The Audacity of IT: The Rise and Fall of the International Thugs

by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer
May 26, 2009

In the history of the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance there has not been a group as menacing, as physical and as destructive as the International Thugs. The group's beginning was auspicious, with manager Gentleman Joe Perri warning that “change” was coming to the KSWA. “IT” will be a different way of doing things, according to the long-time wrestling personality.

Perri assembled a triumphant trifecta of goons. Interestingly, all had what could commonly be described as “mixed at best” roles as fan favorites. And in many instances, the Thugs joined Perri's stable because of an otherwise direction-less career in the KSWA.

The Afghani Assault Weapon, Ali Kaida, was the most volatile, and he even became more unpredictable as time went on. Kaida wasn't always an unstoppable brute. At one-time, Kaida tried to embrace American virtues, but ultimately became disenfranchised with his lot as an immigrant in a new country. Perri's Svengali-influence, and his colorful anti-America rantings were what the doctor ordered.

Influence and an empathetic ear is what Perri provided early on to his stable. And once Perri had them hooked by his pulpit, he was able to mold the International Thugs into the wrecking ball they were for several years.

Baracus was a strong man who spent time in the U.S. Military. As legend has it, Baracus heard a fan boo him in a match with Ali Kaida, when both were just starting out in the KSWA. An American hero, Baracus took what he thought was a rejection hard. In stepped the charasmatic Gentleman Joe Perri and Baracus soon sided with Ali Kaida and IT.

In late 2004, Big Mike Malachi was the KSWA World Heavyweight Champion (in addition to the now-retired Tri-State Championship). He held the KSWA title for three months before injuries put him on the sideline. He was a fan favorite; however, upon his return Big Mike decided that he wasn't receiving the respect that he deserved. In strode Joe Perri and his magic of persuasion. Soon, the International Thugs were comprised of three of the biggest, strongest and toughest Megastars ever. Not since Malachi tagged with future KSWA Hall of Famer Tommy Faime, had the KSWA ever had such a larger duo than Kaida and the wrestler now known as the Irish Bear.

The Thugs took their international concerns to heart. Malachi left his Iron City roots for the sprawling countryside of Northern Ireland. Ali Kaida has always maintained the impressive castle fitting of any Sheik. Baracus roamed the Middle East in nomadic fashion. His KSWA tax forms were sent to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

On September 15, 2006, the International Thugs defeated La Lucha and Justin Sane to become the KSWA Tag Team Champions. They successfully defended and held onto the belts for more than a year. Their reign was the second-longest in KSWA history and the most lengthy in nearly five years.

The International Thugs employed a long-standing tag-team wrestling rule than enabled them to swap any member of the stable in defense of the titles. For a while, the team of Baracus and Kaida worked as a team, with Malachi pursuing singles gold.

Near the height of IT's rampage, Ali Kaida started to bring an American flag to the ring and after dispatching his opponent (often by nefarious means), he would place the flag over his opponent. This immediately enraged the KSWA Krazies and even after a while, Baracus appeared to be put-off.

In one of the most surprising moments in the history of the KSWA, Baracus speared Kaida during a tournament and caused IT to lose. The fans went wild and forgave the Pittsburgh Patriot. It was later learned that Baracus had a career-ending injury and he simply would not forgive himself unless he asked the Krazies for forgiveness. The Krazies embraced their hero back into outstretched arms.

After a short stint as an “enforcer” referee, Baracus retired from the KSWA.

At the zenith of power, Perri introduced Zero as the newest member of the International Thugs. A smaller, more technical wrestler, Zero became prominent in attempts to woo luchadores into the group. He made a mockery of the Drunken Luchadore Joey Quervo when he and La Lucha were challenging for the tag belts. Zero most infamously dressed as the masked Joey and went along with the match until the right time, then he attacked the Mayor of Mexico City.

Zero, originally from Anchorage, Alaska, a self-professed misfit who abandoned a life as a fan favorite when he sucker punched the immensely popular Latin Assassin, moved all of his worldly belongings to Munich, Germany. Professor Perri's International Kool-Aid was perfect for the young, impressionable Zero. Patriotism wasn't a virtue for the remaining International Thugs.

Zero's inclusion was rather short-lived as he failed to lure Joey Quervo, La Lucha, and then the Great Toyota into Perri's world. His best-of-three series against Great Toyota had weight: it was Zero's career verus Toyota's mask. All tied-up going into FanFest last year, Zero failed to show up. He stayed in Germany while the masked Toyota danced the victory jig at the home of professional wrestling in Pittsburgh.

Ali Kaida has become more unpredictable. He has even been at odds with Malachi. The two were regarded as the closest of friends in the entire mob, even moreso than when Kaida named Baracus a Sheik.

Malachi enjoyed a rather successful run as Golden Triangle Champion, before losing it to La Lucha. Ali Kaida nearly ended La Lucha's career when he tossed a fire ball into masked megastar's eyes. La Lucha held onto the GT belt for a few months before Ali Kaida won it.

Before that, Kaida nearly became the World Heavyweight Champion in a year-long feud with the current KSWA Champ, Anthony Alexander. Interestingly enough, the GT championship is often a springboard back to the Number One contendership.

Since Malachi won the GT gold and Kaida couldn't defeat Alexander, the International Thugs have been in a tailspin. Last month, Kris Kash shocked the KSWA and defeated Ali Kaida for the Golden Triangle Championship. Ali Kaida went berserk and then left the KSWA Arena.

Ali Kaida has not been seen or heard from since.

Gentleman Joe Perri has not commented on the status of Ali Kaida. In fact, Joe says that as far as he's concerned the International Thugs' run of terror is over. Perri is already looking for new minds to cultivate.

The lone member of the International Thugs, Big Mike Malachi, has not returned phone calls, text messages or emails.

If this is the last chapter of the International Thugs story, then it's a good one.