The Evil Empire Strikes Back

The Evil Empire Strikes Back

Posted on February 3, 2023 at 10:24 pm by Joe Bergman

Before I get started… hey Simon Sparrow, how about those apples, huh? Yeah, I paid a price for what I did last week on Chaos 20  to Clay Byrd defeat you. I can assure you the pain I’m feeling right now after taking a Burning Hammer from Dan Ryan was well worth the fact that I cost you a match that knocked you out of the World Title #1 Contender tournament.

Paybacks are a real bitch, aren’t they?  You cost me two title matches at ICONIC….  I get you knocked out of the World Title tournament. That’s a fair exchange, don’t you think, Simon?

See you at March to Glory.  And you too, Dan, and welcome back.

Okay, now on to our regularly scheduled programming.


Once Upon a Time… in a Galaxy Far, Far Away


It is a period of civil war. Dan Ryan,
striking from a hidden base backstage,
has helped Lee Best score a victory
against the EVIL EMPIRE.

After a rival company steals Adam Ellis
and the Evil Empire threatens to unleash
their ultimate weapon, a weapon so vile, so
dangerous, so… EVIL… that it has the power
to destroy pro wrestling as we know it,
it is time to strike back.

Now the Evil Empire’s sinister agents in possession
of the ultimate wrestling weapon that’s vile and
EVIL find themselves on the run…

After the crawl ends, laser fire flashes across the screen.

The situation is dire.

Time is running out.

We come upon a nubile young lady down on bent knee inside a flimsy structure built on a film set that masquerades as a starship.  Her frizzy blonde hair is up on both sides in a half-assed attempt at putting them in a bun. She wears a spaghetti strap top, jeans, and carries a bottle of Southern Comfort in one hand while speaking into what appears to be some sort of communication device held in her other hand.

Sunny O’Callahan: Help me Joe B-wan.  You’re our only hope.

Sunny hands the communication device to its owner- a human-sized, silver-plated robot with eyes that glow bright red and a disposition that would charitably be called terse.

Ultratron-6.1: What is this?  Who am I?  Am I some weak protocol droid?  Is ‘The New Age Cybertronic Criminally Insane Rogue Sentient Robot Wrestling Machine’ some errand boy?

Ultratron-6.1 rears back… arms spread wide… to make his grand declaration.


Ultratron-6.1’s metallic robot outfit gets jammed up and he’s now stuck in that position.


Next to him, Dawn McGill.  She has a blank look on her face and a Singapore cane in her hand.

Dawn McGill (cold/expressionless, almost robotic voice): I must help Ultratron-6.1 take over the world.

She’s also supposedly under the mind control of Ultratron-6.1… except McGill clearly rolls her eyes at Ultratron-6.1’s predicament and gives him a swift kick to get him unstuck.

Then she catches herself and snaps back into character.

Dawn McGill: I must help Ultratron-6.1 take over the world.

A huge explosion rocks the ship.

Sunny’s panicking.  She makes wild gestures towards the waiting escape ship.

Sunny O’Callahan: GO!  NOW!


Sunny grabs Ultratron-6.1 by the shoulders and tries to shake some sense in him.


‘The New Age Cybertronic Criminally Insane Rogue Sentient Robot Wrestling Machine’ removes Sunny’s arms from his body.

Ultratron-6.1: You ALL are PATHETIC. HOPELESS.  You are nothing but mere FLEAS.  An infection that rages through professional wrestling for which there is only ONE cure- THE RAGE OF ULTRATRON-SIX-POINT-ONE!

Ultratron-6.1 goes to pound his fist in his hand.  Except the ‘suit’ malfunctions… again… and his arm gets locked into position.

Ultratron-6.1: DAMMIT!

Sunny’s beside herself now.  Smoke from the distance filters into the scene.

Sunny O’Callahan: YOU MUST GO NOW!

McGill rolls her eyes again.  Discreetly, she whaps Ultratron-6.1 in the back and unsticks him.  Then McGill gives Ultratron-6.1 an emphatic kick in the ass and sends ‘The New Age Cybertronic Criminally Insane Rogue Sentient Robot Wrestling Machine’ bumbling, tumbling, and stumbling into a waiting escape ship before Ultratron-6.1 can utter any sort of protest.

Then she snaps back into character again.

