The tension was palpable. The two men sat in silence with neither looking at each other. Christopher America sat in his usual spot, the highbacked ornate chair with the eagles carved into it. His talent agent, Bill, sat in his chair. He began unpacking his things, beginning with a pad of paper and pen. He pulled his trademark iPad and positioned the cover to prop the screen up towards him. He patted his chest, fumbling for something before pulling out a small stylus and setting it next to the iPad. He gave one more glance at the set up and was pleased with what he saw. Then folded his hands, turned, and looked at America.
Bill: Okay, so you wished to renegotiate the terms of our agreement and I’m willing to listen. Where would you like to begin?
Christopher America: Before we begin, I want to explain my current position so that when we enter into these negotiations, you’ll know where I’m coming from and what I’m looking for.
I am not a good person.
Now you can take that however you wish, but, to me, it means that I’m not good with the social aspects of being a human being. I’m not good with showing my feelings. I’m not good with interacting with people. I look for hidden motives, even if there are none. It’s a constant cycle of distrust. You know that. I know that.
Bill nodded silently as America continued.
Christopher America: For my own health, I had to leave professional wrestling. I had to step away from what I loved so that my body could recover and heal. I had taken chair shots to my head and back. I’ve had my skin cut by animal claws and barbed wire. I had been punctured by tacks and harpoons. I had my ego destroyed through consistent losses and actual enslavement.
And when I left the thing that I loved, I needed something else to replace it. I needed something else that I could throw myself into. Like other wrestlers, I tried what seemed like logical choices. Chiropractic care, hawking nutritional supplements, even real estate. The truth was that none of them were what I wanted.
The inspirational thing for me to say would be that I missed the high of thousands of screaming fans; I missed the thrill of hoisting the World Championship above my head; or I missed the rush of having a live microphone in front of my face so that I could dissect an opponent’s ego live on screen. But the truth is that I couldn’t handle the people. Professional wrestling is simplistic in it’s nature. You know that everyone is gunning for you and your spot. You’re either a stepping stone or you’re the top dog. No person is safe. No spot is safe. The moment you settle into a groove, someone new is there to fuck your shit up.
When I tried getting a “real job,” I found it to be nauseating and claustrophobic. Everyone wants you to be part of a team. They want you to do things in a certain way and a certain order. I had to dress a very specific way. Wrestling didn’t have that. A match alone was the ability to create moments and emotions that people would never forget. At work, it didn’t matter what I did or how good a job I did. No one saw. No one gave you credit. The machine rolled on.
America looked down at the table as he continued speaking.
Christopher America: I tried to find someone special. I tried to find someone that I could love and give myself to but that… that was just a fantasy I had. The women I was attracted to liked the attention that I brought them. They liked the glamour of dating a former wrestler. They liked the money I had. They liked the IDEA of me but didn’t like ME. Over time, with one failed relationship after another, I grew withdrawn from that and accepted that no human being was going to offer me what I was looking for.
When America spoke, he conveyed a great sense of shame and regret. Bill’s heart fell as he felt for his client.
Christopher America: Seeing how much joy and fulfillment that the HOW World Championship brings to me, I question whether anyone else can do for me what she does.
America looked up at Bill and he at America. The were trying to read each other’s faces and gauge each other’s reaction. Each one trying to see if there was any of the old version of the man they like in each other. America searched for the wiry, geeky, do-as-your-told lackey that he felt comfortable around. Bill was searching for the man he had tried forming a friendship with. Neither realizing that at this moment, both were lost to the other.
Christopher America: Month after month after month, I kept trying to replace professional wrestling with other things. And no matter how hard I worked at it, how far I searched for it, I couldn’t find it. And that’s when I tried to come back and face Mike and that went to shit. I worried that wrestling had passed me by. All that was left was me, a guy in his thirties, a college degree in American history for all the good that would do me, and just enough to live on for maybe five more years. What was I going to do for the rest of my life? Slog away in some meaningless cubicle on one of twenty different floors, known as employee #2058633?
If I wanted wrestling, I’d have to put even more effort back into her.
I worked hard.
But something still felt off.
You know, it’s weird. I find myself struggling against my own interpersonal feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I like being alone. I like the comfort of the silence. It makes me the sole person as the object of ridicule and source of triumph in bad and good times. And yet, periodically, I grow weary of talking to myself. I find myself reaching out in unexpected ways for some sort of human interaction. I find myself reaching out to make connections with others.
And I think part of that struggle… was how I found you.
I reached out to you because I liked your name. William Right of Right’s Talent Agency. “Bill of Right’s.”
