Sobering Conclusions

Sobering Conclusions

Posted on October 22, 2020 at 7:36 pm by Mike Best

I was in love once, I think.

It was a long time ago, now. Or at least it feels like it— for all the success I’ve seen over the last couple of years, time feels like it’s trudging through sludge these days. Do you realize I just won this fuckin’ belt in like, June?

Feels like a million years ago.

But yeah man, I was in love. Don’t know if I really processed it at the time, honestly. Don’t know if I even had the capacity. You can make it real far in this business when you aren’t weighed down by distractions like friendship, family, or relationships. You can achieve things that other men can’t, because they have responsibilities that you don’t. You can pack up your whole life in an instant and do whatever you need to do to succeed, because the only person you have to worry about is yourself. Of course, you don’t realize till it’s too late that the consequence of that life is exactly what it says on the tin— in the end, you don’t have any friends, you don’t have any family, and you don’t have any meaningful relationships.

You’re entirely alone.

I never felt alone with her, though. Beautiful woman, with just the slightest hint of a snaggletooth. Whatever you’re picturing is incorrect, because it was fucking adorable. She used to make me laugh so fucking hard. She was really quick… kept me on my toes, and didn’t take any shit from me. I think the hardest thing for me after all these years is knowing that I can just talk circles around ANYBODY. I get on a microphone and I fucking ruin people, nobody else can even come close. But not her, man. She kept up with me, gave it back as good as she got it, and always kept me engaged. One of the only human beings I’ve ever genuinely enjoyed the company of, without just trying to figure out how I was going to benefit from it in the end.

Of course, she was married.

To a real thick neck Marine, too. I think I’m pretty tough with my flying knees and my shit talk, but I used to have nightmares about this motherfucker standing over my bed wearing greasepaint and a necklace made out of machetes. She and I used to hang out sometimes when I was off the road, and he was off at training. We pretended like we were just friends, and that worked for awhile.

Till it didn’t anymore.

She didn’t even take her wedding ring off. We got so caught up in it all one night that instinct just took over— I was a man, she was a woman, and as we basked in the light of the afterglow, I was astounded to find that for the first time in my life, I didn’t wanna get out of there the second I busted my load. Is that what love is? Still enjoying someone’s company after you get the poison out? I don’t know, man. Maybe I was in love, or maybe I just wanted her because she was married and I knew I’d never have her more than temporarily. I don’t really know how to figure out the difference at this stage in my life.

I should look her up, if I survive this.

If. That’s a big word for me right now. Been in my head a lot this week. All the things I wanna change about my life, if I still exist a week from now. If that guy is around to remember this, I wonder if he’ll take any of it to heart— it’s really easy to decide that you want to put in the work, when you know you may never have to back it up. Maybe I’ll quit the booze and the drugs and finally go straight, for good this time. Maybe I’ll finally start trying to develop healthy friendships and relationships. Maybe I’ll sit down with a therapist and try to unpack a childhood that turned me into a champion, but ultimately took away the most fundamental things that make a human being a human being. Maybe I’ll do that.

If.

Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if I don’t. If it wouldn’t be better if Max Kael stood over my broken body on Saturday night and just crushed my fucking skull in like a tomato under a cinder block. I’ve been grasping at the concept of immortality, convincing myself all this time that they wouldn’t forget me if I didn’t let them. That this whole life didn’t have to be in vain, if I just didn’t let it be. All this time, pretending like the reason they’d forget is because they couldn’t help it, when really it’s because they probably fucking WANT TO.

And why wouldn’t they?

I opened an abortion clinic in 2010 because I thought it was a funny way to make dead baby jokes. I tried to forcibly rape Carmen Jennings in the Best Arena locker room, because I wanted her to be afraid of me. I crippled and maimed Jatt Starr’s wife because I wanted my Daddy to be proud of me. These aren’t things I slowly grew into over the years— this was my first fucking year in the company. I have bullied, assaulted, harassed, and literally murdered my way into a position of power that I felt I was entitled to take, without ever stopping to think that if I deserved it, they’d have handed it to me willingly.

I am HOW’s oppressor.

How many people have quit this fucking company because of something I said or did? How many prospects have split out the door, because I had a negative impact on the locker room? I’ve treated this place like my own personal playground, all the while pretending that I bleed 97 Red— what the fuck have I ever done for the benefit of this company that I love so much?

It has ALWAYS been about me.

