You’re right, Danny Boy. When you’re right, you’re right.
You should’ve known better. Should’ve known it would be me, the ever humble Michael Oliver Best, that would fire back against your initial volley of insults and lies.
After all, that’s what I’m paid to do—insulate the King Stallion from distractions and people like you.
But like most everything you attempt in your twilight years, you came up short. If you were trying to land an airplane on a runway, you instead crashed smack dab in the middle of the airport terminal in a completely different state. Just another one of your many miscalculations.
The fact of the matter is, Dan, that what I’ve done in my life is of no significance to you. I’m not the one that will batter you from pillar to post on Sunday. I’ve made my money, I’ve sampled the flesh of younger and more attractive men than myself based purely on my status and charisma, and I became the manager of the man that will eradicate the last vestige of self-worth and confidence remaining in that broken-down meat suit you call a body.
You’ll experience ego death so crushing that you will limp your sorry ass out of the Antel Arena, never to be heard from again.
Sightings of you in and around the shanty town of Cantegril will trickle in every now and then, with word of some big, dumb American with two first names, walking around with a pie plate fastened to a piece of rope, with the words ‘Wrestling Champ’ painted on it. Eventually, the locals will have had enough of your posturing and decades old war stories, and you’ll be exiled with extreme prejudice. To where? I have no earthly idea. Maybe to a commune for the blind, deaf, and dumb. You’ll forcefully marry a Hellen Keller-type, and spend what few remaining years you have on this earth asking her to hold you in a hammer lock so you can demonstrate the proper counter.
She’ll groan something in response, and away you’ll go, chain-wrestling your captive wife until, one day, your heart abruptly explodes in your chest, and then you just… sorta… kinda… slowly rot away sprawled on your kitchen floor.
Look at me painting delightful pictures with words!
But enough about your future—because it really is quite depressing. I’ve been known to indulge in hyperbole, but in this case I feel my prediction is prophetic.
Now, let’s talk about your present set of circumstances.
You’re undefeated in singles competition this year—seven-and-oh.
No one’s beaten you one-on-one.
You’re also one-half of the PWA Tag Team Champions.
I’ll admit: You’ve been a force since returning to High Octane Wrestling.
I’ll admit: Yes, you’ve earned your title shot.
That… was never in dispute.
I know you’re a talented wrestler. I believe you will put up as good of a fight as your aging body and CTE-riddled mind will allow.
Heck, I honestly think you’ve got just as much, if not more, of a chance of beating Mister Godson as any man or woman on the HOW roster!
Unfortunately, though, that chance is so slim it could turn sideways and disappear completely. But! But! It’s not for any lack of talent or drive or determination on your part!
STRONK! is… STRONK!
His name carries as much weight as his gigantic frame.
Far and wide, they know… the fans, the wrestlers, the pundits, guys who aren’t really wrestling fans at all but tune in to watch the big man put in work… they know the name STRONK! and what it means.
In a world of effeminate men, clout chasers, professional victims, and mental midgets, STRONK! gets the job done. No wonder adults and young people alike are buying up his STRONKUMMS and wearing his merch—they want someone who can take the weight of the world on their shoulders and push forward, without crying about every little setback or bump in the road.
Win, lose, or draw, STRONK! Godson will remain STRONK! Godson. The pressure isn’t on him—it may be on me, but certainly not him; the pressure is on you, Dan Ryan.
My brother sees a lot in you. He respects you. And you’re right, if you were completely useless to him as an active competitor, sure, he’d probably ship you down to TEN-X.
But I want you to sit back and think about this really, really hard:
Gun to your head, who do you think my brother is rooting for Sunday?
If hell were to freeze over and you were to (hypothetically speaking) defeat Mister Godson for his title, do you think Lee Best would be happy that you killed his golden goose and ruined the main event of 97RED?
Do you think my brother’s an idiot?
He has all the confidence in the world that you will become the first notch on the big red belt of Mister Godson.
He wants to see it happen. That’s why he made this match and didn’t conjure up some excuse to put anyone else on the roster up against Mister Godson.
So, Dan, as good as you are, and as successful as you’ve been over the past two decades, and as much as my brother may respect you… sir, I’m sorry to say (not really), but you’re getting fed to the STRONK! on Sunday.
You deserve it—you deserve the humbling you will get at CHAOS 37.
Then it will be YOU, Dan, that falls back in line and shuts your stupid mouth once and for all; not me, and certainly not STRONK!
But just think, you’ll finally be at peace…
You had your shot.
You naively expected to win.
(And what a closing chapter that would make in the poorly written tome that would be your autobiography, am I right!?)
