Monday November 13th– Bergman’s Barn- Plattin, Missouri
Joe Bergman’s Barn emerged out of the dense early morning fog as Sunny O’Callahan navigated a curve. A large red building on a three-acre property, it stood just the road in Plattin, Missouri, a tiny hamlet 30 miles south of St. Louis. Sunny hit the left turn signal as just 50 yards to the northeast, a two-story house came into view- the home of Joe Bergman and his wife Laura- the title of Chief Business Officer for Missouri Valley Wrestling.
The car pulled into the gravel driveway and the crunching sound of tires on stones broke the silence. Sunny guided the vehicle to a stop in front of the barn door. Sunny and Drew Mitchell both exited the vehicle, dressed in wrestling gear, their eyes fixed on the large red structure before them.
“Ready?” Sunny asked, her California blonde accent tinged with hints of her Irish heritage.
“Oi,” replied Drew, his British accent evident.
Inside the barn, both were immediately enveloped by the intense atmosphere inside. Four wrestlers were sparring in the ring. Others were working out on weights and various training equipment off to the side.
“Why did I bring you here? Because Joe Bergman knows how to train young wrestlers,” Sunny explained, taking in the surroundings. “He knows how to instill the foundation for greatness.”
Drew’s eyes widened as they caught sight of Dawn McGill, a seasoned trainer, standing tall and imposing at the center of the barn.
“And Dawn McGill,” Sunny added with a sly smile, “knows how to kick your ass and make you into a wrestler.”
Sunny and Dawn both give each other a nod. Their relationship has been what can be charitably called ‘contentious.’ Sunny and Dawn were once very much at odds with each other. In her zeal to prove herself as a top-notch manager, in September 2021 Sunny struck Dawn with an SUV in the parking lot of Blossom Music Center just outside Cleveland trying to run over Dawn’s wrestler- Rah.
Since then, Sunny has done what she can to make up for her transgressions. Dawn agreed to forgive her…sort of. And even though they both have a long way to go, at least they are now willing to work together.
However, their relationship remained tense at best. Dawn still hasn’t forgotten what Sunny did.
“Blimey, she’s a looker.” The words spilled out of Drew’s mouth as he stared at Dawn, captivated by her long legs and undeniable sex appeal.
“Focus, Drew,” Sunny chided him. “You’re here to become a better wrestler, not to gawk at the gorgeous trainer.”
As they approached Dawn, Sunny’s words echoed in Drew’s mind. The young wrestler knew that surviving the intense training under Dawn’s watchful eye would be a challenge, but it was one he was ready to face head-on.
“Alright, Drew,” Sunny said with a grin, stepping to the side. “Meet Dawn McGill.”
“Blimey! You’re even more stunning up close,” Drew blurted out, his eyes roaming over Dawn’s body. The seasoned trainer merely raised her eyebrow in response, her hand gripping the whip at her side.
“Save your compliments, kid,” Dawn warned, her voice as sharp as the crack of her whip. She let it unfurl, demonstrating her skill by snapping it just inches from Drew’s face. The young wrestler flinched, his attention instantly captured by the stern woman before him.
Dawn eyed Drew skeptically, sizing him up and gauging his potential. Though she didn’t seem entirely convinced, she nodded begrudgingly. “This won’t be a walk in the park.” Her gaze was intense, and Drew felt a shiver run down his spine.
“Cheers, love,” Drew replied, attempting to muster a confident smile. Yet, as he watched Dawn walk away, her whip swinging ominously at her side, he couldn’t help but feel a creeping sense of unease.
“Alright, let’s get started,” Dawn barked as she clapped her hands together, the sound echoing through the rustic barn. With a flick of her wrist, she coiled her whip and tucked it into her waistband, her gaze never leaving Drew.
Dawn began to lead Drew through a series of stretches and exercises designed to prepare his body for the grueling training session ahead. She moved with an effortless grace that was mesmerizing to watch, her toned muscles flexing as she demonstrated each movement.
Drew, on the other hand, struggled to keep up. His limbs felt heavy, his breath coming in ragged gasps as he pushed himself to his limits. He could feel beads of sweat rolling down his face, stinging his eyes and threatening to blind him.
“Keep going!” Dawn shouted. “You want to be a wrestler? You need to show me, you want it.”
“Blimey, she’s somethin’ else,” Drew thought, stealing glances at Dawn as he completed each exercise. It wasn’t just her physical prowess that impressed him; it was the way she carried herself, exuding an air of authority that made him want to follow her lead unquestioningly.
