Posted on September 14, 2023 at 8:01 pm by Mike Best

Most people don’t like me very much. 

Man, from childhood right up to whatever semblance of adulthood I have now… what a crippling statement that would have felt like. Just admitting it. Just putting it out there, like that. I don’t really need to tell anyone here what an insecure mass of humanity I’ve been for the fourteen years I’ve been in HOW. You’ve seen it with your own eyes, week after week, year after year. I’ve never even really been shy about it– I’ve talked pretty openly about my desperate need to be liked, and respected. It’s been the focal point of blood feuds. The subject of radio shows. I came out of that closet years and years ago. 

But it was never just insecurity out of nowhere. 

For almost my entire life, I’ve struggled with low self-esteem. With really severe anxiety. Big bouts of depression. A touch of the ‘tism, if I’m gonna be really honest with all of you, just this once. It isn’t the kind of thing that people would guess after having a conversation with me, because I’m really… really good at masking. Overcompensating. Putting on a show for the rest of the world, so that it’s impossible to get a real look behind the curtain. But truth is, I’m thirty six… thirty seven… shit, in this moment I legit don’t even remember, but the point is I’m getting fucking old. My beard is half gray. My body hurts from doing such strenuous things as sleeping in a bed, or failing to stretch properly before I rub one out. Keeping the curtain up is getting to be a lot of work. The mask has seen better days. I have overcompensated to the point of complete and total mental exhaustion. So I’m just saying it. I’m just admitting it. 

Most people don’t fucking like me

And you know what? I get it. 

I’m abrasive. I’m impulsive. I do what I want and I say what I want without fear or consideration of the consequences. It would be easy to say that it’s all part of the mask, and that I just consciously push people away before they ever get close enough to hurt me. I could maybe drum up a little sympathy that way. Blame it all on trauma and mental illness. That’s pretty trendy to do these days… just shovel all your bullshit onto everyone else’s shoulders and call them intolerant of your neurodiversity, or whatever. But like I said, I’m fucking tired. I don’t feel like making any excuses for it, anymore. I’m a human being, and I have strengths and flaws and ups and downs like anyone else on the planet, and I have reached a point in my life where I think I’ve finally made it over the hill. I’ve finally reached a moment that I never actually thought I’d reach, in my entire life. 

A lot of fuckin’ people really don’t like me. 

And that’s okay.

No, really. No dramatic swerve. No impassioned statement. No long diatribe. It’s cool, I get it, I’m not for everyone. I’ve spent a lot of time with people who had to be “for everyone” in my life, and I always thought that it looked exhausting without ever stopping to realize that I’d been doing the exact same thing. Always trying to be everyone’s friend. Always wanting to fit in and get along with everyone. Finding the smallest things in common, to form literally any kind of a bridge to bond with another human being. Outside of my father, I have a weird, small family who doesn’t keep in contact very much. I never really learned the difference between healthy bonding and trauma bonding. I was just forcing myself into these people’s lives, trying to find any thread that might bind us together, and it was fucking toxic. 

You think the way I am now is toxic?  

You should have been there

You should have watched the series of inhumanly poisonous relationships that I’ve forced to work over the years, desperately changing myself to be whoever my partner wanted me to be, because I was afraid that the slightest disagreement might make them fucking hate me. All the poisonous human beings that I slowly let sap the life out of me, because it was better to have friends who were bad for my mental health than it was to not have any friends. I had no clear sense of boundaries. No inclination to stick up for myself. I just needed everyone to like me so fucking badly that I forget to ever, for a solitary second, figure out why I didn’t like myself

And I guess. Ugh. 

Hold on a second. 

Since this is apparently a thing I have to do now, if you’re reading this and think that I’m taking some deep, dark shot at you using vague subtext and a cannonball toward the fourth wall, just… stop. Just get over yourself. I’m not. Not everything is the goddamned Spanish Inquisition. Not everything is a conspiratorial plot to talk shit about you. Stop reading. Just click the X and go the fuck away. You are hate reading right now, looking for the smallest things to take offense to, and I’m as fucking tired of it as you are. 


Just stop. 

