The 5 a.m. rush on Black Friday will feel like a stroll through the vineyard compared to the Raging Bull’s arrival at Blood, Sweat & Chairs.
Manny Fernandez comes to Classic Championship Wrestling this Friday in Lebanon, PA, facing the monstrous Oxx Hogg. The night before, Fernandez will be chomping on a turkey leg at promoter Rob Mort’s house. “Honestly, I was really nervous to invite him to my place because I heard that he was off his rocker,” Mort says. “It’s not far off…he is crazy, but a good crazy.”
The wrasslin’ legend did a seminar at Mort’s training school, teaching aspiring wrestlers how to work an entire match without using the ropes. Mort says a lot of the kids didn’t really know who Fernandez was, but by the end of the session, they were captivated. “A lot of people were sleeping on him,” Mort says. “But if the ropes broke and you had to continue your match, stick with what he tells you and you’ll be all right.”
A Harrisburg native, Mort has been running CCW shows since 2001, after he took over for Damien Destruction. He broke into the industry through his brother, who met Steve Blackman while in prison and was taken under the former Hardcore Champion’s wing. Under the alias of Rob Noxious, Mort has competed around the country for many years.
“It’s an addiction, man. I love it,” says Mort, who first fell in love with wrestling while watching with his grandfather. “CCW has really crazy fans. We try to incorporate an ECW style into our show. There’s comedy, there’s crazy, there’s flippy, there’s old school, there’s technical wrestling. There’s something for everybody.”
The company runs an average of 10 shows per year, with plans to add two more in 2018. Through a combination of TV commercials, door-to-door flyers and selling tickets at other promotions’ shows, CCW has developed a cult following in South Central Pennsylvania. “When we promote well, we do great,” Mort says. “When we sit on our ass and don’t promote enough, we do bad. If we did it correctly, we could probably all wrestle every weekend up and down the East Coast if everybody worked together. But it will never be like that because in the end, it’s all about the almighty dollar.”
Mort is hoping to cash in on Blood, Sweat & Chairs, the promotion’s biggest show of the year. Legendary duo The Nasty Boys face the Dawg Pound in the main event. On the undercard, Chris Banks takes on Ed House and The Frat Boyz defend the CCW Tag Team Titles against The Pony Express in a Double Dog Collar match.
Three of the four participants in the tag team bout are Mort’s trainees, one of them being his son Stefon Ram’on. “His partner Adrian Bliss is a great veteran, he has so much knowledge and is funny as hell,” Mort says. “The Frat Boys are two young kids that hail from Virginia Tech and they get drunk off O’Doul’s. It’s the first time they’re doing a match where there is not a lot of high-flying moves, so I’m interested to see how well they do.”
Local DJ G-Zo will also be on hand – he’s the co-founder of Sweep the Streets, a nonprofit that takes kids expelled from school and gives them community service opportunities to earn their way back into the classroom.
“We like to give back to the community,” Mort says. “As part of Toys for Tots, if you bring an unwrapped toy to the event, you get $5 off your ticket. We filled the box last year so hopefully we do the same.”
Blood, Sweat & Chairs takes place Friday at Eagles Banquet Hall in Lebanon, PA.
For tickets and more information, visit www.ccwlive.com.