But… you didn’t.
You got fucking crushed.
No more HOW World Championship title shots for you.
Stick the tag division.
Go back to the HOTv division.
Maybe challenge Lee Best’s son—his flesh and blood, I mean—for the LSD Championship!
Or do us all a favor and stand in the back, surrounded by the rest of the Final Alliance, and try to look big and menacing “for optics.”
That’s a good role for you. You can play that part to perfection. It’s within your capabilities.
Whatever you decide to do, just know it won’t be anywhere near the main event ever again unless my client decides to engage in some more of his “silly shenanigans” that keep him from showing up to CHAOS for a week or two, and Lee’s forced to book a lesser match in the top spot.
One final thing.
Thank you for lane-switching and pouring the reverence onto STRONK! when he hasn’t said even one word about you.
You’re right; he is a prodigy.
And I can tell you’re rattled.
Already calling me out. Threatening me.
What? Looking for a contingency plan? You want to set up an HOFC with little ol’ moi? Why? So you can beat up a non-combatant, a civilian, and feel like the old Dan Ryan again? That’s your fall back plan? Your just-in-case-shit-goes-awry?
I can sense your hardened resolve has begun to melt. Didn’t take long. So you can say it with your chest out, how confident you are, how secure you are, but Dan… I don’t believe it for one second. You’re selling wolf tickets AND I AIN’T IN THE MARKET FOR WOLF TICKETS.
Not of the beating to come. (Though it will be an atrocity exhibition, I assure you.) Because you’ve been there, done that. You can tolerate physical pain. You probably know better than anyone what it feels like to wake up the next morning in a hospital bed with concerned nurses huddled around, wondering what building you fell out of from the fiftieth floor.
No—you’re scared of realizing your current potential at this late of a stage in your career.
Because when you do—when it all comes crashing down (and it hurts inside) beneath the boot of my client—it will be sobering for you.
I’ll respectfully ask for a ten-bell salute to commemorate your illustrious career to open CHAOS 38. Be sure to tune in from your Archie Bunker recliner. Pull the gauze from your eyes and bear witness to the last time anyone ever pays you any attention.
Anyway, I’ll see you at our next Final Alliance meeting.
Please be a professional and don’t make it any more awkward than it has to be.
STRONK!’S SKY HOUSE
SOMEWHERE IN CHICAGO
JULY 13, 2023
STRONK! lifts a large dumbbell in each hand, raising them over his head, up and down repeatedly, with a plain look on his face and not a single bead of sweat ever running down his forehead.
He’s in tip-top shape. Maybe, probably, the best shape, strength and cardio wise, of his thirty years of life.
The past few days have been a dream. No flights, no meetings, no photo shoots, no prospective business discussed over video calls. Just training. Nothing but training.
All of the exterior walls of his Sky House are glass, but if at any point in the last forty eight hours you asked STRONK! the time of day, he wouldn’t be able to tell you, and that’s not just because he has no concept of time and can’t read a clock. He couldn’t even tell you if it’s night or day without checking first, he’s that clocked in!
Beside him, DOG runs on a treadmill on the highest speed setting, dragging a cinder block attached to a chain attached to his body harness behind him.
The forever loyal companion DOG has been deep in fight camp himself. He secretly plans to fuck up the stone gargoyle in the water fountain at a nearby park. Motherfucker’s been giving him the screw eyes with his dukes squared up for weeks. And DOG ain’t no bitch—he’s a biological male dog, so, y’know, he just isn’t. Sunday while Daddy STRONK! is away whooping some ass on national TV, DOG will somehow escape the Sky House and fight that bitch-made statue, and if only he had opposable thumbs, he’d probably stab him and leave him floating in the fountain like he’s a Soc named Bob. Yeah, DOG has no concept of what the fuck a statue is, but that’s fine.
Maybe he vanquishes the gargoyle statue, and who knows? Maybe DOG becomes DOG!
That’d be nice.
While STRONK! and DOG train, Uncle Oliver, dripping in burgundy suede, navigates the HOW app on the wall-mounted TV. He plays Dan Ryan’s first promo from earlier in the week.
And it goes on and on and on, saying absolutely nothing of merit, until it mercifully ends, and MOB turns to his client, who’s in the middle of a lift, and asks, “So, how do you feel, Mister Godson?”
STRONK! finishes his lift, before immediately beginning another.
Michael Oliver Best, taken aback by his nonchalant response, fires back, “WHAT? What do you mean ‘strong’? That’s it!? Did you not just see what Dan Ryan said about you? How grossly disrespectful he was to you? Does this not make you… angry… or pissed off… or something, anything!?”
