Posted on February 3, 2021 at 1:53 am by Xander Azula

Alright, then…let’s get this out of our system now, before you start flapping your gums with useless rhetoric.

In case the first two rounds didn’t make it clear, I’m not here with a mindset of “I think I can, because I’ve done it elsewhere”…I’m here with a mindset of “I know I can, because two wins in a row proves I’m better than people expected of me.”

I’m not an idiot, Steve…I know that people saw my name in this tournament and responded “who the hell is THAT guy?” I’m not Hudson Hughes, I’m not Shawn Warstein, I’m not even Jason Cashe…I’m better than all three of them, if the HOFC record is anything to go by.

I bring these names up because I want to make something very clear to you, Steven…I’m a different breed compared to these other outsiders that came in for the DeNucci Cup. It’s just me and Clay Byrd that remain, and I’m sure there’s a part of you that’s bothered by that.

It’s why you went after Cashe so hard, isn’t it?

In your eyes, he was some snot-nosed punk trying to get his fifteen minutes of HOW fame at your expense, and you were having none of it. I can’t say I blame you, I never liked the guy much either…so thanks for sending him packing, I appreciate that.

Now you get to deal with me.

The most important question I have for you going into this Elite Eight matchup, is simple…are you going to take me for granted, too?

Hannibal Frost thought he was being handed this tournament from the outset, and I left him speechless in that cage. Simon Loveless thought I was just a joke, and I made a punchline out of him.

So where does that leave you?

These men did not have the history with HOW that you do, Steve. You’re a mainstay, a man who even went so far as to compete for the LSD Championship back in 2014, while I was on a soul search away from the business…but look at you now.

Sure, you’re two matches in with a perfect record in this tournament, but last year was not nearly so kind to you, was it? I have to say, I was very curious who I was up against seeing as you’re a member of the Best Alliance, arguably the hottest thing going on in the business…so I did my homework.

You joined the Alliance by betraying your old pal Joe Bergman after a win over the eGG Bandits, but Joey got his revenge on you at ICONIC. Okay, that’s not so bad, one loss doesn’t define you.

The thing is, though, you lost to Zeb Martin the month before…and you lost to both Eric Dane AND Brian Hollywood the month before that. Hell, your last singles victory before this tournament came along was against a dude that demands you scream his name in all caps…and presumably in French.

And this on the same show where Simon Loveless was last made a fool, no less. Funny coincidence.

You know that tells me, Steve-o?

That tells me that I have a chance at facing either the best of the Best Alliance next round, or the fellow outsider that can beat him…but first I gotta beat the worst of the Best Alliance.

Before I can face the cream of the crop, I gotta scrape the bottom of the barrel.

This little trip down memory lane was surprisingly fruitful, my goddess has opened my eyes to a beautiful revelation…you and I are at this point in time, this very moment, for the sole purpose of me kicking off a new losing streak for you.

Those who fail to learn from history are doom to repeat it…and for you, the cycle is coming back around.

So don’t come into this thinking I’m just another pothole on your road back to whatever scrap of success you can pick up, Steve. I’m the sinkhole that’s grabbed hold of you, dragging you into the abyss from which you will never recover.

Spare me the “you had it easy” chat, too…who did you beat to get here?

A man who made a contractually-obligated appearance, who was in way over his head? A “legend of the business” that was completely out of his element?

If it bothers you so much that an outsider might get this far, imagine the look on your face when I beat you.

I’m sure the Alliance won’t be pleased, Steve.