MVW TV Studio
St. Louis, Missouri
Inside the TV studio where Missouri Valley Wrestling tapes their syndicated programming, bleacher seats that accommodated roughly one hundred to a hundred fifty people during a television taping surround three sides of a wrestling ring draped in simple white and black with the MVW logo on the side.
Inside the ring, two chairs.
Occupying the two chairs in the ring- the blonde- recently turned brunette- backstage interviewer of HOW Blaire Moise and the owner of Missouri Valley Wrestling and newly returned to action in High Octane Wrestling, Ray McAvay.
McAvay leans back in his chair, completely at ease, clutching a can of Budweiser in one hand. He’s wearing the old school gray HOW Ray McAvay baseball jersey with ‘Show Up…Punch In…’ lettered in red on the front and ‘Shut Up…Get to Work…’ lettered in black on the back. Compared to the ‘official’ HOW photo taken back in 2015, Ray’s face was rounder courtesy of the twenty-five pounds he’d put on since he first arrived on the scene six years ago. His hair was peppered with gray and so was the thick goatee on his face.
Fashionably dressed as always, Blaire sat across from McAvay with her legs crossed and a clipboard full of questions for the former HOW World Champion at the ready for a feature story she’s doing on him for HOTv.
Blaire Moise: Ray, welcome back to HOW. It’s good to see you once again…
Ray McAvay: Thanks for coming down to St. Louis. Good to see you back here.
Blaire Moise: …and thank you for the interview.
Ray McAvay: It’s my pleasure Blaire.
Blaire takes a moment to look around the studio.
Blaire Moise: I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since I came here to work at MVW for a few months.
Ray McAvay: I remember that. I think Halitosis had just won back the World Title from John Sektor and for god knows what reason, Michael Lee Best fired you, fired Benny Newell, Joe Hoffman and a few others so of course I jumped at the chance to bring you back to Missouri Valley Wrestling to handle backstage interviews, even though I knew it would be a temporary gig.
McAvay nods towards Blaire.
Ray McAvay: l figured HOW would come to their senses and bring you back. And they did.
Blaire Moise: Do you remember the last show before HOW went dark in 2016?
Rubbing the goatee on his chin, McAvay thinks back.
Ray McAvay: Yeah. July 8th? I think. Let’s see. Friday Night Chaos. I remember Electra knocked off Ryan McKenna in the opener. David Black and Scottywood had one last hellacious hardcore blowout and I believe a bottle of Benny’s Jack Daniels ended up collateral damage during the match. Brian Hollywood beat Darin Zion to unify all the titles…
Ray’s expression turns sour.
Ray McAvay: …yay. And I defeated Scott Stevens the week after he turned on me and cost me the HOW World title.
Blaire Moise: What happened between you and Scott Stevens?
McAvay rolls his eyes.
Ray McAvay: Well, here’s the thing Blaire. I don’t know. We’d just won War Games. McAvay. Zion. Stevens. McKenna. The next show Lee books the former champion Brian Hollywood against me two weeks later and everything’s going fine until Stevens pulls the referee out of the ring when I’ve got Hollywood pinned and ends up costing me the title. So yeah, I was a little bent at him. Lee booked me and Stevens on the final show and we had ourselves a fun little match where both my wife at the time Dawn McGill and Scott’s wife Lisa Barbosa-Stevens got involved along with the EPU and the Les Miserables. I won thanks to Bert the Janitor slipping me the Big Bertha Driver and…
Ray McAvay: …that was the end of HOW for almost three years.
Blaire glances down at her clipboard and fires off the first question on her list.
Blaire Moise: So Ray, what have you been up to since the final HOW show.
Ray McAvay: Well Blaire, I spent some time in Texas for a few weeks healing up and then then eventually signed on with MVW when they added men’s wrestling a year later and I defeated nine people to become the first MVW Men’s champion. I had a long running on and off feud with Charlie Blackwell for the next couple years later had a twenty-eight day run as the MVW Men’s Tag Team Champion with Rah. After we lost the title, I was reconsidering my options and thinking about what I wanted to do next. Then out of the blue, MVW CEO Jill Berg came to me with a proposition- she offered me the CEO position out of the blue. She was moving on so she asked me if I’d be interested in stepping in. I knew my lack of business background would be a problem and I knew Laura Bergman (Halitosis/Joe Bergman’s wife) had a sharp mind for business and was just itching to move on from the job she had. So I told Jill I’d do it but only if Laura came in as well. I wanted her to be the Chief Business Officer to handle the business end of the company. And the rest as they say is history. The fact was MVW wasn’t doing well at the time I took over.