I threw a year long tantrum the year I didn’t get into the Hall of Fame. A fucking year. And yeah, Lee helped me play it off like it was all a bit of a joke, but it wasn’t. He helped me save face. Because I threw a tantrum on live radio, and then spent a year terrorizing Hall of Famers for not thinking I was as great as I thought I was. I disrespected the Hall of Fame and everything that it stands for, by trying to bully my way in. I took two cheap disqualifications this era, because I was facing two opponents who I knew were going to beat me, and I wanted to make sure that those losses had asterisks next to them— I could have made Lindsay Troy in the LBI, but instead I took her most meaningful win to date and I made it look like dog shit.

And I call myself the Starmaker.

The only star I’ve ever made was myself. I’ve deluded myself into thinking that I’m doing this business a service by knocking guys out in front of their children, and then convincing myself that it’s all okay because my Mommy and Daddy hurt my feelings sometimes. For fuck’s sake, I used to tell myself that I was just a sociopath, because that made this all not my fault. That made me a victim. That meant that I had an illness. That I was sick, and that I couldn’t help myself.

But all I DO is help myself.

The one human being I’ve ever truly loved outside of myself was married, and I was willing to let her “make her own mistakes” and fuck up her marriage because she made ME feel good. Because if the universe didn’t want me to put my dick in her, it wouldn’t have brought us together in the first place. Do you know why we fell out of touch? Do you know why I don’t even know where she is anymore? Because when she told me that she was feeling guilty about what this would do to her husband, I pouted in the corner and ghosted on her. Because I was afraid I might lose a fair contest to him, so I did what I always do.

I took the intentional disqualification.

So yeah. Maybe the most selfless thing I can ever do with my life is to let my own brother take it away from me. Maybe I’ll have the fortitude not to cry and beg and barter for my life, if he has me on my knees on Saturday night with a piece of rebar in his hands. Maybe I’ll close my eyes and accept whatever fate awaits me, knowing that I’ve been worshipping the wrong God for my entire life, and that there will be consequences to my actions. Maybe I’ll be a good person for the first time in my entire life, and rid the place I love and the people I claim to care about of the biggest burden they carry on their shoulders every single day.

Maybe. If. Could be. Hard to say.

I’ve been sober now for three days.

The longer I thought about it, the more I realized I couldn’t go out like she did. Staring at an open fucking casket at the cold dead eyes of a drunk… realizing all the people she’d pushed away in her life because she couldn’t put down a fucking bottle. I’m not going out like that. I’m not going to die a fucking cokehead. I’m not going to die staring down the barrel of a bottle of something brown and fucking sour. Maybe I live or maybe I die, but if I get to call my own shot, I’m not doing it like a fucking junkie. I did fucking drugs off the HOW World Championship with a live microphone in my hands.

How fucking embarrassing.

A week before your date with destiny isn’t the best time to try to get your life together, but at least I tried, right? At least if I survive, all of those “ifs” have a fighting chance. At least if I survive, I won’t be starting from square one. At least if I survive, I’m one step closer to breaking the cycle that made me who I am, and taking a shot at making a better life for myself filled with less awful fucking decisions. And if I don’t make it? If I die in the ring, like I always said I wanted to?

Then I’m gonna die sober.

I’ll be the first in my family to do it.

I know that I usually have a point that I’m building to, or a swerve in mind. A moral of the story that somehow all ends at “I’m dangerous and I’m gonna beat you up, roar” or some bullshit. I don’t have that this time. I know that I’m all kinds of fucked up, and I’m not great at telling people how I feel, but if this is the last time we ever get to talk… there’s some things I gotta say. To talk to a lot of people who, when push comes to shove, I actually begrudgingly kind of like in this life. My chance to say goodbye, because this really might be it.

Scottywood.

If you told me five years ago that someday, you’d be on the list of guys I wanted to say goodbye to, I’d have called you a fucking asshole. I guess I would have called you a fucking asshole for almost anything back then though, huh? Fact is, Scotty, you get a bad fucking rap around here. For all the dragon shirts and sitting down to pee and Scottywood Raps jokes that I’ve made over the year, there might not be anyone that truly bleeds 97Red like you do. There might be no one who puts in the time, and the energy, and the fucking sweat that you do. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t believe in the Hall of Fame, Scotty, because there might not be a single person in this company who has ever deserved it MORE than you, present company included. Fucking proud to have served with you, Woodson. MPlow out.

John Sektor.

