It’s been a few days since the Best Alliance won War Games.
It’s also been a few days since I lost at War Games.
I don’t like to lose, but I can handle it like a man. Sometimes you just don’t get the best of your opponent, but you better get your fuckin’ shots in…or what was the point? I got my fuckin’ shots in, just ask Arthur Pleasant, or any of the other shitbags I got my hands on while I was inside that cage. My knuckles have been sore since I walked out of that match…but so has my head. It was a banger, that’s for sure.
It’s been years since I’ve won a World Championship, something like ten years if you want to get into specifics. That stings a little and it’s a bit disappointing to me to not have won last week, but even more so to Shawn Kutter. He hasn’t said anything to me about the match or anything else really. Not since he picked me up at the airport at least, but I know that he’s pissed off. I can feel the tension in the air, it’s so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Losing is something I can handle though, but letting people down is something that I cannot. I don’t feel like I let any one of my team members down at War Games, and I feel like I contributed to our win. But I know I let Shawn Kutter down; that unrelenting prick. Shawn’s not happy. He’s never happy…not really anyway. He might smile and laugh, but deep down inside he’s in a constant state of anger. That’s just the kind of man that he is and I know how bad he wanted to bring home the World Championship, and I just didn’t deliver. I didn’t live up to his expectations, and that means that I let him down.
It’s unfortunate because he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a World Champion, he’s never done it. He doesn’t know what it feels like to be the absolute best in the world and when I was a champion, Shawn wasn’t around. So not winning at War Games probably stings him a bit more than it does me, but I still really don’t understand why that’s the case. Of course, he’ll blame it on me. He always blames me for a loss or anything bad really, but somehow he always takes the credit when I win.
When I win. We win.
When I lose. I lose.
Shawn and I have kept our distance since he picked me up from the airport a few hours ago. I’ve been in the living room alone in my thoughts, reliving War Games and questioning every move that I made while I was inside that cage. I try to live with the no regrets motto, but that shit is for kids with neck tattoos…not for grown men. I look across the room and see Shawn. He’s been pacing back and forth in the kitchen for the better part of an hour now like a fuckin’ lunatic, and I’ve got to admit…I’m a bit afraid to ask him what’s wrong.
He’s a salty prick, and unfortunately for me, I’m usually the source of his frustration. I cautiously get up from the couch and slowly march to the kitchen. I try not to make a sound, but just my luck…a floorboard creaks. Shawn whips around, rushes across the kitchens and he gets right into my face.
“You should be ashamed of yourself!” Shawn screams at the top of his lungs, jamming his finger into my forehead, forcing my head back against the wall. I can feel the texture from the wall crumble from the pressure and fall to the grimy linoleum floor. He gets right in my face, so close I can smell the curry from the Indian food he ate for lunch on his breath.
I don’t say anything, I just feel the embarrassment and shame takeover my body. My blood rushes to my cheeks and I’m as flush as can be. I hang my head low, but he pushes it right back up with the finger that is still pressed against my forehead. He looks into my eyes, and I know that he can see just how embarrassed I am and he knows he’s got me on the ropes. He can sense my fear.
“Oh, you’re embarrassed are you?! You fuckin’ should be! There is absolutely no reason in the world that you should not have won that War Games match!” His voice booms and echoes throughout the house. He’s pissed off at me, but I don’t understand why he is taking it so personally. It’s not like he lost the match. And shit, the Best Alliance won the fuckin’ thing. That was my main goal in the first place, to make sure that we won. And we did.
But that’s not good enough for Shawn Kutter. He feels like he has to be a champion, even though he’s never been one himself…he feels like I should give him one. But even if I did win. I would be a champion…not him. What’s weird though, is he doesn’t see it that way. Not just weird; it’s fuckin’ frustrating as all get out.
“You dumb prick,” he mutters as he walks away rubbing his hand up and down the back of his freshly buzzed head. “We worked to damn hard for you to fuck this up for us, but lucky for you…we have a chance to restore our reputation, avenge our loss and even win some championship gold,” he says peering over his shoulder, his voice low and calm.
I ask him what the hell he’s talking about, but he doesn’t immediately answer. Instead he reaches inside of the fridge and grabs a Heineken. “Let me see your bottle opener,” he says. I pull my car keys from my pocket and look at the keychain bottle opener. I toss the keys to him. He catches them and pops the top off of his beer. The cap falls to the ground and the keys go in his pocket. I give Shawn a sideways look and then I look down at the cap on the ground and back up at him. He pays me no attention, as usual. He’s always messing this place up; leaving his trash all over the fuckin’ place. This bottle cap is just a reminder of that, but that’s not the focus right now.
