Last Friday: ReVival 33- PPG Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
The arena lights cast a harsh glow onto Adam Ellis’s face. Standing in the center of the ring amongst a group of fellow wrestlers having what was tantamount as a mid-show intervention on one Nate Colton. Adam’s eyes glowered towards Colton and the young man had a few things on his mind.
“Nate, I don’t mean any disrespect here, ‘cause of what your dad and your family means to wrestling,” Adam began, his voice firm and tinged with anger. “…but with what your name means to the business, I just can’t believe you’d let that harlot in the building so she could say all those awful things.”
Clenching his fists and feeling the rage that boiled inside of him, Adam didn’t mind when people took shots at him. Charlie Blackwell had long since schooled him on the fact that in the wrestling game… people will take shots at you. But what set Adam off was the shots being directed at Ginny. When Adam read the Savannah Scandal trash piece, he blew up in a way that his wife had never seen before… well, except in a film clip the day that Adam jumped over a table to attack another trash-wrestling dirt sheet purveyor named Jason Whatley. Nope. Adam worked really hard to get to this place in time where he felt he’d begun to get some traction in PRIME. He was damn sure he wasn’t going to let some cheap ten-cent gossip columnist sully the reputation of his wife with her fiction.
“…it was a big damn lie, Nate!” Adam continued; his eyes locked on Nate Colton’s. “Those words stuck in the back of my mind when I should have been focused on celebrating our first anniversary. You didn’t write the words, but you knew what she was, and you let her in here anyway.”
He shook his head in disgust and disappointment. “I can’t believe that someone who grew up in the business like you would do something like that.” Adam paused and then added a parting shot. “This isn’t HOW. This is PRIME.”
As the crowd roared and jeered at Nate Colton, and Nate himself looked none too happy about being referenced with High Octane Wrestling. He took the HOW reference as a cheap shot… a blow below the belt and began to respond in kind when Justine Calvin interrupted him and then she went off on Colton for good measure.
After the segment ended, Adam left the ring and through the backstage idea with a purpose, his long strides carrying him towards the hall towards the dressing room area.
Adam came to a quick stop and whirled around towards to where the sound of the very familiar high-pitched voice came from.
“Adam!” Ginny called out, the fiery red-haired firecracker from McDowell, Kentucky running to him, her green eyes sparkling with admiration.
Ginny literally leaped into Adam’s arms. “Yew were my knight in shinin’ armor out there!” she said, her Kentucky accent thick and unmistakable.
Adam smiled and felt a sense of pride knowing that Ginny appreciated his ardent defense of her virtue.
“Let’s go so I can show yew muh way uh social networkin’ with you,” Ginny teased, her eyes twinkling mischievously. Before Adam could even react, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her lips against his.
“Okay… okay,” Adam said, suddenly cognitive of the fact he and Ginny had attracted attention from the people watching them make out backstage. “We should probably go somewhere else.”
Ten minutes later…
After the pair stumbled back to their rental car in the wrestler’s parking lot outside the arena, Adam and Ginny somehow managed to climb into the backseat while the intensity of their kisses rose exponentially with each passing moment. As they kissed, the adrenaline from his confrontation with Nate Colton still coursed through Adam’s veins, fueling his desire for the fierce woman in his arms. Their bodies moved in sync, each touch sending shivers down their spines. Adam’s mind raced with thoughts of their future together, his love for Ginny mixing with his goal to prove himself in PRIME. He would not let anyone come between them. The backseat of the rental car became a frenzy of passionate embraces and heated whispers, as Adam and Ginny continued to lose themselves in one another.
“God, I’ve missed you,” Ginny gasped between kisses, her hands moving restlessly over his chest.
“Missed you too,” Adam murmured, his own fingers tracing patterns on her skin, loving the way she responded to his touch.
In the midst of their passionate parking lot rendezvous, the sudden buzzing of Adam’s cell phone went unnoticed at first.
“Didja hear something?” Ginny said, breathless and flushed.
“I don’t know.” Adam then glanced down at the glowing screen, curiosity getting the better of him. “Oh… it’s a text.”
“Whooz it from?” Ginny panted, trying to catch her breath, her eyes clouded with desire.
“Let me check,” Adam replied, his heart still racing as he reached for his phone. The text message displayed on the screen read: “Congratulations Adam on your win tonight.”
A smile spread across his face, pride swelling within him at the acknowledgment of his hard-earned victory. He showed Ginny the text and couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. Then he read her the rest of the text: “Two weeks from tonight at ReVival 34, you will be challenging Tony Gamble for the Alias title in the opening match the show. Baby, you won’t believe this!”
“Title?” Ginny said.
