”tYlEr DoEsN’t KnOw WhAt It’S LiKe To LoSe”
Sorry, Harrison, a mentor of mine taught me how important it is to attribute your quotes, no matter how fucking stupid they sound. That’s a big flex for someone busy crying about their ribs, you oughta be careful stretching those tired ass premises. I don’t know what it’s like to lose? Oh the humanity, what a disadvantage. If losing big matches is what gives you the edge around here, I must be the heaviest underdog since Bobby Dean let a German Shephard ride him cowgirl– you are the KING of losing big matches. Fuck, our ICON Title match hasn’t even started yet and you’re already piling up excuses like you’re trying to get out of gym class on your period.
But but but guys I keep thinking about some girl and I have broken ribs and I worked really hard the whole War Games period and Tyler’s dad is gonna cheat for him and he has privilege blah blah blah blah.
Shut the fuck up, dude, literally no one cares.
Man, you had so much to say and still managed to contribute nothing of value. Big Steve is Big Salty he never fought my Dad and attributed it to being used by the Best Family? Nah, dawg, you never fought my dad because by the time you backed the milk truck up to HOW, he was only fighting legends, title holders, and people who drew money. Sorry you didn’t manage to become any of those things before he hung up his boots, but sometimes an 8 is really just a 0 with a belt cinched around his waist.
That’s the best joke you’re gonna read today.
Read it again.
So salty about the Best family, and the fact that Lee Best’s balls keep turning out winners. Guess what? I had a choice, Steve– I could have stayed Tyler Streets. I could have denied my heritage. I could have pretended I never saw that little 23 And Me. But I didn’t– I embraced it, and you know what? You’d have embraced it too, if you had an ounce of Best DNA in you that didn’t come from beneath my father’s zipper.
Sorry about your shitty bad genes.
You and Clay have so much in common.
You generic fucking wrestleboy. You’ve been running from the dumb milk gimmick for years now, when it was the only thing that was ever interesting about you in the first place. You force your doctor into inorganic conversations about your wrestling career because no one else wants to talk about what you do in the ring. You’re this technical wrestling magician, but the best trick you’ve ever done was making your whole personality disappear the second you stopped selling snake oil.
Well, I guess you’re still a salesman.
The snake oil you’re selling these days is just you.
So go ahead and pull your cart around and tell everybody about how you’re going to give me a concussion and take my title, Harrison— like the rest of your adventures as an entrepreneur, no one is buying it. I’m the fucking Baby Goat and I drink milk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Shit, maybe you should bring back the Miracle Man for a week, cause you’re gonna need one— at least then, after you get Miracle Whipped, you can get those shitty broken ribs treated at the Mayo Clinic.
Maybe they’ll talk to you about your next opponent, too.
You wanna know what the saddest part of your Great Value title match promo was? The thirst. I could practically hear the rasp in your voice. Like you’d been crawling through the desert and needed a sip of water. If you don’t win this match, you’re fucked. You buried me as a do-nothing, know-nothing, trash ass eighteen year old who had the world handed to them, and now what the fuck are you gonna do? Beat a do-nothing, know-nothing trash ass eighteen year old who had the world handed to him?
Nah, it’s gonna be worse than that.
If I lose this match, I lose to a technically proficient, veteran mat technician who would be a star if he had literally even a single personality trait. That’s a pretty sweet spot to be sitting at if you’re me, my dude. Zero pressure— I got a long ass career ahead of me, and I’ve already achieved more than you have in just three matches. That’s my whole vibe, brother. I get to step into the ring and have fun and take my time, but you? Dude, you HAVE to beat me. You did it to yourself. You dug your own grave. Taking a L to the TyCon will cement you as the weakest link amongst all the crybaby Highwaymen, and that’s almost an achievement in and of itself.
Feel that, Harrison?
That’s the room closing in.
