Location: El Paso, Texas: Carl’s Western Wear
April 14, 2022: Time: 10:30 am
As the image comes into view we see a bell ring twice as the door to the front of Carl’s Western Wear hits it and in steps Scott Stevens.
“Can I help you?”
A voice asks from the back and as an older gentlemen around his mid to late sixties comes into view wearing tinted glasses, a black Stetson hat, blue jeans, a black button up with white designs over it, and complete with long horn belt buckle and black ostrich boots with white designs throughout. As the man approaches his customer he stops suddenly.
“Look what the cat dragged in.”
The man says towards Stevens as Scott cracks a smirk and simply utters, “Carl.” before the two men embrace in a lengthy hug.
“How long has it been?”
Carl asks as he looks over a friend he hasn’t seen in years.
Stevens replies as Carl pats him on the shoulder and the two begin to walk in the store.
“What brings you all the out here?”
Carl asks as Stevens turns towards the man with a chuckle in his voice, “I’m here to do a little shopping, if that’s cool with you?” Stevens replies as Carl looks a bit surprised. “The last time you were in here was some fifteen years ago.” Carl states as Stevens nods, “I know, but I got a big match coming up this weekend and I thought I would need some new gear for the occasion.” Carl nods and slowly motions his hand around the store. “Mi casa es su casa. Let me know if you need anything.” Carl says before leaving to let Stevens handle his shopping affairs. Stevens nods and turns his attention down the aisle and begins to walk towards the boot section.
You see, Carl and his family have known my dad for a very long time, and he has been my father’s wrestling wear supplier his entire career. Whether it’s plain or something special, Carl was always there to supply my dad and he was the first to supply my brothers and I with our first wrestling attires because we were a Stevens and we had legacy to represent.
Stevens finds the section he is looking for and begins to look at the Justin brand; full quill Ostrich styled boots.
He mumbles to himself as he looks at the sizes.
“Where is the thirteen?”
He says again to himself as he continuously looking at the pairs of boots.
Scott exclaims as he finds a pair of thirteen sized boots. Stevens places the pair of boots onto the bench next to him and goes back to the boot racks and picks out a couple of more pair of boots colored: Cognac Waxy and Tobacco Brown.
“These will do just fine.”
Stevens tells himself with a smile before walking away from the three pairs of boots and heading into another direction in the store. He makes his way past some belts before stopping and looking at the size and taking a black and brown one off of the rack and continuing to head straight.
“Where are they?”
He says to himself as he reaches the end of the row and takes a look left, but doesn’t see what he is looking for. Stevens looks to his right and sees what he is looking for passed the sea of shirts and jeans. He heads down the right aisle and doesn’t stop until he is in front of the duster jackets. Stevens browses through the selections and picks out a black and a dark brown duster and drapes them over his left arm before turning left and heading back towards where he left the pairs of boots.
“Need one last thing.”
Stevens says as he lays the dusters on the bench next to the boots and heads towards the front where the hats are. Stevens stops when he sees a couple of Stetsons and looks at the sizes before picking a couple of black ones out and heading back towards the bench where you left the rest of his wardrobe. Once the Texan returns he puts the hats on top of the dusters and takes a seat. Scott reaches into his left front pocket and pulls out his iPhone out of jeans and presses a few buttons and hits record on for the video to begin.
“Refueled 94 in Atlanta is coming up in a few days and it’s a very important show. The whole card is stacked from top to bottom with War Games qualifier matches along with the GenoSyde defending his HOTv championship against STRONK and Conor Fuse puts 97 Red on the line against his tag team partner and friend, David Noble. A man he didn’t even draft to his War Games team. A very drama filled show indeed that it would be a pay-per-view anywhere else, but that’s how special and stacked HOW is in terms of quality. The absolute best this year are going to be able to be on the card and that’s why a lot of people are going to be disappointed if they aren’t on the card.”
Stevens looks away and sighs.
“I’ll be disappointed.”
He says to himself as he turns towards the phone.
“Because standing across the ring from me is a man that could easily make quick work of me and embarrass Michael Oliver Best for the inkling for the thought of even drafting me. However, I’m sure that everyone out there is expecting me to take a huge dump on Clay and say he has no chance at beating me and I’m going to beat the shit out; blah, blah, blah.”
“That’s the farthest from the truth because the truth is I admire Clay.” Stevens nods before continuing. “That’s right. I admire Clay Byrd. Clay and I are very similar than most people know. Besides the fact we both come from Texas, we are both second generation wrestlers whose fathers dominated the Texas wrestling scene during the old territory days and I’m quite surprised they never came into contact with one another because Stevens vs Byrd would’ve headlined any arena in the South. We were both college athletes; he went to Texas playing football and I stayed around my hometown playing baseball for the University of Houston, but professional aspects of playing sports were derailed when we both injured our knees and with nothing left to do were asked our fathers to train us to become professional wrestlers.”
Disappointment fills the Texan’s tone of a possible what if could have happened if his knee didn’t get hurt.
“Our similarities continue as we got our first exposure we traveled to the Orient and began to compete for Japanese promotions because let’s be honest, they love Texas wrestlers in Japan. However, while you had to train some more I was throw into the deep waters with the sharks of Japan and I didn’t sink….I SWAM!”Stevens boasts as he points to himself. “You stayed in Japan for a long time because that was your comfort zone, but I left because I knew it was time to step out of my father’s shadow and make my own name. Make the Stevens name mean something again and since I’ve returned from Japan I believe I have done that just like you have in the last couple of years.”
Stevens informs before changing gears.
