Make no mistake, this is the biggest match of my entire Wrestling Career.
This is literally my first World Title match since 2010 when I was in JUST Wrestling. We can all agree anything in HOW makes JUST pale in comparison.
I lost then.
I don’t plan on having things repeat themselves on October 30th.
I have been here mostly full time since May of 2020 and have never received a World Title shot. That is probably something most people would not believe after witnessing Bobby Dean and Scott Stevens get several shots over that time frame. I have never complained about it. I have never gone behind peoples back and whined about having to face someone.
It has never mattered to me who I am wrestling because my job is to win, no matter what. It could be Doozer, it could be Zion, or it could be our own champ Christopher America.
I don’t take nights off.
I don’t make excuses.
I open my eyes and study my own mistakes. I learn from them and in doing so have made myself almost unbeatable since War Games. I had to refocus after Tyler Best humbled me but since then I haven’t been pinned and only last Sunday was I involved in a match where I was technically on the losing side. I assume nobody cares about that because since I joined The Best Alliance I have been constantly underrated and disrespected.
Maybe I made the wrong choice then.
Maybe people just love nostalgia.
At Rumble at the Rock, I will once again have to fight a thing of the past.
Do you remember?
I don’t member but that is probably a good thing because all that matters is the present and we are in a time where Christopher America has returned to HOW and become World Champion in a blink of an eye.
Chris, you are an excellent wrestler. I don’t think anyone could deny that, even Solex would admit it between throwing insults your way. I am not going into this match thinking that my recent success means a damn thing. I know I must put it all on the line. I cannot just say those words…I must live by them, breathe them, and believe in them. I cannot hesitate even when you won’t smack the mat and give up.
I will force you to.
My will has to be stronger than your ego and in that regard I can promise you I will enjoy crippling that fragile ego of yours.
There is no running to a Jet that Lee Best has loaned you.
There is no security team to get between us.
There are no ropes for you to grab when your eyes are rolling back in your head.
A no ropes submission match.
This is not a specialty of mine.
It is also not a specialty of yours.
We are both jumping into deep waters, but I plan on being the shark in this analogy while you look for your floaties like the child you are and drown back to retirement.
My will cannot be questioned, Chris. I know you and your running mates (sorry I know you are the only one that seems to run, away that is) seem to think that I am easy prey. I have no idea when this blatant disregard to fact took root, but I can only imagine it is when you returned and became the face of fascism and the heart of…scratch that, there is no heart within your dystopia. The Board has just become a sad sack of lies and any threat you once held has become laughable. Now all I hear is Jace and GREAT SCOTT hard selling STRONKUMMS like it is more important than STRONKs actual talent.
Yo, y’all jumped the shark a long time ago.
LET. IT. GO.
You let it become this, Chris. You are as much a leader as Conor Fuse, and we all know how his run ended. If I were you I would be afraid yours will end with an even softer whimper.
Will they even care if you lose?
You barely even interact with those bozos and to be honest with you I can understand. At the same time though you cannot expect them to save you from giving up because now they will think it’s their turn.
It isn’t, but they will believe it.
I am desperate to prove myself. I have been through a lot the past two years and just last year I am certain most of HOW had written me off as someone who would never wrestle again.
They weren’t far from the truth.
It was very difficult to finally get over my depression and step back into this pond of piranhas. I came back and it took a bit, but I finally found my stride again and I know that my relationship with The Boys is one of the main reasons. Solex has always been there for me. Clay and I have always had an interesting friendship but we both always knew we had each other’s back. Bergman has taught me how to act as a professional and is always there to listen.
You think I will just throw that away because some banana republic wrestling stable says mean things?
For fucks sake, Chris, you lead a rudderless group of pirates heading for an iceberg. I don’t care if you get a hate boner about wanting to beat me so you can brag about beating all The Highwaymen. Do you think that will just make us go ‘ruh-roh’ and run away from you like you are some masked villain in Scooby Doo?
It is obviously rhetorical because you won’t be winning.
Don’t get confused though because I am not here to defend them. I am here because I WANT to be. I want that title. I want to beat you. I want to leave The Board a stinking pile of puss by the feet of Lee Best. I want him to slip and fall on that sinking skull of his and curse at having backed a group of intellectual inept children.
I look forward to this match, Chris. This match just so happens to be for your title but the ast few months I have come to despise you. This isn’t just business anymore and that is hard for me to say because I must admit that you have gotten under my nerves.
You have made me lose sight of the rules and that is why I am extremely happy you said yes to this match.
Maybe, I had some foresight and maybe your ego just couldn’t let me continue to goad you into this match.
Either way I hope you don’t enjoy driving because after I am done with your neck you won’t be able to check for oncoming traffic.
Ah fuck it, just total your car because you won’t have anything left when I am done with you.
HOW World Champion.
That just prints money.
I made a decision, and I will abide by it unless something drastically changes. It shouldn’t take a lot for me to realize I was wrong, but I am just like any other person. I don’t like to admit when I am wrong and how fortuitous it would be for me to admit I was wrong about someone I already didn’t trust.
