Jefferson County Courthouse
Friday Afternoon August 5th
Joe Bergman exiting the Jefferson County courthouse through a double door and stepped out onto the concrete landing. He walked out to a steel railing and glanced out at a short strip of lawn as a car passed nearby on Main Street. Then he gazed down at a brick-bordered flower bed with a monument to the veterans of Jefferson County right in the center.
“Aw. Young love.” Dawn McGill said as she came out of the courthouse and joined Bergman at the rail.. She placed her hand on Joe’s shoulder. “Gotta love it.”
Joe and Dawn had just witnessed the Justice of the Peace wedding ceremony of Adam Ellis and Ginny Van Lear.
In fact, seconds later the white double doors opened again and the newly married couple walked out.
“Thanks Joe,” Adam called out. Heeding the advice of his mentor John Sektor about dressing like a champion, Ellis looked the part for the occasion with a nice shirt, suit coat and pant ensemble.
“Yes. Thanks Joe,” chimed in an ecstatically beaming Ginny, pulling Adam by the hand and leading him down the steps and sidewalk and taking great care to keep the bottom of her sparkling, strapless white wedding from scraping along the concrete. The couple went right to Adam’s Volkswagen Jetta he parked on the street and jumped into the car. Adam fired up the engine. He honked the horn several times and both husband and wife waved out the window as the Jetta pulled out onto the street.
“I’m still not sure this was a good idea,” Joe said to Dawn.
“Why?” she asked.
“This happened way too fast.”
He watched as Adam did a U-turn on Main Street and took off in the other direction. The back of the Jetta had been decorated with the traditional “Just Married’ sign hastily scrawled out with a sharpie on poster board.
“Well. At least they’re driving away in a car and not a lawn tractor like Bobby Boucher,” Dawn quipped, trying to lighten the mood.
Someone had also attached a couple empty beer cans on a string to the car that dragged on the ground for about ten feet until they became dislodged and rolled to a stop in the middle of the street.
“They’re kids,” Joe opined as the Jetta turned a corner and disappeared from sight.
They looked so happy,” Dawn countered.
“They’re two kids with raging hormones who can’t keep their hands off each other.” Joe shot back.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “You’re just jaded,” she ribbed him.
“Like you weren’t for awhile,” Joe returned.
“Ow. Cheap shot!”
Dawn feigned shock that Bergman went down THAT road- a rather dark period of time she’d endured following a very public divorce from her third husband ‘Legendary Manager’ Jackson C. Horne. She reacted to the break up by drinking to excess and careened her way through a series of single night hook ups after drinking binges at various drinking establishments. Her list of one-nighters included a dalliance with the Kentucky Redneck Mafia’s Cletus T. Johnson that she termed ‘a series of drunk one-night stands.’
“Besides, I got better,” Dawn said.
“Better as you got together with Rah and made him husband number four.”
“What can I say,” she added. “I finally found the right guy.”
Joe shook his head and muttered, “What the hell am I doing here?”
The reason Joe left for West Texas in the first place to get away from all this. He wanted to get away from the drama surrounding his ex-wife Laura suddenly making overtures again about possibly reconciling. He wanted to get away from the drama of the possible romantic interest being shown by Channel 5 news reporter Elizabeth Carlisle. And then there was the drama surrounding the ‘Joanie Loves Chachi-ish’ romance between Adam Ellis and Ginny Van Lear that both tried to hide from public view and failed miserably in the execution.
Joe spent three great days working out alone in the hot Texas sun and getting a lot accomplished. He then hooked up with an old friend who ran a gym in Pecos and got a little wrestling work in to keep as sharp as possible for Dead or Alive.
Then Thursday night while having dinner at Dickey’s Barbeque Pit on the south side of Pecos, Joe got the phone call. He’d sat at a booth looking forward to another day of good training on Friday when midway through the meal, his cell phone went off. His first instinct? Let it go to voice mail.
But Dawn McGill’s name popped up on the display so he answered the call. Dawn then dropped the bombshell news about Ginny and Adam getting married and asked him to come back to Missouri because they needed someone else to witness the ceremony with her.
So, working out Friday was out.
Joe canceled his Friday, Saturday, and Sunday plans and basically flew (not really, he just drove really fast) back to Dallas and hastily booked a red eye flight from DFW International to St. Louis. Dawn picked him up at the airport early in the morning and drove him right down to Hillsboro to act with her as a witness for Adam and Ginny’s nuptials at eleven-thirty in the morning in the Justice of the Peace’s office.
