence commanded with a sense of authority.
“SHE ISN’T MY GODDAMN MOTHER!” Jace roared in response.
An awkward cough from one of the workers below made Jace realize that all of this was happening in front of an audience. He took a moment to compose himself and spoke to the employees once again.
“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted.” Jace gave a quick look at his father and his current love interest. “As I was saying, no telling what STRONK! will do if he gets this company back. So, if any of you want to leave now then I won’t stop you. I’ve taken measures to make sure that each of you will be financially compensated if STRONK! shuts down the company. Enough to help you and your families make ends meet until you’re able to get back on your feet.”
“Horrible idea.” Terrence retorted.
“No wonder he needed your help… OUR help so badly.” Nettie added. “This is a total disaster. We are such GREAT parents for giving our son the help that he so severely needs.”
Jace gripped the railing tightly trying to control his anger before he turned to the both of them.
“I’ve had enough of this bullshit.” Jace spewed. “We’re done here and I want the two of you off the propert–” Terrence interrupted his son.
“We are going nowhere, dear boy.” Terrence smiled. “I told you that we took care of things. It doesn’t matter if you put the company on the line against that steroid-riddled brute.”
“FAMILY looks out for each other.” Nettie cooed as she snuggled herself close to Terrence. “Everything is in safe hands. No one needs to leave and no one needs some kind of severance pay.”
“Business will go on as usual,” Terrence confirmed. “I will not be outsmarted by a flamboyant brother and his tyrant of a sibling. And I certainly won’t be outdone by a Neanderthal that probably finger-paints the walls with his feces.”
“You should probably go home and get some training done,” Nettie suggests as she looks Jace up and down. “You’re looking absolutely scrawny and I would HATE to see you broken in half like a dry twig at 97RED.”
Jace shakes his head and begins to walk off while rubbing the bridge of his nose in frustration. Nettie looks over the railing and yells down at the workers below.
“Back to work!” Nettie demanded snapping her fingers. “Since you want to gawk, Consider this little meeting your lunch break. And if any of you even think about collecting overtime, you’ll be fired on the spot!”
The workers groan and begin to head off back toward their stations as Nettie turns and kisses Terrence on the lips.
Great Western Woodlands
Thursday, August 3rd, 2022
It was dark in the Woodlands of the Outback. Jace had retreated into his tent along with a few items to make it through the night. Among the items were a pillow and blanket, a battery-powered portable lantern, a sharp knife in case of emergency, a canteen of water, and finally the camcorder that he brought along with him.
Jace took a moment to arrange the items inside the tent the way he wanted them and made himself as comfortable as possible. He stared at the camcorder for a while, forming in his head the words that he wanted to say. Once satisfied, he set up the camcorder and pressed the record button. He sat upright and took a deep breath.
“I’m here in the Australian Outback, or rather, the Great Western Woodlands. I got here earlier than expected because I just needed to get away for a while. And I also decided that if I was going to walk into whatever an Outback Brawl is, I needed to make myself familiar with the Outback itself.”
Davidson paused as the sound of the Woodlands filled the silence.
“I’m recording this on a camcorder here in my tent as I spent my first day out there with the bare essentials. There is a small town a couple of hour’s drive from where I am at the moment. I will take this tape and possibly others there to have them upload it and send it to the HOW website. Not only for the fans and fellow wrestlers to view. But for those at home who care about me and will breathe a little easier knowing that I’m still alive and well.”
There was an awkward smile on Davidson’s face as he nodded up and down. There was a lot that he wanted to say to Samantha, Madison, and everyone else that cared about him but now wasn’t the time. He needed to focus on the task at hand.
“But the person I want to talk to the most is you, Michael Oliver Best.”
Davidson narrowed his eye toward the camcorder as if MOB was sitting there right in front of him.
