“Beyond the shadow you settle for, there is a miracle illuminated.”
- Jesse Faden, Control, Remedy Entertainment
Do you know why I hold this championship the way I do?
Do you know why she’s special to me?
Do you know why I would do anything for her?
I’ve talked before about the spotlight – about how it shines on you when you hold the HOW World Championship, about how some people aren’t ready for it because they aren’t ready for the roles and responsibilities that come with it, and about how the spotlight highlights the best and worst parts of us.
But for me, the spotlight does one more thing.
It pushes away the shadows.
Shadows that I have been running from since the day I returned.
And, unfortunately… recently… shadows that I’ve added to.
I must stop running.
It’s the only remedy.
Three days before March To Glory
The clock ticked away the seconds.
The fire danced across the logs.
The light attempted to illuminate all.
The shadows desperately clung to anything they could.
Christopher America sat in a large chair in front of the fire and stared at it. The fire crackled but America remained unfazed. He left arm propped up his head, with his thumb under his chin and fingers pressed against his lips.
Off in the corner, Bill sat, face illuminated by his iPad, with his glasses hanging on the end of his nose. After finishing up some work, Bill paused and pulled the iPad close to his chest. The light subsided and after a few moments, his eyes adjusted to the darkened room. He looked at his client and read the story on his face.
His eyes drooped. Bags hung below. His breathing was slow.
Bill: Have you tried sleeping again?
Christopher America: Yes.
His response was short and cold.
Bill yawned and tried to suppress the noise as much as possible.
America blinked for what felt like the first time in a long while. He looked over at Bill and caught the tail end of his yawn.
America waved his hand dismissively at Bill.
Christopher America: It’s not your fault. I’m just stressed and it’s throwing things off. Go. Get some sleep. And I’ll see you in the morning.
Bill: You sure?
Christopher America: Yeah. Go.
Bill got up and walked behind the chair. He placed a hand on America’s shoulder.
Bill: Please be well. And try to get some sleep.
America shrugged Bill’s hand away from his shoulder and just sat there, listening to the sound of Bill collecting his things and leaving for his hotel room. When he heard the door close, America got up and walked to the back of the chair. He placed his elbows on it and leaned forward. He stared into the fire as it crackled.
Everything had gotten out control.
48 hours after the ending of Chaos
Christopher America returned to his home, still riding the high of putting Conor Fuse in the Torture Rack. He entered through the front door and immediately saw the faces of all of his assistants. Alexei Petrov, his cleaner; Richard Thomas, his clothier; Harbir Lal, his driver; Bill Right, his agent; and lastly, Luis Gonzalez, the son of Mateo Gonzalez, his trainer.
America looked at each of them stone-faced as he walked past them. But it was Luis who scowled as America approached him. The HOW World Champion stopped in front of Luis and looked down at him, with America scowling right back. He placed his hands on Luis’ shoulders, got close to his face, and in a low, gruff voice, spoke menacingly to the youngster.
Christopher America: Right now, you’re looking at me like you want to beat my ass. You’re thinking of how you’re going to do it, when you’re going to do it, and about how it’s going to make the pain you feel go away. But I’m here to tell you, you won’t attack me because it won’t make the pain go away. Sure, your father helped give me a new finishing move. But your father was weak. He couldn’t defend himself from someone superior like me. And now he’s lying in a hospital, nursing a broken nose, a concussion, and possibly some spinal damage.
Luis’ hands balled into fists as he clenched his jaw.
Christopher America: Now, you can do one of two things. You can punch me right now and I’ll void the contract your father and I signed. Your family will incur all the medical debt, and you can go bankrupt. What’s one more Mexican family out on the street begging for scraps?
Or, you can keep your mouth shut…
America looked down at Luis’ hands.
Christopher America: …and you can keep your fists uncurled around me. In return, I will continue to pay for your father’s care and pay YOU to be my new trainer. And hopefully… you won’t be as WEAK as he was.
America gripped Luis’ shoulders tightly before shoving him backwards. The patriot chuckled to himself and looked at his other assistants. Most of them quickly broke their gaze with America and looked down as America’s smile faded.
Bill, however, did not.
America looked at him and the two locked eyes. America felt a brief moment of shame, as if he was being judged, before breaking eye contact with Bill.
America remained silent and brushed past his agent. He heard Bill behind him dismiss the rest of the group for the night. America proceeded into the kitchen, found a bottle of water in the fridge, and downed it quickly. As he finished the last gulps, Bill re-entered the kitchen.