From the sidelines, Sunny watched the interaction between her protégé and Dawn as Drew continued to push himself.
“Is that all you’ve got?” Dawn taunted, watching as Drew panted and wiped the sweat from his brow. Her eyes were filled with a challenge, daring him to rise to the occasion.
Drew gasped, gritting his teeth and mustering the last of his strength to push himself even further.
The afternoon sun blazed through the windows of Bergman’s Barn, casting dramatic shadows across the training ring. It did little to alleviate the heavy air of anticipation that hung over the room like a thick fog. Drew gulped as he stood at the ready, his muscles quivering with exhaustion from the morning’s brutal workout.
“Alright, Mitchell,” Dawn barked, her voice slicing through the charged atmosphere like a whip. “You made it through the morning. Now let’s see just how you do this afternoon.” Her eyes locked onto his with an intensity that sent shivers down his spine.
“First up, we’re doing a gauntlet of submission holds,” she announced, her gaze never leaving his face. “You’ll have to escape each one before moving on to the next.” A wicked grin spread across her lips. “Think you can handle it?”
“Bring it on,” Drew replied defiantly, his British accent thickening under the pressure. He knew this was his chance to prove himself, and he wasn’t about to back down now.
“Good,” she purred, twirling the whip in her hand as if relishing the challenge. “Let’s get started.”
The first hold had Drew gasping for breath, his chest constricting under the relentless pressure. His mind raced, searching for a way out, as he felt his body nearing its breaking point. With a surge of adrenaline, he managed to slip free, only to be met with another torturous grip.
“Come on, kid!” Dawn shouted, her voice tinged with a hint of admiration.
“Damn it!” Drew thought, gritting his teeth against the pain. With a monumental effort, he wrenched himself free once more, collapsing to the mat in a sweaty heap.
“Keep going!” she urged, watching him closely as he staggered to his feet. “You’re almost there.”
“Can he do it?” Sunny mused.
Drew’s body screamed at him to stop, but his determination refused to waver. He fought through the last hold with everything he had left, finally breaking free and collapsing into a boneless heap on the floor. His lungs heaved, desperate for air, but a grin of pure triumph stretched across his face.
“Nice job,” Dawn conceded, nodding her approval as she cracked her whip in the air. “But don’t get too comfortable. We’ve got a lot more work to do.”
“Thanks,” Drew panted, struggling to rise. He locked eyes with Sunny, who offered him a smile before he began another round of grueling training.
As the sun dipped low, casting long shadows across Bergman’s Barn as a weary Drew Mitchell pulled himself up for the final time today. He could feel every muscle in his body screaming from the day’s workout, but somehow, he’d survived.
“Alright, Drew,” Dawn called after him, her voice stern but not unkind. “That’s it for today. Remember, today is just the beginning – starting tomorrow…” She cracked her whip one last time, punctuating her words with an unmistakable air of authority, “…we’re getting serious.”
“Got it.” Drew wiped the sweat from his brow and wondered if he truly had any idea what he’d gotten himself into.
“Drew!” Sunny called out, sauntering over to him with a towel draped over one arm. Her frizzy blonde hair framed her sly smile. She offered a water bottle to Drew. “You look like you could use this.”
“Thanks,” Drew rasped, gratefully accepting both the towel and the alcohol. Taking a long swig, he savored the cool water.
They left the sounds of pro wrestling behind, replaced by the hum of crickets and the rustle of leaves in the fading light. As they reached the vehicle, Drew couldn’t help but glance back at the barn, catching one last glimpse of Dawn silhouetted against the setting sun. A mixture of excitement and anticipation bubbled up inside him, tempered by the memory of the grueling ordeal he’d just endured.
“Ready to go?” Sunny asked, snapping Drew out of his reverie as she slid into the driver’s seat. The scent of her perfume mingled with the lingering aroma of sweat and adrenaline, and for a moment, Drew found himself lost in her presence.
“Sure,” he replied, pulling himself together as he climbed into the car. As they pulled onto the road, the shadows lengthened and the sky deepened to a darker shade of blue, swallowing up the last vestiges of day.
Later that night…- Super 8 Hotel- Columbia, Missouri
“Mind if I join you?”
Sunny and Drew sat on his bed. They were both watching the movie ‘Major League’ on the big screen television inside his hotel room.