My dad would have built you up in his own mind to the point of a mental break. Convinced himself and everyone around him that this was do or die. Made himself out to be the king of the underdogs, cause that’s what he needed. That’s how he thrived. But that’s not my vibe— I love the idea that you’re gonna be sweating bullets until that bell rings, and I’m gonna walk down to that ring cool as a fucking cucumber. Because I’m confident, Harrison. Because I’m a good wrestler, trained by some of the best in the business. Nepotism got me into that War Games match, but winning it? Walking away with first place, and the HOW ICON Championship?
Motherfucker, that was all Tyler.
And I chose this championship.
The ICON Championship. That’s the vote that I cast. That’s the road that I CHOSE. Everybody in this business is chasing the bag and when Lee Best offered me one, I fucking snatched it. I’ve had exactly three matches in High Octane Wrestling, and I EARNED that choice. I EARNED the HOW World Championship, but I CHOSE to walk a different path. Max Kael in his prime. Shane Reynolds in his prime. Michael Lee Best in his prime. Cecilworth Farthington in his fucking prime. This belt is the kingmaker. This belt is where the stars are born. This is the title that made men compete for records, that main evented weekly shows, not just one title match a quarter so nobody fucked up a pay-per-view. What about your boy Boomer, Steve?
What’s his legacy?
What was even remotely memorable about your time as LSD Champion? I don’t even remember who you beat for it, and I’m practically a wrestling historian around here. Wasn’t it like, Arthur Pleasant or something? This isn’t a bit, I really don’t remember. The only moment of your entire reign that anyone is ever going to talk about it again is the moment you lost it to STRONK DADDY, bitch. But you’re asking yourself if you’re focused right now.
Focused on what, Steve?
On the ever difficult balance of your shitty dying girlfriend and your wrestling career? Man, I know I said I’m a historian, but you truly went into the vault to cut “every wrestling promo from 2005” and mixed in just enough Fisher Price to make it feel timely. If you wanna talk about focus, Harrison, let’s talk about focus. Let me tell you what I’m focused on.
I want to be the greatest wrestler who ever lived.
Period. No asterisks. No conjunctions, full stop. I wanna be better than my father. I wanna be more synonymous with HOW than his father. I’ve been training to do this since before I was old enough to drive a car, by wrestlers better than you’ll ever hope to be, and your blatant and utter disrespect of me and my family name turns my fucking stomach. This is my destiny. This is what the universe had planned for me, and some generic bald Essential Oils hustler isn’t gonna put a stop to that, just because he learned how to do a chicken wing crossface five percent better than every other mat technician in the world.
I’m gonna fucking end you, bro.
For using a running knee as a signature move, while breathing the same air that made that famous. For founding a stable entirely based on crying about how unfair it is that Mike Best exists. For being a mediocre blister on my post-adolescent taint, and thinking that the best way to fight me is to use the same generic bullshit people used to say to my dad, but put the word “Tyler” into it. It’s fucking over for you, Steve.
And you? You don’t need to pay the TAB.
We been eating on the Highwaymen for months.
“Yooooo these tiddies are ridiculous.”
Ladies and gentlemen, your HOW ICON Champion.
Tyler Adrian Best, ICON Championship slung over his shoulder, sits in the backseat of a Lincoln Towncar, swiping through Tinder on his phone. The young lady he’s just stopped on, a twenty four year old from right there in Chicago, seems to have caught his interest.
“For real though, she might be the one.” Tyler smirks, staring dreamily at his screen.
In the seat next to him, Michael Lee Best rolls his eyes, letting the air fall out of his lungs in a full on huff. He stares a hole in the side of Tyler’s head, hoping he’ll pick up on the very not subtle unhappiness in his voice.
“Get off that shit.” Michael grunts. “They just distract you.”
As expected, Tyler doesn’t listen to his father, if he was even listening in the first place. He swipes right, immediately matching with someone named “Lauren” and proceeding to the screen where he gets to send a message.
“What’s… up…” Tyler types away, adding a question mark. “Yeah, that’ll get her attention.”
He smashes the “SEND” button, dropping his phone down into his lap and adjusting the championship over his shoulder. It’s been a few weeks since War Games, but the “new champion smell” is still permeating over the eighteen year old. Winning one of the hardest matches in professional wrestling and locking down a famous championship just two matches into your career is a flex in and of itself, but when you put that accomplishment on the plate of a Best?
