High Octane Wrestling’s Refueled 90
Iowa City, Iowa
Sunday March 6th
Moments after Sektor/Ellis vs. Zion/Azula…
Savoring the moment after a hard-fought win, Adam Ellis lags behind John Sektor and takes his time walking back up the ramp.
“GOOD JOB ADAM!” someone shouts out.
Adam stops and acknowledges the accolade as Sektor disappears to the back.
“Thanks man,” Adam replies.
He then goes over to the barricade to slap hands with several people- all with a huge shit-eating grin on his face.
“Good luck in the finals,” yells someone else.
Adam waves back and reaches the top of the stage. He turns around and sees the crowd cheering. For a split second it’s a little overwhelming.
He mutters to himself, “What a fuckin’ rush.”
He realizes this is it.
This is why he wanted to become a pro wrestler.
This is why he’s put in the long hours, made the sacrifices needed, and listened to soak in all the knowledge possible over the past three years.
This is the reason why he came to HOW. No offense to Missouri Valley Wrestling, but feeling the energy of fifteen thousand screaming people coursing through his veins giving him a sheer adrenalin high was something he’d never experienced before he came to High Octane Wrestling.
He thinks back their foes- Darin Zion and Xander Azula proved to be tough and worthy adversaries and it was a really good match. Adam tagged in Sektor late in the match and Sektor went wild. Ellis speared Darin Zion running in and John finished it off by putting Azula in the Sektor Stetch to book their ticket to March to Glory.
Soaking in the crowd reaction aside, Adam’s celebration is muted though because he knows damn well the job isn’t done yet. The Main event of the show was yet to come to determine their opponents for the tag belts at March to Glory. Darkwing and Bobbinette Carey vs. Conor Fuse and David Noble in a battle of Old School HOW versus The New Breed of HOW. Which team would go on to March to Glory?
Ellis decides to stay close enough to watch the match from the back to see for himself.
The match gets underway. Darkwing slaps Conor on the break. Adam takes a mental note of the incident… interesting. This was Adam’s first real opportunity to see one of the original HOW Hall of Famers in action.
Ellis does a double take when Conor and Bobbinette shake hands after she tags in. That’s interesting… very interesting.
Carey gets it going and nearly pins Conor early on. Noble tags in and hits a spinning back elbow that stuns Carey. Boot to the temple by Noble sends Carey to the mat. Shining Wizard follows and Noble nearly gets the pinfall. Adam makes a mental note of that… Noble comes in and he takes no prisoners. Can’t believe HOW hasn’t signed him on to a long term contract yet.
Darkwing and Fuse both tag in. Fuse throws himself at Darkwing. He later tries a Moonsault and Darkwing gets his knees up. Darkwing gets in a few shots and a nasty boot to the gut that stuns Fuse. He tags Carey back in. She hides behind Conor until the right moment and rolls him up for another pinfall. Adam makes some more notes in his head… Darkwing and Carey together make a very good tag team.
Noble spears the hell out of Carey to break up the pin. Fuse appears a little concerned for Carey and Ellis notices there’s the hint of friction between Noble and his tag team partner over Conor’s infatuation with Bobbinette Carey. But get it together and send Darkwing over the top rope to the floor… memo to self, if we wrestle Fuse and Noble for the title, perhaps we should bring a life-size cardboard cut-out of Bobbinette Carey and put it in our corner to distract Conor.
Adam lets out a little laugh.
Noble’s back in and he nearly kills Bobbi with w running knee to the skull… ooooh… that looked like it hurt. Mental note and important safety tip- do NOT want to get hit with that.
Fuse looks concerned for Carey as she collapses to the mat. Noble makes the cover for the win… damn. Fuse and Noble defeated a real good tag team in Darkwing and Bobbinette Carey and looked damn impressive in doing it. They’re the real deal.
So now the match is now set: David Noble and Conor Fuse versus John Sektor and Adam Ellis.
March to Glory.
The High Octane Wrestling Tag Team Title.
Heroes Restaurant & Pub
Saturday March 12th
From the outside of the restaurant, the customer first sees the light blue colored light spelling out “HEROES” on the brick building just above an old-fashioned canopy overhang, On one large window to the left of the glass entrance door, there was the logo of the University of Central Missouri hanging- “UCM MULE NATION” with the head of a mule peeking over the top lettering. On the right-side window, “WARRENSBURG TIGERS PRIDE.” There was also a block ‘W’ between Warrensburg and pride with Tigers written in cursive over it.
Once inside, the customer discovers that it’s a typical Saturday night and the restaurant is packed.
Way in the back, Adam Ellis holds court with his former high school wrestling teammates Charlie Kennedy, A.J. Phelps, and Mike McWilliams. With March to Glory fifteen days away, Ellis returned to his hometown for the weekend before getting down to the business of preparing himself for the biggest match of his life.