“I’m fighting for the Alias title at ReVival 34!” Adam exclaimed, excitement bubbling up inside him. “I’ve got a shot at the belt!”
Ginny’s eyes widened with surprise and delight, her previous hunger momentarily forgotten as she took in the news. “Adam, that’s amazing!”
In the heat of the moment, Adam’s mind was filled not only with thoughts of Ginny but also with dreams of victory and championships. He had a chance to make history in PRIME Wrestling, and he intended to seize it with everything he had. With Ginny by his side and supporting him every step of the way, Adam was convinced there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish together.
“I’m gonna bring that title home for us, Ginny,” Adam said, his resolve to prove himself to the world stronger than ever. “And you just wait and see.”
“I know you will, honey,” Ginny said before she again launched herself at Adam and they resumed their passionate celebration while the show continued on inside.
Later on after the show ended, some of the other talent made their way from the PPG Arena into the parking area and noticed there was a car in the lot with the windows completely fogged up. Not wanting to see what was going on, they quickly went on with their business, got into their rental vehicles, and left.
The New Sportatorium- Downtown Dallas, Texas
Adam sat cross-legged on the training room floor inside the Sportatorium watching the footage from his first match with Tony Gamble from six months ago. Inside the facility itself, Ray Wylie Hubbard’s Snake Farm CD played and echoed throughout the building. Adam winced watching Gamble ruthlessly target his knee during the first match. But then at the end…
(Ellis vs. Gamble at ReVival 23- February 23rd, 2023)
Ellis pushed Gamble before the Chin could hit a front Russian leg sweep on him. Gamble stumbled back. Adam feigned a kick and then followed up with a powerful Superman Punch on Gamble’s chin, causing him to fall to the ground. Adam, still recovering from Gamble’s work on his knee, went right for a cover. Jimmy Turnbull made the count… 1… 2… 3!
Adam couldn’t help the triumphant smile that spread across his face when he saw himself ultimately claim victory. “Damn,” he mumbled, absent-mindedly rubbing his knee. He glanced over at his wife and manager, Ginny, who stood nearby, her fiery red hair framing her face as she studied the screen intently.
“All right, Adam,” Charlie Blackwell’s voice cut through the blaring music, causing both Adam and Ginny to jump. “That’s enough reminiscing. Now, I want you to forget everything about that first match.”
Adam looked up at his mentor, a tall, imposing man in his early 30s, six foot four, two hundred and twenty-five pounds. Blackwell spoke with an air of authority.
“What I am saying Adam is that what happened in February is done and over, just like the fact that last weekend you were able to do something no one else has been able to do to Arthur Pleasant… make him tap out,” Charlie said. “Now, you’ve got to focus on the now.”
“But, Charlie–” he began, only to be cut off by the older wrestler.
“Tony Gamble’s a whole different animal now,” Charlie continued, crossing his arms. “He just won the Alias title from Abe Lipschitz at ReVival 32. This is his first title defense, and you need to be ready for anything.”
“I know, Charlie.”
“Remember, you also won a big boy title when you were at HOW- the tag belt with John Sektor. That means something, doesn’t it?” Charlie raised an eyebrow, challenging Adam to meet his intensity.
“Right,” Adam nodded. He knew Charlie was right. He needed to focus on the present if he wanted any chance of beating Gamble again.
“Good. Now let’s get in the ring,” Charlie commanded, leading the way toward the squared circle.
As they climbed into the ring, Adam couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous.
“Alright, kid. Let’s see what you got,” Charlie said. The bell sounded and Blackwell surprised Adam by coming out and wrestling in a more brawling-type style than he was known to. Both men grappled and exchanged blows, sweat dripping from their brows as they pushed each other harder and harder. Charlie wanted to push Adam to his limits in their sparring session to prepare him for Gamble’s new challenge.
“Focus, Adam!” Charlie barked, noticing the young wrestler’s attention drifting towards Ginny, who was watching them from ringside. “You need to keep your head in the game.”
“Sorry, Charlie,” Adam panted, ducking under a swing from his mentor. “It’s just… well, Ginny still has nightmares about that time you made her dress up in a string bikini and parade around ringside while I worked with another wrestler… and I kept losing focus looking at her.”
“Adam, that was a test,” Charlie replied sternly, grabbing Adam’s arm and twisting it behind his back.
“You can’t let distractions get in the way of your performance in the ring. Now, come on! Focus dammit, focus!”
Gritting his teeth, Adam nodded and forced himself to concentrate solely on his training. The stakes were higher now. Tony Gamble would come to the ring proudly wearing the Alias title belt… just like in May of last year when Adam returned to Missouri Valley Wrestling and wrestled John O’Reilly for the MVW Men’s Title. He knew he couldn’t afford to let anything hold him back.
