Following a very successful Dead or Alive where Joe Bergman and Steve Harrison retained the HOW… now HOTv Tag Team Titles, ex-spouses Joe Bergman and Laura Bergman got together for what would be called a ‘trial date.’ They drove up to East Troy, Wisconsin to see a Jimmy Buffett show with Rah- The Sunshine God and his wife Dawn McGill.
How would the date go? Would the evening rekindle the love the Bergman’s once had for each other? Would this be the start of something new?
Or was it too late?
Our story starts back in St. Louis where Joe has stopped off at a local tavern on the way home after returning from Florida and Chaos 006…
Fox and Hounds Tavern
6300 Clayton Road
St. Louis, Missouri
Sunday August 28th
Leaning back in a very comfortable chair that made the sitter have to sit straight up at the table, secluded away from the hustle and bustle of traffic near the bar, keeping to himself and ignoring the noise around him, Joe rested his chin on his fist and mindlessly watched a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game on a nearby huge screen television.
On a beer menu that included: Boulevard Brewing Oktoberfest, Lagunitas IPA, Newcastle, Old Specked Hen, Southwicks, and other high quality lagers, Joe chose a Bud Light… and that’s only because they didn’t have any Budweiser on tap or in stock.
The clientele of the small and quaint bar seemed a little older than the usual demographics you’d find in your typical sports. And Joe was okay with that. He’d had enough excitement the past couple weeks to last him for a while.
Arriving back at St. Louis’s Lambert Airport near lunchtime, Joe spent the balance of the day at MVW Headquarters looking over a couple of prospects Ray McAvay brought in to be evaluated. With MVW also bringing Xander Azula in for a Special Attraction match on Tuesday’s house show in Valparaiso, Indiana as well as booking PRIME Wrestling’s Adam Ellis to present the new MVW Men’s Champion with the title belt, McAvay wanted to make sure everything would run smoothly. Joe would be running up there on Tuesday for the show as well to help out backstage. Laura had Libby for the weekend so Joe decided instead of returning home right away he’d stop in at the Fox and Hound for a couple beers.
To be fair, keeping busy helped deflect Joe’s attention from his personal life. Following the collapse of the aborted attempt by him and Laura to get back together, Joe then took another harsh broadside to the stern when Chicago’s Channel Five television reporter Elizabeth Carlisle got wind that Joe entertained a potential reconciliation with Laura and broke things off with him.
Disgruntled by the sudden turn of events and not wanting to return to an empty house right away, Joe chose to delay his trip back home for a couple hours to hang out at the Fox and Hound for a bit. The purpose was two-fold. He needed to start focusing in on the upcoming series of tag matches against the Egg Bandits for the HOTv Tag Team titles. Two, the closure of both relationships- while irritating and unwanted- would prove to be a benefit to Joe and free up time so he could give his full attention to Doozer and Bobby Dean.
At least, that’s what he hoped.
So Joe brought up You Tube on his cell phone and pulled up a few Egg Bandit matches involving Doozer and Dean and spent the next few minutes watching them.
The waitress came by and asked Joe if he wanted another beer. Joe ordered a second Bud Light. With his eyes still fixed upon the cell phone, Bergman pulled out his wallet and took out a ten dollar bill for the waitress while making mental notes in his head on the Egg Bandits’s in ring tendencies.
That lasted a whopping ten seconds before his mind wandered off to a place he’d been just over a week ago…
(8 Days Ago- Alpine Valley Music Center / East Troy, Wisconsin / Friday August 20th )
The large video screen showed an older man in his seventies strumming an acoustic guitar. In the back, there was a large red buoy on the right side of the stage, some brush you’d find by the beach in Florida, and other tropical-tinged stage props, instruments, and stage decorations.
Jimmy Buffett performs the final song of the night- a slow acoustic number called ‘Tin Cup Chalice.’ He’s the only one there. The rest of the band have retired to backstage and this is the final encore of the show.
Strumming his guitar, Buffett sings:
Yes and now you heard my strange proposal
So get that Packard up and let’s move
I wanna be there before the day
Tries to steal away and leave us behind
I’ve made up my mind
With a slight nod of the head, Joe Bergman takes in the words the words Buffett is singing and thinks back to the events that took place a week ago right before the HOW Dead or Alive pay per view show kicked off. He’d just watched one of his former students Adam Ellis roll the dance and take a chance with Ginny Van Lear and he witnessed their wedding in Missouri not far from his farm. He’d found himself making an impulsive phone call to his ex-wife Laura and asking her if they could talk. This was in response to Laura telling him a couple weeks in another phone call coverage that she ‘may have made a mistake about us.’
