While my long term attention may be on John Sektor, you’re certainly not lost in the shuffle. I recall my first impression of you. HOFC division, July 10, 2021 vs. Wabid Wabbit. For a while there, High Octane attempted to structure a fighting program.
You got balls, kid. Not many athletes go near HOFC, no matter how starved for an opportunity they are. It’s a damn near death sentence and I’m not even talking about the man who held its title. He’s only part of the many reasons fighting is a hell of a go.
To others, you may simply be John Sektor’s understudy. To Sektor himself, he’s your leader but the strongest link is only as good as its weakest. Adam Ellis has proven to be worthy of playing this game the second you accepted a one-way ticket to cage-based brawling.
So congratulations. You’ve made it to the top and you have definitely carried your weight. I’ve watched you be outmatched, smacked around and knocked down. Every time this happens, you dust yourself off, fight and persevere. Naïve, yet knowledgeable. Out of place, while being adaptable.
Adam Ellis reminds me of a young Conor Fuse.
There’s something I never thought I’d say. Time moves quickly. I guess I’m not really The Video Game Kid anymore.
And as the new guy, you’ll come across learning experiences. Trials and tribulations no amount of pep talk can brace yourself for. One of your lessons will be this weekend… and the greatest lesson of all, you’re already a part of. Teaming with the legend.
Can you trust him? Can you really trust anyone these days? It’s kind of a rhetorical statement. I’ve heard rumours of problems between the two of you but who the hell knows. As it relates to John, you would know him best. But this is a game we play and wrestling has taught me that even your closest companions have the ability to hurt you. I was promised real, committed friendship in the Grapplers Local 214… only for them to bail the fuck out when nobody made it to the end of War Games.
You always find someone’s true colours when they don’t get what they want.
The phrase has been around. I didn’t invent it. I figured it out myself… the hard way… the only way… after teammates of mine left me for nadda.
Because they didn’t get what they wanted.
While in some ways, you may remind me of myself, it’s obvious I am not your mentor. This doesn’t mean I can’t help guide you… or teach you a lesson or two, as indirect as it may be.
David and I are going to give you absolutely everything we have on Sunday. Yes, it’s because John is your partner. Yes, it’s because I have to show the top wrestler in the world I am on his level.
I’m helping you, too. It’s not a snide comment, it’s not a backhanded shot. It’s a legitimate statement, ‘cause I’m not a bad dude. I learned this the hard way and now you will.
When David and I take the Tag Team Championships… when we leave John Sektor with his first loss in almost a calendar year… overwhelm you and expose the green left inside your skills… you can educate yourself further on the dynamics of a wrestling partnership.
You always find out what someone’s really about when they don’t get what they want.
John Sektor is not winning the tag team belts. Then you’ll see what lies beneath the wrestling machine. Then you’ll see what he’s honestly made of.
I hope you find a good person inside. I’m not saying he’s a dick. I don’t know, dude. You’ll have to witness first hand. But I thought I had real friends. I thought they would never leave me, that they had my best intentions in mind.
Where’s the 214 now, Adam?
David and I are working on a scheduled relationship. As long as we are winning, we’ll stay together. After our first loss, his contract is done and he may not return. We live on the edge and we instantly die if we lose one life.
In your overall career, as in mine, you’ll lose tons of lives. I hope you’ve attached yourself to somebody good. A guy who will legitimately do anything for you. Again, I mean this. No sarcasm. No wink and nudge at the camera. I’ve got nothing but respect for John Sektor.
I had nothing but respect for Lindsay Troy.
Then she purposely got herself fired.
Anyway… if David and I don’t get what we want, we’ll be disappointed. However, life will move on.
And if The Gold Standard doesn’t get what he wants…
Well, I guess we’ll see.
