“This popcorn lacks salt.”
The LSD Champion still seated in his chair looks down at the bowl of popcorn in a disappointed manner. Much in the way that Mike Best looks when people don’t praise him enough for something he said. Jace extends the bowl outward.
“Mike? If you would, please?”
The LSD Champion tilts his head before retracting the bowl.
“You say typical Jace like it’s a bad thing. Typical Jace has been one of the best this company has ever seen. Typical Jace has beaten every single person worth beating in the time I’ve spent in HOW.”
“But, to make you happy, excuse me a moment while I look around to find where I am contractually obliged to NOT disappoint you.”
Jace raises his free hand and looks around.
“Nope, not here, sorry.”
“I understand you’re mad that I’m not as revved up for this as you are. That I’m not bringing the same standard that you expect out of me. I don’t care, however, I’m still here. I’m still going to fight you.”
“You see, Michael. There is a difference between excited and slightly amused. I put up my first one because I’m giving the people what they want. They want to see the two of us go at it. I don’t need to sit and wait until Thursday to post a promo. The people want to see you tear me down and I’m sure you’ll do that. At least, to the best of your ability.”
“EIGHT YEARS AGO! Yes, Mike, years ago I beat you not once but twice. Devalue it all you want but it still happened. You don’t want me to talk about it because you don’t want me to tell the story. Mike doesn’t like anything that doesn’t show him in a positive light.”
“You can try to spin the fact that I only beat Tyler in his 4th match. Let me ask you, how many matches did I have in HOW before I pinned you at RATR for the HOW World Championship? Couldn’t have been that many. But there I was, in my first ever HOW PPV, and I pinned the SON of GOD. I went into the match as a relative unknown against you, Brad Jackson, and Rhys Townsand but walked out as Champion.”
“See, I was dominant from the people I stepped through HOW’s doors. I went on a winning streak, the likes that no one in this company had ever seen. I was so dominant that Christopher America, three-time War Games winner and the longest reigning HOW World Champion. Decided to back down from facing me, AFTER I just won a battle royal, and gift me the HOW ICON Championship belt.”
“You remember that belt, right? 5 time Academy and all that good shit?”
“I still have that belt, the belt I beat Tyler for last year. I’m the last-ever ICON Champion. The FOREVER ICON Champion, if you will.”
“And that burns you up inside.”
“The belt you were synonymous with, I hold on my wall as a decoration when I’m not wearing it at the arena. This is why you keep trying to hammer home this ‘Imitation Mike Best’ narrative.”
“We used to be attached at the hip, sure, but let’s circle back to that RATR match. Do you remember what happened after that? If memory serves me correctly, you went away for a while to lick your wounds. And when you came back? I was the HOW World Champion, I was a member of The Best Alliance and I was main eventing every since PPV.”
“You did not like me.”
“In fact, you didn’t like me so much, that you made it your mission to try and bury me. You made rounds over the locker room trashing me to anyone that would listen. You handed out torches and pitchforks and started the whole ‘Jace is boring’ narrative.”
“You don’t remember that? Pepperidge Farms remembers.”
“But no matter how hard you tried, I just kept on winning. I broke the record for the longest reign as World Champion in that era. And that just made your hatred boil over. You went around telling everyone that I only won because I was new. That it was only because I was the shiny new toy in Lee’s hands. You made every excuse in the book for why I beat you at RATR.”
“Walking down memory lane is fun.”
“This popcorn lacks salt.”