Staring Down Monsters

Staring Down Monsters

Posted on December 11, 2020 at 9:26 pm by Joe Bergman

The Kitchen Scene from Godfather 3 After Some Guy Tries to Kill Al Pacino in a Premeditated Helicopter Attack.
(except we’ve substituted Joe Bergman and his friends for the real actors and taken certain ‘liberties’ with the scene)

Later on, after the premeditated attack on Barbie-Q and Dawn McGill, Joe Bergman runs his hand through his hair and ponders about the implications of what’s just happened.  Bergman’s rocks a white dress shirt and black tie covered by a brown button up sweater that makes him resemble an ultra-masculine version of Mr. Rogers.

Seated at the kitchen table that’s covered in newspapers, vodka, a wine flask, and enough pasta to feed the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles, Barbie-Q presses an ice bag against her head while picking at her spaghetti and tries to shake the cob-webs out.

Meanwhile over in a corner, Dawn McGill is making out with some redneck guy named Cletus from Hickory Hollow, Kentucky- much to the annoyance of everyone else in the scene as there was no making out going on in the original Godfather 3 scene and they were both making a lot of weird sounds and noises.

Plus, Bergman has no clue where this guy came from and why he’s even in this scene to begin with.

Also sitting at the kitchen table, Ray McAvay, looking serious and concerned.  He’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses and clutches a martini glass full of vodka in his right hand.

Ray McAvay: Steve Solex would never pull something like this without the backing of someone else.  He’s just muscle.  He doesn’t have the brains for that helicopter attack.

Bergman turns and faces McAvay.

Joe Bergman: Helicopter attack?

Ray McAvay: Oh.  My bad.  Um.  You know what I mean.

McAvay looks down at his script.  His eyebrows raise as he looks back up at Bergman.

Ray McAvay: I suppose the “he doesn’t have the ambition to wipe out the whole commission” line is superfluous, too.

Bergman nods.

Joe Bergman: Yeah.  Probably.

Piping up on the opposite end of the table?  It’s Rah, adorned in flowing brown robes and all fired up tonight.  Rah stands up from his chair and bellows at the top of his lungs.

Rah: I say we hit back and take Steve Solex out!

Bergman’s face contorts in a pained expression.  He looks up at the old fashioned, wooden kitchen cabinets and rubs his forehead with his hand.

Joe Bergman: No Rah.  Never let anyone know what you’re thinking.

Rah sits back down and tries to decipher Bergman’s cryptic line.

McAvay’s reading through a text he’s just received.   His eyebrows rise up and he reads the text out loud.

Ray McAvay: Lee Best wants to book you against Solex at ICONIC.

Bergman exhales.  He turns and collects himself, his head tilted at a slight angle, and stares off to the side.

His head begins to nod up and down.

Joe Bergman: Let’s get a message to Lee Best.

Ray McAvay: Are you sure?

Joe Bergman: It’s good business.  Besides, I’m a wrestler, first and foremost.

Bergman then turns his back to everyone and walks forward.

When he turns back around towards the group, they see a man with an expression of incomprehensible anguish etched all over his face.

Joe Bergman: Just when I thought I was out . . .

Joe balls his fists and gestures by pulling both fists towards him as he growls to the group.

Joe Bergman: . . . they pull me back in.

*             *             *

To get some context of this story, you have to go back to the morning of June 20th.  The day of War Games.  I waded out a few feet into the English Channel from Utah Beach.  I’d walked down to the beach from the hotel I was staying at for War Games- the Chambres d’Hotes Elvire et Laurent Barbey.  I remember stepping out about ten feet into the warm water, stopping, and then gazing out into the distance, the blue water meeting the blue sky off in the distance with the morning sun reflecting off my half of the HOW Tag Team title belt.  Later the night, I would be defending the tag belts along with Andy Murray against 24K (Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Kendrix), HATE (Scottywood and RIIIIIIICK), and the eGG Bandits (Zeb Martin and Bobby Dean).

I remember turning and walking back towards the beach, deep in thought, wondering what cruel fate would have in store for me in the next twenty-four hours.  War Games beckoned.  Let’s face it, while Andy Murray was wrestling as well as anyone in HOW at the time, I struggled to keep up the pace.  One, Murray was a world class wrestler: I always have to work extra hard to squeeze every bit of talent inside of me out.  Our impromptu tag team, born out of the random spin of the wheel by the gods, would go into our War Games HOW Tag Team title defense that evening as the decided underdogs- because of me.

