July 16, 2013
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
This Saturday, the fate of Pittsburgh’s historic professional wrestling scene could take a drastic turn as Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Owner Bobby O has put his personal shares of the company on the line, against a man who has promised to fire just about everyone, “The Enforcer” Shawn Blanchard.
Since his 8-year-plus tenure as sole owner of the organization, Bobby O has governed as the organization has vaulted to become one of the top professional sports franchises in the entire commonwealth. Outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh’s other professional sports organizations, the KSWA can now be discussed as one of the premier establishments in the state. In addition to record-breaking attendance records with Bruno Sammartino and George “The Animal” Steele, in 2010 the organization was recognized by Pittsburgh City Council and its soon-to-be Mayor-elect for its 10th anniversary. For years KSWA’s annual FanFest has been a major toy fundraiser in Allegheny County (correspondence from the Allegheny County Chief Executive has arrived every year), and just this month Pittsburgh Magazine touted the alliance as the best sports and recreational place to hang in the city with an adult beverage. To note the least, Bobby O has a lot to lose if this match, a Lawrenceville Street Fight he initiated, doesn’t go his way.
Shawn Blanchard is a five-time, former KSWA World Heavyweight Champion. Known as the heart and soul of the VIPs, Blanchard founded the group, along with current KSWA Champion “Dr. Devastation” Lou Martin, in 2000. When he doesn’t hold that belt, or the KSWA Tag Team Championship, Blanchard is the “Puppet Master” who has manipulated many Megastars over the group’s history. It’s yet to be seen if his biggest rouse has yet to be tripped.
There have been four Lawrenceville Street Fights in KSWA history. By definition, it’s an anything-goes affair that has frequently seen action take place near—and-sometimes-on—bars, merchandise tables and around hot dog carts. Combatants are not relegated to the ring, and are regularly slammed into walls, with chairs, and onto ring steps. All tables are fair game and normally-illegal objects are encouraged. Because of its unique nature, very few such matches have ever been sanctioned.
The last Lawrenceville Street Fight was an epic tag team contest that saw the VIPs take on Mitch Napier and The Latin Assassin at “Revenge” on February 18, 2012. KSWA Champion Martin and Blanchard bested the macho New York grinder and the Iowa strong man in what was voted on by the Krazies as Match of the Year on the official website. The matchup is considered one of the greatest and most intense in the organization’s history.
At the 4th Annual Joe Abby Memorial Tournament on March 26, 2011, Ali Kaida and KSWA Champion The Latin Assassin battled in one of the heaviest-hitting matches in the annuals of the KSWA. The then-villainous Afghani Assault Weapon defeated Latin in this non-title matchup.
The only Lawrenceville Street Fight that did not take place at the KSWA Arena occurred during the Arsenal Park celebration on July 5, 2008. Ali Kaida took on then-KSWA Champion Lou Martin during his first stint as Champion, when he was not a VIP. Martin retained in a match that saw “Dr. Devastation” fly into a chain link fence and eat freshly-shorn grass.
One Street Fight was banned from Lawrenceville and had to receive special disposition from the Mayor in neighboring Millvale. On September 17, 2005 on the second day of “Millvale Days,” "The Drunken Luchadore" Joey Quervo, Biker Al & Ali Kaida defeated The Lost Boyz (Kris Kash and Shane Starr) & La Lucha in a Millvale Street Fight. As the only 6-man Street Fight in KSWA history, Kaida and his team were victorious.
Bobby O takes on Blanchard for brand ownership this Saturday Night at the KSWA Arena. Bell time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for kids. The rest of the preview will come tomorrow. Card is subject to change.