America looked down and let out a slight chuckle.
Christopher America: I liked the name more than anything. You allowed me to focus on the things that I loved. You took care of the things that I didn’t want to do, things like talking to people, making appointments, scheduling meetings, negotiating contracts… all of it. Anything that really involved people, you took care of.
I replaced all of that bullshit I hate… with you.
And over time, you and I formed a bond and a camaraderie that started, I thought, to turn into a friendship. I don’t think I’m out of line saying I think you thought that too. And so it felt… it felt good. When you take away the frustration and replace it with something palatable, something good… it feels like a weight has been lifted off of you.
What I accomplished in HOW since returning has been impressive. To be honest, I’m still in disbelief at what I’ve been able to accomplish. I didn’t expect to be back this long and I certainly didn’t expect to be World Champion. What I wanted more than anything was to get back to that high, that thrill, that rush.
And I found it.
I found it. I found success. I found myself once more.
I rode high on this. But… but HE ruined that. I’ve held the World Championship for nearly a year and I am trying to still replace this feeling he put inside me. This doubt, this frustration, all of it with something else.
And maybe that’s something people see as a problem. But for me, maybe it was something I can do constantly. If I could replace a bunch of things that I hated with you then why was it out of the realm of possibility to replace other things with something better?
Bill smiled a half smile. It was a compliment to be sure, even if it seemed like America stumbled into it.
Christopher America: And I realize that I’ve been doing it and most of the time it turns out well.
I replaced my family and friends with the Board and now the Alliance. A group of people that seemingly don’t want to infringe on what I have. We have common goals, for sure, but for the most part, we leave each other alone. They don’t have to like me but at their cores, I think they understand me. They understand my motivations and desires because they have the same ones. The paths we take may be different, but the goals are the same.
I replaced human connection with a championship. I did that because I knew that success breeds jealousy. I knew that everyone was going to want what I had or to make a name off of me. And I couldn’t be bothered worrying about others. That’s why my first few outings in tag team matches went to shit. It’s why I don’t want you at the arenas. If I worry about me and only me, then I have no distractions.
I replaced my inadequacies with assistants. I was tired of being haunted by HIM. I was tired of moping and feeling sorry for myself. Richard, Alexei, Mateo, they… they allowed me to feel something else. I knew that hiring them would make me feel anger because they weren’t born here. And channeling that anger into them… it numbed the pain that HE still brings me.
The World Champion was massaging his knuckles and looking down at the table. He was steadfast in his belief at what he was saying but the whole thing was uncomfortable for him.
But something’s changing.
And I don’t fully understand it.
I’m lonely, Bill.
There was a calmness and a stillness to America’s voice that was almost unsettling.
Christopher America: Beyond lonely, I am secluded.
I’m BEING secluded.
I feel like I’m purposely being kept away from everyone else. And I don’t know if that’s for protection or if that’s to weaken me. Either way, right now, I know that I don’t like it.
America’s voice began showing cracks of frustration and anger.
Christopher America: And the difference between this and the other situations is that it’s out of my hands. At least, I think it is.
And so, over the past few weeks, I’ve thought about what has been so isolating. What has been stopping me from reaching my full potential? What has tried at every twist and turn to make me second guess myself, to force me to do things I don’t want to do, to put me in the situation I’m in now.
America looked up at Bill. His expression was dour, and his eyes were void of expression.
Christopher America: And that’s why what I’m replacing next… is you.
Let’s be honest, Xander.
You never wanted this. You never wanted what you have right here, right now.
I mean, look what’s happened in the past few weeks.
For starters, you, personally, allowed Scott Stevens to qualify for War Games. You stepped inside a steel cage, a structure you are intimately familiar with, and thought, now’s the time to squander all the work I’ve done in an HOFC cage.
You stood across from a man who has a floundering career, a man who is desperate for validation from everyone, a man who wants to belong to something worthwhile that he’ll cling on to whomever and whatever, a man who thinks he’s at a level above everyone else, a man who thinks that something he accomplished EIGHT years ago means he’s worth anything in 2023, a man who thinks that because he’s on the winning side of a War Games team, despite being eliminated, often early, means he’s a winner.
You stood across the ring from a man like that and said, “hold my barbituates laced apple sauce and vodka and I’ll show you what a real fuck up looks like.” You stood across from Scott Stevens, a man who’s best days aren’t behind him because they were never there to begin with and thought, “that’s someone I’d like to lose to.”
Then, after losing your War Games qualifier, you are placed in a last chance qualifier match at the start of War Games, where the hope and wish of someone like yourself is that you’ll make it through.
