Posted on May 8, 2024 at 6:35 pm by Silent Witness

“How much do you care about this match?”

Shyla Adams’ question was a fair one. This would be the third of four weeks in a row that Silent Witness was set to share the ring with Mike Best. This week’s tag team match and last week’s appearance as special guest referee were to be bookended by two World Title matches, and it was understandable to wonder just how much this one mattered. After all, the big prize was on the line next week, not this week.

Silent Witness – back in the podcast studio that he had increasingly been using to talk all things HOW – took a moment to ponder how to respond. There was no point lying about it, pretending that this was as important as a match for the HOW Title.

“Well, I like winning, Shyla,” he began. “Winning breeds confidence, gains momentum… Hell, if we win this week and I beat Mike Best for the World Championship next week, that would put him on a four-match streak without winning, and I would be responsible for three of them, with an involvement in all four,” he added. “I mean… has that ever happened to Mike before? When was the last time he even went two matches without winning? A win for myself and Drew this week would put some doubt into his mind, that’s for sure. So, I care about it more than you might think.”

“But not as much as next week, right?” came the response from Adams.

“I mean, of course next week is the big one,” explained the former World Champion. “The plan is to win both, Shyla. I want to be HOW World Champion, the face of the company. Part of that is showing up, giving the fans everything I’ve got and proving that I’m worthy of that mantle,” he added. “Mike has been slacking on that this year, although I can’t really blame him. Davidson had him in some fucking stupid matches to prove some kind of point, it was inevitable that motivation would be lacking.

“And I’m really excited to partner with the LSD Champion. He was impressive last week, his quick thinking to pull Mike away from the apron was a huge contribution to his team winning and I think he has a bright future. The kid is, what, 22 years old, something like that? He’s going to do great things here.”

Silent Witness was telling the truth, though his hesitancy to discuss anything to do with his rematch next week was obvious. He was keen to make sure the attention this week was kept solely on his match this week. There would be time to address Mike Best and the HOW World Championship next week. Luckily for the Hall of Famer, there was an easy way to do that – talk about the other guy on Mike’s team.

“Plus, it’s an opportunity to right a wrong from March 2 Glory. Steve Solex – and John Sektor, if I’m being honest about it – got the better of me that night and Steve deserved his win. On Friday night, I have a chance to prove to him and everybody else that I am every bit as good as him” concluded Silent Witness, successfully turning the conversation back to the tag team match this week, instead of the match everybody was excited for next week.

“If Solex beats you again…” began Shyla, drawing a glare from her co-host, to which she chuckled in response. “I know, I know… but if he does – and I’m talking about if Solex gets the pinfall to end the match, against either the LSD Legend or the LSD Champion – do you think he deserves a shot at the LSD Title?” she asked.

“Oh, absolutely” came the immediate response from Silent Witness. “I think regardless of what happens on Friday night, Steve Solex belongs right at the top of that contender’s list. In my opinion, there are four people in HOW right now that are absolutely dominating everything. Steve Solex is one of them. Mike Best is one of them, whether people want to accept that or not – he has been underwhelming by his own standards, but he’s still Mike fucking Best and it’s a testament to how good he is that anybody even doubts him. John Sektor is one of them, and, I say this with no ego, I believe I am one of them…” he paused, cracking a smile. “Ok. Maybe a little ego…” he added, laughing.

“My point is, you could put any combination of those four people in any match and it’s a toss-up who wins right now. So yeah, Steve Solex absolutely deserves a shot at the LSD Title. Hell, I’d gladly give him a shot at the HOW World Title after I win it next week” he added, instantly regretting it.

The follow-up question from Shyla was inevitable. “So you are thinking about next week’s match… Are you worried that you might be overlooking this week’s match a little bit?” 

Silent Witness sighed. He knew he had fucked up, he should have shut the fuck up after giving Solex his flowers. Too late now, he had to address it.