Bill: What you’re doing to that boy… what you did to his father…
Christopher America: I know!
I lost control.
Just throw some extra money their way and just make it go away! I don’t have time to deal with the petty squabbles and complaints from some illegal and his boy! I just needed a trainer to help with designing some new moves for the fight with Conor. Mateo served his purpose. The boy will now take his father’s place.
He’s stupid. He’s naïve. And he’ll do anything to keep his family afloat.
He will come along… as they all have.
Trust me, he’ll take the money.
Bill: Are you listening to yourself right now?
America turned and looked puzzled.
Christopher America: What?
His voice dropped an octave as he questioned whether he heard Bill right.
Bill: Chris, I—I know that you don’t like other countries. I know that you don’t like the people from other countries. But you can’t keep saying the things that you’re saying and doing the things you’re doing without consequences.
America looked incensed.
Christopher America: Of course I can! Freedom of speech. First amendment. HELLO? America! The things I’m doing? They’re all legal. I have the American justice system as my shield. They don’t like it? Don’t sign the fucking contract!
Bill: Chris, if these guys have any sort of a lawyer with legal savvy, they’re going to find a way to get around the contract. You can’t just be gross and negligent with how you treat people.
America turned slowly and his eyes went wide.
Christopher America: Can’t I?
America slowly moved towards Bill.
Christopher America: I’ve done everything for them! I raised them out of the gutter! Given them more money than they’ve had in their miserable little lives. Taken them off of the tit of this country and turned them into actual working class people.
America moved closer.
Christopher America: Mateo is able to provide for his son because of me!
Bill: Because of you, his father is in the hospital. Because of you, he doesn’t go home at night. He goes to the hospital to sit with his father, hoping and praying that there’s no lingering issues after what you did.
And you treat them, ALL OF THEM, like nothing!
Christopher America: THEY ARE NOTHING!
America continued moving closer. He was practically stalking Bill who finally noticed how close America was getting. Derangement had settled in. Instinctually, Bill took a step back.
Christopher America: Worthless specks on this godforsaken planet. Here to do one thing and one thing only – to serve me! To help me! Help me win. Help me beat Fuse. Help me retain the championship. And then… and then…
America caught himself almost hyperventilating at the next thought.
Christopher America: and then help me beat HIM!
Bill took another step back and felt himself touch something solid. It was the counter. He knew he wasn’t going anywhere now. He mustered the small bits of courage in himself and stood himself upright. As America continued to move towards him, Bill scowled, looked him dead in the eye and went for it.
Bill: You’re afraid.
The moment lingered and America paused in his tracks. He looked mortified before the rage set in.
Quick as a flash, America moved in and grabbed Bill by the sides of his shirt. He pushed Bill back and pulled him up off the ground by the collar of his shirt.
Christopher America: What… did you… say?!?!
Bill, however, was undeterred.
Bill: You’re afraid. And you take it on them.
In fact, he pushed even harder.
Bill: You… you coward.
America fumed at the impudence, the sheer gall to be talked to like that.
Bill: You’ve tried for months to rise above the pressures of that championship. And the more I’ve been by your side, I’ve watched you buckle under that pressure. The cracks are already there, aren’t they? And you know it, too. Ever since you’ve held that championship, you’ve needed help to lift the weight of it. Oh sure, you’ve used me. You used Mateo. But you also used Cecilworth Farthington at War Games. You used Dan Ryan at ICONIC. And you used Lee Best last week.
Can you even win a World Championship match on your own?
The rage began to fall from America’s face. The realization and panic began to set in. He attempted to scowl and push the rage to the forefront but it wouldn’t come through. He closed his eyes and turned his head.
Bill: You’re afraid because you know Fuse has beaten the same people you have. You know that without Farthington, he probably would’ve beaten you at War Games.
Christopher America: Shut up.
Bill: You couldn’t even get him to tap out last week.
Christopher America: Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
Bill: You had the odds in your favor and he made a mockery of you in that ring.
America dropped Bill, grabbed two handfuls of his own hair, and squeezed hard.
Christopher America: SHUUUT UUUP!
America’s hands released his hair and then covered his eyes as he crouched down. He was breathing hard and fuming through his nose.
Bill: You put yourself on this path. YOU let it get this bad. And now YOU have to fix this.
You didn’t have to let Stanislav…
America looked up.
Christopher America: Don’t say his name!
