Goal Line Bar and Grill
December 31st, 2022
The packed crowd- overwhelmingly Alabama Crimson Tide fans- react to a play they’ve just watched on multiple large screen TVs located throughout the interior of a small bar.
Alabama versus Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.
Kansas State’s quarterback Matt Howard evaded the pressure of the Alabama defensive line… stepped up in the pocket… and hit receiver D.J. Giddens in the seam with a bullet of a pass for a big gain down to the Alabama fifteen-yard line.
Even though it was one of the few eventful plays that went against the Crimson Tide, the mostly crimson-clad patrons inside the Goal Line Bar and Grill were decidedly in a celebratory mood because, at that moment, Alabama led Kansas State by twenty-five points midway through the third quarter of the game.
Early on, everyone inside the Goal Line had visions of Nick Saban’s troops potentially falling prey to yet another big upset in the college football bowl season when Alabama fell behind by ten points after K-State’s Deuce Vaughn took off on an eighty-eight-yard touchdown run. However, regular service would soon resume and the Crimson Tide roared back with thirty-five unanswered points to take a commanding lead in the third quarter.
The rout… and the party was on.
R.G. Jenkins and Mark Hendry would arrive at the Goal Line Bar and Grill to this party-like atmosphere inside the one-story brick building located just off US 231 on the outskirts of Troy, Alabama. After having to park their car way in the back as there were no parking spots left in front of the bar, Jenkins and Hendry approach the bar and hear the raucous atmosphere inside. They walk up the ramp leading to the entrance to the establishment that has a new, bright red Coke banner tied to the front flapping in the slight breeze.
Both men stop on the ramp and glance up at the wooden sign affixed to the top of the building with “Goal Line Bar and Grill” in green block letters centered over the white background with “Troy” and “Trojans” bookending the sign against a red background. Once known as ‘The Dirty Pearl,’ the Goal Line Bar and Grill reopened under the new name back in June 2021.
Dressed with a black bandana covering his bald head and sporting a black sleeveless vest with jeans and boots, R.G. Jenkins was a 39-year-old ring veteran who primarily featured in a small wrestling company called Appalachian Mountain Championship Wrestling out of Boone, North Carolina. Jenkins had long ago given up any hope of catching on with one of the major wrestling companies and managed to scratch out a comfortable living on the AMCW circuit that took him through places such as Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee… Hazard and Pikeville, Kentucky… Wytheville and Roanoke, Virginia… and Bluefield and Princeton, West Virginia.
But after fifteen years at AMCW, Jenkins got the itch to try something different and contacted Missouri Valley Wrestling owner Ray McAvay for a tryout. McAvay brought him to St. Louis and Jenkins appeared in an MVW ring for the first time in April 2022 facing a young up-and-coming superstar named Tyler Streets. Of course, Streets is now known as Tyler Adrian Best and made a huge splash in HOW and won the ICON title at War Games before disappearing after he lost an LSD vs. ICON title consolidation match against Jace Parker Davidson.
Suffice it to say, Jenkins didn’t fare that well against TAB that night. But he did impress Ray McAvay enough that he offered him a deal. McAvay had another wrestler from Alabama named Mark Hendry also on the roster. Just getting his career started, the twenty-five-year-old Hendry found himself in talent enhancement purgatory for the first few months of his MVW career. McAvay put Hendry and Jenkins together as a tag team and paired up with Alabama natives…
“Well hell, it’s ‘bout time y’all got here!” the big booming boisterous voice of ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson blasts through the din, calling out to Jenkins and Hendry as they approach his table.
…’The 330 Pound Southern Brawler’ aka ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson and ‘Big Don’ Dickinson to form a new MVW faction called the Alabama Gang with Bill Dickinson as the leader.
“Sorry,” Mark Hendry replies to Bill and takes his seat on one of the circular bar stools situated around the table across from ‘Big Don.’ Hendry’s full beard covered a youthful-looking face masking his relative youth compared to Bill Dickinson and Jenkins. In fact, when Hendry found out about the new faction, he grew a full beard to ‘look the part’ of the southern-based faction.
