I really can’t blame the kid. He got caught up in the ecstasy of the moment. Who could blame him? He went from a career low to a future legend in the span of 24 hours. That’d be enough to drive any man to madness, never mind the human embodiment of daddy, grandaddy, uncle, and aunt issues all rolled up into one ball.
So he spat in my face.
He spat in my face and he looked delighted to do it.
Some may be concerned that perhaps he was oozing a little bit too much hubris at that moment. Perhaps those who know me well would expect me to be hunting the little shitebag backstage and making sure his damn arm went snap, crackle, and pop. I understand that concern. I know I have taken such actions in the past.
So, when Tyler Adrian Best looked down at me, at my most wounded and LITERALLY spat in my eye, an older version of Cecilworth would not look too kindly at the actions of the boy. Of course, that version of Cecilworth decided to snap a colour commentator like a twig because he felt he was getting a little too passive aggressive.
Becoming a Lord calms those passions a little.
Otherwise half of the British media class would be in a perpetual state of swinging their arms around in slings.
So yes, I agree, the boy was definitely asking for a backstage conversation. I almost obliged the humble request, I won’t lie. Seconds away from it. Dirk told me people felt “unsettled” at the way I looked when I came through the curtains.
Probably because I was screeching “I WILL KILL THE BOY, SHIT IN HIS NECK AND BURN THE CORPSE, SO THEN THE AIR WILL SMELL AS SHIT AS HE IS.”
Now, certainly not my most coherent or witty remark to journalists, I grant you, but everyone got the point.
So, what stopped me? Well one, I don’t have a father to bail me out anymore, should I have one of my little bouts of the whoopsies.
The second reason though, that’s the one that allowed the cooler air. I realised after I put my wounded pride aside that in that moment, in the middle of the ring, with every eye in the wrestling universe upon him, he didn’t see his mentor in the ring.
He saw his father.
He achieved something his dad never did.
He beat me in the ring.
“Dirk, are you sure we’re doing the right thing here? I don’t want to seem like I’m being disrespectful to Phil’s legacy.”
The Glue Factory had been paying out for a series of storage units in southern Vegas, where a lot of product had been left to rot since Phil Atken suffered a serious concussion shortly after claiming the PRIME Universal Championship. There was a hope between the small group of staff that had stayed loyal to The Factory that the product would once again find itself on the shelves of PRIMEporiums all over the United States. Sadly, as the months moved on and the nights drew in quicker and quicker, their hope faded as quickly as the hours of sunlight in an Icelandic winter.
I think that the science checks out on that one.
Hope’s light finally extinguished after its final flicker on the 12th April 2023. Cecilworth Farthington made sure of that.
“C-Money, I’ve known you long enough to know that if you tell me that we don’t need it, we don’t need it.”
Dirk Dickwood was slowly melting away in the Vegas heat, choosing to dress for their outing in a baggy gray business suit, which had started giving onlookers the impression that he may actually be literally melting, as opposed to figuratively, which is what was actually happening. I already said this! God, pay attention.
Dirk brought out a small stack of napkins from his inside jacket pocket, dabbing himself up and down, left and right. To his side stood the man who had just days earlier made his rather shocking return to wrestling, that level of shock compounded by the fact it was a debut in a PRIME ring – Lord Cecilworth Farthington.
Farthington for his part had elected to dress in a turtleneck sweater that appeared to be consuming his neck from the bottom up. Every time that Dirk had inquired about the fashion choice, Farthington had just muttered “lordly stuff” under his breath on the drive over.
The two men were surveying the inventory in front of them – boxes upon boxes of Glue Factory products. All your favourites were there. Civil Dusk.
All your favourites.
Behind the two men was a large garbage disposal truck that had clearly been hired for the day. I’m not in a position to share whether it was acquired lawfully or not. You know what your gut tells you though. Cecilworth tried his best simulation of a reassuring smile as he wrapped his arm around Dirk.