However, My admiration goes beyond our similarities. My admiration for Clay is the same I have for David Noble, Conor Fuse, Adam Ellis and the other new faces that have come into High Octane Wrestling the last couple of years. These individuals are going to be the future of HOW for years to come.”
Stevens boasts with great pride in his tone.
“I represent the last of some of the old guard along with Scottywood, Jace, and even Brian Hollywood, but we aren’t going to be around forever and when we finally call it quits we need to know if HOW is in good hands within the next five to ten years and this current crop of guys leading the way the future is very bright. However, as bright as the future is there is some current black holes that are sucking up all the light and that black hole is you Clay.”
Stevens punctuates the statement as he extends his index finger towards the camera.
“This isn’t me shitting on you, but pointing out the fact that since your debut in HOW you’ve been a huge waste of pure talent, plain and simple. You have had every opportunity to succeed and you always fail. You’re the quarterback that does great in the regular season, but when playoff time comes you always fall short. Hell, I wouldn’t draft you in a fantasy league because you’d fuck me over when Week Fifteen comes around. You’ve been here how long and you haven’t done anything of significance. When I debuted in HOW, I put Lee Best in the hospital, I won my debut match that was at a pay-per-view, and I was challenging for my first championship two weeks later, challenging for the world title a month later and winning my first championship a month after that. What’s your excuse?”
Stevens asks as he throws up his hands waiting for a response.
“It’s not like you’re not talented enough to have become a champion by now, and don’t give me that bullshit that the odds were stacked against you or anything else, the fact that you’ve always come up short as been on you and no one else. You don’t think odds were stacked against me the majority of the time because they were and the difference is a persevered while you have done nothing but complain. I’m sure you’ll bring up that I begged and pleaded for a rematch against Conor, but the difference is I had Conor beat as I dominated the majority of the match and he got lucky, you on the other hand got beat and bitched about how your shortcomings weren’t your fault.”
Stevens explains and begins to take off his Nikes before trying on his boots.
“Like I said last week on Refueled, when you and Teddy Palmer went off of the USS High Octane in your title match you said if you were in a ring you could’ve beat him and then Teddy proceeds to whoop your ass at War Games and you take the first fall of War Games. You whined about not getting your world title shot because of Mike and Farthington so your get your revenge match against Mike and you lose. You complained that the deck was stacked against you but you’re the one who took out the ref remember. Hell, Mike even threw you a bone and gave you your opportunity at the world title and you lost to Conor, but the difference between you and I nutted up and admitted defeat while you bitched that the you were by the Board and took out Conor because you came up short again. Mother fucker, I was jumped by the entire Best Alliance, had to fight off the EPU and a puppet referee, but at the end of the night I still tapped Michael Lee Best’s ass out! WHAT IS YOUR EXCUSE?!?!?!?!?”
Stevens shakes his head in disgust.
“Clay, this Sunday at Refueled is a do or die match for me because I want….no I fucking need to be at War Games because I know when I step into that cage I will be the odds on favorite to win the world title and everyone including the current champion knows this because he’s been trying to avoid a third match” Stevens says as he stands up and walks around in the black boots before taking a seat. “You on the other hand can lose and still qualify for the match because you’re HOW’s new charity case.” The Texan says with a smirk. “The reason why you haven’t been able to get over the hump and succeed at the next level is because you’ve been wrestling in a shadow. I’ve noticed it, but you haven’t and that’s ok. You probably think it is Kostoff’s shadow because you been called the next Kostoff as people compare the two of your strengths and killer demeanors. Hate to burst your bubble, but you’ll never be the next Kostoff because there is only one Kostoff and many have tried to replace the man such as Death Bringer, Austin Reeves and more, but they’ve all failed by the hands of the original.”
Stevens gets up and picks up the black duster jacket and puts it on before reaching down and picking up one of the Stetson hats and placing it on his head and the camera sees Scott Stevens standing there in the mirror looking like Clay Byrd.
“You’ve been wrestling in my shadow Clay and it’s a pretty big one to get out of. I may have done or said stupid things, but the fact remains I am the greatest wrestler from the Great State of Texas to ever step foot in this company. I’m bigger than Dan Ryan, I’m bigger than Bobby Dean, I’m bigger than Ray McAvay, I’m bigger than the Stevens Dynasty, but more importantly I’m bigger than you and I’m long past the time of trying to make my mark in this company. I have competed in War Games just like you, but unlike you I have led two War Games teams to victory in back to back years, and this year is going to be my year when I win it for myself and become a three time HOW world champion.”
Stevens finalizes before he begins to take off the hat, duster, and boots before heading to the front where Carl is behind the register.
Carl asks as Stevens nods. Scott places the items onto the counter and Carl rings him up.
“Add those two eagle buckles as well.”
Stevens tells Carl as he points to them through the glass. Carl reaches in and takes them out to ring them up as well before putting in them in bags.
“What’s the damage?”
Scott asks as Carl turns the counter towards him.
Stevens reaches for his wallet and produces a credit card and hands it to Carl.
“Now remember Carl, this is to be sent to Clay Byrd at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.”
Scott reminds Carl who nods is head and gives him a package.
“Here is your package and attire that you ordered, but this purchase here seems rather expensive for this Clay fella.”
Carl states and Scott chuckles.
“Normally it would be, but Clay is my biggest fan and I like to reward my fans especially when they are bound to be disappointed in the end result on Sunday because Scott Stevens will be heading to War Games and Clay Byrd will not.”
Scott says as he gathers his things before heading out the exit.