Ego runs wild.
“Tyler, listen to me.” Michael says, flatly. “You can chase pussy or you can chase glory. Don’t fuck this up. You wanted to be the ICON? Congratulations, you’ve now got a target on your back the size of Chicago. I need you to focus the fuck up.”
The God of Sons rolls his eyes at his father, smirking.
“More Mike Best shit.” Tyler laughs. “Come on, Bobbinnette. Don’t make everything about you. Just because you denied yourself cool shit doesn’t mean that I have to.”
He picks his phone back up, already impatient at the lack of a response. He goes back to swiping, half falling in love with everyone he swipes on– remember, he is eighteen years old, and has done nothing for three years but train to wrestle.
The man is horny.
“Look, I get it.” Mike shakes his head. “Rebel against your dad, blah blah blah, make a man out of yourself, blah. But did you ever stop to think that I did all that shit cause it worked? No fancy toys. No fancy cars. Kept the pussy to a minimum. And won more championships than half the roster has combined. Fuck, you mess around one time and end up with a kid, and you’ll–”
“I’ll what?” Tyler interrupts, annoyed. “Forget all about it for eighteen years while I build up a career and become the greatest of all time? Yeah, sounds super inconvenient. Appreciate the heads up, I’ll take it under advisement.”
Again, the SON of SONs goes back to his phone, but this time the CEO of HOW has had enough. He reaches out and snatches the phone directly from Tyler’s hands, stuffing it into the inside pocket of his suit jacket.
“Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME bro?” Tyler’s eyes go wide. “What the FUCK?”
He reaches out for the phone, but Michael pulls away and holds out a finger, wagging it like his son is still twelve years old.
“Tell you what.” Michael smirks back. “You can have it back after you walk back through the curtain with that fucking title.”
His son reaches for his jacket again, but again the CEO pulls away.
“Listen, kid.” Mike shrugs. “You chose the ICON. You put a lot of fucking weight on your own shoulders. If you took the World and lost it, hey, you’re eighteen. You’ll be back. But you didn’t– you forged your own path. You picked the hard road. You CALLED it a second World Championship. Now you need to back it up, because you won’t just be embarrassing yourself if you lose it. You’ll be embarrassing me, and the entire Board.”
Tyler crosses his arms, slumping down in his chair with a snide face on.
“All about Dad.” he rolls his eyes. “Living vicariously through–”
“ENOUGH.” Michael snaps, shutting Tyler up in his tracks. “I’m sick of it. This is not about my son or your father– the fact of the matter is that I am the fucking CEO of this company. I am your BOSS. I am also a professional wrestler, and I RETIRED that fucking title over your shoulder at the top of it’s game. I won it EIGHT TIMES, Tyler. I built an EMPIRE on that title. You wanna use it for clout? Great, that’s on you. But fucking EARN THAT CLOUT, because you CHOSE IT. ”
The elder Best slams a fist into the headrest in front of him, startling the driver. The car swerves slightly to the left before correcting itself.
“That title isn’t your reward, Tyler.” Michael narrows his eyes, lowering his voice. “It’s your fucking burden. You desecrated its grave, and shit just got very real for you. There are now consequences to those matches you like to be so chill about. So whatever the fuck you aren’t doing to get ready for this match? You better start doing it. Because I swear to God, if you drop that title to Steve fucking Harrison cause you can’t keep your dick in your pants? I’ll send you to PRIME my-fucking-self.”
He whips his head back around, back flat against the seat and staring forward. For a moment, there is only silence in the car as it rolls on toward its final destination.
Michael was right, of course.
And Tyler knew it.
From the second that gorgeous white belt had been laid across his hands, Tyler Adrian Best knew that he was absolutely fucked. That the easy ride was over. That there was no longer an acceptable “adjustment period” to High Octane Wrestling. It was on him to be “the man” right fucking now, at a time in his life where he’d hardly learned to be a man at all.
Not that he’d ever admit that to his father.
He practically groans, pouting.
“I want my phoooooooooone.”
Ladies and gentlemen, your HOW ICON Champion.