“Lee Best’s office called a few hours ago, and we’ve been booked,” he says before taking a swig of beer. I ask him when and he pauses by wiping his mouth with his forearm and before saying “This week.” Bullshit, I say before informing him that there is no show this week. We’ve been delayed a week. I’m actually quite surprised he isn’t tracking this, he’s usually on top of shit.
“Bullshit? You callin’ me a liar, you prick?” He says, before taking a few steps toward me and getting into a sort of defensive posture. “I know that there was a delay, but this is last minute shit. Lee’s office called, and apparently they’ve decided to unretire the TV Championship, and they thought…for some reason unbeknownst to me…that we should be in the match. That we should be wrestling for the HOW Television Fuckin’ Championship! What do you think about that, dickhead?” His casual insults don’t distract me from the fact he keeps saying we, and it’s driving me up the fuckin’ wall.
We’re not a fight camp, but he seems to think so…and maybe we should be, but that’s a discussion for another day. Nevertheless, the news of a title match shoots my adrenaline straight to the roof. My hands begin to tremble and my brain is going one-hundred miles an hour as I think of what this means for me and what it means for Shawn.
This is how I bring home a championship for us.
This is my time for vengeance.
This is my time for vindication.
This is how I justify my Hall of Fame status to the naysayers.
This is how I earn Shawn’s trust back.
I ask him who we’re going up against, and he smiles from ear to ear flashing his pearly whites.
I shoot a smile right back at him; he knew I’d love that news. I still can’t believe that little boy-band shitbag with the quaf-cut hairdo is the one that eliminated me from War Games and neither can Kutter. I’ve never once dismissed Darin Zion as illegitimate, and I didn’t underestimate him in the slightest. He just got the better of me and now I can’t wait to get my mits around that pencil neck of his and choke the life right out of him.
“And Zeb Martin.”
I’m sick and fuckin’ tired of wrestling Zeb Martin, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve never beaten him before and that’s probably why I’m sick of it. So, truth be told. I’m not sick of wrestling Zeb Martin; I’m sick of losing to that chaw spittin’, shit stompin’, hillbilly. But this time will be different. This time I will beat Zeb Martin in the middle of the fuckin’ ring. What makes me so sure about this time? What’s so different this time around?
Shawn Kutter, that’s what’s fuckin different this time.
Zeb Martin has been a solid wrestler in HOW the last year or so. To be totally honest, I don’t know how long he’s been here but I know I’ve never beat him and that haunts me. That’s the kind of shit that keeps me up at night. And on top of that, somehow he’s managed to find himself aligned with the people in wrestling that I despise the most and they all know who they are. But that doesn’t make Zeb Martin a shitty person really, it just makes him a man of bad decisions. Like a woman who left her drink on the bar while she went to the bathroom, Zeb Martin has been drugged. But not drugged in the classic sense, he’s been drugged in his mind.
He’s been brainwashed by the oldest and meanest bitch on the planet, Lindsay Troy. Zeb’s got himself a case of LTDS; Lindsay Troy Derangement Syndrome. And because of this disorder, Zeb has found himself in a faction called Local Grapplers 214…I hate that number so fuckin’ much. Can’t we just get past it at this point? Bergman is fuckin’ gone! And he’s gone because of me…I just wish these yocal fucks would get that shit through their thick ass skulls. Whether or not I beat him is irrelevant; he’s gone because I broke him. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing to Zeb Martin. Like Ivan Drago, Zeb; I must break you.
“What the fuck are you thinking about?” I must have zoned out for a second. I tell him nothing and shake it off. “We have to win this one, you hear me? This is our chance to show the world that we’re the best that HOW has to offer. That we’re the best that the Best Alliance has to offer. If we have to kill someone in the process, then so fuckin’ be it. We have to win. Or this…” he says, flipping his finger back and forth between the both of us. “Or this doesn’t work anymore.” I’m a little taken aback by that comment and my stomach drops.
I let him know that I don’t like what he’s saying here, and like the asshole he is…he starts shouting again. “I’m a fuckin’ winner, Steve! If you can’t even beat Darin Fuckin’ Zion, what good are you to me?” I tell him that I’ll win, and I’ll do it emphatically. I tell him that I will bring us home a championship and that I won’t disappoint him this time. I tell him that winning isn’t just about me anymore, that it’s about us.
I’ve become exactly what he wants me to be.
He nods his head and takes another swig from his beer. I tell Shawn that Zion’s been on a run recently, and that he’s not one that we – there I go, referring to us as we just like Kutter wants me to – shouldn’t take him lightly, and that we – once again – need to prepare.
