♫ You think you’re special, you do. I can see it in your eyes. I can see it when you laugh- ♫
Don’t get your hopes up, Harrison. This is a one-‘n-done match, we ain’t doing this shit numerous times LOL.
No clue why I’m listening to this Limp Bizket song, either. Guess the band is kinda vintage, tho…
— — — — —
Do you know what it feels like to hold a life in your hands? It’s something I could barely fathom beforehand. Watching Mike Best take lives and showing no remorse, never once did I think this prepubescent gamer could rip down the same terrifying path.
Christ, it’s one of the reasons I play video games.
And one of the things I’ve realized is video games do numb you out. It’s true, they desensitize reality. It’s not just a concerned pack of soccer mom’s banning together and raising their fists in the air, organizing a war upon the gaming community. No. They have a gripe.
Video games aren’t real and reality isn’t behind an 8K-OLED screen. It’s something I’m beginning to understand.
We are all mortal. Even the strongest, toughest, LOUDEST men are mortal. Anyone who plays their cards right can catch another off guard, taking their life in the process.
SNAP, in an instant… it can change.
Clearly for the person who was killed.
Also for the person who killed.
So as I sit here in the bottom of my holding cell, deep within the confines of the DLC, I twiddle my thumbs and ask myself ‘do I know what it feels like to hold a life in my hands’?
And damn it is powerful.
I watched as Stronk Godson lay helplessly in the corner of the infirmary, a million thoughts running through my head at a furious pace.
How he hurt me. How he hurt BOBBIE.
How he thought he was good enough to get away with it.
How he wasn’t.
On October 30, 2022, my life changed forever. I took my High Octane campaign into my own hands.
And I stomped the fucking shit out of my opponent’s.
I knew what the potential outcome could be as I leapt into the air. Sure, my facial expressions suggested otherwise. The aftermath of shock was glued to my mug. It’s taken me two months to comprehend the intent behind my actions. But as I flew, feet directed straight into the 50 pound barbell…
I giggled to myself.
A Head Stomp. A move others in HOW have made fun of me for. A video game, Super Mario Bros. rip off maneuver.
Spiraled him into cardiac arrest.
Conor Fuse is no longer the innocent kid who walked into High Octane with a joystick up his ass. He’s beyond all of this now. Etched into the walls of Alcatraz as a man who, when significantly provoked, can go to unspeakable lengths.
While Rumble at the Rock has come and gone, The Ultimate Gamer finds someone else in his path.
A man who claims miracles can happen.
A guy who used to drink milk.
Someone who demands the respect and top of the mountain moment he’s been deprived of.
Well, dear comrade, I’m sorry to say but come ICONIC 2022 the mountain you seek isn’t down this journey. It’s another dead end. A step back. A push to the ground.
But provoke me further… rip on me… tear apart what I have done… tell ME that *I* am selfish… put words in MY mouth… and depict my every move.
You’ll piss me off.
I have taken a life. I know how it’s done.
Nothing will stop me from taking again.
I, Conor Fuse, am no longer The Vintage.
For I am Calamity.
— — — — —
“Why would I HELP Harrison when he and Clay shunned me!?” I plead to Calamity Conor. I haven’t moved; we’ve talked for hours. I’ve taken what Harrison’s said to heart. Well, mostly. I’ve tried to cipher through the mess of it. “He’s mad I helped Bobbinette fight into the WarGames team. Of course I’d help Bobbie! Harrison and Clay previously threw me to the side!”
I can tell CC has grown disinterested. He said, she said, they said. It’s a clusterfuck, if I’m being honest. Am I an idiot? Is Harrison an idiot?
I mean both can be true.
“I’m on the lower spectrum of idiot, though,” I state to Double C with a wink.
Again, he’s not buying it.
“Conor,” Calamity shakes his head in disappointment. “I thought we went through this. You can’t be friends with everyone. What you think is selfless behaviour is also selfish behaviour. At WarGames, the team dynamics in front of you, or lack thereof… it was never gonna work with Harrison. Or Clay. Or Solex.”
I shrug. I guess.
“Besides, who cares?”
“This is what I’m hoping to get through to you, Conor,” Calamity C explains as he leans forward, closer to my jail cell. “Fuck everybody, screw everything. Go extreme. Anything it takes. Cheat, steal, devour. It’s a new direction for you…”
CC’s eyes shift from left to right.
