What day is it?
Is it day or is it night?
Just how long have I been here?
All questions I had absolutely no answers to whatsoever. All I knew was the inside of this prison cell that I was locked inside of. Shackled to the floor by my arms and legs. It was complete and utter Hell. Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days. Days turned into weeks, it felt like an eternity.
No food, no water, and complete darkness. It was maddening and I felt that soon I would reach the point of no return. In the beginning I thought I was doing well. I thought that I had actually accomplished something that I could proudly stick on the resume. I knew it was small at first but I aspired to make it so much more. I wanted to make it something that I could take to the main event and make everyone desire to have as their own.
The HOTv Championship belt.
I wanted to be the greatest HOTv Champion of all time. I accomplished that feat but at what cost? I willingly walked into this prison cell. I allowed myself to be disconnected from everything and everyone I thought important. Just to fight week in and week out to retain a Championship belt that others looked at as something that wasn’t even worth their time.
Week after week I punished myself against the likes of RAH, Daytona, Darin Zion, Steve Harrison, Kevin Capone, and Eli Dresden. They all wanted the belt, they all wanted to end me. They all failed but then afterwards? They just moved onto the next best thing. But here I was pushing myself into an early grave. Getting the best shot that each opponent had just to say I was HOTv Champion.
However, if I had it to do all over again?
I wouldn’t change a thing because it was a necessary step. I needed to push myself to the brink to see if I would break. I had to lock myself into this prison of wasted potential to see if I still had it after five years away.
The shackles are off, the darkness has lifted. The door to the cell is open and now it’s time to step up to the big boys. It’s time to see if I can swim with the sharks. My legs are shaky and unbalanced but I have to run. I have to race towards that light at the end of the tunnel. I have to clench my fist. I have to rear back and take the biggest, best blow that I have in me.
Just for a shot.
At a glimmer.
Of a fourth reign with #97red.
I lost the HOTv Championship belt to QT Reese. It was bound to happen, it wasn’t a matter of if but more of when. My focus was divided, I liked being the representative of the HOW Network. But I wanted to be it’s World Champion even more. Being ranked #1 made my case that much stronger. However, I decided to skip out on Refueled 74. I didn’t travel to Denver, Colorado which happens to be one my most favorite places on the planet because of being a Broncos fan.
No pre-taped segment. No via satellite statement. Complete radio silence. And I think I earned that much. Wrestling more than anyone else since War Games I think I earned the right to just sit here at home and recharge my batteries. The moment that Refueled 74 went off the air I got the text message that I would be wrestling in the main event against former HOW World Champion Sutler Reynolds-Kael. And it would be for a shot at Conor Fuse and #97red.
From that moment I’ve not moved from this spot on the couch in front of the television watching tape. You would think I’d be watching tape on my opponent SRK but I already know what he’s going to do in the ring against me. He’s going to target my weak spot, which is my neck. He’s going to grind on it and wear it out until he can hit me with Son of Sin or lock in the Sutler Method. Instead I was watching tape of myself early in my HOW career.
I watched a tape of myself going undefeated for months to start my career.
I watched a tape of myself getting handed the HOW ICON Championship belt by Hall of Famer Christopher America instead of wrestling me for it.
I watched a tape of myself winning the Solitary Confinement match at Rumble at the Rock winning #97red for the first time by pinning Mike Best.
I watched all of it over and over again while I wondered if I could be that JPD again. Sure, I called myself The King of Everything but am I really? Could I bring out The Conqueror again that carried this company on his back for a record setting amount of days back in that era? I sat and I pondered these questions to the point where I didn’t even notice Madison walk into the room and take a seat on the couch beside me.
“You already know the answers to these questions.” Madison laid her head on my shoulder. The sound of her voice breaking me out of the trance I had on the television screen.
“I’m that easy to read, huh?” I asked with a chuckle before pointing towards the television screen. “That guy right there was a human buzzsaw. I mean a Hall of Famer handed over the ICON Championship instead of fighting me for it because I was such a beast. It’s just been a long time since I’ve felt like that guy.”
“Five years away from it all will do that to a man.” Madison admitted. “However you’re no longer just the guy that was sitting here at home with an injured neck. You wrestled your ass off. You became HOTv Champion and made that belt mean something. That wasn’t just a coincidence.”
