My name is Michael Best, and I have an anger control problem.
I don’t mean that sometimes I get a little angry. I’m not talking about little pissbaby tantrums, or late night Twitter rants about shitty third-rate wrestling promoters. I mean that the United States court system once forced me to see a clinical psychiatrist, who promptly and sincerely diagnosed me with a neurological impulse control disorder characterized by fits of uncontrolled rage. Aggressive outbursts. You can be a normal son of a gun for twenty three hours and fifty minutes, but for ten minutes out of your day, you can turn into a walking bulldozer for absolutely no reason at all.
It’s called Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and I have it.
Yes, it’s a real thing. Google it. I was clinically and legally diagnosed, and I have been a literal card-carrying member of this rare little club since 2012. See, it’s like Tourette’s Syndrome–they give you these amazing little business cards that say shit like, “This is a medical condition. There is no cure. I am grateful for your understanding and empathy.” People who otherwise would have called you a fucking asshole will bat their little doe eyes at you and call you “brave.” For fuck’s sake, I am protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I have a fucking handicap placard for my car, folks.
That means that not only am I ninety percent more likely than you are to get away with beating the Walmart greeter with a bag of oranges, but I get to park closer before I do it. The worst diagnosis of my life had become a blessing in disguise, because the creature I’d evolved from had been a pathetic little shit, and I was glad to see him go.
See, I’d made a career out of being a trash talking, shit slinging coward. Despite years of technical training and the precise amount of talent needed to survive and win, I had always made the logistical choice to run away. Being a coward was in my nature. It kept me alive, and it kept the fans clamoring for me to get fucking murdered week in and week out. In essence, it’s what made me the biggest ratings draw in the company. But all of a sudden, I began to realize that there was a lot more “fight” than “flight” in me. That the rush of stepping into the ring wasn’t in ducking under the ropes and running away, but in staying for the violence.
I felt invincible.
I loved every goddamned second of being a legally recognized fucking maniac, and through the suffering of my enemies, I found the greatest successes of my life. It’s that power and anger that put a Hall of Fame ring on my finger. It’s that drive and aggression that made me the winningest champion in the history of HOW. It’s that pure, unadulterated rage that made me the scariest motherfucker in the wrestling business. I wasn’t sick; I was empowered.
And then modern medicine fucked it all up.
After a particularly egregious medical outburst inside of Red Lobster, a court ordered me to maintain a strict regimen of medications in lieu of a felony conviction. The free ride was over. A million whiny little doctors prescribed me a million little pills in a million little bottles, all meant to warp me and modify me and break me until I conformed. Until I was docile. Until they’d sucked every bit out of me with science and replaced it with happy, numb, chemical reactions.
And boy, was I numb.
See, lithium is a hell of a drug. Six hundred milligrams of sodium-altering superdrug coursing through my system, each and every day, to rape and pillage my nerves of any kind of excitement. Any kind of mania. I wasn’t angry anymore. I wasn’t anything anymore. A vaguely smiling man-puppet wearing a Mike Best costume, who spent his days shopping for plaid jackets and wrestling in Key West, because he didn’t give a fuck about anything anymore. I hadn’t saved myself from going to prison–I’d traded one set of bars for another, and I was trapped inside of my own personal solitary for three fucking years.
At least I was, until I dumped that lithium into the fucking San Francisco Bay.
A million little pills from a million little bottles from a million little doctors, floating down into the abyss as I stared out across the ocean, five days out from the last time I’d put that poison into my body. I felt shitty and sluggish, like a prisoner who had just been let out of his cell and out into the sunlight. Years of indoctrination and chemical cult worship had reprogrammed my brain, and suddenly I was working without an operating system.
It was like learning how to walk again.
My mind had begun to atrophy, and my once sharp edges were dull and rusted away. The battle against Christopher America at Rumble at the Rock was sloppy and inelegant. People thought I was just out of shape, but I didn’t have an ounce of ring rust on me; I’d been getting in my cardio just running circles around the OCW roster week in and week out. The truth was that while I may have stopped stuffing pills into my stupid face, they were still in my blood. Still in my cells. Still in the stored fat within me, ready to leak into my nervous system every single time I broke a sweat.
I was recovering from medical fucking brainwashing.
The return of the HOFC Championship was never just about having something to carry around with me. It was never just about proving I belonged in the eMpire. The HOFC title was a symbol of what I used to be; a symbol of the belt that retired when I did. When I fucked off into a medically induced soul coma, for three goddamned years, and as it made its glorious return to High Octane Wrestling, so did Michael Lee Best.
The real Michael Lee Best.
I was begging them to make me angry. Begging Noah Hanson to show me some fire. Begging Scott Stevens to take me to my limit. Begging Brian Hollywood to bring out the beast that lived inside of me, to awake him from his lithium slumber and unleash him on the world. Desperate to prove that I still had my killer instinct. That it wasn’t just the medication that I was keeping me down…that maybe I spent so many years on the leash that I never stopped to realize I’d become domesticated, all on my own.
And little by little, it was working.
I could feel it coursing through my blood again. Not shitty fucking drugs, but real, unadulterated adrenaline. Anger. Rage. The sensation of seeing fucking red, and waking up in front of ten thousand screaming maniacs, over the body of a half destroyed inferior. No longer a slave to my anger, but the master of it. No longer the passenger to a disease, but the harnesser of it as a fucking weapon.
I am fucking back.
