THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM

THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM

Posted on January 27, 2022 at 8:09 pm by Conor Fuse

Hello Gamers and Gamettes. It’s me, your champion, Conor Frieza Fuse.

JJR says there isn’t an original thought in the world.

…Until I came along.

I’m the greatest champion ever. I do awesome things inside the ring, I say amazing stuff on the mic. I rally the crowd, getting them hot and bothered. I’m sexy AF. If I was interested in being this kind of player, the women would be all over me. I’m only interested in playing the wrestling game, though. Bitches step aside.

I’m the most OG dude. Champion of life, master of the universe. Charisma seeping out from every orifice of my body. Every orifice.

Am I better than Mike Best?

A million times better!!

Delusion is a hell of a drug but I only speak the truth.

I have new friends. Better friends than ever before. I have achieved the ENDGAME. Powered up beyond belief.

And if you think I’m being full of myself right now……… I most certainly am. I don’t believe in half of what I just told you.

I’m cool, I’m okay.

I’m decent.

Got a long way to hit Best status, that’s for sure.

Naaa, I’m purely channeling my inner Scott Stevens, a fucker so delusional, he thinks he’s legitimate by today’s standards. Last week, I stood in the ring and called out true High Octane talent. I said the names of Mike Best, Cecilworth Farthington, Jeffrey James Roberts and Jatt Starr, all elite Rogues’ Gallery members whose abilities speak for themselves. Yes, I mentioned Cancer Jiles. People forget he once stopped Mike’s rampage. When motivated, the Egg Man is deadly. I also said the name Bobby Dean but even he is a threat. He proved it by taking Steve Solex on a seven-level journey. Six more than critics thought he’d go.

So I’m in the middle of my diatribe, when some dude walks out, thinking he is owed something because he won nothing.

And he won nothing.

I not only witnessed him beating up my people, I had to listen to him, too. His words were razors, slicing through my ears at warp speed. Dodges be damned, for as quick as I was, I had no ability to close off my eardrums.

I heard it. All.

I’d love to tell him to STFU. And soon, as I continue to rant, I most certainly will. I’ll speak volatile words to a peasant of a man. But words are just that. Simple. Often meaningless. Easy for anyone to perform.

Because although I am “The Vintage” Conor Fuse, who’s at the top of the High Octane food chain, The Last Level Legend, The ULTIMATE Gamer, The Video Game Kid.

Your World Champion.

I back up my words. The proof? In my achievements. It defines the heart which beats inside this warrior’s body.

Empty threats abound when a man named Scott stands in front of me. His modern day vacant trophy case, a hollowed path carved. A wannabe 8-4 boss. A realistic first level goomba.

Tell me otherwise. He’s my television opponent.

People pay money to watch Jace Davidson, JJR and John Sektor wrestle on the big stage. Scott is mini boss extraordinaire.

That’s me being… nice.

Sure, he’s Hall of Fame now. Former WHC. “Mr. Prestigious”. The trick is I’m not focused on the previous iteration of High Octane Wrestling. And why should I be? Conor Fuse wasn’t there to stop it.

It’s great you were those things, Scott. I’m serious. Yet all I give a fuck about is what have you done for me lately?

The answer, my friend, isn’t much. A battle royal victory so gutless I refuse to acknowledge it as canon. A classic, generic, dull as shit tough guy attitude who I’ve seen cower against significant opponents. Don’t quote me on this but I’m almost positive your record in 2020 (the year I started in HOW) was something along the lines of 1-11.

Athletes fall from grace. You have avalanched yourself into the footnote of BOT Country.

How dare you speak to me like you just did. As if I’m some dipshit with a controller up my ass. I am the judge, jury and executioner of myself, not you. And yes, I have a lot left to prove, tons more to accomplish, a whole new world in front of me.

On Sunday it starts with beating you, nimrod. Humbling my annoying opponent into oblivion.

Make no mistake, with this being said, I have no doubt you’ll bring your A Game, Scott. I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time.

…so have I.

… … … … …

O2 Arena
Best Tournament Finals
London, United Kingdom
December 27, 2021 – 22:48

Chaos.

