“Fucking Teddy Palmer..”
I winced as the HOW doctor cleaned the coagulated blood from the deep wound in my hairline, compliments of Connor Fuse with the ‘UP UP DOWN DOWN’ knuckles.. Whatever, I expected to bleed at Wargames but perhaps not so soon. My hair was matted to my head with sweat and dried blood, which formed a stench which swallowed the medical room and undoubtedly offended the nostrils of the good doctor. Every bit of energy I had was spent. My legs were like acid, the pain was beginning to pulse through my body as the adrenaline from the match wore off. Usually I enjoyed these moments, the pain reminding me that I had just been through war and survived.
“THREE TIMES, that motherfucker’s gotten the best of me,”I groaned, deflated from my shortcomings. “Three fucking times.”
I was bitter. Of course I was. I’m John Sektor, the man who cares more about wins and losses than his own fucking family.
The doctor tossed the blood soaked swab into a yellow, clinical waste bag and pulled off his gloves.
“Hey, you did great out there tonight, man,”he reassured me, applying some alcohol gel to his hands and rubbing them together. “You were the last standing member of the Best Alliance, and a huge part of that win. You should be proud!”
I rolled my eyes. I’d lost count of how many times I’d heard that same bullshit statement.
“Doesn’t get me a World title, does it?”
The doctor raised his eyebrows as he prepared a suture pack, opening up a sterile kidney dish to place his instruments into.
“Don’t dwell on the negatives. The match is done, you can’t change it. But look how far you’ve come in the last few months! Focus on the positives, you know?” he continued to suggest, placing on a new pair of sterile gloves.
The final words of advice from the doctor struck a chord with me. He was right. I didn’t say a word, butI knew throughout the road I’d travelled to get to the Wargames, the one thing I needed to change was my mentality, and the doc had hit the nail on the head.
“Now then, you want the local, or you gonna be a tough guy?” he asked, holding up the hooked suture needle.
Ugh, I just stared at the needle, knowing what was coming. I’d had more than my fair share of stitches throughout the course of my career and felt every single one of them.
“Just get it over with!”
‘FIGHT OR DIE’
That’s what I had to remind myself of as the initial hurt of not winning Wargames hit me like a freight train. I don’t care what type of person you are. If you’re one of those fake bitches who’s in it for fun? Good for you. I entered those cells with the intention of winning. I charged into war not with hope, but with an iron-focussed aggression that I would be the one holding the World title above my head. If I didn’t think that way then I’d have lost before I even peeked behind the curtain. You got no reason being here if you ain’t aiming for one of the titles.
So the loss hurts, of course it does. Who cares if the overall team won? I didn’t! That’s the only fucking thing that matters to me.
Now I can wallow in it, dwell on the negatives and beat myself up, like I always do? Or I can dust myself off and take the next step forward, with a new, positive, mental attitude.
I thought back to the times when I was at the top of my game. When I was the technical wrestling machine dominating the main event and World title picture. Although I didn’t realise it back then, it was thinking positively that helped me to thrive in those crucial moments that meant the difference between winning and losing. It was positive thinking that meant I could head into any match feeling as if I was bulletproof.
My positive mentality inevitably has enabled me to overcome setbacks that might otherwise have been fatal; and it has allowed me to seize opportunities that another person might have let slip through their fingers.
Somewhere along the road I’d lost that. Maybe it was all the booze and drugs? Maybe it was losing Chloe? Or maybe I just reached the top of the mountain and when I hurtled back to the bottom I was burned out and began to see the world from a different angle?
Don’t get me wrong, the missteps I’ve taken have been just as significant as the moments when I’ve looked to be flying. I wasn’t the polished article when I was winning wrestler of the year, and I’m far from the finished article now, but I know I can look back at key moments in my life and tell myself that I’ve drawn the right lessons from them. I would not have obtained key knowledge had I not been through the trials and tribulations, shit moments and low days, setbacks and outright failures.
I realise now that If you never make mistakes in life? You never make anything. Nobody in the history of the world has ever been perfect. Nobody. I’ll never be perfect and that’s OK, that’s human. But what I can become is the best version of myself possible. Fucking up can be as valuable to your personal development than any college course. I needed to find myself in a position where I was making the same stupid mistakes over and over again – getting into fights, drinking myself into oblivion, taking so many drugs that I don’t even know my own name, until I reached rock bottom. I know for sure that I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without making mistakes.