“I know that you do all the talking for STRONK! because Godson is a man of actions, not words. You were assigned the task of being Godson’s handler, a task that used to belong to Shelley Greene but now is yours. You’re the brains of the operations while STRONK! is the well… STRONK! If you were any smaller I’m sure that Lee would have you surgically implanted deep into Godson’s chest and let you operate him like a flesh-and-blood exoskeleton. Or better yet, you’re more like Krang from the Ninja Turtles. Just an ugly mess of squishy grey matter that thinks he’s the real star but can’t do shit without his giant muscle-bound suit.”
A slight chuckle escapes Davidson’s lips before he focuses again.
“I will give you credit, you’ve managed to do a better job of being STRONK!’s babysitter than Shelley did. But how long are you willing to do that job, Michael? A job where your brilliance gets neglected because STRONK! can just about run through almost anything like wet toilet paper. Surely, a man with the last name Best can’t be happy always being the sidekick. I’ve been around STRONK! before. I know the kind of tasks one must undertake to keep that made happy and in fighting form. The worry, the stress, the massive amounts of food, have to explain things over and over again. Of course, there are the constant plumbing issues.”
Davidson recalls before he tilts his head a bit.
“Just how many ‘Shitters’ have you had to replace since you’ve come back to HOW to have STRONK! attack and turn his back on me?”
He lets the question linger in the air for a moment for effect.
“But it’s all fun and games now, right? I’m sure you can hire people to do the dirty bits of the job but how long will that last? How long before your brother gets tired of paying people to do tasks that he will undoubtedly have zero issues with you doing for free? I know why Lee does what he does, I know why the members of The Final Alliance endear themselves to Godson. What I don’t know is what is in it for you, MOB.”
Davidson shifts his position a bit as a look of curiosity forms over his features.
“I mean you died, right? You were a skull inside of a desk drawer until magically coming back to life. You got a second chance and what good did it do you? You tried to come into HOW and run the show while Lee battled death. And for a short while you did, you tried to do things your way instead of Lee’s way. That didn’t go so well for you, did it? No, see Lee eventually pulled himself off of his death bed and then you were kicked to the curb. No, thank you for looking over the family business. No offer to stay in a partnership role to lead the company. No, you were simply a plot device used by Lee so that he could take a vacation and make sure he kicked out at two when Death came knocking on his door.”
He folds his hands together and scoots a little closer to the camcorder.
“And now you’re back and attached at the hip with STRONK! but once again, you’re nothing more than a plot device being used by your brother. You’re doing the job that he doesn’t want to do. Lee doesn’t have the patience to deal with someone as simple-minded as STRONK! on a day-to-day basis. You’re a smart man, you must realize that by now. And you said it yourself, this job you were tasked with has put you in the line of fire. I’m sure after I attacked you that you don’t want round two. But here you are, stuck in the middle of the feud between Godson and myself. Here in the Outback no less. Does that make you nervous, Ollie? It should.”
Davidson says in a threatening but serious tone.
“You’re arrogant though, you think that this is academic. That STRONK! will be the shield that you need to keep you safe from me. But even if you make it out of this alive and STRONK! retains the title. I’m going to keep coming and there will be others. How many times are you willing to let the HOW roster take open shots at you before you flinch? Yes, you might think I’m a loser and that I make terrible decisions. I don’t totally disagree with you about that.”
He lowers his head a bit and thinks over his next words.
“Here’s the thing though, Oliver. I’m been kicked when I’m down. I’ve been insulted, spat on, pissed on, and disrespected pretty much my entire career in HOW. Yet, through it all whether you want to acknowledge or not. I am one of the very best to ever step foot in this company. I am one of the rocks of this company, a name that is synonymous with success in HOW. 97RED is flowing through my veins, and MOB… dare I say. I’ve been more of a factor in HOW’s history and legacy than you’ve been. That must burn you up inside, doesn’t it? That’s why you look at me with such disdain.”
