So, you’ve found yourself attacked from behind by a giant monster man with the expressed intent of turning your world upside down. Sure, you aligned with the best and brightest of High Octane to avoid such unfortunate circumstances but inconveniently for you, in this one singular moment all of your compatriots were tied up with other business enterprises. Some were getting ready to fight their 27th match of the evening, some were involved in the “Great Frapp Attack of 2020” and that one with the singular non-cyber eye who taught you how ATMs work was probably busy procuring as many raffle tickets as a human being could hold on to. Truly the smorgasbord of insanity had aligned to ensure that the bald headed brute could really do a number on you.
See, when you’re unbeaten for an entire year, the hubris can get the best of you. You become certain that no one and no situation will ever plausible tear you down. That protruding shield of invincibility shines brightly. So, with a cocky swagger and a confident mind, you sashay your way down to the ring thinking that you have ultimately bested your boss once more. I mean, he has one functional eye and the other is adorned in some sort of S&M fetish eyepatch, how intelligent can that man really be?
Turns out enough to direct HOW’s resident monsterman to sneak into the ring and attempt to literally murder you. So, you stand ever cocky in the ring until you are slammed and jammed from behind. He may get a sneak attack on you but you know that the Group of Death are going to be there for you. They will protect you from the retribution that you more than deserve at this point. They’ll be there any second now.
Sure, you’ve just been speared out of your boots, right out of the ring, but they will be there any moment…
Okay, now you’ve been slammed head first into the ring apron, but this is not a threat, you know you will see the hulking frame of Dan Ryan any second now to get you out of this scrape…
Around the point your head is slammed back against the steel ring steps, your final thought as you barely hold on to consciousness is that maybe, just maybe, you’re alone on this one.
Then you black out.
By the time you wake up, you’re slumped in a chair in the locker room, you appear to be holding an ice pack to the back of your skull and you have no memory at all of how you even found yourself back there. After all, last thing you recall, you were giving Lee Best a piece of your mind and threatening the drunken lout that is Benny Newell with a second broken arm… so how did you get here?
Well, if you’ve ever somehow found yourself in such a situation, your life is incredibly similar to that of famed HOW World Champion, Cecilworth M! J Farthington, who we find sitting down, slumped on a folding chair in the male locker room. As his eyes slowly blink back into consciousness, he feels the sting of the ice pack he is holding up against the back of his head. His attention quickly darts towards the active television screen that appears to be playing some form of High Octane replay. It would probably be safe to assume that it is tuned to High Octane Television.
Farthington: Oh look, it’s me! I bet I had something both hilarious and witty to say… wait… why don’t I remember saying the funny and witty things? I always remember the funny and witty things!
As current Farthington notices recorded Farthington step one foot out of the ring, his attention is drawn towards the large, brutish frame of the High Octane Hall of Famer, Kostoff, sneak into the ring and line up his very dominating spear shoulder.
Farthington: I certainly don’t remember being in the ring with Kostoff. Ever. Is this from that wacky 2016 gas leak period that no one remembers and ended with Darin Zion and Brian Hollywood holding all the belts?
Cecilworth explores the television screen closer.
Farthington: Wait, that’s the World Championship around my beautiful waist. Such a perfect waist. No better waist than that. 24K don’t got shit on those hips and those hips don’t lie. Still… this is recent… still doesn’t ring any bells though… I’m sure the eMpire or the Group of Death helped me though! I’ll get out of this snafu in a jiffy. You have friends indeed Cecil! They’ll be there for you. Particularly if the heavens open and God’s special tears start to drop.
As Cecilworth looks even closer at the screen, he notices that the ring apron does not say Refueled, but rather proclaims that the show was “Resurrected” in name, some of his memory starts to return to him in a partly confused picture.
Farthington: Wait, that’s today. Wait… that WAS today. So…
The sting of pain rushes from the back of Farthington’s skull through all of his senses. Yes, that’s correct, he hears and smells his own pain, that’s how much of a number Kostoff performed on our beloved World Champion.