Blaire Moise: But MVW is doing better now.
Ray McAvay: Oh yes. We are doing much better now thanks to Laura’s business acumen. She was the one instrumental in negotiating the deal with Lee Best to put us on HOTv. Laura also pulled off the syndicated deal as well to give us another outlet for MVW programming.
Blaire Moise: Okay. Also in that time, you got divorced from Dawn McGill and then remarried to Stacee Perry aka Dark aka one half of Dark and Stormy- West Texas Adult Entertainment Legends.
Ray McAvay: Yeah. All I am going to say about that is- things happen for a reason. Without going into excruciating detail, the marriage fell apart with Dawn and we got divorced. I remarried and we’re doing good.
Blaire adroitly reads McAvay’s facial expression as he talks and recognizes this is not territory he wishes to trod upon any longer than necessary.
Blaire Moise: Okay. So. After you took over the reigns at MVW, you put your stamp on Missouri Valley Wrestling with what was called the McAvay Makeover.
McAvay leans forward to answer.
Ray McAvay: Blaire, all I did was come in and make a basic change in philosophy. One…
Ray held up his hand and held up his index finger.
Ray McAvay: …I wanted the fans who come out to our house shows to believe every match meant something – no matter if the show took place in Effingham, Illinois or Chicago, Illinois – no matter if that match was the first match of the show or the main event. My theory was if our house shows became more important in determining who is challenging for our titles, it would give the casual fan more incentive to come out to one of our shows. Blaire, that’s pretty much the ‘makeover’ in a nutshell.
Blaire Moise: Well, it’s worked so well that you were able to purchase MVW outright last year.
Blaire Moise: So with everything you’ve accomplished since 2016, here you are once again, competing in a HOW ring.
McAvay continues to chuckle.
Ray McAvay: Well, after two shows, I’m asking myself why I came back…
He also winces with pain, the parting gift from two JPD beatdowns in the space of two weeks.
Ray McAvay: …but once upon a time in January 2016, the Les Misérables came to life and we went on to have a great run, a magical run that led to me winning the world title at War Games 2016. Yes, the journey included a couple run-ins with the Best Alliance along the way but I knew going into War Games that I had a real shot of winning the world title.
Blaire Moise: What made you so sure about 2016?
Ray McAvay: JPD had bailed on the company at Rumble at the Rock and ended a near six month run with the world title belt… came back… won the title back from Scott Stevens… and then bailed again before ICONIC. He tried to back door his way back in at War Games with a team from 4CW. John Sektor had made some noise a few weeks back about ‘scouting’ me for the Best Alliance team but there was no way I was going to be on the same team as Brian Hollywood. Brian Hollywood represented everything Ray McAvay stood against. And honestly Blaire? I wanted to be on the winning War Games team and I thought I could do it with Scott Stevens, Darin Zion, and Ryan McKenna. And we did.
Blaire Moise: It came down to you and JPD.
Ray McAvay: Yeah. Lee’s golden boy Brian Hollywood and the Best Alliance crapped out and it all came down me and Jace. Let’s be clear, Lee did NOT want Ray McAvay to be the World Champion. There’s no way in hell he wanted me to be the last one. But, I knew that there was no way in hell Lee would allow Jace to win the belt. So in the end, Lee screwed JPD over and I won War Games. Basically, I outsmarted both of them.
Blaire Moise: Were you asked to return in 2019?
McAvay nods in the affirmative.
Ray McAvay: Yes but I declined and recommended Joe Bergman- who was still wrestling as Halitosis- to come in instead. Halitosis became a fan favorite very quick and shocked everyone when he won the World title not once, but twice. Then Joe began wrestling under his real name and he tapped into the same thing I did and connected with the people- thus the beginning of Section 214. Unfortunately, Joe had to retire so what springs up next? Grappler’s Local 214.
