It was right after Refueled 84 where me and HOW World Champion Conor Fuse had entered the Maurako Cup against the two Hockey goons that Scottywood had brought in for the tournament. It wasn’t my best night but lucky for me, my AoA teammate and friend Conor Fuse was able to pick up my slack and secure the win for our team.
Back in Miami the next day something just didn’t feel right. I was removed from the Maurako Cup due to an injury, but it wasn’t the injury that was bothering me. I tried to take it easy and hoped that this terrible feeling would pass. However, as I sat on the couch in the living room of my home everything went blurry and then the world just shut down. I slumped over on the couch; my eyes wide open but no one was home upstairs.
It wasn’t long before Madison found me helpless and unresponsive. She panicked but managed to compose herself enough to call 911. It didn’t take long for the ambulance to pull up to the front of my home and the Paramedics rushed inside to help with the emergency. Madison watched on in sheer terror as the Paramedics began to work on my lifeless body. They asked her questions about me, such as my health before this happened, medical history, and any medications I had been taking.
“Do you have any idea what happened here?” Madison inquires, not completely sure if she’s going to like the answer.
“We’re not exactly sure, Ma’am…” The male Paramedic began. “It seems like he’s having trouble breathing. We’re going to hook him up to some oxygen and take his vitals really quick.”
“The fact that he’s unresponsive is not a good sign.” The female Paramedic added. “We’re going to do our best to get him loaded up and take him to the nearest hospital for treatment.”
The Paramedics do their due diligence in working on my lifeless body before loading me up onto the stretcher while strapping me in. They quickly began to wheel me out of the house and towards the ambulance as Madison followed closely behind.
“I don’t care where you’re planning on taking him but I’m coming with you.” One of the Paramedics tries to speak up but Madison cuts them off. “I’m not taking no for an answer. I’m not leaving his side!”
The Paramedics give each other a knowing look but then mercifully agree to let Madison ride with them in the back of the ambulance. The male Paramedic gets in the driver’s seat and pulls off towards the nearest hospital. The female Paramedic begins to use a pair of scissors to cut off my shirt and attach me to a heart monitor as Madison watches on solemnly.
“Just for informational purposes, what kind of job does this man have?” The female Paramedic asked with her back turned to Madison while she hit a few buttons on the heart monitor.
“He’s a professional wrestler with the High Octane Wrestling company.” Madison stated. “But he hasn’t been active inside of the ring since January because of an injury.”
“Has he been known to take any narcotics?” The female Paramedic asked in a serious tone.
Madison just shook her head no in response to the question. She reached out and grabbed a hold of my hand, squeezing it tightly while she muttered a little prayer under her breath.
“It’s good to pray.” The female Paramedic said in a sympathetic voice. “I’m afraid it’s not looking too good for him.”
“What does that mean?” Madison tried to fight back the tears in her eyes.
“Well…” The female Paramedic pauses to choose her words wisely. “Best case scenario is that he pulls through but because of the fact that we don’t know how long he’s gone without oxygen to the brain… means he won’t be able to walk or talk. There might also be some very severe brain damage. I don’t think I need to tell you what the worst case scenario is.”
The news hits Madison like a ton of bricks. Her knees go weak and she falls to the floor of the ambulance. The tears begin to flow like a river from her eyes and then the only thing that can drown out the sound of her sobbing is…
The sound of the heart monitor machine going flatline.
I jolted to an upright position on my bed in a cold sweat. It was just a nightmare. However, it was the same nightmare I’ve been having for the last few weeks. Even though this nightmare was constant, it was only a dream. Consequently, what usually followed was tightness in my chest and a migraine.
I pulled back the covers on the bed and mustered my way up to a standing position. I held my right hand over my chest as I meandered my way over to the vanity mirror and dresser on the other end of the bedroom. I grabbed a hold of the bottle of painkillers I had received to help deal with the pain of my injury. I looked at myself in the mirror and frowned at what I saw.
I looked like absolute shit.
I popped the top on the bottle of painkillers and poured a handful of the pills out. I didn’t even bother trying to stick to the recommended dosage, I just wanted the pain to stop. I brought my free hand to my mouth and swallowed the pills in one gulp. I returned the bottle to the top of the dresser and headed towards the bathroom connected to the bedroom to finally get my day started. I had a qualifying match to prepare for against Scottywood to see which one of us would make it to the War Games match in the Ukraine.
Dreams of my demise were not going to stop me from returning to the ring and taking my place back in the main event picture of HOW. Scottywood better be ready.
Later that day the front door opened, and Madison came stumbling into the house. She is seen carrying some Dry Cleaning over her shoulder by the hanger as she uses her leg to kick the front door closed. She takes a moment to catch her breath before making her way up the stairs. Madison makes her way into the master bedroom and tosses the clothing down onto the bed. Completely exhausted, she collapses down onto the bed beside the clothing. The door to the bathroom opened and I walked out wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts. My hair was still wet from the shower I had taken as I looked down at Madison with a dissatisfied frown.
“It sure as hell took you long enough to get back here.” I groaned in annoyance.
Madison opened her eyes and found enough energy to raise her head from the bed and look in my direction.
“Well, the line at Starbucks was insane! It took forever then when I got to the Dry Cleaners the guy working there was fucking incomptent. This is not the way I wanted to start my morning.” Madison whined before letting her head fall back down to the mattress.
“Wait a minute…” I raised my right hand up to my head still feeling the slightest of pains from the migraine. “You stopped at Starbucks?!”
“You know I don’t ever get up this early in the morning. I needed caffeine or else I would have fallen back to sleep before even getting your suit.” Madison replied defensively.
“I don’t give a fucking damn about your caffeine cravings. You want coffee? Go brew a cup or go to Starbucks on your own time.” I barked before heading over towards the bed where the clothes were lying.
“You could at least say Thank You.” Madison grumbled.
I stopped going through the clothing and raised my eyebrow in her direction.
“You want a freaking Thank You for doing your job?” I growled.
“No, I want a freaking Thank You for doing you a favor.” Madison snapped back.
“A favor? Seriously?!” I could feel my anger rising. “I’m about to have one of my biggest matches here in 2022. My one shot to qualify for the War Games match at the PPV. As my manager it’s your JOB to accommodate my every need. I don’t give Thank You’s to someone that is paid to follow my orders to the very detail.”
I grabbed all of the clothing off of the bed and headed back into the bathroom. Madison sighed before reaching down into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone. With a few clicks she managed to land on the HOW website and decided to catch up on the news and things that were posted recently. After a while the bathroom door opened, and I emerged wearing the black Armani suit with a white button down shirt underneath the blazer.
I walked over to the vanity mirror to see how I looked as I used my hands to finish buttoning the last few top buttons on the shirt. I ran my fingers through my hair fixing it a bit as Madison sat up on the bed. Her features contorted into a confused expression as she looked away from her phone and spoke up.
“Have you seen this rumor that has been posted about you?” Madison looked in my direction waiting for an answer.
“What rumor?” I was barely focused on her words while paying attention to my reflection in the mirror.
“The first edition of the HOW Rag Sheet has been posted. There is news that supposedly last week in Memphis that Scottywood’s Hall of Fame watch was stolen after the show.” Madison explained.
“So?” I scoffed.
“They are saying that you were the last one seen in the area of Scottywood’s dressing room before it went missing. They have even asked Bobbinette Carey about it and she didn’t seem too happy about the whole thing.” Madison goes to continue but I interrupted her.
“When is Bobbinette Carey ever happy about anything?” A smirk started to form on my face as I kept my attention towards the mirror.
“True…” Madison cleared her throat. “But I have to ask, did you do it?”
There was an awkward moment of silence before I turned away from the mirror and glared down at Madison.
