The Top Five Managers In KSWA History: From Studio Wrestling To Parts Unknown, Durso and Mystery Round Out The List
October 18, 2015
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
Franklin “Slip Mahoney” Durso was born on January 30, 1937 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a wrestler during the famed “Studio Wrestling” era of the city, with his first match in 1961. He actually won the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Golden Triangle Championship for approximately five minutes on May 7, 2011. But Durso’s in-ring career isn’t what makes him stand out in the world of professional wrestling. It’s his role as an “Advisor.”
Durso made his debut in the KSWA on October 15, 2005 when he entered the ring at the KSWA Arena to seemingly congratulate “Dr. Devastation” Lou Martin for his hard-fought victory over challenger The Latin Assassin. The visit appeared to coincide with Martin’s birthday celebration. Instead, the always-feisty 68-year-old clobbered Martin, to the shear astonishment of those at ringside.
Almost immediately, Durso became a managing “Advisor” to “The Enforcer” Shawn Blanchard, the founder of the VIPs. On February 25, 2006 Durso and his ward, Blanchard, defeated Martin and Anthony Alexander in a tag team match. On April 1, 2006, with Durso at his side, Blanchard won the KSWA World Heavyweight Title for the 3rd time. On December 6, 2006, due to his constant outside interference, Durso would be tied in a strait jacket during FanFest’s main event between Blanchard and La Lucha. Blanchard lost the match and title to the Mexican Megastar. One month later, again with an unimpeded Durso by his side, Blanchard won the belt back for a 4th time. In an interview after that match Blanchard called Durso “The mind behind it all.”
On July 19, 2008 the VIPs reunited when Martin turned on Justin Sane and joined up with Shawn Blanchard. It’s been said that Durso had a lot to do with that acquisition. The VIPs were together again, but this time with a mastermind that fellow Pittsburgh wrestling legend Larry Zbysko called a “Classic.”
Durso and “Killer” Joe Abby would make up the very first class of the KSWA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Also in 2008, the VIPs expanded with the addition of “The Future,” Shane Starr. Durso’s stable of athletes had never been stronger. On August 29, 2009 Martin and Starr won the KSWA tag team championship. They only held it for a month before Martin and Blanchard won them back for the Durso fold. That didn’t last long either, as Demolition—Ax and Smash—did away with Durso and the VIPs. Blanchard may have lost half of the tag belts, but he was still heavyweight champion.
On December 5, 2009 Durso wrestled Dominic DeNucci at FanFest and won. He later returned to advise as Blanchard held off The Latin Assassin. But what was even bigger that night was long-time foe Anthony Alexander joined the VIPs when he blasted Latin with the Prime Time Cancellation. With Martin, Blanchard, Starr and now Alexander all under one roof, Durso was never better. The new quartet wasn’t meant to be. Following a tag team loss, the rest of the team took out their frustrations on Starr and kicked him out of the group. Under the tutelage of Durso, Anthony Alexander won the Golden Triangle Championship for the first time in five years on September 18, 2010. An injury would end Alexander’s in-ring career in 2011.
In December, 2011 Durso lead Blanchard to the ring at FanFest, only to walk out with Martin as KSWA World Champion. Durso would continue to lead the original VIPs until May 5, 2012 in a match between Martin and challenger Jack Massacre for the title. As he did often, Durso, then 75, climbed into the ring by most accounts startled Martin. The champion told Durso to get back down out of the ring. On his way out, Durso stumbled and appeared to fall onto the hardwood floor. Durso shook off the fall, but later revealed that he injured his knee. That was his last appearance in the KSWA.
It should also be noted that without Shawn Blanchard’s appreciation for those who came before him in wrestling, and in Pittsburgh in particular, Durso would have been a long-forgotten memory. With the second chance, Durso made the most of it, and as a result, is the Number Two Manager in KSWA history.
And the Top Manager in KSWA History Is...Mayor Mystery!
On August 29, 2009, Justin Sane was to face a "Mystery" opponent. He wasn't expecting Mayor Mystery, the enigmatic ruler of "Parts Unknown." Some think the land is next to Latveria, but most aren't sure.