“And it’s a direction I’m really excited about.”
We all change. Harrison has changed. He’s shifted through various attitudes. So have I. It’s time I come to terms with it.
“Calamity,” I begin, looking down at the barbed wire controller in my hands. “When you say ‘anything it takes’, you mean ‘anything’, right?”
CC conveys the Justin Timberlake GIF stare.
He rolls his eyes, giving in and adds a little more.
“I mean use the barbed wire controller. Use a chair. Low blow Harrison. Poke his eyes out. Honestly do whatever you can, however sneaky you can do it, to pull off the victory because we work in wins and losses only.”
It’s how I’ve built the High Octane code. Do whatever outside the ring but once the bell goes, all hands on deck.
Imma game with everything I’ve got.
“Undefeated in singles action for a long time, Fuse,” CC explains. “One day, however, you’ll be pinned and as this ‘streak’ becomes more known around HOW, everyone will give you their best. As they gave you their best when you were World Champion.”
I know, dude. Preaching to the choir.
“I am always on my game, Calamity,” I chime in. He powers on as if he’s heard me but was going to acknowledge it his own way.
“It doesn’t hurt to go further… and I’m not even talking about killing a guy. Winning two World Titles. Making your way to the end of the Maurako Cup, pitting Sektor and his protégé against each other. A notch higher each time you wrestle.”
It’s scary to think there’s another notch beyond murder.
CC shakes his head, as if he heard my thoughts.
“You’re looking at it wrong. It’s not specifically the ACT, Conor. I highly doubt you’ll be able to kill Steve Harrison…”
Calamity pauses for reflection. Then displays a shit eating grin.
“But please try.”
He goes back to his initial thoughts.
“I’m merely saying whatever opportunities present themselves, you take them. There’s no pictures on the scorecard, right? A W or an L is final. Outcome matters. Process, who cares?”
CC keeps speaking but I’m distracted. I look down and notice my hands are bleeding.
I have ripped a barb straight through the opening of my left palm.
I love it.
The old Conor Fuse may have worried. I’d likely be calling Walter for a band aid right now.
The new Conor Fuse, though…
“Go on, Calamity,” I encourage with a smile. “I’m listening…”
— — — — —
Harrison, you thumbs down, skim milking, lollygagging boob. I thought we went through this; I thought I was clear. How in god’s name was it a mistake to help Bobbinette? And how did I fall into ‘laughable obscurity’? (Your words.)
Way to bury your upcoming opponent in a hurricane of hypocrisy. Like one minute you call yourself the underdog, the next YOU say you’re the calamity (MOAR on this later) and then in other areas you call my most recent direction worthless.
You’re a train wreck mess, reminding me of the nonsensical scatterbrained ramblings of another sweet pal, Hughie Freeman.
Fucking car clown.
Tell me, Steve, TELL ME how I went into laughable obscurity you potbelly battle axe?
Okay, I’ll play along. I followed Bobbinette like a lost puppy dog. I’ll bite; I’ll nibble. After all, I can’t actually change how others see me.
Then we found out who tried to murder Carey.
And I ACTUALLY murdered the dipshit for his bullshit attempt.
Jesus tap dancing fuck, that sounds pretty non-obscure to me.
Might not want to nudge me into anger.
Murder. Heart attack. Guy couldn’t take my beating. Alcatraz will forever scream in horror the night it saw this virgin send “wReStlEr oF tHe yEaR” into a white cover bed, gateway straight to hell.
Hope the devil lives in shades of 97 because that powerlifter can never go after the red coloured belt.
So I’ve played along with your trash panda narrative. I pretended to agree with you that I fell into laughable obscurity which clearly is the furthest thing from the truth. Now, forgive me, because I rarely do this. (Actually, spoiler: I never do this) but I plan to lift a couple words from you DIRECTLY.
It’s only fair. You did it to me.
STEVE HARRISON SAID: Maybe you wouldn’t have been able to give 100% to Carey and if you think about it that probably would have been very helpful to your psyche.
So if I follow you, I should’ve gone after Christopher America AND Bobbinette’s killer at the same time. Why? Why do I have to do both? I don’t understand. Why don’t you go after Christopher America and me at the same time, huh? This is hodgepodge gibberish, Harrison. Who fucking cares where I go and what I do. Yeah, sure, I could’ve done both. I also decided not to. I lost the World Title. I’ll have a chance to recapture it again some day.