All my years of wrestling training, all the experience I have to call upon, doesn’t mean anything to me right now. It’s like the annoying green code from the Matrix, scrolling down the screen in my head but I can’t fucking read any of it. All I can think about is pain. All I can think about is the feeling of a human being’s neck beneath my boot, and what it might be like to twist that boot until his fucking neck snaps and there is nothing left. Listening to the crowd go quiet as they realize I have just taken a human life in the middle of Chicago, Illinois, and that the show might stop right then and there.
They call this a disorder, but it sure as shit doesn’t feel like one.
It feels like home.
I think I’m the most dangerous man in High Octane Wrestling. I think all the years I’ve spent being a fuck-around and playing Jesus have made my father resent his only son, and now I can see clearer than the clearest fucking day. He doesn’t care if I have the title. He doesn’t care if I’m in the fucking eMpire or not. He wants an animal; he wants to watch me tear out The Industry’s throats and suck their fucking jugulars dry like a goddamned jungle cat. He wants to watch me tear shoulders out of their fucking sockets; not just to end wrestling matches, but to really fucking end human beings.
He wants me to end careers.
Because I can.
Because the weak should be subservient to the strong.
When I smashed that steel chair over the head of Lindsay Troy, I didn’t do it because I was weak. I did it because I was strong. Because losing that match was worth it just to hear the horror of the crowd as she hit the mat. Worth it, to see the glaze over Dan Ryan’s eyes, as he knew there was nothing he could do to help her. Worth it, to demonstrate that the Group of Death requires sacrifice. I took something away from the Industry on that night that they will never get back, and I fucking changed them.
As my fists bounced off of MJF’s unprotected skull, rubbed raw against bone, I felt like a fucking God. Like there was an overheating boiler lodged in my chest, ready to explode at any moment, and the big metal door that kept it all in check had been ripped directly from the hinges. I wasn’t driving elbows into the back of her head until she was limp and fucking lifeless because I wanted to win by knockout. I only stopped because I had to. I did it because she was weak and I was strong. And when I walked away from that piece of art I left in the ring, brush strokes in crimson, I took something away from MJF that she will never get back. I fucking changed her.
The Group of Death has changed the Industry forever.
They just don’t know it yet.
What I did to Flair was a warning shot, and you’re next, Harmen.
High Flyer, the consummate fucking whiner of the Industry. I’ll be straight up with you, Jack, I don’t fucking like you. I don’t think you’re funny, or wacky, or zany. I don’t find you charming. I think you’re the wrestling equivalent of a twelve year old girl who tells all of her friends that she’s bisexual and is always yelling about, “OMG I AM SOOOOO RANDOM.”
Maybe if you spent half as much time preparing for matches in 2019 as you spent talking about cowards and knives and fucking dinosaurs, you’d be the LSD Champion right now. Maybe you’d be the World Champion right now. But you’re not, Jack. You’re not, because you’re artificial. Because you are the definition of “all talk, no action.”
Well guess what, bitch?
I am everything you pretend to be.
You’ve screamed so loudly about bringing literal death to the eMpire that the world has grown deaf to your bullshit. You’ve threatened us with knives and guns and literal murder, but now you’re talking to the man who has DONE IT. To the man who has taken a life, Jack. To the man who knows what it feels like to extinguish the spark, and let me tell you man to man…
You’re not cut out for it.
You’re a good little wrestleboy and you can have all your head pats. You fly through the air real pretty, and you can wrestle the hell out of a man in a straight jacket, but you don’t have the stones to look the devil in the face and watch him take his last breath, Jack. You just don’t. You think you know pride, and you think you know vengeance, and you think you know ANGER… but I know something you don’t know.
I know that you’re putting on a show.
Maybe it’s for the fans, maybe it’s for the Industry, or maybe it’s for yourself. I don’t know and I can’t know why you tell the lies you tell, Harmen, but if I put a gun in your hand on Saturday night, and I put it to my temple? If I gave you the opportunity to get rid of me, once and for all, and end the eMpire forever? Well, friend, I know with my whole heart that literally, metaphorically, or figuratively alike, you couldn’t pull the trigger. And that’s unfortunate for you, Jack.
Because I’m a fucking killer.
I want to hurt people. When you pass me on the street, know that with every passing moment, I’m losing my ability to not just grab you by the fucking throat and slam the back of your head into a post office until it bursts like a meat pinata. Your pets, your ex-wife, your children…I want to watch them suffer, and I want to do it for no other reason than because I can, and because you can’t fucking stop me. If I still somehow win this fucking Invitational, it’ll be because there’s no one left to compete, and it should scare the fuck out of you at how much that excites me. It should scare the fuck out of you that you’re going to step into the ring with me, because I created this Group of Death to destroy the fucking Industry, and I will not stop until it is fucking DEAD.
I am not exaggerating, Jack.
This is not trash talk. This is not match hype. This is not ticket sales. I am not finished until it ceases to fucking exist. This is my singular goal. This is my only drive. This is what I intended from the moment I created the Group of Death. This is my sacrifice play. Right now, there is no eMpire. Right now, there is no Industry. Right now, there is nothing, Jack, but the Group of Death.
I’m angry, Jack. And that’s okay.
Society spent a lot of time and money making me feel like I was sick. Like there was something wrong with me.
But I’m not sick.
I don’t have a disorder, and I am not diseased. The Industry is diseased.
I’m the cure.