TOWNSEND IS BACK!
You can’t linger around High Octane Wrestling since War Games and not have heard those exact words at least five times.
So, what does it mean?
Obviously, Rhys Townsend returned at this year’s War Games event. Fuck, rumor has it, he even tried to get himself on a War Games team at the 11th hour because a certain German monster got up in his feelings.
But, it’s so much deeper than that, isn’t it?
‘Townsend is back’ isn’t just a flat statement that Rhys has once again become active on the HOW roster. It’s specifically what fanboys and girls are saying because they think in four matches that Rhys Townsend has achieved, or even surpassed, the levels in the past that made him a Hall of Famer.
That’s cute and all, really, it is. Personally, I’ve been around this block long enough to be unimpressed by a little over a month of Rhys Townsend.
I get it, though. It’s that bit of nostalgia that hits you when someone, who has been gone for pretty much a decade, is suddenly back and doesn’t completely shit the bed right off the bat. The only thing is… it’s been done multiple times and it doesn’t just hold to Hall of Famers.
Christopher America, Mike Best, Dan Ryan, Evan Ward, and yours truly.
Does it make me unique? No. It honestly, doesn’t make any of us special, Townsend.
I’ve always said that Lee Best was capable of selling sand to a beach. That will always be the case and the reason why this whole roster is filled with people already in the Hall of Fame. There is a string attached to each of us and Lee Best can pull on it just enough times to make us come back for ‘one more run.’
Hell, in a past War Games event, Lee did the exact same shit with Scott Stevens. The man he had kicked to the curb and fired, but Lee needed a warm body, so, he pulled that string. Stevens came back running and for what seems like a year, he rode the wave of ‘God needed me’ and ‘God calls me when he needs a job done’, but look at Stevens now.
He’s pledged himself to TEN-X wrestling like Michael Lee Best will ever give 10 ounces of piss about Scott Stevens. You don’t want to be Scott Stevens, do you?
Or you could come back and immediately join the Alliance. Lots of people do that, Evan Ward did that.
However, It’s that Townsend called it lazy to come back to HOW after an extended leave from the company and join the Alliance. He did the one thing that OVERDONE a thousand times in HOW. Disguised himself as a member of the EPU, you cracked open Lee’s melon and then following weeks called everyone that wasn’t in the Alliance to arms. Asked them to join you.
Me? I came back to HOW and immediately joined the Alliance.
You can call it whatever you want. I’m not going to backpedal out of the fact that I did it. Nor am I going to pretend like being both with and against Lee hasn’t helped me immensely in understanding how to navigate the shark-filled waters of HOW.
Yes, Lee Best stabbed me in the eye and yes, Lee Best urinated on me.
That is the nature of the beast. We all signed up with the knowledge of what possibly could happen. But Townsend is different, right?
Townsend is all about the grind and putting in the work. Townsend wants to be booked every single week until the wheels fall off. Townsend in four matches has earned himself the right to be called Wrestler of the Month.
It’s been an okay month. You got yourself the little reward for a handful of matches. Must mean ‘TOWNSEND IS BACK!’ In 2021 I came back to HOW and did I accomplish? I won Wrestler of the Year legitimately after coming back in fucking April. I won the HOTv Championship belt and made it the prestigious title that is today.
Originally? That belt was meant to be nothing more than a title for the likes of your Stevens, Scottywoods, and Brian Hollywoods to hot potato back and forth. Something to keep the less talented engaged and have SOMETHING that they had a fair chance to compete for.
I fucking ruined that and made it into one of THE belts here in HOW. Being HOTv Champion means something in this company thanks to me. I had a 301-day reign as LSD Champion.
So, before you go comparing your return to Christopher Americas. Before you go puffing out your chest about what you used to be or how many World titles you’ve won. Take a step back and realize that nothing you’re doing is groundbreaking. No one is going to throw you a parade for doing your job. Everyone worth anything, ever in HOW, has put in the grind.
You didn’t reinvent the wheel or figure out the eleven herbs and spices.
All you did was decide to take the most basic thing you could find and try to make it your calling card. You decided to brand ‘working hard’ and you call yourself a machine? No, HOW is the machine, you? You’re just one of the few that ran off to UTAh and decided to be a knockoff ‘machine’ because you know, you lot confuse pettiness with creativity.
We’re one more week closer to 97 Red and this week? I have to go through you to get to the main event of that show and MY shot at the HOW World Championship.
So, truly, ‘WELCOME BACK, TOWNSEND.’
