“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
- Napoleon Hill
The Morning After PWA1
Bill walked up the path to the front door of Christopher America’s house. It was dark outside, save for the soft glow of the iPad illuminating Bill’s face as he was scrolling through the morning’s news. A few feet from the door, Bill stopped and looked up, noticing that the house was still dark. For a brief moment, Bill seemed perturbed before putting it out of his mind as simply America sleeping in.
Bill continued towards the door, slipped the key into the lock, and opened the front door. A small tinkling and scraping sound accompanied the door swinging open. Bill squinted over his glasses, trying to see what made the sound but couldn’t see. He stuffed the key into his pocket and then turned the light of his iPad towards the floor. Shards of glass glistened as it reflected the light.
Slowly, Bill, panned the light from his iPad upward and saw sporadic spots of more shards of glass. Bill’s breathing began to get louder. His pulse quickened. Panic set in.
Bill listened intently for anything but heard nothing. Gingerly, he reached his foot out and stepped on a clean piece of flooring. The door pushed more glass and debris away as he entered.
Bill: WHOEVER IS IN HERE… I… I AM ARMED!
Bill shouted the bluff into the darkened hallway as he cautiously moved. Hearing nothing, he pressed on, using the light of his iPad as a flashlight. He moved the light along the floor and the walls as broken glass, broken wood, broken pictures lie on the floor. Fearing the worst for his client, Bill pressed on. He continued to maneuver in between the glass and debris before he found his way to the living room. He held his iPad up and let the light wash over the room. As he panned, he noticed a moving shadow in front of the couch.
Bill: STAY! DOWN!
Bill walked around the couch and brought the light towards the body as he rounded the couch. As the light shone more and more on the body, Bill’s eyes went wide and his mouth dropped.
Bill moved quickly to his client’s side. The HOW World Champion was sitting with his back against the couch, his elbows on his knees, and his head in his hands. He was sweating and breathing heavy.
Bill: Oh my God! Chris! Chris, what happened?
America sat there, slack-jawed. The expression on his face was one of disbelief as his eyes stared off.
Getting no response, Bill reached out by with a shocking quickness, America batted his hand away.
Christopher America: He… took it.
Bill looked up and scanned the room. More broken pieces of furniture and glass was strewn about.
Bill: I… I don’t know what’s missing, but I’m sure whatever it is… we can replace. Are you okay?
Christopher America: No.
Bill: Are you able to stand? Or… are you… are you hurt?
America closed his eyes and shook his head. Bill got up and went to the nearest light switch, turning it on. As the living room lit up, the true magnitude of the destruction was known. There were pieces of chairs, shattered bowls, a thrown rug, and an upended recliner to name a few. As Bill looked around, he didn’t see anything really missing. He looked at his client who remained where he was. His knuckles were bloody with bits of glass and debris sticking out like makeshift brass knuckles.
And then it hit Bill. He began to put the pieces together.
Softly, he asked the question.
Bill: Did you do this?
America responded with barely a whisper.
Christopher America: Yes.
Bill’s heart sank.
Christopher America: Yes.
America nodded and repeated the answer as if he was coming to grips with it in the moment. Bill was incredulous.
Bill: Why?! This is… this is thousands of dollars worth of damage!
America looked up. The light revealed what he had done. The damage. The destruction. The chaos. It was all laid bare before him. The World Champion looked at his hands, almost in disbelief. He turned towards Bill with the same look he had given him in the limousine prior to the PWA event.
Christopher America: I have… nothing.
The World Champion uttered the words almost in disbelief.
Christopher America: I have to start over. I spent years perfecting everything and he made it all irrelevant… all of it… in the span of 30 minutes. I spent years retooling the move that I would put my opponents away with. I cinched it in tighter. I rotated faster. Planted harder. And I’ve seen Clay Byrd and… and HIM… make it seem like… like just another move.
America looks back at his hands. He slowly closes them into fists and pounds them hard into both sides of his face.
Christopher America: I trained how many countless hours, days upon days, weeks on weeks for Clay Byrd. I amplified that with further training for HIM… and it was worthless.
Nothing I did mattered. Everything I did, he shrugged off.
The glamour. The aura. The mystique of being unpinned and unsubmitted in singles competition… is gone.
It’s all gone.
America leaned forward and buried his head in hands again. Bill’s face looked on horrified as parts of the couch clung to America’s back for the briefest of moments before breaking away from his skin. Red stains littered the part of the couch that America had leaned against.