You glorious piece of shit, you need to drop that baby weight and start stretching motherfuckers again. What’s wrong with you? Did you replace your heroin addiction with a steady IV of actual Cuban sandwiches? Fuck, man, I know it’s not really cool to shit on a guy in essentially your goodbye letter, but you need to get it together and get back in shape. MAN I used to hate you. Ask Lee about it sometime. I used to shit on you hard backstage, telling anyone who would listen that you were an overrated flake. I remember how pissed off I was that you waltzed back into a Captain’s spot at Civil War Games. Couldn’t have been more wrong about a human being, honestly. Through a hundred matches against each other over the years… through The Machine days over in UTAH… fucking Mandingo fights man. You’ve had my back, and you’ve literally stuck a spear into it, too. Gonna miss you, man. Unless you bet on Max like a shitty addict, because you got good odds– then, you can go fuck yourself.

Dan Ryan.

Wish we’d have done this years ago, brother. Spent so many years idolizing and admiring a guy like you, and not nearly enough of them getting to know you and appreciate you for who you are. Not just the ass kicking monster Murder Daddy guy either. That guy is fucking awesome, don’t get me wrong man, but you are a mentor and a kindred spirit and you and I are so similar sometimes that it makes feel a little less alone in the world. I know this is gonna make you super uncomfortable, but it is what it is. You’re the reason I got into this business, and if I make it out of the Rock alive, you’re one of the reasons I wanna keep doing this.

Lindsay Troy.

Been a rough year, huh? I know you’re down right now, and fuck do I hate how much this sounds like the intro to a yearbook signing. Without you, there’s no Group of Death. We put this thing together on a shoestring and while it might not have been a smooth ride, it’s been a hell of one, huh? Sorry I bailed on you… in a lot of ways. Lot of fucked up stuff in this big gorgeous head of mine, and even this is something I’m having trouble committing to and taking seriously, even as I write it. Why is that so scary? Make me see a therapist if I don’t die, okay? If we don’t see eachother again, I need you to get your shit together. You’re a survivor. You’re a legend. You’re a fucking conqueror. Now stop spending so much time worried about how tough you LOOK, and start worrying about how tough you ARE. Group of Death doesn’t die with me, Lindsay– work your shit out with Dan, fix Max, and keep the band together. That’s the job I’m giving you. I was never the Architect… you were. Be it again. Have a great summer, LT!

Cecilworth Farthington.

Buddy, I wish I had the time left to write the things I need to write. One day, you’re gonna come back to High Octane Wrestling, and one of your best friends is going to be dead. The eMpire has fallen, and it’s my fault. Of all the regrets I have over the way things have gone, the fact that this is the only goodbye we might ever have is the greatest of them all. I love you, man. In whatever capacity I can mean that word, I really do. You’re my best friend, in a life where I desperately needed a best friend. I don’t think I’d still be doing this if it wasn’t for you, and I know you wouldn’t still be doing this if it wasn’t for me– you made pro wrestling fun again, through all the drama and bullshit and politics. You made that fucking dump in Key West a fun playground to run roughshod over. You make everything cooler, and everything is significantly less cool since you left. I hope I’m still here when you come back, bud. I hope that you don’t have to read a goodbye and an apology in a blog post with seventeen views on it. But in case you do… goodbye, and I’m sorry. For everything.

Lee Best.

Look on the brightside, Dad– if you cut a promo at my Memorial Show, the world will finally have to admit that we aren’t the same person. I know that you don’t want me to do this, and I’m sorry that my ego is so out of control that I can’t bring myself to turn back. Through my own selfishness, I fucked up a pay-per-view, the lineage of the HOW World Championship, and potentially the entire future of this company that you’ve spent 20 years building into a pro wrestling empire. I’m sorry for that, too. I’m sorry for all the hassle. I’m sorry for the 2am phone calls, and the countless ledges that you’ve had to talk me down off of over the years. I’m sorry for fishing, and arguing, and registering for Twitter. I never should have bailed on you for UTAH, or put aside my home for a shitbag company run by a shitbag drunk just because they waved a plastic Hall of Fame ring in my face. I’m gonna have marketing draw up a couple of months worth of pay-per-view banners, so don’t be afraid to call them dickheads if they aren’t in by 11CST. If I don’t make it out alive, split my salary up amongst the referees so that Eric Dane makes less than Hortega. This is my final wish.

In all seriousness, thank you. Thank you for giving me the one place in my life where I could truly be myself, with a bunch of degenerates that made me feel a little normal for the first time in my life. This place is a crazy fucked up cult, and I don’t regret drinking the Kool-Aid. For as fucked up as our relationship has been over the years, I am PROUD to call you my father, and I hope that I made you proud of your son.

Max Kael.

You knew I had to save you for last. It was only fitting— one way or another, this is the last time we’ll ever meet, and this is the only goodbye that is a certainty. It’s fucking wild, man. All the posturing aside. All the mind games done and over with. Not a lot of point in it now, is there? The dice are already on the table, and we’re just waiting to see whose number is up. So I guess instead of talking a bunch of shit, or repeating ourselves like we have been for the last six months, I wanna do something that we’ve never actually done before. I just wanna talk to you, man to man.