Blaire Moise: And that’s the reason you decided to come back.
Ray McAvay: Yes. Joe Bergman was done as an active pro wrestler. He shouldn’t have wrestled Steve Solex at ICONIC but that’s another topic of discussion. Then somehow my name got floated about, I received a phone call and contact was made. I thought about the proposal and ultimately agreed to it because I believe there’s a clear connection between the Les Misérables, the Section 214 movement, and Grappler’s Local 214.
Blaire Moise: Your thoughts on the match booked for Saturday.
Ray McAvay: The ‘tag team title’ match with Solex and JPD facing me and Zeb Martin?
Ray McAvay: Yeah, I think it’s bullshit.
…and is taken aback.
Blaire Moise: What?
Ray McAvay: I think it’s bullshit, Blaire and I mean that with all due respect to Lee Best because- yes, this is his playground and yes, I am just a mere player here, but I’m sorry this is total and complete bullshit. Teddy Palmer and Lindsay Troy are the tag team champions. Ray McAvay and Zeb Martin are not. That being said, I can assure you that once that bell rings, I will do everything, and I do mean everything, in my power to make sure those belts stay with Grappler’s Local 214.
McAvay pauses, leans back in his chair, and exhales while Blaire searches for her next question.
Ray McAvay: But there is one good thing about this.
Blaire Moise: What’s that, Ray?
Ray McAvay: It means that JPD will have to actually face me- man to man- in the ring.
McAvay shakes his head and laughs.
Ray McAvay: He apparently doesn’t have the balls to confront me face to face with whatever I’ve supposedly done to offend him so he resorts to these ridiculous…
Ray raises his hands to do the mocking ‘air quote’ thing with his fingers.
Ray McAvay: …sneaky, elaborate… Pearl Harbor-style attacks. I mean, this last thing with the woman coming up for an autograph? I rolled my eyes as it went down because I knew what was happening because JPD has become the Wile E. Coyote of HOW.
Blaire Moise: Why do you think he’s targeted you since his return?
Ray McAvay: No clue. Besides helping him to win War Games in 2015, I really didn’t have anything to do with JPD and vice versa. I didn’t sleep with his wife or anything back in the day. It’s not like I went up to him when he suddenly appeared in the locker room and said, “Hey, so glad you were able to cover your shift at Steak and Ale to be able to join us this week.” So I have no idea what the problem is other than the bottom line is this- JPD is always going to JPD.
The sound of a door opening and closing followed by the clickity-clack of someone in heels walking across the floor interrupts Ray’s train of thought. Both Blaire and Ray turn and see Laura Bergman walking towards the ring.
Laura Bergman: Sorry to interrupt.
Opposite the way McAvay casually dresses while in the office, Laura walks up the steps in full business attire and climbs into the ring holding paperwork in her hand.
Laura Bergman: Just need Ray’s signature on a couple things.
Ray breaks out a wry smile.
Ray McAvay: This is so not my favorite part of the job.
Laura sighs as she’s heard the same line from McAvay many, many times before.
Laura Bergman: Yes Ray. But it’s an essential part of keeping the business running.
McAvay duly signs off on the documents and hands them back to Laura.
Laura Bergman: Good seeing you again Blaire.
Blaire Moise: You too, Laura.
And with that, Laura exits the ring and heads back to her office. Blaire shifts back into interview mode.
Blaire Moise: Last question Ray. What’s the real reason that drove you to make this decision to return…
“I wish I could say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn’t be our style. Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever.”- Shane Falco, Washington Sentinels quarterback.
Yes. Just call me the Shane Falco of this team and boy do I already have the scars and pain to show for it. In the movie ‘The Replacements,’ Shane Falco overcomes adversity and helps lead the Washington Sentinels to the playoffs and then went back home to his regular day job. This is my task for War Games, the reason I returned- to help Grapplers Local 214 win the day.
You see, there’s no way Ray McAvay is going to walk away in Tokyo as the winner of War Games. That ship has long since sailed. I’m twenty-five pounds heavier and more problematic, I’m five years older. However, I know that I can parlay my years of experience in the ring and, more importantly, my years of experience with HOW to the younger guys and help Grapplers Local 214 win at War Games. My job is to help get the team in to the best possible position to win at War Games. Afterwards, I head back to St. Louis and return to my regular day job.