So Laura answered the call and the two talked a little. Obviously, with Joe defending the HOW (now HOTv) Tag Team title with Steve Harrison on behalf of the Highwaymen that night, he didn’t have a whole lot of time to do a deep dive into the question of a possible reconciliation.
No, the call merely set up a second call which took place on Sunday evening the 14th after Joe returned from Arizona. The second call then set up a meeting that took place at the house on Monday. The meeting set up a second meeting on Thursday where Joe and Laura agreed to take Rah and Dawn McGill’s offer to join them at Alpine Valley to watch Jimmy Buffett.
A shakedown cruise if you will. Or a business-type deal in the making.
At the concert, Rah’s dressed in a regal-ish type robe covering a tacky Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts with one of those garish, multi-colored hats on- complete with a parrot on top. Next to him, Rah’s wife Dawn McGill. The six foot tall blonde who’s down to one hundred and twenty-five pounds now and stunning rocked a strapless top complete with a Hawaiian lei around her neck and a Hawaiian flowery skirt that fluttered in the slight breeze in the air.
Standing next to McGill and belting the words to Tin Cup Chalice out with zero thought given to whether his ‘vocals’… such as they were… were up to snuff to the people surrounding them, Joe Bergman. He was dressed in a tacky Hawaiian shirt, knee length shorts, and tennis shoes.
Next to Bergman, a very familiar face stood there with her brunette hair up in bun- but starting to fall out, a nice dress shirt, a nice skirt, wearing a nice pair of heels, and talking on her cell phone with one hand covering her ear so she can hear.
Yeah, that was Laura.
As Buffett began to sing the final chorus of the song and the crowd sang along with him…
And I wanna be there
I wanna go back down and die beside the sea there
With a tin cup for a chalice, fill it up with good red wine
And I’m a chewin’ on a honeysuckle vine
Yeah with a tin cup for a chalice, fill it up with red wine
And I’m a chewin’ on a honeysuckle vine
…Laura closed a deal. That seemed to be her only moment of joy during the entire evening. She didn’t even imbibe in an alcoholic drink the entire time while Joe had about three beers.
Suffice to say, when the opening song of the evening- Buffett’s epic ‘Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw’ didn’t seem to resonate with Laura… and once upon a time it did… Joe had a sinking feeling about how the evening was going to go. The longer the night went on, the more Joe sensed she saw this more as a business transaction than a matter of the heart. That wasn’t going to work for him.
He knew he and Laura weren’t the same couple who walked into a church fifteen years ago to get married.
He knew he and Laura had become two different people with rapidly diverging common interests. While they both always loved to compete in the arena- Joe in the wrestling ring; Laura in the business world- in the past Joe and Laura also shared a common bond and worked as a team with the common goal. It used to be all for one and one for all in a ‘three musketeer’ kind of sense for the common good.
But then the marriage began to unravel. First, the battle over Joe’s first return to the ring. Next, the battle over Joe’s permanent return to the ring. Then, Laura took a new job and moved to New York City.
The result? They split up.
Laura tried to explore going back to Joe and moving back to the farm after she expressed to him that she may have made a mistake in leaving him.
A few days of spending time together quickly made clear that the only thing Joe and Laura had in common now is their daughter Olivia. Laura didn’t leave her New York job for Joe. She came back because she missed Libby and the grass of big city New York definitely wasn’t greener than the St. Louis metroplex… just more concrete and steel with a much quicker pace of life compared to what she’d been accustomed to.
She went back to her old employer because they had a job that for her that could accommodate her need to stay in St. Louis.
Filing out of the amphitheater in the middle of a huge convoy of people towards the parking lot, Joe knew… as in- he knew.
When she spent most of the show doing business on her cell phone in the middle of a Jimmy Buffett concert, Joe came to the realization the fire between them had been extinguished and there was nothing left to rekindle.
Laura had been corporatized. Joe… he’d changed into the man of the people. He hated EVERYTHING that big corporations represented.
It became evident to Joe you can’t go back to something that’s no longer there. The bond of their union was irrevocably broken and he did not see any viable way to put it all back together again. That feeling they had fifteen years ago when they got married? Gone. Buried under fifteen years of experiences and two years of marital strife and disagreements. There was no way to piece back together the shattered shards of their relationship.
