I feel bad for the HOW roster.
No, this isn’t one of those “‘cause I’m gonna eat their asses and kick their faces” deals.
I genuinely pity my compatriots. My heart feels heavy when I consider what their lives must look like.
You see, it seems like the concept of “having a friend” is a step too far for their meek brains to comprehend. Since HOW returned in 2019, there’s been this constant idea that me and Mike have been using each other, that we’ll turn on each other, that we’ll stab each other in the back. The amount of yammering promos I’ve heard with the word friend said in air quotes is basically infinite at this point.
At first, I was actually really quite annoyed by the whole thing. It seemed like no matter how often our actions proved to the contrary, there was always some dipshit ready to step up to any open microphone to spout out the next dumbass theory on how it was inevitable and me and Mike would be murdering each other by the next Pay Per View.
Fuck, I sacrificed my World Title to save his life and people still have haven’t got the message.
It was frustrating, the annoyance was building up every time I heard another pop psychology promo.
Then I realised that I shouldn’t be angry, I should be sad. I should be very, very sad.
I should be sad that there’s never been a single person in their life that they value enough to trust wholeheartedly. It’s tragic that every interpersonal relationship they’ve been in has been transactional. That every human who spends time in their company is only there for some bit they’re doing.
Fuck, the fact that Zion and Jace can just “trade” women accidentally says a lot about the endless parades of sociopaths that line up to suckle the Best Family Teat. People are objects that you drain until they are no longer of function.
I can’t stress enough, women got swapped as if they had no agency of their own.
No wonder people haven’t even a single foundational understanding on how to create long lasting social relationships.
I’m sorry everyone, it must be very upsetting to see two men who actually trust each other constantly dunk on all of your hopes and dreams. I suppose it makes sense that you would live in the constant hope that we’re seconds from our friendship falling apart, you’ve pinned your hopes that we’ll destroy each other.
Here’s the INCREDIBLY funny punchline.
If Mike beats me, we’ll still be friends.
If I beat Mike, we’ll still be friends.
BECAUSE THAT’S HOW FRIENDSHIP WORKS YOU FUCKING IDIOTS.
It’s not transactional, you are actually allowed to be joyous over each other’s successes, even if it means you didn’t achieve your own goals. There’s always other opportunities, there’s always other openings.
Even the Bandits couldn’t ever understand that, one accidental World Title reign and suddenly there was a whole S&M fiesta going on the Good Ship Octane. I think they’d been fighting before that but I wasn’t here and therefore it didn’t happen.
Now, have I always been a good friend? Well, as much as I like to think so, there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary.
Dirk Dickwood had my back for years, he was there when I debuted in the industry, he was there when I decided to return in 2019. No matter what tempting offers were thrown in his direction, he stood by my side. He protected me, he protected my interests.
When I caught him attempting to sabotage my crowning as the HOW World Champion just before Rumble at the Rock 2019, I had never felt so betrayed. This was going to be my first ever World Title, this was going to be the recognition that I had reached the top of the mountain. It was going to get me known as one of the best wrestling talents in the industry and it was certainly going to shut up every peasant who tried to put me in the “comedic sidekick” category.
The problem is, as I look back and reflect, I’ve started thinking that it wasn’t betrayal. I’m starting to think it was common sense.
Every morning when I wake up grunting because my shoulder is in agony, I start to think “Dirk had a point.”
When I limp down the hallway to pour my morning coffee, the thought of “Dirk was protecting me” starts to vibrate in my skull.
When I can barely lift my coffee mug without feeling discomfort and distress, I realise “Dirk was right.”
I became a HOW Hall of Famer, I etched my name in the record books and destroyed my body in doing it. I was so sure that no one would be able to beat my reign as World Champion. HOW had been around for decades and I had set a new pace.
Mike Best destroyed that record, he made it look easy too.
As a friend, I’m delighted for him. My doctors, less so.
At least I have the Hall of Fame ring.
“The World Title is a curse”
The words hung in the air of the glamorous Queen’s Square Nandos, the location of many middle class debates on statue toppling, probably. There was a sputtering noise from the direction of Dirk Dickwood, who was clearly not expecting his former friend’s conclusion, almost choking on his delicious ice water in the process.
After hacking up half of his one good lung, Dickwood was able to settle himself again. Cecilworth hadn’t said anything else, merely meekly staring at his old manager, giving the visual prompt of expecting a response. Dirk managed to compose himself and use the finest words to reply.