Joe added, “I really don’t have time for this. And Adam… Adam really should be focused on his match against Darin Zion instead of running off and getting married like this. I don’t care what everyone says about Darin, he’s still a dangerous opponent and Adam’s distracted with puppy love.”
Dawn crossed her arms. “Look. Adam’s your friend too. He needed someone to witness the ceremony. I was available. And… YOU… owed me a big favor after you just up and ghosted me… leaving town and then expecting me to step in and run the Barn while you were gone. A BIG favor.”
“It’s going to work out and Adam will be fine. I just found out he’s going to the Kearney, Nebraska house show Sunday night to get some work in.”
Joe started to respond but stopped. “Never mind,” he said, conceding the point to her. “All right, I think we can leave now.”
Bergman started down the concrete steps. Dawn followed right behind him.
“How is the training going?” she asked.
“Actually, training was going really well. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you get away from people. You know, there’s something to be said about going to a remote, dusty, hot sandbox and putting yourself through hell to get ready for a match where all of a sudden I have no clue how the match will go and how to approach it.”
“Bar fight stip?” Dawn repeated walking around her burgundy colored 2017 CR-V. She reached into her purse for the keyfob and used it to unlock the doors.
“Yeah but it’s not really just a bar fight stip,” explained Joe as he opened the passenger door and climbed into the seat. “Steve Harrison sent me some stuff. It’s not going to be a straight bar fight.”
“Aw. And I got Xander into his first bar fight just to get him ready for this.”
“You did what?”
“Long story. Go on.”
“No, I found out that the belts are going to be inside a crate on top of the saloon.”
“Wait, what? The belts are going to be on top of the saloon?”
Joe pulled out his phone and brought up Harrison’s text. “The tag titles are going to be in a military crate at the top of the saloon. This means we’re going to find a way to the top of the building. There’s a side window. There’s a bank next door. It looks like there are going to be plenty of windows with a ledge.”
Dawn fired up the Honda CR-V. “Oh my God. It’s going to be a Michael Bay movie.”
“I was thinking pure bar brawl and complete chaos. We’d beat the hell out of people with chairs, table, whatever else we can find, and I’d choke out someone with the Dragon Sleeper… Harrison would hit his finisher… and we’d win. Now, it’s a whole lot different proposition. I’m not sure how I’m going to approach that.”
“Maybe you still incorporate that plan. You’re going to want to incapacitate people so you can get up onto the roof without having to worry about someone pulling you down because that would probably be really, really bad..”
“That’s true. I just probably need a couple days to process this. I probably should reach out to Harrison at some point to get his thoughts on it as well and start coming up with a game plan.” Joe glanced at his phone and a thought materialized in his brain. “Hey, you know it’s about lunch time and I didn’t really get a chance to have anything to eat this morning. Wanna go grab some lunch?”
“Sure. Where do you want to go.”
“I know a nice little Mom and Pop restaurant right down the road called the Fountain City Grill,” Joe said. “Good food. Decent atmosphere. And you can tell me more about how you got Xander Azula into a bar fight.”
Dawn nodded as she pulled the Honda out onto Main Street. “Sounds good. Just tell me where I’m going.”
Wednesday October 26th, 1881.
The Gunfight at the OK Corral.
Thirty shots. Thirty seconds.
We all know the story.
In the 1880’s, Tombstone, Arizona was the stereotypical Old West boomtown. Population- four thousand. A town complete with cowboys, mines, lawlessness, gambling, countless saloons, and lots and lots of desert. More than a few people met their untimely demise in Tombstone and ended up interred at the Boot Hill cemetery just outside of town.
Tombstone was also close to the border with Mexico. ‘Cowboys’ Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury were embroiled in a heated feud with Virgil, Wyatt, and Morgan Earp with Doc Holliday. The Cowboys were a group of outlaws, murderers, cattle rustlers, horse thieves riding roughshod over the town of Tombstone and Southern Arizona. The Earps and Doc Holliday were four hardened, experienced gunfighters who’d been involved in their fair share of gunfights and dust ups all across the Western frontier.
By the way, the gunfight did not physically take place at the O.K. Corral. The corral itself is located on Allen Street on the south side of a block bordered by Fremont, Third, Allen, and Fourth. The battle actually took place in a narrow lot next to C.S. Fly’s photography shop on the corner of Fremont and Third Streets- the northwest side of the block. That area is now walled off and bleachers were installed so people can come and watch the daily reenactments of the great gunfight (at 11 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM, and 3:30 PM every day).