This is what happens after pitting seven athletes against each other, at the top of their Game, on the biggest stage.

I crack Cecilworth with brass knuckles. I’m dazed, confused, absolutely spent. The idea of going through to the final round is daunting. I can barely move a finger.

Pin attempt. Farthington kicks out. FML. I hate how his skinny, wiry frame can take such punishment. He’s a smug little prick. No bother, before I can even collect my thoughts any further I hear the commotion. I see chaos from a sliver in my right eye. Unable to turn my head, I can only assume Roberts and Pleasant are en route. Followed by my team.

Shhhhhhhh, nobody knows we’re aligned yet.

I can’t tell you how it happened but Cecilworth is lying there, again and I have the peace of mind to drape my arm across him.

The three is counted, the bell is rung.

…Bring me the murderer.

I blank out. Again. A few moments pass. I pull to a knee. My head spins… are they brawling upside-down?

As I struggle to maintain control of my surroundings, I feel a weak smile slowly creep across my face. Jeffrey James Roberts, arguably the most dangerous man in this match, is about to understand a lesson prison should’ve taught him.

“It’s dangerous to go alone.”

Succumb to them, Jeffrey. Give in. It’s okay.

It’s inevitable.

And so am I.

THUMP.

Jace, Jatt and Mario crush JJR with a triple powerbomb. I hear boos but I can damage control this later. Because what we’re doing is for the greater good. And as I slowly crawl over to Roberts, arm extended, barely able to function… what I am doing is finding my redemption.

The noise inside the arena is indescribable. There are cheers, boos, groans, screams. Blood thirsty cries for MOAR.

Chaos. Beautiful chaos only a Game like this could manufacture. And only a Level 8 OG Player like me can inspire.

I collapse on Roberts.

Count it, Hortega.

COUNT THE FUCKING PIN.

ONE.

Too bad it wasn’t you, Mike.

TWO.

If Roberts is the merciless killer I think he is, he’ll seek retribution eventually.

THREE.

Or he can fail. Join the others.

DING DING DING

AoA pull me upright. I’m handed the World Championship. The landscape of this Game has changed.

Forever.

… … … … …

O2 Arena
Post-Match Tournament Finals
London, United Kingdom
December 27, 2021 – 23:26

So here we are. I rest in the middle of the ring, night two of ICONIC 2021, 100% completed. The O2 Arena has closed, turning off its lights, ending the calendar year. The ring crew works to my right. They are taking down the staging but soon I will be vacated. Not a soul in attendance, everyone’s gone home. I sit, cross legged in the exact same spot I pinned Jeffrey Roberts to capture the #97MarioRed again.

Jace, Jatt and Mario are not with me. I said I would meet up with them later. I merely wanted time by myself… to reflect on the changes coming to High Octane.

Two months ago, I was miserable. I contemplated a hard step back, a legitimate pause. Perhaps I’d get the itch to play over the summer. Maybe watching Mike continue to succeed would push me further away. Or draw me closer. I could literally play this game of What Ifs forever. A million pathways but you only know the one you take.

As I clutch the gold/red close to me, colours I will never take for granted, I think I chose a pretty good path.

“You need me out?” I shout to the ring crew. One of the guys, Derek, looks my way and friendly brushes me off, as if saying I have a few more minutes of personal reflection.

I glance into the bleachers. I could only hear their responses. Even when lifted to my feet, my vision was blurred. I will talk to the fans upon High Octane’s return to the US. Yes, I’m developing a new edge, it’s sure to turn some people off. I’m not nearly the chipper ignorant dummy I was in 2020, head in the clouds, hoping Kool-Aid and my Game Boy would protect me at night. I have evolved. I swear, flip out, get mad. Plan. I had a hand in making sure one of us, either it be me, Jace or Jatt would walk out as champion. But while I am different, in many ways I stay the same. I have always valued friendships and losing the Grapplers Local was devastating. This time, however, it was my call. I did my homework. These are guys I want to align with.

If it costs me credibility, so be it. I’ll earn it back at the thing I do best.

Wrestle.

“Hey, Conor,” a voice behind me beckons. “We’re gonna start taking this down.”