Dawn McGill (cold/expressionless voice): I must help Ultratron-6.1 take over the world.


Sunny points to the escape ship.  Then she sees him.  Her eyes widen.

Sunny O’Callahan: Oh shit.

The heavy breathing.

The lightsaber and its shimmering white light, cutting through the smoke and particles in the air with its white light of death.


Red-shirted security force wades into the fray to challenge him only to get cut down one by one by his lightsaber.

After the last one falls, the man emerges from the smoke and haze wearing a cheesy Darth Vader helmet- which actually resembles a motorcycle helmet that’s been painted over with other stuff crazy-glued to it- and equally cheesy-looking outfit- rented from a local Halloween costume store for the evening.

Sunny cowers and wonders what’s going to happen to her.  Ultratron-6.1 tries to shake out the cobwebs after getting kicked into the escape ship.  And Dawn McGill?

Dawn McGill (cold/expressionless voice): I must help Ultratron-6.1 take over the pro wrestling world.

The man turns off his lightsaber and removes the helmet.

Sunny O’Callahan: GREAT SCOTT!

Ray McAvay: No.  It’s Ray McAvay.

Sunny O’Callahan: But… but… you… the Evil Empire… and… bad things and…

McAvay shakes his head.

Ray McAvay: Nope.

Sunny points to the lightsaber in his hand.

Sunny O’Callahan: But… but…

His right-hand raises and shows Sunny the ultimate weapon he has in his hand.

Ray McAvay: This?  This is just a long black 1100 lumens LED USB Rechargeable Twist Focus Flashlight…

McAvay shows off the “Milwaukee” logo on the flashlight.

Ray McAvay: …manufactured by Milwaukee.  The flashlight generates 1,100 Lumens of TRUEVIEW high-definition output… has a precision twist focus for full control of beam size and intensity… and is powered by a MILWAUKEE REDLITHIUM USB battery.

Sunny O’Callahan: …but … you killed them all-

Ray McAvay: No, I didn’t.

He turns the flashlight on again and points the light at Sunny- who flinches when the white beam shines in her face.

Ray McAvay: See?

He points over to the red-shirts.  All of them have miraculously managed to get back to their feet- very much alive and totally unharmed.

Ray McAvay:  They’re just being ridiculously overdramatic.

Ray half-whispers in Sunny’s ear.

Ray McAvay: And they’re terrible actors.

Then another man appears from the smoke and he looks and is dressed similarly to one…

Sunny O’Callahan: Joe B-wan!

…Joe Bergman.

Sunny O’Callahan: You came!

Joe Bergman: Well, you did say I was your only hope.

Bergman goes right up to McAvay and shakes his hand.

Sunny O’Callahan: But we were told that the Evil Empire was coming to raid the rosters of wrestling companies and bring doom, despair, and destruction to the wrestling world.

McAvay rolls his eyes.

Ray McAvay: That’s a bunch of horseshit.

Sunny O’Callahan: But…

Joe Bergman: Sunny, they told you wrong.


It’s Time for Some Long Overdue Straight Talk

Lee Best.

Seriously, this whole nonsense… this whole narrative you dreamed up and have been peddling about Missouri Valley Wrestling and myself as being part of an Evil Empire is nothing more than a myth… fake news… and one hell of a whopper of a lie.

It’s just not true.

This narrative you’re promoting at every chance you get totally smacks of the typical standard operating procedure large companies use to transparently intimidate smaller companies by spreading insidious, poisonous corporate propaganda… and borderline libel… in their direction.

This is the equivalent of Microsoft calling a startup computer company an evil empire before stomping on them with their oversized feet and squashing them like a bug.

This is the same as McDonald’s calling a local mom-and-pop hamburger stand an evil empire and then doing everything in its power to put them out of business.

This is Wal-Mart calling the corner grocery store an evil empire and then driving them out of business.

It’s a false narrative.

Lee Best referring to Missouri Valley Wrestling as the ‘Evil Empire’ is akin to Darth Vader referring to the rag-tag Rebel Alliance fighting against the evil Galactic Empire as the ‘Evil Empire.’

