The unforgiving sound of an old-fashioned clanging bell on an old-fashioned alarm clock ends the silence inside the pitch black bedroom and fills the space with its incessant and unyielding ringing at four-thirty in the morning. The sound abruptly jars Bill Dickinson out from a deep sleep. It takes a few minutes for Dickinson’s hand to 1) find the alarm clock and 2) find the on/off switch for the alarm located on the back of the alarm clock.
Once the task is completed, Bill slowly rolls his three hundred thirty-pound mass over to the side of the bed and sits up on the edge. Following the perfunctory trip to the bathroom followed by a half asleep-walk to the kitchen to put on a fresh pot of home brew, Bill returns to the bathroom for a quick wake up shower. After the shower, he gets dressed and readies himself for the morning chores around the Dickinson farm.
Following a quick breakfast, Dickinson makes sure all the animals are fed. He cleans up the pens and takes care of any of the miscellaneous tasks that need to be done. Once done with his morning routine, some days he sneaks off to the ‘honey hole’…
(In case you’re wondering, the definition of ‘honey hole’ is: A slang term describing a specific hole, spot, or area containing big fish or lots of catchable fish.)
…to get a little fishin’ in. On other days, he sets to get to work training in the barn.
Today is Saturday December 11th. Bill is steeling himself for the drive from the farm in Troy, Alabama north to St. Louis, Missouri- a distance of 640 miles. He’s scheduled to appear at a contract signing for Dickinson’s match against John Sektor at High Octane Wrestling’s ICONIC pay per view show in London, England. Bill needed to be at MVW Headquarters in St. Louis and inside the TV studio there to do a segment on HOW’s Refueled show where he would sign off on the contract in St. Louis; Sektor in Liverpool, England.
Farm chores complete, Bill packs for the trip. He throws a nice pair of slacks and nice pair of shoes into a suitcase and looks for a good shirt to go along with it.
“Bill honey,” his wife of twenty years Maureen calls out to him from another room, “Make sure you don’t throw your Sunday shirt that’s got the deer blood on it. I still need to give that a good washin.’”
Bill doesn’t respond. He just tosses the first white shirt he sees (HINT: yes, it was the one with the smudge of deer blood on the sleeve) and places it into the suitcase. He closes it up and walks the suitcase out to the foyer by the front door. Maureen takes care of everything else- because that’s what she does.
If Bill was the brawn of the operation, Maureen was the brains- the person without whom Bill would be completely lost.
High school sweethearts from just outside Troy, Alabama, Bill and Maureen got married when they were eighteen years old and fresh right out of high school. Bill had wrestled in high school and caught the eye of a local promoter who hooked him with his first wrestling gig at a nearby high school gymnasium. Bill did well in his first match, impressed the promoter who signed him to his first contract, and the road to London, England began inside the Pike County High School gym in Brundridge, Alabama.
Their arrangement was simple. Maureen ran the household. Bill wrestled and worked the farm. If Bill happened to be out of town for wrestling, she would be the one who took care of the chores and made sure everything on the farm is taken care of. She also handled Bill’s business affairs. Money. Bookings. MVW contract stuff. Maureen handled it all. If Bill was out and moonshine got the best of him, or whiskey, or bourbon, or whatever was on the liquor menu, she would always be there to make sure he returned home safe.
Hand in hand, they exit the house and step down from the porch to a sidewalk that lead to an idling truck in the driveway. Bill gives her a kiss goodbye and then heads on out.
For people looking at the outside from the road, the Dickinson house looks like your typical modest, old-school, two-story farm house. Bill and Maureen purchased the house in year one of their marriage and even then, the house was not new by any stretch of the imagination. However, it wasn’t a rotting hulk of wood either. They fixed it up and added a few touches over the years. The barn is relatively new since the old barn blew down courtesy of a severe storm several years back. Instead of hiring someone to fix, repair, or just build a new structure, Bill just built the brand-new replacement barn all by himself.
The barn functions with multiple purposes. One half acts as storage for all of his farm equipment and other miscellaneous equipment he’s accumulated over the years. The other half is a place where he can train to keep in the best shape possible for his pro wrestling career. There’s also a couple other outbuildings and a chicken coop also occupying the non-tilled land on the fifty-acre farm. Dickinson rented out the majority of the farmland to a local farmer which allowed the field to be worked and crops planted the crops while Bill took a percentage of the money made on the field’s output.
The reason Bill built the barn himself so he could use the savings to help pay for his baby- a 2021 Ford Super Duty F-350 truck.
He found the truck on the Ford website and was impressed with it’s bells and whistles: a maximum gooseneck towing capacity of 35,750, up to 1,050 lb-ft of torque, and a payload limit of 7,850 lbs. The F-350 pays just as much attention to interior space and comfort, giving passengers a luxurious and tech-forward cabin on upper trim levels. The Ford Super Duty F-350 is a 5-seater vehicle that comes in 6 trim levels. The most popular style is the XL Crew Cab 6.75′ Box SRW 4WD, which starts at $46,110 and comes with a 6.2L V8 engine and Four Wheel Drive.
