Ready Teddy

Ready Teddy

Posted on March 9, 2024 at 7:47 pm by Charles de Lacy

Teddy, Teddy, Teddy. Where do I begin? It seems you are the latest to fall foul of the Kostoff curse: a routine win over HOW’s ring piñata and suddenly you’re strutting around like a damned cockerel, proclaiming yourself the saviour of March to Glory. Maybe you’ve taken one shot to the head too many, because your short-term memory leaves a lot to be desired. Allow me to jog your memory. 

Hugo. Hugo Scorpio. Ring any bells? He of the Stetson and spurs, face like ground beef. Still not getting it, eh? The man who beat you at CHAOS 54? Yes, I thought that might do it. The very same man I dispatched with three weeks later.

Now, you can talk all you want of ring rust. Three years is indeed a lifetime in the world of professional wrestling. You can even try and dismiss my accomplishments, seek solace in the fact it were you who softened Scorpio up with that cowardly post-match attack. But the simple truth is, while you’ve been off licking your wounds and nursing your ego, some of us have been honing our craft and climbing the ladder of success. I beat Scorpion, you did not.

Now, Teddy, I get it. You’re a veteran. You’ve had your moments in the spotlight, and maybe you think you can coast on that reputation. Why, as a former LSD and Tag Team Champion you’ve every right to take pride in your accomplishments. But let me tell you something: this isn’t a business that rewards nostalgia. It’s about what you’ve done lately, not what you did three years ago.

As a previous winner of the Lee Best Invitational you of all people should know what it takes to emerge successful. And yet you persist in this fantasy of once again going all the way. Tell me, what have you really done since your comeback to warrant such overconfidence? A dismal defeat to Like a Rhinestone Cowboy and a routine beating of Kostoff. One and one. Hardly makes for very impressive viewing now, does it? Meanwhile, I’ve been tearing through this roster, leaving a trail of bruised egos in my wake.

Our paths haven’t crossed before, so you could be forgiven for underestimating me or questioning my credentials. However, in just under a year in this company, I’ve carved out quite a name for myself. Just ask Steve Solex, Jatt Starr, or Shane Reynolds – three Hall of Famers who overlooked my abilities and suffered the consequences.

So, while you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, twiddling your thumbs and reminiscing about the good old days, the rest of us have been grinding, hustling, and fighting tooth and nail for every morsel of success. And mark my words, Teddy, when you step back into that ring, you’re going to find out the hard way that you’re not the same wrestler you used to be. And in this business, that’s a dangerous place to be.  

You can’t hide behind that Best Alliance jacket forever, particularly not now that old man Best has found himself somewhat indisposed, thanks to the attentions of a rather overzealous sledgehammer. And as for alliances, well, it seems you’ve tied yourself quite firmly to the mast of the Good Ship Best, haven’t you? 

But let us not overlook recent developments, my dear fellow. Yours truly, de Lacy, has found himself the recipient of a most intriguing offer from none other than the wily Jace Parker Davidson, wielder of said sledgehammer. And do you know what? I’ve decided to accept. Why, you ask? Well, for the promise of a tidy sum, naturally. So, Teddy, my dear boy, enjoy your cosy alliance while it lasts, for if advancing to the next stage of the LBI was not motivation enough, the financial incentive that Mr Parker Davidson is generously offering for ensuring your absence adds an extra dash of spice to the proceedings.

So remember, Teddy, while you are riding high off the back of that hollow Kostoff victory and reliving all your yesterdays, luck is fleeting, while class… why class is permanent. But mark my words: the wheel of fortune, once spinning in your favour, is poised to shift at CHAOS.

***

Newark, New Jersey, hardly the most auspicious of venues for the grand finale of the Lee Best Invitational. Then again, the state’s penchant for “real” housewives and other scripted “reality TV” offered a curious parallel to Teddy Palmer’s recent delusions of grandeur. Just like those shows, it was impossible to discern if Palmer, with his audacious claims of winning the LBI, could truly separate fact from fiction.