“What the fuck do you want me to say? Congratulations that your fucking peabrain finally conjured up what you consider a deep thought? I’m so very happy that you have the luxury of being reflective in your old age…”
There wasn’t much reaction from Farthington. He had bitten his bottom lip and had started to rock slowly in his seat, he didn’t quite expect the flippant reaction that had come forth from his former compatriot.
“Dirk, I thought you’d want to hear this…”
Cecilworth barely managed to spurt out the start of his sentence when Dirk banged the table, rattling the cutlery and gaining the attention of many of their nearby fellow diners. Dirk leaned in close, almost whispering but with such a ferocity that spit was flying in all directions. A terrifying sight, particularly given the shade of red that his face had turned.
“You got me deported, I’ve been living on the dole for almost a year. I barely leave my house to ensure that the meagre amount of food I can afford can give me the energy to get through the day but oh boy oh boy, the blessed Farthington child had a deep thought so we can totes magotes go back to old times.”
Cecilworth’s eyes widened in shock, each word piercing him like a bullet.
“Did you really think a mediocre meal in a shitty little restaurant was going to patch up our wounds? Just because you’ve fucked up your body beyond belief doesn’t mean we’re equals again. You told me to fuck off, you refused to answer my calls, you refused to meet me in person. I get BANNED FROM ENTERING THE US but oh no, Cecilworth’s big boy match with Mike got ruined by some fucking Steampunk Zombie Twat so now you want to talk about your fucking feelings. FUCK. RIGHT. OFF”
In a sight not often seen by dedicated High Octane Television viewers, a distressed Cecilworth slowly slinks down his chair, clearly horrified at the situation he finds himself in. The distress is short lived as Dickwood slaps his fork and knife off the table in frustration, storming out of the restaurant shortly thereafter.
“That could’ve went better. Now, about this Peri-Peri sauce…”
I’m not a fool.
I know that friendship is never guaranteed to be as everlasting as a Willy Wonka gobstopper.
For a decade Dirk Dickwood stood by my side. For a decade Dirk Dickwood protected me from the harsh world of professional wrestling. He did the negotiations, the travel arrangements, the press work, the leg work. All to make my life just that little bit easier. Sure, he made a few pretty pennies off the deal but to truly commit to a single client for that long, well, there was more than just business.
The one bad argument and blammo.
Now we can’t even have a civilised conversation in a restaurant without making a spectacle of ourselves.
So, yes, Joe Reader, I do understand that friendship is not eternal. I do pay attention.
Mike and Jace were bestest of friends once, I think there was a lady one who was part of the group too. She used to tell the most wordy stories in a dull manner but people would politely applaud regardless because when people say lots of tedious words for a significant period of time, we must honour them.
That’s what I learned back then anyway.
They didn’t even really fall out, they just drifted apart. They became very different men, their interests no longer aligned. It’s just one day Jace arrived back in High Octane and instead of rekindling their brotherhood, Jace meandered as he tried to catch faded glory and Mike clearly didn’t see the value in a Project Ego reunion.
When I look at the relationship between Mike and Jace, I tell myself that it was forged in business interests rather than any actual kinship but I still worry about what my own future holds. Jace became a ghost because there was no longer a successful transaction to make between the two men, maybe there’s merit to his current dispassion. He was ethered, he was “othered”, he certainly didn’t make the Christmas Card list.
In similar circumstances, I’d likely spend most of my return to wrestling assuring people that I most definitely fuck as I tried to reclaim a little bit of that power that the failed friendship had cost me.
I hear Jace swears he’s a different man now, no longer does he want people to know just how much he fucks, no, now he also has painful injuries and is also an introspective sad lad. That man used to strike fear into my heart, now I see his addition to the ICONIC Main Event as a pleasant surprise, a way of making my life just a little bit easier. No ice water running through these veins anymore.
Yeah sure, Janet, THE REST of the roster needs a smack in the mouth because you could put together a pathetic “nice guy” act to protect the Video Game Kid’s feelings for a couple of weeks. Let’s just forget the preceding nine months.
Sorry, I’m getting sidetracked. I don’t even know what “Sure, Janet” means, I just saw it on the internet and now I’m repeating it.
Mike and Max had a deep brotherly level of respect for one another. The eMpire felt like a tight knit group. For a while, we’d really deluded ourselves when we said “The eMpire will never fight”, if you’d ask any of us, and looked us in the eye, you would know that we completely, utterly believed it.
Six months later, the two of them had a match that could only end in LITERAL MURDER.
Who the fuck let that get booked, by the way? Who allowed a live execution to happen live on Pay Per View? Fuck, did it at least get a good buy rate?