“That’s why you’re willing to tear me down at every chance. Order STRONK! to take me out time and time again. Lie and tell Godson that I’m the one that killed MONGO. Lee has ordered you to have STRONK! eliminate me but it’s much more than that. It’s personal for you. And while you think you’ve dressed me down, you’ve done nothing but show me how worried you really are. You can talk about how I’ve done nothing in this era just like anyone else would say. But I’ve been inducted into the Hall of Fame this era by your brother. Not you, ME!”
Davidson makes a fist and holds it up to the camcorder to show off his Hall of Fame ring.
“I’ve established title belts. I’ve been the final Champion of belts. I’ve become the Greatest Champion of a belt here in this era. Sure, none of it is the HOW World Championship belt but I know just as well as anyone that if STRONK! was the current HOTv Champion your tune would be different. If Godson was the last ever ICON Champion that he wouldn’t be the ‘King Stallion’ he’d be the “King of ICONS.’ If STRONK!’s reign as LSD Champion lasted over 300 days like mine did that you would NEVER shut up about it.”
“However, as you said, Godson is the HOW World Champion. A belt that he won at War Games. The match where he had Lee Best as the referee. The match where EPU members surrounded both rings. A match where every single member of the Final Alliance was in the ring at some point. Godson had help, a lot of fucking help, and yet… I still put him through the top of that cage. I put him down and I put him down hard. You know that Godson was down for way longer than three seconds. If not for Lee and the EPU, STRONK! would have been pinned and eliminated from that match. He wouldn’t be the HOW World Champion right now and you? You probably wouldn’t be in HOW or alive at the moment.”
“Lee knows I am dangerous when it comes to STRONK! which is why Dan Ryan was tasked to be a bodyguard. Solex was tasked with training him to be the force that he is today. Ask yourself this… how many of those people are going to show up at the main event of 97RED? Is Lee going to make himself the referee yet again? Will Dan Ryan be there to bodyguard STRONK!? Will the EPU be there? What about Solex or the other members of the Final Alliance? Or will it just be you there with all the pressure on your shoulders to make sure STRONK! leaves Australia with the belt Lee cares more about than your life?”
Davidson stopped to grab the canteen and take a drink of water.
“I know you’re going to do everything possible. You’re going to take the fact that I’ve been injected with Estrogen and run that into the ground. But Shelley, or rather Choi is still out there and who knows what is going on in his drug-addled mind. This isn’t a War Games match inside of an arena, inside a cage, where you, your brother, and all your allies got to control the circumstances. There is no rigged draft it’s just STRONK! vs. yours truly out in the wild. I’ve put Godson through a cage, I’ve taken him down with a single sledgehammer shot. What do you think I’ll do in a one-on-one match for the title that you and everyone else like to dig deeper into the wound that I haven’t won in a long time?”
“Hell, I don’t even know what I am going to do, not yet. And that could be disastrous for me… or you. I told you that you can only control STRONK! for so long. In the heat of the moment, during a battle with the man he thinks took MONGO from this world. Do you think he’s going to give a single fuck about while you live or die in the Outback? Once STRONK! and I start to fight, he’s going to forget you even exist. And lord help you if STRONK! loses. How will he treat you then? How will Lee Best look at you if STRONK! loses the belt that defines your brother’s entire existence on your watch?”
“How tight is your hold on the leash, Ollie? How well can you stop STRONK! from punching and or eating every new creature he comes across out here? How focused can you make a man that has never been to Australia before when he’s got the mind of a pre-schooler? The motivational words that come out of your gaping hole better be Shakespearian in stature. All it takes is one slip-up, one lapse in focus, and then three seconds later. You go from being the man attached at the hip to the HOW World Champion to back being a skull collecting dust in some random desk drawer.”
Davidson presses the stop button on the camcorder and then turned it off completely. He took one more drink of water, satisfied with what he accomplished on day one here in the Outback. But tomorrow was a new day and if he wanted to survive he would need some much required sleep. Jace turned off the battery-powered lantern and then laid back on his pillow as the sound of the Woodlands serenaded him to sleep.