With a shrug, the HOW World Champ says, “DAN RYAN IS A LARGE MAN THAT IS LIKED BY PAPA BEST SO DAN RYAN CAN SAY WHATEVER DAN RYAN WANTS TO SAY. STRONK! UNDERSTANDS.”
MOB angrily shakes his head. “No! That’s not how this goes! You need to be angry! Mean! Nasty!”
Once more STRONK! Daddy shrugs. “WORDS DO NOT MATTER TO STRONK! WORDS DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING TO STRONK! WORDS ARE MOUTH FARTS THAT HUMANS USE TO TRICK OR TO ANGER OTHER HUMANS. STRONK! WILL NOT BE TRICKED OR BE MADE ANGRY BY THOUSANDS OF MOUTH FARTS FROM A DRY OLD HUMAN MAN. DAN RYAN DID NOT KILL MONGO. DAN RYAN DID NOT STEAL STRONK!’S MEAT BUSINESS. THOSE ARE ACTIONS THAT ANGER STRONK!”
MOB goes to speak again, his mouth opening, his finger rising. But he stops himself. Thinking long and hard, he can’t really find a flaw in STRONK!’s strangely mature approach to verbal abuse. After all, ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.’
Before he can respond, STRONK! continues, “STRONK! IS HAPPY THAT DAN RYAN BELIEVES IN DAN RYAN THE SAME WAY STRONK! BELIEVES IN STRONK! BUT STRONK! IS SAD THAT STRONK! MUST PROVE TO DAN RYAN THAT DAN RYAN IS WRONG TO BELIEVE IN DAN RYAN.”
“Christ, that’s a lot of Dan Ryan’s,” interjects MOB, under his breath. “We really need to teach you a pronoun or two, Mister Godson.”
“STRONK! WILL DESTROY DAN RYAN AND KEEP STRONK!’S CHAMPIONSHIP BELT AND CONTINUE TO BE A MASSIVE HUMAN. IF DAN RYAN NEEDS A JOB AFTER DAN RYAN IS CRUSHED BY STRONK! THEN STRONK! WILL HIRE DAN RYAN TO BE STRONK!’S PERSONAL SPOTTER ALONG WITH SEVERAL OTHER LARGE HUMAN MEN BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IS REQUIRED TO SAFELY ALLOW STRONK! TO BREAK STRONK!’S PERSONAL DEADLIFT RECORD. YES. STRONK! IS MANY MEN STRONG. AND THAT IS GOOD.”
MOB nods. “Well, as long as you understand the mission. No mercy. No sympathy. No taking it easy on your Final Alliance brother.”
STRONK! drops the dumbbells from shoulder height, kneels down next to DOG, unfastens the harness from his body, scoops him up, and starts toward the front door.
MOB chases after him, putting himself between STRONK! and the doorway. “Wait, where are you going?”
“STRONK! AND DOG ARE GOING FOR A WALK.”
With the HOW World Championship strapped around his waist, STRONK! lumbers down the sidewalk with DOG following behind him off leash, the midday sun shining brightly and warmly above them.
Earlier, MOB had asked him if he wanted to cut a shouty promo on Dan Ryan in the lead up to their match on Sunday, but STRONK! had no interest. An uncommon occurrence, the champion gave a resounding no in response.
In STRONK!’s eyes (rightly or wrongly), Dan Ryan is a good man that, like himself, wants the chance to represent Papa Best, the Final Alliance, and HOW overall, as a great and powerful and dependable champion. A champion you can be proud of. Dan fought and clawed his way to the number-one spot on the standings, and regardless of what MOB says, STRONK! respects the hell out of Dan Ryan.
MOB had recommended that they reach out to Coach Solex and see if he’d help prepare STRONK! for his first title defense, but again, STRONK! had no interest.
And that’s not because Solex’s help wouldn’t be beneficial—of course it would—but rather, STRONK! did not want to put him in an awkward position. They’re all stablemates, after all.
Uncle Oliver didn’t even know that STRONK! was capable of such deep thought; to him, the King Stallion is a ribeye-fueled automaton that does whatever he’s told, unchained of emotion, or guilt, or any other nagging thought. And though he’s partially right, STRONK! has on many occasions shown a true capacity for empathy toward those he likes and trusts.
So, no, Coach Solex’s services would not be not required; STRONK! will go this one alone. For better or worse, it didn’t matter. He’ll fight fair. He’ll give Dan Ryan his final moment in the spotlight before decimating his hopes and dreams once and for all.
As STRONK! crouches and hand-feeds DOG some shredded organ meat, a voice calls from behind:
STRONK! stands, turning in the direction of the voice to find…
The most beautiful creature he’s ever laid eyes upon.