“Phil, Hank, Gary, Flamberge, you… you all made something special together. Magic like that is so rare in this industry. Most things are as predictable as a HOW roster member acquiring an eyepatch dealer. Much rarer to see a man once viewed as a sad, pathetic, embarrassing wreck find the courage to return to wrestling, despite nearing retirement age, and hold one of the most prestigious titles in history. I mean, not everyone can be me, not everyone can go undefeated for two years or whatever it was. Other people need to work really hard at this and Phil was a worker. Oh he was my favourite little worker ant. He never let me down, always had my cut ready…”
The napkins helped to hide the slowly raising eyebrow of Dirk Dickwood, who had a facial expression change from warm nostalgia to expired milk. Cecilworth quickly picked upon on the inquisitive expression.
“Sorry, you know how much business excites me Dirk, I forget that I can be a little insensitive with my language, I just wanted to make it clear how proud I am of all of you. I could not have asked for a better first investment. I really do wish we weren’t standing here, doing what we’re about to do. I hope the lil Glasgow kisses I bestowed upon Mr. Jiles was at least some form a catharsis for you and the squad.”
While still yammering away at Dirk, Cecilworth nodded to the men leaned up against the dump truck, who started to enter the storage lockers and to do the needful. The speed and pace of seeing the last few years of his work disappear in front of his eyes left Dirk with a sense of feeling flabbergasted, but he’d managed to gather his thoughts for long enough to ask the question that had been eating at him.
“Cecil – have you reached out to Flambo yet? That kid has been keeping the brand alive in our absence and I really think he deserves your time.”
For the first time in the conversation, Cecilworth broke eye contact with Dirk, his eyes darting to the ground as he shuffled back and forth on the ball of his heels.
“You know that I will Dirk, but everything has a proper time and a proper place. We’re not quite there yet. Not quite. He has promise, but I need to know if he fits the new “us”. You know what I mean? Phil was a kindly father type, I’m anything but. I mean I guess I could loop him in on this cool new NFT idea that I was pitched the other day…”
Dirk knew he didn’t want to hear the next words out of Cecilworth’s mouth, so cut him off at the pass.
“…JUST! JUST… just… just talk to him… okay? Just talk to him. I want you to talk to him.”
Cecilworth, realising the impact of Dirk’s tone, quickly hopped in to reassure.
“Of course bud, of course, if it means this much to you, and I can see it does, of course I will talk to Flambo. I can see you think highly of him.”
“…I think highly of what he did for Phil.”
The new era of glue.
Glue Point Oh.
Everyone loves a brand, do they not?
I felt it important to move away from “The Glue Factory” branding. That’s Phil’s baby and I would never dare to claim ownership of something that is not mine. I’ll save that privilege for Hayes Hanlon.
Fill in the gaps, you know how I got there.
So I have to find a new angle to fulfill the mission of a better PRIME. That’s not an easy task. Takes work. Hard work. Hours of toil and strife. Perhaps a little bit of hubble, a sprinkle of bubble but never, EVER toil and trouble. I know the work ethic of Dirk Dickwood, I know the work ethic of Gary Tongueman, I know the work ethic of Hank. These are men that I give my unquestioning and unwavering loyalty and support to.
Flamberge? Seems like a nice kid. Hungry too. Definitely hungry.
I’m just not sure if he’s Glue Point Oh. You know what I mean? We’re entering a period that is less psychological warfare, more street fighty. Does the kid have it in him in a knife fight? I really need to understand just how hardcore he is. Last thing I need is him running over and slapping my breakfast roll out of my hand because the way I eat reminds him of his father.
I need reliable.
Also it’s a theoretical waste of a perfectly good breakfast roll and I definitely can’t abide by that.
I know Flamberge is the reason that Phil Atken became Universal Champion. Sure, maybe in some magical fantasy realm, without the intervention of the Flam-meister, Phil still wins, but that’s very unlikely. 0.1% likely. An absence of likelihood.
He has served the brand well. Certainly I do not hope to move past him without giving him an opportunity to demonstrate his worth, I owe him that much. I just have a small voice whispering in my ear that I am not the kind of leader that he seeks.
I’m 20 years too young for a start.
I could do a lot with Flamberge, but will I get the same level of unwavering loyalty while still having both my nipples in the correct locations? Would Flambo follow my lead, even though I know very little about the Denny’s breakfast menu?
