Mr. Lee Best- owner of High Octane Wrestling and CEO Michael Lee Best.
I want to first thank you for the opportunity you’ve afforded me this Sunday night.
On May 22nd, 2022, the paramount issue of the hour will be a match inside the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City. I would be presumptuous to present myself, an ordinary man, as an equal talent-wise to our two esteemed opponents Sunday night- Tyler Adrian Best and Jace Parker Davidson.
On paper, this match is a mismatch. Joe Bergman- a man who’s wrestled just one match at this level in the last year and a half- teaming up with Xander Azula- a man who’s done well in the HOFC matches but has struggled in regular wrestling matches. Indeed, if this match were but a measuring of ability, Bergman and Azula wouldn’t stand a chance in hell.
I believe and have always believed that “The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the whole hosts of error that they can bring.” That means when I come to the ring on Sunday night, this will be more than a wrestling match. I will come to the ring in defense of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty—the cause of the ordinary man… oppressed and disenfranchised by a Corporate Machine willing to do anything and everything to get what it wants.
Or in other words, Joe Bergman stands with ordinary men and women to fight a Corporate Machine who seek to subjugate them to their cross of corporate gold.
I have every confidence that the mighty Corporation will do everything in its power to tilt the battlefield to their advantage. When this match is concluded… regardless of the outcome… I am very confident that Mr. Best and Mr. Davidson will know that they’ve been in a battle because not only this is the de facto first War Games match of 2022… this is Joe Bergman’s War Games match.
I am not here to speak ill of Tyler Adrian Best. I had the occasion to have some interaction with Tyler over the past couple weeks and he was nothing but professional backstage. I will also state that it was very surreal seeing Michael Lee Best sitting in MVW’s television studio watching his son wrestle. It’s clear from just seeing Mike and Tyler together that the apple did not fall far from the tree. You could tell from the second Tyler Adrian Best stepped into a MVW ring that he had ‘it’ just like those of us in the industry in the late 2000’s and saw this fireball named Michael *name redacted* rising up from Hostility Wrestling… and then Dream Wrestling… and finally exploding in a HOW ring as megastar Michael Lee Best.
Both Tyler and Mike were blessed by the gods with wrestling ability that those of us in the bottom end of the wrestling gene pool would dream of possessing. Tyler was born with that little intangible that separates the good wrestlers from the great ones. When we put him up against the likes of R.G. Jenkins and Buckshot Henderson, the gulf of talent, charisma, and the star power between Tyler and his opponent was clearly evident.
Working out at Ten-X and learning from his father Michael Lee Best is the best place… no pun intended… Tyler could be.
Just like working with John Sektor at the GSWA Academy has been the best move Adam Ellis could have made as well.
I too have some experience in dealing with second generation wrestlers. I’ve spent quite a lot of time at Bergman’s Barn working with Victoria McGill- the daughter of Dawn McGill. A talented wrestler in her own right, Tori made the decision early on to take her own road to where she wants to be and it’s a much different road than her mother took. She’s proven that she too has heart in overcoming outside adversity over the past few weeks while continuing to shine inside the ring as she presses forward towards winning MVW’s Women’s title.
Everyone in this industry has their own road to travel to where they want to be. Some wrestlers win the genetic lottery and it comes easy. Others- like myself- envy people like Tyler Adrian Best who have that quality naturally. We have to ply our trade, try to move up the ladder, dream of what could be, and keep working in the faint hope of that one break that will take them to the show. Clearly Tyler won the lottery in that respect because he had ‘it’ from the day that he was born. I definitely traveled a much different and less traveled road from the independents all the way to two-time HOW World Champion.
However, ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson proved that dogged perseverance, unbreakable determination, and the balls to go out and make his own break can also win the day as well.
Bill didn’t come through Bergman’s Barn though. But John O’Reilly did.
O’Reilly walked into Bergman’s Barn with a thunderbolt of a right hand and no other discernible wrestling skill. For two years, John put the work in. He listened. He asked questions. He put the time in. Most importantly, he kept on working. He broke into MVW’s Heartland division and kept working. He got promoted to the Men’s Division and kept working. I was there the night O’Reilly knocked out Charlie Blackwell and won the Men’s title. And he kept working all the way to a ten-month title reign that just came to an end a couple weeks ago at the hands of Adam Ellis.
Tyler Adrian Best, Bill Dickinson, Tori McGill, John O’Reilly, Adam Ellis, and yes… Joe Bergman… they all have something that can’t be taught. Tyler has ‘it.’ Dickinson, Tori, O’Reilly, Ellis, and Bergman all have heart.
And then there’s Jace Parker Davidson…
Jace barges in on the broadcast table during the Adam Ellis and John Sektor versus Conor Fuse and Darin Zion match… a match marking the first time ever that a sitting MVW champion wrestled in the same ring against a sitting HOW champion and totally crapped all over it because he’s… JPD.
Yes. Please. Get Benny Newell back and get him back fast if for nothing else to keep JPD from hijacking the commentary for his own tedious self-promotion and agenda.
Sadly, JPD is the face of the Board. The arrogant, entitled, selfish, corrupt face of the Board.
While the Highwaymen take time and give back to the sport that’s made them famous and help the next generation of wrestlers learn the craft, Jace parades around in fancy suits in the First-Class section of airplanes and pretends it’s 2015 all over again… the last time he was actually relevant… back to a time where he actually was one of the best wrestlers on the planet. JPD then has the nerve to rip on an up-and-coming Adam Ellis who has more heart in his little pinky than JPD has in his entire body. Jace Parker Davidson is too busy being a legend in his own mind and making people kiss his HOF ring to build up his fragile ego to realize that once upon a time he too was Adam Ellis – a young, hungry up and coming snot-nosed kid with dreams of wrestling grandeur in his eyes and a future to be written.
I remember the night at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo when Ray McAvay compared JPD to Nuke Laloosh… million dollar talent… ten cent head.
I believe Jace Parker Davidson has actually become Ricky Vaughn in the movie Major League… no no, not the Ricky Vaughn who threw 100 miles an hour on the radar gun in the first movie. No, Ricky Vaughn in Major League II. 86 mile an hour fastball. All talk. Empty Armani suit. Expecting people to kiss his ring as if he’s actually done something lately and still branding himself the ‘King of Everything’- just like Ricky Vaughn branded his 86 mph fastball the ‘Terminator’ and his other new pitches with ridiculous names and predictably hilarious results.
In fact, I can hear Bob Uecker now:
“Humilator lined to left field a base hit…”
“Eliminator lined to line another base hit…”
“Exterminator off the wall for a double… God knows what Vaughn’s going to throw next. He’s running out of names…”
“Swung on and belted into deep right field. Back goes Cerrano and he’ll need a rocket up his ass
to catch this one. That baby is out of here. That looked like The Terminator, only slower. Or maybe it was his Out-Of-Stater, or it could’ve been The Hibernator. That baby is definitely going away for the winter…”
Despite all that, if High Octane Wrestling were a scripted live television show where their characters were expected to execute a planned-out, pre-rehearsed match, then there’s no doubt that Jace Parker Davidson and Tyler would go over in a heartbeat.
There’s no chance the creative department of a proper sports entertainment company would ever write a script putting Joe Bergman and Xander Azula over JPD and Best because it wouldn’t be good for business.
But it’s not scripted, is it.
No. Once that bell rings, Joe Bergman and Xander Azula aren’t going to just lay down for JPD and Tyler Best. While The Board will raise their banner, their cross of corporate gold, Bergman and Azula will raise our banner on behalf of ordinary men and women.
If Joe Bergman does his job correctly, Tyler Adrian Best is going to have to deal with a little bit of adversity for the first time in his career Sunday night. When he steps into the ring with me Sunday, he’s not wrestling some guy dripping in baby oil. He’s going to face a guy who’s been in the ring for fifteen years and seen just about everything. We’re going to find out if Tyler can learn on the fly what he has to do when things don’t work out the way he thought they would and he has to adjust.
Truth be told, I suspect that Tyler is already more than capable of doing exactly that.
JPD’s going to get a crash course in humility. Jace, you haven’t been the King of Anything since 2015. I’m going to take your weak ass 85 mile an hour Jace-inator and knock it out of the park.
Sunday night at Refueled 99, Xander Azula and Joe Bergman are going to fire the first shot of War Games 2022.
And as for War Games itself, you can bet your ass that The Boys will not back down and they will not give up.
You tell everyone that on paper the Board is just too strong. You tell everyone the Corporate Machine has assembled perhaps one of the strongest War Games team ever:
John Sektor- HOW Hall of Famer
Jace Parker Davidson- HOW Hall of Famer
Christopher America- HOW Hall of Famer and the only man ever to win consecutive War Games.
Jeffrey James Roberts- former HOTv and tag team champion.
Stronk Godson- STRONK! Nuff said.
Tyler Aiden Best- the son of a HOW Hall of Famer
and Scottywood aka Bobbinette Carey’s bitch.
And I’ll tell you that Conor Fuse may be the best wrestler in High Octane Wrestling and maybe the planet right now.
I’ll tell you that Clay Byrd is one of the toughest son of a bitches I’ve ever watched in the ring and he’s bided his time, waiting for this opportunity.
Steve Harrison is the LSD champion and coming off a win over Roberts. He’s going to step into the fray with something to prove.
Sir Simon Sparrow is a HOW Hall of Famer and you know he’ll have something to say about this.
