Tyler Adrian Best
My name is Tyler Adrian Best.
It’s a name you should remember.
Yes, that Best family. Yes, Michael is my father and Lee is my grandfather. Yes, it’s a sore spot that I’m even here right now. Let’s get that all out of the way during formal introductions, so I don’t have to answer the same goddamned questions a thousand times. In fact, while I’m at it, let me just address a bunch of other shit right out of the gate.
Yes, I come from a rich family and everything has been handed to me on a silver player by my daddy and my grandfather. No, I have never worked a real job a single day in my life. Yes, I was personally trained by Lindsay Troy at Troy Combat Systems. No, I didn’t smash (but my dad did, bet). Yes, I have a lot to self confidence for my age. Most importantly, no, it isn’t unearned. We all set? Have I covered every bit of generic trash talk everyone can come up with, because none of you powder blue Muppets know how to talk when Brandon Youngblood is drinking water?
Great. Grand. Wonderful.
Glad we can move on.
So fuck Eddie Cross. Good a place to start as any, right? Yes, I see he released some kind of a promo tape, probably about me. No, I haven’t watched it and I don’t intend to. I don’t care, honestly. People will probably compare us, since his dad is also… and I use the term loosely… a pro wrestler. I’m not really interested in any comparisons between me and a big, brown Dan Ryan impersonator with the haircut of a twelve year old girl who is very upset at her parents. Could this guy look more like a generic action movie villain? Didn’t John Wick kill this guy with a pencil like two movies ago?
Holy shit, what a bucket of overhyped mush.
Real talk, guy, I legit thought your dad’s name was Time Bomb for like eight months. That’s how I listed him in my phone, because he texts me nine times a day to tell me he wishes I was his kid instead of you. If this guy sucks my dick any harder, I’m gonna be legally required to pay him at least minimum wage. He’s gonna need to fill out a 1099. It’s gonna be a whole thing. Your dad is more dissatisfied with the result of his seed than the average customer of the Monsanto Corporation. And why wouldn’t he be?
No, that’s a real question.
Cause I know very very little about you.
I have not watched your matches. I have not checked out your promos. I don’t know what color tights you wear. It’s nothing personal or anything— in fact, that’s the whole point. Impersonal. It’s a whole lot harder to stare down the barrel of a gun and shoot a cow between the eyes once you’ve named it and assigned it a personality, and you’re fucking cattle, my guy. Opponent number one. Patient Zero, first guy in line to Pay the TAB. I’m not interested in having any long, over sharing conversations with any of you on “Jabber”. I don’t care to develop any outstanding interpersonal relationships here. I’m not gonna make an appearance at the Powder Blue Holiday Extravaganza or swap recipes with you fucking jay-brones.
I’m here for the gold, baby.
It’s the color I look best in.
Cliché, right? You’d think so. But this place is a fucking soap opera on wheels and the last thing anyone seems to care about is championships. Bunch of happy go lucky motherfuckers just pleased to be here and work out all the family drama in the wide open air. Have a little decorum. Establish some healthy boundaries. Stop pretending to be time travelers and assuming I give a fuck about you rambling about your past as a biker hobo, or whatever Rezin’s whole deal is supposed to be. It’s like y’all are ashamed of your professions.
Plumbers plumb, gardeners garden, wrestlers wrestle. And this little hideaway paradise for Mary Sue and her Purple Prose Posse is on my fucking nerves. Everyone around here likes to look down their noses at High Octane Wrestling, like it’s some barbaric hellhole where all they do is cut promos and fight each other. Yeah, stupid, it’s a WRESTLING company. No witness protection melodrama. No tedious interconnected narrative you’ll only understand if you’ve been watching PRIME since the year 1908. Absolutely zero minutes of PPV time wasted on watching a menopausal wrestling legend make out with a security guard.
Shit was pretty cringe.
So y’all wanna talk shit about the business my family built with their own blood, sweat and tears? You wanna keep benefitting from that 97Red marketing department, but keep throwing shade when no one else is looking? Then do it to my face. Do it to a Best. Because I’ll punch you in the fucking mouth, and I’ll take your Universal Championship and post a selfie with it on Jabber while you’re all busy swapping recipes and talking about your weekend plans. My name is Tyler Adrian Best.
It’s a name you should remember.
Cause I won’t bother learning yours.
“I really wish they’d stop sending me this shit.”
With a scowl of utter disdain, Tyler Adrian Best stares at the bulging can in his hand, his eyes studying the slick looking logo on the front.