There’s nothing complex in my new philosophy. If you tackle a negative situation with a positive mindset, you’ll find a solution. If you tackle a positive situation with a positive mindset, then it’s a win-win: you’ll be through the fucking clouds! So why wouldn’t you give yourself that built in advantage? Why the fuck have I been sabtoging myself all this time and setting myself up to fail? Why would I want to tackle anything in life with negativity? What fucking good will it do? Having a negative mindset means tying one hand behind your back. And I don’t care how good a wrestler you are, you ain’t winning shit with a handicap!
It took a sleep deprived, drug induced, personification of my own psyche (in the form of Max Kael) to snap me out of this wasteful negative mindset and remind myself that I have two choices in life. Two very, basic, and simple choices:
June 9th 2021
I forced myself out of bed that morning. Day three of recovery from being smashed around at War Games was always the worst. I was stiff as a corpse, laying in bed for 15 minutes, plucking up the courage to move a limb. I could have easily just laid in bed all day. A fifteen hour flight from Japan gave me enough jet lag to rationalise it, but I’d be lying to myself. I had to stay positive and kick on, move forward and prepare for what lies ahead.
The first thing you do in the morning will determine what your day is going to be like. I need to programme my mind to be in a powerful state from the moment upon waking and then I am guaranteed to have a productive and great day.
The first port of call was to stand under the shower for thirty minutes with the temperature as hot as I could stand it. The hot water turned my skin from Cuban tan to raw, pink, chicken but the tension in my muscles began to ease. I need to be supple and able to engage in at least some form of physical exercise so I can continue to progress the improvements to my body.
As I left the shower I slipped on my kimono which I stole from the bathhouse in Tokyo. It’s a navy blue silk, with green trim on the cuffs and matching sash, embroidered with exquisitely designed patterns of lotus flowers and birds. I just like it because it feels nice on my skin, and the cool material is perfect for the increasingly humid climate of Florida.
After making a quick protein shake, to feed the muscles for their repair, I decided to set myself some goals. What would my goals be today? Well, in order to answer that I first needed to write down my long term goals, because ultimately they would dictate how I plan each day in the pursuit of achieving them.
Long Term Goals
Win the World Title
Beat Teddy Palmer
Find my successor
Nice and simple. It goes without saying that my primary goal should be to become World champion again. As my father would say:
‘Reach for the moon, son! Even if you fall you’ll land amongst the stars.’
‘Course my father was a dick who outcast me, but his philosophies were usually bang-on!
Beating Teddy Palmer? After being bested by him for a third consecutive time it has now become an unhealthy obsession of mine to beat him. Channelled in the right way and I can make it a reality, I know I can. I still back myself and my abilities and I know I can beat that man. He’s incredibly talented and a motherfucker to beat in the ring. But I can do it. I always look to pinpoint the man to beat, I’ve got the World champion covered. In my eyes? Teddy Palmer is a benchmark, and one I must prove I can not only measure up against, but surpass and re-establish the standard. The Gold Standard.
Finding my successor was something I’d given some thought to after Wargames. I realise now that I may never get Chloe back into my life. For my legacy to continue I need to find someone to pass on my life’s work and wisdom too. I have too much knowledge and experience to allow it all to go up in smoke when they cremate my dead body. Don’t misinterpret this as a statement of planned retirement. I have no intentions of going anywhere and fully believe there’s plenty of fuel left in my tank. But there’s no harm in beginning the proceedings.
As I stared at the whiteboard in my study, I was considering what my goals for today would be, until I was interrupted by the buzzing of my phone. The display told me it was Steve Solex calling. ‘What the fuck does he want?’ I thought..
“Hey Steve,” I answered, sounding positive as I’m in a surprisingly good mood these days.
“Yo, Sek, just checking in on you man. How you doing?” he asked casually. Although I could tell he was fishing to see what kind of state I was in after falling short at War Games.
“I’m doing good, man. Still sore as a mother fucker but I’m recovering. How about you?” I asked, pretending to give a fuck.
“Same. You spoke to Jatt?”
I paused unintentionally. I’d typically been so self absorbed that I hadn’t spared a thought to my former tag team partner, who could have a severed spinal cord for all I knew.
“I haven’t actually. To be honest, hermano, I don’t plan on it either,” I stated, abruptly.
“Wow,” he gasped. I could tell he was genuinely surprised by my admission.
“Yeah, look man, I know what I did looked bad. But I made a business decision. Dan had me between a rock and a hard place. If I’d have tried to stop him I’d have been fucked and out of the Wargames match early. I knew our best chance of us winning was by surviving as long as possible and I was right. Jatt will never understand and he will never forgive me. Talking to him is futile.”
“Fair enough,” he replied, an air of unease in his tone.
“What were you calling for anyway?” I asked, swiftly switching the subject.
