You remember how back in Elementary School, Primary School, Grade School… whatever you call it in your part of the world… remember how instead of just being nice to the girl you wanted to speak to, you’d pull on her pigtails, kick her in the face and then spit in her mouth?
Boarding school really does take a mental toll.
The point is, perhaps I’ve been a little bit too harsh on little Mariella Jade Flair this weather, after all, I have a lot to thank her for. She is owed a debt of gratitude and all the ponies and saxophones that a little girl could ever want.
Let me take you back to… oh, let’s say roughly a year ago.
War Games 2019.
Lee Best sashays his bald little skull down to the ring to stomping his feet and tries to pretend that he owns a set of solid brass balls in his every sagging sack. He demands that the cage be torn down. He makes promises of the encounter getting taken to a new, violent level. He sets the wheels in motion that nothing, absolutely nothing is off the table between myself, John Sektor and MJF in our journey to achieve that one goal that eludes many HOW talent – War Games survivor. That chance to get my grips on my first ever World Championship. That’s a lot for one man to take in and you don’t have a lot of time to digest your next action. You’re already exhausted, you can barely think straight and any time a thought bubble enters the skull, it’s normally drowned out by the drilling and banging of the crew focused on the cage teardown.
That’s when out of the corner of my eye I saw it – the rope. The rope felt as if it was calling to me, singing a sweet siren song. Beckoning me in like a thirsty sailor. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what kind of thirst the sailor had. The rope, she lured me towards her, whispered me sweet nothings, promised me untold riches if I brought her to life.
I tried to fight the urge, after all, I was wrestling for the greater good of HOW, I was trying to usher in a new era, one shed of HOW’s “shitty deathmatch company” past – to try to choke someone to death? That would be almost as hypocritical as these “pure wrestler” sorts aligning themselves with Lee Best, the very figurehead of the thing that they loathe. How could I look at myself if I tried to lynch someone? Sadly that part of my inner dialogue was drowned out by the louder and louder clanging.
That’s all I could hear as I looked at the rope. It was nothing but instinct running through my body as I grabbed it, wrapped it around the petite throat of noble little Mariella Jade and tossed her over the top rope. Too small to reach the ground below, her legs started to flail wildly as I pulled up, anchoring myself in place. I could sense her energy running through me, I could feel the life getting drained from her, her very essence disappearing.
She’s a smart girl, my angel told me, she’ll know she has to surrender. She has to tap. There’s no escape here. As the voice on my left shoulder reassured me that this would be all over soon, I felt at ease, this would be a one off, a small betrayal of my beliefs to serve the greater good. This was a moment of tactics, not a moment of murder. It’s like bluffing in Poker, you are portraying strength that you do not actually possess. You just have to pretend you’re willing, you don’t actually have to be willing.
She has to tap, right?
She taps and Captain Mike Best comes down to award the World Heavyweight Championship to a deserving winner, his choices – John Sektor or Cecilworth M! Farthington. I think we know how that one ends.
She taps and I survive War Games.
She taps and I achieve my greatest victory.
Mariella Jade doesn’t tap though, Mariella Jade persists.
The ego on the lady, I swear to god, protect me, protect yourself, swallow your god damn pride and sacrifice yourself in this one moment. Sacrifice yourself and live to fight the new battles, sacrifice yourself and allow me to remain in the light. That’s all that was running through my head at the time.
Yet, the more she struggled, the less confidence the angel had, the more it pleaded for me to give it up, to stop in the name of protecting the life of MJF.
That’s when the devil got a fucking bullhorn.
The noise echoed in my skull, reverberating with a furious force.
“You’ll remain a joke unless you get the job done.”
I was a few defenses deep into an okay but not all that remarkable ICON Championship run. A draw with Dan Ryan, a cage match that I managed to escape but not pin the same man. A couple of months with the belt. Sure, I’d successfully defended it but my performance was solid middle of the table run, at best, quite typical of my talents back then. War Games was my chance to finally flop my dick on the table, it was my chance to let the world know that the goof that was driven by briefcases and Captain’s hats was fading away. In his place, a premiere athlete with a killer instinct was starting to live, to breathe.
The devil was reminding me that if I let go, I’d be back in my corner. I’d be there to amuse, not to fear. Being a joke was exhausting, putting on the smile after you suffer indignity after indignity. Winning matches by the skin of your teeth after getting the holy hell beaten out of you. You lure people with your charm, sneak a win, sure, but there’s no proverbial “Eye of the Tiger”.
“Choking the life out of her proves you are World Champion material”
I don’t know if my angel turned mute, I don’t know if my angel was drowned out by the guttural choking noise that was emanating from the mouth of Ms. Flair, all I know is I kept tugging. I kept pulling. I could feel the legs kicking less and less, I could feel the body going limp, I could see her face turning purple. I saw them all, every single warning sign that to a better man would let them know to let go. Would let them know that you controlled their very life within your hands.
“Finish the job!”
That’s the last thing I heard before I blacked out. By the time I woke up, the ICON championship was resting upon my face. The LSD was with Flair.
A tie, I was told.