I turn to see a few members of the ring crew clear out what’s underneath the squared circle.

“No problem,” I say with a wink. “I’ll help.”

Yeah, I’ll definitely lend a hand. I’ll tear down what’s on my shoulders to build up. Founded on wrestling, the honest truth is everything aforementioned is noise. It matters not who I’m aligned with or the person I’m becoming. The truth is I am a wrestler. Step into the ring with Conor Fuse, we go balls to the wall. My career is on the line every single night. My style will never change.

I clutch the championship as I stand in the middle of the canvas.

My ring. My home.

Fellow Gamers of High Octane, come take these four corners away from me if you can.

I dare you.

… … … … …

Dearness Living Community (DLC) – Commons Room
HOMECOMING Celebration
Chicago, IL
January 11, 2022 – 06:00

“HIP HIP HOORAY!”

We’ve had a similar event before, although this party is a little more satisfying. Three months ago I moved out, fled in a rush of depression and disappointment. Telling nobody, I packed the majority of my belongings and vanished on a Sunday night with no intention of a return.

I never meant to be presumptuous, I just refused to face my failures in front of the Elders. It wasn’t their fault I lost the World Title.

During my two months of isolation in the UK, I learned valuable lessons. One: what I did to the Elders was selfish. I ended up hurting them when I never intended. Two: I needed them; they needed me. Three: It’s dangerous to- wait, I’ve been saying this a lot lately, haven’t I? You get the point.

Anyway, I’ve made amends. The DLC is thrilled by my presence.

“We knew you’d do it,” Isaac says while clapping his hands nonstop, rocking back and forth in a lounge chair.

“Sonny, we are so proud!” Adley bellows from the corner. “Nearly shit myself at your victory!”

He wears depends. He’s not kidding.

“Fucking right! Let those assholes rot in hell and die! FUCKING DIE!! ALL OF THE ROTTEN CUNTS SHOULD MOTHER FUCKING DDDDIIIIEEE-” Margo rages like a beast on top of the poker table, eyes a blood-curling red, saliva dripping from her mouth as she screams into the crowd of Elders. Her dementia is through the roof these days, holy shit.

I feel a hand on my shoulder. “At least she’s having fun,” I turn to Walter standing beside me. He’s aged. Frail, thinned out, weaker. Yet his eyes tell me he hasn’t lost a step in the mental department.

“Good to see you, Walt,” I say, patting him lightly on the back. “I didn’t miss much.”

Walt smiles in return, answering my rhetorical statement with body language suggesting I didn’t miss a thing. I take this opportunity to open my SNES duffle bag and start handing out gifts from the UK. Honestly, it’s not a lot. London Bridge pins, a miniature statue of Edinburgh Castle, a Tottenham Spurs bracelet (apparently Richard is a fan but he changes teams frequently), etc. Everyone’s very appreciative. You know, we can make an endless joke of me living in the DLC but there are some cold, hard, heartbreaking truths. The Dearness residents barely receive family visits. They were dropped off years ago and live in this abyss. Alone. With only each other. Gifts? They never receive.

When you get old, you’re forgotten. One day I’ll be here, too. We all will. And I hope I’ll have family who won’t forget about me.

But as Walter has said before, he thought the same way.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Elder Scrolls of every old age,” I pipe up, walking to the center of the room. I command attention as the party slows to a simmer, “it’s a welcome sight. I have missed you.”

“Fucking right mother fucker!” Margo with another vibrant scream. The Elders cheer in support and I continue.

“Through self reflection, effort and some coordination of my own, I am proud to say… WE did it.” Reaching into my bag I pull out the #97, holding it in the air. The Elders rejoice, a cheer out of something like a Mad Max movie. The commons room is alive and for the first time in months, I feel at ease.

“I AM THE WORLD CHAMPION… OF THE WORLD!” I jump onto a table and howl into the crowd. More cheers. I’m invincible ATM. I could say whatever.

But I tone it down. I put the title on my shoulder. I survey the crowd, each one of them a soul who’s taught me a lesson I won’t forget.

“I want to apologize for leaving,” I begin in a much somber pitch. “It was rude of me to flee without saying goodbye.”