Walking ahead, Rah and Dawn McGill more than looked the part of the poster children for two people deeply in love and committed to each other.
He’d seen that ‘look’ in the eyes of Adam Ellis and Ginny Van Lear eyes on their wedding day in July.
Did Joe and Laura have that look?
As ‘Dandy’ Don Meredith once sang on national TV: “turn out the lights- the party’s over.”
Lee, Lee, Lee.
Let’s shoot straight here for a few minutes, shall we?
You probably just paid a bunch of cash to bring in your latest mercenaries to take up The Board’s cause because Jace Parker Davidson screwed the pooch… again… at Dead or Alive and STRONK paid more attention to Bobbinette Carey and punching out horses than trying to win the match.
You brought back the Egg Bandits to go after the HOTv Tag Team titles.
You couldn’t bring yourself to offer Adam Ellis a proper HOW contract but yet, here you are bringing back the Kings of Flaking Out When the Going Gets Tough… again… the aptly named Egg Bandits… legendary for their extreme eggshell-thin egos.
You spent money to bring a team in who’s proven over and over and over… time and time and time again that there’s no company that they won’t run away from when the heat gets too hot?
The Egg Bandits are to HOW what Sir Robin is to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
“Bravely ran the Egg Bandits, the Egg Bandits ran away.
When danger reared its ugly head, the Egg Bandits turned their tails and ran…”
Seriously Lee? You spent money to bring back the Egg Bandits when you would have been better off splashing the cash to sign Adam Ellis- considered to be one of the top young prospects in pro wrestling… a young wrestler still learning his craft and figuring things out with a huge upside- to a HOW contract . But no, it’s The Egg Bandits you chose to spend your money on?
The choice to me is pretty clear. Would I sign a tag team that flakes more than a dandruff infected head of hair or a young talent with a ton of upside potential?
So how do you choose a tag team that’s “Head and Shoulders” the tag team voted most likely to no-show a HOW show to go after the Highwaymen instead of signing Ellis?
You know what you get from the Bandits. A lot of heartburn… a huge backstage food bill… and then at some point… you know… they’ll just… disappear.
You could have signed an Adam Ellis who all but begged for a full-time HOW deal while he was one half of the HOW Tag Team champions with John Sektor and still working under a MVW contract. That’s right. He wrestled all those matches under a MVW deal- a deal made before the PWA came along. A deal that we all know isn’t nowhere the amount of money he could have made wrestling full time for HOW.
But no, you didn’t make the offer. So instead of staying with HOW, Adam went back to MVW to put himself in the shop window and guess what… Lindsay Troy saw the exact same thing in the kid that pretty much everyone else did and signed him. Now you’re all pissed off because she decided it was a good piece of business to sign Adam herself to a PRIME contract.
Sign the Egg Bandits or sign Adam Ellis. Yeah, that answer seems pretty clear to me.
You made your little point when Tyler Best showed up at a MVW show to express your displeasure with what went down and take out Ellis. Here’s a thought. Next time, how about opening up your damn checkbook. I’m pretty sure the kid would have snapped your hand off to sign with HOW had you just taken the time to make the offer.
Now, if there was a question on whether Adam Ellis was really ready to take the next step, I will say that reasonable men could disagree. Personally, I think Adam needed a little more in-ring seasoning down at the MVW level before he pulled the trigger signing a big boy deal. However, you have to keep in mind that Adam now has a young wife with new responsibilities. He needs to do what’s right for his family and I don’t blame him one bit for taking LT’s offer.
So with that being said, let’s get down to the business of this Sunday night.
Hey Doozer, Bobby, and Jiles- how does it feel to be so far down in Lee Best’s rolodex that he calls you guys when he’s exhausted all other options? Lots of tough talk from the ‘Old Bull’ Doozer at Chaos 006 and let’s face it, if there’s anyone who knows all about talking ‘old bull’ it’s Doozer. But let’s call the Egg Bandits’ latest attempt at a manifesto for what it is… a bunch of bloviating meaningless words that dissolve in the ether. For all we know, by this time next week, you’ll disappear from the scene and move on to the next thing… or do whatever the Egg Bandits do when they dissolve into the ether from a wrestling company.
As for me, what can I say? When Joe Bergman is called on to wrestle… without fail he shows up. Period.
For all of Lee Best’s ‘issues’ with me- and I’m sure there’s more than a few… the fact of the matter is Lee knows when he books Joe Bergman to a match on a show, he doesn’t have to worry about small, mundane things like Joe Bergman NOT SHOWING UP for the match.