Unfortunately, Lee Best, being Lee Best, decided to welcome me back to HOW with a little baptism of fire. Booking me and Zeb Martin to take on JPD and Steve Solex AND invoking the Freebird rule by decreeing as only Lee can that Zeb and I were defending the HOW Tag Titles Lindsay Troy and Teddy Palmer won last week from Jatt Starr and John Sektor of the Best Alliance.
Don’t take this the wrong way… this is merely my editorial comment but there is a reason I do not like these type of stipulation matches. First off, I find it so sports entertainment-like and it’s common knowledge that I hate sports entertainment with every fiber of my being. Two, the HOW Tag Team champions are Lindsay Troy and Teddy Palmer- not Ray McAvay and Zeb Martin. It’s disrespectful to the people, the wrestlers, the ones who went out to the ring and actually competed and earned the title in the place where it should be earned– inside the fucking ring, that they can lose the title without being defeated. Again, this is my take. Your mileage may vary.
The only reason this mystical ‘Freebird Rule’ was invoked is because Lee got all pissed off that his champions Fat Jatt Starr and Sleazy John Sektor couldn’t get the job done against Teddy and LT. So instead of booking an immediate rematch and sending Jatt and Sektor back out with a mandate to win back the belts or else, he awards two wrestlers the chance to bring the tag belts back to the Best Alliance- two wrestlers who’ve have done nothing to deserve a title shot, Steve Solex and Jason Parker Davidson, against two people- myself and Zeb Martin- who aren’t the champions. I believe in the old professional wrestling adage that to be the man you have to defeat the man. Or in other words boys and girls, you don’t become actual champions until you actually defeat the champions, Freebird Sports Entertainment bullshit or not.
But again, that’s just my two cents… it’s Lee’s playground and ultimately he makes the final call. So with that in mind, that brings us to our opponents Saturday night- Jason Parker Davidson and Steve Solex.
Jason Parker Davidson. The self-glossed King of Everything.
Well, I guess Jace could be called the King of Lots of Things I guess.
For starters, the King of Bloviating.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What? Bloviating? What the hell does that mean?
Bloviate: an intransitive verb that means to speak or write verbosely and windily
Here’s a Jace promo in one sentence: You suck, you’re a piece of shit and I’m going to destroy you and oh yeah, fuck you. Except that he does it in six thousand excruciating, agonizing, insufferably unendurable words. He’s wrestling’s Leo Tolstoy trying to fit War and Peace into a wrestling promo.
The problem is after a while of listening to an endless loop on how you suck, how you’re a piece of shit and how he’s going to destroy you and oh yeah, fuck you, you kind of start tuning Jace out and he begins to sound like every adult in a Peanut’s cartoon: You suck, you’re a piece of shit and wah-wah-wah wah-wah-WAH-wah-wah.
Listening to a Jace promo is like enduring the coda at the end of the Beatles classic ‘Hey Jude’ which basically takes up half the song…
Naa na na na na na na na, na na na na, you suck!
Naa na na na na na na na, na na na na, you piece of shit!
Naa na na na na na na na, na na na na, I’ll destroy you!
Naa na na na na na na na, na na na na, fuck you!
…it just keeps going on and on and on… well okay, you get the point.
So now, JPD’s come back to HOW, brought back from the scrap heap by Lee Best in a bid to once again reestablish the Best Alliance as the dominant faction in HOW, and for some reason Jace decided to target me. Maybe it’s because my win at War Games in 2016 prevented him from winning in back-to-back years. Perhaps JPD needs to take what went down in 2016 with Lee Best since he was the one, along with Jason Cashe, who screwed Jace over.
Maybe he just should talk to Dr. Phil.
