A New Twist To “Abby” Tournament As Match Gains New Meaning
March 24, 2015
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
Every year the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance’s “Joe Abby Memorial” Tournament has a new dimension. The titular Joe Abby was a Pittsburgh-area wrestler who gained much respect in the industry for his hard work in and out of the ring. It’s Abby’s spirit of opportunity that fits right in with the 15-year mantra of Pittsburgh’s professional wrestling organization: the KSWA.
In years past the “tournament” has featuring qualifying rounds just to participate in the March card. On the inaugural Joe Abby Tournament in 2008, Shawn Blanchard (along with then-VIP advisor and Abby tag team partner Frank Durso), was the winner.
The next year, Blanchard’s long-time running mate, “Dr. Devastation” Lou Martin, won the growing in prestige tournament. In 2010, The Latin Assassin was victorious and officially tapped the #1 Contender for the KSWA World Heavyweight Championship. It was an opening he almost immediately capitalized on, as he won the Commonwealth’s most prestigious title only weeks later.In one of the most grueling Abby Tournaments to date, Mitch Napier was victorious in 2011. Napier beat both Martin and Blanchard to storm his way into KSWA World Title contention. He would ever-so-briefly win the strap at that year’s FanFest, before famously having it almost stolen from him by a Battle Bowl-match-holding Martin.
The next year saw the KSWA Championship Committee change the tournament from a single’s contest to one featuring tag teams. In a diversion of Battle Bowl title openings, the Abby card saw teams thrash their way into tag team title contention. The first year saw “The King” Del Douglas and The Jester win. The Royal Duo would parlay that into tag team gold by besting Party Gras—Lord Zoltan and Justin Sane—later that year.
The 6th annual Joe Abby Memorial tournament say “The Ice Man” Tony Johnson and Jay Flash win the tournament in 2012. Unfortunately for that team, they were never able to get the most out of that win. They were never able to win tag team gold and Jay Flash took it personally. The South Beach Soldier would last December purposely kick Johnson in the chin and extinguish all loyalty to the KSWA Krazies.
Just last year the tournament took yet another detour. The KSWA Championship Committee once again focused on one-on-one action and a single-day tournament. And in a historic outcome, Lord Zoltan defeated Bulldozer and Lou Martin to win the 7th annual Joe Abby Memorial tournament on March 29, 2014. The match was especially sweet because Pittsburgh wrestling icons Chuck Martoni, “Jumpin’” Johnny DeFazio and “Chilly” Bill Cardille were on hand for the KSWA Hall of Fame inductions, and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto danced in the center of the ring with Zoltan.
This year Abby’s memory will be honored with one match. The KSWA Championship Committee unanimously decided that this year’s 8-man tag team match will be one of “bragging rights” for the victorious team. “Team Faime” will be led by 5-0-percent owner Tommy Faime. He will bring Lou Martin, Del Douglas and Jay Flash into his significant fold. Meanwhile, “Team Bobby O” will consist of Golden Triangle Champion Kaida, “Ice Man” Tony Johnson and Kris Kash. This is the latest in the physical feud between Faime (a former KSWA World Champion and KSWA Hall of Famer) and Bobby O (who always brings his “A Game” anytime he is forced from the board room to squared circle).
Believe it or not, the tale of the tape between the four teams is negligible. Faime’s squad will weigh in at 882 pounds and Bobby O’s will tip the scales at exactly 900. Faime’s team exhibits far more experience and golden pedigree than Bobby O’s squadron (largely because of Faime’s accolades, Bobby is the only wrestler listed who has never held a KSWA title) but the “True Owner” has surprised when needed.
Next, there will be a look at the title matchup between Shane Starr and Shawn Blanchard, as well as the KSWA Hall of Fame ceremony.