You see, that tie, it forever binds the two of us together. If MJF wasn’t so insistent on persisting, maybe… just maybe the good in me would have won out. Maybe that voice would still be there, letting me know I’ve done enough damage, letting me know there’s no need to break a leg, snap an arm.
Benny Newell has her to thank, Dan Ryan, Doozer, High Flyer, Lindsay Troy, Teddy Palmer, The Minister, RICK… the list goes on. Everyone who has stood in that ring against me since War Games 2019 and noticed the glint of malice in my eyes, that slightly unsettling smile I put on because I barely remember what it feels to be human, those who have had to pay doctor’s bills after their matches with me, it is all thanks to Mariella Jade.
If only she’d just tapped.
The evil that now lives inside me, the thing that whispers sweet murder in my ear, it has control now. Considering the success that has brought me, you really are owed a great deal of thanks.
Two time winner of War Games, longest reigning ICON Champion in HOW History, longest reigning World Champion in HOW history.
All because you couldn’t give up, all because you couldn’t sacrifice your own career goals for a single second to protect your own god damn life.
My problem, my dear Mariella is… the human part of me, the one sharing this tale, the one that still lives within me, he’s not very happy about what his vessel has become. The only thing that separates me from a ruthless monster like The Minister is that my decency lives, deep down in my soul, its heart still beats. My decency is still a living, breathing thing, small though it may be. The championship of the Loyalty and Sacrifice Division reminds me of this. Every time I look at the title, it reminds me that I had enough humanity left in me to choose to save my best friend’s life. That I am willing to sacrifice my own career goals to protect another.
If you were to take that away from me, the one token I have to remind me of who I am and what I stand for…
Do you want that on your conscience? Do you want The Minister’s actions to start looking like a fucking picnic in the park?
I can still make the hard choices but you started to strip me of my humanity one year ago.
I will NOT let you do that again.
I stand by my allies, you try and dismiss Max Kael all you want but I fight every day knowing he’s still in there, that I can help to put The Minister away, that I can bring Max back. It would be easy to dismiss The Minister as a monster, Max as a changed man but I continue to fight for the man I know is in there. I fight for my friends, even at my own expense. Can you even have the audacity to claim you would do the same?
The memories of your tattered alliances would be to differ.
Where were you when Kostoff was killing High Flyer post-match this week? Hiding in a bar? Seems about right.
Your problem on Saturday is two fold – my lesser side, he wants to hurt you for your hubris, for your arrogance, to expose you for the fraud that you have always been. My better side?
He wants to punish you for unleashing the murder monster.
A real Catch-22, wouldn’t you say?
Mariella, my dear,
I think there has been something of a miscommunication with regards to our bout on Saturday’s Refueled. You seem to be under the misunderstanding that we are currently engaged in a dialogue, a tête-à-tête if you will. This is not a meeting of the minds, this is not a slam battle, this is not a High School debate.
You can think of me as the Prosecutor of the Loyalty and Sacrifice Division and my letter the other day, well that would be the opening of my case. Outlining all of your misdeeds in front of the altar of the glorious Championship. Many criminals don’t feel the benefits of their misdeeds, it doesn’t mean they’re free to go, the success you have had in your actions as a piece of disloyal scum are not part of this equation.
I hear that you feel that my outlining of your life as one without either of the division’s qualities is “old hat”, perhaps a dusty fedora, much like the one I assume Kevin tipped in your direction the first time you met him. Man, how did I forget Kevin in my case? We really should talk about him. A person who cared for nothing in the world more than you. His only purpose seemed to be to make you happy, to bring joy to your life. The perfect boyfriend, almost as if he was concocted in a lab to be everything you would ever want.
What happened to him?
Oh, that’s right, you left him because you felt he was an anchor to your career aspirations. You hoped by shedding those who care for you that… what… it’d make you a better wrestler because you can go and beat up a few tomato cans down at an independent wrestling show in the hopes of feeling some catharsis? There’s a reason I became quite enamoured with calling you Marinara Jar, after all, you lined up can after can, pouring their pains inside of you to boost your supposedly rapidly deteriorating self-esteem.
Why did you have those matches? Why did you leave Kevin?
Was it because you were feeling a little down in the dumps about your War Games placement? Is that really all it takes to abandon a man who has stood loyally by your side since the first day you came on the HOW radar? The man you were happy to parade in front of the cameras and share to the world when you thought it would somehow allow you to get “one over” on Mike Best. Are you going to shove him in front to the bright lights now?
“Hey everyone – this is Kevin. I thought he was an anchor to my career aspirations so, you know, just broke his heart. Casual like, you know. Anyway, I’m off to join a ska band.”
Distance doesn’t really make the heart grow fonder, does it Mariella? It just makes it easier to let go.
The championship won’t like that one.
Can I point out something, Mariella Jade, as I start to outline my closing argument? If pointing out how much of a disloyal piece of scum you are is… predictable… if carefully building a case about all the decisions you have made due to the Easter Island Head proportioned ego you have is ever so trite, is that really a negative reflection of me? Is proudly stating “yeah, I abandon everyone who puts their trust in, puts their faith in me” something you should be stating with pride? Seems to me that you are upholding my very argument. You are disloyal, you are self-interested, you are nothing more than the thin layer of grime that envelopes the rim of a motel bathtub.
