Disclaimer: I am the World Heavyweight Champion. Again. But there’s a time and a place for that story and it’s not now.
— — — — —
Tag team wrestling. The first match recorded was back in 1901. Meant to add a different dynamic to the show, some critics believed tag wrestling would fall apart rather quickly.
Yet here we are, 100+ years later.
Sure, in a sport often so entrenched with individualism, it’s hard to find commitment to the tag team realm. A team is a marriage. Some succeed, many fail, almost everyone ends with irreconcilable differences.
Only to reconcile years later.
One player campaigns are the rage… in wrestling, in video games, in life. There’s a true sense of accomplishment making it to the top. Only you.
I’M WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION reads a lot more legit than I’VE WON THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS FIVE TIMES.
(I’ve done both of these, btw.)
Call me crazy, I still believe the true test of a man… of a gamer… is when you’re paired with someone else. Live and die by the other guy. The P2. It’s not easy.
And that’s why many people of my ilk don’t do it.
Wrestlers avoid tag teams… it’s a death sentence. Companies don’t put the same prestige on the tag titles like the world title. They should but they don’t. It is the top title in its division. Often, the only achievement. There’s no HOTV Tag Team Champions.
I began my career in a tag team with my brother. If you think family makes tagging easier, I’d ask you to reconsider and think about getting along with your sibling inside and outside the ring, to and from every arena. Live, breathe, eat, sleep, die tag team wrestling.
And yet, find the right guy, it could be the most secure thing you do with your career.
“It’s dangerous to go alone.” – Legend of Zelda with its finest and most true phrase, as the little old man in the #97Red tunic hands Link a skyward sword.
I can’t enter the squared circle with a sword in my hands. Unfortunately, I’m told this would be illegal. But I can enter the ring alongside the next best thing.
On my end, this tournament is about reclaiming my role as a tag team specialist. It’s also an opportunity and an explanation.
It will allow me the space to explain how the four of us arrived at this collective crossroad campaign. You won’t get the whole picture tonight but you’ll get some.
And this is an opportunity. For Jace Parker Davidson and Conor Fuse.
As previously mentioned, I can’t enter the ring with a sword. Once again, totally illegal.
You know what? On Sunday, I enter the ring with something better.
My new family.
Always remember: “It is dangerous to go alone.”
… … … … …
In Gorilla, right before Conor Fuse vs. High Flyer
November 21, 2021 – 20:10
I stand idly, off to the right-hand side and wait for my cue. I can tell there are concerns from the two production guys running the entrances. They keep looking over, I’m always so chipper and tonight has been a far cry from the person I normally am.
Everyone believes it has to do with me losing the World Championship to Mike Best. Of course it does, no doubt. You’d have to be an idiot to think otherwise.
But it’s not the ONLY reason I’m this down.
Is this the first big loss of my career? No. Is it my first world title loss? Yes, but this doesn’t mean I haven’t been devastated in the past.
One key difference: I had some people help pick me back up.
You think losing War Games to Sutler was easy? I was the last line of defense. I let my team down.
…Only to realize I didn’t. Because Lindsay and Teddy, they patted me on the back. Zeb was there, too. Dan Ryan had his own twisted and demented way to support me. He’ll tell you otherwise but he told me straight-up he was on his last legs. The man could’ve cracked me in half. Instead, he allowed me to approach him so we could talk. I’ll never forget that.
And now? They’re gone.
Sure, there’s still Zion. I’m appreciative of the guy. We remain friends but Zion’s a different character. He’s off in his own world.
Peering out of the curtain, I see Jack Harmen slide under the bottom rope and his theme song finishes. I thought Jack would be there for me. My childhood hero growing up. In return, he fed me to Mike Best inside the cage to kick off my 2021.
Another guy I thought could have my back.
You wanna talk about Scottywood mailing in ICONIC 2020 (more on this later). It was nothing compared to how Jack’s about to mail in this upcoming match. I can feel it. Christ, I can SEE it on Flyer’s face.
He’s on LSD, Fruit Loops or something. Putting the High in his moniker.
“Okay, Fuse. You’re up,” shouts the sound guy in my direction and I simply nod my head.
I want to do more. I want to turn and give a cheesy thumbs up. Or ask the guy if he’s played any video games lately. He’s a mild gamer. Yet this is all I can do.
I am dead inside for so many reasons.
Sometimes, I wish I could be as cold and selfishly focused as the talent I’m surrounded by. The need for no one. The desire to do it yourself. And the heart not to give a fuck.
My theme hits. I walk out from behind the curtain.