The Kingdom Training Facility
Wednesday, July 12th, 2023
The Kingdom was packed this week. A rush of new recruits that had signed up for lessons and a place to get themselves in fighting shape. Handpicked individuals who were no-nonsense and wanted to be the best. Trainers were putting them through drills, and others were hitting the heavy bag and perfecting their footwork. There were a few either working on cardio or lifting weights. Back inside one of the offices stood one of the owners of the training facility, Jace Parker Davidson.
He stood there with nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. He was dripping sweat and breathing heavily after just finishing a workout. He closed his eye and gulped down the anxiety that was making it hard for him to breathe. After psyching himself up a bit, he stepped onto a scale that was inside the office. After being still for a few moments, he opened his eye to see the weight as it appeared on the scale.
“Motherfucker!” He exclaimed in anger. His voice echoed into the vast majority of the building and after a few moments, the door opened.
“What happened?!” Asked the voice of his girlfriend and one-third of the ownership of the Kingdom, Samantha Tolson.
Jace stepped down slowly off of the scale and then walked around the desk near the corner and flopped down into the seat behind it. His head hung low as Samantha entered the office fully, followed by closing the door behind her. She approached him and placed a comforting hand on top of his own.
“Is everything alright?” The concern in her voice was evident to him even in his current mood.
“Yeah… I’m alright it’s just…” His voice trailed off like the next words refused to slip past his lips. Flashbacks played in his head about what had happened weeks ago inside that hospital. About the promise he was made and now the regret that was eating him alive. He gripped the knot holding the towel together tightly with his free hand. “Go look at the scale.”
He finally spat out which made Samantha raise her eyebrow. She noticed how seriously whatever was happening bothered him. She removed her hand and then walked over to where the scale sat. She looked down at it and then slowly turned to look back at him.
“I don’t see what the problem is.” She admitted as she shrugged her shoulders.
“It says that I am 243 lbs,” Jace growled. “243 fucking lbs!”
“And…?” She used her hand to gesture that she needed more context to the dilemma.
“And that means that I’ve lost ten pounds of muscle mass,” Jace explained. “I’m losing weight and muscle mass instead of gaining it.”
How was he supposed to take on a STRONK! when he was losing muscle, not gaining it? Samantha walked to the front of the desk and then leaned over. She took inventory of his physique and his muscle tone before sighing. “You look fine to me.” She said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“I don’t FEEL fine.” He protested. “The workouts I’ve been doing for years now? I’m struggling with them. It’s like my body is slowly failing on me instead of ramping up.”
“Maybe you just need a break, let your body rest.” She offered.
“That’s not it.” He replied. “This has been happening for weeks now. I’ve done everything in my power to bulk up and get stronger. I’m facing a literal human tank at 97 Red and I’m getting smaller, not larger.”
“What have you been doing to bulk up, exactly?” She inquired. “Maybe I can offer some tweaks to what you’re doing to help get the mass you want.”
He gripped the armrest of the chair with one hand and shook his head. “It’s not as simple as that, Sam.”
“And why isn’t it?” Hands were on hips now.
Many of the things that he had done over his career he had not yet shared with Tolson. He knew how seriously she took fitness and working out. She was a stickler for doing it the natural way. Telling her that he let some mad scientist con man inject him with some mystery concoction that was supposed to let him cheat his way to mass muscle like STRONK! did was not at the top of his to-do list.
“Because I did something that you would not approve of.” He confessed but held his hand in the air. “But I don’t want to hear the lecture or any other bullshit about what I did. It’s done and for whatever reason it’s not working.”
Admittance and cutting off further discussion was the choice he made. Even though he knew that somewhere down the road when things were less hectic. This would be a battle that he would have to wage. Samantha would not soon forget or forgive. She shook her head and looked down at him.
“So, what do you want me to do then?” She tried to be as supportive as possible.
“Just go and get me a protein shake. I have a phone call that I need to make.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose with his fingers as Samantha exited the office. He grabbed a hold of his phone off the top of the desk and looked down at it.
He thumbed through his contacts and then pressed the call option on the person he was looking for. He raised the phone to his ear and waited. The sound of ringing could be faintly heard until finally, the call went to voicemail. Jace ended the call before the entire voicemail message could be heard and lowered the phone.
A peer over his shoulder would reveal that the person that was calling was Shelley Greene or rather Abdullah Choi as he goes by recently. The man that turned stronk into STRONK! The number displayed beside his name showed that this was nowhere near the first time that Jace had called. He tossed the phone back down onto the desk in frustration.
