Cody Deaner and Derek Wylde are two names local professional wrestling fan will recognize although it's been some time since they wrestled in Tillsonburg.
This Sunday, March 2nd, the two pro indie wrestling stars – Deaner and Wylde – will go head-to-head in the main event of Classic Championship Wrestling's 2 p.m. show at the Tillsonburg Legion on Durham Street.
"I'm pretty excited about that," said CCW owner/promoter Jay McDonald, who for the first time in almost 10 years does not have The Freak Show on his card.
"There's a big void to fill – a hole," said McDonald, who expects 'Freak' – CCW's belt-holder for most of 2013 – to be at Sunday's show, but only as a spectator. "Freak took the belt off Tyler Tirva in June 2013 and ran with it all summer, and he retired as the champ in our Halloween show after running that three-match gauntlet."
Freak Show's retirement leaves Classic Championship Wrestling's title vacant. McDonald considered an eight-man tournament to find a new champion, but decided to go with two men who have had some unforgettable matches in Tillsonburg.
"Deaner, in my opinion, is the top guy in Ontario right now," said McDonald. "When I asked him, he said 'definitely, I'm in.' And Wylde, he 's been out for two years with a concussion, but it wasn't really a formal retirement. He called and said 'the doc gave me the okay, I'm ready to wrestle.'"
McDonald offered him a title shot and Wylde was quick to accept.
"He said 'absolutely,' so I'm very psyched about this one. These guys had a feud in Tillsonburg before, going back in time. Probably the most notable feud we've ever had. Look for these guys to pull out an epic battle as they have in the past, but we're going to throw a couple twists in there as we always do."
McDonald said CCW's strategy in 2014 is "great stories, simple to follow with a good guy and bad guy, lots of gimmick, lots of character. We want to keep the character and stories and up the ante as far as wrestling talent. I have a shows in March, May, and Halloween, and I have all three shows booked already."
Highlander Robbie McAllister from Woodstock has been signed for each of the Tillsonburg shows this year. As well, McDonald is drawing from a group of pro wrestlers from the Michigan and Ohio areas.
"Pure talent, new talent," nodded McDonald. "Fresh faces who have never been in Tillsonburg before."
On Sunday Highlander will be taking on Phil Atlas, who McDonald gave as another example of bringing in the best talent available to 'up the calibre.'
"Phil Atlas has travelled all over the world to wrestle with multiple tours in Japan. And of course Highlander Robbie McAllister... WWE star. Top notch."
The CCW Ladies Championship will be on the line in a rare Ladies Triple Threat match between Ianna Titus, newcomer Holly Madison, and current belt holder Jewells Malone.
"Three girls in the ring, first pin wins," said McDonald. "It adds a whole new dynamic."
The Lancashire Cup championship match features Notorious TID, who successfully took the Cup from Cezar last summer and defended it a dozen times, and Sgt. Dickson.
"That will be an old school style brawl," said McDonald.
Reck squares off against Windsor-area's Aiden Prince, who McDonald says is the premier high-flyer in Ontario.
"Prince is the only guy right now who's able to pull off the 450 Top Rope Splash. With the Legion's ceiling height we won't be seeing that, but he's got all sorts of other tricks."
Also wrestling Sunday are Rob Rage, 276 pounds of muscle, vs. Caleb Stills, from the Detroit area.
"Rob's been with us almost two years now and he's done a great job."
Opening Sunday's show are Killer Allan Coulter and Black Bushi, CCW's masked wrestler.
"Black Bushi's exceptionally talented in the ring," said McDonald. "As long as Allan can't get his hands on him, I think Black Bushi might have the edge. But if Al gets him..."
Sunday's show begins at 2 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults ($10 in advance at Chrissy's, Tillson Convenience, M&J Tire, Tip Top's and Tillsonburg Legion), and $10 for kids. Get your tickets early, says McDonald, because 'we're going to be standing room only again.'
"It's definitely different without Freak Show though. He's been on board since 2004 and we're all going to miss him, that's for sure."
CCW's 2014 season will ramping up in the summer.
"Last year we did 22 fairs, this year we're poised to do more," said McDonald, who has been on the fair circuit since 2009. "I've got a stack of recommendation letters from fair boards who say, 'kids absolutely love this show, they do a great job.' It's becoming easier because people are starting to come to us now. They're realizing this is for the kids and that's the demographic they want to draw in. I think we're going to have between 28-30 shows this summer."