Standing six-foot-six, weighing (oh, it has to be AT LEAST) three hundred pounds, with jet black hair extending all the way down to her knees, a grossly muscular woman stares down at DOG, then up at STRONK!
“YES. DOG IS NICE. DOG EATS A LOT AND KEEPS STRONK!’S BELLY WARM AT NIGHT.”
The woman, who must be a powerlifter or something of the sort, sticks her hand out. STRONK! grips it and gives it a powerful shake.
His power is met by her power.
They squeeze tightly, so tightly that such a handshake would pulverize the bones of normal human beings, while staring intensely into each other’s eyes.
She’s so sweaty, STRONK! thinks, and the striations in her shoulders and chest make it seem like she has worms crawling beneath taut flesh.
The perfect woman.
ROBERNETTE CAREY may have had size, but she lacked power and definition. Great ass, though, no denying that.
While death-gripping each other’s hands, they continue their conversation, with STRONK! saying, “DOG IS OLDER THAN YESTERDAY AND DOG HAS A PENIS SO DOG IS A MALE CANINE.”
The woman nods. “THAT MAKES SENSE. YES.”
A minute or so passes with neither uttering a word.
“WHAT IS YOUR NAME?”
With her free hand, she gestures to herself. “BIG STACE.”
Another minute or so goes by, before BIG STACE points to the belt around STRONK!’s waist. “WHAT IS THAT?”
STRONK! looks down at the HOW World Championship. “IT IS NINE POINT SEVEN POUNDS.”
BIG STACE nods approvingly. “BIG STACE KEEPS BIG STACE’S MORE-WEIGHT IN BIG STACE’S COOCH. BILLIARDS BALLS. ONLY SIX POUNDS THOUGH. ANY MORE THAN THAT WILL OBLITERATE BIG STACE’S BIRTH CANAL.”
“AND THAT … WOULD BE BAD.”
“YES. BIG STACE WANTS A LARGE FAMILY. BIG STACE WANTS DOZENS OF LITTLE HUMANS FIGHTING OVER BIG STACE’S NIPS. MAY ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE.”
STRONK! smiles, an incredibly rare sight. “MAY ONLY THE STRONK! SURVIVE.”
BIG STACE uses her free hand to squeeze STRONK!’s bicep, smiling herself. “IS STRONK! FLIRTING WITH BIG STACE?”
“WHAT IS FLIRTING?” STRONK! asks.
“IT IS WHEN STRONK! MAKES BIG STACE’S CALVIN KLEINS MOIST.”
“OH … THAT IS GOOD.”
“YES.” BIG STACE finally releases STRONK! from their handshake. “WHAT IS STRONK! DOING ON SUNDAY? BIG STACE KNOWS A STEAKHOUSE WHERE THE MEAT IS CHEAP AND THE CHAIRS ARE STURDY. STRONK! AND BIG STACE SHOULD GO ON A DATE.”
“STRONK! HAS TO DEFEND HIS NINE-POINT-SEVEN POUNDS ON SUNDAY AGAINST AN OLD HUMAN MAN IN A WRESTLING FIGHT. STRONK! IS UNAVAILABLE. BUT STRONK! LOVES TO EAT. STRONK! SAYS THE DATE SHOULD BE NEXT WEEK.”
BIG STACE thinks this proposition over, and responds, “OKAY. BUT BIG STACE ONLY DATES BIG HUMAN MEN. DEFEND STRONK!’S WEIGHT AND STRONK! AND BIG STACE WILL FEAST AND FUCK.”
As BIG STACE begins to walk off, her head craned around to ogle STRONK! some more, the King Stallion calls out, “HOW WILL STRONK! FIND BIG STACE?”
To which BIG STACE can only laugh. “BIG STACE IS THE BIGGEST BITCH ON THE BLOCK. IF STRONK! CANNOT FIND BIG STACE, STRONK! NEEDS TO GET STRONK!’S EYES CHECKED.”
With BIG STACE gone, STRONK! looks down at DOG. “STRONK! MUST DEFEAT DAN RYAN AND RETAIN STRONK’S WEIGHT AND FIND OUT WHAT THAT BUTT DO.”
DOG barks in the affirmative.
They walk into a nearby pet store.
So much on the line on Sunday.
Papa Best’s love.
Uncle Oliver’s respect.
And now a date with STRONK!’s literal dream girl.
To anyone else, this would be a lot of pressure.
Too much pressure.
But to him, it’s just added motivation.
He can’t lose.
He won’t lose.
He’s STRONK! fucking Godson.