“Oi, she’s a looker too,” Drew observed, gazing at the actress in the movie who played Suzanne Dorn. She had just joined the Ricky Vaughn character- played by Charlie Sheen- at the bar dressed very provocatively in a bright red halter top.
Ricky- “I don’t think I’d be very good company right now.”
“Oh mate,” Drew said, stunned that Vaughn didn’t seem initially interested in her. “What ‘ar you waiting for?”
Sunny rolled her eyes and took another sip from her bottle of Southern Comfort.
Suzanne- “Why not?”
Ricky- “Nothing. Job problem. I’m uh, a ball player.”
Suzanne- “I know. That’s not why I’m here.…”
“I’ll be sayin’ baseball is a good bit more thrilling than watchin’ a cricket match, innit?” Drew drawled in his musty British accent.
Suzanne- “…I don’t chase ballplayers.”
Ricky- “Why’d you come over here then?”
“C’mon!” Drew said, rooting for Ricky Vaughn to score. “Jus’ do it!” Drew leaned in closer to the TV, eyes raptly watching the interchange between Suzanne Dorn and Ricky Vaughn.
Suzanne- “Because you are the sexiest man I have ever laid eyes on.”
Ricky- “Check please!”
Drew leaped up from the bed and shouted, “YES!”
Sunny tried to shush him as it was late in the evening. “People are trying to sleep, Drew.”
Drew turned to Sunny and smiled. “Hey, Sunny…”
“Yeah?” she prompted, glancing over at him with raised eyebrows.
“Want to… you know, celebrate my first day at Bergman’s Barn?” Drew suggested, riding the crest of the wave of Ricky Vaughn’s impending one-nighter with Suzanne Dorn in the movie.
Sunny burst out laughing, shaking her head as she focused on the winding road ahead. “Nice try, Drew. But no.”
“Can’t blame a bloke for trying,” Drew muttered under his breath, settling back into his seat.
Sunny also stood up. “In fact, I’m going back to my room to get some rest.” She took a couple of steps towards the door and turned back. “Get some sleep, I suspect you’re going to need it.”
Friday, November 17th– Hinkhouse Arena- Nevada, Missouri
The sun was setting on the campus of Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, casting a golden hue over the Hinkhouse Arena. The air was thick with anticipation as wrestling fans gathered around the entrance. Amidst the growing crowd stood Sunny O’Callahan, her frizzy blonde hair catching the sunlight like a halo, and Drew Mitchell, his eyes scanning the sea of faces for potential admirers.
“Listen up, y’all!” Sunny called out, her voice drawing attention like a siren song combined with the passion and attitude of an old-school street preacher… except old-school street, preachers don’t usually drink from a bottle of Southern Comfort while delivering the sermon.
Sunny took a swig from her bottle of Southern Comfort before continuing. “I heard about this Evan Ward fella when I was working with Joe Bergman and Ward teamed up with the Final Alliance. Boy, did they make some ruckus back then… and still are.”
Drew smirked and crossed his arms, leaning against the arena wall as Sunny began to address the crowd.
“Once upon a time, Evan Ward was a world champion and one of the few good guys in HOW,” Sunny said, her eyebrows arching dramatically. She pointed to a promotional poster featuring Evan Ward’s intense gaze. “You see that? That ain’t the face of a winner anymore. That’s the face of a man who can’t cut it. A man who doesn’t have what it takes anymore to be a wrestler in the upper echelon of HOW.”
Sunny turned towards Drew and placed a hand on his shoulder. “This young man right here has more passion, more fire in his heart than Ward could ever dream of,” she declared. Drew nodded, feeling pride swell within him at her words.
“Mark my words,” Sunny said loudly, her voice rising above the delighted murmurs from the audience. “Evan Ward is done for. He ain’t the wrestler he used to be and he sure isn’t the wrestler he thinks he is. Come Monday night, he’ll find out just what it means to face a real competitor… a man on the way up.”
She took another swig of Southern Comfort before turning and fixing Drew with an intense stare. “Drew Mitchell is going to put on a show and the fans inside the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska on Monday night won’t be disappointed,” she added.
Sunny raised her hand, silencing the crowd. “Let me tell you a little something about my boy Drew Mitchell here,” she began, gesturing towards Drew and ramping up the fire and brimstone tone of her voice. “Drew Mitchell is young… he’s focused… and he’s determined to make his mark here in High Octane Wrestling! He’s working really hard to follow his dream! He’s working hard to show he’s got what it takes. He’s working hard to show that he can compete against the likes of Evan Ward and Monday night, Drew has a chance to prove himself against a former HOW World Champion!”