I spent so much of my life assuming that whenever people were whispering, it must be about me. That if I wasn’t in on the inside joke, that I must be the punchline. And that isn’t just anxiety, or mental illness, folks… that’s fucking narcissism. Free yourself from it. Trust me. The work that I’ve had to do on myself over the last couple of years to get mentally healthy again has done fucking wonders for me, and I really urge you to get yourself some help and get the fuck over yourself. As I sit here, typing words with no real end goal in mind, I’m not wondering what people are going to think about it. I’m not worried about the reception. I’m getting a bunch of shit off my chest that feels good to get off my chest, and if you want to go whisper about it in the corner, be my guest. You don’t have to like me. Like I’ve said a few times, and will probably say a few more: 

Most people don’t

I’m putting this out there because it’s really helping me to make some sense of my own brain. Writing shit down helps, and given my love for competition, it feels wasteful to type it up in the notes section of an iPhone and let it go to waste. But even the intense desire that I’ve always had inside of me to compete… well, that feels like it’s changing for the better, too. I’ve always made it sound like a weapon… that I needed this. That I couldn’t help myself. That I needed the love and the admiration and the respect and the endless other number of nouns I could throw down on paper, one after another. That it made me dangerous. And sure, it sounds really convincing in a wrestling promo, but it was also something really concerning for me, as I’ve gone about whatever this little journey of self-reflection is. 

If I ever truly got mentally healthy… 

…what would that mean for all of this? 

There are a lot of folks in HOW who are just happy to be here. They don’t care much about the wins and losses. They aren’t ever going to be chasing World Titles, or worrying about their standings. They just like being around. I won’t name names, but look around and they aren’t hard to find. I’ve always been terrified of becoming one of those guys… a lifer who stuck around purely because they were a lifer, more like a life sentence than a life’s passion. Part of me was always afraid to get my shit together, because I sincerely believed that my own bullshit, and my own narcissism, and my own demons were part of my superpower. Part of what kept me hungry, and vicious, and competitive. But you know what? At 97 Red, I went to war with Conor Fuse, and I left everything I had inside of that cage. I worked my ass off for that match. Trained just as hard as I ever have. Fought as hard as I ever have. Walked out of that cage with the same two championships that I walked into it with. And you wanna know something? 

It was the most fun I have ever had. 

It was maybe my favorite match of my whole career. 

No anxiety. No depression. No desperate need to destroy another human being, or remove their shoulder from its socket. I talked good shit, I paid respect where it was due, and then I fought just as hard as I ever did, just without all that fucking poison in my veins. It was so much fun that I immediately came out on the next show, gave Conor his flowers, and then challenged him to a rematch. I don’t feel limited or handicapped by the work I’ve been doing on myself, folks… I feel fucking empowered by it. Every match doesn’t feel like fucking life or death anymore. Every social interaction I have doesn’t feel like I’m pulling out a Jenga block from the row third from the bottom. I feel fucking good

I don’t think I need this anymore. 

But the bad news for Evan Ward? 

I still really want it.  I still really want to make something out of this LSD Championship run… the one championship I’ve never had a good run with, in all the time I’ve been in HOW. I still really want to remain the single greatest champion in the history of HOW, and those numbers climb every single time a title is defended inside of that ring. I still really want to talk dumb shit on radio, and flex my nuts when I win, and look myself in the mirror and see the fucking best wrestler in history staring back at me. It turns out that all of my weaknesses weren’t secretly strengths all along, y’all. 

They were just weaknesses. 

And don’t worry, Evan, I’m not gonna let you skate by on a single line in a post that has nothing to do with you. You’ve earned enough of my respect, and my ire, and my shit talk to merit a promo all of your own. I thought about trying to split time, or somehow make this all about you and your bum leg, but in the end I decided that this one is just gonna be about me. A little peek behind the curtain, the same one that I’ve been afraid of for so many years. I’ve become so good at weaponizing my demons that I’ve never taken much time to talk about them, without any other sort of agenda. 

So I’m working on it. 

I’m a work in progress. I’m a fuckin’ human being. I’ll have good days and bad day, I’ll make mistakes, and probably still generally be an unlikable douchebag. I’m okay with that. I’m not doing this for you, and I don’t really care if you believe me. If you’re one of the hate readers, thanks for stopping in. And for the very, very small handful of ride or die motherfuckers who have been with me from the beginning, I just want to say thank you. I’ve been a tremendous cunt to deal with sometimes, and trust me, it isn’t worth nothing to me that you’ve stuck by me through thick and thin.

And the rest of you?

Eh, go fuck yourselves. 

Like it or not.