The Cowboys vs. the Earps. Suffice to say, two groups who really did not like each other at all.
The Board vs. The Highwaymen in HOW. Suffice to say, two groups who do not like each other either.
After all the battles between The Board and The Highwaymen over the past few weeks, how fitting would have it been if they met in the main event of Dead or Alive in a 4 vs 4 tag match inside what is now called the ‘O.K. Corral Historic Complex’- the actual spot where the gunfight took place.
Now THAT would have been pretty cool.
But the good news is at Dead or Alive, we’re getting the next best thing. Not one but TWO big matches between the Highwaymen and The Board.
Highwayman Steve Solex is challenging The Board’s Christopher America again for the HOW World Title. After Solex lost a very close HOFC match to America back in July and after what America did to him a couple weeks ago, do you not believe that Steve will do everything in his power to destroy Christopher Corporate America in the main event of Dead or Alive? Yeah, I do.
Solex is going to bring the sound and fury to Chris America.
As for Steve Harrison and myself? Oh hell yes, we are going to bring the sound and the fury to The Board at the tag team title match.
It’s actually The Board’s Jace Parker Davidson and STRONK, ‘Best Friends Forever’ TM Conor Fuse and Bobbinette Carey, and the ad-hoc team of Xander Azula and Brian Hollywood who are challenging The Highwaymen for the HOW Tag Title.
Clearly, Jace Parker Davidson and Stronk Godson are our biggest threats. In my mind, JPD is the most dangerous of the six people we are competing with in this match. For all of his Nuke Laloosh tendencies the fact remains when he’s not keeping busy hitting on every woman on Twitter he’s still very good inside the ring. Jace has been in this type of match set up before and he’s lethal when he can get the advantage. And everyone knows Jace will go to great lengths and do what he feels he has to do to get the win. No matter what I think of him as a person he’s a great wrestler. It’s just unfortunate that JPD’s an amateur human being as well.
However, JPD is definitely getting back into his wrestling groove and working at a little higher level right now. That’s not good news for HOW as a whole.
As for STRONK, boy has he exploded on the HOW scene or what? He made his presence known like no one else has in some time- and that’s even taking into consideration that he lost in his first HOW match to Jeffery James Roberts. But since then, give the man credit. He’s taken HOW by storm and he’s about as over as you can get. STRONK ran off an impressive string of victories that eventually led up to him winning the HOTv Title from the wrestling formerly known as Genosyde.
STRONK did get a tough title defense from Steve Harrison and then rolled through Brian Hollywood, MDM, and Simon Sparrow before Highwayman Clay Byrd pinned him at War Games to win the title.
STRONK has all the strength in the world, the best muscle growing supplements in the world, and most importantly- he’s got the best theme music and entrance in the world. But for all of his well-documented and celebrated brawn, I’ve gotta think he may have trouble trying to get up to the roof. Big feet… big person on very narrow ledges equals potential disaster for the big man.
No doubt about it, STRONK will be a handful to deal with. But as I said before, it doesn’t matter how much stronger you are, if someone cuts off the air flow to your brain, you go to sleep.
Then there’s Conor Fuse and Bobbinette Carey. We haven’t heard too much of Conor since Cecilworth Farthington brutalized him at War Games with a nightstick and then locked in his armbar on him after America won the title.
Bobbinette just recently got tossed off the U.S.S. Octane a couple weeks ago by Jace Parker Davidson so she won’t be in the best of moods either. Bobbi’s tough. She knows how to handle herself in the ring and she’s not afraid to mix it up with the big boys. Everyone knows she has designs on grabbing the gold.
Everyone knows she also has designs on a certain STRONK as well. But more on that in a few…
As for Conor, we’ll find out if Conor’s back… or close to being back… to one hundred percent. If he is… he becomes the wild card in this match. If not, hopefully he’ll be not inclined to help The Board after what they did to him at War Games. I know he’s not real happy with Jace Parker Davidson either at the moment but then again, who is?
As for Bobbinette? I’m sorry, if someone superkicks me in the middle of a World Title match and costs me the World Title- like Bobbinette Carey did to Scottywood- there’s not much I wouldn’t do to get that receipt back… and then some.