Bill moved his head around America’s back and saw the cuts and welts from the barbed-wire Army men. Bill closed his eyes and clenched his jaw. He felt immense sorrow and sympathy for his client. He reached out to touch the cuts but pulled his hand back. He got up and raced to the bathroom. He grabbed a cloth, some alcohol, some disinfectant, and bandages.
He knelt next to America, poured some alcohol on the cloth and dabbed at the edge of one of America’s gashes. America audibly gasped, looked at Bill with a fury he had never seen before, and shoved him away.
Christopher America: DON’T TOUCH ME!
America was breathing heavily. The deep breaths through the mouth gave off the appearance of someone who was furious. But in actuality, it was to stop America from breaking down completely.
Christopher America: Just… just leave me alone right now!
America swallowed, caught himself, and attempted to exert control over his emotional state.
Christopher America: Just go.
One Week Later
Once again, Bill walked up the front path to Christopher America’s house. It had been one week since he found his client huddled on the floor, wallowing in debris and his own blood. Bill took a deep breath, unlocked the door, and pushed the door open. He stood there in the entryway, half expecting to see that nothing had changed. But, as the door swung open, it encountered no resistance. No broken glass. No broken furniture. Just clean, smooth tiled flooring.
Upon entering and closing the front door behind him, Bill noticed a faint glow coming from the kitchen. As he made his way in, Bill was relieved to see that the house had been picked up. As he entered the kitchen, he saw his client standing near the stove. The size and definition were unmistakable. But now, the gashes on his back sealed the deal. The light of the stove’s overhead lamp illuminated the workspace.
The World Champion turned and smiled a warm and welcoming smile as he saw Bill. For Bill, it was unsettling.
Christopher America: Hi. Glad you’re here. Can you keep stirring this?
Bill stood there momentarily, just staring at his client before America’s eyes went wide and motioned for Bill to come to the stove. Bill blinked, quickly set his stuff down, and walked over to the stove. He looked down and began stirring the mixture of eggs and milk in the pan.
Bill: So, it… uh… looks like you got the place cleaned up.
Christopher America: Oh, yeah. Took a while to get it all done but Alexei did a fantastic job with his crew. He took great care of me.
Bill’s eyes flashed, going wide for a quick second.
Bill: Oh… who’s Alexei?
Christopher America: I told you. He’s the guy that helped clean this place up.
Bill: Alexei, huh? With a name like that… is he… is he Russian?
Christopher America: Yup.
Bill stopped stirring and took the pan off the heat. He turned the stove off and turned to the HOW World Champion.
Bill: And you’re okay with that? Him not being American?
America stopped, frowned, looked down, closed his eyes, and nodded.
Christopher America: Yes… because I have to be.
Bill: What do you mean you “have to be?”
Christopher America: Things have… happened. Things that necessitate change.
The World Champion looked at his agent.
Christopher America: It’s time to start over. It’s time to rebuild.
Do you know what it’s like to have to rebuild?
To TRULY rebuild?
To take everything that you are – the knowledge of this sport, the tactics you’ve used, the intuition and instincts gleaned in front of millions of fans, through tens of thousands of hours of ring time, in thousands of matches, in hundreds of cities across the world, your power, your agility, your mental acumen inside of the ring – to take ALL of that and throw it away?
Because what happened to me hasn’t happened to you.
Because you haven’t had the success that I’ve had. You haven’t gone through what I’ve gone through.
Because if you truly dedicated yourself to rebuilding yourself like I did, you would be the HOW World Champion. You’d be the one standing in my shoes.
I’ve constantly told people they aren’t ready to hold the HOW World Championship. I tell them how they haven’t gone through the work. They aren’t ready for the demands of the championship.
And right now, in this very moment, I realize that the person who might not be ready for the HOW World Championship… is me!
Not yet anyway.
After my match at the PWA event, I saw something in my championship that I haven’t seen since War Games, not since she was draped across the shoulder of Conor Fuse. And I dare not speak it now, lest she wished it to be made manifest.
Which means… there’s still time.
Which means I have a lot of work to do.
To fix what’s wrong with me.
So that I remain worthy of her.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not sad about it.
To be honest with you, I’m pissed off.
I’m angry that I lost. I’m angry that I got exploited. I’m angry that I was…. EXPOSED… in front of every single company across the PWA.
And to make matters worse… now I see what that’s done to someone like you. I see what it’s done to the locker room. The blackness of their eyes… that delicious despair they harbored in their hearts… their heads hanging in constant defeat… it’s gone.
IT’S ALL… FUCKING… GONE!
Because he gave them hope. He broke through the armor.
I see you all walking around backstage, springs in your step, happy at the turn of the new year, joyous in my downfall, with no pride or love for your company.
Because that’s how HOW is, isn’t it?
Openly you cheer for the home team but secretly you wished I had lost.
Well, you got your wish.
Everything I had – my pride, my ego, my dignity… even my GOD DAMNED FINISHING MOVE… he took it all!
And he did it at the most inopportune time.
Because Lethal Lottery is coming.
And each and every single member of that locker room not holding a championship has it easy.
You know why?
Because if you want to win at Lethal Lottery, then you train for me! You don’t train for Jace or Joe Bergman or the Alabama Gang.
YOU TRAIN FOR ME!
Because last time I checked, I’m still the fucking measuring stick of this company!
No matter what he did to me.
So, you’ve got it easy. You train for one man. You train for the man who has beaten the absolute best in this company.
And me? I’ve got the harder job, don’t I. I have to prepare for ALL of you. From Brian Hollywood to Aceldama, I have to prepare for every wrestler in this company who wants to take her away from me! Wrestlers who ONLY NOW put in some semblance of work and effort… wrestlers who finally hit the gym… who finally put a singular focus on the richest prize in this fucking business. Not bullshit like counseling and being best friends. Not bullshit like worrying about why your cowboy best friends keep fucking up. And definitely, not bullshit like wrestling animals.
Because it’s all about her. IT’S ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT HER!
The problem is that your one day or one week worth of effort does not offset what I’ve put into this championship and what I CONTINUE to put into this championship.
And don’t get it twisted, either.
You didn’t EARN this.
Like the countless others I’ve faced in 2022, you didn’t earn this shot. You lucked your way into it. While I trained for years on end to make a comeback for her… you picked a name, you drew a number, you chose a piece of paper. You lucked into it.
The unfortunate part for you is that your luck ends at drawing a World title opportunity. It ENDS when you are granted the match. IT ENDS the moment you realize that you still have to stand IN THAT RING… opposite from ME!
You know, heh, he really did do me a favor, thinking about it.
He showed me how soft I was.
He showed me how soft I’ve been on all of you.
He showed me that I was not as ready as I thought I was.
Starting at Lethal Lottery, you… ALL… will need to prepare for me. To prepare for Christopher America. Not because you all are going to get a World Title match. No. You now need to brace yourself for the full fucking onslaught that he brought out of me.
Because if you think I was awful before, if you think I was intolerable, you ain’t seen nothing yet. By the time you watch this, I will have already been in the gym training. Days upon days of endless buckets of sweat as I grow stronger and better, taking the lesson he taught me to heart.
You see, I’m going to take everything that he did to me and I’m going to do it to you. Just to prove a point. Just to prove I can. And then I’m going to do it to the winner of the World Title tournament at March to Glory.
I’m going to do it to Conor Fuse.
I’m going to victimize and brutalize you in ways that will leave you permanently scarred, as I was. I’m going to leave you humbled and questioning your place on this roster and on this very planet!
I’m going to take your moves and make them as meaningless as he made mine. I’m going to take your ego and strip you bare, leaving you naked and afraid in front of thousands of screaming fans. I’m going to take the last ounces of pride and dignity you have and wring them FUCKING DRY!!!
At the end of our match, you’re going to leave with NOTHING!
And sure as hell no World Championship.
And then… then I’m going to watch you.
I’m going to watch you collect the pieces of yourself that I leave in the ring. I’ll watch you collect your broken hopes and dreams. I’ll watch as you choke down the humble pie I serve you. I’ll make you regret thinking that you somehow were going to rebuild your name off of my broken one.
At Lethal Lottery, I will leave you to rebuild your ENTIRE career.
Because it doesn’t matter if the ring breaks, the ramp breaks, the announcer’s table breaks, or if the arena’s very foundation itself breaks.
The only thing that matters to me now… is that YOU break… as I retain my HOW World Championship.
As I go on to March to Glory.
AS I GO COAST TO COAST!
WAR GAMES TO WAR GAMES!
BECOMING THE LONGEST REIGNING HOW WORLD CHAMPION… IN HISTORY!