I’ve continued to assure myself over the past year that Mike had no choice, that the Max we had cared deeply for was gone, replaced by a cold-hearted monster known only as The Minister. The very same Minister who tried his damndest to take the life of Mike Best at War Games 2020. He would have likely succeded too, if not from intervention from my own hand.
Yes, I have wondered whether Mike would have done the same thing in my position. Would he have sacrificed the item that he believes gives his life value and worth to protect the life of a man he claims is his best friend.
I wish I had a concrete answer.
Mike Best didn’t murder Max Kael.
Mike Best murdered The Minister.
Even then, it was more circumstantial that it was premeditated.
I do worry these are sweet little lies that I tell myself to sleep at night. I worry that the bravado I’ve built up over the years about the strength of our friendship is a shield spun from cotton candy. I worry that the rest of the roster is right, that the comments from the peanut gallery have always been correct.
That I’m just Mike Best’s newest toy that he hasn’t tired of yet.
But that can’t be true.
Buckinghamshire is a rather unremarkable English county, full of the greenery and racism you would expect from such an area. The towns and villages of the county try to keep up the pristine image of the past. Hanging wooden sides, flower baskets, vomit, urine and misspelt graffiti just like mama used to make.
Conveniently Buckinghamshire exists on the outskirts of London, where HOW shall have their two night ICONIC extravaganza.
Why is that convenient?
Well, for the uneducated, the Farthington Family Estate exists at the outskirts of the county, cutting an ominous presence for any outsider who decides they want to take a family trip out into the countryside.
I say that the estate sat on the outskirts but usually sitting implies a degree of stability. Since the passing of Lord Farthington, the manor had fallen into a state of disrepute, the lawn uncared for and weed-ridden (not that kind Clay, calm your horses), the brickwork collapsing, the turrets unturreting. The Hedge Maze had fallen some time ago due to an unfortunate incident with Cecilworth, lighter fluid and a hidden Max Kael.
“Robotic Man Paints The Manner Red (due to fire!)”, proclaimed the local newspaper rag, with a clear low opinion of its readership. You think they would have understood that the maze went on fire due to the picture of the flames but one should never underestimate the stupidity of the British public.
One man that no local ever expected to see set foot on the estate grounds was the one kindly termed by Farthington Manor staff as “the imbecile child.”
And he’d just come home for the holidays.
I don’t know why I’m in this match.
I don’t mean this in an “I don’t deserve my spot” way, I mean look at the fucking dregs that Uncle Olly added to the match in the first place. If I shouldn’t be near the ring, Jatt fucking Starr should be orbiting the bloody moon.
Most of this match is filled with people chasing glory. They feel unfulfilled in one way or another. Perhaps they think that victory in such a contest is going to punch their ticket into the Hall of Fame, I’m sure Jace has told himself that many times in the mirror over this past week.
Jatt Star is looking to have that one last run at the top, to show all these new roster members what he is truly capable of, even if he doesn’t remember that himself.
Clay Byrd has been on the search for that star making victory in HOW. So many people have discussed his talent and potential, how he was a threat to win War Games, how he is one right click of the brain away from a monstrous reign upon a gilded throne with gold sourced from his own prospecting hands.
Conor Fuse is looking for redemption. Not against Mike Best, it would be downright stupid to make any argument against Mike’s victory at Rumble at the Rock. No, I think Conor Fuse is using this match to remind everyone why he was World Champion in the first place. It hurts to be sailing in the stratosphere and end up coming crashing down to Earth so hard. So many cultures put a focus on “saving face” in humiliating moments, so Conor accepting a sympathy invite to the ICONIC main event makes sense.
JJR wants to use this match so a detective lets him eat more faces or some other spooky bullshit. I don’t know, ask him.
I know it’s easy to mock JJR’s deal.
Oh, that’s it, that’s that sentence finished.
Where I struggle is what my motivation is. Two weeks ago, I knew the answer. Two weeks ago I was heading into ICONIC to answer the one question I still have, to know whether I was better than Mike Best on that night six years ago. I wanted to know whether that victory was pity or parity. For six years I’ve had that question hanging above me and for one night only, our friendship was going to be pushed to the side in the name of competition. No matter what happened when the bell rang for the final time, both of us would know.
We’d be happy to know.
Uncle Olly took that from me when he drove his clown car of bullshit into town and let HOW’s miscellaneous misfits piss all over the rug.
I’m just not sure if I’m a piss mopper anymore.