UNION — A former world champion, a second generation star, top female wrestlers, two of the most highly rated young wrestlers in the country and a local wrestler’s long-awaited return to the ring will all be part of a star-studded pro wrestling event Saturday.
Lockhart resident and Trans-South Wrestling referee Tracy Rash said the event will be the organization’s biggest endeavor to date, and the timing is unfortunate in that it overlaps with Union County High School’s state championship game in Columbia.
“We booked this entire event months ago, and we were thinking as long as our matches were not on Friday, we wouldn’t interfere with high school football,” Rash said. “We are pulling for the Yellow Jackets, and we plan to give frequent game updates during the event. But for anybody who is going to be in Union Saturday, this will be the chance to be part of a historic night as far as wrestling goes.”
This Saturday’s event will feature a main event pitting Union native and TSW champion Deon Johnson against former amateur champion and son of wrestling Hall-of-Famer “Nature Boy” Ric Flair — Reid Flair. A confident Flair admitted that he had never heard of Johnson and said he has no doubt he can take Johnson’s title in Union.
“That Reid Flair might not know me now, but I guarantee you that after this Saturday, he will never forget me,” Johnson replied.
Another highlight of this Saturday’s card will be a match featuring world-renowned wrestler, “American Wolf” Davey Richards. Richards will team up with fan favorite Peter Kaasanova to take on the team of Jake Manning and Stoney Hooker.
Richards is a former Ring of Honor World Champion, as well as two-time tag team champion. He also won one-half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles twice in Japan and has successfully competed in Germany and Puerto Rico.
Prior to his professional wrestling career, Richards was a two-time Washington state amateur champion in high school and studied Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu. He began training for pro wrestling in 2004 and made his debut in June of the same year. Richards was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of 2011 by the Wrestling Observer.
TSW will host its third women’s division contest Saturday as wrestler and bodybuilder Darcy Dixon takes on veteran wrestler Fantasia. Dixon has a couple years of experience and competes in the southeast as well as the Chicago area, while Fantasia is a 15-plus-year veteran. Fantasia (Karen Simpson), who currently lives in Myrtle Beach, began her wrestling career in the Maryland area.
Alexander Vs. O’Reilly
Two of the most highly regarded up-and-coming pro wrestlers in the country will also compete one on one at the fairgrounds Saturday.
Canadian pro wrestler and current Ring of Honor standout Kyle O’Reilly will take on Cedric Alexander of Charlotte, N.C., who competed during TSW’s inaugural event in April 2011 and the Charles Babb Memorial Tournament in September 2011 before going on to become a member of the Ring of Honor roster.
After a three-year hiatus, Brandon Phoenix (also known as Lockhart resident Matt Hudgins) will make his in-ring return Saturday. Phoenix will take on Rick Michaels of Cornelia, Ga.
Bell time for this Saturday’s event at Union County Fairgrounds will be 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are available at Buffalo Pawn & Gun. For more information, visit facebook.com/transsouthwrestling.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.