Also sitting at the Dickinson’s table… another familiar face to MVW fans… AND HOW fans… Sunny O’Callahan. The lovely Irish blonde and the former ‘One True Queen of Professional Wrestling’ now dressed in the guise of a 1970’s Southern rock band background singer these days- complete with frizzed out blonde hair, a spaghetti strap top, and a pair of faded blue jeans- pours from a bottle of Southern Comfort into a clear glass and smiles at Jenkins as he also joins the group at the table.
Not only did Sunny manage Joe Bergman in HOW, she also appeared in MVW as the valet of the Alabama Gang.
“Well boys,” Bill Dickinson says, bald head covered with a crimson-colored Alabama Crimson Tide hat pulled down over his eyes and his hand scratching at his goatee, “you sure stepped into it big time now.”
Holding a beer in one hand, ‘Big Don’ Dickinson rocks back and lets out a belly laugh.
“You of all people would know about stepping into it,” cracks Jenkins in return. He knows full well about Bill Dickinson’s brush with wrestling’s big time. You see, at the end of 2021, ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson found himself in a feud with HOW’s then-LSD champion John Sektor and wrestling at London, England’s O2 arena against the Gold Standard for his title.
“Yeah… yeah I do,” Bill concurs. He raises his glass of whiskey and drinks it down as he remembers that night in London. ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson walked into the biggest arena he’d ever wrestled in and gave the fans the best match of his career and Sektor a hard run at his title.
But in the end, Sektor’s quality won out and he pinned Dickinson to retain the LSD title.
The 330 Pound Southern Brawler smiles fondly at the memory. “Best damn moment of my career.”
“Hey boys,” a woman’s voice says. Jenkins and Hendry turn to see a waitress has visited the table. She too sports Alabama Crimson Tide gear and looks like a student from nearby Troy University. “I’m Tanya Fay and I’ll be your waitress. Y’all want anything to drink? A menu?”
“Ma’am,” Jenkins answers. ”I’d like a round of whiskey shots for our table for starters…” He pauses as Tanya Fay writes down the drink order. “…and a menu.”
“I’d like to see a menu too if you don’t mind,” chimes in Hendry. Jenkins is hungry from the fifty-mile drive from Monroeville, Alabama to Troy. Hendry’s drive was a little shorter- only twenty miles from his hometown of Enterprise, Alabama- located to due south of Troy.
Sunny raises her hand up to get the waitress’s attention. “Me too.”
“Be right back with ‘em, boys.” Tanya Fay scoots to the bar to have the bartender fill the drink order and snatch a couple of menus as well.
“Boys, I don’t have to tell ya what’s on the line at the PWA show,” Bill Dickinson intones. “You ain’t just wrasslin’ for yourself or the Alabama Gang. You’ll be wrasslin’ ‘gainst a man who regards MVW as a ‘carny’ and a self-professed ‘Demi-God of HOW” in Scott Stevens. This ain’t about winning or losing. It’s about respect and the way y’all will get the respect you deserve is to go to Los Angeles, kick some ass, and show those PWA folks just what the Alabama Gang is all about.”
Jenkins nods in return. He’s been in the game long enough to know that opportunities like his don’t come around very often. R.G. knows that the only reason he and Hendry got the nod to challenge Jace Parker Davidson and Scott Stevens for the HOTv Tag Team title is that MVW’s current Men’s Tag Team Champions are The Stevens Dynasty just happens to be related to one Scott Stevens.
“Yeah, so we won the lotto,” growls Jenkins, impatiently waiting for the shots to arrive at the table. “Big fucking deal.”
The younger Hendry seems enthusiastic though about the match. “I don’t know. I’m kinda excited about this.”
Jenkins rolls his eyes and snarls: “I’d rather be cleaning the clocks of Bo and George Stevens and taking the Men’s Tag belts from them instead of going to California.”
