The Great Pretender
Posted on 03/27/23 at 6:36pm by Tyler Adrian Best
Event: CULTURE SHOCK 2023 NIGHT ONE
Tyler Adrian Best
Nate Colton is a… cool guy.
Fuck, I don’t know. Penny tells me that it tests well when I say nice things about people I’m about to punch in the face, so I guess let’s do that. Nate Colton is swell. He donates to animal shelters. He isn’t a dick to the elderly. I’m 90% sure he isn’t a child molester. Does this make me more relatable? Does it make you want to buy a T-shirt with my face on it?
Does it make you want to like, share and subscribe?
I don’t know, man. It all feels so artificial to me. Let’s all hug it out and be friends until it’s time to impose literal physical harm on eachother. The mental gymnastics that some of these motherfuckers do could gold medal at the Olympics— I called Tommy Talented a goofball who steps on his own dick so often that it eclipses how by gosh by golly darn good he can suplex people, and the internet went wild about how I said so many nice things about him.
Is that what you took away from it?
What a weird little cult Auntie Lindz is running over here. And hey, that’s coming from the Grandson of God, potential heir to the single craziest cult in the history of pro wrestling. Shit… we might stab people with pens, but you crazy motherfuckers kill each other with kindness. Penny calls it a “workplace culture”. I call it “toxic fucking positivity”. This inherent need for everyone to be well liked, to the point of absolute obsession. Well let me tell all you Jabberholics and hug enthusiasts something, just to be clear.
I have zero fucking hugs for Nate Colton.
You all look at a guy like Nate, and you wanna verbally suck his dick and give him his little back pats, and that’s fine. But I look at Nathan and do you know what I see? I see a threat. I see an obstacle. I see someone with the skill set and the dedication and the raw natural talent to keep me from achieving my goals in PRIME Wrestling. That doesn’t make him a hero to me. That doesn’t make him a buddy, or a pal.
That makes him my fucking enemy.
He holds the Five Star Championship. That makes him my enemy. He’s ranked number one in PRIME. That makes him my enemy. He is UNDEFEATED THIS YEAR, and that makes him my FUCKING. ENEMY. I don’t want to shake his hand and wish him good luck, because I don’t WANT him to have good luck. I want horrible, terrible, awful things to happen to him. I want him to tweak his tricep in training and come into our match injured. I want his grandmother to get COVID and go onto a fucking respirator 24 hours before Culture Shock, so his head isn’t in the game. I want him to have an embolism in his brain during our title match and collapse dead in a fucking heap, because he is my goddamned enemy.
You hypocritical fucks.
You wanna be in the violence business but you don’t want to admit to your violent tendencies. You don’t want to embrace your violent natures. You want to swap recipes and give each other loving critiques, and then you get into the ring and inflict violence and misery on eachother like that’s normal human behavior. We’re all broken people. We’re all damaged in our own ways. We’ve all chosen a life of brutality and betrayal, but I put that evil into words and suddenly I’m the bad guy. I’m the unlikeable one. I’m the problem. Well fuck you.
There are no “good guys” in this business.
Just the honest and the dishonest.
I’m honest about who I am. At Culture Shock, I am going to beat Nate Colton within an inch of his life. I’m going to take his championship and knock him down the rankings. I am going to do everything in my power to humiliate him. To break him. To shatter his bones and leave him pissing into a plastic bag and drinking through a tube. Maybe to you, that sounds a little volatile. Or a lot volatile. Maybe it sounds a little extreme, or a lot extreme. But to me, it sounds like two words:
Make no mistake— killers rise to the top of this business. My dad was a killer. His dad was a killer, sometimes literally. And Nasty Nate, if you’re going to step into the ring with me at Culture Shock and try your best to defend that championship, you need to know that you’re stepping into the ring with a fucking killer. I’m not going to shake your hand. I do not like you. I do not respect you. I do not associate anything positive with your name, or your face, or your legacy. And hey, nothing personal, but it’s always fucking personal with me. Since the day I walked into PRIME, Aunt Lindz keeps throwing me into the ring with these second generation guys. These third generation guys. These people whose families have lived and breathed professional wrestling for generations, and you know what?
I didn’t understand.
I didn’t get it until just now.
