Leave the Circus at Home

Leave the Circus at Home

Posted on July 14, 2022 at 8:55 pm by Joe Bergman

Last week on Chaos Two, Lee Best continued to play games with The Highwaymen by booking a HOW Tag Team Title match between the champions- The Highwaymen (Clay Byrd and Steve Harrison) versus Darin Zion and… Highwayman Joe Bergman???

Two weeks ago, Bergman thwarted the evil Board’s attempt to put Jace Parker Davidson and Cecilworth Farthington in PRIME position to relieve the Highwaymen of the tag belts when he and Zion defeated them in a #1 contender’s match.

In this RP, Joe Bergman has some words for Lee Best and Darin Zion about the upcoming match on Sunday night.  We also see Joe returning from New York City after Chaos One on the Fourth of July accompanied by Sunny O’Callahan.  He meets his ex-wife Laura in an airport parking lot to pick up his 18 month old daughter and they end up having their first real talk since the divorce become final.

***

Lee, Lee, Lee.

I get the thought process here.

Hey, let’s put Joe Bergman together with Darin Zion and first make them win a three-way elimination match against The Board (JPD and Farthington) and Scottywood and Bobbi Carey.  If The Board wins, great.  JPD and Farthington get a tag team title shot and a chance to bring another belt to The Board.  If Bergman and Zion win, you book them against the tag champions- The Highwaymen and try to put a wedge between Bergman and the others.

Okay.  The only result that would have not been good for you is if Scotty and Bobbi won the match.

So, hurrah.  Bergman and Zion won and Bobbinette Carey gets tossed into the ocean.  Now the next shoe drops and that’s The Highwaymen… Clay Byrd and Steve Harrison… taking on Darin Zion and Highwaymen Joe Bergman.

Here’s the thing though Lee.

This has already been done.

Do you not remember what happened two years ago?

It was the Lethal Lottery show where anyone’s name could have been pulled out of a hat.  24K (Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Kendrix) had to defend their tag title that night and guess who’s name came out first?  Joe Bergman.  Guess who the second name was? 24K’s Andy Murray.

Everyone thought I was dead.  Surely, Andy Murray would do everything in his power to make sure Kendrix and Mikey would win the match and keep the gold with 24K, right?  Unfortunately for the ‘bruvs’ Unlikely and Kendrix, their insufferable arrogance and delusional denial that Murray would not try to throw the match to the tag team champions proved to be their ultimate undoing.

Now, did 24K implode after Murray pinned Mikey and SURPRISE! we had new tag team champions?

No.   But it did make them even more unbearable to listen to.

So to think that this cheap, transparent attempt to fuck with the Highwaymen is going to work smacks of the same insufferable arrogance that the other a-hole gasbag in 24K- Perfection- oozed every time he had to haul his grotesquely oversized ego through the loading dock entrance just to get into the Best Arena.

IE… it’s not going to work.  Clay Byrd and Steve Harrison aren’t going to make the same mistake Mikey Unlikely and JFK did.

Here’s the deal.  When Joe Bergman showed up at HOW back in the day, I preferred to work alone and shy away from forming alliances with other wrestlers.  Of course, the downside was there was no one to come to my aid when Lindsay Troy, Eric Dane, and M.J. Flair attacked me right the night I won the World Title for the first time.

No alliances.  No back-up.  And at first, I was okay with that.

But then, I will admit that I did give thought to trying to align with Evan Ward when he made his brief return to HOW to restart Ground Zero.  But alas Ward… and Ground Zero… lasted as long as All-Star Celebrity Bowling did on TV.

(NOTE: the show was supposed to air on AMC but was canceled when the network decided to cancel all but one of its unscripted programs)

So suffice to say, I never got the chance to team up with Ward.

Then there was PBR.  That was your idea, Lee.  Let’s pair up Joe Bergman and Steve Solex.  Bring in a gal we’ll name Barbi Q and we’d be the Dad Tag Team.

I’ll give you credit.  It was a great idea and I agreed to join forces with Steve.  I couldn’t wait to see where this would take us.  But then…

(Insert: winning the tag belts with Andy Murray at the Lethal Lottery, getting sick and having to retire after War Games 2020)

…the fickle finger of fate decided to give me the middle one and my alliance with Solex lasted as long as the movie Morbius did at the box office earlier this year.

That brings us to the present.

The Highwaymen.

It started with a meeting with Steve Solex at the Fairlane Diner in Springfield, Illinois the day after March to Glory.  Steve and I had a rough patch after I had to leave HOW for heart surgery.

But when Solex, Clay Byrd, and Steve Harrison shocked a lot of people by showing up at a Missouri Valley Wrestling show to watch me wrestle, the wheels started turning and people started connecting the dots.  Once Steve and I sat down and talked through everything that happened, we decided we were going to move on from that and it was official.

Joe Bergman had joined a faction… a group.

Joe Bergman became a Highwayman.

And do you know what?  I like it.

So to address what happened Sunday night, everyone believes that I, Joe Bergman, is going to have to make a decision between myself and the Highwaymen.   You said, and I quote:  

“I CANNOT wait to see how Joe plays this. I mean it’s not like he is the Best of Friends with EVERYONE in your little group you know what I am saying?”

You’re right.  I’m not the best of friends with everyone in the group and do you know what?

That’s okay.

The Highwaymen are four men with four different backgrounds and four different approaches to pro wrestling.

Joe Bergman is and always has been the traditional face.

Steve Solex has alternated from face, heel, and now he’s a Stone Cold face.

Steve Harrison is a tweener who’s always traveled down his own path.

Clay Byrd is the ass-kicking heel-ish influence in the group

But when it comes to The Board, when the dust hits the road and the dice get thrown, we’re all united as one.

You think by trying to play me off against the others in this little tag team match is going to drive a wedge within The Highwaymen.

I think you’re wrong.

I don’t need to hold any championship at this point of my career.  I only reason I came back was that I missed wrestling with every fiber of my being and got the medical okay to restart my career.

Helping The Highwaymen stand up to The Board?  That’s just a bonus.

If the four raging egomaniacs who made up 24K somehow managed to hold their group together after Andy Murray and I won the tag belts at the Lethal Lottery two years ago, I have no doubt that The Highwaymen will survive whatever the result ends up being on Sunday night.

Nice try, though.

And good luck against Chris Kostoff Sunday night.

Oh, and be careful Lee.  He looks really pissed off.

***
Garage One
St. Louis Lambert International Airport
St. Louis Missouri
Monday July 4th, 2022

After spending the night in New York City at the LaGuardia Hotel following Chaos One, Joe Bergman and Sunny O’Callahan got up early on Monday and took a taxi to the nearby LaGuardia Airport.  From there, they flew out of LaGuardia to St. Louis’s Lambert International Airport where they landed around lunch time.

Joe and Sunny fetched their luggage and took an escalator down and under the main road that emptied out the pedestrian traffic to Garage One- a parking area inside the loop moving traffic in and around the airport’s arrival and departure areas.   Once they walked through the glass exit doors, a familiar face was waiting for Joe.

Laura Bergman: There’s daddy!

Laura points towards Joe and the Bergman’s 18 month old girl’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.  A huge grin appears on the young girl’s face and she raises her arms- the universal signal for a toddler for ‘pick me up… pick me up.’

Joe Bergman: LIBBY!

Libby is the nickname for Olivia Bergman.  She’s more than pleased when Joe lifts her up in the air and then gives her a big hug.

Joe Bergman: Did you miss me?

Libby responds in the manner that most obnoxiously cute eighteen month old children does when they see their parent.  Her eyes light up and a huge smile forms as she belts out at top volume…

Olivia Bergman: DA-DA!

Standing behind them, Laura is at once pleased that her daughter is happy and full of anguish mixed in with some regret.  This was the first time she’d returned to St. Louis since the divorce between her and Joe became final just over a month ago.  She didn’t know how she would feel seeing Joe again so soon afterwards.  They’d both worked out an amicable agreement that was best for Libby and part of the deal was that Laura- now based out of New York- would keep an apartment in St. Louis to return once of month to see her.

Joe, on the other hand, focused on the moment.  The squirmy bundle of energy who’d just learned how to walk and wanted to show off her new skill.  He’d made peace with the dissolution of the marriage and chose to channel all of the negative energy from the divorce into working with Channel 5 news reporter Elizabeth Carlisle.

Standing back from everyone else, Sunny O’Callahan watched the reunion of Joe and his daughter from a few feet away.  Not wanting to interfere but yet, not wanting to be the third wheel either, Sunny tried to bide her time but she soon grew impatient.

Sunny O’Callahan: Hey Joe.  Would you throw me the keys and I’ll take our luggage to our car.

Joe nods and reaches into his coat pocket for the keys to his car.

Joe Bergman: Here you go.  Thanks Sunny.

Sunny O’Callahan: No problem.

Sunny throws her carrying bag over her shoulder and pulls Joe’s suitcase behind her as she heads towards the car leaving Joe and Laura alone for the first time post-divorce.

