March 4, 2013
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
The next time you’re out with your family enjoying American cuisine at a fine eatery, you’ll assuredly want to make sure you pay your tab and tip the waitstaff.
You never know when a wrestling champion might just be waiting on you.
Tom Dobbin, who has worked his way up the corporate ladder at Kings Family Restaurant in Canonsburg since 1988, spent a while clobbering opponents in the early 2000s as “Tommy Faime.”
Dobbin portrayed the villainous “Mr. Tenacity” in the early days of the burgeoning Keystone State Wrestling Alliance. Along with a network of other young athletes, the KSWA began in February 2000 at Peabody High School in Pittsburgh.
In his first match, “Tommy Faime” lost to the masked Mexican “La Lucha.”
The KSWA began to settle in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield and Lawrenceville neighborhoods, but cards were held only sporadically. In fact, another wrestler beat Faime and “forced him to retire” in November 2000.
As is often the case in professional wrestling edicts, Faime was only on the shelf for four months. “Tommy Faime” won the KSWA Heavyweight title from Shawn Blanchard on April 28, 2001.
Faime would lose the strap after one title defense, but would pick up tag team championships in the KSWA on two more occasions.
Around this same time Dobbin and his wife, Amy, were raising three children: sons Chris and Dario, and daughter Jordan in Canonsburg.
The kids’ hectic schedule often took over, but Dobbin didn’t mind. Family, as well as professional obligations, made “Tommy Faime’s” in-ring appearances less frequent. He served as the promotion’s match-making “commissioner” for a while when he didn’t wrestle, but wanted to remain involved.
Over the years the KSWA has grown from a few-times-a-year event to Pittsburgh’s only regularly-scheduled promotion. The organization has hosted Make-A-Wish visits, held fundraisers for cancer and diabetes victims, as well as Gilda’s Club.
Each December, the KSWA holds a FanFest and Toy Drive that raises thousands of toys for needy children in Allegheny County. In 2011, George “The Animal” Steele headlined the event and last December, “The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino broke attendance records again at the KSWA Arena in the Lawrenceville neighborhood within the city.
Dobbin, a 1985 Canon-McMillan High School graduate, says he “misses my brothers” in the wrestling business, but family and work life have been equally rewarding.
Dobbin has been the general manager of Kings Family Restaurant for many years and he hadn’t missed any significant time at work before a blood clot in his leg hospitalized his for a short while.
On Saturday, March 23, during the annual “Joe Abby Memorial Tournament,” Dobbin will be inducted into the KSWA Hall of Fame.
Abby didn’t win many matches. He wrestled during Bruno Sammartino’s “Studio Wrestling” days and has been a hero of the working-class wrestlers that make up today’s KSWA. Others who have been enshrined include Brownsville's Bill Eadie, who is better known as “Demolition Ax” in then-WWF fame, Domenic DeNucci, legendary local pro wrestlers “Lord Zoltan,” as well as Sammartino.
Dobbin is the first of the “KSWA Originals” to be inducted.
“It was an easy decision,” said Bob Orkwis, the Owner of the KSWA. “Mr. Tenacity” is a “one-of-a-kind” personality and athlete. “The KSWA wouldn’t be where it is today without the likes of Tom Dobbin.”