“Good,” Charlie finally said after a particularly intense exchange of holds. “Much better Adam. That’s what I like to see.”
The ringing of the training bell echoed through the gym, signaling the end of their sparring session. As Adam caught his breath and Ginny tossed a towel over to him, he noticed Charlie grinning knowingly at him as he wiped his face down. Charlie had a glint in his eyes that hinted at a surprise.
“Alright, you two,” Charlie began, wiping the sweat from his brow with his hand. “I’ve got some news for you.” He gestured towards the gym entrance where R.G. Jenkins and Mark Hendry, along with Sunny O’Callahan, sauntered in with a casual swagger. “I think you know these people.”
Adam’s eyes lit up. The Missouri Valley Wrestling Tag Team Champions, The Alabama Gang, had arrived. Ginny gave the Alabama Gang’s manager Sunny O’Callahan the ol’ stinkeye when she came in behind Jenkins and Hendry.
“Hey there, Adam,” Jenkins drawled, extending a hand out to Adam. “We’ve been talkin’ with ol’ Charlie here and we’d like to invite y’all out tonight and introduce you to our home away from home in Dallas, Billy Bob’s Texas.”
“Billy Bob’s is actually in Fort Worth,” Charlie corrected him.
Adam’s eyes lit up with excitement at the prospect of spending time with the seasoned tag team champions. “That sounds amazing, guys!” he gushed. “We’d love to come.”
Ginny’s head turned towards her husband, appearing less than thrilled with the prospect of spending an evening at Billy Bob’s Texas. Her gaze bounced back and forth between Sunny O’Callahan and her husband and she bit her lip nervously, the thought of spending an entire weekend hanging around Sunny gave her a twinge of unease in her stomach. Due to her Baptist upbringing, Ginny wasn’t fond of bars… she could count the number of bars she’d walked into on one hand… and the thought of spending an entire weekend with Sunny grated on her nerves. Ginny still hadn’t forgotten about the time Adam wrestled ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson and doing well until Sunny jumped up onto the ring apron to flash Adam. He ended up getting pinned.
However, Ginny also knew how much this meant to Adam – a chance to bond with R.G. and Mark and learn from their experiences in the wrestling ring.
“Sure, why not?” Ginny finally replied. She forced a smile while her mind raced with thoughts of dealing with the rowdy bar atmosphere and keeping her jealousy in check around Sunny.
“Great!” Jenkins clapped Adam on the back, laughing heartily. “We’ll show y’all a real good time, promise!”
“Y’all better buckle up for some fun!” Sunny chimed in, her Californian accent peppered with the occasional Irish lilt. She sipped from her ever-present bottle of Southern Comfort, a mischievous grin playing on her lips.
“Alright, you two,” Charlie said, stepping closer to Adam and Ginny. “Go have some fun and learn from these guys. But remember, Adam, tomorrow morning it’s back to work, bright and early..”
“Thanks, Charlie,” Adam nodded, determination flashing in his eyes. “We won’t forget what we’re here for.”
Ginny reached out and squeezed Adam’s hand, offering him a genuine smile despite her reservations. *For better or worse,* she reminded herself, feeling the warmth of Adam’s fingers intertwined with hers.
“Have a blast, kids,” Charlie called after them as they walked towards the exit with the Alabama Gang leading the way.
The echo of their laughter mingled with the fading sounds of the gym, and for a moment, Ginny allowed herself to hope that maybe, just maybe, this weekend would be more enjoyable than she’d initially thought…
Friday Night at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, Texas
…but that wouldn’t be the case.
Located in the Fort Worth Stockyards, Billy Bob’s was known as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk.” 100,000 square feet of interior space. 20 acres of parking space. Billy Bob’s was a melting pot of noise, laughter, and the twang of country music. The sound of beer bottles and shot glasses hitting the table served as the backdrop as the Black Swamp Pirates from Ohio took the stage.
“HELLO BILLY BOBS!” the lead singer shouted into the microphone. He turned to the band and they played their first song, a cover of Barry Manilow’s classic “At the Copa (Copacabana).” The Black Swamp Pirate’s version of ‘Copacabana’ had a slower, sultry feel to it with fiddles and steel-guitars adding a most unique country flavor to the Barry Manilow song.
The whole bar joined in as the lead singer sang: “Her name was Lola… she was a showgirl… with yellow feathers in her hair… and a dress cut down to there…”
Well, everyone except Ginny Van Lear.
Ginny sat forlornly at the table with Adam. R.G. and Melanie Jenkins, and Sunny O’Callahan. Ginny nursed a glass of water while the whiskey shots at the table were being consumed at a rapid pace. She seemed totally out of place inside a bonfide honky tonk bar. Adam had never done whiskey shots before in his life, and… well… all Ginny could do was shake her head.