Again, with the cut up four leaf clover, eh?
I would be an ignorant Jace if I didn’t realize how much Ellis Jackson helped me get my knee strikes back.
I would also be a blind Lee Best if I didn’t know that he has constantly tried to wedge issues between me and… EVERYONE. It isn’t just The Highwaymen he has tried to disrupt. He has tried to keep me away from Rebecca and focus on just what he deems appropriate. This is when you dangle the carrot but never let the target within two feet of it.
I will use him as he tries to use me.
What his end goal is, I don’t know but mine is transparent, and I don’t care who knows. Well…except the goal who still doesn’t know?
Of course, that is my entire problem now. The reason I decided to let Ellis back into the fold. The reason I disappear and train by myself as I lock on the cross-face chickenwing to every dummy, mannequin, or Jack Marley that I see. Each time I envision Christopher America flailing like a yellow tail fish when I squeeze the throat.
I don’t tread lightly into dark alleyways. I pound the pavement and demand my respect as I saunter around without a care in the world.
That is where I am at my best.
I understand fighting. I am not afraid of being punched. I am not going to run away from a threat because this is truly all I have. If I lose my will to fight I lose everything and then who the hell am I?
I don’t understand social cues.
I don’t understand social norms.
I don’t understand romance.
I don’t know what love is.
I expect an 80’s song to start playing now because….’I want to know what love is…”
I think we all understand my plight.
It is not very alpha of me. Haha, pathetic laugh.
I can imagine Steve Solex smacking me across the face right now and I would understand completely. It also wouldn’t change a damn thing and that is where I am? I am invested in winning the HOW World Title while hoping the celebration ends with a nightcap.
Can you blame me?
That would be the true San Francisco treat.
October 18th, 2022
“How is this supposed to help?”
I stepped out of the Uber and stared at Ellis Jackson who leaned against a tree stump with his arms folded. All Ellis did was give me an address to where we would meet for a workout. I had decided a month ago that I would get to San Francisco as early as possible so I could settle and train for the upcoming bout.
The car drove away after I thanked him. Ellis took a few steps towards me and then waved his arm so I would look at where we were. My eyes looked at a sign to the right of where Ellis was, and I read Glen Canyon Park. This was a park and a very nice one at that, but I wasn’t entirely sure why we were here as the other people I saw were smoking joints and wearing old Grateful Dead concert shirts as they walked around the path.
Ellis shook his head at me disappointed in my response, “did you think we were going to go to some singles night at a bar so you could learn to talk to women?” I went to talk, and he continued with a wave of his hand, “women you aren’t paying, Steve.”
Well, he got me there as that is what I am good at.
“Rude,” that is all I could spit out as if I was completely out of original thoughts.
Ellis shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t care about your love life, Steve. I care about that title being around OUR…I mean your waist.”
“Ours?” I responded with a roll of my brown eyes.
“A slip of the tongue, but with victory comes the spoils and as your manager…”
It was my turn to interrupt now as any embarrassment I had felt had been melted away by anger coming fast. “How about you keep your mind out of my wallet and more on why I am at a park, and you seemingly have a stopwatch in your hand.”
Ellis looked down at his right hand and then back at me, “glad your eyes are working. This is a park with a deep canyon where a trail circles around many different terrains. You need to run this path no matter what you might run into.”
I laughed, “there are people everywhere, am I supposed to run them over too?”
“No excuses are allowed here. You need to train your stamina because this isn’t a wrestling match you have signed up for. You are going to be involved in a battle of attrition. The more your lungs work the longer you can go without giving up. You need to find any advantage you can. If you cannot get the energy to do this then how will you even get a submission move on Chris?” Ellis looked back down at the stopwatch. “You have one hour to be back here.”
I hate running.
People who enjoy running are sociopaths.
But stamina…I understand the thought behind it.
That didn’t stop me from standing still and staring at the trail in disbelief, “wait…this doesn’t look safe.”
Ellis lifts his hand and pushes the start button on the stopwatch. “Um…fuck it.”
I started jogging.
I hated it.
This wasn’t what I had signed up for. I ran though.
I was unable to run fast as the park was a literal canyon. I just kept thinking to myself that what I was doing was for victory. I needed to understand what it would be like if I could barely move but had to move. That is what running feels like especially considering I had no idea how long this trail was or if it even doubled back. I was doing something different. It seemed like I had been doing a lot of things that I was not accustomed to but at the end of the day I have an ultimate goal that is just within my reach.
Change is good, right?
That is what I kept telling myself as I huffed and puffed along the terrain.
I found my way back eventually probably looking like a beat-up tomato about to be used for some sauce. I saw Ellis from a distance, and he wasn’t even paying attention. He was looking down at his phone which agitated me. I had long since lost track of how long I had been gone for. I got back to where he was and stopped and instantly leaned over and held my knees as I attempted to catch my breath.
“Welcome back,” Ellis said. He looked at the stopwatch and then shook his head, “this isn’t going to cut it.”
