HOTv focuses on a wall mounted, big screen television replaying the John Sektor-Adam Ellis match from Refueled 86.
The Black Mamba ducks under a John Sektor-Adam Ellis double-team clothesline. But he accidentally runs into and sends Scott Stevens flying off the ring apron to the floor.
Pulling back from the television, we see two chairs- both occupied- in the dimly lit room. Focusing in on one chair, the first man sitting in front of the big screen TV is Joe Bergman, the artist formerly known as Halitosis, two-time HOW World Champion and former Tag Team Champion.
Joe Bergman: That was unfortunate.
Sektor goes at Mamba again and tries for another clothesline. Again, Mamba ducks under but this time, Ellis is right there. He drop toeholds Mamba to the deck. Ellis gets on top of Mamba- who’s face down on the mat- and grabs Mamba’s leg. Working fast, Ellis places Mamba’s ankle in between his thighs and locks his arms around the Mamba’s head. Pulling back, Ellis stretches Mamba’s back, neck, and knee.
Joe Bergman: Nice STS, Adam. Very well done.
The camera moves out further and reveals the second man sitting in an adjacent chair and also watching his own match- Adam Ellis.
Adam Ellis: Thanks. John’s been working with me on that one a bit.
Right on the spot as always, referee Joel Hortega slides down in front of Mamba and checks with him. Does he tap? Not yet. Mamba does everything in his power not to submit and tries to get loose. But Ellis pulls back with everything he’s got to put all kinds of pressure on Mamba’s lower back. Realizing he’s there’s no way out and he’s finished, Mamba taps out. Hortega jumps to his feet to call for the bell.
Joe Bergman: You got the submission. Very impressive, Mr. Ellis.
Adam Ellis: Yeah.
Joe Bergman: And, more importantly You were able to keep John’s ring time down a bit, which helps. Especially since Sektor’s still getting his legs back.
Adam Ellis: Thanks.
Bergman beams with pride at his former student. Ellis had been one of his prized pupils who worked out at his barn over thirty miles south of St. Louis. Ellis came in the Missouri Valley Wrestling as a string bean, eighteen-year-old kid fresh out of high school with a rudimentary skill set more suited to high school wrestling. Joe worked with him day in and day out, developing and then honing Adam’s in-ring skill. Joe had the pleasure of watching him grow from an awkward, gangly rookie into a credible wrestler and then into a wrestler with upward potential. Ellis showed enough promise that by early 2021 it became clear to both Joe and Ray McAvay- and eventually John Sektor- that he was a legitimate up and coming prospect.
Ellis knows what’s about to happen next.
Adam Ellis: James Cornfield.
The crowd’s cheers for Sektor and Ellis’s win turn to boos when Pro Wrestling: Assault owner James Cornfield and his cheap suit comes out from behind the curtains. In his own inimitable style, Cornfield delivers a few cheap platitudes to the winners as he and two of his wrestlers- GenoSyde and PWA Champion Ivy English- make their way down the ramp. Despite just wrestling a match, Sektor’s ready for a fight and gears himself for battle when GenoSyde and English take off towards him. But no one expects what happens next- Ellis gets nailed with a chairshot from behind by a guy in a mask who turns out to be Gunnar Knight- another PWA wrestler.
Joe Bergman: Ow.
Ellis shakes his head.
With Ellis down and half out of it, GenoSyde lets out a roar and hoists Ellis up into the air. GeonSyde drives Ellis down with great force and smashes him onto the fallen chair with a horrendous pendulum STO bringing Ellis’s full weight down onto the steel.
Joe Bergman: Oooh.
Security and medical staff immediately flood the ring and prevent anything more from happening.
Adam Ellis: Yeah. That hurt.
The Ellis incident brings back ‘fond’ memories to Joe Bergman of the night he won the HOW World Title in 2019 when he- as Halitosis- defeated Brian Hollywood to become the first HOW World Champion of the Refueled Era- and then suffered a similar attack at the hands of The Industry: Eric Dane, Lindsay Troy, Dan Ryan, and M.J. Flair after the match.
Joe Bergman: Welcome to the big time, kid.
A head pops into the room. It’s a very familiar face to Joe. It’s a face that Adam would see zipping from place to place inside the headquarters of Missouri Valley Wrestling.
Laura Bergman: JOE!
Laura waves at him to come on.
Laura Bergman: Let’s go. They’re about to start the hall of fame ceremony!
Joe acknowledges his wife.
Joe Bergman: Yes dear. Coming!
Joe clicks off the television with the remote control and turns the lights back up. The light illuminates the room and shows that it functioned as a meeting place with a very nice table in the center of the room, nice chairs surrounding the very nice table, and- of course- the nice big state of the art flatscreen television on the wall with precise, crisp definition.