With that in mind, I’d flown to France with every intention of proving people wrong and determined as hell to hold up my end of the bargain with Andy Murray.  I threw everything I had into getting ready for the match.  I thought I was ready to go.

(VIDEO: June 20th, 2020 – WAR GAMES)
. . . Scottywood is lifted onto Kendrix’s shoulders.  Mikey runs the ropes.  Scotty eats the cutter/dominator combo. 

Mikey covers.  Joe Bergman hits the Senton out of nowhere and breaks up the pinfall.  Sufficient to say, Benny Newell was not pleased…

Benny Newell: Fuck you Joe!

Joe Hoffman: What did I do?

Benny Newell: Not you…

Bergman rolls Mikey to go for the win.  Kendrix pulls Bergman up and hits a Code Breaker.  Bergman falls back onto the mat.  Kendrix covers.  One.  Two.  Three.  New champions.


I was wrong.

We lost the belts- Kendrix hit his finisher on me. Murray couldn’t get away from the eGG Bandits, and that put an end to our sixty-three day run as tag team champions.

Boarding the red eye flight back to American three hours later, I figured returning to the States minus the belt would probably be the worst thing that would happen to me that day.

Again, I was wrong.

Not fifteen minutes after walking through my back door the next evening after catching a connecting flight out of New York City to St. Louis and driving back home to Mattin, Missouri some thirty-odd miles south of the city, ready to put what went down at War Games behind me and finally ready to put my full and complete attention to the tag team I’d formed a couple months back with Steve Solex- PBR, I received a phone call from my family doctor.  It’s never a good thing when your doctor calls you at home . . . personally calls you at home at . . . ten-fifteen in the evening . . .  to tell me personally that I need to go to the hospital.

Which is what I did.  By the next evening, I’d been declared medically unfit to compete indefinitely and staring down the possibility – or probably – that my in-ring career was coming to an end.

Next came the phone calls that needed to be made.

First round of calls- family.   Second round of calls- Lee Best and then- Steve Solex.  I thought I owed it to Steve to make him aware of the medical situation right away so he could start working on alternate plans for his future seeing as at that time I was pretty certain I wasn’t coming back.

The next week, I taped the final segment from my barn with the formal announcement and it aired on Refueled XXXI on July 4th.  That was it.  My wrestling career, spanning over fourteen years- done.

Or was it?

(VIDEO: November 28th, 2020 – REFUELED XLVI)
. . . a ring tech hands Joe Bergman a piece of paper.  Bergman scans the first page of the document and then holds up the piece of paper.

Joe Bergman: This is a contract, Steve.  A HOW contract that says that I will step into the ring one last time to face you . . .  Steve Solex versus Joe Bergman . . . mano y mano . . .  you and I will settle this once and for all . . . at ICONIC.

As the crowd roars its approval, Joe Bergman pulls out a pen and signs his name to the bottom line.  Joe then shows the signed contract to the camera – the video zooms in to show Bergman’s signature. 


Joe Bergman vs. Steve Solex at ICONIC?   Oh no!  The Dad Tag Team turned mortal enemies?  How could this happen?  Why are they doing this?

I’ll tell you why we’re doing this.  Because the World’s Number One Dad is apparently butthurt about what happened and really needs to go sit in time out for a while.

Winning the tag belts with Andy Murray wasn’t in my master plan- hell, it wasn’t in ANYONE’S master plan.  All I did was put my name in the hopper for the Lethal Lottery and the fickle finger of fate smiled brightly on me that night.

Returning home from France and having my wrestling career come to a screeching halt over an illness I didn’t realize I had wasn’t what I had in mind either.

So the sum total of this is I felt really bad about what happened and how the PBR partnership never worked out.

Well, that is, until for some inexplicable reason Solex decided to attack my sister Barbie-Q without any provocation whatsoever and did the same thing to Dawn McGill at Rumble at the Rock.

Okay.  But it gets better.

Last week at Refueled XLVI, Steve went full hormone raging, acne-covered, obsessive, scorned teenage boy who’d just been jilted by a girl and went back home to tear down all the posters of her that he’d obsessively and compulsively covered every single wall in his bedroom with the most epic temper tantrum ever.

