March 19, 2013
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
With the exception of the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance’s FanFest/Toy Drive event every December, the KSWA’s biggest event of the calendar year is the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament. This is the card in which the KSWA honors those who have made professional wrestling in Pittsburgh possible, and continues to make the sport such a rich part of our heritage.
From Joe Abby and Frank Durso’s induction in 2008 to Lord Zoltan and Howard Kernats in 2012, the KSWA’s Hall of Fame recognizes the upper echelon of professional wrestling talent. This year is no exception. George “The Animal” Steele already received his certificate following a weekend appearance at the Horror Realm Convention in Pittsburgh’s South Hills. The presentation to Steele turned out to be more of the importance of “Killer” Joe Abby to Studio Wrestling, the legendary wrestling territory of the 1960’s and 1970s’. Steele, who wrestled alongside Abby for many years, becomes the 11th member of the Hall of Fame.
In addition, the first of the “KSWA Originals,” Tommy Faime will receive his induction and certificate on Saturday. “Mr. Tenacity” was a driving force in the KSWA’s early days, for being a KSWA Heavyweight Champion, two-time Tag Team Champion to Kommissioner. Tommy Faime has done it all in the KSWA. Faime becomes the 12th member of the Hall, and 11th man (Donna Christiantello is the first and so far only woman inducted into the KSWA Hall of Fame).
But the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament, first envisioned as a single’s competition, has become the launch pad for tag team dominance. Last year, “The King” Del Douglas and The Jester won the prize—#1 Contender for the KSWA Tag Team Championship. The duo battled all year against Party Gras, before winning the titles at last December’s FanFest. The new #1 Contenders will be crowned on Saturday.
In the Semi-Final matchups for the Joe Abby Memorial tournament, “Nasty” Nick Crane and his Mercenaries cohort, Sniper will take on Bobby Badfingers and Jonny Axx. While Badfingers and Axx are still officially members of the Legion of the Apocalypse, that group’s future has seemed to disintegrate following Bobby O’s firing of their manager, Mayor Mystery. Mystery clearly kept that band of eccentricities together. Axx the risk-taker and Badfingers the brawler have advanced in the tournament, and find themselves up against the dangerous and upset-minded Mercenaries. Crane and Sniper have expressed a burning desire to hold the tag team championship, regardless of the champion. They are still revealing in their attack on Lord Zoltan, a beat-down that continues to have the leader of Party Gras on the sidelines. The Mercenaries have already claimed eternal victory over the dancing Zoltan.
The other semi-final match sees Mitch Napier and Ric Rumsky taking on fellow fan-favorites “The Ice Man” Tony Johnson and Jay Flash. Interestingly, on paper, Napier matches up quite nicely with Johnson. Meanwhile, an IBM super-computer war games simulation between Jay Flash and Ric Rumsky has routinely ended that matchup in a draw. Napier holds a distinct advantage when it comes to strength, while Johnson may just be the KSWA’s most dynamic overall athlete. Conversely, Flash and Rumsky both do outstanding jobs using their entire bodies as weapons. The matchup promises to be outstanding.
The winners of the semi-finals will return for the finals of the Joe Abby Tournament, also held Saturday.
The current KSWA Tag Team Champions—“The King” Del Douglas and The Jester have their hands full with the 7-foot-tall Jack Massacre and Super Ginger. There is absolutely a chance that the winners of the Joe Abby tournament might find themselves challenging brand new champions. After a mysterious absence (that the Mercenaries take credit for creating), Massacre is back. Super Ginger is ready to battle alongside any partner, but the silent Megastar is hoping to wear tag team gold around his waist sooner rather than later. The King and Jester have a game plan of their own and admittedly have no intension of allowing anyone to take their treasure.
J-Ru has had issues with the returning Latin Assassin in recent months. J-Ru has had little contempt and even less respect for the former KSWA World Champion. J-Ru still wonders why Latin won’t carry his bags or fetch “Gator-A-Doh” in horribly broken Spanish. Latin, meanwhile, feels compelled to work his way back up to championship contention following nearly a year-long absence. Latin wants to show the Krazies that the KSWA is indeed about opportunity and he is back to work harder than ever. However, J-Ru won’t step into the ring with the Assassin himself. He has come to terms with the 390-lb Bulldozer to do his dirty work. Ever since his surprise return to the KSWA at Battle Bowl, the terrifying Bulldozer has made his intensions known: he is the only true Big Man in the KSWA and he will chop anyone down who gets in his way.
And in a special 8-Man Tag Team extravaganza, the new and expanded VIP’s—“The Enforcer” Shawn Blanchard, KSWA Champion “Dr. Devastation” Lou Martin, and newcomers Tyler Cross and Edric Everhart will tangle with Golden Triangle Champion Shane Starr, 5-Starr Champion Kris Kash, former tag team champion Justin Sane and a “mystery partner” on Saturday. As is customary for these surprises, international “dirt sheets” are going through KSWA trash, temp agencies are sending bogus “interns” to unearth information and B-Movie Horror Scream Queens have offered free movie poster autographs for information about the missing partner. KSWA Owner Bobby O has tightened an embargo on any information. KSWA Krazies have reportedly scoured the New York Subway system looking for leads. That special match, with tensions rising by the day, might become unhinged by Saturday.
The Joe Abby Memorial Tournament is this Saturday, March 23 at the Home of Professional Wrestling in Pittsburgh, the KSWA Arena in the Lawrenceville neighborhood within the city of Pittsburgh. Bell time is at 7:30. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for kids. Card is subject to change.