Laura watches her until Sunny turns a corner and disappears behind a row of parked vehicles.

Laura Bergman: Sunny O’Callahan huh.

Joe Bergman: Huh?

Laura Bergman: Isn’t this the same person who once ran Dawn McGill over with a SUV?

Joe Bergman: She was desperately looking for a chance to prove herself and I needed someone to be a valet.

Laura Bergman: She’s only twenty-four, Joe.   I mean… geez.

Joe Bergman: Sunny’s grown up a lot the past few months.  She gets it now and she’s been on her absolute best behavior since we agreed to work with each other.

Laura tilts her head down and gives Joe a ‘look.’

Laura Bergman: I see.  ‘Work’ with each other.

Joe rolls his eyes in response.

Joe Bergman: Oh come on.  There’s nothing funny going on between us.

Laura gives Joe a look that suggests she doesn’t believe him.  But she decides to let it go and there’s an awkward pause in the conversation.

Ten seconds pass before Joe picks up the conversation again.

Joe Bergman: How’s the new job?

Laura shakes her head.

Laura Bergman: Let’s just say the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

He sees the sour expression on her face.

Joe Bergman: Oh?  I thought this was the job you’ve always wanted.

Laura Bergman: I thought I was ready to play in the big time with the big corporations.  But…

Laura exhales.

Laura Bergman: …corporations are just machines that steamroll over everything that gets in their way.  You give them everything you’ve got until you’ve got nothing left and then they chew people up and spit them out.  I’ve watched good people… successful people… just get swamped and drown in the corporate culture.  It’s…

This time she sighs.

Laura Bergman: …not just a job.  It’s a way of life.  The big time corporate world not what I expected.  The corporate game is like Game of Thrones without the dragons and mass murder and I’m a little ol’ hamster on a wheel just spinning in place.

Joe tries to be a voice of reason for his ex-wife.

Joe Bergman: Laura, you’ve only been there three months.  You knew there would be a period of adjustment.

Laura Bergman: I know.  My boss is… well… he’s no Ray McAvay.  Ray was pretty laid back.

Joe Bergman: Well yeah, Ray’s laid back for just about everything.

Laura Bergman: But my new boss.  Everything is push, push, push with her.   No letting up.  All go.  No time to breathe.  Everything goes so fast.  My head just spins sometimes like I’m riding an out of control bull and hanging on for my life.

She pauses for a second.

Laura Bergman: And then there’s the guilt I have for leaving Libby behind.   I hate it Joe.  I hate it.  But there was no way I could have her in New York with my crazy work hours.  As much as it pains me to say it, it’s better that she stays here with you.

Big sigh.

Laura Bergman: Maybe this was all a mistake.

Joe puts his hands on her shoulders.

Joe Bergman: You’ll be fine.  You just need some time to adapt.  It’s like I do with my wrestlers.  You build the foundation first and get to a point where you can move forward and do more things.  You’re in the same process.  You’re building a foundation for your career and that takes time.  But you can do it.  I mean… I just finished up training Elizabeth Carlisle- the Channel 5 news reporter- a couple weeks back.

Laura’s heart sank.  She’d watched the four-part series Elizabeth did with Joe on learning to be a pro wrestler and couldn’t help but have a sinking feeling there might have been something more going on there than Carlisle just training at Joe’s barn.

Joe Bergman: I had only three weeks to get her up to speed and she somehow put her head down and worked her ass off to be able to carry out a five minute match.  You can do the same thing.  Just believe in yourself and keep working.

A few minutes later, Joe finishes the pep talk and Laura hands him Libby’s bag.

Laura Bergman: I’ll talk to you later, Joe.

Then she gives Libby a kiss on the forehead.

Laura Bergman: And I’ll see you soon, baby girl.

Laura turns and heads into the airport to catch a mid-afternoon flight back to New York City.

Joe returns to his car with Libby and places her in a car seat.  Once Libby was secured, Joe climbs into the car on the driver’s side and fires up the engine. But instead of putting the car in gear and backing out of the space, Joe keeps the car in park and leans back in his seat.

He hadn’t thought much about Laura in the past few months.  Separating and then throwing himself head first into training people at the Barn and rekindling his wrestling career at HOW kept him very busy and kept Laura from creeping into his thoughts.

Joe could tell Laura was struggling.  New job.  New city.  New marital status.  Being away from Libby. Overworked and overwhelmed.  He had empathy for her.  Yes, he still harbored a little anger over the divorce and all but still- he spent fourteen years with her, drove a lot of miles to pro wrestling show all over the country with her, and he’d won the HOW world title TWICE with her by his side.

