December 9, 2010
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
When the idea of FanFest came up five years ago, it was the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance's answer to Wrestlemania. The event was designed to showcase the KSWA Megastars and the fans alike, because if it weren't for the Krazies, there certainly wouldn't be pro wrestling in Pittsburgh.
Because of the dynamic Krazies, attendance at FanFest has grown each and every year. In addition to Megastar action inside the ring, the fans are treated to an unbelievable Chinese auction and other giveaways. Thousands of dollars in gifts are given away.
And all the KSWA asks is for the Krazies to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Arena for the annual Holiday Toy Drive. And as usual, the Krazies do not disappoint.
Once again, hundreds of toys were donated to the Holiday Project, through Allegheny County. Even more than usual were donated because the Lawrenceville United community group donated six boxes of leftover toys from its own Christmas celebration the night before. Several KSWA Megastars, including KSWA Heavyweight Champion The Latin Assassin, the VIPs, Tag Team Champs Kris Kash and Shane Starr, Mike Buda, KSWA Owner Bobby O and Ring Announcer Trapper Tom attended an autograph signing session at the party.
But that all lead up to FanFest 2010 and it turned out to be the biggest extravaganza in the history of the KSWA as an all-time record of 425 attended.
FanFest Four-Way Dance
The night started with Biker Al, “The Drunken Luchadore” Joey Quervo, “The King” Del Douglas and rookie Mike Buda in a Four-Way match. The fans were in a wild mood from the get-go, with “The King” constantly jawing with them at ringside. The familiar “Burger King” chant rang through the KSWA Arena.
This match was hectic from the start with all four men at one time or another getting some offense. At one time, Del Douglas slapped the Royal Sharpshooter on Mike Buda and his former tag team partner, Biker Al clinched onto Buda's chin. That put the rookie into some obvious discomfort. However, he was able to get to the ropes and that painful hold was relieved.
The Jester, who accompanies the King to the ring, got into the squared circle and pounded on Joey Quervo. Biker Al followed up with a pin attempt but the Luchadore kicked out at two.
There was plenty of action in this match as all four men wanted a victory at FanFest, but in the end, with Buda and The Jester away from the middle of the ring, The King pinned Biker Al for the win. After the win, Douglas and the Jester celebrated before an irate, overflow crowd. The Jester put The King's robe back around his victorious shoulders and they went their merry way.
Bobby O and Shawn Blanchard Inducted Into The Western PA Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
Nels Cleath the founder of the Western Pennsylvania Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, was welcomed to the ring with two surprise announcements. Cleath asked that the KSWA's only 5-time Heavyweight Champion, “The Enforcer” Shawn Blanchard come to the ring. At that time, Cleath inducted Blanchard into the Western PA Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, Class of 2010.
Then he asked KSWA Owner Bobby O to the forefront. Cleath said that “without Bobby O, none of this would be possible,” and Bobby also was inducted into the HOF. Bobby took the microphone and thanked his mother who was in attendance for “not making me turn off the TV” when wrestling was on. He also thanked family, the KSWA Megastars and the Krazies. He tried to shake hands with Blanchard to “let bygones be bygones” but The Enforcer would have none of it.
Last year, Cleath inducted KSWA Hall of Famers Lord Zoltan, Dominic DeNucci and Frank Durso into the Western Pennsylvania Hall. Earlier this year when Pittsburgh native Larry Zybsko was in town for a KSWA event and Deaf Wrestlefest, he was also inducted. DeNucci's most famous student, Mike Foley was also at Deaf Wrestlefest and received a plaque.
At the conclusion of the HOF ceremony, Bobby O asked for a package to be brought out. Inside the bag was a brand new Championship Belt. Bobby said that the KSWA has always had a strong Jr. Heavyweight division and it was time that some competition was forged with many of the new guys that are in the KSWA.
Bob announced that at that moment there would be a six-man Gauntlet Match, with the winner becoming the first-ever KSWA Jr. Heavyweight Champion.
Bob invited “The Jester” and “The Great Toyota” to the ring. Those two men would wrestle and one would pin the other. The winner of that match would immediately face a new competitor.
6-Man Gauntlet Match For KSWA Jr. Heavyweight Championship
The Jester v. The Great Toyota
This match features two similarly-shaped Megastars. Neither wrestler is a sky-scraper and both could benefit from a Jr. Heavyweight division. On this day the Jester was the better man. There was some action early on with suplexes and sleeper holds, but the Jester should his resilience and pinned the Great Toyota.