“But here we are,” Sunny O’Callahan speaks up. “The Alabama Gang against the HOTv Tag Team Champions before a big crowd. I say we throw everything we’ve got at them and go balls to the wall… we do everything we can to win this match.”
“Yeah,” added Hendry.
Both Bill and Don Dickinson add their concurrence to Sunny’s sentiment.
“R.G., I get whatcha saying. The Alabama Gang will be the underdawgs, for sure. Hoss, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Bill reminds Jenkins. “And if anyone knows about once-in-a-lifetime things, it’s me.”
Jenkins cranes his neck to see where the waitress is and scoffs: “I’ve already had a taste of that taking on that snot-nosed brat Tyler Best. I ain’t a dumbass, Bill. I know my limitations. I’d rather stay in my lane if you want to know the truth.” His eyes widen as Tanya Fay starts back towards their table. “Besides, your moment all came about because you were pissing the hell off John Sektor over you beating up on Adam Ellis. This is a random match where we’re booked against a big-time tag team and we’re probably gonna have our asses handed to us. No one expects us to have any chance in hell of beating Davidson and Stevens.”
“Here you go boys.” Tanya Fay gently places the whiskey shots on the table.
R.G. reaches into his jeans pocket to pull out his wallet. Dickinson puts his arm on Jenkins and stops him.
“Hold on, hoss,” Bill says. “I’ve got this.” He pulls out his wallet and hands Tanya Fay a couple of big bills for the booze. “Thanks hon.”
Tanya Fay smiles back as she appreciates the more than generous tip given to her by Dickinson. “Thanks y’all.” She tucks the cash into a pocket in her apron and adds: “If y’all need anything else, just holler.”
As the waitress moves along to her next table, Bill Dickinson pounds his meaty fist on the table.
“Boys,” The 330 Pound Southern Brawler’ barks out. “Lemme raise a toast.” He raises his shot glass and pauses until the rest of the table does the same… and they do- even R.G. Jenkins.
“Yeah!” shouts out Mark Hendry.
“Boys,” Bill begins, “here’s to opportunity knocking….” He grins and downs the shot with the others following suit. “…and the-”
The rest of the toast gets drowned out by the bar erupting at the latest big play by Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. Young had connected with wide receiver Kobe Prentice in the middle of the field. Prentice broke a Kansas State tackle and raced to the end zone for yet another Crimson Tide touchdown.
Once the din dies down, Bill finishes the toast.
“Here’s to opportunities knocking and the big payday that comes along with it.”
All five nod and do their respective shots. One by one, the shot glasses are placed upside down on the table.
R.G. Jenkins’s Home
January 4th, 2023
“Honey, I’m back!”
Closing the front door of the Jenkins’s modest home, R.G. drops his duffel bag in the front foyer and removes and throws his leather jacket onto a coat hook attached to the wall.
“Babe, I’m in the kitchen!” a female voice calls out. “I’ll be out in a second.”
Kicking off his shoes and leaving them haphazardly on the floor in the foyer, R.G. goes right to the living room and settles down into his favorite chair. The remote control to his big-screen television is located adjacent to the chair on a small table. Jenkins takes the remote and turns on the television.
“How was your workout?” says Melanie Jenkins as she enters the living room. A northern girl by birth, Melanie met up with Jenkins six years ago at an Appalachian Mountain Championship Wrestling show in Blacksburg, Virginia. She was in her second year at Virginia Tech and went to the show as a lark with a few of her friends. They married a year later down in Alabama. Now twenty-five years old, R.G.’s wife of five years sports an athletic body that’s fueled by three things: one- daily yoga sessions, two- running five miles in the morning, and three-… well… we’ll save the last one for later.
R.G. mumbles incoherently and flips through the channels on the television.
Running her hand through her blonde hair, Melanie knows all about her husband’s various moods. She knows R.G.’s in one of his ‘moods.’ She has a good idea why so Melanie walks over to the stripper pole that’s located off to the side in the living room… oh… that’s the third and final thing that fuels her athletic body- she’s an avid pole dancer.