Farthington: This does not look good for me.
Cecilworth remains glued to the screen, having no recollection of the events that have led to his current predicament, almost watching the show replay as if a ghost hovering from above, observing his own life as it once was. You know, some real Scrooge bullshit. He sees Kostoff lift him up and drill him straight into the steel ring steps.
Farthington: JESUS CHRIST!
Cecilworth uses his non-ice packed hand to tenderly rub the back of his skull, his finger slowly rolls down the ever expanding lump that is present back there.
Farthington: Well, that explains that.
Farthington shifts the ice to the top of the lump, wincing in pain as he does so. He bites his bottom lip to control the pain shooting through his body as he focuses his mind. CM!JF tries his best to recall any of the attack by Kostoff but none of it comes to mind.
Farthington: So… he’s finally pulled the Kostoff trigger. I knew this day would come. I’ve avoided it for six years, I manage to dodge the bullet every single time but I knew this day would come. When I was at my peak, when I looked like I could not be stopped, I should have expected it. I should have expected TBD. My arrogance got the better of me, I wasn’t on the top of my game…
Farthington holds the ice closer to his skulls as a second wave of pain shoots through his body.
We start to fade out on the potty mouthed frustrations of the man glad in the 97Red leather strap. He is clearly feeling the effects of the Kostoff attack and is none too pleased about the state that he currently finds himself in.
It’s a few hours later, it is clear that the other gear that had been present in the locker room earlier has since been cleared out but our special little hero, CM!JF remains and endures. Almost unmoved since he saw him earlier, he sits spread eagled on the same folding chair, still holding the same ice pack against his head. The ice has clearly melted long ago and all the champ is achieving now is slushing a lukewarm balloon across his skull. He has beckoned the HOTV cameras back into the room, clearly trying to take account of what happened to him earlier in the evening.
Farthington: Mr. Kostoff, I hope you can appreciate that I have the level of respect to call you such. I’m not calling you Big Baldo “Sweet” Chrissy K, I’m looking dead at eye level to this camera, which hopefully means if you ever watch this, I’m making direct eye contact and while we lock eyes, you will process that I am calling you Mr. Kostoff as a term of appreciation and respect. I mean, you won’t watch this and even if you do, your dementia riddled brain will make you forget the fact that you did five minutes later but I’m trying here, okay. It’s not often that I’m such a sweetheart and I think you should really take the praise as given.
Farthington’s words catch up with him and there appears to be a glint of terror in his eyes.
Farthington: Jesus Christ, I can’t help myself, can I? I swear I’m not trying to be a sassy lad. I genuinely want to extend an olive branch and recognise who and what you are Mr. Kostoff. I truly mean that. I’m not here to make a mockery of you, that’s beneath the kind of match we’re due. Mockery is more for people like failed lounge singer and future Batman cosplayer at San Diego Comic Con, Teddy Palmer, noted LBI failure.
Farthington shakes his head in a sense of anger within himself.
Farthington: I really can’t help myself, I’m sorry, it’s just in my bones. There’s this internal being within me that drives me towards mockery and nonchalance. Some have implied that I may possess divine nonchalance but I don’t believe in that mumbo jumbo. Mr. Kostoff, you deserve respect and a healthy dose of fear, not a comedic cavalcade of nonsense.
As Farthington’s eyes continue to scrunch up in the pain that is shooting through his body, they start to darken in a manner most uncomfortable for the viewer to observe.
Farthington: I’ve done a lot here in the domain of the High Octane. War Games, Solitary Confinement, 97 Minute Iron Man Match, Infirmary Match. When I came back to this company, I thought such things were beneath me. I insisted that High Octane was nothing more than a “shitty deathmatch promotion” and for that purpose, I wanted it dead. I did not look for this wonderful rebirth like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, I wanted War Games to mark the death of HOW. The end of the most stacked Best Alliance ever put together should have presented the opportunity for them to close the door behind them. Legends one and all, they were supposed to tuck their tails in shame and never darken the doors of the company again. Me and Max were on the same page… which is concerning in and of itself… but it was true. We were there to put HOW down. I would retire as the permanent ICON Champion and I was quite happy about this fact. I could leave the industry knowing that I finally had a legacy.