Their faces. They don’t want me to apologize.

“My mistakes are not yours to endure. It was wrong of me and I am truly sorry.”

I hold the title in front of me.

“I will lose this again. As my rise was inevitable, so is my fall. Maybe I will lose during my first title defense. Maybe, I’ll be able to pull off some impressive victories. We have already seen the landscape drastically change over these past two weeks and Refueled hasn’t aired. Cecilworth, sadly, has retired.”

Groans from the Elders. Months ago, we believed Conor Fuse vs. Cecilworth Farthington was a mandatory level.

“There are rumours Mike Best may also move on.”

I hear Richard in the background with an anxiety riddled cry of “why!?”

I will not lose this room. Let’s stay positive.

“For every change, it presents opportunity! Jeffrey James Roberts will seek me out when the time is right. I will wait for the moment. He is a terrifying opponent, with real world problems and a mindset unstable for appropriate competition.”

Margo cackles at the thought. Pure crimson joy.

“Clay Byrd has come so close. Unfinished business and our paths have not fully crossed.”

Louie makes eye contact with me. He’s passionate about the burly Texan. I’ll keep this in mind for the future.

“And who knows what villains return! New blood will arrive, like I did two years ago!”

I place the title on my shoulder and hop down from the table.

“My new wrestling comrades, our four-player system: Jace, Jatt, Mario and myself. I look forward to where we go from here.”

Margo screams “turn the fucking music on”. The party kicks off again as the Elders celebrate and I work my way out of the commons room.

“You won’t reconsider, will you?” Walter asks. I didn’t notice him trail me into the hallway.

I shake my head no. “I’m afraid not, friend.” While I had informed the DLC I would be appearing for a morning celebration, I also let Walt relay I would not be moving back in.

“At least not today,” I add. “I need to find a new space. Is there some kind of Chicago brothel I can relocate to?”

I say this jokingly, yet I wouldn’t mind popping my rocks off.

Placing the World Title into my SNES knapsack, I set the bag down.

“Gotta go to my old room for a moment,” I say to my favourite old man. “Care to join me?”

He takes me up on the offer. As we wander down the hall, I’m reminded of the first time I set foot in Dearness. The nameplates on the front of each bedroom door means something to me now. Yes, it will be hard to leave.

But I have to evolve.

“Here we are,” Walter greets as he pushes my old bedroom door back. Nothing’s inside, only the leftover DLC furniture, a dresser, a tv stand, night table and a bed. Walt and I stand in the center of the room, the life this place took for the fourteen months I lived here. Memories I’ll never forget.

Walter starts remembering some of them. He goes through the story of how we first met, followed by the endless days I’d lay on my bed and he, sprawled out on my gaming chair. Discussing my hopes and dreams and his childhood stories.

I walk to my bed frame, drop to my knees and lift the mattress slightly to slip my left arm underneath. Walt stops talking mid-sentence.

“What are you doing…” his voice trails as he moves in to inspect.

“Searching for… uh… eh…” I stumble, reaching around blindly. “Bingo.”

I remove my hand from under the mattress, holding the item in front of me. Walter, however, can only view the back of it.

“A mug shot?” He asks. I nod with confirmation.

“Yes,” I begin. “This is a very special person. And because of my recent WHC victory, our paths are going to cross immediately. I can feel it.”

He can’t see who it is yet. Even someone with 20/20 vision would simply find a silhouette. I’m reluctant to turn the picture over to him, as I feel my blood starting to boil at the sight of this smug mother fucker. Margo’s rage has rubbed off on me, no doubt.

We have unfinished business.

No. Scratch that.

I have unfinished business.

Finally, I turn the picture around so the wisest Elder can see. He chuckles.

Scott Stevens.

“This man did me a great disservice,” I state, flipping the picture back so I can peer into it again. “I’ve never forgotten. He will pay.”

And I know he is coming. The “victory” he recently scored ensures it. Conor Fuse vs. Scott Stevens, a definite.

Be the first in my path, Scott. The guy who feels my rage.

Because I have risen.

I have conquered.

And I’m just getting started.