I can visualize it now… Lee Best standing in one of those floating thingys Senators stood inside in the vast, expansive chambers of the Galactic Senate… wearing his golden mask because half of his face got blown off by Chris Kostoff back at Dead or Alive.  Imagine Lee uttering these words in all his thunder and fury like Emperor Palpatine did when he declared the beginning of the First Galactic Empire…

“Citizens of the pro wrestling world, we mark a transition on this day. There are those who would set us against one another… *koff… koff* Missouri Valley Wrestling… *koff… koff*… so we took arms to defend the way of life against the Evil Empire. MVW hoped to grind HOW into ruin. But the hatred in their hearts could not be hidden forever. At last, there came a day when our enemies showed their true nature.  MVW hoped to unleash its destructive power when their insidious agent Joe Bergman helped PRIME sign Adam Ellis.  But the aims of these would-be tyrants were valiantly opposed by those without elitist, dangerous powers.

Excuse me, I have to stop now because I just spit out my drink and may have just thrown up a little in my mouth.

Joe Bergman’s ‘role’ in Missouri Valley Wrestling is this- to help train the next crop of young wrestlers by teaching them how to wrestle the right way.  That’s it.

Meanwhile, 10-X continues to be a bad knock-off of Ben Stiller’s Globo-Gym.  Just sayin’…

Joe Bergman’s job in High Octane Wrestling is to wrestle and entertain the fans and to fight the bad guys… well, at least everywhere except Chicago because as Joe Hoffman said the other night, only in the Best Arena can a face be booed and the bad guys get cheered.

Shall we cut to the chase and get right down to it?

What is this really all about?

Why has Lee Best seemingly turned on a company… a much SMALLER company… that proudly bills itself as ‘bringing minor league wrestling to the Heartland and tried to paint them as some Star Wars-ish cartoon villain?

What is the big stick up Lee Best’s butt about?  Well, besides having to pay me the same $970,000 per year salary he pays his Best Alliance… er… The Board… er… The Alliance… er… whatever the hell they’re called now?  Oh… right… the Final Alliance… that I’m sure it galls Lee to his very being to have to do.

I’ll tell you what this is all about.

What this is really all about is one man’s fragile ego- Lee Best- and the fact that Adam Ellis had the audacity… the absolute temerity… the fucking nerve to sign a contract with another wrestling company willing to pay him a competitive wage and fair value for his services.

That’s it, folks.  That’s the gist of the issue here.  Adam Ellis got tired of waiting for HOW to offer him a permanent deal and jumped at the chance when PRIME did.

Let’s talk about some facts here and spread a little truth.  It was okay for Adam Ellis to wrestle for HOW when MVW was paying the freight… risking his future livelihood performing in a HOW ring and risking injury while MVW was paying his salary- a salary that doesn’t even come remotely close to what he could have earned under a HOW contract.  Sure, the experience Adam gained working with John Sektor is invaluable… you cannot put a price on that.

But not offering Adam Ellis a HOW deal when you had the chance and Ellis in the building and then throwing your toys out with the pram when he signs elsewhere?

Come on, Lee.  You’re better than that.  And you of all people should know better than that.

And… oh… by the way… pardon me for pointing out the blatant double-standard… the abject hypocrisy here… but… hey… by the way… where… WHERE… is Lee Best’s hue and cry over Tyler Best… his grandson… signing a deal with PRIME? Lee couldn’t wait to get on the horn and bitch and moan about Adam Ellis signing with PRIME but here’s exactly what Lee Best has said about Tyler Best doing the exact same thing


That’s right.  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.

Adam Ellis, a young wrestler with potential, gets the Sir Alex Ferguson ‘hair dryer’ treatment from Lee Best for leaving for PRIME to further his career but his grandson Tyler Best also signs with the land of 97 blue and…



At ICONIC, Lee had Simon Sparrow ‘referee’… and yes, I’m using that term VERY loosely… the match with the express purpose to make sure Jace and Stevens retained the tag belts.

Last week, Lee brought Dan Ryan back from the scrap heap to come out and show off his brand new killer move… the Burning Hammer… on me.

This week… he throws GREAT SCOTT at me.  Okay.

That’s fine.  Joe Bergman’s never backed down from a challenge.

At least the HOTv title is on the line.  Wouldn’t it be great if Joe Bergman relieved GREAT SCOTT of the title belt and turned the tables on Lee?  Wouldn’t that just piss him off?

Hell yes.

Is it actually going to happen?  I wouldn’t bet money on the HOG on it happening.

