"Pittsburgh Dad's" Curt Wootton Brings Long-Time Love Of Wrestling To KSWA FanFest

November 22, 2015
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist

“I think ‘Dad’ would talk Hillbilly Jim’s ear off,” joked Curt Wootton recently. The local actor who has gained fame portraying the Pittsburgh patriarch will have the opportunity to do just that when both men appear at Keystone State Wrestling Alliance’s FanFest/Toy Drive on Saturday, December 5.

Wootton says he is delighted and excited to be a part of what has become a truly Pittsburgh Holiday tradition. Every December (now in its 11th year) the show grows in glamor and gusto. From its first event on December 3, 2005, KSWA FanFest has been a way for Pittsburgh’s longest-running professional wrestling organization to honor fans and raise toys for needy youth in the region. Toy donations go directly to Allegheny County’s “Holiday Project.”

Each year, more Pittsburgh-area celebrities have taken part in what is now believed to be the sport’s biggest Christmas-time event. Former Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Lanny Frattare, now a high school sports announcer for the MSA Sports Network and assistant professor of communications at Waynesburg College, KDKA traffic reporter Adam Gusky and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman have been among the notables who have participated in FanFest. Wootton is most likely the biggest wrestling fan of the bunch.

“I started watching wrestling in the summer of 1988 or 1989,” said Wootton. “I loved ‘WWF Superstars,’ and wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, the Honky Tonk Man and Ted Dibiase.”

Then a teenager, Wootton really appreciated “The Million Dollar Man” character; the braggart who would tease and taunt the audience, all with a roaring cackle. The larger-than-life personalities are right up the alley for future thespians. Others athletes like the Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon, “oh, and Randy Savage,” have been inspirations.

He liked the product so much that Wootton started working out with weights all those years ago. “My friends and I wrestled.” Breaking tables at 150 pounds hurts, he surmised with a chuckle. He continues with a workout regime to this day, albeit one without piledrivers.

While Wootton has made the rounds for different projects, he has never been to an independent professional wrestling event. “Being a fan, I’ve never got to be a part of an event like this. I’m very excited and pumped.”

Neither has Wootton yet met Ted Dibiase, but he has seen Pittsburgh’s own omnipresent flea market and trade show vendor/bodyguard. “I met Virgil at a dealer table,” Wootton says with a hearty laugh.

“Pittsburgh Dad” is obviously a wrestling fan. In April, 2014, an entire 3:24 episode was dedicated to Dad’s Wrestlemania 30 opinions. In the piece, he mentions both Hacksaw Jim Duggan and The Honky Tonk Man, two WWF legends that appeared at last year’s KSWA FanFest. Most recently during an episode about Fantasy Football, “Dad” admonishes another team owner by deadpanning, “You can’t draft Hulk Hogan.”

In what’s probably the first time captured on film, Wootton’s character proudly slaps the “Million Dollar Dream” sleeper hold on Sasquatch in “Bigfoot.” It was the perfect homage to the actor’s favorite wrestler.

Wootton’s appearance at FanFest was made in part by his friendship with KSWA referee David Fedor. Fedor, in addition to his daytime job, is a long-time Pittsburgh improv artist, actor and new dad. The two met in acting circles and the seed was planted.

In addition to “Pittsburgh Dad,” Wootton is known as Chuck in last year’s comedy-horror “Bigfoot: the Movie,” and hero Jack Yeager in the underappreciated Sci-Fi online series “The Mercury Men.” True to his Pittsburgh-area roots, all of those Wootton projects have been helmed and shot around Western Pennsylvania. Wootton was also featured in a recent, successful theater production of “Death of a Salesman” produced in conjunction with Duquesne University.

After Wootton and Hillbilly Jim meet at FanFest/Toy Drive, Curt will continue on with Pittburgh Dad. He and co-creator Chris Preksta are working on “merchandise like bobble heads, and we have a feature-length movie script.” In addition, there’s much more “Dad” to come online.

KSWA FanFest/Toy Drive is Saturday, December 5, at the Teamster Temple, 4701 Butler Street, in the Lawrenceville neighborhood within the city of Pittsburgh. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for kids, and $15 in the Mezzanine. Bell time is 7:00 p.m. Check kswa.net for more information, or call 412-726-1762.

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