“This is literally poison.” Tyler shakes his head. “Like if you gave this to an animal, it would die.”
The can of LIQUID STRONKUMMS hits the bottom of the garbage can with a thunderous clang, echoing throughout the high ceiling of a one room “luxury” apartment. The God of Sons doesn’t even give it a second glance, as he turns back to the giant cardboard box of housewarming gifts sent ahead of his arrival. He reaches both hands inside, like a greedy eight year old on Christmas morning.
“Junk.” He grunts, wadding up a PRIME T-shirt and tossing it aside. “Trash. Crap. Shit. Waste of packing material.”
One by one, he throws items out of the box, commenting snidely on each as collides harshly with the hardwood floor of the apartment. He’s barely been in Nevada for twenty four hours now, and so far, he wasn’t particularly impressed— the shining lights of Las Vegas were a fucking mirage in the desert, drawing in scumbags with false promises of fortune. Like a siren song.
Like a fucking bug zapper.
“This is stupid as fuck.” Tyler grumbles aloud, shaking his head. “They’re touring the goddamned country for a year. I could have stayed in Chicago for this. Whose bright idea was it to move me to fucking Vegas?”
It was, of course, his father’s.
Sending Tyler to work for Lindsay was a win/win for the CEO of High Octane Wrestling. Not only did the trade for GREAT SCOTT secure a full time tag team partner for stronk godson, making Lee Best happy, but it also put a real, live Best on the roster of the only true competitor to HOW. A boots on the ground soldier. An operative behind enemy lines. Tyler had the youth and talent to be Universal Champion, if he put his mind to it. Of course, that’s why Michael sent Tyler to work for PRIME, not why he sent him to Las Vegas. He sent Tyler to Vegas for a reason that’s a lot less complicated.
It’s because Tyler is a sociopath.
“Penny?” Tyler hollers, across the pre-furnished apartment. “I asked for a fucking grilled cheese like… fifteen minutes ago.”
He turns around, briefly forgetting about his box of trinkets and searching for his Public Relations manager. A bright pink head of hair appears from behind a mountain of cardboard boxes, staring a hole in his forehead as the corners of her lips trend downward.
“Yeah?” Penny replies, shrugging. “And?”
Their eyes meet, suddenly locked in a clashing of the wills that isn’t altogether unfamiliar territory. P3NNY L4NE blows her bangs out of her eyes, tossing another one of Tyler’s boxes into the pile as he maintains eye contact.
“Annndddddd….” Tyler begins, condescendingly. “Where’s my fucking grilled cheese?”
He blinks at her, slowly. Patronizingly, as though she just must not understand him. She blinks back, dropping another box and taking a slow, methodical step forward.
“I don’t know, Tyler.” Penny grits her teeth. “Doordash it. Make it yourself. Wish really really hard for it. Because I’m not your fucking assistant. I’m here to manage you and make sure you don’t say the fucking n-word on television. Again.”
He cocks his head sideways, defensively.
”Oh fuck off.” Tyler scoffs. “I didn’t Hard R it.”
The silence in the room is deafening.
She doesn’t need to follow up, so she doesn’t— P3NNY L4NE goes back to helping unpack his belongings, which also isn’t her job. Tyler mutters something else about the grilled cheese under his breath, quickly realizing that he’s lost this particular battle.
He shoves the PRIME swag box to one side, ignoring the rest of the contents as he slams both of his elbows onto the table, in the midst of his own private tantrum. This apartment was a shit hole. This town was a shit hole. This promotion was a shit hole. He was the youngest War Games winner in HOW history. The youngest ICON Champion in HOW history. He could have been the HOW World Champion, but willingly stood aside to allow Chris America to go on the single greatest run of his career.
This was his reward?
A fucking blue T-shirt?
“Tell me about Eddie Cross.” Tyler sighs, staring at the window. “Relate me to the public, oh mighty Public Relations lady.”
Eighteen years old. Tyler is eighteen years old.
“Fuck off, Tyler.” Penny shouts back, from behind the boxes. “Use the internet. That’s what it’s there for.”
This was already off to a bad start.
Back in Chicago, Tyler had an entire team from TEN-X at his beckoned fucking call. An intern to compile match footage. Jace to wake him up at noon to train. Hell, Dan Ryan’s entire fucking job was to make sure that Tyler had his shit together from week to week. Day one in PRIME, and this is what it’s come to?
Use the fucking internet?
“This isn’t gonna fly with my dad.” Tyler mutters, anxiously tapping his feet on the floor.
But it would.
Because he’s the one who told her not to help him.