Adam Ellis: Before you go, I’ve got something to ask you.
Bergman’s eyebrows raise. He didn’t know Adam had come to St. Louis for the Missouri Valley Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony dinner with slightly ulterior motives and that he was there for three reasons.
One, John Sektor gave him strict orders not to do anything physical for a week to recover from the Pro Wrestling: Assault attack on him.
Two, seeing as Ray McAvay gave Adam his first chance in pro wrestling, his first television time, and the fact that unbeknownst to Ray MVW was also going to induct HIM into the MVW HOF, Adam wanted to be there for McAvay.
Three, he wanted to talk to Joe because he wanted to ask him something about his upcoming match- a tag team match against Clay Byrd and Steve Solex and in particular…
Adam Ellis: What can you tell me about Steve Solex?
Joe Bergman: That’s a name I don’t miss hearing.
Adam Ellis: You were his tag team partner at one time.
Joe laughs and leans back in his chair.
Joe Bergman: Sure. I was his tag team partner… FOR ONE MATCH!
Adam Ellis: Yeah. So you know SOMETHING about Solex.
Wry grin from Bergman.
Joe Bergman: Yes, I know something about Steve Solex.
Joe Bergman: Steve’s changed his M.O. since I wrestled with him. He’s a lot more aggressive than he used to be. He’ll do anything and everything to win. Don’t get me wrong, Steve’s very capable in the ring. But all you need to do is just keep doing what you’re been doing and most importantly- keep your cool. He’s going to try and rattle you. He’s going to try to intimidate him. Don’t let him do it. You more than held your own with Jimmy Cornfield’s guys- Ivy English and GenoSyde- who by the way are really good wrestlers In their own right even though nobody really knew a whole about them until they showed up on Refueled. And trust me, Adam. You more than looked the part last week against HOW Hall of Famer Scott Stevens and the Black Mamba- who probably deserves to be there too. But…
Bergman holds up a precautionary index finger for added emphasis.
Joe Bergman: …the guy you probably want to be concerned about is Clay Byrd.
Adam Ellis: Byrd?
Joe Bergman: Oh yeah. Do you remember what GenoSyde did to you? Clay Byrd is rougher, tougher, and probably a hell of lot meaner than GenoSyde- no offense to GenoSyde. Did you ever watch the series of matches that Byrd had with Teddy Palmer in HOW?
Ellis shakes his head no.
Joe Bergman: Do it. You wanna talk about intensity. Brutality. Byrd beat the hell out of Teddy and Teddy beat the hell out of Byrd. They literally tried to kill each other. I mean, Byrd and Teddy both threw each other off the U.S.S. Octane before War Games in Japan in 2021.
Adam takes in what Joe is explaining to him.
Joe Bergman: Byrd is a flippin’ maniac. A stone-cold maniac. He gives zero fucks and he’s not going to try to beat you. He’s going to try to put you into the hospital…
Joe pauses and smiles.
Joe Bergman: …or worse.
That gets Adam’s attention.
Joe Bergman: Clay Byrd is a man you don’t want to mess around with.
Adam Ellis: So what should I do?
Joe pats him on the back.
Joe Bergman: Keep doing what you’re doing Adam.
Looking at Joe incredulously, Adam’s voice goes up a half an octave.
Adam Ellis: That’s it? Keep doing what I’m doing?
Joe tries to settle the youngster down.
Joe Bergman: Calm down… calm down. Just keep doing what you’re doing and keep your head on a swivel and you’ll be just fine. Oh. And definitely keep listening to John Sektor. Keep working hard. He’ll take care of you.
Laura Bergman pops her head in through the door again. This time, she’s a little more aggravated.
Laura Bergman: JOOOOOO-SEPH!
Check that, a LOT more aggravated.
Joe gives her the most awkward of awkward smiles.
Joe Bergman: Coming dear!
Laura Bergman: Hmmph.
She disappears while grumbling something unpleasant under her breath.
Adam Ellis: Joseph?
Joe grins at Ellis.
Joe Bergman: Fun fact. Do you know the last person who called me ‘Joseph was?’
Ellis shrugs his shoulders. After Joe’s wife, Adam has no idea who else would have called Joe that.
Joe Bergman: Andy Murray. Refueled 23.
Ellis looks down and mulls the answer.
Adam Ellis: Oh!
Then he remembers.
Adam Ellis: The night you and Murray were interviewed by Blaire. You were in Section 214. He was in the 24K suite?
Joe Bergman: That’s the one.
Adam Ellis: I seem to remember that Murray was being sort of an asshole.
Joe Bergman: No, he was being an asshole.
Adam Ellis: And you finally got tired of it and fired back at him.