… … … … …
Bathroom, Post-Match Fuse vs. Flyer
November 21, 2021 – 20:25
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” I say to myself, bowing my head as I run my hands through the water tap below. Splashing some cold water on my face, I look up and see the same empty reflection looking back. I made quick work of High Flyer, like I said.
“He’s dead inside,” I mumble out loud, talking about Jack Harmen. However, I realize I can’t help him and he can’t help me.
He’s too far gone.
It’s devastating, the man I looked up to. I can forgive the past. Sometimes Jack’s unstable. It’s why I was drawn to him when I was young. FFS, my subconscious talks to me in the form of a forty-five-year-old Conor Fuse so I’m in no place to judge mental stability.
I’m starting to realize losing the World Championship was only a piece of the reason as to why I find myself depressed.
I wish I could help you, Jack but you’re not long for this Game anymore. Could I have done more when we fought? Could I have inspired you harder?
Heartbreak, divorce, relationship issues. These are the topics driving clinical depression. But it doesn’t have to be with a spouse. Everybody needs someone. Even Mike has Cecilworth and I have no doubt when the two of them are forced to come to blows it will be something they may not handle well.
“You choose your own narrative, Conor.” I recall. There has to be someone in High Octane who will be there for me and I, for them.
At the time I didn’t know… the two people who were looking for something similar were right under my nose all along.
… … … … …
Outside the Arena
Glasgow, United Kingdom
November 14, 2021 – 20:25
A week earlier, I found myself sitting outside the SSE Hydro Arena with no intention of going in. Thinking of quitting, I dragged my ass to the event but stopped before entering.
And then he approaches.
Jatt Starr: Hey Champ….er….Sport. How’s it going?
Jatt Starr: HEEEEEEY SPORT!!! YOU OKAY????
Jatt Starr: Is he deaf?
Some Dumb Sounding Bugs Bunny Voice: Maybe he’s just ignoahing you.
No shit. I don’t bother looking up. I hear who it is and I don’t engage. I’ve hated this man since he beat me at last year’s Rumble at the Rock. I sought revenge and I achieved it. I took his stupid Tag Team Championships and crushed his World Title dreams. It was his first title shot in like fifty years.
Jatt Starr: Hey there, Conor. Look, the Thane of Starrkarth gets it! You lost. So what? We all lose. I got beaten by Sektor, a shittier Mike Best wannabe, which is, quite frankly, far worse than losing to Mike. But hey, guess what? The world hasn’t ended. You’re still here. You’re still one of the most talented wrestlers I have ever had the privilege of beating.
Okay, fine. He’s not that bad of a guy. You’re sad, he’s happy. He could be berating you right now.
But he isn’t.
Jatt Starr: Annnnnnnnd…..you successfully defended the HOW Championship against me! If that didn’t legitimize your Championship reign, I don’t know what else would have! The point is, you need to look at the positives. And you should positively walk up to Mike Best, tell him he’s the Turbografx 16 of the HOW! Yeah, it looked good when it first came out, but ultimately it sucked as a machine! And Mike Best, the snivelling coward that he is, assaults poor Clay Byrd, who finally won a big match. You should walk up to that itchy codpiece, give him a bitch slap to the face and say “Mike Best you are a twitshit”….I was gonna say dipshit but then I was gonna say twit…whatever….what the Ruler of Jattlantis is trying to say is, you need to piss on his parade, mark your territory!
So I’m not really paying attention to this gibberish but he has a point. I also can’t help but think Sutler wouldn’t do this for me. He’d laugh in my face.
Sutler, the guy who was supposed to be my sworn enemy. Then he vanished. RAGEQUIT, when Conor Fuse put him down.
So let me get this straight: I have no friends and no villains either.
Jatt Starr: DOOOOO YOUUUUUUUU UNNNNNDERSTAAAAAANNNNND MEEEEEEEE? BLINK ONCE FOR “YES” OR TWICE FOR “NO”.
In a weird and twisted way, Jatt has been there time and time again.
Jatt Starr: Listen to me….right now, you are at a crossroads….you can sit here and feel sorry for yourself when things don’t go your way….like a Scottywood or a Bobbinette Carey, for example, and then bitch and moan and complain and throw tantrums, blame everyone else because you’ve got a limp noodle from years of humping barbed wire hockey sticks or because without someone named Mario Maurako in your life making you relevant, you are a cold, shrill spinster of a woman who has more sand her vagina than Death Valley….which, incidentally, is also the name of her vagina….
You know, Jatt chose me when I entered High Octane because he felt I was a threat. A Hall of Famer, seeing something in me after what, two matches? I’m honoured.
We emulated each other. I watched him closely. It’s almost as if I’ve liked him all along.