“Of course it’s on my mind, Shyla. It would be on anybody’s mind. A match for the HOW World Title? Fuck yeah, I’ve been thinking about it. But I’ve compartmentalized it. This week is about standing alongside one of HOW’s brightest young talents and beating two of HOW’s highest-level talents” he explained.

“I said earlier that beating Mike here would cast doubt in his mind. Well, equally, he will be looking at this as an opportunity to remove those doubts – for himself and anybody else that thinks he’s on the decline. It’s an opportunity for Steve Solex to prove that he deserves a shot at the LSD Title. It’s an opportunity for Drew Mitchell to prove that he belongs in the same ring as three of HOW’s leading wrestlers, and that if Solex does get a title shot, that the kid can hold his own…

“… and it’s an opportunity for me. Like I said, I owe Solex one for what happened in New York, and any time I’m up against Mike Best, I want to win that match. That’s a statement win, every time. Just ask Hanson, I’m sure he’s still on a high from last Friday – and he fucking deserves it. Even if he did hit me in the head with a damn chair…”

“About that” interjected Shyla Adams, pouncing on the opportunity. “I have seen a lot of comments online that you may have stepped in front of Mike and took that chair shot on purpose. There are a lot of wild theories about it, but the general consensus is that you didn’t want to give the World Champion any excuses when you meet next week. What do you have to say about that?”

Silent Witness smirked. He had also seen similar theories and questions on Twitter – fuck calling it X, it’s not owned by Noah Hanson – and had found it all laughable.

“Why the fuck would I willingly get smacked in the head with a steel chair, Shyla?” he asked. “I was the referee for the match. I was distracted, as is wont to happen in tag team matches sometimes, and I was a step too late to stop it. It didn’t even cross my mind who was swinging the chair or who was getting hit, I just tried to stop it” explained the HOW veteran. 

And it was true. Sure, he could understand the theories to a point – he had made no secret of the fact that he wanted to beat Mike when he was at his best, when he was motivated. But a chair shot to the head still affecting him two weeks later? That would have to be one hell of a hit…

No, Silent Witness had no ulterior motive for getting involved in that incident. He was just trying his best as a referee… annnnnd probably showing the world that he’s much better as a wrestler than an official. Getting smacked in the head – to protect Mike Best, no less – was not on his agenda last week. Or any week, for that matter.

But something wasn’t sitting quite right, and Shyla knew it. This was all far too respectful from Silent Witness.

“I have to be honest with you for a second…” she began, ominously. Silent Witness furrowed his brow, a little confused. “ I think you’re holding back. I think you have a lot more to say about your opponents, but you’re too focused on avoiding saying anything controversial, because of your respect for your opponents,” she added. “But I can see through all of it, and that means the listeners will see through it, too. So, I want to give you one last chance to speak your truth, right here, right now. Or you will lose the respect of your own fans” she concluded.

It was a harsh assessment, and Silent Witness was proud of his co-host for having the courage to challenge him like that. Especially because he knew it was true. He nodded his head gently, acknowledging Shyla’s statement while trying to think how best to respond. He took a deep breath, leaned back for a moment, then moved towards the microphone.

“Maybe you’re right, Shyla,” admitted the veteran. “Maybe I’m being too kind to Steve and Mike. I absolutely respect them, and I have tried to keep things friendly… but maybe I should be completely honest” he added. “Friendly doesn’t win wrestling matches, after all…

“So here goes. Michael… I applaud your… let’s call it survivability. Because that’s what you did when we fought, and you did it well. You know that’s all it was, and I know that’s what it was. I also know that you turned to Jim Cornetto- what’s his name again? Corn… something… You turned to him because I woke you up. The coasting era of Mike Best is over, thank fuck. Before March 2 Glory, you asked for somebody to remind you who you are, and I did that. I fell short of taking the belt from you, and that’s something I will address next week. But I woke you the fuck up, I made you put some effort in for the first time in… how long? Months? Years? I suspect the latter. In a weird way, I’m glad we drew that match – it will make ripping that title away from you next week even sweeter, knowing that you’re wide awake for it, at last…”

He paused, taking a moment to compose himself.