Or in other words, his truck’s where his money goes.
Bill climbs into the 2021 Ford truck and soon he’s headed north to St. Louis.
Somewhere between Athens, Alabama and the Tennessee-Alabama state line, Bill decides to listen to his Sirius XM radio (a package throw-in from the salesperson Bill purchased the truck from) and punches up the pro wrestling, MMA, and pro boxing channel.
At the moment, it is the pro wrestling show that’s on. The host is Dean D’Grecio and former wrestler Bobby Ray Douglas.
The hot topic this morning? Previewing High Octane Wrestling’s ICONIC show.
“…Bobby Ray, Mario Maurako and Bobbinette Carey is a match I wanted to see… about ten years ago. Mario’s been in the ring sporadically in the past few years. Bobbinette’s been in the ring a few times over the past few years. I want to see Bobbi and Scottywood go at it. After Bobbi Carey screwed Scottywood over against Michael Lee Best, THAT’S the match I want to see.”
“Well Dean, it’s clear that even after ten years there’s still bad blood between Mario and Carey so I’m okay with the match.”
“All right Bobby Ray, let’s get to the main event of night number one of ICONIC for the LSD Title. LSD Champion John Sektor defending the title against… Bill Dickinson??” Dean’s voice at the end curls into a ‘who is this guy’ tone.
“That’s ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson, Dean.”
“I know who he is. Missouri Valley Wrestling veteran and a former champion. He’s spent all of his career toiling in the lower to minor wrestling companies for a long time. I just want to know with all the talent that’s stockpiled in HOW why is someone who’s not even signed with the company getting a title shot at the final pay per view show of the year?”
“From what I seen, Dickinson and Sektor got into it over a young wrestler that Sektor is mentoring and it escalated into Sektor attacking Dickinson at a MVW show and Dickinson attacking Sektor at a HOW show.”
“Here’s the thing Bobby Ray. Do you remember all the bitching and moaning about Michael Lee Best ‘jumping the line’ when he got booked in a HOW title main event match against Conor Fuse at Rumble at the Rock? Why is no one complaining about that wrestler who’s NOT with the company suddenly leapfrogging past all of them to face John Sektor for the LSD title? You wanna talk about jumping the line, ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson jumped the line in a company he’s not even signed with!.”
“Well he did sign a one night contract-“
“I know he signed the one-night contract. That’s not the point. Instead of throwing six men into the World Title match mixer against Michael Lee Best, why not give Jeffrey James Roberts- a dominant HOTv champion- a chance against John Sektor. Why not Jace Parker Davidson, another very dominant HOTv champion- going up against Sektor at ICONIC. Or Jatt Starr. Clay Byrd. Instead of one of them, very deserving wrestlers, we get a ‘Redneck Rocky’ story and a small-time wrestler who gets plucked out of obscurity and thrown into HOW’s big, end of the year pay per view show. Are we going to get vignettes of Bill Dickinson pounding raw meat at a meat locker for the next few weeks? Are we going to watch Bill Dickinson running up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art…”
Bobby Ray interrupts at this point. “I doubt it since the show is going to be in London.”
“I know, I know. And those steps aren’t nearly as hard to climb as the Rocky movie portrayed it. Camera angles made them look steeper than they were. But, getting back to the point, iIf Dickinson somehow wins this match, is he going to call out ADRIAN! after the match?”
“I think his wife is named Maureen, Dean.”
“I know, I know. I’m just sayin’ with all these other options out there, why go outside your company and bring someone in who probably has no business being there?”
“Okay Dean. I get your point and I agree with you. There’s probably a good reason Bill Dickinson has never moved out of the Missouri Valley to the big time. The difference in pure wrestling talent between Dickinson and Sektor is blatantly obvious. But hear me out. Pro wrestling at its best is about creating moments. Bringing Bill Dickinson in for his one shot at glory on a large stage creates the possibility of a moment happening. But let’s get real for a second. On paper, this shouldn’t be much of a match. But once you get to the ring, once that bells rings, it’s a whole different story. Things happen. Things have happened.”
“That’s true. And John Sektor surely… SURELY has learned from the Great Halitosis Debacle of 2019.”
“Oh I’m sure of that Dean. But, let me also point out that Halitosis had already won the HOW World Title and won a tournament full of some of the best wrestlers in the industry to do so. John Sektor clearly underestimated Halitosis and we all know what happened. I don’t see Sektor making the same mistake against Bill Dickinson. But you don’t know. We won’t know until it actually happens.”
“So you think that a Bill Dickinson win over John Sektor would be a bigger upset than Halitosis.”
“Yeah Dean. I’d say so. At least Halitosis had a track record in HOW. Rocky is a movie. And I don’t think Bill Dickinson will be ready for what he’s about to experience. I think John’s going to take him to school at ICONIC and-“
*CLICK* And that’s enough of that. With one quick poke of the finger to the digital display, Bill changes the channel to the Outlaw Country music station.
“Redneck Rocky?” Bill finally growls. He rolls his eyes and changes lane to pass a slow-moving vehicle. “Really?”
* * *
I know this much. I ain’t a Rocky story. I ain’t no broken down fighter who wins the boxing lottery and gets a match with the World’s Heavyweight Champion for starters. I don’t give a damn what anyone says. I’ve built a hell of a career over the past twenty years and I’m going to take my shot. I’m not gonna have second thoughts about this.
Hell, I know some time in my career maybe I could have dropped about fifty pounds… really worked in the gym to get all tone and all and then try my luck at one of the big companies. But it ain’t like we weren’t making a good living for ourselves doin’ what we’re doing. Between MVW and the farm, we do pretty good for ourselves. Maureen and I learned from our parents that you always put the work in. Once we got hitched, Mo and I figured out how to balance working on the farm and your wrestling career pretty quick. We aren’t living the high life by any means but we sure aren’t living week to week tryin’ to make ends meet either. We ain’t hurtin’ for money, that’s for sure.
So what does this have to do with the match? Everything.
I know who I am.
I know what my strengths are.
I know my weaknesses.
I know the road I’ve traveled to get to this moment. It sure as hell hasn’t been a smooth one. It’s taken me all over the country to all kinds of arenas, armories, bars, shopping centers- you name it, I’ve probably wrassled in it.
It means I know that the twenty years I wrassled all across the country means something. It’s got me ready for this moment. All the bumps. All the bruises. All the wins. All the losses. Bill Dickinson is a hundred and ten percent aware of what’s on the line here. Yeah, John. I did goad you into this opportunity but great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s all I ask for and that’s all I want. The opportunity. One match. One shot.
If I wrassled John Sektor fifty times, I know he’d probably win most all of them. Everyone agrees with that. But what people don’t get or don’t understand is for every John Sektor, there’s hundreds of wrasslers out there no one’s never heard who dream of being in his position. There’s hundreds of wrasslers who would give their left nut to get the chance that I’m getting. So when I walk into that ring in London, I’m gonna carry their hopes and dreams with me. This ain’t gonna be just about Bill Dickinson. This is gonna be about them, too.
People are asking if Bill Dickinson knows just how goddamn lucky he is.
You’re damn right I do.
People are questioning if Bill Dickinson can win this match at ICONIC.
You’re damn right I can.
People have to understand you just can’t step into the ring and not think that you can win and hell, Bill Dickinson has had a pretty damn good wrestling career too. Doubt me. Laugh at me. But why the hell can’t it happen? All it takes is one night.
What does Bill Dickinson have to do? I have to find a way to stay in there with John Sektor. I have to find a way to out-wrassle John Sektor. I have to hope a lightning bolt comes down from the sky and everything goes Bill Dickinson’s way so I can shock the wrestling world and does what no one in their right mind thinks can happen- win the match. It all rides on the match.
It all rides on me.
Lord knows I ain’t the most spiritual man. The wife usually has to throw a bucket of water on me to get me out of bed because there is a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. But she sat me down the other day and read me the story about David. The son of the great King Samuel. Out of eight sons, the least likely to be chosen king. The youngest. The smallest. The weakest. Why was he chosen?
Because he had heart.
Why am I tellin’ y’all this. Because when I walk out on the stage Sunday December 26th… in the Main Event of Night One of ICONIC… I know the people at that show… inside the big and fancy O2 Arena in the big city of London, England… see Bill Dickinson as the least likely candidate to be in this position… to walk out as the challenger in the biggest match of his life against John Sektor.
I know my opponent at ICONIC… John Sektor… can probably wrassle rings around me.
I know John Sektor’s more experienced in this type of arena.
I know John Sektor’s won their big title four times… and that his current LSD title reign will be six months to the day when we scrap in London.
He’s just better. Everyone can see that. Everyone knows that.
But you know what? There’s a reason why I will be in the ring on Sunday the 26th. It’s time for Bill to take a swing at this and what I lack in skill I will make up with in heart. When that bell rings John, I’m gonna put it all on the line. I ain’t going to worry about the size of the crowd of give a rat’s ass about the fancy surroundings. I ain’t gonna worry about your Hall of Fame credentials. I’m gonna do the stuff that got me here in the first place. You’re gonna get my best shot and John I hope you do that, too because here’s what’s gonna happen in December 26th, I’m gonna keep comin’ and comin’ and comin’ atcha until I pin you or you pin my shoulders to the mat and that referee makes the three count.
All it took was one rock for David to slay the giant.
All Bill Dickinson needs is just one shot.