Adam wanted to spend the down time with his high school friends so here they were again, at Heroes celebrating Adam’s success and how things have changed since he last set foot in Heroes. Back in January, he was a nervous rookie teaming up with a HOW Hall of Famer and trying to get his footing in HOW. Now, he and John Sektor sat on the cusp of potentially winning the HOW Tag Team title.
“Here’s to Mr. Big Shot Pro Wrestler,” Charlie cries out. He raises up a mug of beer. “From a Warrensburg Tiger to one half of the HOW Tag Team Champions!”
“HERE, HERE!” the others shout. They tip their heads back and guzzle down the beer inside their mugs.
“We’re not there yet guys,” cautions Adam after the last drop of beer slid down his throat. He places the mug down firmly on the table and checks his cell phone. “Got one match to do.”
Charlie fills Adam’s mug right back up. Then A.J.’s…. then Mike’s. “To Coach Linfield!”
All four shout out in unison their former wrestling coach’s favorite motivational saying: “TAKE YOUR CHANCES WHEN YOU GET THE OPPORTUNITY!”
Charlie raises his glass again. “Cheers”
The others raise their beer mugs and meet with Charlie’s in the middle.
Adam slips another glance at his phone.
“So how does it feel?” Mike McWilliams asked.
Adam tries to tamp down their enthusiasm. “Look guys. We haven’t won anything yet. This will be the biggest test yet. These guys we’re facing at March to Glory- Conor Fuse and David Noble- they’re good. I mean, they’re really, really good. This isn’t wrestling J.J. Bittinger at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina, Kansas. This is wrestling at the Best Arena in Chicago, Illinois before twenty thousand HOW maniacs against two world class wrestling superstars. Do you know who these guys are?”
Mike and Charlie exchange glances and shrug. A.J.’s trying to hail a waitress for another pitcher of beer.
“Conor Fuse is a two-time HOW world champion,” Adam continues, “and he has had an outstanding career over at Defiance Wrestling. David Noble walked in the door after being away for a few years and wrestled for the HOTv title. He’s a former Southern Heritage Champion at Defiance too. I’ve watched him wrestle. David Noble is one of those bad ass, grizzled veteran guys who gives zero fucks. He doesn’t care. He’ll do anything to win he has to do and needs to do to win the match”
Adam sneaks another peek at his cell phone.
“All I’m saying is those two are going to be real hard to beat. Especially when I’m the youngest person and the least experienced guy in the match.”
“And he plays video games!” chimes in A.J.
“Well yeah, Conor Fuse plays video games,” Adam concurs. “But both he and John Sektor are arguably the best wrestlers going right now in HOW. I reckon David Noble’s not too far behind them. Then there’s me- the rookie. I really have to get my shit together real fast or else Noble will do the same thing to me he did to Bobbinette Carey the other night. Did you see him spear Carey out of her boots? Wow.”
“Dude, don’t worry,” Charlie pipes up.
“Yeah. You got this far. I’ve watched you wrestle. You belong out there Adam,” Mike says. “You’ve got this.”
“Absolutely,” agrees A.J.
The banter quiets down for a few seconds and Adam finishes off his second beer. A.J. and Charlie sip at theirs. Mike makes a run to the bathroom.
“Sooo,” Charlie begins innocently, “tell us about Tori.”
Adam closes his eyes, looks down at the ground and shakes his head. “Guys.”
“Aw… come on Charlie,” Mike scolds him. “I thought we weren’t going to bring that up tonight.
A.J. joins in. “Yeah, real nice picture of you two.”
“So what is the deal with her?” asks Charlie. “She’s a babe.”
“A total babe,” A.J. agrees.
Mike shakes his head and throws up his hands.
Adam tries to tamp down the guy’s over-enthusiasm over the rumors he might be dating Victoria McGill. “Guys, we’re just friends,” he states. “That’s all.”
“Just friends, eh?” Charlie says.
Adam holds firm. “Just friends.”
“I see.” Charlie points down at his phone. “So that’s why you’re watching her match on the phone then?”
A.J needles Adam. “Busted.”
‘Fine.” Annoyed, Adam puts the phone on the table and they all watch Victoria McGill’s match on Missouri Valley Wrestling’s bi-weekly internet only show called 6:05. Her opponent tonight- ‘The Queen of the Trailer Park’ Lani Harlot.
“Oh man,” A.J. exclaims. “She’s a total babe.”
“A babe who could probably beat you up,” snipes Mike.
“Nooooo….” A.J. watches Tori drive a big boot into Harlot’s face and causing her opponent to spin around in place twice. “…yeah probably.”