“You know, ever since you found out about the PWA match, you’ve been a big grump,” she tells him good-naturedly. “Why?”
R.G. shifts forward in his chair. “Don’t want to talk about it.”
“Why not?” Melanie starts to swing around the pole now. “Honey, you’re going to get to wrestle in front of twenty thousand people.”
He exhales. Leaning back in his chair, R.G. observes his wife working on the pole- a common occurrence when he tries to sit and watch TV.
“What is wrong with that?” she says, bending her right leg tight around the pole with her left leg locking them in. She hangs upside down… her hair gravitating down towards the floor.
“Mel, I’m tired of everyone tellin’ me how great it’s going to be to go to LA and get my ass kicked,” he shoots back. “Mark’s so fucking sky high on doing this match and Sunny, Bill, and Don are doing the hard sell on me… using this is some noble Rocky-like bullshit as the reason and I ain’t buying it.”
“But R.G. honey, don’t wrestlers aspire to wrestle in a big-time stage?” Melanie asks while switching positions on the pole. “Isn’t this what you’ve been working for all these years?” She grabs the pole with her hands and gets some speed going with her feet… bends her knees and lets the inertia swing her around and around. Somehow in the midst of doing all that, Melanie manages to finish her question to R.G. “Isn’t this a reward for all the hard work you’ve put into your career?”
“Ten years ago I woulda snapped your arm off to get this match. Now?” R.G. shakes his head while his eyes follow Melanie on the stripper pole. “Now? Well, now I know just R.G. Jenkins stands in the big picture of things.”
Melanie lands on the floor. She pulls up the t-shirt she’s wearing and removes it… tossing the garment at her husband.
“I had a couple good moments, but I really didn’t put up much of a fight against Tyler Best,” laments R.G as her shirt lands on his lap. “If I can’t hang with a green rookie, how am I supposed to compete against Jace Parker Davidson or Scott Stevens? There’s no way in hell we’re gonna win the match. Mark’s all gung ho on taking on the big boys but I know we ain’t in their class.”
As R.G. speaks, Melanie jumps back onto the pole and again goes upside down with her legs spread before she crisscrosses her feet and spins.
“I am who I am,” he continues, watching Melanie slide her left hand down the pole and her right leg bending away from the pole as she comes to a stop.
“My pappy once told me one time he was draining our basement of water that no matter what you do, water finds its level… in our case, it always seemed to be in our basement after a good rain. Because that’s where I’m supposed to be.”
He pauses as Melanie slides down her other hand and plants them on the floor. Then she swings her legs up and over landing on her feet in front of the pole.
“Wow!” R.G. blinks his eyes a few times and then goes on. “Well, it’s the same in wrestling. There’s a good reason I wrassled in AMCW for all those years. There’s a real good reason I’m wrasslin’ at Missouri Valley. Because I found my level.
“R.G. honey,” she says, now toying and teasing him by playing with the zipper on the front of her sports bra. “No matter what happens, I’ll still love you. If you and Mark lose at the PWA show, I’ll still love you no matter what so just go to Los Angeles… do the best you can… and the rest will take care of itself,” encourages Melanie.
As she plays with the zipper… moving it up and down… R.G.’s eyes follow her hand as it lowers the zipper and then pulls it back up.
“Because regardless of what happens, when you come back home…”
She smiles at her husband and pulls on her sports bra the zipper all the way down.
“…I’ll be right here waiting.”
The bra opens up and… well… never mind.
Missouri Valley Wrestling Headquarters
MVW Television Studios
St. Louis, Missouri
Tuesday January 10th, 2023
Inside the TV studio, the house lights are dim save the ones directly over the ring. MVW’s young backstage interviewer Kellie Burkowski stands at the center facing a HOTv cameraman. Her blonde hair is done up in a bun. She’s wearing a simple plain black t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans.
Raising a microphone to her mouth, Kellie says: “Ladies and gentlemen. Right now, I’d like to bring out The Alabama Gang.”