Could Flambo take me seriously, even though my balls aren’t halfway to Australia right now?
It’s difficult. Difficult. It’s a fidgety matter.
I just don’t have the data.
I need to get the data.
While visiting the Farthington Estate, you really should take a tour around the farm grounds and petting zoo. Now, yes, it is true that the petting zoo had to be “restocked” after a small incident over the summer but Lord Farthington insists that everyone in the village loved his Community BBQ Party, he has no idea why everyone is still mad.
It doesn’t matter though, the zoo is back baybee! It’s time to enjoy the zoo! Don’t ask what happened to the old animals.
Following the winding roads to their very end will arrive you at the manor of the estate, the abode for Lord Cecilworth Farthington ever since he sold up all of his Chicago property in early January of 2022. Cecilworth’s father, the elder Lord Farthington had left the manor in what could charitably be described as a “dilapidated waste zone” before his passing, but knowing who was going to inherit it, he hadn’t made much effort to fix issues like “make sure the house lighting is grounded” or “clean the mountain of mold that is two days away from becoming sentient.”
Point is, given the place was in a complete and utter state, Farthington had spent the best part of the last two years trying to restore the glory of the place. It was during this period that Cecilworth had basically fallen out of contact with the modern world. All conversations in his life were around renovations, to the point you’d think he was auditioning to be the 7th or 8th Property Brother.
What the 5th one did was DISGUSTING.
No sea urchin deserved that.
Fixing up the manor had two purposes. The first – it gave Cecilworth a roof over his head at a level he had grown accustomed to. The second? It would make an excellent location for confidential business conversations.
Fly the client over, let them enjoy the rolling greenery of the English countryside, put them up in the manor so they can screech that it’s “JUST LIKE DOWNTOWN ABBY”…
Wait. I think I spelled that one wrong. I need to check my video collection.
It says it right here in black and white – Downtown Abby.
On the 15th April 2023, the Farthington Manor was finally fit for purpose. Cecilworth was able to entertain his first guest and he had put on quite a spread. Locally sourced, freshly caught seafood, steak sushi, additional steak sushi and then a fourth course of steak sushi.
That’s the kind of menu that indicates investment.
After trying to pick up some sushi with chopsticks for around ten minutes unsuccessfully, Cecilworth ushered his guest into his private study full of many fine leather bound books. Were the spines cracked on any of them? Not my place to say.
Although the crackling fire could present us an outline of the house-guest, an identification was made all the more trickier by the dimness of the room.
“Sorry, I thought we’d FIXED THE LIGHTING ISSUE, STEVE. YOU TOLD ME YOU’D, “BOSHED IT”, STEVE. NOW ME AND MY FRIEND ARE TRYING TO WORK OUT IF WE’RE EVEN IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER, STEVE. ARE YOU HAPPY, STEVE? ARE YOU HAPPY ABOUT THIS?”
The guest may have been low-key, but the Lord of the Manor was still his brash self, looking up to the ceiling and yelling out his frustrations. They did cause mild confusion for the guest.
“There’s always a Steve. Anyway, sorry, I can’t get the help I need. Never can, never will. It’s the dampness of this cursed isle. Gives everyone the brain fog.”
A slightly hurried Farthington gestures for his guest to take a seat on a nearby wicker stool.
“I do appreciate you flying over. I have to apologise for this whole thing, I really thought we were ready to entertain but then FUCKING STEVE hoodwinked me. He hoodwinked me hard. YOU HOODWINKED ME, STEVE.”
“I’m starting to worry you think there is an actual Steve…”
Farthington swings his arm around to bat off the comment.
“I don’t want you coming all the way over here and worrying about what is or isn’t Steve. We have much bigger fish to fry, in a literal and figurative sense… I’m starting to think it may be time to merge. We both have enough say, sway and power to make that happen.”
I’m jealous of the boy. I went back and watched the end of Culture Shock, because weirdly, the end of that Battle Royal is a bit fuzzy for me. The joy in his eyes, the feeling like you’ve just gone through a once in a lifetime experience, that you’ve reached the mountain top.
The confidence that no one will ever knock you off.