“Son of a bitch.” Jace hisses as he bent over to grab his clothing. “Concussion or not, I’m fucking stupid for letting that junkie asshole inject anything into me. And naturally, he’s disappeared off the face of the earth after the fact. I should have let STRONK! just murder his ass. Every time! Every single time I’m nice to anyone it blows up in my face.”
Jace began to put on a pair of shorts and then tossed the towel away. He chewed on his bottom lip as his mind churned. He knew something wasn’t right. He didn’t feel right but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. However, he couldn’t waste all his time trying to track down Choi. There were other more pressing matters.
“Townsend this week.” He said out loud to himself. “And Dan Ryan faces STRONK! for the HOW World Championship belt.”
He exhaled through his nostrils. “Townsend is damn near 300 lbs, so he’ll be a good test when it comes to facing someone bulky like STRONK! Being 243 lbs is nothing to sneeze at but I can’t just go in there trying to match power with power.” He craned his neck a little bit. “And I’ll have to get a close look at the main event. Make sure Dan doesn’t just lay down for STRONK! while I will probably have to bludgeon Townsend to put him down.”
He rose to his feet knowing this week would be absolute madness. He’s booked to face STRONK! for the HOW World Championship belt at 97 Red but would that match stay the same or even be for the title should STRONK! lose? Would he have to find a way to face Dan Ryan if he became Champion? And then there was Townsend. Surely, he’ll want his piece… and then some… of this pie that was the current state of the main event scene.
There was no easy way out of this situation and a change of course was needed.
Let’s walk down memory lane a bit.
May 4th, 2012, do you remember that day, Townsend?
I sure do, it’s the day that you beat me for your third HOW World Championship title reign. A match that you ‘requested’ from Lee Best inside of your own arena, because that was a thing at the time, and received.
I was still wet behind the ears as far as High Octane Wrestling went but I was the World Champion. In fact, I had broken the record for the longest reign with the HOW World Championship belt in that era at 183 days.
Can you believe that? 183 days, that’s like what? Four of your World title reigns just to match my one?
Anyway, I was naive as fuck, but proud nonetheless, and then that night it was snatched away from me by you.
Why? That’s a good fucking question. I was the new kid in HOW and well, you? You were a member of the gang of people, along with Mike Best, who HATED me and did everything possible to make me go away with verbal bullying.
If I had a nickel for every single time you or one of the others called me boring, I’d be able to buy the entirety of PWA today.
But see there I was. The rookie monster that was running through the competition. How did I get there? I walked in a battle royal and eliminated John Sektor to earn a shot at the ICON Championship belt. A shot that was supposed to happen right after the battle royal. Most considered it a layup for Christopher America to retain the ICON title, the current Champion at the time, no matter who won the battle royal but something happened.
That something was me.
I was the unexpected entrant in the match and had so impressively cut through a majority of the roster that Christopher America. The guy that had a three-hundred-plus day World Championship reign this year. Lee Best’s #1 guy through everything. That guy decided to lay down and literally hand me the ICON Championship belt. America willingly chose to give me a belt rather than fight me for it. I had been so dominant that Lee Best offered me a spot in the Alliance immediately.
Naturally, I accepted and then I went into Solitary Confinement to face Brad Jackson, Mike Best, and you for the World title. A title you held at the time. A title that, if memory serves me correctly, you won by inserting yourself into a title match with some bullshit contract or something where you’d have a shot whenever you wanted.
Of course, I won solitary confinement on my very first try and became the World Champion. And then? I was in the main event of ICONIC against Brad Jackson and you, where I defended the World and ICON Championships. Where, again, I retained the World Championship. And where you… walked out empty fucking handed until Brad Jackson was outed for doing a no-no. Then you were gift-wrapped the ICON title by Lee Best. I didn’t get the title back nor I was added to a match for it because oh, let’s give Townsend something because… hey, it’s Townsend! Let’s reward Townsend for 3rd place!
I went on to make history by being the only man to enter the LBI as World Champion and win the whole fucking thing.
I was riding high, and I felt the King of the Jungle, but then I opened my mouth and mentioned that I’m going to set the record for the longest title reign in a week or so.
Rhys Townsend couldn’t have that. It wasn’t enough that I beat you at RATR, and then beat you again at ICONIC. That wasn’t enough, oh no, Townsend had infinite title shots in his pocket. You shit-talked me, you disrespected my reign, you begged Lee. You did everything you could possibly do to get that match in your arena and you won.