“Why would you ask me something so stupid?” Madison goes to respond but I raise my hand into the air stopping her. “Do I look like someone that is desperate enough to steal something from Scottywood of all people? And even if I did steal his precious little Hall of Fame watch, I’m pretty sure all I’d get in return for it would be a roll of Duct Tape and a half-eaten Ham sandwich.”
Madison lowers her eyes embarrassed.
“I wasn’t trying to accuse you; I was just asking.” Madison said sheepishly.
I raised my right hand into the air and snapped my fingers in Madison’s direction. She raises her eyes and gives me a confused look before I point over towards the tie sitting next to her. I snap my fingers once again as Madison rolls her eyes. Even in her displeasure she grabs the tie and walks over towards me. I give a satisfied smirk as she wraps the tie around my neck and under the collar of the white button-down shirt.
“So, are you worried about stepping into the ring with Scottywood after not being in the ring for three months?” Madison tried to make small talk while she fiddled with the tie.
“I went five years without being inside of the ring and I still finished second in the Wrestler of the Year category in 2021. I don’t think Scottywood is going to be that much of an obstacle for me, regardless of ring rust.” I pronounce confidently.
“Scottywood is a Hall of Famer for a reason and let’s not forget the fact that he could have his two Hockey goons or Bobbinette Carey herself at ringside for this match. You’re going to only get one shot at qualifying for War Games. You’ve got to make it count.” Madison tried to reason with me.
“Please! Scottywood is a street urchin from New York. He’s not a refined professional wrestler like yours truly. He’s a one trick pony while I am the complete package.” I began to tap my foot, wanting Madison to finish her task quickly.
“Yeah, but–” I cleared my throat, interrupting Madison.
“I don’t care who Scottywood has in his corner. He’d be a fucking fool to try something during the match and have to deal with the wrath of The Board. Besides, you will be in my corner and if anything happens, it is YOUR job to make sure all outside distractions are nullified.” I close my eyes and raise my head as Madison continues to work on the tie.
“Me?! I’m nowhere near qualified to deal with–” I interrupted her again while raising my voice.
“Did I fucking stutter?!” My voice boomed throughout the house.
Madison shudders from the loudness of my voice then just shakes her head no in response. We stand in silence as Madison finishes putting the tie into a perfect knot. I glance at myself in the mirror with approval. Madison turns to go head back towards the bed but I reach out and stop her. I raise my right hand into the air and point towards my ring finger.
“Oh, yes, of course.” Madison responded, submitting to my will.
Madison makes her way towards one of the drawers on the dresser and pulls it open. She reaches inside and pulls out a small case. She closes the drawer then turns towards me and opens the case. Inside of it is my HOW Hall of Fame ring. I extend my hand as Madison places the ring on my finger. I admire the ring on my hand as it glistens in the sunlight. I raised my hand up to my lips and kissed the prized item that was way overdue for being in my possession.
“Absolutely magnificent!” I felt complete now that I was officially a Hall of Famer.
“It really is beautiful.” Madison observed.
“I want you to make sure my first-class seat on the flight to Atlanta is booked. Get yourself together and maybe work on losing a couple of pounds. I want you in top physical condition if you expect to continue to be in my corner.” I hissed.
Madison looked down at her body then nodded her head subserviently. I extended my hand down towards the floor then bore a hole through Madison with my eyes. Madison dropped down to one knee and kissed the Hall of Fame ring on my finger. I relinquish my hand as Madison gets to her feet and exits the bedroom. I hear her head back down the stairs when suddenly the tightness in my chest returns. I clutch my hand over my chest as sweat begins to pour from my forehead.
Time for more painkillers.
It’s a few days later in Atlanta, which will be the site for Refueled 94. People in the area are excited about the win and get in scenario to the matches on the card heading into War Games. Anyone that heads to the HOW website can see that there is a new video that has been posted. One ordinary HOW fan here in Atlanta clicks on the video and it begins to play on his phone.
The video opens with a picture of Pennywise along with a loud cackling of laughter coming from the murderous clown. Suddenly the feed goes to static before returning to an unknown location. It’s dark and not very well lit. The only thing that can be seen is someone seated in a folding chair wearing a Pennywise mask.