Brother to brother.

You were my very first HOW opponent. Lee threw me to the wolves, because I thought I was hot shit coming out of DREAM. You really beat the absolute dog shit out of me, bud. Tapped me out. Kicked out of my ridiculous finishing move. A lot of people thought I wouldn’t come back, but I did. In a weird way, I think that’s what started all of this for me. It wasn’t finding out that Lee was my dad. It wasn’t the titles, or the awards. It was that first match with you, Max. The match that turned me into a man. The match that told me that if I worked hard enough, someday I’d get to where you were.

You changed the way I looked at wrestling.

I had literally never seen anyone as good as you. And that’s not me sucking your dick, either. I was in awe. This stick thin, shambling figure of a man who moved so fucking fast it was like he knew what you were gonna do before you did it. Didn’t matter how tough, or fast, or strong I was— you taught me that the mind was the most important part of professional wrestling. That the weak couldn’t survive in HOW. In a very real way, I owe everything that I am to you. We’ve fought a thousand times on damn near every continent. I tried to have you murdered in Mexico, and you made me fight ninjas in a dirty warehouse. I threw you out a window and took your eye, and you stabbed me in the kidney and carved your initials into me with an actual chainsaw. The fuck was left for us to do but a real, literal deathmatch?

It’s fitting that this is how it ends, I think.

Stupid idea, but man are we gonna fucking make history. They won’t be able to top this at ICONIC. Every Rumble at the Rock for the rest of time is going to seem like child’s play. We kinda fucked the whole company, which is the best way for one of us to go out. I’m afraid, and I’m sad, and I’m heartbroken… but even at our lowest possible moment, I can’t help but laugh a little bit. Because once again, we’ve jumped the shark so hard that no one will ever be able to keep up with us. As far as adopted blood feud stepsiblings go, I couldn’t have asked for a better, crazier, more fucked up brother than you.

I wish I’d realized that a long time ago.

I wish I hadn’t cringed so hard when you used to try and give me hugs, even if they were just meant to get under my skin. I wish I hadn’t rolled my eyes when you wanted to go on adventures. I wish I had spent more time hanging out with you than I did trying to beat your face into a wrestling mat. We’ve almost had so many good times over the years, but I always managed to overshadow them by being selfish. By not appreciating you. But not valuing the actual, unabashed love that you had for your brother. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been forced to think about a world without you in it, and if I win this match on Saturday night, I’m gonna fucking miss you, Max. I’m gonna miss the late night phone calls full of stupid ways we could get fired from HOW. I’m gonna miss our ridiculous arguments over who belongs on the wrestling Mount Rushmore. I’m gonna miss all the things we talk about when the cameras aren’t rolling. Beating you isn’t something that is going to make me happy, Max. It’s just something that I have to try to do. And if I can’t? If you see an opportunity to take me out, and fulfill whatever destiny is in your mind’s eye?

I hope you’ll miss me too.

I hope you’ll take care of yourself, because I know that sometimes I have to remind you to. I need you to go see real doctors, and take care of your health. I need you to stop running yourself to the limit, because if it doesn’t end for you on Saturday night, I want you to be around for a long time. I want you to get the fuck away from Elenore, and never go back. I want you to get out of this fucking business before it literally kills you, because I have been selfishly dragging you back into the ring for years and I’m selfishly dragging you to one of our deaths right here and now. My selfishness has fucked you over for a decade, and I have done NOTHING but take from you. I have done nothing but take ADVANTAGE of you. And I know it’s too late to make any of that better, but what little I can do, I’m going to do.

I left you everything, Max.

The money, the Academy, the royalties, all of it. Don’t go getting some crazy fucking arm implants or anything, either. Fix whatever damage The Minister has done to you for the last six months, have a match with Jatt Starr or something at ICONIC, and retire. Enjoy what you can of your life, because you deserve a real life. You deserve to be in control of your own destiny, instead of being the puppet in everyone else’s best laid plans. And I don’t want you to have to go it alone, if I’m gone. I hope that you’ll lean on Cecilworth, and Dan, and Lindsay. I hope that they will forgive you, because I don’t want this to drive a wedge through the little fucked up family that we’ve built. For all the terrible things that we’ve done, and all the lives we’ve destroyed over the years, this is the big one– I wouldn’t want to walk along when it’s all over and the adrenaline dumps, and I hope that you don’t have to either.

Group of Death, watch over my brother.

He’s my family.

Keep him safe.