The Road to Wrestlemania tour makes a stop at the North Charleston Coliseum on Friday night when WWE rolls into town for a Smackdown event.
Two of WWE's biggest stars, current world heavyweight champ Randy Orton and former champ John Cena, will meet inside a steel cage to headline the show.
The Intercontinental title also will be on the line with Big E Langston defending against Ryback.
Also on the bill: Dustin and Cody Rhodes vs. The Real Americans with Zeb Coulter; Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara; Mark Henry vs. Fandango with Summer Rae; The Miz vs. Bad News Barrett; Tyson Kidd vs. Curtis Axel; The Bella Twins vs. Aksana and Alicia Fox; and others.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Action begins at 7:30.
For a chance to win a free pair of tickets to the show, check my Twitter page @ByMikeMooneyham on Tuesday for details.
Old School Wrestling
Old School Championship Wrestling also is planning a great night of action on March 2 at the Hanahan Rec Center.
The seven-match show features a five-way No. 1 contender OSCW title bout plus a tag-team contest with Eric Bradford and Zane Riley against The Washington Bullets.
OSCW also will be hosting a wedding following the matches, with Cali Casanova and Layla Harden tying the knot. Those in attendance are invited to stay for the nuptials.
Bell time is 5 p.m. Doors open at 4:30.
Adult admission (cash only at the door) is $10; kids 12 and under $5.
For more information, call 743-4800 or visit www.oscwonline.com.
John Skyler, who will appear locally on the upcoming OSCW show, will realize a lifelong dream when he wrestles for the first time at the storied Township Auditorium in Columbia. Skyler, one of the most highly regarded performers on the indy scene, will take part in a TNA Impact show on Friday night.
"To the 5-year-old wrestling fan in me, wrestling in the Township is the next best thing to wrestling in Madison Square Garden," says Skyler. "I went to my very first match as a kid there in December of 1993, and over the years continued to go back any time wrestling was in town. Given the history of the building dating back to the Crockett days, and the names that have come through there (Flair, Dusty, Windham, Steamboat, Sting, etc), it's going to be a real culture shock for me to step foot on the same sacred grounds as those guys."
Skyler says he will be wrestling on the undercard of the show, but is excited about returning to the building, this time as a wrestler instead of a spectator.
"I know I am ready to turn heads and hopefully open up doors for new opportunities, all the while fulfilling a lifelong dream and scratching one off the ol' bucket list in the process."
Skyler says life truly has come full circle.
"I remember being the kid that would run around to the back of the building after the three count of the last match just to watch the wrestlers leave and hopefully get the chance to meet somebody; now I am that guy that hopefully people will be watching. I'm thankful for the opportunity, and definitely blessed to be a part of it."
Remembering King Mabel
No one ever looked more comfortable playing the role of monster heel than Nelson Frazier Jr.
I immediately recognized that fact more than 20 years ago when Frazier, along with partner Bobby Horne, first walked into the now-defunct Flea Market Depot on Ashley Phosphate Road.
That venue had hosted a series of wrestling shows back in the early '90s, and Frazier and Horne were appearing in one of their first matches as a team.
Sporting ragtag, executioner-type hoods and billing themselves as The Death Squad, Frazier and Horne were just beginning a journey that would bring them back to Charleston only a few years later, but this time in front of thousands of fans at the North Charleston Coliseum, with a new name (Mo and Mable of Men on a Mission) and wearing WWE tag-team gold.
Frazier, whose 6-9, 450-pound stature would make him one of the biggest men in pro wrestling, would go on to appear in a number of varied roles with WWE, including King Mable (after winning the 1995 King of the Ring tournament), Viscera, Big Daddy V and as the enforcer for The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness.
Frazier, who had shed more than a hundred pounds over the past year, passed away last Tuesday of a massive heart attack at the age of 43.
Whether as a storyline good guy, bad guy or tweener, Frasier was always entertaining. His acting chops were perhaps best displayed when he portrayed the "World's Largest Love Machine," an over-the-top role during WWE's Attitude Era that culminated with him leaving love interest Lilian Garcia at the alter when The Godfather intervened.
Behind all of those unique personas and that giant of a man was a kind and gentle soul who was universally respected in the wrestling profession.
Like good tag-team partners are wont to do, Horne pledged that he would always be in Frazier's corner.
"I'm very saddened by the passing of my brother," said Horne. "As he has closed his eyes and gone on to glory, I feel a piece of me was just snatched away from my body. It is my goal going forth to give him a proper burial and to ensure that my brother's name is carried on for generations to come, till my dying day."
Monday Night Raw
Hulk Hogan has officially signed with WWE and will make his return this week on Monday Night Raw.
Hogan, who headlined the inaugural Wrestlemania in 1985, will serve as host for Wrestlemania 30 on April 6 in New Orleans.
The Undertaker also is expected to make his return this week on Raw from Green Bay, Wis.
Look for the build to begin for a program with Brock Lesnar that will culminate with Taker putting his undefeated Mania streak of 21-0 on the line against Lesnar.
Sixteen-time world champion Ric Flair, who celebrates his 65th birthday Tuesday, also is booked for Monday night's big show that coincides with the launch of WWE's new network.
Punk on 'sabbatical'
WWE owner Vince McMahon gave a vague answer at last week's press conference on the company's fourth-quarter financial report.
Asked for an update on recently departed star C.M. Punk, McMahon answered, "He's taking a sabbatical. Let me just put it that way."
Punk abruptly left the company several weeks without giving any indication of a possible return.
Reach Mike Mooneyham at 843-937-5517 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @ByMike Mooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham.
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