In your own fucking head, you’re HOPING to be LUCKY enough to make it through that match just to get a shot at the main event.
Stop for a moment and think about how fucking pathetic that is.
And don’t lie to me, Xander. Don’t tell me that I’m wrong. Don’t tell me that this match with me is different. Don’t tell me that the loss to Stevens has lit a fire under you. Because it hasn’t.
Because you don’t want success and you sure as fuck don’t want to be in War Games.
In fact, Xander, nothing has lit a fire under your ass during the time that I’ve been here.
All I see is a man that has to go around begging and pleading for someone to take him seriously. I see a man begging and pleading for others to fight him in HOFC or to get a match on Pay-Per-View. You spent weeks upon weeks begging people to turn their attention to you, when what you should’ve done… is walk up to the nearest wrestler and start beating the ever loving shit out of them. You should’ve marched up to me and told me that after I was done with the Highwaymen, that you had next. You should’ve marched up to Jace Parker Davidson and been the one to stab him in the eye with a pen. You should’ve gone to whomever was the HOTv Champion, dragged them by the hair into the HOFC cage, locked it, and beaten them within an inch of their life until they granted you a championship opportunity.
But, nope. That’s not what Xander Azula does.
He doesn’t make opportunities. He doesn’t seize opportunities. Xander Azula sits on his fucking ass and wants others to come to him.
Because Xander Azula doesn’t want opportunities.
In fact, at this point, I’m pretty sure there is nothing HOW can offer you.
Before I even held this World Championship, I went after Steve Solex. After I got done with Solex, I made it my mission to rid the world of the Highwaymen. That was MY mission. It wasn’t handed to me. It wasn’t a directive on high. It was something I wanted to accomplish, something that I sought out. When I stepped into the War Games cage, I made damn sure that I didn’t repeat the same mistakes of the past. There was no defending others OVER myself. The mission was to go in and win, to ensure that Conor Fuse never left that cage with the World Championship.
While you pat your back and seek comfort in the warm embrace of your Eternal Circle for not coming in last at War Games, I made damn sure I came in first. Because I thought like you did once. I thought that placing in the top half was an accomplishment. I thought that placing in the top four was an even bigger accomplishment. That is until I got first. And then I realized that there is NOTHING more important than first place. There is NOTHING more important the HOW World Championship. And what sickens me even more about you is that mentality you have. It’s the same mentality I had over 10 years ago. The difference though? I grew the fuck up. I got a dose of reality. You? You’re still stuck there. Unwilling to change.
Tell me, Xander. As a member of the Eternal Circle or even as the leader of the Eternal Circle, who the fuck knows or really cares at this point, why would any of them continue to support you? Why would any of them want you to continue leading them or whatever the fuck it is that you do for your shitty group of people? If you worship a deity through this Eternal Circle and they pointed you down the path of unsanctioned matches, then how do you think the deity looks upon you now? How many more times do they tolerate your bumbling, your stupidity, your failures?
And what is Eris exactly?
Is he or she a deity that you believe in? Are they a god or goddess that empowers you or guides you? If so, then how weak are they if the “Fist of Eris” can’t fucking secure you victories in matches? How stupid must they be if they picked you as their representative or, even worse, their champion?
You are a blemish on this company’s reputation. You’ve replaced success with failure, excellence with mediocrity, and championships with the comfort of a cult.
Do you know what happened to the last man that I faced before War Games one on one?
I put him on the shelf for the Pay-Per-View.
I took “Ordinary” Joe Bergman, made him famous for one fucking night, and then sent him back to the barn so that his wife could collect 50% of whatever was left of him in the divorce. The man who taught you everything that you know is the man that I pinned to the mat on my way to War Games. The man who hides and cowers in another fucking country thousands of miles away helped train YOU!
And so, what I do to you at Chaos isn’t out of petty reasons like revenge or spite. What I do to you is for the good of this company.
I’m going to make sure that Kostoff, Hollywood, and Marvolo have a better chance of entering War Games by taking out the weakest link in this entire company. I take out the man that got punked out by Bobbinette Carey last week. I take out the man who allowed Scott Stevens to enter War Games and sully my match. I take out the man who tried to make his name off of the match that Mike Best and I made famous.
I’m going to leave you as nothing more than a stain of blood and guts on the bottom of my boot. I’ll scrape what remains of you into a trash can. I’ll have that trash sent to the dump where flies and maggots can feast on HOW’s largest disappointment.
I’m going to leave you like I’m about to leave your “Circle,” eternally broken.