“Yeah I had a nice little run for myself but that was against lower carded guys and gals on the roster.” I said with a defeated sigh. “This isn’t against Conor Fuse, or Mike Best, or Sutler Reynolds-Kael. These guys are on a completely different level. A level I have to step up to if I don’t want to get completely obliterated out there in New Mexico on Saturday.”
“You went from losing your first match back because of Steve Solex and being eliminated in the middle of the pack at War Games. All the way to running Lindsay Troy out of HOW. Beginning the dismantling of Grapplers Local 214. Beating Steve Solex to become HOTv Champion. And ultimately becoming the number #1 ranked wrestler in HOW.” Madison reminded me. “You’ve been rising up to challenges since after the War Games match and this one will be no different.”
“I appreciate the kind words but pretty words aren’t going to pin SRK’s shoulders down to the mat for three seconds.” I added.
“Neither is sitting here all hours of the day and night watching old tape on yourself.” Madison lectured. “Try popping in some tape of SRK and do some actual training for this match.”
“I will, promise. I just want to spend some more time watching my glory days.” I leaned over and kissed Madison on the forehead.
“Good but I got something I need to take care of so I’ll come check on you later.” Madison pulled herself up off of the couch before running her fingers through my hair.
I watched her head upstairs before returning my focus to the television set to watch more of some of my greatest matches.
Madison reached our bedroom and closed the door behind her and locked it. She flopped herself down onto the king sized bed and pulled out her laptop. Lifting the screen open she logged into her Onlyfans account. She glanced up at herself in the mirror to make sure her hair and makeup were on point before clicking to go live on the platform.
“Hello everyone, it’s me again!”
Madison said with a bright smile and a wave of her right hand.
“I know I scheduled this time to go live and have some fun with you guys but before I get into that I have something I want to get off my chest. And it’s not just this shirt.”
Madison chuckled and played with the collar of her shirt.
“I want to talk about someone some of you on this platform might know or have seen. He goes by the name of Sutler Reynolds-Kael.”
Madison paused as the comments began to scroll across her screen.
“He’s the former HOW World Champion and this week he’s fighting my beau, Jace Parker Davidson in New Mexico on Refueled. The winner gets a shot at the HOW World Championship belt. However, SRK is also a member of Onlyfans and likes to broadcast and promote his page. Have any of you actually seen him here?”
Madison asks as more comments flow in.
“I mean at first he was getting casual viewers because he had the HOW World Championship belt and was showing it off on screen. People wanted him to lick it, pose with it. Show his feet, gotta love those feet creepers. But the more he tried to go live the more he would just strut around in a pair of #97red speedos all because he lost the real #97red to a little old Canadian known as Conor Fuse.”
Madison balls up her fists and pretends to rub fake tears from her eyes while making boo hoo noises.
“Poor little Sut-Sut but he has a chance this week to redeem himself if he can get by Jace. But I gotta warn you, Sutler, that’s not going to be an easy task. Jace might be coming off a loss to QT Reese where he lost the HOTv Championship belt. It wasn’t because QT was a better wrestler. It wasn’t because Jace wasn’t good enough to continue to be the HOTv Champion. It was because he was focused on people like you, people like Mike Best and when he was going to get his shot at becoming the HOW World Championship belt. You know that thing you used to get yourself a couple of subscriptions on here?”
Madison smirked towards the camera as she made a title belt motion around her waist.
“It’s funny everyone always picks on Jace as being the Onlyfans guy. But as someone that has been here on Onlyfans for a long time and has a massive following I gotta tell you Sutler. You’re not going to make much money doing things the same way you’ve been doing them. Sure you might get a monthly subscription here and there but you’re not going to get repeat business or longer subscriptions by just strutting your stuff in a pair of speedos. People want to mingle with your dingle. All you’re serving up is a plain cheese pizza so tell me. Where is the sausage?! Now I already know what you’re thinking. ‘Jace and his crew are just so cringe’ but honey I gotta tell ya, you’re the one trying to make money being bare chested on a porn site when you can see that every single week for free on Refueled.”
Madison waved her index finger in front of the camera in a lecturing manner.
“What is this kid like barely 200 lbs. soaking wet?”
Madison shrugged her shoulders.
“You have the body of a twelve year old boy, Sutler. You’re not going to make money with it unless you’re willing to wave your balls in front of the camera. I suggest some anal beads if your really want to go h.a.m for the LGBTQ community. If you’re not willing to go that far you might as well hand over your account to Mina. Or is it Max? Mina is Max, right?”
Madison scratches her head as she ponders her own question.