Was it jealousy? Was it because you had earned that shot even though I had beaten you already twice before?
Or was it because Townsend blows on PPV so let’s do it on a weekly show! Weekly show Townsend is awesome!
Then what? You held that belt for all of 51 days. You defended it against some guy named Dale Brooks, and Evan in a second defense. But then you lost it. I set the fucking record for the longest reign. I did something no one had ever done but because Townsend is Townsend, you had to piss on my parade. And you followed up that historic reign with a wet fart.
But that’s what you’re known for, right? Rhys Townsend the five-time HOW World Champion.
See here is the difference, Rhys. You have the second most World title reigns in the history of HOW but not a single one of them is memorable. No one can pick a single Townsend World title reign and go ‘That one was impressive, that’s the one above them all!’
All five of them short, unremarkable reigns. No War Games win, no LBI win, no Solitary Confinement win. Certainly, no major ICONIC main event wins. You’re the weekly show, guy. You’re the small guy that has a bunch of less-than-memorable reigns but no wins on the biggest of stages.
The man makes the title, not the other way around, Townsend.
But, fuck it, right? You’re the guy that can’t go five seconds without mentioning weed, a taco, or a sixth reign. Ha, sixth reign, because you’re THAT good? Because you’re LITERALLY entitled to it?
Because you put in the work. You do the grind. You’re willing to wrestle more in a month than any other HOW wrestler.
Motherfucker, you’ve been sitting on your ass smoking and eating tacos for a decade and NOW you want to be booked every week? Miss me with that I’m the hardest working man bullshit.
While you were gone? I put in the time, I put in the work. I’ve held the World title three times. Sure, it’s not five but my reigns meant something. I made Championships instead of just collecting them. I am the greatest LSD Champion ever. I am the last ICON Champion. I made the HOTv Championship. There isn’t a fucking title that this company has since the last era that my name isn’t synonymous with.
I rank second behind Mike as the best OVERALL Champion ever in this company.
But I’m not chasing Mike, it’s not about stat padding for me like it is for you. You can talk about a sixth as much as you want, you can keep screaming it from the rooftops like it’s a foregone conclusion. But not once have you gone, ‘I’d really like those PWA Tag Team titles’ or ‘That HOTv Championship belt would look nice on me.’
You say you respect Mike more than anyone and would love to face him but how many times has an LSD title reign escaped your lips?
This isn’t 2012. A sixth World Championship reign won’t make you better than me. Especially, when you’ll lose it by the time the next PPV rolls around.
I am scheduled to face STRONK! at 97 Red not because I begged, and certainly not because I’m Lee’s favorite person. I earned that shit. Just like I’ve been earning it since April 2021. Even though every single person on this roster has uttered the phrase ‘JPD is washed up’ at least a dozen times or two.
Do you want to be about the grind? Then shut the fuck up and stop not-so-humbling bragging about how great you think you are or were.
This week it’s me and you, I promise you. This is not your free ticket to a main event spot at 97 Red. I am not a launching pad to the spotlight that you think you deserve.
Your war against Lee and The Final Alliance is nothing more than typical Townsend trying to fast-track his way to the top. I am not your stepping stone. I wasn’t on May 4th, 2012 and I am sure as fuck not now.
But go ahead, re-tread all the same bullshit everyone else does.
Tell me how I quit while I was World Champion at the end of 2015. Tell me how I’m just a lazy, Lee ass kisser and that it just led to him bottomlining me and pissing on me. Talk about my hair back in the day or how I spend my time on Twitter.
Hit up Clay Byrd for some Onlyfans jokes. Talk about how you ‘triumphed’ over me for that third reign with 97red.
Do whatever you think is going to get you within a cunt hair of sniffing a sixth World Championship reign.
Cause that’s what this is, right? Rhys Townsend has to put Rhys Townsend above everyone else. HE’S BACK! Woe is the HOW roster. I don’t need the boys in the back to gas me up. I don’t need to be the people’s choice. Fuck, I don’t even need the respect. Why? That’s because numbers don’t fucking lie.
While I am without a doubt on the Mt. Rushmore of HOW. Rhys Townsend is trying to convince everyone that a very short sixth reign as World Champion makes him better than the rest of us.
Townsend, being the guy that puts in the work win or lose doesn’t make you great. It makes you Darin Zion.
I don’t hate that you’re back.
It’s more so that you need to go back from whence you came.
See you in the ring, Rhys.