“Are you scared? Are you scared of Darin Zion?” I tell him no instantly and I tell him that I’m scared of losing to Darin Zion, but I’m one hundred percent not afraid of Darin Zion, the man. I’m not Darin’s biggest fan, shit…he’s barely on my radar to begin with, but I’ll give credit where credit is due. He’s on a bit of a run as of late. He beat JPD – let’s be real, he could have never beaten the three of us had we all stayed in the ring, that’s just giving him too much credit. And the one that stings the most, that little prick eliminated me from War Games. I might never live that one down, but I can get vindication. Darin Zion has proven himself to be a contender recently. But even with all of that; I am in no way, shape or form scared of Darin fuckin’ Zion, and Shawn better realize that shit.
“Good. That’s real good,” he says with a half-cocked smile. He takes another swig of his Heineken before walking over to the sink and pouring the last sip down the drain.
“Now tell me about this Wahl prick,” he asks, his back turned to me. He pulls a cigarette from his pocket and fires it up. One hundred percent he is referring to that behemoth of a man that pulverized Dan Ryan and choked Arthur Pleasant and I out. I tell him to disregard that overgrown sack of shit, but he’s not ready to move on.
“Lee Best’s office told me that this was some form of punishment. That because you are supposed to be the goddamned enforcer of the Best Alliance and somehow you managed to get eliminated by that no-talent fuck Darin Zion, that Lee thought it…best…that you be punished. Is that true?” He hoists himself up onto the counter and takes a seat. He raises an eyebrow as I hesitate to answer. I tell him I have no idea what he’s talking about, I try to deny remembering the event at all and tell him that I must have been hit over the head or something.
He laughs with his cigarette stuck between his lips and he takes a deep drag. He pulls the cigarette from his lips, exhales, and points at me.
“You wouldn’t be lying to me would you?” I tell him I’d never lie to him, but deep down inside I know that I would lie to him any chance I got, as long as it kept things on an even keel. And this is one thing I’m definitely going to lie about. “Whatever, man,” he says before hopping off the counter and walking through the kitchen. He turns right and heads out the front door.
I follow him outside and take a look at the wasteland in front of our house. The yard is littered with beer bottles, cigarette butts and random fast food establishment containers. Shawn doesn’t mind the mess for some reason, he says that’s why he has me. Because I do and that keeps everything level. I’m the Yin to his Yang. I’ve been out of town, so the mess has really piled up recently.
The sound of a car approaching triggers my attention. Nobody comes out to this part of town; it’s only us out here. This is a little disconcerting. As the sound gets closer, my anxiety gets higher. Shawn takes one last puff of his cigarette and flicks it onto the lawn, just in time for a white Lincoln Town Car to pull up. The windows have a limo tint which makes it impossible to see the driver, let alone anyone else in the car. The car pulls right up to Shawn and immediately the backdoor swings open. I drop to a knee pretending to tie my shoe as I slyly try to get a look at who else is in the back seat.
Why the fuck is Shawn getting into a car with Clay Byrd?
What business does Clay have with Shawn?
Shawn looks back at me and winks before climbing into the backseat. He slams the door shut and the car pulls away. I get a look at the license plate as it drives off into the distance.
97RED • BA
What the fuck? Really?
Why did Lee send a car for Shawn?
Why did Shawn get into the car?
When am I going to see Shawn again?
What does he know that I don’t know?
What the fuck is going on?!
I turn around and head back into the house. Totally confused, I slowly walk over to the counter where Shawn was sitting. I place my palms flat on the counter; it’s still warm. I shake my head and close my eyes, when I reopen them I see a hand-addressed envelope with my name on it, tucked under the cookie jar.
“Steve Solex, Your presence has been requested at the Best Arena on June 17th at 5pm. We have arranged a car for you. Please be ready at 4:30pm.”
Today’s June 17th and it’s fuckin’ 4:30pm right now!
“Signed, The Office of Lee Best.”
I crumple the note and ball it tight in my fist. The blood rushes to my head. I was supposed to be in that car. My grip goes weak and I drop the note to the floor.
I begin scrambling. I’m a nervous wreck. I search my pockets for my car keys.
I don’t have them.
I gave them to Shawn to open his beer and he put them in his fuckin’ pocket.
He planned that shit.
The Best Arena is 20 miles from here. I’ll never make it on time. Uber, taxi, running…all of those will take more than 30 minutes. Lee is going to have my ass for this one.
Why did Shawn get in that car?
Why didn’t Clay Byrd say anything?
Why didn’t the driver say anything?
What the fuck is going on?