Survivor.

Survivor.

Posted on March 26, 2024 at 8:13 am by Silent Witness

March 18th, 2024. 11:38am

University of Chicago Medical Center.

Silent Witness desperately rubbed at his right ear. Or at least, he rubbed around the edges of the dressing covering his right ear, trying to alleviate the itchiness that accompanies the healing of any wound. In all his years in professional wrestling, dating back to the late 1990’s – and especially in the type of matches he had put himself through – Silent Witness had experienced all kinds of injuries. Burns? Tick. Broken bones? Cross that off. Internal bleeding? Of course. Lost an eye? Please… In his mind, the LSD Legend had already completed Dumbass Wrestling Bingo but what happened one week earlier at the Chaos go-home show? Well that… That was new.

Don’t touch itwarned Dr. Imbery, as the LSD Legend sat in his office, just a few days on from surgery to reattach the part of his ear that Evan Ward had ripped off. “Avulsed auricle surgery takes six months to fully heal. You… have 12 days. If you’re not going to take my advice and pull out of these wrestling matches you have planned, at least just listen and do what I ask. I don’t want to find out someone has been operating on you again in 13 days’ time, alright?” he instructed. The agitation in his voice was evident, and did not go unnoticed by the LBI group winner.

Wait. Let’s backtrack a second. The last thing you probably remember is Joel Hortega screaming like a little bitch and dropping part of The Greatest LSD Champion of All Time™’s ear at Chaos. Well, one of the ring crew had the quick idea to grab hold of it and rush it to the back. They put it on ice and when Silent Witness was through taking the biggest beating he’s had in over a decade, well that bag of ice took a ride with him in the ambulance to Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, NJ. The surgeons there operated on the Hall of Famer, and bish-bash-bosh, a week later he’s under the care of the excellent ENT doctors in Chicago. All caught up? Ok great…

Lowering his hand, Silent Witness sheepishly looked away from the surgeon. He knew that what the doctor told him was correct, but the torturous itchiness from his ear was damn near unbearable. The only time he could recall ever feeling anguish on this level was in the weeks after Lee Best had shoved a pen in his eye at March 2 Glory 2015.

The irony was not lost on Silent Witness that he almost lost an ear to Evan Ward on March 11th – exactly nine years to the day since being Bottomlined and having his life changed forever by the GOD of HOW. Maybe next year, he should take that day off…

“You got it, doc” he finally replied. He scrunched his nose, failing to hide his discomfort as another wave of unbearable itchiness emanated from his ear. Dr. Imbery’s shoulders dropped and he let out a low sigh. Reaching into his desk, he pulled out a pad and began scribbling on it.

“This will help” he said, before ripping off the prescription order and handing it to the HOW veteran. “But you really should consider pulling out of these matches. I don’t care to pretend that I am much of a wrestling fan, but everybody knows who Mike Best is – and what brutality he is capable of” implored the doctor. 

Silent Witness frowned as the doctor admitted to knowing more about the man the LSD Legend intended to rip the HOW World Title away from, than he knew about his own patient. Another wave of itchiness overcame him, however, distracting the HOW veteran from feeling insulted. He raised his hand towards his ear, but hesitated. Dr. Imbery gave him a scornful look and Silent Witness once again lowered his hand.

“I’m not pulling out, doc,” he said. “… and I have three people to beat before I even get to Mike Best. For the time being, he is the least of my worries. I’m sure any of them would love to put me back in hospital for their own shot at Mike” explained the veteran, as he stood up. He raised the script and gestured towards the surgeon. “Thanks for this. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks” added the LSD Legend, before turning on his heel and walking towards the exit. Pull out of the match? He pondered to himself. Not a fucking chance

 

March 20th, 2024. 11:15am

Chicago Cubs Clubhouse.

Tamara Klein, with her arms folded across her chest, stood with a beaming smile, trying to contain a laugh. Alongside her, the strength and conditioning coach for the Chicago Cubs, Keegan Knoll, was doing the exact same thing. The reason for their humorous expressions? Well, that would be because at that moment, Silent Witness was standing in a cryotherapy pod, shivering… and largely regretting listening to TK’s suggestion.

“Fuck this, guys!” exclaimed the former HOW Champion, as his body convulsed involuntarily. “Last week I had a guy try to burn me to death, now you two are trying to freeze me to death! What the ffff…” he trailed off, as he focused on trying to wrestle back control of his body. 

TK and Knoll laughed. “Ten more seconds” Knoll called out, as he looked down at his stopwatch. With a wry smile, he turned towards Klein and shook his head. “It isn’t,” he whispered. “It’s more like 30, but let’s see how long he can go.”

The LSD Legend muttered more cuss words under his breath, as he waited for Knoll to call time. As he suffered for what felt more like 10 minutes than 10 seconds, he wondered about his opponents’ preparation. Would De Lacy, Solex or John Sektor put themselves through this sort of shit? Well… Sektor sure as fuck wouldn’t, there was no doubt in his mind about that. Would the other two? They hadn’t been in an Inferno match, had their ear ripped off, been then blindsided by the General Manager, so… Probably not. At that moment, Silent Witness realized this was a very long ten seconds. “What the fuck kind of watch are you using, Keegan?!” he exclaimed, angrily.

