Backstage: Missouri Valley Wrestling’s Heartland Pay-Per-View.
The Indiana Farmers Coliseum resembled rush hour traffic in downtown Indianapolis… a chaotic mix of scurrying crewmembers going in multiple directions at the same time, wrestlers wandering around, and then the staff frantically making sure everything that needed to be done was done. Amidst the frenetic backdrop of wrestling’s rush hour stood Sunny O’Callahan, dressed per usual in the guise of a 1970’s Southern rock band background singer. Her frizzy blonde hair with a frizzy curl draped across her forehead and she wore the usual loose-fitting, flouncy top with a halter neckline, and faded denim jeans she wore that revealed her perfectly toned legs extending below.
Sunny had come backstage following the opening match of the show that featured the tag team she managed in MVW- The Alabama Gang. R.G. Jenkins and Mark Hendry had destroyed a tag team called the Goatbusters- a little indirect payback and the proverbial taking out their anger over losing the tag belts to the Stevens Dynasty a couple weeks before. She also would escort the MVW Men’s Champion ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson to the ring at the end of the show as he put his title on the line against the underdog, and fellow Irish-born, John O’Reilly.
But with a little time to kill in between matches, Sunny’s focus shifted over to her new young British protégé, Drew Mitchell. Drew would be making his HOW debut against Scott Stevens at Chaos 44 and since Sunny had commitments with MVW that night, she did not accompany to Raleigh, North Carolina for the show. She felt nervous watching him walk down to the ring for the first time. Sipping from her bottle of Southern Comfort, she felt a mixture of pride and anxiety for the rookie she’d taken under her wing.
“Come on, Drew,” Sunny said to herself, her voice tinged with the faintest trace of an Irish lilt. “You can do this. Show ’em what you’re made of.”
On the monitor, Sunny watched Scott Stevens extend his hand toward Drew in an attempt to elicit a handshake. Drew hesitated. Even though the crowd encouraged the young Brit to shake Scott Stevens’s hand, Drew did not take the bait, defiantly staring Stevens in the eyes as he refused the gesture. Sunny caught a breath in her through watching the exchange. On one hand, she thought it was good that Drew stood up for himself. On the other hand, Scott Stevens was no green rookie and Sunny knew Drew could face serious consequences from a wrestler with Stevens’s resume and experience. She felt anxiety welling up inside of her, knowing that this could go horribly wrong if Drew wasn’t careful.
Stevens’ anger surged and his face turned a bright shade of red. Before Scott could react, Drew countered with a powerful right punch instead, catching Stevens totally by surprise. As Scott stumbled back from the strike, Sunny couldn’t help but smile. YES!” Sunny exclaimed, pumping her fist in approval.
Drew wasted no time capitalizing on his advantage, turning Stevens upside down.
“Come on, Drew,” Sunny mumbled as Drew sat out and lifted his knees, driving Stevens face-first into his knees.
Benny Newell (from the broadcast): DREW MICHELLE JUST TOOK DOWN STEVENS WITH THE BLACKOUT!
“TENCHI CRASH!” yelled Sunny back at the monitor. “AND IT’S MITCHELL… MITCHELL YOU MORON!”
Joe Hoffman: It’s called the Tenchi Crush and his name is Drew Mitchell Benny.
“TENCHI CRASH! DAMMIT GET IT RIGHT!”
Sunny suddenly heard something… a door closing. She turned and saw Victoria McGill, a statuesque six-foot-two blonde with long legs, ‘sneaking’ in someone who appeared familiar to her. In fact, the more Sunny looked at him, he appeared to resemble HOW’s John Sektor… in fact, he really, really resembled John Sektor.
Tori’s eyes met Sunny’s. Awkward smiles… and Tori and the mystery person went on their merry way and disappeared in the back.
Turning her attention back to the monitor, Sunny bit her lip and willed Drew to make the three-count. She watched him crawl over Stevens and after what felt like an eternity for referee Joel Hortega to make the three count, Drew managed to secure the victory. He immediately jumped up and threw his arms into the air. Sunny couldn’t help but join in his revelry, watching with pride as he basked in his glory.
“YES!” Sunny shouted again, her fist punching the air triumphantly. She couldn’t help but wish she’d been at Drew’s side for his first HOW match, but seeing him secure the victory onscreen was enough… especially given the pedigree of the opponent he went up against in Scott Stevens.
The Next Day- Back to Work
The following Monday morning found Sunny back in St. Louis, at the gym where she trained regularly. The smell of sweat and ambition wafted through the air, intertwined with grunts and cheers from those around her as they honed their craft for upcoming matches.