… … … … …
MAURAKO CUP WORLD PROGRESSION
-1 start: →
Missouri Valley Wrestling (+2) → Devil’s Advocates (+5) → BFF & Darkwing → Final Bosses: John Sektor & Adam Ellis (you are here)
… … … … …
July 10, 2020 – 9:00
I impatiently wait for him. Rocking back and forth in my chair, I get the sense others are staring but I’m not in the mindset to check. Thankfully, I’m in the corner of this place, so if anybody does see me, they’d have to be sitting in the right location. Stressed. Anxiety rips through my body from head to toe. I’m unable to keep my eyes focused on anything. My hands tremble. I reach out to grab my hot chocolate. Big mistake, I almost knock it off the table. Maybe I’ll drink it later. Yeah, later sounds perfect. I’m not thirsty ATM. How did I even walk over here? I have no clue. Hot chocolate gotta be stone cold by now. Whatever. Room temperature chocolate will taste fine. I have major issues on my hands. The heat of my drink is the last thing I need to worry about. Can I change my mind? There’s no return already, I know it. A Fuse doesn’t quit. I’d place a bad reputation on my name. I am literally going crazy. Maybe it’s figuratively going crazy. Holy shit I don’t know the English language as well as I’m supposed to. How am I gonna do a good promo? How am I gonna make people believe in my confidence? Do I have confidence? Jesus Christ, I am rolling on from one thing to the next, aren’t I? This started with a drink and now I’m talking about confidence. I need a chill pill. I made the right choice, eh? This is gonna work out. Everything happens for a reason. Man, I hate that fucking phrase. Remind me to never pitch any cliched lines. They’re dumb. Totally. Dumber than the move you JUST DID AN HOUR AGO!? Man, where is he!? Is he here yet!? He’s always late! It drives me ballistic. I’m on time for everything! I was early! Conor, chill guy, chill. Let’s-
My head immediately snaps upright, I feel my eyes bulge and teeth chatter. “You’re always fucking late.”
He’s defensive, albeit a little sarcastic. He raises his hands and takes a step back. “Easy, buddy.”
He eyes the chair in front of me. I feel myself rocking back and forth again, like a madman.
“Everyone’s looking our way dude. Mind if I join you?”
I don’t say shit. He obviously interprets this as an invitation and pulls out the chair across the table, cautiously sitting down. He tilts his head, slightly, as if trying to get a better view of my facial expression. Then he cocks a smirk, shakes his head and leans back, calm and cool like always.
“Why are you such a dick all the time?” I demand, still rocking around.
“I’m not a dick,” he laughs it off. He knows he is, though. He’s admitted it plenty. “You’re the one who called me, remember?”
“And then I come into a Starbucks and see my brother acting like he should be in an insane asylum. What the hell’s gotten into you?” He asks.
“Uhhh…” is all I can utter at the moment. Tyler’s not a talker so this conversation is gonna be a hell of a lot of fun.
I hear him chuckle under his breath. Is he enjoying my disposition? This isn’t easy for me.
Instead of commenting, I see Tyler from the top of my peripherals. He digs into his pocket and pulls out what looks to be a picture, although it’s face-down and slides it across the table. I give a hard sigh in return, although I’m not bouncing around in my chair as much.
“Thanks, asshole,” I mutter under my breath.
“So you did it?” He wonders out loud.
“Great,” Tyler adds with enthusiasm. For him, a level of enthusiasm is raising his monotone, methodically structured voice 0.00000000000001 of an octave.
“I’m gonna fail. What the fuck have I gotten myself into? Why did you have this idea? It’s so stupid,” I snap.
Tyler shakes his head no. Eventually, I find the words to continue.
“I signed the contract, okay? It’s done. Conor Fuse joins High Octane Wrestling on his own, singles star, without his brother,” I quickly roll through my words. The funny thing is I am much calmer in my behaviours than five minutes ago. I’m not shaking. Guess the stress is going out through my vocabulary. “Goodbye tag team wrestling.”
I stop, pause and actually think these next words over. Man, I’m gonna regret them if they come outta my mouth.
“I need you.”
“No you don’t,” Tyler is quick on the rebuttal.
There’s a drawn out silence before big brother continues.
“Since we were little, you were the one who dreamed of being the wrestler. Not me. You’re the one who parked himself in front of the television every night to watch High Flyer and IWO. You not only have the talent but you have the heart to go out there and show what you’re capable of. People are gonna love you on your own, man. You’ll show them. You’ll show yourself.”
I’m as relaxed as possible. Reaching for my
hot room temperature chocolate, I take a sip. Lukewarm.
“I’m a loser,” I reply. “I like video games.”
“Everyone’s a fucking loser, dude,” Tyler responds with the most passion in his voice I’ve heard yet. “I’ve watched some of those Refueled shows.”
Big bro stops to nudge my foot under the table. “By the way, you should totally rebrand the shows as Re-FUSED. Play into your dipshit nature.”
If we didn’t look so much alike, I’d have sworn he was adopted.
“I’ve seen the roster. You’re as strange and weird as the others,” Tyler goes on. “There’s this Steve Harrison milk miracle freak, you’ll fit right in with him. The eGG Bandits are a colossal fucking joke. John Sektor… yeah, he’s pretty decent in the ring, guy looks like he’s haggard down with drug problems out of it. And Mike Best? What kind of insecure fucking asshole do you have to be, projecting that level of hate onto others?”
My brother takes a moment of reflection, almost as if he admires the quality.