Jatt Starr: The point is, you don’t want to end up like them and blame other people for the problems they themselves caused. Well, there is only one thing left to do knowing you’re feeling down, I found this puppy and I am giving it to you.
Is one of his puppets holding a puppy?
It’s for me?
This guy can’t be serious. There’s no way he knew I would be here.
I haven’t said a thing.
Well, I see them walking away now. The look on Jatt’s face. I don’t think it was an act. He genuinely seemed concerned for my well being.
“Thanks,” I say softly, seeing the backs of Jatt and his henchmen. I figure he can’t hear me but on the odd chance he does, I want him to know… perhaps he’s not a bad guy after all.
… … … … …
M&S Bank Arena – Backstage
Liverpool, United Kingdom
December 12, 2021 – 14:00
Early arrival. I’ve been feeling much better recently. Taken the time to heal my physical and mental scars from Rumble at the Rock and I’ve made a commitment to call out my ICONIC opponent later tonight. Already told the production team I’m going out there. Later on they’ll come back with the schedule.
My time in the U.K. has been different than any other. I have barely done a thing but rest. Usually after every event, I go over wrestling footage. An announcement was made weeks ago Jace and I would battle for #1 contendership to the World Championship. Typically, I would study JPD until my eyes burned.
But I haven’t.
I’m going into this match blind, much like I went into my only other encounter with Davidson, an HOFC match, completely overlooking him for Mike and the would-be champion at this time, Cancer Jiles.
I ate a curb stomp for my troubles.
“You’re walking into the same trap, dude.” I say to myself with much more cheer in my voice, although I’m still scolding myself. “Dude, dude, dude.”
Approaching my locker room, I can’t help but hear a noise from down the hall. There, to my right, off in the far distance is the opponent of my thoughts.
He clearly hasn’t noticed me. He enters what I can only assume is his locker room. They’ll be no tracking him down tonight. No video game controller or best wishes to hand out here. I’ll see him in the center of the ring. I’ll tell him face-to-face.
Entering my own locker room, my mind still wanders. He has been an overlooked champion here in 2021. Everyone’s focused on Jeffrey James Roberts now but this man did the most he could for the HOTV Title, too.
He’s the #1 !RANKED wrestler in High Octane. Yet still not a key focus. Not when compared to Mike’s return. Even a Cecilworth seems to draw more hype.
It’s not fair. His HOTV defenses were legit. His skills are solid. High flying abilities mixed in with solid ring awareness.
And he’s been to the top of HOW. WHC, three times.
I hear the critics. “He didn’t do it in HOW’s best era!” Like it’s JPD’s fault who signed contracts in 2015.
The man won a War Games. Two more World Championship reigns than myself. Three more than 95% of these fanboy critics who have undermined his accomplishments.
No. It’s not fair to him. Perhaps I should have spent the past two months not feeling sorry for Conor Fuse and studying JPD tape. Because I might be in serious trouble come ICONIC.
“Well,” I say to myself, “you two are similar in a lot of ways. He’d make one hell of a partner.”
ATM he’s my opponent. I know his history… but otherwise Jace the person is a mystery. Maybe I’ll need to find out more about him.
Sooner or later.
— — — — —
(Can’t forget about the match at hand so…)
HELLO Scotty’s gOOns,
Not gonna lie, I was looking forward to taking another crack at The Hardcore Artist. When he mailed in ICONIC 2020, it always bothered me. A Hall of Famer. A real legend. A guy who can legitimately go toe-to-toe with Mike Best in the ring… AND on the mic.
…Only to show up half in the bag for our opening contest.
“You smell of beef and cheese,” quotes Conor Fuse doing a cosplay of Will Ferrell’s Elf, as this shell of his former Hardcore self stumbles into the ring. And to think it’s simply because the New York Rangers bumped Alexis Lafrenière to the 4th line.
At least that’s my understanding, winky face.
Anyway, bygones are bygones, right? Scotty, you still did more for my career than I could’ve imagined. You put a chipped hockey puck on my shoulder and look what happened one ICONIC later.
(Said I wouldn’t go there but had to pump my tires once, gimme a break.)
So, I thank you, Scott Woodson. I’m sorry you lost your COO shares; your hair looks nice tho. Anytime you wanna play CHEL, I have a controller wrapped in barbed wire with your name on it.
You helped me. No sarcasm.
Now I’d like to return the favour.
Goons, be ready. I’m on a whole new level with a brand new team.
And if six of the best in HOW’s Murderers Row couldn’t stop The Vintage from claiming the achievement he desired…
What the fuck makes you think either of you can?