Prior to our arrival, Mickey had been on edge, fretting over our accommodations. Couldn’t blame him, really. Money had been a touch tight lately, and we’d been living on the edge of a financial precipice for far too long.

But that night, as we stepped into the opulence of the Four Seasons lobby – I refused to slum it in New Jersey; I still had my pride – all worries seemed to vanish. At least for a moment. Mickey’s eyes widened as he took in the grandeur of our surroundings. “Mr. Charlie,” he muttered, “are you sure we can afford this?”

I tried to maintain an air of nonchalance, though as I glanced around me I couldn’t help but feel I’d been a little overzealous in my planning. “Relax, Mickey. We’re not exactly paupers anymore. Thanks to that deal with Mr. Parker Davidson our financial prospects are starting to look a trifle less severe. Besides, a little luxury now and then never hurt anyone.”

Despite my best efforts to assuage his worries, I could still see the doubt lingering in Mickey’s eyes. He’s always been the pragmatic one, the voice of reason in our great American adventure. It’s a trait no doubt honed by his humble working-class origins – a stark contrast to my own, shall we say, less practical inclinations. And I couldn’t blame him for questioning the sudden change in our fortunes. But deep down, I knew we deserved this. After months of hardship it seemed we had finally clawed our way to the top, overcoming every obstacle thrown our way.

And yet it had come at a cost. 

My alliance with Jace Parker Davidson had certainly raised some eyebrows, even within our own camp. Some call it controversial, others downright scandalous. I myself had reservations at working with such a volatile character. What had happened to Lee Best was a shock to us all. But in this business, alliances shift like the tides, and I’d finally learned to swim with the current rather than against it.

Having blotted my copybook with the Bests last year – a boring matter of contractual disputes which I shall forgo here – it made sense to ingratiate myself with the new GM. While Mickey harboured his reservations, preferring to limit dealings with outsiders, I recognized the pragmatic necessity of collaboration in pursuit of our shared objective. Despite the new GM’s reputation as a slippery character, his track record of effectiveness spoke volumes. In the cutthroat landscape of our profession, accomplishments often outweigh scruples, and at this juncture, our paramount objective remained clear: the dismantling of Teddy Palmer and thus the Best Aliance’s dominance.

Speaking of Teddy, he would be no pushover. The man’s got experience on his side, and he knows how to use it to his advantage. What’s more, he’d more than likely learned his lesson after the Hugo Scorpio debacle. He wouldn’t be taking this match lightly.

Mickey and I huddled together in the expansive confines of our luxury suite, plotting our strategy for the match ahead. Knowing that I’m not as agile as I used to be at 45, we recognise the importance of leveraging my 15-pound weight advantage over Palmer. Mickey suggests a strategy that plays to my strengths – utilising my heavier build to assert dominance in the ring. 

“Mr. Charlie,” Mickey starts, a steely determination in his tone, “you’ve got the weight advantage. Use it to wear him down, tire him out. Palmer’s been out of the ring for a while; he’s bound to have some ring rust. We saw that against Scorpio. Exploit that.”

It’s a calculated move, acknowledging my physical limitations while capitalising on the assets I still possess. After all, in this game of calculated risks, victory often favours those who adapt and exploit every advantage available.

Mickey’s always had a keen eye for strategy, a knack for seeing angles others overlook. And he’s right – my size could be the key to victory here. I nod, a sense of optimism reinvigorating me.

“So, we play the long game,” I muse, trying to mimic his accent but failing miserably. “Keep the pressure on, wear him down, and strike when the opportunity presents itself.”

Mickey winks his approval. “That’s right, Mr. Charlie, you’ve got it. And remember, try to keep him off balance. Don’t let him dictate the pace of the bleedin’ match.”

He truly is a marvel. What would I do without him?

Plan in place, I suggested a touch of light sparring, something to help me visualise the different permutations.