Darin Zion finished second at War Games 2015 and third in 2016 while Xander Azula is working with me and we’ll have him ready for battle.
This war isn’t going to be fought on paper. This war isn’t going to be fought on reputation. This war won’t be won or lost before the bell even sounds. This war will be fought and settled inside the ring.
The Boys have nothing to lose here and everything to win.
They’re not going to let the Corporate Machine chew them up and spit them out.
They’re not going to let the Corporate Machine win without one hell of a fight.
That’s right. Once that bell rings… once the action begins… The Boys are going to go out and they are all going to take the war to the Corporate Machine.
You will not press down upon our brow your corporate crown of thorns.
You will not crucify us on your cross of corporate gold.
Joe Bergman’s Barn – Plattin, Missouri
Today, Joe is shooting a commercial for Bergman’s Barn.
The camera focuses on the brand new Bergman’s Barn logo on the wall next to Joe Bergman’s office.
Joe suddenly appears striding out of his office with purpose.
“I’m Joe Bergman,” he says as the camera follows him. “Owner and operator of Bergman’s Barn.”
Joe walks through the main area of the barn where we see people working out at various workout machines and comes to a stop at a table with white towels are stacked up on top of each other.
“We all know pro wrestling is a tough business to break into,” he continues. “But if you want to learn the ropes from someone who’s been there… someone who’s started at the very bottom of the wrestling industry and worked his way up to becoming a World Champion at a major wrestling company…” Bergman hands a towel to one of his students. “…and make some friends in the process? Bergman’s Barn is the place for you.”
Cut to a large painting of Halitosis (Bergman) pinning Brian Hollywood to win his first HOW World title. Joe steps into the shot from the right. He’s joined by:
Sunny O’Callahan– looking regal as ever in her red and green queen’s crown and matching cape.
Average Joe– he rocks the yellow and red ‘Average Joe’ t-shirt from the movie Dodgeball.
Ultratron-6.1- because Conor Fuse loves the character. ‘The New Age Cybertronic Criminally Insane Rogue Sentient Robot Wrestling Machine’ isn’t amused by any of this though and flips off the camera.
‘Defective’ Marty Pratt- a wrestler trained by Bergman at the Barn. He waves an oversized pencil in the air and tries to ‘ERASE’ people while shouting out.. “ERASE.. ERASE… ERASE.”
Bill E. Zayne- Dressed in the fancy clothing circa 1912 of the heir to a Pittsburgh steel fortune- Caledon Hockley as he boarded the Titanic, Bill E. Zayne exudes the same snobby, arrogant, and narcissistic traits of the Hockley character from the epic movie Titanic- Voyage of Doom.
Zayne also randomly – and annoyingly – calls out “I HAVE A CHILD!” every so often as if he’s trying to board a lifeboat holding a young child in his arms.
“So come on down and learn how to become a pro wrestler at Bergman’s Barn,“ Joe continues. “Where we teach wrestling the right way!” The group reaches the main wrestling ring inside the barn where a group of children are gathered.
“And on Wednesday nights, we play Dodgeball too! Right kids?”
“RIGHT!” the kids scream and as if on cue, the air is suddenly full with dark red rubber balls flying everywhere and people getting tagged left and right.
“Annnnnnnd… cut!” the director calls out. “That’s a keeper Joe.”
“Excellent,” Joe says, ducking a rubber ball that whizzes past his head. “Thanks kids.”
After the filming wraps up for the night and everyone leaves, Joe walks around the barn to check all the doors and turn off the lights.
Something grabs his attention as he passes by a window. Joe goes over and investigates. He’s surprised to see a brand new 2022 BMW 5-Series parked in his driveway.
“Is that Laura’s car?” Joe mumbles to himself. He remembered hearing through the grapevine that Laura went out and bought herself a fancy car. “That’s weird. What the hell is Laura doing here?”
He couldn’t remember the last time Laura came out to the house.
So Joe maneuvers around to look at the house to see if she’s inside.
No lights on.
“Okay. That’s strange.”
Shaking his head and dreading having to actually interact with his estranged wife, Joe goes down the hall to the massage room to make sure everything’s shut down and lights turned off. He opens up the door and finds something very unusual going on.
Joe facepalms. “Oh no.”
Xander Azula and his followers have tied Laura down on a massage table in the room and stuffed a handkerchief into her mouth.
Xander has a knife in his hand and the followers are doing their usual mystic incantations behind him.
“Xander!” Joe says incredulously. “What are you doing?”
Azula hides the knife behind his back and tries to look innocent. His followers catch on and they all try to look innocent too.
“Ah… nothing?” Xander says.
Laura adds her two cents. “MMMMPHH MMPHH MMMPHHHHHH!”
Joe just looks at Xander and shakes his head.