It’s time for Tyler Best to grow up.
“Why the FUCK do people live here?”
If you find Las Vegas to be an unpalatable climate, the best way to learn to appreciate it is to spend literally five minutes in Tampa, Florida.
Tyler tugs at his balls through his sweatpants, temporarily freeing them from their captivity against the inside of his thigh. The humidity is an easy nine hundred seventy percent, as he slings his travel bag over his shoulder and shuts the trunk of his rental car, staring up at the very elegant Holiday Inn Express in front of him.
“Cheap fucks.” Tyler grunts, through flop sweat. “Couldn’t spring for a goddamned Marriott? God I fucking hate PRIME.”
It’s been a rough week for The TAB.
He’d probably tell you it’s because of his rental car, or his accommodations. That his new apartment sucks, or that Florida is a cesspool. That last part tracks, but it isn’t exactly the root of the problem. The problem is that for the first time in his life, Tyler Adrian Best is completely on his own.
No safety net.
No 97Red Liberty Card with no spending limit. No legion of minions hired specifically to make sure that the God of Sons lives up to his namesake. No mountain of trainers meant to keep him in shape and on task. From the time he was fifteen years old, training at Troy Combat Systems, someone had always been there to catch Tyler if he fell. To pull him up for air, when he got himself in over his head. To keep him bulletproof. But now?
Now it’s all up to him.
His HOW contract is null and void— for the first time in his life, he has a real boss, a real job, and real responsibility. If he fucks this up, there’s no running back to Daddy to make it all go away, because his ass belongs to PRIME Wrestling.
And it’s absolutely terrifying.
“This is fucking bullshit.” Tyler swallows hard, looking around the parking lot.
It’s so easy to bend your fear into rage. To transform anxiety into hostility. To condition yourself into the belief that if it doesn’t come easy, it must be fucking stupid. These are the weapons that defend Tyler Best not just from the outside world, but from himself. The lie that cruelty isn’t cowardice, but power. The anger that fills him, as he stands in the parking lot of a perfectly reasonable Holiday Inn Express, is a lie.
But then, he’s never been much for honesty.
“I won fucking War Games.” he sneers, searching his pockets for his room key. “The fuck am I doing in Florida? Who the fuck is Eddie Cross? I’m goddamned wrestling royalty.
There it is, Tyler.
Find your scapegoat.
It isn’t your fault that you’re in this situation. It isn’t because you walked away the ring after you lost the ICON Title, like a petulant fucking child. It isn’t because you’ve alienated yourself from your own father to the point that he literally shipped you across the country because you fucking terrified him. You aren’t in this situation because you did anything wrong.
Find your focus.
Aim your anger outward.
Fixate on something that you can destroy. Explosive, not implosive. Their fault, not your fault. Who the fuck is Eddie Cross? Just some spoiled second gen with Daddy Issues, he’s nothing like you. Right? Right? That doesn’t sound Ike you. You’ve earned everything that’s been plainly handed to you in a silver platter. You won War Games, remember? It isn’t your fault you came out last. It isn’t your fault that everyone was half dead when you hit that ring. None of this is your fault.
You’re a victim, right?
“I’m gonna fucking kill this kid.” Tyler says, nearly devoid of emotion as he shuffles for the door.
It’s the most honest thing he’s said today.
He ham-fistedly jams his keycard into the lock, barely waiting for it to turn green before pushing himself into his sauna of a hotel room, ripping the bag off his shoulder and throwing it onto the bed.
Teeth gritted so tightly his jaw feels like it might crush itself under the weight of his own raw anger. Heart pumping, pounding against the insides of his chest like the beating of ear drums.
Who the fuck is Eddie Cross?
First day at a new school, you don’t keep your head down and hope for the best. You don’t sit on your hands and wait to make new friends. You find the biggest, scariest, My Chemical Bromance looking motherfucker in the schoolyard and you beat the dogshit out of him. You set an example. You let all your classmates know that you’re the fucking man around here. That you are not to be fucked with. You slap that tryhard gamer backpack off of the wannabe Fortnite nerd and you take his fucking lunch money, because you’re gonna make sure that the last of the Bolamba legacy is the last of the Bolamba legacy. Fire and brimstone. Lock down the hallways and get under your fucking desks, because this is not a drill. Hey LT, you’re cool, don’t come to fucking school tomorrow.
A world of mistakes have been made on the road to Revival 21, and somebody has to pay for them. You think it’s going to be Tyler Adrian Best?
Nah, fuck that.
Time Bomb Jr., you’re a fucking dead man.