“Alright, Mickey,” I declared, pacing the elegant room. “It’s time to put our strategy into action. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

Mickey, ever eager, nodded in agreement, his eyes alight with quiet mischief. Never one to turn down a good scrap, our Mickey. We squared off in the centre of the lavish suite, illuminated by the soft glow of the expensive chandeliers overhead. With a swift movement, Mickey launched himself forward, aiming a punch at my midsection. I dodged to the side with practised ease, countering with a swift jab of my own. Our movements were precise and calculated, each of us testing the other’s defences with expert skill.

Now, when you’ve worked as closely together as the two of us have, you grow accustomed to one another’s tricks. Back and forth we went, exchanging blows and parries, the rhythm of our sparring echoing through the cavernous suite. The sound of our breath mingled with the soft hum of the central heating, creating a rhythmic symphony akin to that of a battle drum.

But as our intensity grew, our footwork faltered, and with a misstep, we stumbled backward, tumbling onto the plush king-size bed in a heap of limbs and laughter. Our mock battle forgotten, we lay there for a moment, catching our breath, our cheeks flushed from the exertion of battle and the warmth of the room.

It was in that moment of relaxation that the door swung open, and to our embarrassment, the maid entered, her eyes widening in surprise at the sight before her. 

“Good heavens! I… I thought this room was empty.”

I scrambled to sit up, my cheeks burning with indignation.

“Oh, uh, we were just, um, practising some… wrestling moves,” I stammered, attempting to explain.

Mickey chimed in, his voice betraying his amusement, “Yes, just a bit of friendly sparring, you know, to… uh, stay in shape.”

He winked at the maid, knowingly.

The maid eyed us sceptically, clearly unconvinced by our explanation. “Well, gentlemen, I suggest you keep your… activities… more discreet in the future,” she said primly, her tone softening with a hint of apology. “I didn’t mean to intrude.”

The maid’s cheeks grew even redder, and she stammered a few more words of apology before hastily retreating from the room, leaving Mickey and I alone once more.

“Well, that was unexpected,” Mickey chuckled, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes.

I nodded in agreement, though I failed to see any humour in the situation.

“Come on, Mickey,” I said, clapping him on the back. “Let’s finish our training session and then perhaps we’ll indulge in some of the hotel’s exquisite cuisine. We’ve got a big day ahead of us.”

With renewed determination, Mickey and I resumed our sparring, his intermittent fits of laughter enabling me to get the upper-hand.

Later that evening, our appetites satiated by the Four Seasons all-day menu – a nice little caviar Russe washed down with a rather naive Louis Latour Chardonnay – we sat at the hotel bar, nursing a glass of port each.

Once again my mind wandered to the impending match at CHAOS. Just which version of Teddy Palmer would I be facing: the formidable force of the former Lee Best Invitational victor, or the mere shadow of the man who faltered against Scorpio? The unpredictability gnawed at my confidence, leaving me apprehensive.

“Listen, Mr Charlie,” Mickey began, his voice shaking me from my thoughts, “I know facing Palmer is no walk in the park. But trust me, we’ve got this. I’ve seen you in action, and I know what you’re capable of. Stick to the plan and you’ll be in that Final Four come March to Glory. Mark my words.”

“There’s a lot riding on this, Mickey. I can’t go back to selling Hemorrhoid cream. I can’t!”

“Look, I’ll be there at ringside. Needs be, we’ll take Palmer down together.” 

“Oh, so you’ll be there at ringside, huh? Just like last time?” I teased, a playful smirk crossing my face.

Mickey chuckled, scratching the back of his head sheepishly. “Yeah, well, I might have given you a little nudge in the right direction back then.”

“A little nudge?” I echoed, raising an eyebrow. “You practically bulldozed your way into the match! But, I suppose it worked out in the end.”

I raised my glass.

“To victory!”

“To victory!” Mickey echoed.