Mayor Mystery lead Lord Zoltan to the ring. The two have been partnered for many years. In addition to piloting Zoltan's career for much of the 2000's and earlier, Mayor Mystery managed Matt Borne, Jimmy Snuka, Honky Tonk Man, the Powers of Pain, Kamala, and Luke Gallows. He was on the other side of the ring from Demolition, Brutus Beefcake, Doink the Clown, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Dominic DeNucci, and others. He also managed Beth Phoenix in a match against Mickie James. Now he was fortifying a home in Pittsburgh.
In that first match against Justin Sane, Lord Zoltan won by using a choke hold. Mayor Mystery tried to pull Zoltan off of his future friend and tag team partner but he was unsuccessful. The referee reversed the decision, leaving Justin Sane with the duke.
Mystery was ringside when Zoltan defeated Justin Sane in the infamous "Loser Wears A Dress For A Year" match at FanFest, 2009. That, incidentally, was the same event in which Anthony Alexander turned on the Krazies.
Mystery continued to manage Lord Zoltan for the next few years.
In early 2011, Lord Zoltan was ominously absent from the KSWA landscape as the winter air turned colder and colder. It's well-known that the kabuki-painted Zoltan prefers his party homeland of New Orleans and Bourbon Street specifically.
Meanwhile, Justin Sane had won an opportunity at the KSWA tag team championship at Battle Bowl, but he didn't have a partner. In the months that followed, he asked the current tag team champions--the VIP's--to be his partner, and he even asked a household lamp. It wasn't until June 11, 2011 in which Zoltan returned as the "surprise" entrant in the "Ultimate Survivor" match at Heatwave Havoc. He returned, seemingly to bolster the VIP-lead team of Blanchard and Martin, along with J.P. Goulet and Drew Belanger. But instead--with Mayor Mystery nowhere to be seen--he turned on his former allies and helped Sane, Kris Kash and Shane Starr get the duke. At the end of the night, Sane extended a hand of friendship to Zoltan and the brawler accepted. On July 2, 2011 in Arsenal Park, the 75-week "Party Gras" run began.
Mayor Mystery immediately turned his full-time attention the Legion of the Apocalypse. Mystery had compiled a large array of brawling Megastars: Ali Kaida, The Blood Beast, Bobby Badfingers and Johnny Ax.
Badfingers was the first member of the Legion to bring gold home to Parts Unknown, when he defeated pinned Frank Durso on May 7, 2011. At the time, Badfingers was a fan favorite, but after a 20-minute draw against Jay Flash on June 11, he hit his opponent with a clothesline. Mayor Mystery approved and announced that Badfingers was his newest member of the LOA. Mystery would often call Flash "Jane."
On July 9, 2011, Mayor Mystery did his part to help distract everyone enough to assist Ali Kaida in winning the KSWA World Heavyweight Championship. This was Mystery's first and only (so far) KSWA Heavyweight Champion.
As a result of his success, Mayor Mystery was voted "Manager of the Year" in the KSWA's year-end poll. Often by default, Durso had held the title for five years straight. No one has held it since.
On May 5, 2012 Johnny Ax won the KSWA's "Junior Heavyweight Championship from Shane Starr at Immaculate Conception Church in Bloomfield, despite being considerably over the 200 weight limit. It turns out that the underhanded Mayor somehow successfully swayed the KSWA Championship Committee to allow for an exception. Then, citing the new champion's size, tricked the Championship Committee to re-brand the title the "5-Star" belt. Ultimately, the KSWA Championship Committee ruled that the "excellent in technical wrestling" skill championed by Mayor Mystery stood above the "less than 200 pounds" dearth on the roster.
Mystery would pilot the rudder-less Blood Beast to the Golden Triangle Championship on April 28, 2012.
On June 2, 2012, Mayor Mystery was fired by Bobby O. He would be gone for nearly 1 1/2 years but he's return would be successful to say the least.
On December 7, 2013, Mystery appeared out of nowhere to assist Bobby Badfingers win the Five Star Championship.
Since that time he has helmed the careers of others like Bulldozer and has even represented "King" Del Douglas.
The year 2015 has been a good one for Mystery. On June 13, one half of the "Mercenaries," "Nasty" Nick Crane won the 5-Star Championship, and his team of "Deeds," J-Ru and Badfingers had come come to the KSWA tag team titles on several occasions. However, it was Crane and Sniper as "The Mercenaries" who upset Mike Malachi and Jack Massacre on October 3, 2015.
Mayor Mystery promises that he will remain at the top of the KSWA--and Parts Unknown--for as long as he desires.