Top KSWA Highlight of 2014: #1—The Wall Street Journal
December 31, 2014
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
[As the calendar year comes to a close, now is a great time to look at the top moments and highlights of the wrestling year in Pittsburgh. With a historic 2015 right around the corner, let’s look back at a remarkable 2014!]
Number 1: KSWA on the Front Page of the Wall Street Journal
On Friday, June 20th, the story first appeared online at wsj.com at 10:38 p.m. There had been weeks of conjecture, as to if and when the story would appear. A Howard Kernats picture of Lord Zoltan laying in a series of left hands to The Blood Beasts’ skull topped the article online, and would be featured inside for hard copies.
For months, Wall Street Journal Reporter Kris Maher, who covers U.S. news, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and organized labor from his Pittsburgh home, wondered why Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto would occasionally tweet ringside photos from various KSWA events. Maher asked Peduto about the organization and was sold on the story.
Maher took the idea to his New York-based editors and they assigned him the story. On May 31, Maher and videographer Ted Wiegand took film of various KSWA Megastars and interviewed wrestlers at the Teamster Temple on the first day at their new venue. Maher and fellow Pittsburgher Wiegand experienced all eight matches of “MAYhem,” and witnessed as Jack Massacre and “Big” Mike Malachi suddenly burst on the scene and dethroned Edric Everhart and Tyler Cross as KSWA World Tag Team Champions.
Less than a month later, Maher and Wiegand’s piece (along with Editor Robert Libetti) hit wsjlive. The 1:56 video focused on “Dr. Devastation” Lou Martin, Jack Massacre, The Jester, and the Krazies who make the KSWA unlike anything else in wrestling.
The next morning, the Wall Street Journal print edition hit news shelves all over the country. Some readers who knew the story was in the paper couldn’t immediately find it within the confines of the U.S.’s largest newspaper. That’s because it wasn’t inside the paper. It was on the front cover, below the fold. Massacre and Malachi were immortalized with a trademark “Hedcut” photo. According to wikipedia’s definition, “Heduct” is the stipple method of many small dots and the hatching method of small lines to create an image, and are designed to emulate the look of woodcuts from old-style newspapers, and engravings on certificates and currency.”
According to Dow Jones, some 2,300,510 pay for the weekend edition of the planet’s most revered financial news outlet. Wall Street Journal’s paid digital subscription is 924,521. The KSWA piece and video was up for free immediately after its debut. It went to “subscription only” about a month later. Viewers can see the story and video once again at wsj.com.
The response has been remarkable, most notably a family who saw the story drove to Pittsburgh for FanFest/Toy Drive on December 6 to experience the KSWA.
The KSWA received unprecedented coverage by the Pittsburgh media in 2014. As January began, the promotion could still be found in the debut November 2013 edition of Pittsburgh Sportsline magazine. That television program has supported the KSWA for more than a year. The Munhall-based Valley Mirror newsweekly featured Chuck Martoni’s induction into the KSWA Hall of Fame in April. After the WSJ exposure, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printed a feature that began on the front page of the Local section. Again, Malachi was featured, bodyslamming Sniper as referee David Fedor looked on. In October, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review showcased a full page of photographs from Millvale Days in mid-September and the fundraiser for St. Rapheal’s School fundraiser that was held on September 27.
More recently, “Powerhouse” Bill Hughes has often mentioned the KSWA in his Valley Independent column in the Mon Valley. The Valley Mirror recently highlighted the Allegheny County Airport-based Civil Air Patrol and their inclusion of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan as an Honorary Member on its front page.
Here’s to another great campaign as the KSWA embarks on its historic 2015!