The song reached the chorus and the whole bar sang along: “At the Copa… Copacabana… the hottest spot north of Havana.. down in Texas y’all!” A huge cheer rose up at the line.
“Come on, Ginny!” Melanie urged, trying to coax her into joining the festivities. “Remember those pole dancing lessons I gave you? You’ve got some moves!”
“Thanks, Mel,” Ginny mumbled, “but I ain’t feelin’ it tonight.”
The crowd erupted as they sang the final verse of ‘Copacabana’, in full voice. “Her name was Lola… she was a showgirl… but that was thirty years ago… when they used to have a show… now it’s a Texas dance hall!”
Ginny finally hit her breaking point. “Adam, I’m leavin’.” She announced and stood up abruptly, knocking her chair back.
“Gin,” Adam slurred, his words thick and garbled. “Just one more song?”
“Adam, you’re drunk,” Ginny snapped. “I’m goin’ home.”
“Aw, come on, Gin,” Adam said, reaching out for her hand. But Ginny stormed away from the table, leaving him to sway in his seat and in danger of toppling over.
The door slammed behind her, cutting off the music and returning her to the quiet of the night.
“Fine, go!” Adam hollered in frustration as Ginny’s figure disappeared into the night. Melanie gave Adam a reassuring pat on the back before turning to R.G.
“Y’all, I’ll make sure he gets back to the hotel safe,” she promised, her eyes following Ginny’s exit.
“Thanks, Mel,” R.G. said with a nod, his southern drawl apparent. He turned his attention back to Adam, who was now slumped over the table, his face flushed from the whiskey and for some reason decided now would be the opportune time to deliver some sage-like advice to the youngster.
“Now, listen up, kid. The secret to makin’ it big in this wrasslin’ business is hard work and self-discipline.”
Adam lifted his head and squinted at R.G., trying to focus. “I wanna be successful, R.G. I really do. But I gotta get past Tony Gamble first.”
“True,” Jenkins admitted, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “Beatin’ the champ ain’t easy. But if anyone can do it, it’s you.”
“Thanks, man,” Adam mumbled, his words slurring together. “I want this win so bad, y’know? I just…”
R.G. watched as Adam’s head dropped onto the table, his sentence unfinished.
“Um… Adam?” he said. “Adam?”
He shook Adam and deduced he’d passed out.
“You’ll get there, son,” R.G. said softly, shaking his head and patting him on the back. “But just not tonight.”
Sometime Later That Night at the Ellis Home Outside of Farmersville, Texas…
Ginny already changed into her pajamas and was brushing her red hair when she heard the front door handle jiggling.
“Well… well,” she muttered to herself. She’d locked the top latch, anticipating Adam might return home in a less-than-sober state… a slight understatement when Adam’s voice called out from the porch, thick with intoxication. “Ginny?”
Ginny bit her lip, torn between concern and annoyance.
“Ginny, babe, lemme in,” Adam pleaded, his words slurred. “I just wanna hold ya.”
Ginny sighed, shaking her head. “I love you baby. But I ain’t in the mood to deal with drunken advances tonight. And besides, you ain’t gonna ‘member inny uh it in thuh mornin’ anyways.”
“Aw… c’mon Ginny!”
Determined to drive her point home, she marched to the bedroom and snatched a pillow and a blanket. She came back out, unlocked the top latch, and with a deep breath yanked the door open just enough for Adam to see her steely eyes.
“Wh-what’s this for?” Adam stammered, his glazed eyes struggling to focus on Ginny.
“Ya need a place to crash, don’t ya?” Ginny snapped, thrusting the pillow and blanket toward him. “Take these an’ go sleep in the car.”
“Aw, come on, Gin,” Adam slurred, his lips curling into a lopsided grin. “I’m yer knight in shining armor, remember?”
“Yeah ,” Ginny replied, her voice cracking with frustration. “Well tonight, I’m Loretta Lynn
Adam furrowed his brow, confused in his whiskey-induced haze. “Loretta Lynn?”
“Yeah. As in… don’t come home a-drinkin’ with lovin’ on your mind.” Ginny quoted the classic Loretta Lynn song in a firm voice. “Now take these an’ git. We’ll talk in the mornin’ when you’re sober.”
With that, she slammed the door closed and left Adam holding the pillow and blanket. Adam shook his head and staggered down the steps of the porch and eventually managed to make it out to the car. Before he passed out in the back seat, Adam was sure there would be some lesson pertaining to his upcoming match with Tony Gamble he’d learn from this experience. But that lesson would have to wait until morning’s light… along with the five-alarm hangover that would surely follow… until 9 AM- which happened to be the time Adam was due to be at training at the Sportatorium.