This is what I mean, Steve. You and your dipshit friends have NO IDEA how to hold long-term title-free relevance. You are the pinnacle of what I’ve noted is wrong with HOW from the get go. This notion that you have to be in a title spotlight EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN SECOND or “me don’t know what to do week to week”. Clay only cares when a belt’s on the line. Some of you others do the same.
Again, one day I’ll eventually seek out Christopher America or whomever #97 is.
And YOU haven’t moved on from Christopher America. You lost and openly stated you got the sads because you lost.
I watched the match.
He was better. Way better.
Nothing to be sad about when you weren’t as good. You’re a league lower than the major players.
Hope you quit after you lose to me though, LOL.
STEVE HARRISON SAID: You don’t have to become Detective Ratings Death.
Why was I being a ratings detective? Were people not interested in the attempted murder of a beloved HALL OF FAMER? Crowd was behind us. You weren’t. Okay then.
I don’t care what the DEMO scored, that’s Lee’s job. I sign a contract, he gives me money, I wrestle for him. It’s how things work.
Besides, I think I’m rather popular.
STEVE HARRISON SAID: You wouldn’t have had to spend months seeing whose dick is smaller with Jace.
Jace’s dick is smaller. This has been scientifically proven.
STEVE HARRISON SAID: You wouldn’t have had to spend more time with Scott Stevens.
Hey, hey how about this. After ICONIC I’ll book your matches specifically for you. You get no choice in an opponent. I’ll give you Jobber #2 every night. Then I’ll personally blame you for wrestling Jobber #2 as if you’re scum and can do better.
Besides, nothing is honestly wrong with wrestling Scott Stevens. He works hard for his matches.
And don’t you dare say I should thank you for beating Eric Dane. Get bent. He was a random opponent, who was defeated soundly because he blows.
STEVE HARRISON SAID: You have the World Titles…I have everything else.
Where do I begin with this? OH BOY. You have everything else, huh? I have friends. I have drive. I have commitment. I have fans. I have respect. I have skills. I have money. I have games. I have a mommy who loves me. I have a functioning brain. Like what kinda other stuff do you have that I don’t? Please, enlighten me.
Newsflash: We are WRESTLERS.
World Titles matter.
That’s like saying “you know what Tom Brady, I’m a long-term NFL QB too and you have 7 Super Bowls but I DON’T have any Super Bowls but I’m probably doing as well as you!”
So in other words, you’re Philip Rivers. FTR nothing wrong with this but he has zero to hold over Tom other than 3857733727 children. Dan Ryan eat your heart out.
STEVE HARRISON SAID: Jesus, Conor you fucked up.
HARD STOP. Because I’ve continued to keep my career relevant, on track and if I beat you I may be back in line for a World Title shot?
I know I’m fucked up, it’s been 97% of my speech. Yet I am not a fuck up.
Funny, as a man who hasn’t been pinned in a one-on-one match since RATR ‘21, I’m being scolded as an ERROR.
Let me explain one final time.
The guy is six feet underground, he gone fucked up, boo.
Not only that, I’ve done MOAR with my career than you could ever dream of, so stop fucking worrying about picking apart what I’m doing and the decisions I’m making.
Think I’m doing pretty damn good.
In fact, Imma double down. After I beat you at ICONIC, I’ll fall even “lower” for shits and gigs. I’ll go to extreme LAUGHABLE obscurity, just for you. I won’t merely befriend Bobbinette. Naaaa, I’ll befriend Darin Zion. Fuck it, let’s bring Bobby Dean back and I’ll motorboat those fine, fine titties of his. Get my face right up in there, bbbbrrrrrrrrr rumble rumble rumble my nose across those supple breasts and get his egg yolk all over my face. Three part segment. For one straight month.
Hey, he’s an eGG Bandit, yolk is not defined in a sexual context.
So after I pump your skull to the canvas, in the most amazing Head Stomp possible, you can gain all of your previous status back because I went into further ‘obscurity’ with Bobby Dean. Maybe Steve Harrison will have a rematch against Christopher America. Perhaps a charming whimsical battle for the LSD Championship. Because fuck me, right? I’m goofing off and making a joke of myself helping Bobbie who’s driven, deserves a roster spot and attention like everybody else.
