There are some match-ups in sports that are simply “Can’t Miss!” TV.
Packers Vs Da Bears.
Lakers Vs Celtics.
Michigan Vs Ohio State.
Real Madrid Vs Barcelona.
And then there’s John Sektor Vs Arthur Pleasant in the middle of a High Octane Wrestling ring.
Just the sound of it gets the blood pumping, doesn’t it? ‘Cause let’s be honest: with John Sektor and Arthur Pleasant? The fans know they’re going to get their money’s worth. It’s not going to be two dudes going through the motions with each other just to try and grab a win. Nah. It’s not going to be some snooze-fest between a couple of snowflakes who don’t want to injure themselves just before the biggest event of the year. Nope. It isn’t even some hyped up match-up between two legends that will end up disappointing the entire audience after it ends in just under seven minutes. Not in a million years.
When we do this, John? It’s fucking real. It’s fucking personal. It’s a fucking shoot. Because, let’s call a spade a spade: we don’t like one another. Dare I say, we can’t stand each other.
The fans can sense it. The boys in the back can see it. The powers-that-be bank on it for ratings, merch, HOTv subs, Twitter activity, etc etc. You and I fucking know it almost as much as we fucking love it, and neither of us would have it any other way.
I know you resent me, John. For being a part of this new generation of High Octanians and for my penchant for death matches and all things hardcore. You fucking hate the fact that I took time off from HOW last year, went on excursion, came back, and stuck around for as long as I have. You figured I’d be gone by now. You and the low-hanging fruit-eating bitch ass motherfuckers of High Octane Wrestling figured I’d be begging Lindsay Troy to give me a try-out over in PRIME mere weeks into my return here. Newsflash: The more you tell me I’m going to do something, the more I simply won’t.
It is in the nature of a devil’s beast to not observe the status quo.
Guess my skin is tougher than you and your Member’s Only High Society Porcellian-lite club thought it was, eh John? Guess I’m not as predictable as 99% of the other pompous cocksuckers who walk through here and just can’t fucking take the heat and roll with it.
Look at ‘em all. Eric Dane. Rick Dickulous. Alex Redding. Mikey Unlikely. The names that use this place as a thoroughfare to their next stop are endless.
Yet I, and only I, fucking remain.
None of these assholes had the heart, the guts, the nuts, or the fucking Godlike resolve to stick it out in a return here in HOW like I have. Even with both hands tied behind my back, both feet chained together, with a blindfold tied around my head as I crawl uphill, I’ve found a way to soldier on.
I could’ve easily stayed away and found success elsewhere. Didn’t have to return and face the shitty music from a bunch of jingoists waving their dumb little #97Red pom-poms and thumbing their noses toward anybody who dares to take their talents elsewhere. But I fucking did and I’ve been doing it my way.
This match, John? At the heart of it, despite the implications for War Games, is a match made for people to grab their fucking popcorn. It’s a match that people need to plan their home life and work schedules around so that they don’t miss a second of it. This match is what this fucking business is all about.
‘Cause I think, in this universe or another, we were destined to do this forever. Two times we faced each other for the LSD Championship, and MAN what battles they were. You almost had me at Refueled XXIII, but I got you at March to Glory. Then we got to do it again with friends, and Jeffrey and I took your tag team titles away from you and your protégé.
Now we get to do it yet again to lock in one of our positions for War Games.
Now we get to do it— according to HOW News— one last time.
‘Vs. The World’ Performance Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
Walking on the road to the greatest, most important wrestling show of the year tends to bring out the worst in everybody. People who are normally friendly with one another are stomping each other’s necks in. Snide comments are made under people’s breath. Social media turns into an even bigger dumpster fire than it already is. Gaslighting everywhere. White Knighting here. Politicking for an unearned spot there. You name it, you see it during the most important time of the year. The wrestling business is a dirty, dirty bitch sometimes.
DEFIANCE sees it during the build for ‘DEFCON’. SHOOT Project sees it for Reckoning Day. No promotion is immune to the ego-driven intensity of having to watch your six for the knife coming for it.
High Octane Wrestling’s WAR GAMES? Well, it’s not called the ‘Pillow Fighting Nationals’ for a reason.
Everybody wants in.
Nobody wants to be left out of the most important show of the year jerking off in some forgettable match no matter how good it may end up being.