“How she doing?” Charlie inquires.
“Uh… Lani’s giving her a pretty good match,” Adam says.
After Harlot rallies for a minute, Tori blocks her punch, rears back and pops Harlot with a nasty right hand.
“Ooooh,” Charlie reacts. “I could hear the sound through the phone.”
Tori gets a gutwrench hold on Harlot… lifts her up and in one giant circle smashes Harlot face first to the mat.
“Okay!” A.J. says. “That had to hurt.”
Tori rolls up Harlot for the one, two, three and that’s all she wrote for Lani Harlot.
“That was pretty impressive,” Charlie says.
Much to Adam’s dismay, A.J. cuts to the chase and asks, “Are you sure you’re not boinking her?”
Rolling his eyes, Adam tries to make it clear to all: “Yes. We are friends. Just friend-“
He stops when he sees a very familiar face staring at him from across the room. Suffice to say, if the news of the ‘photo’ a dirt sheet published got to Adam’s friends, it surely reached his former high school sweetheart as well.
Since his former high school sweetheart was standing there glaring at Adam, he knows it did and within seconds the air gets sucked out of all the fun and frivolity.
“Kelly,” he mumbles to himself in a half-whine when he sees her face- the face of a person who’s hurt… sad… upset… still heartbroken. Even though the break up took place months ago, Adam can see that she’s still not over what happened.
Incredulous at the betrayal she feels, Kelly just stares at him. A.J., Charlie, and Mike look down or away. Adam stares back- unsure of what to do in this increasingly uncomfortable moment.
The tension begins to exponentially increase.
The stalemate continues. Adam fidgets as he tries to figure out what to do.
“Fuck it.” Finally, Adam stands up. He takes one step towards Kelly and says, “Kelly, let’s talk-”
It takes her less than a second to respond.
“NO!” Kelly immediately wheels around and storms away from him. She’s not buying what Adam is selling tonight.
Adam follows and tries to get her to stop. “Kelly!” Adam calls out. “Wait!” She ignores him and marches for the door. “WAIT!” He shouts, making somewhat of a scene in the restaurant.
Kelly shoves the door open and closes it forcefully behind her. Adam gets to the door and all he can do is watch her through the glass disappear into the night.
He bows his head. “Dammit.”
An hour later…
The last hour of his visit to the restaurant dampened by the incident between Kelly and him, Adam made it an early evening and was in his car driving NOT home. On a NW 10th Road on the far western fringes of town, Adam pulls his car into Cave Hollow Park. He drives by the two baseball fields on the left and and parks in front of the dog park- basically a sandy area where dogs could play… and do what dogs do when they need to relieve themselves.
Parked, leaning back in the car seat and trying to manage the many thoughts racing through his mind, Adam pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels he’d picked up after leaving the restaurant and contemplates what to do next. On one hand, he’s more than a little nervous about the March to Glory match against Conor Fuse and David Noble and he knows that’s where his focus should be. Where it has to be. Adam knew he had to be one hundred percent focused, one hundred percent committed to doing everything in his power, using everything he’s learned over the past few months to put forth the maximum effort it would take to defeat Conor Fuse and David Noble.
Adam unscrews the top and takes a little sip of the hard whiskey.
But, the cold, hard truth he couldn’t get out of his head was how much this whole thing with Kelly upset him greatly. He knows how much this will weigh on him and potentially get in the way of Adam being mentally ready for March to Glory- and he can’t have that happen right now.
The vibration of the phone shocks Adam from wallowing in his thoughts. He checks the phone- “Text from Victoria McGill”
Oh. Okay. Adam hits the appropriate button and Tori’s text pops up.
“Hey. Whatcha up to?”
Adam types back. “Not much. Congratulations on the win tonight. You looked really good out there tonight.’
“Thanks. Lani’s never an easy opponent. Call I call you?”
Adam again responds. “Yeah.”
A few seconds later, his phone rings and he presses the green button to accept the call. “Hey Tori! What’s going on tonight?”
“This business sucks sometimes.”
Well, at least Adam wasn’t the only one having a crappy evening. “What’s going on?”
“You haven’t heard?”
Obviously, no. Adam spent the day driving home and then went right to the restaurant. If something broke today, Adam didn’t hear it. “No I haven’t heard anything,” he finally says. “Is everything okay?”
“No. That son of a bitch Jason Whatley.”
“The wrestling dirt sheet blogging guy?”
“Yes. The same guy who posted that picture of you and me last week. Apparently, he got a hold of some photos from a shoot we just did down at one of the Caribbean islands and posted them on his wrestling website.”
Adam couldn’t discern whether Tori was angry or just upset. “I’m sorry. So Ray McAvay sent you down there for a photo shoot?”