But I digress.

…Insert the fake audience applause; the sound of which causes Solex to wince.  Solex’s tone is more annoyed than the corny tone he used to take on this segment.

Steve Solex:  Our first question comes from…well, shit.  Joe from Nowheresville, Fuckstown, U-S-MOTHERFUCKI-A!  Joe asks, “Steve.  I’m scared.  I’m frightened.  I’m terrified.  I’m literally shaking in my boots!”  Oh, this is just good shit.  I know this is Bergman, I just fuckin’ know it.  “I just have one question, Steve.  Blah, blah, fuckin’ blah.”

Solex tosses the letter behind him.

Steve Solex:  Look, Joe.  I know it’s you, ya’ dipshit.  And I don’t need a fuckin’ 97Red Alert to prove it. I know you expect to walk out of ICONIC as the winner, but I have to tell ya, Joe.  That’s just not gonna be the case.  You can sick your ball kickin niece, daughter or whatever the fuck Barbie is, after me and attack me while I’m down and out…from a Zeb Martin dick kick, that he will undoubtedly pay for later on down the line. And you can crush nine-thousand cans of PBR with your hand like your Danny fuckin’ Hodge squishing apples with his bare hands to try and send some weird intimidation tactic my way…but I know the truth Joe.  You’re fuckin’ scared.  It’s always been that way.  You saw the greatness that I was, and you were scared out of your motherfuckin’ shoes.  You saw the man behind the Dad, and that man scared the ever living shit out of you.  I can’t say that I blame ya’, Bergman.  I mean, I am one bad mother fucker after all.

Here’s a helpful hint, Steve.  Beating up on two women to mask your own inadequacies is not the story of a decorated and revered war hero- it’s the plot from a bad Lifetime movie.  It does not make you, how you say- one bad motherfucker.  It makes you just . . . bad . . . as in:

Bad (adjective):
1. of poor quality or a low standard.
2. not such as to be hoped for or desired; unpleasant or unwelcome.
3. failing to conform to standards of moral virtue or acceptable conduct.

I fully admit that I actually said the following words to Steve Solex: “Steve.  I’m scared.  I’m frightened.  I’m terrified.  I’m literally shaking in my boots,” albeit from a hospital bed in the context of being fifteen minutes away from a team coming in and rolling me to the operating room for something that did truly scare the crap out of me- the operation to fix my mitral valve.

I remember the day Laura and I met with the surgeon who would perform the operation three weeks after being diagnosed with what they call in the medical world a leaky heart valve.  Some background here.  Any of the four valves can become leaky where after the heart squeezes and pumps blood forward, some blood will leak backward through the valve. Leaking through the valve is called valve regurgitation.

I had severe regurgitation.

And the thing was, I got really lucky.  Sometimes, this type of issue might go unnoticed.  Or conversely, sometimes it could cause health problems that could range from either minor or serious.  How serious a leaky heart valve is depends on how much it interferes with normal blood flow through the heart.

But again, I was lucky.  There was no damage to my heart.  Yet.

Laura- who by the way was five months pregnant with our first child at the time of all this coming down . . . anyone remember DAD TAG TEAM? . . . told me after the appointment was over that my face turned white when the surgeon – who’d probably done this procedure thousands of times – coolly, calmly, and clinically described in excruciating detail how my surgery would go, how he was going to stop my heart from beating and deflate my lungs, and while on a heart-lung machine that did all that stuff for me, how he was going to fix the mitral valve that was leaking.

So Steve, I’m supposedly afraid and shaking in my boots of you?

No.  I’ve stared down much bigger monsters.

You see, as they were rolling me down towards the operating room, one IV already inserted in my left hand, I took one last look at my wife because I didn’t know how this was going to go and once they put me under with the anesthetic, I had zero control over what was going to happen.  Mind you, I prayed and prayed hard that I would wake up at some point.

And then there’s my wife.  Five months pregnant, sitting all by herself in a waiting room for over seven hours while the surgery went on, only receiving intermittent messages from the OR when I went on and off the heart-lung machine and then back on and off a second time, she exhibited a hell of a lot more strength and fortitude than Steve Solex and his whole emo shtick could ever dream of pulling off.