“Guy’s amazing in the ring though. Absolutely incredible.”
Tyler doesn’t stop trying to get through to me.
“What? Telling you the truth, bro,” Ty adds as I continue to scoff. Head down, eyes low, barely making a movement now. The anxiety is out of me but I’m slowly being crippled with fear.
“I just wanna do tag team wrestling for the rest of my life. It’s nice to have a person to rely on, have fun with, ya know?”
It’s not often Tyler’s supportive in the way I need him to be but for a brief moment there I can feel his demeanor lighten.
“Okay,” he reassures. “But here’s the thing… you can eventually do both.”
“Turn over the picture,” Tyler asks me. I’m reluctant. “Turn it over, man. Let’s go. You asked for it.”
Another heavy sigh leaves my chest as I reach out for the picture on the table and flip it. There we are, Fuse Bros., standing in gorilla before our very first match together.
“Keep it with you,” he says and then tries to force the next sentence out. “I’ll always be around if you need me.”
I don’t vocalize a ‘thank you’. I figure my body language conveys it.
“You can and will do this on your own, Conor. And when the time is right, you’ll find a good teammate. Hell, it’s a long shot… but what if you held both a singles and tag title at the same time? Wouldn’t that be something.”
Tyler’s time is done. He’s way past is quota on well thought out sentences, let alone words of encouragement. Pushing his seat away from the table, Tyler is cautious to make sure the feet of the chair don’t drag against the floor. We’ve already had enough attention from others coming our way.
“So we’re clear, while I said I’m around, don’t bother contacting me for another few months,” he adds with a sarcastic wink, yet he’s likely serious. “Gonna need time to recharge before interacting with you again.”
“No worries,” I reply. Big brother walks over and smacks me on the back before heading out of the coffee shop.
Our conversation didn’t change much because I am already committed. I signed a one-year contract. I’m gonna be on my own whether I like it or not.
My mind wanders, as it does frequently. I can’t help but place myself into Tyler’s scenario… where I hold a singles and tag team achievement at once.
Leaning in my chair, I let out a light giggle.
Yeah, dream on buddy. That’s the only place something like this will happen.
… … … … …
March 25, 2022 – 16:00
A few days from now, opportunity for Conor Fuse will be at its peak. #97 and the chance at something else.
I sit in the corner, calm and focused. My thoughts are on the straight and narrow. They exist of only three men. One is my partner, the others are my opponents. My thoughts do not waiver. I have worked on a plan all week. In the gym, watching video, it has consumed me. Maybe it’s helped me forget my average life outside of the ropes.
“Guess those wildest dreams could come true,” he says, pulling out the chair across the table and taking a seat in front of me.
“You’re twenty minutes late,” I reply, looking down at my watch. I didn’t even notice until now. My mind wasn’t rambling. It was stuck on the napkin in front of me. Pen in hand, I’ve been scribbling down a game plan for the end of the Maurako Cup. Focused. Determined. David and I will have our golden moment.
“Good to see you, too,” Tyler replies with a snark tone. “What’s up?”
I glance forward. First, I take a sip of my hot chocolate. Delicious. Second, I make my brother wait an extra few seconds. Then I shrug my shoulders.
“You’re gonna be in the crowd on Sunday?” I inquire. He’s visiting Chicago but I’m actually not sure how long. The guy is rather sporadic.
Tyler nods yes.
“Great. Cool. Amazing,” I return to making notes on the napkin. After jotting down a few more thoughts I decide to get on with things. Reaching into my pocket I pull out the old picture Tyler gave me before I started HOW’s campaign. It’s definitely tattered, worn down and folded a bunch of times.
“I’ve had it on me during every tag match I’ve ever been a part of,” I add.
Tyler doesn’t act surprised. “I told you things would work out. Your partner, David-“
“Sometimes he gets more stressed than I ever did,” I begin but then backtrack. “Okay, maybe not outwardly but in here…”
I point to my head.
“…I can see the wheels turning way too fast.”
Tyler looks at the picture and raises his eyebrows.
“Sounds like you two are similar,” he adds.
Yeah, Noble and I are quite similar in that regard. We’ll both bring our A Game, too. Speaking of games…
“I’ve laid it out in front of me,” I say, sliding the Starbucks branded napkin I’ve been writing on across to my brother. “He’s going to pay. No more nice Conor Fuse. Sick of this nonsense. I rip apart the competition, no matter how prestigious. John believes I don’t have the stomach for it? Buddy, I was planning this well before his remarks.”
I pause. Tyler reads over my notes and then looks at me.
“You’re such a little scamp,” he exclaims. “I mean… it’s an idea.”
I wink and nod.