“Boo!” Says the man in the mask as he lounges towards the camera.
The man leans back in his seat then slowly begins to remove the mask. The person is revealed to be none other than HOW Hall of Famer Jace Parker Davidson.
“Hello Atlanta, didn’t mean to scare you like that, but it seems like my opponent had a bit of a gimmick change idea for me and I figured what the hell? Why not give it a shot? I even decided to use his idea on the setting in which I should dwell.” I use my arm to gesture towards my surroundings which appear to be some kind of underground tunnel.
“Ultimately, it’s a horrible idea but then again it did come from Scottywood. A man that thinks he’s going to eliminate me from getting into the War Games match. I mean sure, I’ve been away for three months while Scotty has… done whatever it is that Scottywood does. Now, for the life of me I can’t figure out the logic of Scottywood thinking that’s going to happen. I mean here I am a former War Games winner. I’ve come in as runner up in War Games multiple times while Scottywood has won zero War Games matches.” I cross my right leg over my left leg.
“All Scottywood is good for when it comes to War Games is cannon fodder. I mean Christ, man. You have Arthur Pleasant walking around with a piece of your flesh as a necklace and you’ve yet to do a goddamn thing about it. Scottywood has never won War Games, never won an LBI, never won a main event match at Rumble at the Rock even though he claims it’s HIS PPV. And of course he’s never main evented ICONIC and walked out as HOW World Champion. I’ve done all these things Scotty and the only thing you had over me was the fact you were a Hall of Famer but now so am I.” I point my Hall of Fame ring up in the air for the camera to see.
“So, what is it, Scotty? What makes you think you’re going to stop me from qualifying for War Games? What makes you think if by some miracle that you beat me this week that you’ll go on and actually win the War Games match? Hell, beating you and making sure you don’t make it to the War Games match is the biggest favor I could do for both Conor Fuse and Clay Byrd. I know what you’re thinking. You’re the Hardcore Artist, you’re a badass that loves to fight. You’re edgy and cool and one of the most dangerous men on the roster. I mean, you’ve got a bald head, you drink a lot of beer. So, all you need to do is start giving people Stunners left and right, then maybe someone will take you seriously.” I cock my head to the side contemplating my own words for a moment.
“Yet every time you start to build the slightest bit of momentum, you piss it all away and something like March 2 Glory happens.” I shake my head even thinking about that abomination.
“You talk about me being thirsty and all that but seriously? What the fuck were you thinking? What malfunctioned in your brain to think that faking a Bottomline in the third fall was a good idea? Carey caused you to lose to Mike Best in a match for the HOW World Championship belt. You gave up your 10% ownership of the company for that shot then suddenly because she says ‘Hey, we’re going to hug it out and be friends again’ you decide to pull that bullshit? Is that all it takes to manipulate you Scotty? You’ve tarnished one of the most iconic matches in HOW for shits and giggles. Anytime we have another Bottomline match everyone is going to remember that abortion that you were involved in.” I let out an audible groan.
“But that’s what makes you The Hardcore Artist, right? You bend over backwards for your ‘friend’ and claim you both ‘fooled’ everyone. Then to top it off you bring out a guy that Carey… that Carey… oh right, that she kissed once. That’s it, he just simply kissed the bitch and you stabbed him in the eye. Why? Oh, because you found out he was just trying to get into her pants. Clearly, chivalry isn’t dead because The Hardcore Artist transformed into a White Knight right before our very eyes. You did it because ‘that’s just what best friends do.’ Give me a fucking break. You dare call me thirsty and yet here you are trying to murder people for even kissing your so-called best friend? You two are like a really bad Romcom but this behavior… it’s got to be unrequited love, right?” I look around my surroundings like I’m expecting an answer to come out of thin air.