But as we always say, once the bell rings… anything can happen.  Joe Bergman has beaten the odds before and I can do it again.


The Long Sucky Drive Back to St. Louis After Chaos

“Losing sucks.”

That pearl of wisdom spills out of the mouth of one Victoria McGill.

She sits on the passenger side of Joe Bergman’s car… her knees scrunched up on the seat… chin perched in between both kneecaps… and face illuminated every few seconds by the lights along Interstate 55 as Joe drives south towards St.  Louis.

“First I lose to Anna Daniels at the PWA show.  Then Daryn Thompson beats me for the title.  I… I…”

Tori buries her head in her legs.

“I hate losing, dammit.”

“I know,” Joe says.  “Trust me, I know.”

Joe and Victoria are in the process of returning home after an eventful Chaos 20.  First, the couple stopped off at Lutheran General Hospital to check on Sunny O’Callahan and make sure she’s going to be okay after taking a nasty Burning Hammer from the returning Murder Daddy himself- Dan Ryan.

“Yeah.  But do you know what sucks more?” Bergman says… eyes focused on the busy interstate highway.

Tori’s head pops back up.


“Taking a Burning Hammer from Dan Ryan on the stage.  That really sucks.”  Joe winces… the achiness in his head reminds him of being the unwitting victim of the move.

“Is Sunny going to be okay?” Tori asks, referring to the Burning Hammer that she took from Dan Ryan.

Joe nods.

“Yeah.  Probably a good idea to keep her in the hospital overnight just to make sure.  But they don’t think she suffered a concussion.”

“I can’t believe she broke a Southern Comfort bottle over his back.”

Joe nods again.

“Yeah.  I’m not sure what she was thinking,” Joe admits. “Sunny may have made a poor choice there.  But the important thing is that she’ll be okay.  I’ll bet that she returns back to St. Louis tomorrow.”

“Well, that’s good… I guess.  How about you?” Tori says.  “Are you okay?”

Bergman makes an annoying grunt as he tries to turn his head back and forth.

“Oh I’m sure I will be feeling this even more in the morning.  But I’m okay.  At least, I got one back on Jatt Starr for what he did to me at ICONIC before Dan came out so I’ll take the pyrrhic victory.”

A few seconds pass so Joe looks over at her and sees Victoria’s still in full sulk mode.  He sighs and shakes his head.

“Look, I hate losing too, Tori.”

No response from her.

“I lost a tough one last week to Conor Fuse,” Joe continues.  Good match.  Did everything I hoped I could do.  Sunny even helped out.  But it wasn’t enough.  Hated to lose the match but Conor was better that night and I lost.”

Joe’s right hand pats her shoulder lightly while the left hand steers the car.

“But it’s a fact of life in pro wrestling.  Wrestlers- no matter how good they are- will lose matches.  You– Victoria McGill- will lose matches… things will not go the way you want them to… there will be stretches where nothing goes right for you… and at the end of the day you simply can’t let it get you down.  I was a double loser at ICONIC for the LSD and Tag belts.  But here I am again, facing GREAT SCOTT for the HOTv. Not what I really wanted but still, it’s an opportunity to win a title belt.  In your case, you beat Shizuko Yamazaki in your number one contender’s match next week and you’re right back in the title mix with a chance to win the belt back.”


Final Thoughts

Victoria didn’t say a whole much more for the rest of the trip down I-55 back to St. Louis.

She’s had a rough couple of weeks in the ring.  I thought she actually fared pretty well going up against PRIME’s Anna Daniels at the PWA show.  She just ran out of juice late in the match and Daniels got her in the end.  Daryn Thompson?  She was a beast.  She totally manhandled Tori in the ring in a way that I’ve never seen any manhandle her before.  Victoria did her best to try and fight back but Thompson just steamrolled right over her and took the title.

Tori’s confidence has always been fragile.  Early in her career, she would go on tremendous runs where she couldn’t do anything wrong and won every match and then she’d just fall off a cliff when something went wrong and suffer through a string of losses.

I know she’s going through a crisis of confidence right now and she’s going to have to pull out of it if she’s going to have a chance against Shizuko Yamazaki.

But, if the truth be known…

…Joe Bergman is going through a little crisis of confidence too.