Klein and Knoll both laughed in unison. “Alright – time!” Knoll finally called, a full 30 seconds longer than he had promised the Hall of Famer. “Get your ass outta there, that’s enough for today” he added, before turning around to hide the laugh that he could no longer contain. Silent Witness had long been a friend of the Cubs organization, dating back years since he first moved to Chicago. It wasn’t his first time in the cryotherapy chamber – and it wasn’t the first rib Knoll had pulled on him, either. Why did he keep falling for it? Well, let’s just call him a trusting guy and leave it at that…

30 minutes later, Silent Witness emerged in the Players’ Lounge. Spotting Tammy Klein at a table in the corner of the room, the LSD Legend began approaching. As he walked, he caught the attention of the chef and gestured to him, knowingly. The chef nodded, seemingly understanding the HOW star’s lunch order and immediately started preparing it. “I’ll get you back, Tammy” he joked, as he reached the table. “That shit’s cold as fuck!” he added with a smile.

Tammy chuckled, but quickly switched focus. “Well you needed it. You haven’t been smacked around like that for a long time – and you’re not getting any younger!” she proclaimed, drawing a frown from the HOW veteran. “Don’t look at me like that,” added Klein. “You know I’m right.”

The truth was, Silent Witness felt fucking awful. He had been through a war with Scottywood for his first match back in almost six years. Then, he had a second war with Noah Hanson that damn near broke both of them for good. Those two matches put Silent Witness in a place he had not been for a long, long time – hurting, but a strangely good hurt. Yeah, it would be a stretch to say that he enjoyed it, but there was a certain… unexplainable intangible that coming back, and doing what he had known all his life, that gave the LSD Legend comfort. 

But after last week’s match? Well, that was no longer a comfortable pain. After being smacked all over the arena, literally losing half an ear, damn near being burned alive and somehow surviving – because let’s face it, nobody really won that match – Silent Witness was done. And then, of course, JPD had to get himself involved… All of that, including still recovering from the first two punishing matches he had in the LBI, had rendered the HOW veteran pretty much immobile in the first few days afterwards. So yeah, Tammy was right – he wasn’t getting any younger, the hits did sting a little harder, and the healing definitely took a little longer. But it didn’t matter, because Silent Witness was back where he belonged. He was on the HOW roster, opening and potentially closing out the first Pay Per View of the year, setting the table for the rest of 2024. And it felt fucking great.

“You’re older than me, Tammy,” he replied as he took a seat opposite his friend and personal trainer “and I’m doing just fine” he added, lying to her and himself. Tamara Klein knew him well enough by now to call bullshit on Silent Witness when the HOW star was hiding something, though, and simply glared at him. “What?” asked the LSD Legend, defensively.

Tammy shook her head and sighed, before pointing at him. “You think John Sektor is going to care if you haven’t prepared properly? Solex? de Lacy? No – they are going to eat you alive” she preached, scolding her friend and client. “Don’t lie to yourself, and don’t fucking lie to me” she demanded, angrily.

Silent Witness raised his arms, protesting his innocence. “Alright, alright…” he replied. “I’ll focus on my recovery properly” he conceded. She was right – recovery and conditioning were key at this stage of his career. That’s why he was working with the Cubs again. Those guys were on the road every day, dealing with bumps and bruises, going from one town to the next, and in that respect, there wasn’t much difference between The Show and a wrestling show. So if anyone could help him heal quickly, it was these guys.

Because let’s face it – he wasn’t about to sit down and watch hours and hours of Charles de Lacy matches to learn what that guy was all about. He wasn’t about to pretend that he knew all that much about Steve Solex, either. It’s not boxing, it’s not MMA – it’s professional wrestling, and it’s about who can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Yes, that is a quote from Rocky. Which, yes, is a movie about boxing, so maybe boxing and wrestling are similar in some respects. Alright, it was a bad quote to reference but you know what, it’s fucking true. You can be a master technician, like Silent Witness tried to be in his heyday, you can be a crazy stunt guy, flying off of stupid things – like Silent Witness did a few weeks ago against Noah Hanson – a hardcore “artist”, primarily a brawler, fuck, you can be a creepy guy that hides in the shadows if that’s really what you want to do in this sport. It really doesn’t matter. Ultimately, whoever survives long enough to deliver that knockout blow is going to win. 

And the best way for Silent Witness to survive long enough to beat his three opponents, then somehow survive long enough against Mike Best – the greatest professional athlete not named Michael Jordan that the LSD Legend had ever seen – was to out-last them all. He was 46 years old, there was a very limited amount of time left for him to climb the mountain again. It didn’t fucking matter if Charles de Lacy was more likely to move to his left or his right to block a dropkick, just as much as it didn’t matter if Steve Solex had milk or sugar in his morning coffee. It didn’t even matter that Silent Witness had more respect for John Sektor than he had for almost anyone else in HOW history. 

The only thing that mattered in that first match – the only thing – was surviving and moving on. Be the last man standing when the bell rings, then regroup to prepare for Mike Best and a shot at the HOW World Championship. Because that’s what it was all about, the reason anyone entered the wrestling business – the HOW World Championship. It wasn’t about the LSD Championship, as much as Silent Witness loved that title. It wasn’t about whatever bullshit the General Manager kept throwing at him, even if Jace would eventually have to pay for his actions. The real reason Silent Witness was back in HOW, in better shape than he had been for over a decade, more focused than he had been in over a decade – and making people stand up and take notice of him for the first time in over a decade – was simple: His only reign at the absolute peak of HOW was tainted, and he wanted another shot at it.

It had taken 12 years, but Silent Witness had finally earned another shot at being the face of the company, to be the man on all the posters and billboards. To be the guy in the greatest wrestling promotion in the world. He felt like he had let down everybody the first time around – and if he was honest, Mike’s assessment of him was understandable. Silent Witness’ track record for the past decade had been questionable at best. But when he was on it – and oh, was he on it now – he was as good as anybody. He had proved it in the LBI, and now he had a chance to prove it against the absolute best that HOW had to offer. And so, he smiled at Tammy and said the only thing that was left to be said.

“Let’s get to work.”