On the other hand, with the Egg Bandits it’s like dealing with the equivalent of Batman’s Harvey Dent aka Two-Face. You guys literally flip a coin to determine whether or not you’re actually going to show up.
Doozer, Jiles, Bobby. To be honest, I really don’t have anything against you three. I don’t blame you for taking Lee’s money. You’re mercenaries. Got it. You’re getting paid. Cool. I’m sure the money is really good. That’s fine.
But I’m telling you both right now- you’re not winning this match. No way. No way in hell.
Bobby, you won’t have to worry about someone walking down to the ring with a sumptuous platter full of steaks, burgers, brats, hot dogs, and other tasty, culinary goodness like we did to you two years ago. No, we’re actually going to make you have to wrestle this time and maybe… maybe… you’ll break a sweat.
Doozer, you sure did a lot of talking at the last show and I have to tell you- it went in one ear and right out the other. I’m more interested in what you can actually do in the ring then hearing you run off at the mouth. Let’s see exactly how much you have left in the tank.
The way I see it Doozer and Bobby, both of you aren’t even close to being in my league when it comes to technical ability inside a wrestling ring. And after I’m done methodically picking both of you apart, Steve Solex will come in and rip you both a new one, and then it’s going to be night night for both of you.
That’s right, Steve Solex will bludgeon you to death… Joe Bergman will put you to sleep… and after the win, Steve and I will celebrate with by cracking open a can or two of PBR after the match.
Because the HOTv tag team titles aren’t going anywhere. At the end of this best of five series, the belts are going to stay right here with the Highwaymen.
Fox and Hounds Tavern
6300 Clayton Road
St. Louis, Missouri
Sunday August 28th
After staring off into space for several minutes, the crowd roared when they saw someone hit a home run on one of the big screen TVs and the sound snapped Joe out of the daydream. He shook his head and tapped three fingers on the table top. Joe glanced down at his phone and remembered what he was doing. The Jiles-Dean versus Bergman-Solex HOW match from over two years ago waited for him to click onto to watch. Joe clicked on the match and it began to play. This was the match where Barbie-Q came down to tempt Bobby Dean away with a platter of meaty goodness whose sweet aroma filled up the arena.
The first thing that came to mind watching the video? Joe thought his movement had a little more fluidity back then. He knew he’d lost a little of that in the two years he did not wrestler and made a mental note to work on that when he got to work Monday on final preparations for the upcoming match.
“Well hello there,” a female voice said.
Joe didn’t look up from his phone. Instead, thinking that the female voice he heard belonged to the waitress bringing him another Bud Light, he held up the ten dollar bill. “You can go ahead and keep the change,” he said.
“Well thanks for the cash, Joe. But I think the money should probably go to your waitress.”
Joe thought ‘Wait. That didn’t sound like the waitress.’
Joe glanced up. There stood Victoria McGill in all of her six foot two, one hundred sixty pound, statuesque build, poofy blonde hair, dressed casually tonight in a t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes, glory.
After a quick double-take, Joe finally sputtered: “Tori? What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same question,” Tori responded back. “Actually I live just down the street from here.”
“Oh.” Joe then remembered that Tori lived in an apartment complex right off Interstate 64 in this area. In fact, he’d actually dropped her off at the complex a few weeks back. “Right. I knew that.” He let out an awkward laugh. “I was actually on the way to the expressway and saw the sign. I wasn’t in a big hurry to go home so I thought I’d pop in to see what this place was like.”
Tori nodded. “Okay. Do you mind if I join you?” she asked.
Joe motioned to her to have a seat so Tori slid into the seat across from Bergman just as the waitress finally returned with his Bud Light.
“What would you like?” he asked.
“Gin and tonic,” Tori said and then added, “make it a double, please.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said the waitress who then left to fill the drink order.
“So what’s on your mind tonight?” Joe asked.
“Ahhh.” Joe smirked and took a sip from his Bud Light.
“What’s up with you?” Tori inquired.
Joe shrugged. Then he responded. “Women suck.”
“Yeah, I kinda heard about what happened.” Tori put both elbows on the table and propped her head up with her hands.
“Swell.” Joe didn’t exactly want the whole world to know what was going on.
“Wanna tell me about it?” she asked.
“Only if you tell me about yours,” Joe replied.
“Fine. The bar closes at midnight and I’ve got nothing else going on tonight.”
Joe mulled the offer. “Where do you want to start?”