The Jester v. Tony Johnson
“The Ice Man” Tony Johnson hit the ring. He was met with a front-face lock and other moves to keep him grounded. Ice Man is taller and closer to the 200 lb.-cut off for the division. Jester hit a flying clothesline on Johnson, but the Ice Man battled back. Johnson administered a bodyslam to the Jester but that only seemed to fire him up more. But in the end, Johnson pinned the Jester.
Jay Flash vs. Tony Johnson
The two friends have wrestled each other and worked in tag team matches many times. They know each other inside and out. That experience would be of utmost importance in this matchup.
After a long feeling-out period, the action was fast and furious. The high-flying Jay Flash hit Johnson with flying leg scissors and the Ice Man spilled out onto the floor. He was immediately met with a cross body from the top rope. The Krazies were into the match big time.
Once inside the ring, Flash hit a spinebuster on Johnson. He followed that up with a swon ton off the top. The ref counted two on the pin attempt.
Johnson was able to counter all of that offense and in the end hit an impressive missile drop kick on Flash and made the cover for the win!
Tony Johnson v. J.P. Goulet
Goulet was in and immediately whipped Goulet into the corner and followed it up with a clothesline. Just like the Flash match, this one was fast and furious. Then Goulet went for a submission move but Johnson wasn't ready to give up. J.P. Nearly pinned Johnson but he kicked up. At one moment, nearly all of the 425 Krazies were chanting “USA, USA” for St. Louis-bred Tony Johnson and against Canadian-born Goulet. Johnson was able to rally and hit “The Flawless One” with a clothesline. He followed that up with a pin and his second victory was in the books.
Tony Johnson v. Drew Belanger
After several minutes of battled a number of different opponents, “The Thunder Bay Bomber” Drew Belanger hit the ring with purpose. A suplex was followed with a pin attempt. A back-breaker move was followed by a pin attempt. A back elbow falled Johnson. Another pin attempt.
Despite all of the action, Johnson battled back. He hit a big chop and sent Belanger flying into the ropes. Johnson missed with the drop kick. Belanger hit the sharpshooter. Johnson, after a grueling few minutes, made it to the ropes. The hold was broken.
Another drop kick hit Belanger in the kisser. Johnson went for the pin and got it!
The winner and the 1st-ever Jr. Heavyweight Champion--”The Ice Man” Tony Johnson. Jay Flash hit the ring with his friend and frequent tag team partner. The two celebrated and the fans were ecstatic for Johnson.
With the win, it's important to point out that Johnson becomes the first African-American champion of any type in the KSWA's first 10 years.
Alex Arcadian v. Vinnie Stone
Before this match was presented, FanFest Special Guest Ring Announcer Lanny Frattare, legendary former broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates, made his way into the ring. The Krazies met Lanny with warmth and compassion. No one was expecting anything less. He threw himself into the introductions for both “Vicious” Vinnie Stone and Alex Arcadian. The long-time friends-turned-bitter rivals took their time getting used to one another. It took a while before the met with a collar-and-elbow tie-up. The Megastars, who have worked a lot with each other in and out of the KSWA, swapped a series of arm bars. It was very slow going at the outset, as each man didn't want the animosity to sway their effectiveness. Arcadian hit Vinnie with a bunch of chops and boots. They spilled to the outside. Arcadian had the advantage. Once back on the apron, Vinnie got tangled in the ropes and Arcadian successfully splashed him. And kicked him. But Vinnie Stone wasn't finished. Not by a long shot. He recovered and pounded on Arcadian. He landed a sleeper hold on Arcadian but the Yuma, Arizona native was able to get free. In a surreal moment of the night, the theme music used for Arcadian and Ric Rumsky's tag team hit. That distracted Vinnie Stone enough to allow Arcadian to recover. Vinnie Stone was able to hit a spear on Arcadian but he didn't follow it up quickly enough. Arcadian rebounded and got the win. The Krazies celebrated as Vinnie Stone grumbled his way back to the locker room.