Bill ignored him.
Bill: You didn’t have to let Stanislav get to you this bad. Chances are you were going to lose a match at some point. It just happened to be Stanislav. And YOUR weakness, not anyone else’s… YOUR inability to deal with that has made you like this.
Well, let me tell you something…
You have wasted more energy on him than he has on you. And now, with March To Glory just days away, he’s in your head more than ever. He’s cost you more than just energy. He’s cost you time. He’s cost you preparation. You’ve allowed him to turn you into… whatever this is.
Bill crouched down next to America.
Bill: I have helped you through EVERY major title defense you’ve had. I’ve pulled strings, called in favors, enlisted help from dream interpreters and your own father. Sooner or later, you have to start pulling your own weight. You’ve bragged about what you’ve done to get back to HOW. But you’ve done barely anything on your own since you’ve come back.
You need to do this on your own.
Otherwise… Fuse… he’s going to take your title. And with it, everything you want.
You’ll have no World Championship and no record.
That man went undefeated in singles competition in 2022 and continues that to this very day. You won’t get to be the one that erases the 0 in the loss column.
And I’m pretty sure if you lose that World Championship, you aren’t getting a rematch against Stanislav. Lee will find someone better.
Someone who can get the job done.
Someone… like Conor Fuse.
Before I begin, Conor, let’s just say that I look forward to one of two things happening.
The first is you treating me and what I have to say as a joke. You’ll crack a few ones off, throw out a couple hashtags, maybe even try to work your shitty “!RANK” or “MOAR” catchphrases in every chance you get like you’re Commander Shepard endorsing your favorite store on the Citadel, throw a wink at the camera… and then get fucking steamrolled for your troubles at March To Glory. But don’t take my word for it, ask Jatt Starr or Steve Harrison.
The other is that you take me and what I say seriously. You think about how you’re going to reply. You big yourself up, telling yourself how you’re going to beat me like you’ve done all the others. Maybe you big me up, too, talking about how great I am. You waste your breath telling people shit they already know. Hell, maybe you even do some nitpicking and debate semantics just to try to get one up on me… and then get fucking steamrolled for your troubles. Again… don’t take my word for it, ask Joe Bergman or Clay Byrd.
The difference between you and me, Conor, is that when I have a problem with someone, I face them in a World Championship match and I beat the ever-loving shit out of them. You, the Highwaymen, Jatt, Stevens, Hollywood, whomever.
But you don’t do that, do you?
You had a problem with the Highwaymen and you wanted to TALK about your issues before War Games. You had a problem with the Highwaymen over the Tag Team Championships, so you sat on your ass and let Carey drag you along for a ride. You had a problem with Steve Harrison and you gave him a barbed-wire controller. When you have a problem with someone, Conor, you do anything and everything you can to avoid wrestling.
And I know, I know. I hear you now.
Please spare me your journey of personal improvements that you have and are going through. I’d like to NOT hear after the match that Conor Fuse did what every single one of my opponents ALREADY did. Interview, therapy, going to a bar, family drama, maybe a jokey field trip to a zoo to wrestle a bear because the only thing he can get a win over is a creature dumber than he is.
I’ve seen it all. I’ve heard it all.
Do better. BE BETTER. Because this championship DEMANDS it.
I told you that I was going to peel back the layers and expose you.
I told you that I would rip off your disguise and lay bare what you really are.
I’ve watched you as I trained for my return to HOW. I’ve watched you since I’ve been back. And, yes, Conor, you are many things.
Friend to Carey? Sure, whatever.
Great wrestler? Absolutely.
But a gamer? A locker room leader? Loveable? Vintage?
You’re none of those things.
See me? I am many things to this company. You couldn’t even imagine half of them, let alone the responsibility of all of them.
Some see me as a corrupter.
I made Steve Solex doubt his place in the Highwaymen. And now look at him. He turns on the people that brought him multiple Tag Team championships and he swallows his pride to team with me. He’s got an LSD Championship match now and he’s much better off.
I took Steve Harrison, that bald-headed, bland bitch and I got the fans to cheer him! HIM! A man who had the audacity to treat our championship match and me as a joke – grooving to his new music like he’s a bobble-head that’s been shaken. And where is he? Where has Steve Harrison gone? He loses the World Title, got depressed, has a fight with you, seemingly over a barb-wired controller, who the fuck really knows, and then goes away. Never to be seen again. This company is better for it. You’re welcome for the softening up, by the way.