“I never know what is going on with that freaky family of yours. All I know is that wrapped up like a Mummy or not, Mina’s tiddies might bring all the boys to your yard. What you really need to be doing is grabbing a hold of Chloe and get the hell out of that big ass estate full of child molesters. But most importantly Sutler you need to train. You need to train like you’ve never trained before. You’ve already proven that one on one you can’t beat Conor Fuse. If you ever want to prove that fact to be false you’re going to need to get by Jace.”
Madison narrows her eyes and talks in a more serious tone.
“I know you’re a technician that likes to use submission moves and choke out your opponents. But if you expect Jace to just tap out and give up on his dream of having a fourth reign with the HOW World Championship belt then you have another thing coming. I know you’re going to focus on his injured neck but he’s going to go out there and risk it all for a shot at that title. Jace has something to prove to himself and the rest of the world. He’s bided his time long enough and it’s time he stopped getting left out of the conversation of who the best wrestler in HOW truly is. You’re going to have to bring an effort larger than the one you did at War Games if you expect to win this match.”
Madison folds her arms across her chest.
“I’m not saying you aren’t capable of choking out a bigger man but JPD isn’t Clay Byrd who crumbles and falls to submission moves in big matches. You’re going to be facing the human buzzsaw. The man that dominated HOW back in the days when your father was still alive. If you’re smart you’ll do your research on that man. Come Saturday night in the Pit? He’s coming to keep his #1 status in the rankings. He’s coming to stomp your head into the canvas. And he’s making it his mission to keep you out of the main event at RATR. So if you think losing the title at Bottomline was ego crushing, then you’ve not seen anything yet.”
Madison nods her head up and down then speaks in a softer tone.
“I thank you all for being patient and bearing with me as I vented a bit. But now it’s time for what you really came here to see.”
Madison reaches down and begins to pull off her shirt as the scene fades.
A few days later I was inside my personal gym doing some weight training to prepare my neck for the assault that SRK would undoubtedly unleash on it. Sure, SRK was a smaller man than me but that doesn’t mean I was going to underestimate him and what he was capable of doing inside of the ring. I’ve been backstage watching many times when he’s put men as big, if not bigger than me, to sleep. If I wasn’t prepared for it then I would be the next victim of the Sutler Method.
Training my neck meant withstanding the neckbreakers and DDT’s. It also would grant me precious time. Time to power out of the Sutler Method if it’s locked in or to find the nearest rope to force a brake of the hold. Of course that wasn’t the only trick up Sutler’s sleeve but it was possibly the most dangerous one. With each rep of the weight I could just feel an open palm strike raining down on the back of my neck. More and more strikes to the point my arms and fingers would begin to go numb. A feeling I was all too familiar with. For five years, five long years I scratched and clawed my way through physical therapy for a moment just like this.
“Don’t stop now! Give me three more sets!” Carmen clapped her hands together demanding me to keep pushing.
If you would have told me five years ago I would push past this career ending neck injury to the point I would be main eventing a show in New Mexico against a twenty year old. All for a shot at the HOW World Championship belt then I would have kicked you straight in the balls. Yet here I am just mere days before Refueled 75 where I will try to reach out and grab that brass ring. A match where I’m willing to leave it all out there in the ring to prove all the doubters wrong. To show that my best days aren’t behind me in the last era of HOW. But more importantly to prove to myself that I can be the guy that carries this company on my back and be it’s World Champion. Sure there were the typical faces that were around before when I accomplished this feat but there were also so many new faces that I’ve never faced before.
SRK is definitely one of them.
I wanted, no, I needed to win this match so much that I was willing to let SRK break my neck all over again before giving up on this chance. I wouldn’t just simply tap out to the Sutler Method then wait for another chance that may never come. I was going to risk sitting here at home all over again. No wrestling, no segments, and that creeping feeling of helplessness. That was the hardest part of those five long years for me. Getting recognized as that guy that USED to be HOW World Champion. The guy that would fly all over the country and the world showing off my craft week in and week out. To become just another face in a crowd of Average Joe’s that would buy their coffee from Starbucks and did their grocery shopping on Friday afternoons to beat the weekend crowds.
“Alright, good job but let’s switch to a different exercise!” Carmen tossed me a bottle of water to take a breather with before we moved on.
I replaced the dumbbells for a free weight plate. I stretched out on my back on the workout bench with my neck and head hanging off the end. I held the weight plate over my forehead and began to lift my head up and down in reps.