Even after we defeated Sektor and Ellis at Refueled 95 and became the HOW Tag Team Champions, Jeffrey and I shared this moment of tension with each other in the ring. We knew, at that very moment, that if I did manage to qualify for War Games, then we’d be on opposite sides of the ring for the first time ever. Neither of us knew how many times this has happened in HOW’s illustrious history– co-holders of the Tag Team Championships being on opposite sides during War Games, that is– and neither of us cared. All we knew for certain was that we were going to make history, one way or another.
It was him or me and we both knew the depths each other would sink to in order to achieve greatness. That’s what we respected about one another the most, in all honesty. We understood each other’s depravity, debauchery, and devilry more than anyone else on the roster. Maybe even in the entire world.
“Let’s talk about the giant elephant in the room, Arthur.” calls out a voice as I do my ridiculous looking bicycle crunches.
No half-built TEN-X.
No ego-driven Champ’s Legacy.
No dust-filled AlieNation.
This is simply outside my Las Vegas residence with a guy I met in a short-lived indie project called Battleweight Wrestling. He’s known as the “Steel Titan”. His name is Sebastian. Annnnd he’s ripped as fuck.
“Eighteen…nineteen… twenty… twenty-one…” I count out loud with labored breaths.
“Your strength training and muscle training are fucking shit. I’m surprised you can lift a baby in your arms, nevermind lift somebody over your shoulders. What the ever-loving fuck have you been doing with your time, Arthur? No wonder you couldn’t hold on to the top of that ladder!” he says.
“Twenty-two… ask… Twenty-four… Chris… Twenty-Five… Kostoff… Twenty-Six…about… Twenty-Seven… me… Twenty-Eight… lifting… Twenty-Nine… anyone… Thirty.” I respond between counting.
“Good. That’s thirty. Only seventy to go!”
Fuck my life.
I continue to pedal in the air with my legs and sit-up halfway with an incorrectly formed crunch, feeling the burn in my abdomen, calves, and just about everywhere one could imagine. Hell, even my fucking lunulas hurt.
“Thirty-six… thirty-seven… thirty-eight… thirty-nine… forty…”
“You’re doing great, Arthur. Keep ‘em coming!”
I really need a cigarette at this point, but there is no way this meathead is going to let me break from these stupid crunches. Fighting through the urge for that sweet cancerous nectar, I keep pushing myself.
I imagine what Jeffrey is doing at the moment in his little cell. Probably reading a book on psychology like “Surrounded by Idiots” by Thomas Erikson. Or perhaps a classic Dostoevsky piece. Whatever it is he’s reading in his cell, it’s going to be quoted by the time War Games rolls around and people are going to be eating their own tongues like fucking Miggs as they try to decipher the meaning behind it.
“Forty-nine… fifty…” I yell, snapping myself out of my own daydreaming.
“Stay focused, Arthur! If you don’t stay focused, you won’t even make it to War Games. John Sektor is going to come at you with everything he has. You have been the proverbial thorn in his side and he’s going to want to finally get that win over you.” Sebastian says, displaying an unusual amount of knowledge on what has been happening in all things HOW.
“Fifty-two… you… fifty-three… been… fifty-four… stalking… fifty-five… me… fifty-six… or… fifty-s-s-s-seven… something?!” I remark, encountering a rough patch there at fifty-seven.
As I continue counting, “Ready For Combat” by Icon For Hire starts playing from Sebastian’s pocket. Kind of an odd choice of a ring tone for a big muscled up dude, but to each their own.
“Sorry, I have to take this. Keep going though! You’re doing great! Only forty-three to go!”
Fifty-eight. Fifty-nine. Sixty.
“Yeah, I’m currently with a client at the moment. We can set something up for tonight, though. The usual?”
Some time goes by between Sebastian and the mystery caller. It’s kind of nice working out in peace and quiet.
But that all changes pretty quickly.
Eighty-one. Eighty-two. Eighty-three.
“What? No, I didn’t hear. What happened?”
Eighty-four. Eighty-five. Eighty-six.
“No way. He WHAT?!”
Eighty-seven. Eighty-eight. Eighty-nine.
Sebastian looks directly at me. Suddenly, I find my curiosity burning as I cannot help but feel they’re talking about something that directly had to do with me.
“What? Ninety… Ninety-one…”
Holding his hand to the phone, he mouths something. Unfortunately, my lip-reading skills were non-existent.
