Top 10 KSWA Moments For 2015: Numbers 10-6
December 29, 2015
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
Number 10: It was the second-longest tag team title reign in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA)’s 15 year history. “Big and Bigger,” the 660-pound team of “Big” Mike Malachi and the 7-foot-tall Jack Massacre had nine successful tag team defenses before losing to long-time foes “Nasty” Nick Crane and Sniper.
Malachi and Massacre successfully defended against the Mercenaries three times during their reign, twice to former champions Edric Everhart and Tyler Cross, and twice to J-Ru and Bobby Badfingers. (“Deeds” beat the tag champions once via count-out during that time.) But it took the dastardly and resilient Mercenaries (as well as Jay Flash with Mayor Mystery’s cane to a knee) to pin Malachi and win the Commonwealth’s most prestigious tag team gold. It was a dream come true for Crane and Sniper, who battled Party Gras before them several times to no avail. The Mercenaries would successfully defend just one time before losing the belts to Kris Kash and Shane Starr, but that’s a story for another day.
Number 9: The KSWA Hall of Fame has become the most significant ceremony of its type in Independent Wrestling. Since its inception in 2008, the honorees have all been essential cogs in the wheel of professional wrestling in Pittsburgh. From the first members—“Killer” Joe Abby and Frank Durso—up until the present time, all have left their footprints in the city’s athletic landscape. On March 28, referee/wrestler/manager extraordinaire James J. Dillon and “Big Bully” Nick Busick were the latest to be enshrined. Dillon, who got his start in the business thanks in large part to Bruno Sammartino (Class of 2012), would later play a huge role in the night’s activities. For Busick, he was able to celebrate the honor with one of his mentors—Dominic DeNucci (Class of 2010)—who was in the Teamster Temple as part of the festivities.
For Busick, a few days following the Hall of Fame ceremony, he was diagnosed with cancer. He spent the majority of 2015 battling—and ultimately beating—the disease. It’s been a tough road for the tough-as-nails former police officer-turned powerlifter and grappler. He had hoped to surprise fans who have supported him with a visit to FanFest on December 5, but his health prohibited travel from his home in nearby Weirton, West Virginia. Busick vows to return to the KSWA and Pittsburgh to see his fans again.
Number 8: It started in November, 1975 at a small arena in West Virginia. A wrestler no-showed an event and an eager teenage boy was tapped on the shoulder and asked to lace up his boots. The wrestler who would years later become Lord Zoltan registered his first professional wrestling match. In a volunteer fire department in November, 2015, the legend defeated “King” Del Douglas in the first round of the Mario Ferraro, Sr. Memorial Cup. Moments later, KSWA Owner and Kommissioner “Gentleman” Joe Perri were in the ring, presenting a Pennsylvania State House proclamation, honoring Lord Zoltan for his unprecedented career as an independent professional wrestler.
Later that same night, Lord Zoltan would defeat defending tournament winner “Dr. Devastation” Lou Martin for the Mario Ferraro Sr. Memorial Cup. The win stacks up there with a Joe Abby Memorial Tournament win in 2014, as well as a record-setting 75 week, 15-successful defense run as tag team champions. Zoltan and Justin Sane made up Party Gras, the most prosperous tag team champions in KSWA history. Zoltan would finish up 2015 by cutting Douglas’ hair in a “Crown v. Hair” match at FanFest.
Number 7: On July 17, former KSWA Champion The Latin Assassin brought Pittsburgh’s professional wrestling group to his neighborhood. Now an entrepreneur and business leader in that South Pittsburgh community, Latin hosted a highly-successful event in the Farmer’s Market parking lot. Hundreds of residents of the community came to the free show and enjoyed a night of wrestling action. During the night, then-KSWA Champion Shawn Blanchard called out the former title holder, who operates a popular food truck (among other business ventures). That incensed Latin and kept him on his toes. At the conclusion of the title match, a victorious Blanchard and KSWA Owner Tommy Faime attack opponent Kris Kash and KSWA Owner Bobby O. After a few boots are laid, Latin races to the ring and clears it of VIPs. This leaves the overflow crowd in hysterics. Since then, Latin has come to verbally challenge Blanchard, and serve as an enforcing referee. Latin also helped even the score for Kris Kash in FanFest. It’s hard to say what may happen in the upcoming year, as the Assassin remains not cleared to wrestle by doctors.
On August 15, Super Ginger defended the KSWA’s 5-Star Championship against a mystery opponent. A masked wrestler entered the ring by coming through the crowd. He dispatched his mask to reveal Mitch Napier, the former KSWA World Champion who was tricked by Lou Martin and lost the belt at FanFest on December 3, 2011. Napier had also won the 5-Star Championship on August 17, 2013 before losing it a few months later. It had been more than a year since Napier was in the KSWA ring. He and then-KSWA Champion Shane Starr defeated the Mercenaries in tag team action, and then he was gone. Napier, now with no entrance music, no salute to the fans, and an all-business demeanor, handily defeated Super Ginger and earned the 5-Star Championship. He continues to forge ahead brutally in any defense. He doesn’t talk to any staffers, so his departure-and-return remains enigmatic.
Number 6: At FanFest 2014, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan nearly tore the roof off of the Teamster Temple. He told KSWA staffers that in 30 years of wrestling, no group of fans ever erupted into the National Anthem like the Krazies did as he finished off “Nasty” Nick Crane. In 2015, Hillbilly Jim came to the KSWA and raised the bar ten-fold when it comes to having fun with the Krazies. Hillbilly Jim’s arrival in the KSWA was an immediate hit with the fans, as he talked to each like he knew them for years. Hillbilly Jim lead The Jester to the ring in his challenge for Lou Martin’s Golden Triangle Championship. Jim stopped KSWA Owner Tommy Faime from getting involved in the title defense and laid him out with a punch and head butt. While Jester would not win the match, he would dance with Hillbilly Jim and a ring full of children. Later in the night, Hillbilly Jim—who battled Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy and other giants of the time during his televised career—thrilled the Krazies by watching the second half of FanFest amongst trendy beer drinkers in an area of the Teamster Temple lovingly referred to as “The Pit.”
Next Up: Top Moments Of 2015 Numbers 5 through 1.