“I can’t believe I have to say this but… we do not sacrifice people to the Goddess Eris here…,” Joe points out matter of factly. He pauses for a beat and then finishes his sentence. “…not even my wife.”
Laura shoots Joe a look while she struggles with the ropes binding her wrists together.
Xander responds. “In all fairness, you did say the other night that you wished she would go-“
“Yes,” Joe interrupts, now ruing the profanity-laced rant he’d went on in front of Xander following a particularly tetchy phone conversation with Laura. “I know what I said. I said some really harsh things about Laura…”
Laura rolls her eyes.
“…but… and I cannot emphasize this enough… regardless of how I feel about her right now, I do NOT wish for her to be sacrificed to the Goddess Eris.”
Xander glances at Joe. Then he nods to his followers.
So Xander unties her and he and his followers exit leaving Joe and Laura alone inside the massage room with the tension in the air palpable.
Awkward silence follows.
Finally, Laura speaks.
“Really?” she says incredulously. “What exactly have you been saying about me?”
For the record, this is the first time that Joe and Laura have been alone together in the same room since February- the night of the MVW Hall of Fame inductions.
“Nothing really,” Joe responds. “Obviously, Xander overheard my rant the other night after we talked.” He flips a light off. “Come on. I’m trying to get everything shut down for the night.”
Laura nods and they exit the room. Joe closes the door tight and they walk out to the main area where the wrestling ring is.
“I don’t know why you’re here. I signed the divorce papers and sent them back to your attorney,” Joe explains.
“You did?” This seems to surprise Laura.
The fact that Laura’s surprised seems to surprise Joe. “Yeah. I looked them over with Ray McAvay’s attorney and he thought the terms were fair.”
“Oh. Ray’s attorney.” Her expression told Joe this seemed to be breaking news to her. “Well. The reason I came here to talk to you Joe is because I wanted to come clean about something.”
“What. About your new job in New York City?” he asks.
Laura’s jaw drops.
“Yeah. I know all about it,” he tells her.
“How-how’d you know?”
Laughing, Joe explains, “MVW is a small company. Word travels fast.” He pauses and then adds. “And I’m not as dumb as you think I am. Besides, Ray’s daughter Juliette LeBlanc has been around the past couple of weeks so I figured something was up. Everyone knows Juliette graduated last year from James Madison University in Virginia with her MBA and Ray was looking to bring her in at some point anyways.”
“Okay.” Laura fidgets a bit and then presses on. “Look Joe. I’ve worked real hard to put MVW in the best place possible and discovered that I had an ability… a talent to work within the corporate world that I never thought I had before.”
Laura goes on. “The real reason I didn’t want you to come back to HOW is because I knew you’d start up again with the Section 214 nonsense and go out there railing against the corporate machine. We’ve made a lot of good business deals with HOW over the past three years and I didn’t want you to upset the applecart.” She takes a breath and then continues. “I couldn’t have anything go wrong with any of the deals I’d worked on… because-“
“You were interviewing for a new job.” Joe finishes for her.
“Yeah. I figured since we were splitting up…”
“Uh… YOU filed for divorce back in October,” Joe interjects.
“…well… I thought there would be nothing to hold me here.”
Joe’s eyebrows raise.
“So go.” Joe tells her. “You’ve been seduced by the dark side of the corporate world. Got it. And heaven forbid I screw up your chance to get this spiffy, new corporate job in New York. But what pisses me off is you fed everyone this line of bullshit – including me – that you filed for divorce because I returned to the ring. The fact of the matter, you had your foot halfway out the door before I even seriously thought about returning to the ring and before we went to the doctor.”
Joe pauses and catches his breath. Laura just stands there stoically. Cold and detached.
“This ain’t going to be some ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ thing where Josh Lucas pines for Reese Witherspoon after she runs off to New York to make a name for herself because that’s not happening. Once you walk out that door, we’re done.”
“I have to do this for myself Joe.” Laura says in a near pleading tone. “Everything I’ve done for the past sixteen years has been for you.”
“WHAT?” Joe’s face turns a bit red. “For ME? There was no ME Laura, there was US.”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Yeah yeah yeah. I was so holding you back.” Joe turns his back to her. “Screw it. Just leave.”
“Look Joe,” Laura says. “I really just came here to make arrangements with you to get the rest of my stuff out.”
Joe reaches into his pocket and pulls out a key. He turns and underhands the key to her.
“Your stuff isn’t here,” he tells her. “I had it moved to storage a few months ago.”
“So since there’s nothing else left for us to talk about…” Joe waves goodbye to her.
“Fine.” Laura whirls on her heels and heads for the exit. She opens the door and stops.
She turns back one last time to Joe.
“I’m really sorry Joe.”
Joe rolls his eyes.
“Just shut the damn door behind you on the way out,” he says and watches as the door closes behind her.