Sorry Bobbi, there would be no forgiveness. There’s no ‘sorry, my foot slipped.’ There’s no ‘aw shucks everything’s okay’ if someone does that to me. Unh unh. No. No fucking way. I would not let that go quietly. There would be a response and it would be proportionable. To the ends of the Earth I would go to hunt you down if your actions directly prevented me from winning a world title.
With that in mind, my question for Conor is this… Conor, can you REALLY trust a woman who not only royally screwed her previous tag team partner out of the HOW Title and then just sent STRONK a half a cow after making goo-goo eyes at him for the past few weeks? Conor, you’re going to have to ask yourself a question. Do you think that if it suited her purposes and her agenda, Bobbinette Carey would turn on Conor Fuse faster than STRONK can inhale a vegetable free high-carb meal?
D’oh. Yeah, she’d do that in a friggin’ heartbeat. No-brainer of a no brainer.
So Conor, the problem I see that you are going to have is not only will you have to worry about three other teams you’re going to have to also keep in the back of your mind the chance during the heat of battle that Bobbinette Carey is going to sacrifice you so she can go make nice-nice… or whatever disgusting thing she’s going to do… with STRONK.
I would not want to be in your shoes right now.
Then there’s Xander Azula and Brian Hollywood. I have nothing but great things to say about Xander. He came to Bergman’s Barn and after the initial hiccup when his followers tried to sacrifice my ex-wife to the goddess Eris, Xander’s been a model student. I know he’s been working hard with Dawn McGill at the Bergman’s Barn where by the way, we…
********TEACH WRESTLING THE RIGHT WAY!********
…and getting himself ready for this match. Dawn McGill even reported that Xander got into his first bar fight ever the other night in preparation for this very match, so congratulations there. Personally, I think Xander will do just fine and… AND… he should prove to be an ally going up against The Board. Xander and Hollywood own a win over STRONK and Christopher America. They deserve to be here.
As for Brian Hollywood? Who knows. He’s been lost in the murkiness of whatever black ops corporate machinations and chicanery he always manages to find himself into outside the wrestling ring. To be fair, Brian’s picked up a couple nice singles wins to go along with the tag win with Xander over the Board. Will Brian Hollywood be a factor during our match?
Again, who knows.
But getting back to The Board… JPD and STRONK… I think they both need to be a little concerned here because it’s sure not just Steve Harrison and Joe Bergman who have an issue with them.
Conor Fuse certainly seems to have a big issue with The Board and in particular JPD right now.
Bobbinette Carey has also had issues with JPD- especially after he tossed her off the U.S.S. Octane. On the other hand, it’s pretty obvious to anyone with the IQ of a turnip that she’s clearly trying to woo STRONK and gain his affection.
I mean, she sent the man half a cow. I mean, who does that?
In the end, who knows how all of this will shake out during the match.
Sitting inside a gazebo located in the Tombstone City Park on the corner of Third Street and Allen Streets… staring at the big sign marking where the OK Corral actually was and all the older looking buildings across the street… watching all the work going on with the HOW crew getting things in order for the show… the bell rings in three days and the bar fight kicks of meaning no matter what I say, Steve says, WHAT STRONK BELLOWS, and what Jace writes out in agonizingly excruciating grandiloquent…
Grandiloquent- (def): pretentious, flowery communication.
…detail like an overblown, oratorically bombastic and pompous Leo Tolstoy writing a tedious, windy, overly flatulent screed of a pro wrestling tome that resembles War and Peace… the fact of the matter is we know with so many people involved that so many random things can happen during this type of match.
What I know is Steve Harrison and Joe Bergman are going to have their work cut out to retain the titles.
Are we ready for the challenge?
Yeah. I think we are.
Will we leave Tombstone with the tag team belts?
Yeah, I think we will.
The Site of Dead or Alive
Saturday August 13th
With Dead or Alive less than one day away, Joe found himself taking one last stroll into the Tombstone Historical District to visit the site where the show will take place one more time.
Standing in front of and staring blankly at the saloon where Harrison and him will take on three other tag teams for the tag team title, Joe second guessed himself. He should have finished the job he started in Pecos, Texas and not returned to Missouri for Adam’s wedding. An unnecessary distraction. A possible own goal on his part. Deep down, Joe wondered if he’d done enough preparation and had concerns if he was ready for the bar fight and the chase for the belts on top of the roof tomorrow.