Chris Janson’s ‘White Trash’ comes on over the public address system and serves as the entrance music for the Alabama Gang. Sunny O’Callahan is the first one who emerges from the back. As she does when she valets for Joe Bergman, Sunny’s dressed in the fashion of a female background singer from a late seventies Southern rock band wearing a spaghetti strap top, a pair of jeans, and a pair of heels with her usually straight hair all frizzed out and curly.
Sunny takes a swig from a bottle of Southern Comfort and sways back and forth just outside the ring as R.G. Jenkins and Mark Hendry come out to join her and the trio then climb into the ring to do the interview with Kellie.
“Happy 2023 to the Alabama Gang,” Kellie says.
“Happy 2023, Kellie,” Hendry responds, trying to make goo-goo eyes at Kellie.
She totally no sells it and continues, “We’re coming up on this whole big ass first-ever PWA supershow and it’s going to be a huge event.”
“Hell yes it is,” R.G. concurs. “So since it is gonna be a huge event… since Mark and I are getting a chance to wrestle in a big-time arena for the HOTv Tag Team title… we’re gonna have to make it count… right Mark?”
No hesitation from Hendry. “Hell yes, R.G.”
“R.G.,” Kellie says. “This Saturday night in Los Angeles, California, it will be absolute craziness when the Alabama Gang face their toughest test ever- the team of Jace Parker Davidson and ‘The Demi-God’ of HOW’ Scott Stevens for the HOTv Tag Team Titles at PWA 01.”
“Thanks Kellie,” R.G. says, sounding much more upbeat. “I’ll tell ya this much, it will be crazy. I told Mark Hendry and I’ll tell all the wrasslin’ fans out there who know who the Alabama Gang are and those who don’t- when we get to LA and when that bell rings, we know Jace Parker Davidson and Scott Stevens will be a lot different level of opponent than we’re used to.” R.G. turns towards the hard camera. “And R.G. Jenkins and Mark Hendry will be a much different opponent than Jace Parker Davidson is used to.”
Standing to the right of Jenkins in terms of the hard camera, Mark Hendry nods and Sunny raises her bottle of Southern Comfort to concur with R.G.’s remarks as he continues to speak.
Jenkins pulls out a piece of paper from his jeans pocket. “I don’t know how we’ll fare this weekend. But I do know this much.” Jenkins waves the paper in front of Kellie. “I have right here in my hand the signed contract for Jace Parker Davidson and Scott Stevens putting the HOTv Tag Team Title on the line against us. I signed it. Mark signed it. Davidson signed it. Scott Stevens signed it. That means come the PWA show… this Saturday night… in Los Angeles…” Hendry leans his head into the shot as well. “…Jace Parker Davidson. Scott Stevens. We don’t care that you wrassle for a big-time company.”
“YEAH!” Hendry yells out in agreement.
“We don’t care that both of ya have won world titles at your big-time company,” Jenkins continues.
“YEAH!” Hendry yells.
“We don’t care that everyone in the wrestling world expects you two to stomp our asses into the ground at the PWA show.” Jenkins pauses and points to Hendry.
Jenkins goes on. “You both signed the deal. We signed the deal. That means…” He raises up one finger. “…one thing. The Alabama Gang is a-coming. The Alabama Gang is a-coming to Los Angeles, California this Saturday night. The Alabama Gang is a-coming to Los Angeles for a fight. The Alabama Gang is a-comin’ to the Honda Center… we’re gonna fight… and we’re gonna…” R.G. leans forward toward the camera and sneers, “…KICK… YOUR… ASSES!”
“YEAH!” Hendry shouts in his youthful exuberance. “KICK BOTH OF YOUR ASSES!”
Jenkins pats Hendry on the back. Then 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 continues to just sway back and forth looking serene and extremely relaxed.
“THE ALABAMA GANG ARE HERE!” Kellie Burkowski exclaims, “AND THEY WANT THEIR SHOT AT THE HOTv TAG TEAM TITLE AGAINST DAVIDSON AND STEVENS THIS SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE PWA SUPERSHOW!”