Thankfully I did wake up.  With a chest tube sticking out from my side, an IV sticking out of my neck attached directly to my carotid artery, wires sticking out of my chest in the event they needed to stick a pacemaker on should my restarted heart experience post-operative issues, I came back to life.  The first night in intensive care, not fifteen minutes after the breathing tube had been removed, they finally brought Laura back for the first time since the surgery began.  I will gladly, gratefully admit to having tears in my eyes when I saw her because one- I was so happy to see her, and two- hell, I was happy to see anyone.  Five days later, I went home and began the long road back.

And here we are now.

Joe Bergman vs. Steve Solex at ICONIC.

So, I’m supposed to be afraid of you, huh Steve?

After I defeated John Sektor to win the HOW World Title for the second time in September 2019, Dan Ryan came out and challenged me to a title match at Rumble at the Rock.  I signed the damn contract.   I had no issue when Lee added Cecilworth Farthington to the match.  I knew what I was getting myself into and the chances of me leaving Alcatraz with the World title were slim and none.

I’ve been in the ring with Chris Kostoff.  I’ve faced off against Max Kael – Long may he maim – three times.  Scottywood.  24K- Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Kendrix.  I’ve been thrown through the back windshield of a vehicle by Dan Ryan, beaten down by the likes of Eric Dane and Lindsay Troy.

I even defeated a really good wrestler named Zeb Martin- something you were unable to do a couple weeks ago after you drugged him the week before.

And I’m supposed to be afraid of you?

Right.  Steve, I stared down the monster of death.  I’ve stared down the monsters in THIS company. So when Lee Best called and made the offer to come back to face you at ICONIC, I signed off on the contract in a heartbeat.


Because you’re no Dan Ryan, Steve.

You’re no Cecilworth Farthington.

You’re no Chris Kostoff.

You’re no Max Kael, Eric Dane, or Lindsay Troy for that matter either.

You’re not even the World’s Number One Dad anymore.  Ever since you joined the Best Alliance, you’ve become the World’s Number One Lackey.  Let me give you another hint, a lackey in the Best Alliance is kind of like being one the red shirt guys in Star Trek.  It means you’re probably not going to be around for very long.  I mean, hell, Doozer already got binned for not winning matches.  Don’t think Lee won’t do the same to you when lose to me at ICONIC coming on the heels of you blowing the match to Zeb Martin a couple weeks ago.

However to be fair, I guess I do owe you a thank you.


Because of you, Steve, a door opened up that I never dreamed would ever open again.  A door that would give me the opportunity to do something I’ve been thinking about ever since the night I boarded the plane to return home from War Games.

The way the tag team match ended at War Games left a bitter taste that I’ve never been able to get rid of.  Even when I was recovering from the surgery, I knew I had unfinished business to take care of. Or as Rocky Balboa said in the sixth movie- “there’s stuff that’s gotta get out.”  One last fling in the ring to erase the stink known as the dysfunctional tag team known as “Murr-Berg”, the Murray/Bergman tag team doomed to fail and boy did it fail miserably and blew up like a supernova flaming out in the most dramatic way.  Murray/Bergman were two men who hated each other, who had nothing in common with each other, stuck together in the most precarious fashion by a pair of tag team title belts.

How bad was it?

Let’s just say Donald Trump gets along with Nancy Pelosi better than I got along with Andy Murray.

Supporters of Manchester United and Manchester City get along better than I got along with Andy Murray.

Hell, you and I, Steve, get along better than Andy Murray and I ever did.

I signed that contract as fast as I could when Lee came calling and made the offer to return.  Just know that in the end, this really isn’t about you, Steve.  I mean, yes, you pissed me off when you attacked Barbie-Q and Dawn McGill for no reason.  And the fact you claim I’m scared of you is amusing at best.  But in the end, I have to say you served your purpose.  You were the conduit that brought me back into HOW.  You’re the convenient excuse to climb back into the ring one last time.

And on December 19th at ICONIC, I look forward to taking full advantage of the opportunity that’s been given to me to make up for the debacle that took place in Normandy.  And what better way to do that than to do to Steve Solex at ICONIC the same thing you did to Barbie-Q and Dawn McGill.

So, get ready Steve.  And don’t wear a red shirt to the ring next Saturday because . . . well, you know . . .