Hybrid Pro Wrestling returned to Daleville on Saturday, Aug. 3, for the special “Battle for the Gold” event at the VFW and crowned the promotion’s first ever Heavyweight Champion in longtime Gulf Coast performer Cali Man.
Despite a heavy thunderstorm that swept through the area earlier in the day, almost 100 fans filed into the VFW to witness the event.
“I’m just glad to have people out there after all the bad weather we had today,” Hybrid Pro promoter/owner Tim Cook said. “It was a hot crowd out there, really loud. So, I was happy about that.”
In the Main Event of the evening, nine wrestlers faced off in a unique Battle Royal to crown the first Hybrid Pro Heavyweight Champion. In the Battle Royal wrestlers could be eliminated by being thrown over the top rope until it came down to the final three men. At that point, the first man to earn a pinfall or submission would be crowned champion.
Competitors in the match included hometown Dale County native Zane “BTY” Stevens, T-Bird, Cali Man, Street Bandit, Slingshot Shaddox, Fatality, Ryan Phoenix, Dark Rage and Stunt Marshall.
Late in the Battle Royal, Stevens tossed T-Bird – Cali Man’s longtime tag team partner – over the top rope but his knee got caught in between the top and middle ropes causing him to hang in the air for several seconds before crashing to the floor below.
As referees and medical staff checked on T-Bird, Stevens tossed Cali Man over the top rope, as well. With the referees distracted, Cali Man slid back in the ring without notice.
Eventually, the match came down to Cali Man, Shaddox and Stevens. Stevens looked to have the match won but Cali Man slammed Stevens shoulder-first into the ring post – an arm that had been injured earlier in the night – and then covered Shaddox for the pin and to become the first ever Hybrid Pro Heavyweight Champion.
Despite the disputed ending, Cook said that he was proud to call Cali Man Hybrid Pro’s first Heavyweight Champion.
“It went pretty good,” Cook said. “We have a champion that I think will carry our company pretty well. He’s still very young and really talented.”
Earlier in the night, as the show began, Hybrid Pro Commissioner Scream and ring announcer “The Mouth of the Dirty South” Jake Cobb introduced and honored longtime Wiregrass referee Dewey Grimes for his many years of service in the wrestling business.
Grimes, a Headland native, refereed professional wrestling in the Wiregrass for more than 20 years. He said that he was shocked that Hybrid Pro decided to honor him.
“I almost broke down and cried,” Grimes said. “It made me feel really good. I had no idea they were going to do that.”
Grimes said that despite having refereed for some of the greatest legends in the history of the sport, he most enjoyed refereeing matches involving the dastardly Street Bandit.
“I like the Bandit a lot,” Grimes said. “And I’ve refereed matches for Ric Flair, Jimmy Golden, Bob Armstrong, everybody around here. I’ve loved it.”
In the opening match of the night, Cali Man’s night didn’t start out as successful as it would end as he and T-Bird lost a tag team match against Slingshot Shaddox and Dark Rage. Shaddox forced T-Bird to submit to a wild submission hold to get the win.
Scream then returned to the ring and said that ever since Hybrid Pro’s debut event he has received threats from Street Bandit over his loss to Mackenzie York. Scream said that Bandit is demanding a rematch but he doesn’t want to give in to threats. He left the decision in the hands of the crowd, who emphatically cheered at the idea of the rematch.
In the rematch, Street Bandit was able to avenge his loss last month after his manager Dandy Jack distracted the referee. As the referee was preoccupied, Bandit nailed York with a pair of handcuffs wrapped around his fist to pick up the pinfall win. After the match, Bandit continued to assault York.
In another tag team match, the team of the Sick City Saints picked up a win over Fatality and Ryan Phoenix. In their debut, the Sick City Saints showed off their impressive double team moves as they isolated Phoenix for much of the match.
Eventually, the Sick City Saints earned the win after a vicious Double Superkick sandwiched Phoenix for the pin.
After the match, Fatality brutally assaulted his longtime partner Phoenix and screamed that he was always causing them to lose as the reason for the attack. This confrontation continued in the Battle Royal when the two men eliminated each other and fought all the way to the back.
Next up, Dale County native Zane Stevens made his first appearance in Daleville in a number of years as he faced off against Stunt Marshall in an exciting match.
“I’m excited to be back home and have a chance to face some good competition here,” Stevens said before the event. “I don’t get much of a chance to come home and wrestle, so it’s good to be here. I already have chill bumps.”
Stevens made sure to inform Marshall that his nickname “BTY” stands for “Better Than You” as he attacked Marshall and brought on the offense hot and heavy for the first several minutes of the match.
Stevens’ enthusiasm of performing in front of hometown fans may have gotten the better of him, however, as Marshall was able to use his intensity against him. As Stevens charged at Marshall in the corner, he was able to sidestep him causing Stevens to crash hard into the ring post injuring his shoulder.
Marshall then continued to work on the arm for the remainder of the match, targeting it with brutal offense.
Finally, Stevens was able to fight off the pain and earn the win after his devastating Fireman’s Carry into a Death Valley Driver that he calls the “BTY Driver” for the pin.
In the Semi-Main Event, Cameron Thomas was forced to put his Hybrid National Championship on the line against the high-flying Chase Evans in a rematch from last month.
At Hybrid Pro’s inaugural event in July, Evans was able to upset Thomas with a rollup to earn this title shot. The rematch may have been even more exciting than their first encounter, as both men upped the ante with high-flying moves and intensity.
After a back-and-forth affair, Evans seemed poised to win the gold but may have taken flight one too many times. As Evans climbed to the top rope, Thomas was able to desperately dive at his legs causing Evans to fall crotch-first onto the top turnbuckle.
Thomas then lifted Evans onto his shoulders and delivered a vicious Alabama Slam for the pin to retain his title.
Hybrid Pro announced the date for their next event “Southern Brawl” as Sept. 7 at the VFW in Daleville as the promotion looks to become part of the Allied Independent Wrestling Federations in the future.
Cook said that Hybrid Pro is undergoing negotiations with the AIWF to become one of its partner territories. The AIWF partners with wrestling promotions and wrestlers literally all over the world and has a number of World Champions that it sponsors.
“They’re a big territory like back in the old days,” Cook said of the AIWF. “They have territories from around the world that they work with and a lot of really great wrestlers that are a part of the territory.”
The AIWF Southern Jr. Heavyweight Champion Logan Stevens will be competing at “Southern Brawl” and defending his title, as well. Also, already announced for the event is that York will get a chance to face off against one of the top independent female wrestlers in the south, Kaci Dillon, at the event.
To reserve ringside seats at a discounted $8 price, contact Tim Cook at (334) 589-0462 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Hybrid-PRO-314837685747995/.