This image you want to project – the fighter, the underdog… it’s all for show, is it not? Designed to shift merchandise. Seems to me your life is rather quite charmed. You have a wit equal to that of any roster member, you can join a band in a moment’s notice, you have caring, supportive parents who just want the best for their little Mariella Jade as she hits her 20s. A stable family, talents outside of wrestling, access to disposable money.
The very vision of privilege.
What struggle have you had to actually face? When have you stayed to face the consequences of your actions? It seems to me that you always have your foot out of the door, that there’s always the back-up plan tinkering away in your skull.
Running away from your boyfriend for a couple of weeks and drinking till 2am is not a sacrifice. Pathetic threats that maybe you’ll walk away from High Octane Wrestling if you don’t win this match is not a sacrifice. Pouting because you lost to one of the most sneakily talented wrestlers in the company is not a sacrifice.
It is indulgence. Glorious self indulgence.
Wrestling is all I have. It’s all I know. I never had a nurturing father, he was a sex pervert who was much more concerned about his high society connections than his own son. If Lee Best stabbed me in the eye tomorrow and issued me with my marching papers, I wouldn’t know what to do. I wouldn’t know where to go. My very purpose, my very livelihood, the thing that allows me to live and breathe – that’s wrestling. I don’t have the option of trading on a family legacy, I don’t have the option of hanging out with my cool artist friends, smearing my faeces against a canvas and trying to sell it as a “postmodern view on the human condition”.
I don’t make enough money that I’d be able to retire, I disavowed my family wealth in the name of dedicating myself to etching out my own name, my own brand, a new reputation for the Farthington line. One in which treachery is shunned in the name of loyalty. One where sacrifice replaces self-interest.
I made the hard choices, I DESERVE to be the Loyalty and Sacrifice Division’s champion.
When you stomp around and talk about all the wonderful talents you have, the things that you could do outside of the ring with relative ease because these things, they come easy to ole Mariella Jade, you’re not just insulting me, you’re insulting every single person who doesn’t have a way out of their current predicament. You are insulting everyone who has to slave at jobs they hate, jobs that hurt them.
You disgust me, Mariella.
You disgust me because you have a choice.
Do you know how many people in this world have to fight to survive every day? Do you know how many people put their own health on the line to protect their family, going to work dangerous jobs that they may not come back from? They choose to do those jobs to put food on the table of their families, they choose to do those jobs because they don’t have any other option. They don’t have a way out. They sacrifice themselves for the greater good to keep the heartbeat of their family ticking.
You? You’ve made it clear that you can walk away at any time. The only concern you have is if a nagging voice beckons you back, how awful for you. You have freedom, freedom that many of us lack.
Wrestling is all Mike Best has, wrestling is all Max Kael has, wrestling is all Dan Ryan has. That is why they make the hard choices, that is why they suffer. That is why a devastating loss gets them to examine the very essence of what they are. They don’t run, they don’t hide, they don’t try and drink away their feelings. They face the reality, they fight. They fight because much like me, they don’t have a way out. They don’t have time to go into hiding, they don’t have time to hope the shame dies down.
Dan Ryan came out and faced the music every single time he had a hard fought loss to me in the ring. That is to be respected. He knew he was bettered and was determined, even as a legend of his stature, to continuously improve, to hopefully finally be the one to end my reign, the end this once in a generation run. He didn’t wallow in the pathetic world of “almosts”, he sacrificed the stupid notion of pride and continued to fight, fight very hard indeed. He was the first man to pin my shoulders to the mat since that fateful night inside the War Games cage and he was awarded with the ICON Championship.
Wrestling is all he had and that is why he chose to fight. He was rewarded in that moment.
You? You’re Mariella Jade Flair, practically perfect in every way, you’ve made it clear you don’t need us.
Mariella, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that I look down upon you as a wrestler. You have tried SO HARD to play up the underdog act, perhaps in hopes that I will be lured in and my own vanity will allow you to SHOCK THE WORLD…
So, in front of the court of Loyalty and Sacrifice, I would like to make one thing very clear. I very much respect your talents in the ring, I look down upon you as a person. You, as a person, drove me into a murderous rage, you as a person, forced me to consider the notion of taking someone else’s life away from them if it would give me in ring success. You pushed me to the very boundaries of my humanity, so give up the princess-in-peril gig and start taking this match seriously.
That’s why we’re different – you don’t understand what drives me, you don’t understand why I win. Every opponent I face is a challenger to the throne, none are taken less seriously than the last. That’s why I have had the success that you look upon with envious eyes. You, you think wins are something you are entitled to. Don’t lie, don’t put on the act, someone doesn’t start trying to join a jazz band after a loss to Bobby Dean if they didn’t think they were entitled to victory against him.
Your honour, Mariella Jade Flair is the living, breathing essence of everything the Loyalty and Sacrifice Division stands against.
I beg of you.
Sentence her to Jazz.