I took Clay Byrd and turned a 7-foot-tall monster into a mopey, whiny cowboy. I took a dominant force in this company and humbled him for the world to see. This man dominated Frank Dylan James in a way that was unheard of. He was the NUMBER ONE ranked wrestler in this company. And I… I forced that man to try to find comfort in his own thoughts and the bottom of a bottle.
But you probably don’t understand what I’ve said because it’s not in a video game reference.
So then, let me explain it to you in terms you SHOULD understand.
I’m The Taken from Alan Wake, the all-consuming darkness. That sense of hopelessness when you see me. The dread of facing me. You cannot re-write this ending. And you are NOT the beacon of light that you think you are.
I’m The Hiss from Control. The enduring resonance that works its way into your mind. Aggressive. Toxic. Irresistible. Virulent. And you… you’re like a worm through time and my thunder song distorts you. With your eyes, I am going to push my fingers through the surface into the wet. Only then, will happiness come. And I’ll leave your insides by the door.
Simply put, there’s no “REMEDY” for me.
To others, I’m just lucky.
I dumped all my experience into that one stat and I’ve been riding it to victories I should never have gotten. Strength, dexterity, intelligence, vitality, wisdom, charisma, resistance, endurance – none of it is on par with luck. It’s like I turned on the cheat codes. But to suggest that would belittle the work. It disrespects that this speed runner found the quickest way to win the game.
Qualify for War Games.
Beat the competition.
Win the title.
All in one… simple… month.
Yes, I’ve been called many things over my time in HOW.
I’ve also been called a hypocrite, a Communist, a Nazi, xenophobic, a douchebag, and a traitor. I’ve also been called a patriot, the ultimate capitalist, a friend, the GREATEST American, and the second best wrestling mind in this sport.
The only thing YOU need to know is that when I am in that ring and I am in my element, you’re in my domain.
And there, where I reign, I am one thing to you… and one thing only.
I… am… a… god.
You see, you stopped loving the HOW World Championship. You took her for granted. You used her as a prop. You treated her like an accessory that you equip, one that you’d happily discard if something better came along with “better stats.” But there is nothing better than her. And she’s more than just a prop or accessory. She has a personality all to herself. She sees, hears, and feels what we do. And around you, she was tired of being caged. She was tired of being used as merely a catchphrase and a hashtag to help try to endear yourself to others.
Oh yes, you stopped loving her once you had her. Like most men do.
But I never did.
Because I’m not like most men.
That’s why I won her.
I saw the look in her eyes. I saw the glimmer off the jewels, the reflection in the metal plate. And her eyes shone only for me.
And because I treat her right…
I’ve held this championship longer than you ever have. Longer than almost everyone else has. And after March To Glory, I WILL sit alone as the sole wrestler atop that mountain. Just me and my beloved.
And I will look down on each and every one of you.
No longer will ANYONE look down on Christopher America AGAIN.
Instead, I will look down on a grateful wrestling company and tell it, “You’re welcome.”
With the spotlight… right where it belongs… on me. With no shadows to darken my skies.
My reign has lasted longer than some people’s entire careers in HOW. While new monarchs ascend to thrones of power and governments fall, America endured. While wrestling companies start up and shutter their doors, America endured. And while Conor Fuse got the “sads” after losing the championship at War Games and failed to capture the Tag Team Championships with his “best friend,” AMERICA ENDURED!
This company had been crying out for a World Champion they can be proud of.
And at March To Glory, I am finally going to give them a World Champion that they can be proud of.
I couldn’t do that at 100 days. I couldn’t do that at 200 days. But at 267, I will deliver unto them the LONGEST REIGNING World Champion in HOW history.
At March To Glory, Conor, I am going to hurt you.
I will put an end to the mystique of Conor Fuse.
Through you, Conor, I will remedy the mistakes that I have made along this journey. I will prove my worthiness for a rematch against HIM. I will put a 1 in your singles loss column. I will earn the record that has eluded EVERYONE! And I will step out of the shadow of Mike Best… once and for all.
Because that’s all this ever was about.
Everything I’ve done.
All the pain I’ve endured. All the suffering I’ve inflicted. All the trash talk I’ve spewed. All the people I’ve brought in and pushed out.
It’s all been about chasing away his shadow.
About defining myself not just for the now, but for my entire career.
Losing to you, Conor… it relegates me back to the shadows.
And I won’t go back.