“You walk around the hallways of HOW arenas bitter as fuck on a weekly basis, all because Bobbinette put you in the friendzone. It’s amazing how she gets you to bend to her very will and she doesn’t even have to put out to get her way. I’m sure she has your balls hidden in a Potpourri bowl sitting on the back of her toilet in her magenta-colored bathroom. Now, you want to try and take me out because you think I’m after the woman of your dreams?” I hold my hand up to my mouth to stifle my laughter.
“You’ve got your panties in a bunch because you think I want to meet with Carey. You think that you and her pulled one over on me because she showed you the text messages.” I pause for a moment and lean forward.
“Scotty, did you ever once question just how I got her number? No? It’s because for weeks she’s been blowing up my phone before the War Games draft. She just knew she was going to be a Captain in the match and started recruiting for her team. She wanted me and Conor Fuse as the first two members of her team because that would assure her a victory. You weren’t even considered; you were an afterthought. So yeah, I sent those text messages and I asked her to meet me but here’s the thing Scotty… I lied. I’m not stupid, I knew she would run to you and tell you all about it. I had no plans whatsoever to meet with Carey, but I knew if I floated the idea out there that you wouldn’t be able to help yourself.” A smirk forms over my facial features.
“And you fell for it. I mean just look at the angry manifesto you posted about how I can’t replace 15 years of friendship between the two of you. You tried so hard to talk her out of doing something that wasn’t even going to happen. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. You get so hot under the collar because you think I want Carey. You can have her. Even though with you being the Hardcore Artist and her being the Black Lives Matters chick makes absolutely no sense whatsoever as a pairing. Maybe she’ll eventually let you explore her nether regions. Then you can move in with her, get married, and become a house husband/babysitter for her kids while she goes off and becomes the breadwinner. But I guess all you can do for now is run out to the end of your leash and bark anytime I come within a 50-mile radius of Miss Epic.” I let out a sigh.
“You should worry more about your piss poor HOW career than about my non-existent interest in Carey. You need to evolve yourself from the 1996 version of yourself that you continue to parade around HOW. You complain about people like me all the time, about the fact that HOW is so much of a clique. You’re just jealous, Scotty. No one wants you in the so-called clique because you’re awful. You brag about being Hardcore, you flash your Hall of Fame status, and talk about winning the HOW World Title. Bitch, if it wasn’t for me leaving HOW for 4CW you would have NEVER once become Champion. You should be on your knees kissing my feet over the fact that I walked away so that you could for 28 days claim to be King Shit over a handful of talent not even good enough for the mid-card. This is why you’re only friends with people like Carey, Zion, and Stevens. Garbage has to stick together after all.”
“Do yourself a favor and sign up for the Ten-X program. I’ll be more than happy to teach you how to become a real wrestler. You’re rough around the edges but miracles can happen. I haven’t forgotten that in my HOW career you were the first person to ever beat me. So I mean, you have flashes here and there but that win was mostly because I underestimated you. How could I not when I see my name across from someone called ‘Scottywood’ on the card? I’m not going to underestimate you anymore. There is too much on the line. I will qualify for War Games and Sunday night will be your first lesson in what it takes to be a main event status wrestler in HOW. You talk tough but I see through you Scotty. Last week I could see it in your eyes after the match with Kostoff. You ran and hugged that barbed wire toilet plunger you call a Hockey stick thinking I would come down and attack you. Bring your weapon, bring Carey, bring your two Hockey bros, and whoever else you can pull from the dumpster because you’re going to need all the help you can get.”
“At least after it’s all said and done you’ll have Carey’s bosom to cry into. She’ll rub your bald head and tell you it’s all okay even though you were just bullied by the big, bad, and mean Jace Parker Davidson.”
“Your dreams of being in War Games are going to come to an end very soon, Scotty. You’re going to be embarrassed in the center of that ring when you Bend the Knee and surrender to a man that is head and shoulders above your meager level of talent.”
“Call me Pennywise.”
“Call me creepy.”
“Go on acting like no one should ever say my name.”
“At Refueled 94 I’m going to expose you for the drunken man child that you are and when I’m done?”
“You won’t just say my name Scotty, I’ll make you scream it.”
The video goes back to static.