Farthington drops the ice pack down on the floor below, running his hand across the back of his skull once more. The pain is slightly less than it was previously but still very, very present.
Farthington: But something spectacular happened. High Octane started to reform itself in my image. The Refueled era represented the Farthington brand more the High Octane of ages gone by. Gone were the days of coffee can ashes and live murders. Gone were the days of abortions whether they be live on air or otherwise pre-recorded. Gone were the days of the desperate to be cool kids trying to snipe their way to the top or go “RAPE EL OH EL”. Rather than that, we have stumbled upon the era of wrestling classics and hard hitting matches featuring some of the best talent on the planet. Aitch oh dub was suddenly a WRESTLING company, with WRESTLERS at the forefront.
Farthington kicks the ice pack away in the petulant child-like display of imaginary strength and power.
Farthington: But there was one puzzle piece that just didn’t quite fit the new era that had been ushered forth. One behemoth that still had very little interest in the aspects of the grapple game and was much more concerned with causing chaos and mayhem. One piece that would storm the office of the owner to put his fellow Hall of Famers through a large oak desk just because he could. A relic of a time that has since passed who had managed to stumble his way through the advancements of the world blissfully unaware of the changes brought forth.
Farthington runs his hand down his face, trying to distract from the pain shooting out from every orifice and otherwise because that’s a thing you can do.
Farthington: I’ve defended the ICON Championship and the World Championship many times over the past year. Hell, I’m close to reaching three hundred and sixty five days straight as a champion in this company and yet there was a pattern to every one of my opponents. Teddy Palmer was a wrestler, Dan Ryan was a wrestler. Doozer, High Flyer, Lindsay Troy… wrestlers one and all. I can step into the ring and I can beat wrestlers. I’ve proven that. I’ve proven time and time again that when you put me in a prize fight, I will pull every little trick in the boot to stand tall as the best WRESTLER in High Octane Wrestling.
Farthington drops his head down low, his shoulder starting to ache, a dull pain ever present in his neck.
Farthington: Mr. Kostoff, you’re not a wrestler and that terrifies me. You are HOW’s last true monster. You are the one piece of resistance in the complete assimilation of the new era of HOW. That’s why I look forward to this content. After all, you operate under a much different space and series of rules than I do. I’ve got to where I am because I understand wrestling. I understand the hows, the whys, the whens and the wheres and I know how to use these for my own personal gain. All of that is completely meaningless against an agent of chaos such as yourself. We’re not walking into Refueled on Saturday night to indulge in a game of MIND CHESS. Your mind is probably preoccupied with the one man band in your head riding the slide whistle. I don’t know how to deal with that…
Farthington slowly pauses and a smile begins to creep across his face.
Farthington: Yet. See, that’s the wonderful thing about the power of yet. You can clearly bat me around like a cat with a particularly appealing ball of yarn, the lump currently expanding in the back of my head in a testament to that. I’m a big believer in the power of yet though, my burly bald friend. See, we may have never had the privilege of stepping in the ring together in my six years of High Octane competition but… that makes me something of an unknown to you. You know people like Austin Reeves, Christopher America, Mike Best, Max Kael, Jatt Starr… but for all the years we have been here in the same space and the same time, you don’t know me, you don’t know what I bring to the table and that’s the only hope I can cling onto in the moment. After all, I know exactly who you are, I know exactly what you are. I may not have a game plan YET but I will… I will…
Farthington starts to slowly chuckle to himself, even managing to provide a cheeky wee wink to the camera. This is quick to be regretted as the thudding pain running up and down his neck starts to sharpen.
Farthington: Growth mindset.