It was the looks on their faces that was the worst part. Those fake sympathetic looks like they actually felt sorry for me but honestly they just thought they were better than me. Here I was the damn near crippled former superstar. Like their every day nine to five someone meant they were better off than me. It’s the same look I get from fellow HOW wrestlers now that I’ve returned. They look at me like I’m a relic of the past. Something that doesn’t belong anymore. Not a Hall of Famer. Not a main event talent. Not a Best or a Kael. I’ve had everything taken from me ranging from my career to my marriage but I’m done letting things be taken away from me. I know I’m the underdog in this match, everyone is expecting SRK to steam roll right over me.
He’s going to have too damn near cripple me to take this shot away from me. Of course I know this isn’t for the title itself. This is just for a chance. I mean if the stars align and I actually beat SRK then I could completely fall on my face against Conor Fuse. Just goes to show how much a chance means to me. Getting a shot at #97red would prove to the likes of Michael Lee Best that I was more than just the King of Everything below the main event. I refuse to be classified as another Darin Zion. I am the #1 ranked wrestler for a fucking reason and now?
Now I have to prove that it wasn’t just a fluke.
So it’s come down to this.
#1 ranked vs. #2 ranked.
Out of all the people dissatisfied with Michael Lee Best being pushed to the front of the line for a title shot at RATR. It was you and I Sutler that were bold enough to actually vocalize our displeasure. Now in the main event of the next Refueled one of us will move onto get a shot at #97red and one of us will be left to pick up the pieces and wonder what’s next?
I feel like I deserve this shot because I’m the #1 ranked wrestler in HOW.
You feel like you deserve it because…well…because you lost the belt to Conor Fuse. You weren’t able to retain the title at Bottomline because you were too busy flying off to foreign countries picking up a baby. Yet somehow you think because you’ve held the title that means you’re entitled to another shot to fix your fuck up. But let’s be honest here. Everyone expects you to get the title shot just because your Max Karl’s kid. You’re a prodigy and that means you’re so much better than stealing Mike Best’s Hall of Fame ring. I mean demanding that you get your rematch for the safe return of the ring?
Do you really think that’s going to work?
I mean sure you got Mike all in a tizzy pretty much yelling to the heavens to have you added to the match at Rumble at the Rock. Seems like I’m the forgotten one in this equation but that’s fine. I haven’t been given the respect that I deserve. So I’m happy to be the one to disrupt this little family reunion. Somewhere in that gigantic contract I’m sure it’s written that Mike gets a brand new HOF ring and that he’s declared the greatest HOFer of all time. It makes sense that on the anniversary of Max Kael’s death that you would want it to be SRK vs. Mike Best. However, your whole battle cry has been to get out of the shadow of your Father’s legacy and the deeper we go. The more hypocritical you seem by wanting to “avenge” or prove that you could do what he couldn’t.
It would be more believable about being out of Max’s shadow if you weren’t carrying around his clone.
But instead of getting inserted into the RATR main event you get me. Mid card destroyer, not good enough for the main event JPD. That’s how you all look at me right, that’s the same tired as shit I get thrown at me week after week. I know that you’re good enough SRK, I know you’re capable of being HOW World Champion again. But what you don’t want to admit is that I’m good too. That I’m just as good if not better than you. Sure at twenty years old you remind me a lot of myself when I first joined HOW. You only held the title for one PPV period. I held it for a record number of days but that was then this is now.
Now I prove that I have the same JPD inside of me. Now I go against the future of HOW and show you that veterans still have their place in the title picture of HOW. That you don’t have to have the last name Best or be the grandson of Lee to be great. I’m throwing all my cards on the table for this one shot Sutler. You’re talented, sure, but is your will and determination as strong as mine?
Which is stronger? The Sutler Method or my injured neck. Your brash young arrogance or my iron will? Use that Hall of Fame ring, pull out all the stops. Bring Max Kael Jr, Mina, hell, dig up the corpse of Max Kael and try to Weekend at Bernie’s my ass to a victory. Do whatever it is you have to do because I promise you that it won’t be enough. So spew all your venom. Call me cringe, talk about how I’m just the guy that deepthroated a microphone.
None of it will matter.
Because I’m coming to New Mexico to beat your ass Sutler. As long as there is breath left in my body I’m going to keep coming, I’m going to keep fighting. I’m going to show you what true dominance looks like.
And when the dust settles?
You will Bend the Knee and show me the respect that I deserve as the #1 ranked wrestler in HOW.