“But this isn’t next week, and this isn’t about the HOW World Championship. This is about beating you here and now. It’s about letting you know that it doesn’t matter who you turn to for an extra three percent, because you weren’t at 97% to begin with. Stop deluding yourself. I say that with love, my friend…”

Taking another moment to compose himself, Silent Witness took a deep breath, before his eyes glazed over. Any sign of emotion was gone, he was running on instinct alone now.

“Steve Solex. I respect you. I respect what you have done for this country. I respect you as a wrestler, and I respect you as a man. And that’s why I feel comfortable enough to tell you this:

“Nobody gives a fuck about what you did in Afghanistan. For any one of a million reasons, buddy. It could be political reasons, it could be humanitarian reasons, it could be because of all the news stories of soldiers doing everything but putting grandmothers in a camel clutch. Nobody gives a fuck. Nobody gives a fuck how many war-torn widows sucked your dick so that you wouldn’t shoot them in the head. But that isn’t why I don’t give a fuck, Steve…

“I don’t give a fuck because it is not fucking relevant. Shit, give me an M4A1 and I’ll assassinate my opponents like my name is Noah fucking Hanson until I’ve won every possible match there is to win and I hold every title there is to hold…”

He paused for a moment, shrugging.

“Well, maybe not like Noah. He never actually shot anyone. But you get my fucking point, Steve. Congratulations, twenty years ago you helped a corrupt, authoritarian regime topple a different corrupt, authoritarian regime. That’s going to be super fucking useful when you step in the ring at Chaos. Leadership isn’t knowing when to follow, it’s knowing when to lead. The clue is in the fucking name, Steve. 

“But I understand it. You can’t lead, can you? You’re teaming with Mike Best. El Capitan himself. How fucking dare you even think about taking the reins and telling that arrogant prick to pipe down and listen, right? He’s Mike fucking Best so you have to trust him to lead the way. And you can definitely trust him, because he said you can and he has never lied about that…”

Silent Witness paused again, allowing his sarcasm time to breathe. After another deep breath, he continued.

“Michael Lee Best doesn’t know how to lead. But he absolutely knows how to manipulate, and that’s what he will do on Friday night, Steve. You are a pawn on his chess board. Nothing more. And you fucking know it. He couldn’t care less about you and your PTSD-riddled head if it was his grandmother you face-fucked in the desert. He will sacrifice you at the first opportunity he has to win this match for himself. I know this because I’ve seen him do this to a dozen people. Hell, he’s done it to me.

“And you know it because you’ve seen him do it. Fuck, earlier today he told you that you can trust him because he was so sincere about all the reasons you can’t. But the only thing he was sincere about is that you can’t trust him when he wants to win… Do you think he wants to win, Steve? He hid behind the World Championship as the reason for fucking you over at March 2 Glory – and we can all agree that’s a damn good reason – but do you think he won’t do it again, when he’s coming off the back of a loss to Noah fucking Hanson? When Noah’s partner for that match is in this one, too? And he couldn’t beat me a week before that?

“Of course he will. He’s on a losing streak, and he’s uncomfortable. He’s the son of God, right? Well I’m not a religious man, Steve, but I know this one passage. Jeremiah 13:23: ‘Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? A leopard never changes its spots.’

“Well, like a leopard will never change its spots, a cunt will always be a cunt, Steve. And Mike Best is an Amber Heard-level cunt. He’s a cunt so cunty that Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t even sell him as a fucking candle. 2009 John Mayer wouldn’t put his penis in that cunt, and that dude fucked everything

“You’re an intelligent man, Steve. You know that when Mike Best says he’s on your side, he really fucking isn’t. He’s only ever on his side. I know, without ever speaking to the man, that I can trust Drew Mitchell to do what’s right for our team, because I’ve seen him do it. I know that Drew will do whatever it takes for us to win, not him. And I’ve seen your partner do the opposite, time and time again. So I know I can trust my partner…

“Can you say the same, Steve?”