By Dave Russell
Heroes 2 Legends Wrestling is holding an event Sept. 21 at the Sylva National Guard Armory, bringing wrestling and fundraising for a good cause together to honor a life cut tragically short.
Sylva native Dani Ashe was a 20-year-old struggling with opioid addiction when she suffered a fatal overdose on Aug. 10, 2017.
Now her cousin, Chad Jones, is honoring her memory with “Dani’s Fight,” when five professional wrestling matches – a tag team event, a women’s event and three singles matches – take place in the squared circle.
The night’s main event will be Randy “Outlaw” Wayne vs. Tyson “The Reflection Of Perfection” Dean.
Jones wrestles under the name “Randy Wayne,” a combination of his uncles’ names. Randy Ashe is Dani’s father.
“The Greek Wolverine” Chrisifix, will meet Joshua “The REAL” Cutshall.
In the women’s match, Savannah “The Cannibal” Evans faces Kenzie Paige.
Patrick “Mr. Do It Best” Scott takes on “The Independent Variable” Tracer X.
In tag team action, “The Outliers,” comprised of Travis “The Giant” Lee and his partner, Jeff “The Closer” Connelly, take on the team of Tyler Thorn and Colton Cage.
“The announcer for the event is veteran of the announcing game, Bill Hazelwood,” Jones said. “Also, we are super excited to have a member of Smoky Mountain High School’s senior class, Ella Waldrop, performing our National Anthem at the start of the show. A full concession stand will be provided by Women of the Moose from the Sylva Moose Lodge.”
There will be a special appearance by Spencer “The King” Fisher, a retired mixed martial arts fighter. The Cashiers native compiled a 24-9 record before his retirement in 2012. He and his wife, Emily, also a retired MMA fighter, currently own Glory Martial Arts and Fitness on Sunrise Park in Sylva. It’s also the home of Rock Steady Boxing of the Smokies, a program for Parkinson’s patients.
Jones said the entertainment will be exciting, but the cause behind it is serious.
According to her obituary, “Dani struggled on and off with opiate addiction that started in her mid-teens. She had conquered it and enjoyed clean living for close to two years before someone introduced her to heroin earlier this year (2017). She struggled, was in treatment, and she didn’t want to die. We share this information openly, regardless of any stigma, as we know Dani would have wanted her story to be told so that she could hopefully save someone from what has happened to her.”
Ashe was a 2015 graduate of Haywood Central High School. She participated in volleyball, softball, cheerleading and dance.
After high school she moved to Maryville, Tennessee and began working as a barista for Starbucks. She continued with Starbucks upon moving back to Asheville in late 2016 and had begun studies at Asheville-Buncombe Community College. She had dreams of becoming a psychologist one day, her family said.
Jones hopes those in attendance will enjoy the entertainment but will also heed the message.
“The purpose of this event is to raise awareness with the youth of Jackson County about drug abuse and the opioid epidemic that is gripping not only our region, but our country as a whole,” Jones said.
A portion of the proceeds from this show will be donated to the Julian F. Keith Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Ashe’s name. Part of the funds will be donated in her memory to the Appalachian Christmas Outreach (Back Pack Ministry), a program of local churches providing Christmas backpacks for needy children of Jackson and Macon counties.