The audience cheered in response, and Sunny gestured towards Drew at her side, who nodded with determination.
“Now, I know many of you saw the Scott Stevens, steel-cage match. Drew was strutting around… thinking that he was on the glide path of winning a title he’s not even in the ballpark of being ready to compete for,” Sunny said seriously. “But don’t let that fool you – he’s learned from it.”
The crowd nodded in agreement, aware of his journey from rookie to humble athlete.
“Come Monday night, Drew’s ready to show everyone what he’s made of,” Sunny continued passionately. She turned to him, giving an encouraging nudge. “Drew?”
“Oi, Evan Ward!” shouted Drew, making the crowd flinch with his accent. “Listen up and listen good! You may think you know who I am, but come Monday, you’ll find out just how wrong you are.”
Drew paused for dramatic effect before continuing with more force. “When I step into that ring with you, all bets are off, mate. I’ll show you what true determination and raw talent looks like, and when I’m done with you…well, let’s just say there’ll be hell to pay! Evan Ward,” he called out again, eyes blazing with an inner fire. “You may think you’ve seen it all, but mate – you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Come Monday night I’m gonna show you exactly what I’m made of and make history! The time of Evan Ward has passed. The era of Drew Mitchell has just begun.”
The crowd roared with enthusiasm, swept up in the excitement of Drew’s promise. Sunny took a final swig from her Southern Comfort bottle and grinned, her eyes reflecting the fire that burned within her protégé.
Saturday, November 18th– The Shot Bar- Columbia, Missouri
The neon lights of the Shot Bar flickered, casting a hazy glow over the rough wood tables and grime-streaked windows. It was the kind of joint that had seen more fights than a boxing ring, where stories were traded like punches and everyone had a scar or two to show for it. The air hung heavy with cigarette smoke and the scent of cheap whiskey, while the wail of a blues guitar filled the room.
Drew Mitchell slouched in a corner booth, his 6’4″ frame dwarfed by the shadows. He nursed a tumbler of fiery amber liquid, feeling the burn slide down his throat and settle in his gut like an old friend. His fingertips tapped the glass in rhythm with the music, calloused from the week he’d spent grappling at Joe Bergman’s Barn under Dawn McGill’s unyielding gaze. With Sunny O’Callahan laid up at the hotel, nursing a cold following the second night of Missouri Valley Wrestling house shows that weekend, Drew seized the chance to let loose and celebrate his hard-won survival.
“Another whiskey, love?” asked a sultry voice, and Drew looked up to see an attractive waitress with a mane of wild curls framing her flushed cheeks. He grinned, the devilish glint in his eye unmistakable as he replied, “Why not, darling? I’m feeling lucky tonight.”
His gaze followed the sway of her hips as she sashayed away, then flicked to the television screen where American football players clashed like titans on the field. Drew snorted – the sport held no appeal for him, but it provided a convenient excuse to keep an eye on the bar.
When the waitress returned, he slid a generous tip across the table without breaking eye contact. “You’re too kind, handsome,” she purred, to which Drew responded with a wink. The tavern was a relic of another time, its walls lined with dusty memorabilia and forgotten stories. The pungent aroma of cheap whiskey filled the air as bluesy guitar riffs reverberated through the room. After surviving four grueling days at Dawn McGill’s boot camp and felt he deserved to celebrate.
“Another glass of whiskey, please,” Drew called out, catching the eye of a sultry waitress as she sauntered by. A playful grin crept across his face as he settled into the worn leather and soaked up the bar’s gritty charm.
The television above the bar blared an American football game, but Drew couldn’t care less about the sport. Instead, he focused on the approaching waitress, her hips swaying seductively as she carried his drink. The amber liquid shimmered in the low light, casting a warm glow on her porcelain skin.
“Here you go, handsome,” she purred, placing the glass on the table with a flirtatious wink. Drew flashed a charming smile and handed her a generous tip, their fingers brushing ever so slightly. As she turned to leave, Drew offered a cheeky remark, causing her to giggle and shake her head.
But before he could take a sip, a tantalizing voice cut through the din of the bar. “Thought I might find you here.” Drew’s heart skipped a beat as his eyes widened in disbelief. Standing before him was none other than Dawn McGill herself, her presence commanding the attention of every patron in the dimly lit room.