“Loyalty. To the end.”
I stare straight into my brother’s eyes.
“I’m not losing my friends, Tyler. Not this time…”
My voice trails. I snatch the napkin back. He’s either impressed or baffled, as I display a rather intense side of myself. The Year One Vintage wouldn’t have been so bent outta shape.
Like I told Adam earlier, I’m not a kid anymore.
Just a manchild.
But a manchild who now knows the system.
“Thank you,” I note. Tyler looks confused.
“For being there for me. Rumble at the Rock. You saw first-hand the steps I had to take against Mike. I fell short but I came close…”
A sadistic smile creeps across the right side of my mouth.
“You’ll have a front row seat again at March to Glory.”
I placed the Fuse Bros. picture in my pocket. I go back to scribbling down notes on the napkin.
“Works for me,” Tyler adds with a tone of voice conveying he’s not sure what to make of all this. “Conor, the way I see it is win or lose you’ve already shown you can, on your own and collectively. Nothing left to prove.”
Oh no, brother. That’s where you’re wrong.
I have plenty left to prove…
And then some.
— — — — —
I know there’s a lot going on inside your head. Context in wrestling is never black and white. Two contradictory thoughts can be true at the same time. You can show John Sektor respect but I know you loathe him. Not for ignoring you… it’s for what he did to your real idol, Jatt Starr. Forcing Jatt to tap on pay-per-view. Casting him aside as the “funny” one because Sektor wanted to gEt MOAR SeRiOuS.
There is nothing wrong with humour. Jatt is the most underappreciated athlete HOW has ever seen. Sektor rejected him.
John wonders if you have what it takes to step up your game.
Oh, you do alright. You’ll make him pay.
Arrogance is a trait The Vintage does not support and it’s time you shoved some humble pie up Sektor’s ass. Pump his tires. Tell him he’s the best wrestler in the world.
Next, proceed to take everything away from him.
The story of Conor Fuse and David Noble is wrestling personified. Not a submissions expert who bosses his understudy around. You need a Game Plan, Vintage. If you pride yourself on playing cartridges then let’s play the field of High Octane, too.
Give in to John’s ego. Tell him everything he wants to hear. Convey honour.
Next, stand in front of the camera, plant a seed of doubt into Adam Ellis’ ear. Even if he doesn’t agree with you, he will have to listen. Apparently their relationship is icy so tell Ellis how the wrestling world works. How Conor Fuse has been hurt before after others turned their backs on him. Tell the rookie not if, but WHEN you win the Tag Team Championships he may see John Sektor’s true colours.
And they ain’t no shades of 97.
Divide and conquer. In the ring, make sure these two are separated. Pummel Adam Ellis. The fighting spirit he has will be on display. Make him Conor Fuse Jr. The crowd will love it.
Over time, John Sektor won’t.
What’s the phrase? A leopard never changes his spots.
The Gold Standard doesn’t change his, either.
Avenge your previous tag team L’s. Having lost the titles twice, once with Ray McAvay, the other with Dan Ryan. While you were not pinned in those matches you are absolutely responsible.
Scream. Tilt your head and cry into the rafters before slamming each ring post, powering up. Make sure nobody fucks with you.
Sektor expects the Tag Team Championships to go on first.
Conor Fuse is the main event.
This is disrespectful. The Gold Standard will never give a flying fuck about The Vintage.
So go ahead, map it out. Take him down. Work with David, who’s never asked for a god damn thing in this company. Help give Noble the moment he deserves.
Tell John everything he wants to hear. Humble yourself in front of the legend.
Then make him bleed and walk away as the greatest dual champion in HOW history.
You have the abilities. I know it.
And nobody needs to remind you.
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PLAN
- Promote John Sektor
-feed his ego, make this seem like it’s all about respect, when it’s about something totally different.
-never forget what he said to you beforehand, regardless of your position in this company, YOU are worth the investment, rip him apart, crush his fucking soul.
-NEVER forget what he did to Jatt Starr, loyalty is everything.
- Give Adam Ellis a dose of reality
-plant the seed of doubt he can trust John Sektor long-term, if you wanna be the guy who says “I told you so” later, be my guest.
- Divide and Conquer
-with the psychological game taken care of, make sure this translates to inside the ring, too.
-shred Adam Ellis, limb from limb.
-of course you’re gonna Weapon Get Sektor, steal all of the moves.
- Keep Game Boy on standby
-times are changing, everyone will see soon enough
- Win the Tag Team Championships
-goes without saying
- And remember the following…
“The greatest wrestler in the world as of Monday morning is not John Sektor, it’s Conor Fuse.” – Conor Fuse