Joe jumps up off the chair.
Joe Bergman: All right. We’d better get out there before someone even more nasty and intimidating than Clay Byrd comes back.
Adam Ellis: Huh?
Joe gives him an expression that says “really? You don’t know who I’m talking about?”
Joe Bergman: My wife.
The miracle of revelation takes place as it registers clear as a bell with Adam now.
Adam Ellis: Ohhhhhhh!
Missouri Valley Wrestling Television Studio – Later on that night
Following the MVW Hall of Fame Ceremony and dinner, the newly minted Hall of Famers and other MVW employees gathered inside the TV studio along with one hundred and fifty spectators to watch a special MVW show broadcasted online called “6:05.”
The 6:05 show would feature MVW wrestlers who usually didn’t get a whole lot of television time.
Sitting up at the top of the bleachers and trying to keep a low profile, Adam watches the first match of the show between Debbie the Destroyer versus Lauren Wade. The match doesn’t last very long as Debbie… well… destroys Wade.
Then on to the next match…
Sunny O’Callahan: AHEM! Accompanied by the best manager with the most brilliant wrestling mind ever in professional wrestling and the ONE TRUE QUEEN OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING! BOW DOWN TO ME! SUNNY O’CALLAHAN!
Yep. You guessed it. It’s an Ultratron-6.1 match complete with the usual bombastic Sunny O’Callahan entrance to Geri Halliwell’s “Look at Me.” Sunny literally implored to look at her as she vamped her way to the ring. Adam tries not to snicker as he notices that ‘The New Age Cybertronic Criminally Insane Rogue Sentient Robot Wrestling Machine’ has come out in a seriously bad mood and the Kabal of Really Awful People do their best to stay clear of him.
We get to the point where Ultratron-6.1 does his whole schtick and Adam is listening intently to him when a young voice pops into his train of thought.
Male Voice: He’s not really a robot you know.
Adam Ellis: Huh?
Ellis turns towards the source of the voice. As he suspects, the voice belongs to a young child, probably ten years old, who’s there with his father watching the show.
Kid: He’s not really a robot.
Adam plays along.
Adam Ellis: He’s not?
Kid: Of course not. Why would anyone build a wrestling robot that’s less than six feet tall? If you’re going to build a wrestling robot, he should be seven feet tall and indestructible. Ultratron-6.1 is not indestructible. You of all people should know that, Adam.
Adam realizes he’s been busted. Apparently, the kid’s a pretty avid wrestling fan.
Adam Ellis: I see.
So much for keeping a low profile.
Adam Ellis: You know who I am then.
Kid: Well yeah. You used to be on Lock and Loaded all the time.
That is true. Adam featured often on MVW’s second weekly show Lock and Loaded- especially when it was a syndicated show.
Kid: So, how do you like HOW?
Adam Ellis: I’m liking it a lot so far.
The kid nods.
Kid: Yeah, I like you better than Sutler Reynolds-Kael.
Adam Ellis: Oh?
Ellis thought that seemed to be an odd comparison.
Kid: Sutler Reynolds-Kael was about the same age as you but he was kind of a jerk. Dad called him a young, arrogant, entitled, snowflakey brat. He thinks you’re the opposite.
Adam Ellis: He thinks I’m the anti-Sutler Reynolds-Kael?
Adam Ellis: Cool. I can live with that. What does he think about my chances next week against Solex and Byrd?
The kid elbows his Dad and asks him. But he’s too busy watching ‘Big Don’ Dickinson (yes, it’s Bill Dickinson’s younger brother) punch Ultratron-6.1 to answer the kid’s question.
Kid: Well I think if you’re tough enough to stand up to the ‘330 Pound Southern Brawler’ Bill Dickinson, you should be able to stand up to Steve Solex and Clay Byrd.
Adam Ellis: Thanks for the confidence kid.
Kid: Yeah, just what out for Solex’s Solexcution and the SolexPlex. He hits those and you won’t win. And for Pete’s sake, don’t let Clay Byrd hit you with that Texas Lariat of his. He’ll kill you with that move.
Adam Ellis: I’ll keep that in mind.
At that point, the kid’s father realizes his young son is having a conversation with a stranger admonishes his young son for bothering the ‘nice man next to you.’
Adam Ellis: No, no. We’re good.
And then the father realizes who he is.
Father: Holy crap you’re-
Adam Ellis: Yeah. The anti-Sutler Reynolds-Kael.
Ellis notices a rolled-up poster on the seat next to the kid.
Adam Ellis: So, who’s on the poster?
The kid fumbles with his hands trying to grasp the poster.
He unrolls the poster and shows it to Adam. He’s impressed.
Adam Ellis: Ah. Victoria McGill.