“I can’t fucking read lips. What happened? Ninety-four…ninety-five…”
Sebastian still looks wide-eyed.
“Dude. John Sektor retired.”
I sit up completely, finishing at ninety-nine. I only need one more to go to finish out the set, but the news is so startling and unexpected I didn’t give a fuck about leaving it at ninety-nine.
There isn’t a word in the dictionary, Urban or Merriam-Webster, that I could utter to really encapsulate the gravity of the situation.
Selfishly, I had to ask myself, “Is this me? Did I do this? Did I make him say fuck 24 Hours and quit?”.
Unselfishly, I think about how hard Sektor has fought for the last several months. Defending the LSD Championship against opponent after opponent. Then I come along and take it from him like I did.
What is this feeling?
Is this remorse?! Am I experiencing… survivor’s guilt?! LOL… what in the actual fuck?!
Looking at Sebastian, who is obviously upset I gave up at ninety-nine, I shake my head.
“Well. This is… disappointing.”
I almost feel bad about this. How many times can you take something from a man before he’s finally hit rock bottom so. fucking. bad. that even he, a former 4-Time HOW World Champion, admits he has nothing left in the tank?
I’m sorry, John. I never wanted to be the one to put Old Yeller down, but I’ve been tasked with doing just that. And considering a spot in War Games is on the line? There’s no other way. It must be done.
I don’t have the consideration of others or the conscience to give a flying fuck how it’s done.
At least… I don’t… I don’t think I do? Fuck, man.
I’m sorry you feel like you have nothing left in the tank, John. All of our and everyone else’s shit talk aside? I think you do. I know you do. I know you can beat anyone on this godforsaken roster at any given time. Including me. Including that loudmouth fuck wagon who has only grown a set after finally being allowed to be in the Hall of Fame, Jace Parker Davidson. Including that HOTv Champion that everyone suddenly fears because he’s big, strong, and unintentionally funny as fuck all-the-while capitalizing his first name, STRONK Godson.
But maybe you just need a break to collect your thoughts and recharge yourself? I don’t know. I just… I don’t fucking know anymore.
I do know that this place is fucking toxic enough that, when you lose? You’re made to feel like you should be ashamed. Like you have this obligation to feel empty inside because you lost a match. Like you’re made to believe you’re somehow lesser than. At least, if you listen to the insecure cunts out there flapping their gums like Michael Lee Best.
Hell, even if you win, sometimes you’re made to feel all of the aforementioned.
Not an ounce of the mental anguish people go through in order to push through the kind of bullshit you have to push through to be as good as you are matters to anyone else, John. Not to Michael Oliver Best, Michael Lee Best, or anyone else from #FuckYourFeelingsInc AKA The Board.
But here’s another fucking shoot, John: it matters to me.
I loathed you and what you stood for. Part of me still does. But I’ll be goddamned if I didn’t admit that you are one of the toughest motherfuckers out there. You should have your own wing in the Hall of Fame, if for no other reason than to distance yourself from the other corrosive shitbags who desecrate it every day they’re in it by glazing their tongues with the upper brass’ excrement.
But now? I look at you and how you are willing to step away just because of a promise you made, and… I can’t help but respect you. I don’t want to, John. Hahaha. I’ve got a reputation to uphold here, but goddammit do your noble actions make me smile.
That’s right, good ole Uncle Arthur does have a heart after all, black and cold and disease-ridden though it may mostly be.
Regardless, though? On the off chance you do actually show up at the last second without putting out a promo and come to fight me at Refueled 96? Since this is quite possibly the last one ever between us? Then expect this one to be bloodier and nastier than anything we’ve ever seen before.
Despite my newfound respect for you, I’m walking into that ring on Sunday with the simple goal of tearing you apart. It could be with a Calamity Pain to your head until you’ve got brain matter leaking all over my knee pads. It could be choking you out again to the Guillotine Choke until you code in the middle of the ring and we watch your soul rise to the rafters.
Or it could be as simple as slingshotting you into an exposed turnbuckle and rolling your ass up for the three-count.
Not because I want to, but because I need to. ‘Cause I have to.
‘Cause I have no fucking choice.
‘Cause this is High Octane Wrestling, John.
And all roads, even this fucking shitty one, lead to WAR GAMES.