Every sport has their monolith.
The one man who all others are compared to.
Look at Michael Jordan and the NBA.
Everyone knows who Michael Jordan is. Whether it’s his flu-ridden performance in the 97 Finals, his sheer otherworldly skill, or even just what people have made his legend into, the whole goddamned world knows the name of Michael Jordan.
It doesn’t matter how good LeBron James is. Maybe the best to ever play?
He’ll never be Michael Jordan.
He’s cursed to live in his shadow, to always be the other side of a comparison. It doesn’t even matter if he’s better.
All that matters is that Michael Jordan is the monolith of the NBA.
He IS the NBA.
And every other man who steps on the court will never be him.
So who’s the monolith of OSW? Who’s the so-called Ultimate World Champion?
Is it Marvelous Master Chef?
The first OSW Champion, he set the bar for what a Champion needed to be.
Or did he?
Because if I remember, MMC wasn’t even the top guy in his own stable. All the bumbling chef had going for him is circumstance placing him in the right position.
Is it DTR?
The guy who tried to destroy the world? Don’t Trust Reason. The Virus.
But oh wait, all that came after.
When DTR became Champion, he was just another guy in ripped jean shorts trying to recapture faded glory.
Is it Edward Newton?
He’s got the best resume.
All those title defenses. All those days undefeated. All those days as Champion.
He even beat me. But yet…
…it’s not him.
See, Edward Newton is LeBron James. So goddamned good, maybe the best even.
But he’s not the monolith.
He’s not Mike fucking Lane.
Because I’m the one who took that Championship and made it into something. I’m the one who raised the bar…
No, the one who is the fucking bar.
Each and every one of you johnny-come-latelys are living in MY shadow.
When you walk in the door of OSW, it’s my picture you see on the wall. It’s my bloody face, beating challenger after challenger. Taking on all comers, every damn week.
No plots. No goofiness. No excuses.
It’s the first Ring King crown, beating men like Brent Kersh, winning the first Gold Rush.
That’s what people think of when they see that OSW World Championship.
And that’s the difference between me and these other boys.
Newton held the Championship.
DTR held the Championship.
MMC held the Championship.
But I. Am. The. Championship.
Dave. Eddie. Chef.
Maybe you’re better than me. Maybe you’re the guy whose name should be on the marquee.
But it ain’t. And it never will be.
Because nearly eight years ago, the People’s Choice stepped up to grab the World Championship. He dispensed Rough Justice to anyone who got in his way, and when someone else touched that title, it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when he took it back.
Because the World Championship belongs to Mike Lane.
It always has.
It always will.
Even as Champions die, the Shadow endures.