Look, I know there’s no shame in losing to Conor Fuse.  Personally, I’m looking forward to see who emerges- Conor Fuse or Clay Byrd- to challenge Christopher America or whoever the World Champion is at March to Glory… but it’ll probably be Christopher America.  Conor has a chance to become the first three-time World Champion of the Refueled/Chaos Era.  I know Clay would chew his arm off and do whatever it takes to get another chance at America.

It just sucks that I won’t be the one challenging America- or whoever it is- for the title.

Instead, I will be challenging GREAT SCOTT for the HOTv title this week and I’ve got to say is … thanks Lee.  I guess I’m going to have to earn every penny of my $970,000 salary.

So like Victoria McGill, I have to put away what happened at ICONIC and losing to Conor Fuse at Chaos 19 and get my mind right and focused on GREAT SCOTT.

Would it be nice to pick up a win over GREAT SCOTT?  Yes. With the implosion of the Highwaymen after ICONIC… after all the freakin’ nonsense Lee’s gone on and on about the past few weeks about Evil Empires and all that crap he’s been spreading like manure on a field… after sending Dan Ryan out to try out his new move… nothing would make Joe Bergman happier than to knock off GREAT SCOTT… win the HOTv title… and stick that right back in Lee’s ear.

No one expects Joe to win this Sunday and that’s okay with me.

Nobody expected Halitosis to beat Scottywood, Max Kael and Brian Hollywood to win the World Title in 2019.

No one expected Halitosis to beat John Sektor to become a two-time champion.

No one expected Joe Bergman to win the tag title with Andy Murray over two years ago at the Lethal Lottery.

No one expected Joe Bergman to recover from major surgery and return to put down Steve Solex in ICONIC in 2020.

And no one expected Joe Bergman to ever return full-time to a HOW ring.

And yet, here I am.  I’ve beaten the odds before and I can do it again.

GREAT SCOTT is bigger, stronger, and has a very interesting way of speaking.

Joe Bergman is superior on the technical side.  And newsflash… the Dragon Sleeper puts you to sleep.  It doesn’t matter how big you are. It doesn’t matter how strong you are. When the oxygen gets cut off to your brain, you still go to sleep.

Dragon Sleeper = you go to sleep = game over.

That’s the gameplan, GREAT SCOTT.  Hopefully, we can actually pull it off.



It’s Friday afternoon at Bergman’s Barn.

After a hard week of intense training overseen by Dawn McGill to get prepared for GREAT SCOTT on Sunday, Joe’s throwing his gear in the truck.  He’s driving to West Lafayette, Indiana for Chaos and traffic is always a concern at this point of the day.  He wants to get there as soon as possible.

Joe heads back in the house one last time.  When he comes back out…


It’s Dawn.  She’s changed from her workout attire to her usual street clothes. She’s also wearing a pair of top-of-the-line Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones and bopping her head to the sick beat that’s being dropped while she does a cool, little dance in the driveway.

“What?” Joe says, bemused as hell over Dawn attempting some half-baked hip-hop dance.

“So.  Sunny’s out for this weekend.”

Joe confirms with a nod.

“Yep.  Precautionary,” he replies. “And I don’t want to get the Alabama Gang any more pissed off with me than they already are.”

Sunny, of course, is the valet/manager for the current HOTv Tag Team Champions- The Alabama Gang.

“So, you’ll need someone in your corner for Sunday night in Indiana?” she asks.

“It would be nice, yes.”

Dawn stops dancing because- unlike Great Bear- her dance probably won’t get over. So she gets to the gist of why she’s there.

“Because you need someone in your corner…”  She takes off the headphones and points to herself. “…and I’m willing to do it.”

“You would?”

“I could use a quick weekend trip away anyways,” Dawn says, fighting the urge to break into dance again.

“Okay.” Who was Joe to argue?  “Get your stuff in the truck and let’s go.”

Dawn grabs her travel bag and gym bag and throws them in the back of Bergman’s truck.  Joe fires up the engine and backs the vehicle out of the driveway.

“You do know that if you beat GREAT SCOTT, technically Sunny will be the manager of TWO HOTv champions,” Dawn points out as Joe pulls onto the rural roadway to begin the journey towards St. Louis’s Lambert International Airport.

“I’m not sure how I feel about that.”

As we all remember, Sunny O’Callahan once attempted vehicular homicide against Dawn.

Joe just shakes his head.