With the bar fight now a part of the match that would end when someone got on the roof and retrieved the belts from a military crate, Joe was also anxious about not knowing for sure what to expect and knowing what he’d be walking into.
But then he put it in historical context. Virgil Earp, Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday on that fateful day of the Gunfight at the OK Corral had no idea what lay before them when they went into that open space to confront and disarm a bunch of lawless cowboys. Thirty seconds later, they became part of histroy.
While the gunfight took thirty seconds, Joe knew the tag match would probably last a little longer than that. He knew he had to use his experience to gauge what’s going on and make the appropriate adjustments on the fly because in that context, Joe knew exactly what he’d be walking into- a cluster of epic proportion.
The bad news for Joe was that no matter how he looked at it- it still looked daunting.
Joe cast one last glance at the structure and moved along from the saloon past the hotel to the series of buildings where Scott Stevens and Scottywood will do battle in their Baptized in Blood match.
Not stopping there, Joe walked on and off in the distance he saw the ring that’s been set up for the show. The HOV has been set up to the right of the Gunsmith shop in front of the military tent that would be used for the production. The HOW logo flashed very prominently on the screen and cycled through various Dead or Alive promotional videos. Looking across the ring on the other side, Joe noticed that chairs were set up outside the fenced in area.
Then he noticed a solitary figure leaning up against the near fence. A very familiar figure.
Joe moved in a little closer and the identity of the person on the fence soon became clear.
It’s Adam Ellis.
Adam’s staring right at the ring he’ll be defending the MVW Men’s Title in less than twenty-four hours.
No Ginny Van Lear though. Adam and Ginny returned from a quick flight back to Kentucky on Friday to break the news to her father about the marriage. Much to Adam’s relief, Ginny’s father took the news very well and welcomed him to the family.
Joe assumed Adam took a walk… just like he did… to get some fresh air, settle his nerves and clear his mind before the big show tomorrow. He wondered what all was going through the kid’s mind right now and thought about going over and talking to him… give him a couple last pieces of wisdom and advice from his experience before Dead or Alive… and just to be a friend to him.
But Joe decided not to. Why? He figured the kid has a huge match coming up in less than twenty-four hours. He didn’t need Joe throwing more things into his head. He knew that Adam knew what he needed to do. He’d been trained well by both himself and then John Sektor. Sektor put the finishing touches on Adam and made him into a potential star.
In some respects, Joe envied Adam. Oh, to be just twenty-one years old… a mere babe in the wrestling industry… with a career trajectory heading up with a bullet with a limitless future staring him in the face. Never at any time in his career did Joe experience the feeling of knowing he potentially had the world in his hands. The proverbial keys to the kingdom. The elevator to the penthouse. The gold at the end of the rainbow.
No, drive, determination, and heart is what Joe brought to the table and what he relied on to succeed. While Adam had a natural ability and a legitimate shot to do some really great things in pro wrestling, Joe had to maximize the limited talent he had, start at the bottom, and then claw his way up the ladder.
And yet, here they both were on the eve of a big pay per view show.
Adam had everything going for him. A very promising career. A new wife who seemed head over heels in love with him and could be of great assistance to him in a wrestling match.
For all of his protestations over the timing of Adam and Ginny’s marriage, deep down Joe envied Adam. Again, to be twenty-one years old- and in love. And not just love but… REAL love… for the very first time. Sure, Adam and Ginny would have their ups and downs. Sure, it wouldn’t be easy.
But is there anything more exciting and exhilarating like the promise of a new beginning… starting down the road to a new life… a new love?
Then at that moment, New beginning. New road. New love? began to work through Joe’s mind.
Both Adam Ellis and Ginny Van Lear had rolled the dice and took a chance on their future together. Was it time for Joe to do the same thing?
Joe turned and left Adam to his thoughts and found himself enveloped in his.
He’d swore up and down he would not get bogged down in thoughts about Laura or Elizabeth while he trained for this match. He’d vowed to remain focused like a laser beam on doing what he wanted to do- win the tag match… retain the titles. That was the marching orders he set for himself before coming out West. He didn’t want anyone or anything getting in the way of what he wanted to do.
New beginning. New road. New love?
But now, the night before an epic tag team title defense at a pay per view show, Joe found himself hitting a button to a certain person on his cell phone while walking back to the hotel.
Rolling the dice.
Taking the chance.
Making the call.
The call was picked up. A familiar voice answered.
“Hey Laura, did I wake you?”