He knew he couldn’t just turn off all of his feelings towards her.

Meanwhile in the passenger seat, Sunny O’Callahan sees Joe sitting there with his arms crossed and lost in his thoughts.

A few seconds pass by before finally, she speaks.

Sunny O’Callahan: Hey Joe?

Joe snaps out of his thoughts.

Joe Bergman: Yeah, yeah?

Sunny O’Callahan: You know, I could run over your ex-wife with a SUV…

She stretches her arms out to ‘make the point.’

Sunny O’Callahan: …if you want.

Joe slowly turns his head towards Sunny.

Joe Bergman: Well.  I didn’t let Xander Azula and the Eternal Circle sacrifice Laura to the goddess Eris.  I don’t think it would be right to let you to take my ex-wife out with a SUV.

Joe pauses and then adds.

Joe Bergman: But thanks anyways.

***

Darin Zion.

Sunday night.  The Enterprise Center.  St. Louis, Missouri.  Chaos Three.  It’s a home match for Joe Bergman being back in the city where the headquarters of Missouri Valley Wrestling is located.

Let’s put our cards on the table shall we and let me spell out to you what my expectations are for Sunday night.

There will be a tag team match against the Highwaymen versus Joe Bergman and Darin Zion.

The only thing I owe you in this match is to go out there and do my level best.

That’s all.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

For all the things I could say about Andy Murray two years ago, at least he didn’t half-ass the match we had against Mikey and Kendrix at the Lethal Lottery and then at War Games 2020 in France.  Andy Murray could have just turned and walked to the back during the lethal lottery match for the tag belts and left me a sitting duck for Mikey and JFK.  He didn’t do that so I have to give him respect him for that.

That is what Joe Bergman will do for Darin Zion on Sunday night.  While I may not like the fact that I am tagging with you, the bottom line is that I owe it to you and the fans… who pay their money to come to the show and who expect top level pro wrestling… to put forth my best effort to win the match.

That is all.

Nothing more.  Nothing less.

But here is what I expect from you.

No funny business.  Period.

There will be no ‘love convoy.’  There will be no 4Z nonsense.

I expect to see Darin Zion- professional wrestler.

You see Darin, I know you’re a really good wrestler.  We all saw that during your stay at Missouri Valley Wrestling a while back.  Freed of all the chatter, the noise, and from trying to get everyone’s attention, you let yourself just be just Darin Zion- the wrestler.  You relaxed and you showed that you definitely were a class above the other wrestlers at MVW.

I’m going to treat you Sunday night just I like I treat the students who come to my barn.  It’s not going to be ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ Joe Bergman who shows up at in St. Louis and I’m putting you on warning now.  If you start up with anything like you did after we won the three-way a week and a half ago and ka-vetch about the fact that I didn’t allow you to pin Cecilworth Farthington so you could- and I quote- aligned the 4Z networks greatly- then we’re going to have a problem.

A BIG problem.

You forget that being able to submit Farthington was a big deal to me since it washes away some of the stench of the ‘Toilet Murder’ incident from Rumble at the Rock 2019.  But the fact is this- I was in the ring with CMF and you weren’t.  I had the submission hold locked in on him and you didn’t.    There was no way in hell I was going to drop the hold and let Farthington- a world class wrestler and a HOW Hall of Famer- have fifteen to twenty free seconds to regroup while I tagged you in so you could finish the match.  If the situation were opposite, I definitely wouldn’t expect you to drop a sure submission or pinfall just so I could come in and put the Dragon Sleeper on him because it’d be a cool thing for Joe Bergman to do.

That’s just stupid.

I respect Cecilworth enough as an opponent not to disrespect him by pulling an idiotic stunt like that.

So here’s the deal, Darin.

For one more night, you and I are teaming up… this time it’s a chance at the HOW Tag Team title.

I expect you to take this seriously.

I expect you to leave the traveling sideshow and 4Z crap at home.

I expect you to treat the match as the golden opportunity this is for you to get your career back on track.

Steve Harrison is someone you don’t want to mess around with.

And you really do not want to fuck with Clay Byrd.

We are the Highwaymen and we take this stuff kind of seriously.

So if you mess this up, Darin… don’t expect me to be there to help you clean it up because it’s going to suck big time to face Clay Byrd and Steve Harrison with the tag belts on the line… all by yourself.

Think about it.

Leave the circus at home and let’s go wrestle.