Indeed, the poster shows MVW wrestler Victoria McGill in action grappling with her opponent in the ring.
Adam Ellis: She’s nice too.
Adam notices the kid’s smile turns into a resigned frown. He finds out that earlier in the night, the kid had been in line hoping to get her autograph on the poster. Unfortunately, the line was too long and before the kid could get his autograph, Victoria had to leave as the 6:05 show was about to start and she needed to go get ready for her match against Yosemite Samantha.
But the kid does get to see Victoria wrestle, and lose, against Yosemite Samantha which makes the kid’s disposition even sadder. Adam tries to cheer him up.
Adam Ellis: Look at it this way. She’s going to move up to the main women’s division here soon and go after the Women’s title.
That doesn’t cheer the kid up.
Then Adam comes up with an idea.
After the 6:05 Show
Adam, the kid, and the father walk through the crowd.
The Father: Adam, you don’t really have to do this.
Adam holds his hand up.
Adam Ellis: No, no. I’ve got this.
He searches the room.
Adam Ellis: I know she’s here somewhere.
And indeed she is. He sees Victoria’s mother (and new MVW Hall of Famer) Dawn McGill talking to someone. Dawn looks fantastic. She’s lost a few more pounds and has returned from the Caribbean with quite the tan. So Adam heads over that way.
Kid: Wow! There she is!
Adam stops in his tracks. His eyes widen. Jaw drops.
Adam Ellis: Tori?
His mind goes blank as he eyes Victoria with the same sense of wonder and awe that Ralphie did in the Christmas Story movie when he cast his eyes on a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle for the first time.
Adam blinks his eyes as if he can’t believe what he sees. But then things go a little fuzzy…
Tori walks towards Adam wearing a pair of bright red pumps, black spandex pants, and a black leather jacket covering an off the shoulder black shirt. She has a cigarette in her hand and her blonde hair is poofed up and out.
Tori tilts her head a bit to the side.
Tori McGill: Tell me about it, stud…
The opening to “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease starts up and Ellis, who still can’t believe what he sees, much to everyone’s surprise- and dismay- suddenly feels compelled to sing.
In front of everyone.
Adam Ellis (singing):
I got chills… they’re multiplying.
And I’m losing control-oh
We hear Victoria’s faint voice.
Tori McGill (faintly, off screen): Adam?
‘Cause the power you’re supplying…
Tori McGill (louder, still off screen): Uh… Adam?
Tori McGill: ADAM!
Shocked out of his slight tangential detour from reality, Adam suddenly realizes he’s not in the middle of a big production number from the movie Grease but in fact, he’s standing in front of Victoria McGill.
Her expression is priceless. She’s looking at him and wondering why in the world is he busting out a song from Grease.
Oh, and for the record, she’s not dressed up as slutty Olivia Newton-John either.
Tori is actually wearing a plain old sweatshirt, jeans, and tennis shoes on with the strap of her duffel bag slung over her shoulder. She’s the spitting image of her mother with the same blonde hair and body frame except she’s a little taller- six foot two, and a lot more muscular than her Mom is.
Victoria tries not to burst out laughing at the red-faced young man standing in front of her searching for ways to crawl under a rock right now. As for the others…
Dawn McGill is just ‘what the-‘ and facepalms.
The kid’s father kinda edges away from Adam.
And the kid? He just looks up at him and goes.
Cue Adam’s awkward smile. Can he dig his way out of the unfortunate situation he’s put himself into and get the kid his autograph?
In the end, the kid gets his autograph from AND a photo taken with Victoria McGill. The father thanks Tori and Adam and he and the son exit.
On one hand, Adam takes solace in the fact he made the kid’s evening by being able to get him an autograph from Victoria McGill.
On the other hand, he’s also just made a complete fool of himself in front of Victoria McGill.
As everyone goes their separate ways for the night, Adam sees Tori off in the distance walking over to the passenger side of a car. The night of his eventful first date with his high school sweetheart Kelly pops into his head. He was so nervous that when he pulled into the parking lot to the restaurant that he was taking her to, Adam misjudged where the parking block was and drove up and over it. Red-faced and embarrassed, all Adam could manage to sputter was “honest, I really know how to drive.”
Tori happens to look up and sees Adam standing in the parking lot.
Their eyes meet.
He smiles. It’s a still a bit on the awkward side still but it’s still a smile.
Then she gets into the car with her mother.
Adam watches as they drive off into the evening. He stands in place for a couple minutes until a bell sounds signifying a text has come in. Adam glances at the phone.
Adam reads the text. “All right rook, vacation’s over. You need to start focusing on Steve Solex and Clay Byrd and how we can finish this group unbeaten,”
Reality rears its ugly head.
Time to get back to work.