The Scene: a cheesy set that looks like a relic teleported forward in time from the 1980s.
On the cheap wall of the cheap set is a large sign with APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING… complete with logo.
Announcer Alan Davis stands in front of the wall dressed in a nice suit and tie. He has some notes written down on top of a ‘desk’ like table top that he worked from.
Alan Davis: Back at ringside, earlier tonight we saw a title change take place in our ongoing AMCW championship challenge series as J.J. Bittinger… making his shock return to AMCW… put an end to Johnny Bumphus’s long title reign to become the new AMCW champion.
The fifty people inside a small, cramped television studio where Appalachian Mountain Championship Wrestling filmed their weekly syndicated show stand up and clap.
AMCW’s weekly show aired in West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, western North Carolina, northern Georgia, and eastern Tennessee television markets.
Alan Davis: But now ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to bring out someone who also had a long run as AMCW champion and was the man who Johnny Bumphus defeated for the title last year. Back with us for the first time in quite a while… please welcome R.G. JENKINS!
R.G. Jenkins walks out from the back to a hero’s welcome with a black bandana covering his bald head and sporting a black sleeveless vest with jeans and boots.
Also with R.G is Mark Hendry. The product who trained at Joe Bergman’s Barn comes out in an Alabama Gang t-shirt that doesn’t hide his heavily tattooed arms and a nondescript pair of jeans with cowboy boots.
And… Sunny O’Callahan… as always all decked out in the wardrobe you’d expect from someone portraying a background singer from a late seventies Southern rock band. She comes out taking a swig out of a Southern Comfort bottle.
Alan Davis: The prodigal son has returned to AMCW for a special guest appearance. R.G. Welcome back.
R.G. Jenkins: Alan, it’s been too long. So good to see ya. It’s great to be back here in Boone, North Carolina and back inside this TV studio.
Jenkins pauses for the applause that follows.
Alan Davis: The last time you appeared on this show was over a year ago… right before you dropped the title to Bumphus in February 2022. What happened?
R.G. Jenkins: Alan, I had such a great run here at AMCW and the reason I left was because… I… just thought I’d done everything that I could do here. I’d been here ten years and got the itch to try something a little different somewhere else… I needed a new challenge. So I reached out to Missouri Valley Wrestling owner Ray McAvay about a tryout. He brought me in and soon enough I signed on with MVW in March and did the right thing business-wise when I dropped the title to Bumphus on the way out the door.
Alan Davis: So, I hear you’ve been a little busy lately.
Rubbing his chin and stifling a laugh, R.G. nods.
R.G. Jenkins: Well. I’ll make this quick. I hooked up with this big guy…
Jenkins slaps Hendry on the arm.
R.G. Jenkins: …named Mark Hendry… an’ we went out and won the HOTv Tag Team titles and then the Missouri Valley Wrestling’s Men’s Tag Team title. So… we’ve done purty well.
Hendry nods in agreement while Sunny sways while taking little drinks from her bottle of Southern Comfort.
Alan Davis: You have a big match coming up next week.
R.G. Jenkins: Yeah we do and that here’s the reason we’re here.
Alan Davis: R.G., before we get to that. We keep hearing how Lee Best calls Bergman and Missouri Valley Wrestling the Evil Empire.
Jenkins busts out laughing.
Alan Davis: What’s your take on that?
R.G. Jenkins: That’s just a bunch of bullshit, Alan.
(It’s okay…. That’ll get bleeped out before it gets sent out to the TV stations.)
R.G. Jenkins: That’s a bunch of bullshit…
(Again… that will be bleeped out in the TV feed.)
R.G. Jenkins: Evil empire, my ass. The real evil empire is Lee Best and his big-time, sports entertainment bullshit…
(And that one…)
R.G. Jenkins: …HOW has become the Wal-Mart of pro wrestling. Picking on MVW and calling them the Evil Empire while their product is just… ugh…
Alan Davis: I saw their show the other night. Swirlies. Peeing on wrestlers. What the fuck-
(And definitely that one…)
Alan Davis: …um sorry.
R.G. Jenkins: Oh you’re absolutely right Alan. Sports entertainment bullshit. No. Appalachian Mountain Wrestling doesn’t do that. Missouri Valley Wrestling doesn’t do that. We’re wrestling companies… not sports entertainment bullshit. Giving swirlies to wrestlers isn’t pro wrestling… it’s sports entertainment bullshit. Having the owner of the company peeing on one of the wrestlers? That’s not pro wrestling. That’s sports entertainment bullshit. Jabbing out people’s eyes with a pen… that’s not wrestling… that’s sports entertainment bullshit. Thank God I wrestled here at AMCW and thank God I wrestle right now for someone who believes in the concept of pro wrestling and not sports entertainment bullshit.
Jenkins locates the hard camera.
R.G. Jenkins: Sunday March 26th. Paducah, Kentucky. We need as many of y’all in the West Virginia, Kentucky area to drive up and pack out the Carson Center because Mark and me have a big one comin’ up. We’re defending the HOTv Tag Team titles against the legendary Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr from High Octane Wrestling. It’s March Madness. David versus Goliath. Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Purdue. Princeton vs. Arizona. The Alabama Gang versus The Final Alliance. Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr think they’re too good to set foot in one of our ‘rinky-dink’ MVW arenas. Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr think they can just fly into Paducah in their fancy private jet liner… show up at the area in their limousine… climb through those ropes and think we’ll just lay down for them. Just hand ‘em the belts because poor little Danny and Jatt can’t bother to get there dainty hands dirty in an MVW ring. Well guess what. That ain’t gonna happen.
That fires up the crowd.
R.G. Jenkins: Jace Parker Davidson and Scott Stevens thought they could do that. They were wrong. Hell, we made JPD quit like a little bitch and leave ringside before the match was over.
More whoops from the crowd.
R.G. Jenkins: No one thought we could beat Davidson and Stevens. No one thought Mark and me had a chance in hell. But dammit we did it and now, we gotta hav’ to do it again. But here’s the deal. HOW wanted this match in one of their arenas and Ray McAvay said hell no. He saw what they did to Joe Bergman last week. The whole goddamn wrestling world saw how Bergman got screwed over by Lee Best. That match was a joke. An absolute joke. But here’s the good news. No matter what delusional crap Dan Ryan may spew out of his piehole, Ray McAvay put his foot down with Lee Best and guess what… . you’re coming to our place Danny boy.
That gets the crowd on their feet now.
R.G, Jenkins: That’s right Dan. You ain’t gonna get away with the same stuff y’all did to Joe Bergman on Sunday night ‘cause Ray McAvay doesn’t let that crap happen in MVW. Ray McAvay doesn’t have his own little clique of a self-serving alliance that he pushes at the expense of the others. Ray McAvay doesn’t NEED to have his own ‘Final Alliance’… a little band of self-fellating syncopaths stroking their fragile egos… to do his ‘dirty’ work.
Sunny steps forward.
Sunny O’Callahan: And yeah. That sums up Jatt Starr.
R.G. Jenkins: No. Ray McAvay does professional wrestling. Not sports entertainment garbage scraped out the bottom of a trash dumpster. Pro wrestling. Ray McAvay takes title matches seriously and we know that in a MVW ring, we’ll get a fair shot on Sunday… a hell of a better shot than poor ol’ Joe Bergman got at their March to Glory show… that’s fer damn sure.
Sunny O’Callahan: Damn right!
R.G. Jenkins: So get there dammit. Get your asses to the Carson Center on March 26th and let’s shock the goddamn world again! With all of you showin’ up… cheering us on and booing those big city, jet-flyin’, limo riding, sports entertainment bootlicking, hot shots who think they’re better than you an’ me, we’re gonna give them the surprise of their lives. No one thought we would beat Davidson and Stevens and we did. No one thinks we can beat Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr on Sunday and we don’t give a damn. Screw them and everyone in the wrestling world who expects Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr to stomp our asses into the ground because we’re gonna show them again.
Jenkins pauses and points to Hendry.
Mark Hendry: YEAH!
Jenkins goes on.
R.G. Jenkins: The Alabama Gang is a-coming to Paducah, Kentucky this Sunday night and we’re comin’ for a fight. That’s right Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr… The Alabama Gang is a-comin’ to the Carson Center… with the people there behind us… cheering for us… we’re gonna fight like hell Sunday night… and we’re gonna…”
R.G. leans forward toward the camera and sneers.
R.G. Jenkins: KICK… YOUR… ASSES!
Mark Hendry: “YEAH!”
Hendry’s youthful exuberance comes out again.
Mark Hendry: KICK BOTH OF YOUR ASSES!
Jenkins pats Hendry on the back. Then with the spoken part of the promo done, it’s time for the gun show. R.G. and Hendry both flex their arms while Sunny O’Callahan takes another healthy swig of Southern Comfort and sways back and forth looking serene and extremely relaxed.
Alan Davis: Thank you Alabama Gang. Thank you, R.G. Jenkins. The Alabama Gang will take on High Octane Wrestling’s Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr this Sunday night in Paducah, Kentucky. So if you’re in the West Virginia and Kentucky area and can get up to Paducah… get there and root on The Alabama Gang and support grassroots pro wrestling against the corporate machine, the sports entertainment bull…
He catches himself this time.
Alan Davis: …you know what I mean. Get over to Paducah and let’s support The Alabama Gang.
After the Show
Jenkins, Hendry, and Sunny get into their rental car outside the television studio and get ready to leave. Jenkins is driving because Hendry’s a complete fucking maniac behind the wheel and R.G. doesn’t need the extra charges on the rental car bill to pay for whatever damage he’ll cause to the car.
Nor does R.G. really need the extra stress right now either. He just wants to get to the airport and get to Wichita. Sleep would be at a premium and he figured he wouldn’t get much on the plane ride.
Mark’s curious about their appearance on the AMCW show. He speaks up and asks R.G. how he thought it went. Sunny speaks up immediately to offer her opinion. She states she thought the appearance went well and the Alabama Gang were well received.
As for R.G., he doesn’t say a whole lot other than to vaguely agree with Sunny’s assessment of the evening. He backs the car up and exits the parking lot. Destination- the Boone-Blowing Rock Airport on the southeast part of town known as Happy Valley- one of the flatter parts of Boone. A private plane awaits them, idling on the runway, ready to whisk the trio to the Heartland of America… Wichita, Kansas… the location of Tuesday night’s Wrestling Night in the Heartland show.
He peeks in the rearview mirror. Mark’s checking his cell phone for messages, texting his friends, and looking up questionable images of scantily dressed women. Sunny’s already taken a relaxant to calm her nerves and covered herself up in a blanket. R.G. knows how much she hates flying as it is. Flying a smaller plane over the Appalachian Mountains and halfway across the country takes her anxiety to a whole different level. With any luck, she’ll sleep right through the flight and by the time she wakes up they’ll be on the ground in Wichita.
R.G. knows she’s got a lot going in inside her head. He knows Sunny’s mind is occupied thinking about the Joe Bergman situation. Following the March to Glory show in Manchester, England, she flew back home but Joe stayed behind to stay for an extra week… actually… now an extra two weeks now according to Blaire Moise. R.G. didn’t have an opinion about the subject other than to use what happened to Joe at March to Glory as a means… a way to build up even more enmity between the HOW wrestlers representing the true evil empire and The Alabama Gang- the hometown MVW wrestlers championing small-time grass-roots pro wrestling all over the country. Hence, the appearance on the Appalachian Mountain Championship Wrestling show. Hence, why they will be also traveling to Dallas, Texas the day after the MVW house show in Wichita to cut another promo… this time at Charlie Blackwell’s fledgling new wrestling company Texas Championship Wrestling.
He hopes that the massive amount of traveling they are doing doesn’t take away from their performance on Tuesday night in Wichita. Their opponents at the MVW house show will be the Kardoucheian Empire… Hollywood reality stars from the show ‘Krampin’ Up with the Kardoucheians.’ Self-entitled… arrogant pricks who believe that because of their status and perceived popularity that they should be the MVW Men’s Tag Team Champions because… ‘they’re stars and the Alabama Gang aren’t.’ R.G. rolls his eyes at the thought of Kris Kardoucheian telling MVW fans that we need to ‘put his boys over.’ He doesn’t relish the drama that the Kardoucheians can and often create inside and outside the ring.
Because in R.G.’s mind, the Kardoucheian’s antics aren’t a whole lot different from so-called pro wrestlers giving other wrestlers swirlies in the toilet in some sort of twisted wrestling ‘cool kids versus the nerds’ kinda thing. R.G. wonders if this is an attempt to run a ‘revenge of the nerds’ angle?
Actually, he just doesn’t care. It’s all sports entertainment bullshit to him.
R.G. wonders if Ray McAvay can trade the Kardoucheians to HOW and chuckles at the thought. Trade the Kardoucheians to HOW for Joe Bergman… that’s a fair trade. From what Sunny told him, Joe’s not happy about what happened at March to Glory and the way he lost the HOTv title. Sunny also revealed that Joe’s not in any big hurry to come back. Bergman is apparently enjoying the time away from the three-ring circus… taking in the UK wrestling scene… as well as going to Wrexham football matches.
Sunny told R.G. that she wishes Joe would come back home from the UK. Why? Because she feels her career has been helped immensely by being on HOW television and … maybe for other reasons, too.
But R.G. can’t worry about the Joe Bergman-Sunny drama right now either… if there even is drama between them. Sunny’s here and that’s all that matters. She knows there’s work that needs to be done and they gotta get through the Kardoucheian match on Tuesday. It’s non-title but he feels after the count-out loss to the Stevens Dynasty last week they need to regain some momentum. Then, drive down to Dallas on Wednesday to do the taping at the Texas Championship Wrestling show. After that, he, Mark, and Sunny will hop on another flight Thursday morning to Paducah, Kentucky. R.G. figures he and Mark will have three good days of training to get ready for Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr Sunday night at the house show.
The Alabama Gang will have NO margin for error Sunday night against two wrestlers with the quality both Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr will bring to the ring.
Zero. Zilch. Nada.
R.G. understands it’s going to be a steep mountain for the Alabama Gang to climb to defeat a team as good as Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr. But R.G. feels if he and Mark can continue to work as well at being a team as they’ve been from day one after Ray McAvay paired them last year… anything’s possible.
R.G. knows the drill.
Work hard. Put the time in.
Dare to dream.
In Flight Between Boone, North Carolina and Wichita, Kansas
It was hard to see where exactly the plane was in the dead of night. R.G. thought he saw something sizeable shining down below… probably the Mississippi River.
Probably halfway to Wichita.
Mark Hendry slept and…
…snored in the seat across from R.G. He figures Hendry’s dreaming about hot women, fast cars, and hot women inside fast cars.
Sunny was out… sound asleep in the seat behind him. Not snoring. R.G. wasn’t sure what she would be dreaming about. Maybe about Joe Bergman. Maybe about world domination.
He chuckled. Probably world domination.
R.G.’ s phone went off. A quick glance at the incoming caller…
“Ahhhh. She’s still awake.”
…”Mel” aka Melanie Jenkins… R.G.’s twenty-five year old wife who’s calling him from their home back in Monroeville, Alabama.
“Honey it’s late, what are ya still doin’ up.”
A smile appears on R.G.’s face. He nods as he listens to Melanie’s soft voice explain to him in chatty detail why she’s still awake at one in the morning.
“Yes… I’m glad you called, honey… …where are we at? I figure we’re over Arkansas now… yeah, we should get to Wichita in an hour or so.
He sneaks a peek out the window at the lights far below.
“Yeah… everything’s good. Just tired. We’ve been running like hamsters onna wheel all day.”
R.G. takes a drink from a bottle of Coors beer while he listens to Melanie talk.
“Right. Wichita tonight. Drive to Dallas tomorrow. Fly to Paducah Thursday for four days. Then come home to you.”
He looks up wistfully and exhales.
“Trust me… I’ll be happy to get home, darlin’… …yeah, we’ve got a big one Sunday night. Those boys from the big time are comin’ down to Kentucky for our tag titles… no no… not the MVW Tag titles… the HOTv Tag titles.”
R.G.’s head tips back and he scans the ceiling of the place while Melanie talks to him.
“It’s gonna be a tough one, babe. These boys are for real. Dan Ryan’s got a record as long as your legs and then some. He’s big. Tough. Mean. And he’s damn good. His partner is Jatt Starr. He dresses funny but he’s damn good too. And unlike the guys we won the belts from a couple months ago… these two are goin’ to be on the same page. I don’t see either Dan Ryan or Jatt Starr walking out mid-match like that Jace Parker Davidson did.”
He sighs and shakes his head.
“Honey, I know I’m supposed to be all excited about this… but hell… who am I compared to these two? A thirty-nine year old journeyman who never could make it to the big time goin’ up against the likes of Dan Ryan. I just have a bad feelin’ ‘bout this.”
Hendry turns and adjusts in the chair. He arm ends up flopping over the armrest into the aisle.
“I don’t mind losing. I know who I am and I know we got damn lucky that Davidson and Stevens couldn’t keep their shit together long enough to beat us in January. We ain’t goin’ get that lucky twice. I guess Lee Best is just besides himself that we got the tag belts and wants them off us. Thank God Ray McAvay refused to budge and we get the match at an MVW show and not at HOW’s arena.”
R.G. pauses. Big stretch… right arm rising as high as he can get it towards the plane’s ceiling followed by a big yawn.
“Sorry hon. I’m beat and I’m ready to… huh? I know. I know I need to relax. I’m gonna try to get some sleep before we hit Wichita.”
He casts quick glances at both Hendry and Sunny.
“I’m gonna get some shut-eye. Talk to you tomorrow… I love you too. G’night, hon.”