“No, no. It wasn’t Ray. This was all Jill Berg’s idea. Because I’m part of Jill Berg Enterprises and Jill wants me to be the ‘face of JBE’… There’s a sharp silence before Tori continues. “She flew me down to Barbados for this photo shoot. You know. Sand. Palm trees. The Caribbean Sea. So here I was in a flippin’ bikini for two straight days for the shoot because she wants to bring attention to me and JBE by getting me more mainstream exposure.”
Adam decides she’s more frustrated than angry or upset. He tries to find the silver lining. “So it seems like they’re really going to get behind you then?”
“The face of JBE.. frolicking around in a bikini like a fucking pinup doll… instead of the face of JBE … ass-kicking wrestler.”
Yep… there’s the anger.
“I want to be known as someone who’s one hell of a good wrestler and not just another pretty face… and for god’s sake not someone who’ll let people take cheesy pictures my boobs. Jeez, my Mom did enough of this shit and I am not going to follow in her footsteps there!”
“Okay,” Adam says, trying to calm her down. “If the pictures are with you in a bikini, that’s not the worst thing. I mean, it’s not like you were doing… you know… those type of pictures.”
He hears a clear sigh through the phone.
“I might have let them… you know… take a couple of *those* type of pictures.” Tori says in a slight, embarrassed tone of voice and then clarifies, “Topless… not the full… thing.”
“Ohhhhh.” Adam puts one and one together. “Let me guess, that’s the photo Jason Whatley put on his website.”
“X gets the square.”
It gets quiet for a few seconds.
“Yes, I’m still here.”
“Hey, you wouldn’t be in St. Louis by chance, would you?”
That catches Adam completely off guard. “Um… I’m sorry, what?”
“Are you in St. Louis? I could use some company.”
“Oh… ummmm…” Adam checks his watch- ten o’clock. If he left now, he’d be in St. Louis at… one thirty in the morning. Then he’d have to somehow get back to Warrensburg in time to go to church with his parents- because he promised his mother he would go with them on Sunday morning before Adam headed back to St. Louis.
He tries to hatch a scheme… any scheme that might have some chance to succeed, in fact, he thinks REAL hard about this… he wracks his brain trying to find a reasonable way to do this.
And he can’t.
“Adam? Adam, are you there?”
Cursing a blue streak in his mind for losing an opportunity to hang out with Tori McGill, he takes a deep breath and breaks the news to her. “Tori, I’m at my parent’s for the weekend.”
“Oh. Okay. I thought it would be nice to hang out and talk to a friendly voice. This whole thing is bringing me down.”
“Please hold.” Adam then mutes the phone and shouts as loud as he can: “DAMN-DAMN-DAMN-DAMN-DAMN!” as he bangs his hand against the steering wheel over and over. Once he gets that out of his system, Adam unmutes the phone. “I’m so sorry, Tori. I… I… I’m sorry that someone leaked those photos… sorry about the picture of us backstage that got leaked to the dirt sheets… I’m… I’m just… sorry.”
“It’s all right. I’ll probably just go out with some friends, get drunk, and just try to forget about this whole thing.”
“Okay,” Adam replies. “If it means anything, I think you’re a damn good wrestler who just happens to have a pretty face. How about that?”
“Thanks Adam. That’s sweet of you to say.”
“Hey. If you need to talk, I’m here. Feel free to call me.”
“Sounds good. I’ll talk to you soon.”
The second she ends the call; Adam leans forward and bangs his head against the steering wheel.
Cheshire Apartments at Highpoint
St. Louis, Missouri
Located right off Interstate 64 at the McCausland Avenue exit, The Cheshire Apartments are right off the exit in the “Hi-Pointe” area of St. Louis- mostly residential save the local Starbucks, the Hi-Pointe Theater, and the Hi-Pointe Drive-In restaurant. More importantly, the Hi-Pointe neighborhood had the distinction of being one of the safest neighborhoods in St. Louis.
Victoria McGill lived on the top floor of the building and the window in the back of her apartment had a great view of Interstate 64 below, full of traffic on a busy Saturday night.
Thirty minutes after she ended her call with Adam, she’d already called for an Uber. Now she looks through her wardrobe and tries to find something suitable to wear on a cold Saturday evening. With temperatures headed down to the high twenties, any short skirts or summer-ish outfits are a no-go.
“Ahhh. That’s what I want.” Tori finds what she wants to wear and gets dressed in an off the shoulder, tight fitting, black dress with a pair of black over-the-knee boots that added an additional couple inches to her six-foot two frame.
After she fluffs up her blonde hair, Tori takes a photo of herself in the mirror and texts the picture to Adam just for the hell of it.
The Uber arrives and picks her up. When asked where she wants to go…
“Any place that serves alcohol.”