Drew’s lascivious gaze traveled up the length of Dawn’s body, raking lecherously from her knee-high black boots to her scandalously short mini-skirt that barely covered her shapely legs. His eyes lingered on her low-cut black top – an homage to sin and seduction – before finally settling on her face: framed by teased-out hair and painted in bright red lipstick and smoky makeup.
“Can I join you?” she asked innocently, and Drew found himself unable to form words, merely nodding in response. Dawn signaled the waitress and ordered a glass of whiskey for herself, all the while maintaining eye contact with Drew as she took her seat.
“Y-you look… amazing,” Drew stammered, his mind still reeling from Dawn’s sudden appearance. Her lips curved into a knowing smile, and she leaned forward slightly, allowing him a better view of her ample cleavage.
“Thank you. Are you wondering why I’m here?” she asked, her voice sultry. Drew nodded dumbly, transfixed by her dazzling curves and smoldering gaze.
Drew simply nodded his head up and down.
“Well, you see, when I work with wrestlers, I’m one hundred percent all business.” She paused, twirling a strand of her hair around her finger and licking her glossy red lips. “But since I’ve completed my assignment and you’re no longer my trainee…” Her tongue traced the outline of her mouth, leaving Drew’s pulse racing. “…all options are on the table.”
The electric tension between them was like the charged atmosphere before a thunderstorm.
“What are you thinking?” Dawn asked.
“I’m not sure I should tell you…”
Dawn batted her eyes at him. “Come on, you can trust me.”
“Well… um…,” Drew stammered, struggling to find the word to say, “…um I was wondering what it would… would… be to-”
Before Drew could finally finish the sentence, Dawn slid onto his lap and her fiery kiss ignited an uncontrollable blaze in his entire body.
“Um, yeah,” Drew mumbled as her breathy murmurs became a symphony of desire in the air. They were now completely lost in each other’s embrace. His hands roamed over the curves of her voluptuous figure while his mind raced with a wild combination of passion and shock.
“Maybe we should go somewhere a little more private,” Dawn whispered huskily into his ear, her breath hot on his skin. Drew didn’t need to be told twice. The promise of what was to come caused chills to run up his spine as he stood up, taking her with him as if they were one being. Arm in arm, they walked out of the bar with all eyes upon them and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what was going to happen next.
Sunday, September 19th– Super 8 Hotel- Columbia, Missouri
The morning sun crept through the faded curtains of Drew’s hotel room at the Super 8, casting a golden glow over the tangled sheets and discarded clothes. Dawn McGill stirred from her slumber, tossing her tangled mane as she rose from the bedsheets, her sinuous figure draped in a t-shirt, shorts, and her knee-high black boots. She carefully stuffed the clothes she wore from last night into her handbag, peeking over with a saucy smirk at the blissful Drew, who was still sound asleep, a satisfied grin plastered on his face.
“Sweet dreams, rookie,” she whispered, planting a soft kiss on his cheek before turning and heading for the door.
As Dawn stepped out into the hallway, the door across from Drew’s room creaked open. Sunny, clad in her sleepwear, emerged bleary-eyed and not expecting company. Her gaze drifted from Dawn’s disheveled appearance to the pile of clothes and boots in her arms, and realization dawned on her face.
“Morning, sunshine,” Dawn drawled, a wicked grin spreading across her lips.
Sunny stared at her, disbelief in her eyes. “What… what’s going on?”
“You ran me over with an SUV,” Dawn replied, her voice dripping with satisfaction. “I just slept with your new protegee. Now we’re even.”
With that, Dawn sashayed down the hallway, her hips swaying triumphantly as she left a stunned Sunny O’Callahan in her wake. Sunny immediately crossed the hall and pounded on Drew’s door. A few seconds later, the door opened enough for her to see Drew’s eyes.
“Drew?” she said, spreading her arms incredulously wide.
“Sunny,” he said, exhaustion clear in his voice. “I swear to God she came onto me while I was sitting at the bar.”
Sunny’s expression told Drew she did not buy into what he’d just said. Then it hit him. Drew had a moment of revelation.
“Blimey, I’ve been Suzanne Dorn’d.”
Through the cracked open space between the door and the door frame, Sunny noticed a wide smile forming on his face as he relived the memory of what happened the night before in his mind.
“Oi. I’ve been Suzanne Dorn’d!”
The door closed.
Sunny placed her hand on her forehead and shook her head.