UNION — A new heavyweight champion was crowned and a member of the community was recognized during an exciting pro wrestling event held at the Union County Fairgrounds this past weekend.
The majority of the wrestling fans in attendance at Saturday night’s Trans-South Wrestling event at Union County Fairgrounds left heartbroken after fan favorite Deon Johnson was defeated by Rick Michaels, making Michaels the new TSW heavyweight champion. The win was a controversial one as Michaels had fellow wrestler Brandon Phoenix in his corner during the match, offering support and the occasional distraction. Following the match, Johnson — a native of the Chambertown community — challenged Michaels to a rematch for the title in a “Chambertown Rules” match. Michaels accepted and the two wrestlers will compete again on March 2.
Another highlight of Saturday night’s event was the presentation of a “Champion of the Community” award to Barbara Rippy.
“TSW was started as a way to not only have fun, but also to give back to the community,” said referee Tracy Gene Rash. “In keeping with that idea, we wanted to start recognizing people to whom contributing to the community is also important. Mrs. Rippy was the perfect person to be named as the first ‘Champion of the Community.’”
Rippy and her husband — the late Dr. Bobby Rippy — began sponsoring a Dixie Youth team in 1969, and continued to do so every year since. Rippy said she will sponsor a team this year as well.
“I thank y’all for this,” Rippy said with tears in her eyes Saturday night. “Bobby and I love the community, but y’all have done a lot for us, too.”
In addition to sponsoring the youth baseball team, Rippy has made considerable contributions to USC Union, the Miracle League of Union County and the Lions Club. She is also an active member of Civitan.
The presentation was a surprise for Rippy, as she was asked to be at the event to talk about the late Charles Babb, a Union County native and wrestling promoter. Rippy said Smith Drug Store was a ticket outlet for wrestling events when she and her husband owned it, and Babb often held autograph signings with wrestlers in front of the store.
In other wrestling action, the tag team of Michael Frehley and Peter Kaasa defeated a masked tag team known as Delta Force. Kaasa finished his opponent with a corkscrew moonsault off the top rope, but an awkward landing put Kaasa in the hospital at MUSC in Charleston, his hometown. Kaasa said on Monday he thought he had injured his hip, but when he got back to Charleston Saturday night, he suffered major swelling in his abdomen. Doctors told him he had a large hematoma in his abdomen and will be out of action for the next few weeks.
In other matches, the legendary “Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez defeated Kameron Kade; Alex Avgerinos defeated Hunter Thompson; Brady Pierce defeated Brandon Phoenix; and Chase Brown defeated Craig Huffman.
Find out more about Trans-South Wrestling by visiting the promotion’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/transsouthwrestling.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.