A familiar face will be back in the ring at the Crawford County Fair on Saturday. After making appearance many years ago, promoter Aaron Madden has announced that former WWE star Gangrel will be making his return and headlining “A Fair Amount of Insanity: Chapter 18.”
The free event will feature 19 wrestlers competing across eight matches throughout the day. Gangrel will face “Simply Sexy” Shawn Blaze in the feature match, while “Big Time” Bill Collier will face Jimi the Flying Hippie for the Madmar Heavyweight Title in a “Falls Count Anywhere” match. There will be a three-way bout between Jet Rebel, AKA and Lumberjack LeRoux. Other matches include Gregory Iron and Rocky Reynolds vs. Vince Valor and Marcus Knight; “None of a King” Anthony Gaines vs. “Big League” John McChesney; “Blacksheep” Bennet Cole vs. Bryan Castle; Atticus Cigar vs. Jody Lane and “The Queen of the Silver Screen” Katie Arquette vs. Zoey Skye.
“Over the past years of promoting ‘A Fair Amount of Insanity’ at the Crawford County Fair, I’ve watched as this event has grown better and larger, year after year,” Madden said. “The Crawford County Fair has supplied the show with more seating several times because the show’s growing popularity has caused it to be a repeated standing-room only event. I attribute this to the quality of the performers and the overall show ever year. And once again, I believe this year’s show is booked to be our best show at the fair to date.”
Traditionally, Madden has brought a different headliner to the fair in order to bring those in attendance something new and fresh every year. However, Madden changed course for this year’s show after getting repeated requests for the return of an apparent fan favorite.
“Every year I try to bring in a different nationally televised wrestling superstar to the Crawford County Fair, so that the fans can have the chance to meet and experience as many of the stars that they grew up watching on television as they can,” Madden said. “This year, I’m doing it a little different. I’m bringing Gangrel back. You see, Gangrel performed at the Crawford County Fair several years ago and put on incredible match and experience for the fans. They loved him. Since then, I’ve been asked repeatedly, ‘When are you going to bring Gangrel back?’ Well, for the fans, he’s returning this year. Gangrel is a great guy, a pleasure to work with and a Crawford County fan favorite.”
Wrestling fans in the area aren’t the only ones who are excited for the return of one of the greats in the history of the WWE. Gangrel himself is excited to step back in the Crawford County Fair ring.
“I would say it’s come full circle,” Gangrel said of his return after taking the ring back in 2011. “I haven’t been up that way in a while, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Over the past eight years, Gangrel has maintained a full schedule of wrestling, both as a trainer and a competitor. The South Florida native trains up and coming wrestlers Monday through Thursday at his Dania Beach, Florida, venue — Gangrel’s Wrestling Asylum — and then goes out on the road over the weekend to perform.
A self-proclaimed “energy vampire,” Gangrel enjoys teaching as much as getting into the ring and competing himself.
“I’m busy, but very blessed,” Gangrel said. “I’m in the ring seven days a week and loving it. I get more of a rush now out of teaching the younger talent than my own wrestling. It’s a great experience and I live through them.”
Growing up in South Florida, Gangrel wanted to be a preacher. However, at 17, he broke his neck playing football and his life began to go in a different direction.
“I was 17 years old, and I already took some bad paths and gotten into some trouble,” Gangrel recalled. “I saw an ad in the newspaper for a pro wrestler. I said, ‘What do I have to lose?’ I went down there and was little hesitant when I took the tour, but I signed up and it’s been history ever since.”
In 1990, Gangrel was watching the movie “The Lost Boys” with his wife, Luna, and jokingly said to her that it would be pretty cool to wrestle as a vampire. Luna, a professional wrestler herself, persuaded Gangrel to seriously explore the possibility. Gangrel then went to Puerto Rico to test out the character, known then as the Vampire Warrior, and history was set into motion.
Since becoming a professional wrestler, Gangrel has competed all over the world, including venues such as New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the Budokan in Tokyo, Japan, and Joe Lewis Arena in Detroit — which helped him become a Detroit Red Wings fan.
Looking back on his career, Gangrel cherished each and every time he stepped into the ring, no matter the opponent, storyline or size of the crowd.
“They’re all my favorites,” Gangrel said of his memories in the ring. “Each time I can step into the ring and wrestle, it doesn’t matter what level or if there are 5,000 or 500,000 people there, it’s always amazing and a blessing to do.”
Gangrel has noticed, however, that the sport has “evolved” since he first began competing in the ring.
“It’s faster now, definitely faster,” Gangrel said. “There’s also a lot of smaller guys due to health reasons and testing, but I like it. It’s more of an entertainment feel than a sport, but don’t get me wrong, it’s truly competitive and very physical. No one can just come off the street can do it.”
Wrestling fans in the area are sure to be in for a treat on Saturday when Gangrel and the rest of the lineup card take the stage at the Crawford County Fair. All of the action begins at noon at the Youth Show Arena.
“Come out (because) it’s good and fun entertainment, and a stress release,” Gangrel said. “Leave all your worries and cheer for someone you like or boo someone you don’t like. It’s good for your heart and blood pressure. You’ll go home and feel relaxed.”