I didn’t know what she was getting out of ruining these careers before they’ve even truly gotten started. Timebomb Jr. went full Hiroshima and melted down. Tommy Talented was the number two wrestler in PRIME when he stepped into the ring with me– anyone even see him in the top five anymore? Nope, he took a second L in a row to a grown man named Julian, because I stifle momentum and progress faster than a Republican congress. And I didn’t understand it until just this very moment.
She’s out for you, Nathan.
She’s out for that “Colton Legacy”.
Of all the pretenders to the throne here in PRIME, you’re the king of playing pretend. I don’t even feel bad taking that belt away from you, because you never earned it in the first place. I watched screaming fans cheer bloody fucking murder for you at Colossus, like they didn’t just watch Brandon Youngblood hand you a championship. He made a conscious decision to make you the Five Star Champion, Nate. I watched it happen. Millions watched it happen. He grabbed Flamberge in a stranglehold and forced him to watch you be handed the belt, and then the entire arena exploded like they hadn’t just watched a man get fucking robbed.
They celebrated you for it.
Well, I don’t play pretend, Nathan.
If your friend Brandon wants to walk down to the ring and donate another win to the Colton family, I’ll break his fucking jaw, and this isn’t gonna be another cruise control title defense against Anna Daniels, either. Lindsay Troy knows that you’re a fraud, just like she knew that little Eddie Timebomb was a fucking lemon. Just like she knew that Tommy Talented was the wasted seed of a family tree full of cultural vultures. She trained me, Nathan. Nurtured me. Taught me the wrestling business. Do you think it’s an accident that my very first PRIME match was for a shot at your championship? Do you think it’s a coincidence that I’ve been picking off second generation talents like an Egyptian fucking plague? I am the best of all worlds, Nate Colton– the blood of High Octane Wrestling, the sweat of Lindsay Troy and PRIME Wrestling, and the tears of all who stand between me and my destiny. And you’re a part of that destiny, Nate. You’re going to be those tears.
Because I’m not just the next Five Star Champion.
I’m the last Five Star Champion.
It’s time to pay the TAB.
“I’m not doing Make A Wish. Fuck them kids.”
There isn’t even any passion in the words as they leave his mouth— the term “apathetic” doesn’t even seem sufficient to sum it all up, as Tyler Adrian Best presses the decline button and goes back to scrolling his Instagram feed. It’s the third time that they’ve called him this week, and the third time he’s ignored the call.
“You can’t ignore them forever, Ty.” Penny lectures, with exasperation. “Besides, it’ll be good for the brand. Maybe present people with… you know… the illusion of humanity, at least.”
The vaguest hint of a smirk on her face, Penny pulls the car into the left lane, speeding past a line of cars taking their leisurely time on the highway. She punches Tyler playfully on the arm, but the nineteen year old hellspawn doesn’t look up from his phone.
His tenure in PRIME had been both a massive success and a massive failure so far, depending on whose perspective you’re looking at it from. Undefeated over two matches, with a title match and a great spot in the Culture Shock battle royale ahead, it would appear on the surface that everything was coming up Tyler.
And that’s the problem.
Everything was coming up Tyler.
Michael Lee Best didn’t send his son to PRIME to experience unending success— he sent his son to PRIME to be humbled. To be put into his place in an environment that wasn’t so full of Best DNA that it could be sponsored by 23 & Lee. But so far, Tyler wasn’t learning… anything.
Just making the same old mistakes.
Like father, like son.
“I can ignore them forever, actually.” Tyler grins into his screen. “There’s literally a big red button that lets me ignore them forever. Besides… who the fuck would request me as a Make A Wish? I’m the worst.”
She doesn’t mean to, but Penny actually bursts out laughing. It’s a short, ugly laugh— his self awareness might not forgive his utter garbage-ocity, but it’s at least somewhat endearing.
“Just take the call.” Penny sighs, pulling onto the off ramp. “You’re an asshole, Tyler, but no one is fuck those dying children level evil. You don’t have to be too cool for literally everything. It’s actually pretty uncool.”
He tries to brush the words off, but something about them slaps Tyler Adrian Best in the face like an open hand. Why does that make him feel embarrassed? Why does he give a single fuck what she thinks about whether or not he’s… cool? Nah, he doesn’t care. Caring what she thought about him would be pretty uncool.
“I just don’t—“ Tyler begins, a little flustered. “Look, I have a lot of shit to focus on right now. Some kid that’s gonna be dead in two weeks coughing in my face and giving me the Black Plague isn’t one of them. If God doesn’t give a fuck about him, why should I?”
He shifts uncomfortably in the passenger seat, dumping his phone down into his lap and turning to stare out the window. Concrete jungle whirls past his eyes as he presses his forehead to the glass, fighting back the embarrassment in the center of his chest like a child trying really hard not to cry.
Penny was his only friend.
A pink haired, twenty four year old public relations manager who was literally paid to spend time with him. That’s it. He’d managed to alienate or abandon anyone else who’d gotten within arms length over the last couple of years, and things were just barely getting back to normal after the Blowjob Joke Heard Around the World as it was. Maybe he should just do the fucking Make A Wish. Just bite the bullet and give some pre-dead eight year old a high five, snap a selfie, and make her happy. He owed her one, right?
A lot more than one.
“Listen, Virgin Mary.” Penny quips, talking to the back of his head. “I don’t really give a shit if you do it or not, but corporate does. I got you out of the Culture Shock meet and greets. I got you out of the 7AM radio spots. When you decided to no show the go home and not even bother to promote your own fucking title shot, I covered for you and said that you got sick. People are gonna get sick of your shit, Tyler. This isn’t HOW. You can’t coast on your last name.”
She whips the car abruptly off the main road, peeling into a strip mall parking lot and aggressively pulling into a parking space. Tyler grabs the handle above the passenger side door, the shit nearly literally scared out of him as he’s reminded once again that Penny is an absolute insane person behind the wheel of a car.
“This business is political.” She goes on, undeterred by her own automotive calamities. “You can keep shitting on their Jabber and making fun of their culture and talking about murdering their employees, but you aren’t going to be successful here. Play the game. Don’t be a moron. Your dad didn’t send you here to learn how to wrestle… you’re good at that already. He sent you here to learn how to be a wrestler. So start learning. Cause I like you, and I’m already getting sick of your shit. Lord knows over you the rest of PRIME must be.”
Throwing the car into park, she pulls the keys out of the ignition and sets them in her lap, looking over at Tyler. He glances at her out of the side of his eye, letting out a long sigh.
“Alright. Yeah.” TAB nods his head. “I get it. You’re right.”
For a moment, it’s nothing but the quiet of the car— both Penny and Tyler stare ahead at the Chinese spot in front of them, supposedly one of the best in Arlington. Neither of them have eaten since lunch, but the elephant in the room keeps telling them that it isn’t time for dinner yet.
“Listen, Pen.” Tyler begins, rubbing at the back of his neck. “I know things have been kinda weird since I… you know. But I just want to make sure you know that more than anything, I… I care about—“
The words catch in his throat, as suddenly the phone in his lap begins to vibrate. The number on the screen is as familiar as ever… Dave from Make A Wish, calling to leave yet another unresponded to voicemail. Saved by the bell on whatever words were about to fall out of his mouth, Tyler almost laughs at the ringing of the phone. He holds it up, showing it to Penny.
“I know. I KNOW.” He sighs, batting his eyes at her. “I know I need to do better. I know I need to grow up. But fuuuuuuck, Penny. I really, really don’t wanna hang out with the dead kid. Please. I don’t wanna do it.”
He stares at her, puppy dog eyes in full affect. She can’t help but think that he’s almost cute right now.
Leaning back against the window, a smirk crawls across Penny Lane’s face, as she crosses her arms in front of her chest. This is one of those moments that she’s been waiting for. One of the moments that made her stick around in the first place, when everyone else in the world would have told her to abandon Tyler and walk away.
A defining moment.
“Fine.” Penny shrugs. “Then I’ll post a Jabber and tell everyone that you’ve never gotten your little peepee wet inside of a lady before, and we’ll see how much shit you’re too cool for after that.”
Tyler stares at Penny, his face going sheet white as the phone continues to ring in his near-trembling hand. He swallows air, slowly reaching down and pressing the button to make the phone stop ringing.
But not the red button.
The green one.
“Heyyyyy, Dave!” Tyler begins, forcing a smile. “Sorry man, been real busy this week. Glad we finally touched base.”
He turns toward Penny, trying his best to look absolutely furious with her. He can’t help himself, though— the smile leaks through the anger, as he slowly shakes his head at his best friend. One smile that conveys so many emotions, some that he’s ready to accept and some that he isn’t. A long sigh escapes the future Five Star Champion, as he shakes his head at the woman who did what no one else in PRIME has managed to do.
She beat Tyler Adrian Best.
“So hey, Dave… how about we make a wish come true?”