Back from an ankle injury, Kaasa flying high in the ring

Pete Kaasa displays his Old School Championship Wrestling title.

Pete Kaasa, who took the independent wrestling scene by storm until a serious injury curtailed his career more than a year ago, has returned to the ring with a renewed focus.

The James Island native had his first match back two months ago in Union for the Trans-South Wrestling promotion, and says he feels better than ever.

That wasn’t the case, however, when the high-flying Kaasa tore several ligaments in his ankle early last year and underwent surgery that potentially threatened his career.

“It was more of a soul-crushing thing than an actual physical setback,” says the soft-spoken Kaasa. “I knew I could physically return, but the question was if I could mentally come back.”

It was Kaasa’s second major injury in little more than a year But he came back stronger and better than ever.

His first match back was against Chase Brown, his training partner and one of his favorite opponents, and Kaasa says the bout went extremely well.

“I was still hesitant (about taking the match), but I know he needed an opponent. I was basically doing a favor for (promoter) Derik (Vanderford).”

Kaasa is now doing something he has wanted to do for a long time, and that’s teaming up with Brown.

“I love tag-team wrestling,” says Kaasa, who lists the Steiner Brothers as his favorite team growing up. “I have so much more fun doing tags. I have a lot more drive when I feel I’m supported by somebody (in the ring).”

The two — billed as Nuclear Kaasarole (Peter “The Superhuman” Kaasa and Chase “Cauliflower” Brown) — attended a two-day Ring of Honor tryout last weekend in Bristol, Pa., where Kaasa says they received high marks and positive feedback.

“I learned a lot from a ton of good ROH talent,” says Kaasa. Among the ROH performers on hand were Adam Cole, Jay Lethal, Bob Evans, Steve Corino, Mike Bennett, BJ Whitmer, Truth Martini, Maria Kanellis and Kevin Kelly.

“I did a springboard moonsault with a full twist, and it got a big pop,” he says. “I was so stoked about that. I got a bunch of good feedback. We came out a lot better than we came in as a tag team.”

Kaasa, 31, who began training in 2010 at the Atlanta-based WWA4 pro wrestling facility and later refined his skills at former NWA world champion Dory Funk Jr.’s school in Florida and with former mat star Manny Fernandez, has drawn rave reviews on the independent circuit.

Kaasa’s high-flying, daredevil style has gained him a sizable legion of fans. The College of Charleston graduate also has received high praise from pro wrestling talent scouts.

“He’s outstanding,” critiqued WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Brisco. “He looks great inside and outside the ring.”

“Pete is a fabulous athlete,” says Funk. “He’s one of the most gifted athletes I’ve ever seen. His style of work reminds me of a young Dynamite Kid when I first met him many years ago.”

Kaasa’s motivation is to put on a match that will leave the fans wanting more.

“I want to put on the best match I can. I just want to give fans a reason to come back.”

While the road back to recovery has been painful and arduous, Kaasa says he is grateful for the support he has received.

“My family has been very encouraging through all of this. No matter what happens, they are here for me.”

Kaasa also credits Brown with giving him that extra push.

“A call from Chase Brown saying how much he wanted to tag with me is one of the main reasons I didn’t quit wrestling,” says Kaasa. “He encouraged me a lot, and reminded me that no one can do what I do. He said professional wrestling would be missing out. It really touched my heart.”

Although the two had discussed teaming up before Kaasa’s injury, they decided to lock horns one more time for the Trans South Wrestling title.

“We had an insane match ... It clenched my decision to come back,” says Kaasa.

So much for the Steve Austin-Brock Lesnar mega-match at Wrestlemania 32.

Austin cleared the air when he said he was merely having fun when he teased the match during a recent interview with Paul Heyman.

Austin said he went into “Stone Cold mode” at the end of the podcast.

“At Wrestlemania 32, I don’t believe you’re going to be seeing Brock Lesnar and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in the same ring,” Austin said. “It wasn’t my intention to book the territory or to spin a match or to sell a match, so I just wanted to make that clear to everybody.”

Heyman said on a recent podcast that he caught Austin off-guard when he asked him because he could not sit through an hour podcast with Austin without that question coming up.

Heyman explained that if there was any realistic chance for that match, Austin would have played up the rumors and built anticipation for the bout. Since he squashed the rumor on his own podcast, Heyman said he felt the match wasn’t going to happen.

But wouldn’t a Texas Death Match at Texas Stadium have been fun?

WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall has entered a detox facility.

“Happy to report I’m checking in to a detox facility to address my recent difficulty,” Hall recently posted on Twitter. “Thanks to all the supporters out there.”

Hall had a well-publicized setback at an independent event in New Jersey where he appeared intoxicated. The WWE Hall of Fame was asked by the promoter to leave the show.

As a result, Hall was removed from the Global Force Wrestling roster page, although some have claimed he was pulled due to a potential NXT job.

Hall reportedly has been under consideration for a position with NTX, and has openly lobbied for a spot.

“I’m a huge fan of NXT,” Hall said recently. “Believe me, my goal is to someday have a position there. So I’m throwing it out there to whoever is listening, like Triple H. I watch NXT all the time. I’m more involved in wrestling currently, than I have been in a long, long time.”

Reach Mike Mooneyham at 843-937-5517 or mooneyham@postandcourier.com, or follow him on Twitter at @ByMike Mooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham.