Wrestling

Pro wrestling will be returning to Daleville in July with shows monthly after that.

A new wrestling promotion, Hybrid Pro Wrestling, recently launched and plans to bring a quality style of wrestling back to Daleville and the surrounding area starting in July.

Daleville has been a hotbed for independent professional wrestling in Alabama in the past but hasn’t seen an event come to the area since 2014. Now, 20-year wrestling veteran Tim Cook will change that by starting his own promotion.

“We were looking around in either Daleville or Enterprise and we decided that Daleville would just be the best place for us,” Cook said of bringing wrestling back to the area. “We plan on bringing a show here once a month and see how the crowds build after a few months.”

Cook, a Dale County native, said that if the Hybrid Pro is able to bring in solid crowds, Cook said he hopes to branch the promotion off into running shows in other surrounding areas like Enterprise and Ozark. Hybrid Pro debuts in Daleville on July 13 at the VFW Post 6020.

The genesis of the Hybrid Pro name comes both from the style of wrestling that the promotion plans to feature and the name of a former group of wrestlers from the area.

“I like old school wrestling and new school wrestling,” Cook said. “So, we want to put on a mixture of both. That’s why we went with the Hybrid name.

“We want to feature really great wrestling with some high flying and some old school style of wrestling. It will also be a family-friendly show.”

The Hybrid was also the name of a group of wrestlers from the Wiregrass that were top stars on the Gulf Coast in the 2000s. One of those wrestlers – Billy Rayz – is scheduled to compete at Hybrid Pro’s debut and it will be a big return for the high flyer. Rayz returned to wrestling in April after having the second complete ACL replacement in his career after missing multiple years following the gruesome knee injury.

“He got hurt and is finally coming back and we’re really glad to have him,” Cook said of Rayz. “When they were a group called The Hybrid I really liked that name. They could all move and fly around but then they would surprise you with everything else they could do in the ring.”

Rayz said he couldn’t wait to get back into the ring after injuring his knee in 2016.

“It just feels like I got something back that I lost a part of,” Rayz said. “It’s hard to describe in words. I’ve been doing this for 18 years now and all I’ve ever done is wrestle.

“It’s almost like a drug, it gets in your blood and no matter how many times you leave something is always reaching back to bring you back in.”

Rayz and his brother – Scotty – competed regularly as a tag team called The Sin City Saints in the mid 2000s in Alabama and he said that he’s looking forward to returning to the Wiregrass.

“I’m really excited about coming back to Alabama,” Rayz said. “My brother and I used to wrestle up there all the time. I always loved wrestling up there.

“Wrestling has always been really big over there and a really big part of history in the South.”

Rayz was known for his highflying athleticism for much of his career but says now – after two ACL replacements – he will be changing his style and the fans in Daleville will see a different Billy Rayz.

“You’re going to see a brand new me,” he emphasized. “I’ll be doing a lot of different things. I’ve studied Jiu Jitsu and some Judo and I’m really technically and submission based right now.

“I still have some acrobatics and Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) based stuff but I’m going to be implementing a lot of new things that I’ve been studying for the past four years. I also have a lot more power now thanks to the gym, too.”

Panama City native Cameron Thomas is a 15-year wrestling veteran and will be a star for Hybrid Pro along with helping out backstage.

“I’m really excited about coming back to Daleville,” Thomas said. “I’ve only wrestled up there one time and we had a really hot crowd that time.

“It’s a really good wrestling crowd and a great atmosphere. It’s a good place to bring an action-packed style of wrestling.”

Cook said the goal for Hybrid Pro is to not just bring wrestling back to the Daleville area but make it bigger and better than ever before.

“We want to make wrestling bigger in the area and have a show people enjoy coming to,” Cook said. “We want to put out a quality product and not just keep giving them the same matches over and over to bore them.”

Along with Thomas and Rayz, other scheduled performers are Dark Rage, Street Bandit, Hollywood Star, Donnie B, Nathan Phenix, Lance Tucker, Lil’ Luscious, Cali Man, Chase Evens, Mackenzie York, Tarra Torree and The Soviet Assassin.

“We’ve been talking about this for the past year or two years,” Thomas said of the promotion. “We want to bring a good variety of wrestling to this part of Alabama.

“Wrestling means everything to me and I love it. I love to make people cheer or boo and just enjoy seeing us entertain the people. We want to give them more action than what they paid for.”

Along with the in-ring action, fans can expect a surprise or two as well, according to Cook. He says that a surprise commissioner for Hybrid Pro will be announced at the premiere in July.

Also, Cook said that the VFW will be serving alcohol at the event but wanted to emphasize the importance for fans to be responsible.

“I know there is going to be drinking there, so we need to have reliable adults that know not to take it too far,” Cook emphasized. “We don’t want one or two people to mess it up for everyone.”

Hybrid Pro’s debut will be on July 13 at the VFW Post 6020 in Daleville. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and bell time will be 7 p.m. Ticket prices will be $10 at the door. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/pg/Hybrid-PRO-314837685747995/

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