It’s ignorant, certainly, but there’s no buzz like it.
I want TAB to enjoy his moment. To bathe in the sunlight of stardom. I want him to get everything that he thinks he wants.
The boy earned it, he’s earned the right to toot his horn on ReVival. He can throw himself a parade. Get a marching band and everything. I’m even happy to pay for it. More than happy. Delighted to do so. You do have to enjoy these moments while you are still young.
While he goes Supernova though, I’ll be searching my soul. As a caring mentor, what’s the next step?
Do I slap the ever loving piss out of him?
Do I embrace him?
It’s backstage after Culture Shock 2023, Night 2, Part 5 now and you just have to deal with that fact. We find ourselves in the small dressing room that had been provided to Cecilworth for the event, to help keep his 41st entry a big sneaky secret to the whole roster.
Dirk Dickwood has just finished delivering his comments to the small gaggle of backstage press and is taking a well earned break on a folding chair.
Or at least he was enjoying a well earned break until a second folding chair came flying in his direction, missing his face by inches. Dirk’s head quickly snaps towards the entrance of the room to find the culprit.
“IRON SHARPENS IRON? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT DIRK?”
“…Jesus christ Cecil, you could have killed me. The doctor said I only have about 3 chair shots left in me. Anyway, what I was doing was making sure you appear to be the bigger man, so maybe take a couple of deep breaths, okay? Jesus Christ!”
Dirk tries to dust himself off, still a little bit jacked in the adrenaline department while Cecilworth for his part paces the room like a caged tiger. Or a lion. Or, I dunno, lemur? Sure.
“That little shit spat on me Dirk… he spat on ME…”
“… I know, I saw it, I do have functional eyes. What was I supposed to say? “Oh yeah, Cecilworth is seething at TAB?”, that’s not a good look for us right now, we need to appear as if we’re in control.”
Cecilworth throws his arms up in the sky, acknowledging defeat.
“You’re right, you’re right. But that little shit… he spat on me…”
Dirk looks over and quickly becomes concerned that Cecilworth’s rage has quickly pivoted to joy. It’s clearly something has clicked right into place, very quickly.
“You’re right Dirk. I should be hands off with this one. I think we may be able to find a dedicated employee to deal with this matter..”
Mr. Ellis, I’m glad you’re here. I mean that sincerely. There is no shark teeth bite to these words. You always represented a better version of wrestling, even when you decided to throw your lot in with the Chicago death match mob. Shitty deathmatches are very unbefitting of a man of your talents. Now it’s 2023 and look at us, here together, both eyes intact.
I guess my dear friend, Ms. Lindsay Troy wants to make sure that I’m at my fighting weight by dealing you to me. You’re a challenge. You could beat me. I can see that in you. I’ve always been able to see that in you.
The big problem that you face, Mr. Ellis, is how easily led you are. I don’t mean to say you fall into the “sheeple” category, because anyone who uses that work sincerely deserve to be fired directly into the sun, but you do have elements of being a bleating little lamb, catering to the whims of whatever will get you into the best graces possible.
I chased acceptance for a long time. Whether it was from the crowds, from the boys in the back, from my father… I was just desperate to feel embraced by the universe. So I understand why you felt the need to do your big performative gesture of choosing PRIME over HOW. It’s like a cheat code, the PRIME fans will lap it up. I could actually do with someone like you supporting the Glue Point Oh re-brand. We need those without morals.
We know the reality though, Adam. You’re still linked to Chicago, you could get pulled in at any time. You can never escape the Valley and the Valley can never escape HOW. Every rah rah word about PRIME from your precious lips is nothing but performative. I like that. It’s just unfortunate the booking fairy has deemed us to be enemies instead.
I may have a banked 5 Star Championship match, but you will not be overlooked Mr. Ellis. In fact, quite the opposite. I’ve been out of the ring for some time now and I need to work out what kind of man I even am in there now. I need to be pushed to my limits, I need to be tested, I need to have my boundaries extended and you are the perfect person to play that role.
You will not be looked past, or looked through. You are the ecstasy that I seek.
My eyes will lock with yours and that is where they will stay.
Almost as if they were…