Despite being surrounded by such overwhelming positive energy, Sunny found her energy level trending towards the negative side as she grew more frustrated by the minute – her gaze darting back and forth between everyone else and her phone- waiting for Drew to show up. She knew he took a late flight back from Raleigh and didn’t get home until very late but still, he had a rematch with Scott Stevens at Chaos 45 and he needed to get prepared. Dressed in a pair of clinging black leggings and a tank top that hugged her toned curves, she muttered under her breath: “Where the hell is he?
As if on cue, Drew Mitchell strutted into the gym. He was flashing a Cheshire cat grin with two busty women who wore way too much makeup for ten o’clock in the morning in tow. The girls seemed to be enjoying every second of being with Drew and it was clear that he had already made an impression on the locals, as evidenced by the two women clinging to his arms. They smiled nervously at Sunny as she approached them, arms crossed over her chest in annoyance.
His British accent was like honey as he introduced his entourage, “Sunny, meet Mandy and Tessa.”
Mandy and Tessa were dressed in respective red and black dresses that had been tailored to fit each of their curves perfectly.
Sunny ascertained from Drew’s bloodshot eyes that he probably hadn’t slept at all.
“Are you bloody kidding me?” Sunny spat out, her Irish roots showing through her anger. She threw daggers at both Drew and the girls, narrowing her eyes menacingly.
“OUT!” she commanded them. “GET OUT!”
Chastened, Mandy and Tessa were quick to comply. Tessa nearly lost her balance making an instant 180 turn in her ridiculously high heels but managed not to topple over. She took Mandy by the hand.
“Call us!” Mandy said, scampering away with Mandy before Sunny could launch into her full fury.
Once the ‘birds’ had left the building, Sunny whirled on Drew, hands planted firmly on her hips. Her blonde curls framed an expression that only amplified the outrage in her voice. “Jesus, Drew! You come here flaunting around with your little groupies when you should be training for the rematch against Scott Stevens!”
But Drew was unfazed by her tirade. His smug smirk indicated that winning the match would not take any extra effort from him. “Don’t worry, love. I’ve got this.” He met her gaze and winked as if unconcerned about Scott Stevens’ challenge for a rematch this Sunday.
The frustration boiled within Sunny but there was nothing left that she could do. She shook her head resignedly and muttered under her breath as she backed away from him. Her blond curls bounced with frustration as she admonished him one last time before turning away, “This better not backfire on you boyo…” Sunny watched him slouch back to his corner of the gym, still wearing that same careless smile.
“God help us,” she muttered. She couldn’t shake the feeling that Drew’s overconfidence would be their undoing. Drew was too sure of himself, too wrapped up in his own arrogance to realize that this could very well be his undoing. But there wasn’t time to make him listen – all she could do now was hope he’d come to his senses before it was too late.
Throughout the week, Drew continued to stumble in late for their workouts, dressed in rumpled clothes with an air of haughtiness that set Sunny’s teeth on edge. With every punch he aimlessly threw at the bag, and every endurance drill he halfheartedly slogged through, the fire inside Sunny grew hotter. Her toned arms strained against her sports bra and leggings as she shouted instructions from her spot by the ropes.
“Come on, Drew!” She yelled, trying not to let her frustration get the best of her. “You can’t just stroll into the match expecting to win!”
But try as she might, Drew would hear none of it. On Friday night, after yet another lackluster workout, Sunny had finally had enough.
“Are you even trying?” She barked into the empty gym, allowing each word to reverberate off of the walls. “Jesus, Drew. This is serious! Do you think Scott Stevens is going to go easy on you if you don’t step it up!”
She knew Scott would give no quarter if Drew showed up without training properly – and her gut told her that this overconfidence could be their ultimate downfall.
By Friday, Sunny had all but thrown up her hands and reached her wit’s end. As she watched Drew halfheartedly complete the training session, her patience evaporated.
“Drew, come on… really?” she shouted, her voice bouncing off the walls of the gym. She knew how much was riding on this battle – if he lost, they would have to start all over again from scratch.
“Chill, Sunny,” he replied without looking up from his spot against the wall next to the ring. “I beat him before and I’ll do it again.”
Sunny rolled her eyes and shook her head in frustration. She had a sinking feeling about what would happen at Chaos 45. Stevens would take the kid down a peg or two. He would have no mercy on Drew and his cocky attitude.
“Maybe that’s what needs to happen,” Sunny thought to herself wearily as she gathered her things for the inevitable departure from the gym.
“How ‘bout you n’ me go back to my place,” Drew proposed.
Sunny rolled her eyes again. “Really?” she said and shook her head in disbelief. She got up and grabbed her things without another word.
Perhaps a crushing loss at the hands of Scott Stevens would be just the royal kick in the ass Drew needed to knock some sense into him. She shook her head and stormed out of the gym.