I don’t have to blaze YOUR trail. I don’t have to take the path everyone else “thinks” is right.
THAT’S WHY I’M A TWO TIME WORLD CHAMPION. I do my own thing. I am my own guy. Laugh. Ridicule.
STILL GOTTA BEAT ME IN THE RING.
And that is becoming a very exclusive group to slide into.
I’m always ready to go.
When legit opportunity presents itself, I attack. A dropbear from above, claws extended, saliva dripping from my face.
I strike while the iron is hot. I FINISH HIM! as he’s fumbling around.
The bottomline, Steve Harrison: Pick your battles. Wrestle. Achieve.
It’s what Conor Fuse does best.
I digress. There is nothing more I love in life than someone who’s accomplished a hell of a lot less than me, telling ME how I went wrong.
Like dude, I am not sitting here listing off all your perceived screw ups. …Just the trash talk part since it was directed towards me, teehee.
I personally didn’t give a flying fuck when you joined The Highwaymen, I didn’t care what year you walked down the Best Alliance path and I don’t worry about whatever you’ll decide to do next. Awesome. No sarcasm. I support you.
Go do you, boy.
A good wrestler can make anything work.
But I tell ya what, I’d still be smart enough to never truly believe someone has fallen into obscurity, or made themselves a laughing stock.
You had the audacity to sit there and give yourself an excuse for not going 100% at this year’s WarGames. You insinuated this. To me. Moments ago. Since you had to jump through a Bobbinette hoop first. Big deal. My bad I supported her instead of someone who openly mocked me.
So I’m selfish for helping a friend?
I’m smart for not helping YOU.
I will never be selfish when it counts, Steve. Believe it or not, I will never be selfish for Lee Best. Or the fans, either. I’ll never provide an excuse and I will always go 100% inside the ring, unlike what you suggested happened at WarGames. Regardless of my opponent, disposition or demeanor. You get every ounce of sweat I can give.
Vs. Scott Stevens, when he is presented in front of me, he is an iteration of Mike Best. Sorry Mike, it’s how I channel things.
Vs. Jatt Starr, the impossible mountain. When he’s across the ring from me, it’s VITAL I succeed.
July 23, 2020, Vs. Erin Gordon, an un!RANKED Conor Fuse walks into his first ever HOW battle. Treated with as much seriousness and intensity as if it was an MDK war.
It’s go go go, 24/7. Put me in a 3-on-1 match and if I lose, I’ll take the blame. FFS, I have openly said I made mistakes in the WarGames draft. It’s okay to put an aspect of that L on me.
Ya Highwaymen love to pile on the bitter, though.
OUTCOME: “Conor Fuse does better than Steve Harrison at WarGames 2021.”
AFTERMATH: “Steve Harrison becomes bitter Conor Fuse did better.”
Of course I did better.
I pinned you that night.
If it was the other way around though, I wouldn’t be sour. Ya know what I’d do? I would look deeper into your skill set, take notes and understand how I can grow.
As a result, if I can teach you ONE lesson that I know you WON’T receive, because you’re way too thick headed.
Let me first preface it by saying there’s no contradiction. There’s no hidden message. This is Conor Fuse speaking as honestly and OPENLY to Steve Harrison as anyone could imagine. Take it as you may.
Every match you have is just as important as the last. Worry less about what others are doing, or what choices they make. It doesn’t matter if Scott Stevens is carrying around the BOOK of BEST or the BOOK of MORMON. It doesn’t matter what multiverse Darin Zion’s from. It doesn’t matter if Conor Fuse befriends Bobbinette Carey or Gilda Starr. Who cares who I wrestle, or who I don’t. My progression is irrelevant. You shouldn’t mind. Because no matter what, on any given day possible, the opponent who steps into the ring against you CAN pull off the victory. Focus on you.
Hell, who knows, if you let your guard down just enough on that specific day, maybe your opponent doesn’t simply beat you.
He does something worse.
And that, my friend, is what I call a realistic definition of Game Over.
So pick your head up and shut the fuck up about how I spend my time, Steve. End of the day, I’m doing alright.
I’m doing GREAT.
The proof is at the Rumble.
Further proof dispelled at ICONIC.