“Meh, that was all really, just a wellness check. And to wish you luck, I guess,” he explained, as though I had a fucking clue what he was referring to
“Good luck with what?”
There was a pause as I had obviously sparked some kind of confusion.
“You do know you’re booked on June twenty-sixth against Palmer for the LSD title, right?”
My heart instantly began to flutter. All I heard was ‘title.’ It’s that buzzing feeling you get throughout your body when you begin to get over excited, like when you get an email from the lottery saying ‘you’re a winner!’ Only to find out you’ve won a few bucks.
“Seriously?” is all I could gasp, caught completely off guard.
“Huh, guess you didn’t know. Well, you are. You earned it man. You put in a hell of a performance at War Games and since Clay fell short, again, Lee has chosen you to get the job done!”
“Fuck. That’s awesome,” I again gasped, still not fully processing what this meant, just caught in a moment of pure excitement.
“Yeah,” he laughed. “Anyway I’ll let you go. Hit me up if you need anything. Later.”
“Will do. Later, hermano..”
As I hung up the phone and allowed the excitement to fill me with energy, all I could think about was how my new philosophy of positive thinking was being proven right. I could have taken a negative approach to not winning Wargames. But look at the positive that has just come out of that situation. I now have the opportunity to tick ‘Beating Teddy Palmer’ off my list of goals. As a bonus? I have a new goal, by becoming LSD champion!
And then it hit me..
LSD champion? Shit, it’s been so long since I’ve competed in the LSD division that I’ve forgotten what it entails. The majority of my career has been intertwined with the Icon title, technical sister to the violent and hardcore lineage of the LSD title. I know how to prepare for a technical wrestling match, it’s an artform of mine and I can do it with my eyes closed.
How do I prepare for an LSD title match?
I turned around and began to scan my wall of achievements in the study. There it was. A single photograph of a twenty-two/twenty-three year old John Sektor, drenched in blood, and holding the LSD championship high above his head. It was the first singles title I’d ever won in High Octane Wrestling, and the only occasion I ever held it.
It was so long ago that It took place at a time where our history books have forgotten. Our title histories only started getting recorded from two-thousand-and-eight! I know I held it. I know I can count it towards my grand slam accomplishment. But the average mark and modern day wrestler doesn’t believe shit unless they see it in black and white.
Well now here’s my chance. An opportunity to officially put it on record that John Sektor has won the LSD championship.
Taking it from Teddy will be the cherry on top. The fact that he has gotten the better of me three times will be wiped out in an instant as I take the one thing away from him that gives him his status in this company.
Does the title make the man?
Or does the man make the title?
Truth is, it’s a little of both. Teddy Palmer was nothing more than a prospect before he beat Jatt for the LSD title. His winning streak is making the title hot and the title is elevating his name. But he could do so much more with it. I know what it takes to take a title beyond the stratosphere. Just look at what I did for the Tag titles, and now without me they are dying a slow death and I can personally guarantee that it won’t be long before they are put back into retirement.
I’ve already seen that happen to my beloved Icon title. I can’t allow the same to happen to the LSD. LSD legends like Silent Witness and Scottywood are now relics of a great era. It’s time for somebody new to step forward and re-invent it.
I’ll praise Teddy Palmer till the cows come home. I don’t like him, I never will. But I respect the shit out of him. How can I not? But whatever he has done for the LSD championship?
I can do so much more!
..but how do I get there?
I sunk into the leather of my office chair, staring out over the coast and reflecting on everything I knew about LSD championship matches.
What did they represent?
Chaos – Anarchy, anything is possible and there are no limits. My comfort zone is traditional wrestling matches, with rules and sanctions which match officials are there to enforce and protect you with. With LSD stipulations there are no rules. Anything goes and so I need to change how I approach an environment like that mentally.
Violence – and lot’s of it. The legends of the division have painted masterpieces with other mens blood. If I am to be a fellow ambassador, I need to think of new and innovative ways to enact violence on Teddy. Maybe sprinkle in a little Cuban flair?
PAIN – There is no avoiding pain in an LSD match. It’s as inevitable as the sun rising in the morning. Pain can be debilitating. There’s a reason why wrestlers end up hooked on opiates. It can consume you and become a disease. You have to embrace it, absorb it, learn to fucking like it. You have to channel it into anger and use it to drive you forward and let those survival instincts kick in.
Preparing for Teddy Palmer in an LSD championship match doesn’t overwhelm me. It doesn’t worry me. It fucking excites me.
I know how dangerous I can be. But we all know inside me lurks a depraved and sick individual that I somehow manage to keep under control. In the LSD division? I dont have to control him. It’s time to take a deep dive into the darkest corners of my mind.
It’s time to explore that primitive side!