Of course, this new alliance does makes me question how JPD could ever take up arms with Lee again after what went down in 2016. Maybe Lee’s dangling a little carrot in front of him- a Hall of Fame spot as a reward for leading the Best Alliance to victory at War Games. JPD is the Pete Rose of HOW. JPD had a great career in HOW and he should be a lead pipe cinch Hall of Famer. But… the fact is as great as he was inside the ring- and his in-ring accomplishments are Hall of Fame quality- the sad truth is outside the ring… well…
The King of Scoring Hookers and Blow. For you HOW newbies, that’s an oldie but goodie from 2016.
Then there was the time JPD no-showed not one but two HOW pay per view shows in the space of two months and lost the world title each time…
The King of No-Showing HOW Pay Per Views.
…and then tried to backdoor his way back to the title by bringing a team of wrestlers from a rival promotion for War Games 2016.
The King of Delusion.
So to answer your question from last week’s show Jace, yeah- I do dare to ‘attack’ you.
Isaiah 37, verse 29 says: Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came.
Ray McAvay says: I don’t give a flying fuck what you’re alleged issue is with me, I ain’t a fucking speed bump that you can run up and over whenever you feel like it and I ain’t your doormat you can wipe your muddy shoes on anytime you want.
Bottom line Jace, you hit me, I’m going to hit you right back. You attack me from behind. I’m going to attack you right back. I’m not afraid of you and more importantly, I’m not afraid to lose to you. Saturday night, you’re going to pay one hell of a price if you think you can just waltz into the ring and leave it with the belts.
Or in other words, you’re The King of Nothing.
And then there’s Steve Solex. War hero. World’s #1 Dad. And the man who couldn’t defeat Joe Bergman at ICONIC four months after Joe underwent major heart surgery and SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN IN THE RING IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Lee being Lee- and in all honesty I can’t totally blame him for doing so- saw a golden opportunity for an old fashion grudge match and offered Joe a chance against you. I was dead set against him getting back into the ring and tried like hell to talk him out of it. His wife was REALLY against him getting back into the ring again, ever and they fought over the decision but there was no way anyone was going to talk Joe out of it. Hell, I even offered to take his place but seeing as you assaulted his sister- there was no way anyone was going to stop him from getting back in the ring. So, I told him he needed to slap the Dragon Sleeper on you as soon as he could and end the match quick and damn if he nearly caught you early on. But then it was clear why Joe shouldn’t have been in the ring in the first place. Thank God for Section 214- they stood tall that day and stood with Joe and somehow he slapped on the Dragon Sleeper and put you out. Joe Bergman defeated you in a match that never should have happened and a match you never should have lost.
Steve, I hate to tell you but Joe Bergman was right. You have become the Best Alliance’s expendable guy in the red shirt who gets sent to the planet’s surface with the Star Trek crew to die. You are the weakest link of the bunch. You couldn’t get the job done against a weakened Joe Bergman. You couldn’t get the job done against Zeb Martin after you drugged him the week before. You couldn’t get the job done against Lindsay Troy when the deck was stacked completely against her by the Best Alliance.
You’ve been awarded HOW’s equivalent of a participation medal by being booked in this match. You have about as much business being in this match and wrestling for the HOW Tag Team title as I do defending the belts.
You completely misjudged what Section 214 was about. In fact, you misjudged what Section 214 was all about so bad that they rose up as a collective unit to not only to help Joe Bergman beat you at ICONIC but then thwarted you at March to Glory when you tried to send Lindsay Troy over the rail forty feet down through some tables. Kind of like what the twelve big time European football teams just experienced the same glorious crash and burn when they tried to form the European Super League and didn’t imagine the intensity of the backlash and resulting firestorm that would backdraft right back at them.
In that same vein, people like Steve Solex will never figure out that Section 214 was never about Steve and it was never about Joe Bergman or PBR and the Les Misérables was never about me either.
It was all about the people. Always.
And to be honest with everyone, that’s the real reason I came back- to do this one more time for the people.
Because without the Les Misérables, there would be no Section 214 and without Section 214, there would be no Grappler’s Local 214. One is intertwined with the other.
It all starts Saturday night when Zeb and I kick off the road to War Games in earnest by taking on the Best Alliance with the tag belts on the line. It’s fitting that my final act as an active professional wrestler will be standing with Grappler’s Local 214 as they do battle against The Best Alliance at War Games.
And once that final bell tolls at the end of War Games, the circle will be complete for Ray McAvay.