I peered up, “what (pant) are (pant) you (pant) talking about?”
“Oh…looks like you came in at sixty-one minutes, I had said an hour—remember?”
I shook my head angrily as I stared at the grass. “Motherfucker, it took you over a minute to even check the stopwatch when I got back,” I muttered to the grass but towards Ellis’s smirking annoying face. I wasn’t ready to lift my head up yet as I was exhausted.
I finally raised up, sweat dripping from every part of my body. “That is not an excuse you jackal, that is the truth.”
He nodded back towards me as you seemed to soak in what I said, “nah…all I hear is someone giving up. You don’t want the title or the girl. It is ok not everyone is built to be a champion or to get the girl in the end. We call you bit players while people like Christopher America continually get leading roles.”
I put my hands on my hips and continued to breath heavily. I had heard everything he had said, and it all swam in my mind and this time I felt like I was the one that was going to drown. Everything he said had made me livid. I wasn’t red because of running. No, I was red because it felt like my head was going to explode after hearing this.
But…he got to me—again.
It isn’t hard to imagine which comment struck me the hardest, but rest assured I want everything. He knew that my head wasn’t in the game because that entire run I wondered which one of the flowers I ran by Rebecca would like. I should have been thinking about squashing the flower like it were Chris’s head.
I took off again but this time I was the turtle.
I could barely move when I entered my hotel room. Ellis had offered to give me a ride home, but I didn’t want to spend another minute with that guy after running hiking trails all day. Look, you don’t get a faster time the second time around. That wasn’t the point though and even I could understand that finishing no matter how long it took me was good for my stamina. I immediately collapsed onto the hotel room chair and stared at the ceiling.
It took only a minute for a knock from the side door. Rebecca, The Doc, and I all had adjoined rooms with The Doc having to room with Jack Marley. I sighed, “come in.”
I knew which side this was, and it should be obvious which one it is. The Doc opened the door and walked inside my room. I barely moved my head to the right to see him and I nodded at him. He looked at me like he had seen a ghost. I was probably as pale as one at that point. “Steve, you need some water, NOW!”
I slowly moved my left arm up because I could barely move any part of my body at that time, “blah.” Yea, that is all the energy I had.
The Doc wasted no time in grabbing a plastic solo cup from the small kitchen area and filling it with San Frans best tap water. He handed it to me within seconds it seemed, and I drank it and I won’t lie it was one of the best things I have ever drank. Ok, maybe a second to some top tier whiskey but it was obvious I was dehydrated from the day.
“You need to take better care of yourself, Steve. Training for a match should also include being alive for the match.”
He wasn’t wrong but I had time to recover before I faced Chris at Alcatraz. Cardio just wasn’t my thing, but I would need it, “yea-yea, I know.”
The Doc shook his head at me, “what would you have done if I wasn’t here, just lie there until you pass out and then need to go to the hospital for IV treatment?”
Ugh, I didn’t have the vigor to argue about this. It took all my Miraculous Might to move my head down and look at The Doc in his disapproving eyes and respond, “OK!”
With that the door to the left suddenly opened and fear instantly came to my face.
“What is all the commotion?”
I groaned and tried to move so I didn’t look so pathetic in front of the entering Rebecca Hines but that didn’t go very smoothly.
“Ah, cramp, cramp, cramp.”
I was cramping.
Surprise a mother fucking surprise.
Both of my calves tightened up at the same time and now even if I wanted to move I couldn’t. I just stared at the ceiling again and cursed my bad luck. Maybe some people are just destined to look like idiots in front of women. I looked back down, and side eyed over to Rebecca to see her looking concerned and walking towards me.
I hate you Ellis.
“I have experience with physical therapy massages,” she said to The Doc.
The Doc restrained a laugh as he saw me moving awkwardly in the chair. “I am sure that could help along with more water.”
I had had enough, and somehow rolled off the chair and hit the floor. “I am fine,” I said unconvincingly as Rebecca stared down at me with her hands on her hips. The Door walked back over with a new cup of water and placed it on the table I was trying to use as a crutch to stand up on my own. I grabbed it and took a big gulp. “Look, I just need to get some rest and I will be good to go tomorrow.”
Rebecca leaned down and slapped my calf, “how’s that feeling?”
I gritted my teeth and nodded to whoever could see me as I struggled to not yell and slowly curled up in the fetal position now looking even more pitiful in front of Rebecca. “Wonderful.”
She shook her head at me, “so proud you cannot even enjoy a massage.”
I looked down at the carpet ashamed but all I could remember is what Ellis told me when I had left him earlier, ‘to be in tip top shape for your match you need to keep your vigor inside you. Do you understand?’
It didn’t matter anyway. She had already walked away and the only mission I had any chance to go on right now was a solo one anyway. But again…I couldn’t move. I rolled over and stared at the ceiling again and watched as the ceiling fan slowly moved. Then Doc looked down at me and pointed at the cup, “finish this,” and walked back to his room.
I was alone.
The only thing moving I couldn’t use.
But I had some water.
Stamina…it is soooo worth it.