Ace Haven, known outside of wrestling as Hugh Batey, is a professional wrestler and talent coordinator for ProSouth Wrestling in Piedmont. ProSouth Wrestling is celebrating its 10th anniversary Dec. 14.
What made you a fan of professional wrestling? The earliest memory of watching wrestling that I have is watching WrestleMania IX, watching Yokozuna versus Bret Hart; I was mesmerized by it.
How did you train to become a professional wrestler? Adam Roberts trained me. He was a substitute teacher at my school, and my father was on the school board. I bugged my dad for Adam’s number, and he finally gave it to me. I called him every day for probably about nine months straight and asked him to train me, and he would tell me that he did not have time to train me, and he would hang up on me. One day, he called me when I was at work; I worked at a local grocery store at the time, and he told me that he was going to be in Anniston in 45 minutes and if I was not there that I was never to contact him again about training me, then he hung up on me. So, I did what any intelligent person would do; I clocked out of my job early and met him in Anniston, and I trained for about two years before I had my first match.
Why did you open ProSouth Wrestling? My father and I started it together, and now my wife, Amy, and I run it. It came about because when I was about to graduate high school, my father said I could get a new car, and he asked what I wanted. I told him I really did not want the car; I wanted a wrestling ring. I found one on Craigslist for $2,000. My dad reluctantly agreed and said we had to find somewhere to store it. We found a building in Piedmont which is the same building that we are still in, 627 Southern Ave. We had our first show on Dec. 6, 2008. The concept behind it was to give younger, inexperienced guys like myself at the time somewhere to work, get footage and knowledge.
What are you at ProSouth behind the scenes and as a character? I am a talent coordinator and talent developer. We make wrestling, and it is a team effort; it is not just me or just the performers or just the fans, we all make wrestling together. As a character, I have evolved recently from a fan-favorite, hero-type character to a very full-of-himself person with a god complex.
What do you say to people who say that professional wrestling is fake? I would challenge them to do a front flip onto the ground, wherever they are standing, and I will do it as well, with them, and I guarantee that I will get up before them and be ready to do it again. Professional wrestling is an artform, but it is also very physically demanding. A wrestling ring has padding, but it also has wood and metal right underneath the padding.
Tell us about the Hall of Southern Heroes ceremony. We started doing this in 2015, and this will be our fourth class. This is to celebrate the inductees’ contributions to Southern wrestling. The class of 2018 is the late Michael J. Plezing, the Wicked Nemesis, Gene Jackson and Cabana Man Dan.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.