Who knows what heights I’ll go or how I’ll support Bobbie next. In the end, it’s none of your fucking business.
On Sunday, I’ll show you first hand.
And whatever you do with the rest of your time, trust me, I won’t criticize your choices. I’ll sit back, let you do your own thing.
And see you down the line.
Like a good soldier.
A former World Champion.
— — — — —
There’s a time and a place where a man needs to make a hard choice and never go back.
After hours of speaking to my alter ego, Calamity Conor, I believe Conor Fuse is at this fork in the road.
They’ve called me a joke for protecting Bobbie. They’ve said I’ve lost an edge. Try as I might, opponents will steer their opinion to whatever viewpoint they please. Harrison says I don’t listen. Harrison says I am selfish.
I feel neither. I humbly gave attention to Bobbinette. I really did try working with Clay at WarGames.
Regardless, the TRUTH is at ICONIC 2022. Conor Fuse vs. Steve Harrison is nothing more than two combatants fighting for the next step up the ladder while playing psychological warfare.
It’s a part of wrestling. It doesn’t have to be more than that.
I know what sadness feels like. Disappointment inside the squared circle has graced me, too. Steve lost to Christopher America, Conor Fuse lost to Mike Best.
It really is the aftermath that defines us.
And the aftermath of ICONIC will be a telling tale. It will explain so much between us. It will give me my new direction.
“Anything it takes.”
As Calamity Conor continues to tell me how this can be done, laying out the finite details, I realize that he is not a figment of my imagination. He isn’t made up. He isn’t similar to the other voices I hear inside my head.
While he rambles through idea after idea, I find that I haven’t been gazing into an actual entity. Instead, it’s a mirror, situated across the boiler room, leaned against the wall, facing my prison cell.
The person who speaks of calamity and raises the potential of a bad, twisted Conor Fuse, who will go to any lengths and care about nobody in his wake…
It’s not a fictitious image.
The man who has the hard, black bags under his eyes, who hasn’t slept in days… is not something my subconscious has made up.
Flesh and bones.
“We’re on the same page, right Conor?” CC stops in mid sentence to asks me.
“Of course we are,” I reply, with a smirk on my face. “Because I’m already you.”
— — — — —
One more thing, Steve.
Why can you defeat me?
Seriously. I get you can’t answer this right now but perhaps, before or match, I’d like you to think…
Why do you get to be the one to pin my shoulders to the mat? The first one to DEFEAT me in a singles match in over fourteen months.
At first, you said you’re the underdog. Imagine that, huh. A video game dipshit, the favourite. A guy you can’t stand, knowing I’m better, watching me achieve the last levels and knowing I can get there again and again.
It’s time I started acting like the 8-4 Boss I am.
There was a period in HOW when I assumed I wasn’t the favourite, either. See: the first time stepping into the ring against Cancer Jiles. Hell, the LAST time I stepped into the ring against Cancer Jiles. But as I told you, I began to collect experience points. I don’t even mean this in gaming terminology. In the ring. At the main events. On the big stage.
Now I am the man who stands in front of you.
So you hate me because I’ve worked hard and achieved what any wrestler would set out to do. You think you can do better. You also think the odds aren’t in your favour.
Then you said they are and you’re a calamity.
I don’t have time for these bullshit games and your bipolar demeanor. I offered you a controller as a peace offering. A legitimate peace offering. Like hey, let’s walk into the Best Arena and put on a show.
And you tossed it back in my face. You resent me.
So what is it?
You either believe you are better than me… or you accept the fate of a loss.
I am the here and now. I am the mecca; I am the system. I am the god damn mother fucking gamer who plays it.
Bow to me, Steve Harrison. The kid who walked into High Octane Wrestling one month later than you.
And BLEW past your achievements.
The 97MarioRed. The Ultimate Gamer. The Last Level Legend. The Locker Room Leader.
And soon, dear Steve, you will feel the other side of my Fuse. The murderous, hostile side. The one that stomped Stronk Godson, the one who caved SRK’s head into oblivion.
At the end of your preamble, you said you’ll take me seriously. I’m glad, as you most certainly better. Although I can’t help but think you should’ve got to me sooner, Harrison.
You should’ve got to me LAST year.
Because I’m too strong for you now.
I’m too strong… for everyone.