Mitch Napier & Bobby Badfingers v. Blood Beast & Lord Zoltan
Blood Beast slowed Mitch Napier down from the opening bell. It is a battle of brute power (with a surprising array of technical moves) vs. the best pure technician inside the KSWA's squared circle. On the outside, Blood Beast's manager, Gentleman Joe Perri and Lord Zoltan's manager, Mayor Mystery, were going to be trouble. Soon Bobby Badfinger chased them both around the arena. Inside the ring, Lord Zoltan bites Mitch Napier. Zoltan follows that up with a punch to Napier's throat. And he follows that up by chocking him on the bottom rope. Blood Beast is back in and he rakes Napier's forehead across the top rope. Zoltan and Blood Beast double team Napier as Bobby Badfingers looks on. Badfingers tries to make the save but is met with resistance by referee Justin Smith. Badfingers finally makes the save but that doesn't stop his opponents from a continued assault. Blood Beast kicks Mitch in the head and continues to hammer on him. Mitch, somehow, retaliates and drop-kicks Blood Beast. Mitch tags Bobby Badfingers and he is a house of fire in the ring. He hits both Blood Beast and Lord Zoltan. However, the veteran Lord Zoltan chokes Badfingers. Blood Beast regroups and drop kicks him before raking his eyes. Badfingers gets up and clotheslines Blood Beast. There's a two count and the Beast is up. Badfingers back body flips Blood Beast and at 273 lbs, Beast comes down in a thunderous heap. Badfingers tags Napier back in. Blood Beast gets to Lord Zoltan. Napier uses his opponents momentum against him and tosses Lord Zoltan Badfingers and Blood Beast brawl and spill over the top rope. Lord Zoltan goes to work on Napier with chops to the solar plexes. The big men are on the outside. Lord Zoltan continues to work on Napier until Badfingers crawls back in and lands the bulldog on Zoltan. Badfingers picks Napier up for an assisted leg drop on the prone Zoltan. Mitch then picks Zoltan up for the Souix Falls Slam and gets the win. Bobby and Mitch celebrate while Blood Beast and Zoltan gather themselves for a return trip to the locker room.
It should be noted that during intermission, hundreds of people were screaming with you as thousands of dollars in presents, gift certificates, etc were passed out from the ring. The Chinese Auction alone produced Pirate and Penguin game tickets, as well as Studio Wrestling memorabilia and an overnight hotel stay.
The second half of the spectacular event began with the Golden Triangle Championship and its unique stipulation. If Anthony Alexander lost, he lost the title. If Big Mike Malachi lost, his KSWA contract became null-and-void. This match is of such importance that his former Iron City Crew running mate, Shane O'Shea (who currently works as an agent with the KSWA) makes a return to ringside, in Malachi's corner.
Golden Triangle Championship
Big Mike Malachi v. Double-A Anthony Alexander (w/Frank Durso)
As is customary with every FanFest, the song “You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” is played directly at Frank Durso. The Advisor to the VIPs is livid as a result. With the enormity of this match weighing on both big men, they take their time getting ready to hook em' up. The biggest of the Megastars check the ropes before locking into a massive collar-and-elbow tie-up. Malachi goes for a gigantic shoulder block and that knocks Alexander to the mat. Double-A crawls to the outside where Malachi follows and gives chase. Alexander dashes back into the ring and waits for Malachi. He grabs Malachi by the throat. Alexander whips Malachi into the ropes and meets him with a back elbow. That rocks Big Mike. Alexander follows up with a kick to the midsection. AA is now slow and methodical in his attack. But someone the determined Malachi fights back and a monstrous clothesline levels Alexander. Malachi's big boot sends Alexander into the corner. Alexander is draped over the bottom rope and Malachi jumps on his back. Malachi pulls Alexander up and bodyslams him in the center of the ring. Malachi runs the ropes, and with verve, drops a big elbow. There's a two-count on Malachi. Malachi twists Alexander's neck. That brings Frank Durso to the apron and distracts the referee. Malachi goes for the pin but Alexander is up at two. Malachi tries again after a leg drop. Alexander kicks up at two. Alexander rallies and chokes Malachi with a headlock. Malachi powers out, but Alexander sinks it in tighter. Alexander hits Malachi with a big boot and that sends the Krazies into a Malachi chant. Big Mike Malachi regroups and goes after Alexander. In what would be a glimpse into what was ahead, Malachi nearly gets a three-count on Alexander. A very dramatic two-count indeed. Malachi hits Alexander with a side suplex and Malachi Crunch finisher. Alexander gets his foot on the ropes. A swinging neck breaker on Alexander. Only two. Another neck breaker. Another two count. After a few moments, Alexander fights back. He hits Malachi with a spine buster. Alexander, appearing to be spent, leaves the ring and heads toward the locker room. The fans wonder if he's going to be counted out. Then he returns with a wooden table. Once inside Alexander puts the table up in the corner. Shane O'Shea jumps on the apron and moves it. Frank Durso goes after O'Shea. Those two battle on the outside. O'Shea crawls into the ring and is met with Alexander's Prime Time Cancellation. Malachi battles back. Alexander meets that resistance with a low blow. The overflow crowd groans. Alexander tosses Malachi into the table. It cracks but doesn't break. Referee Jimmy James goes down. Durso splashes water in his face. Alexander tosses Malachi into the table a second time. This time it explodes with splinters flying everywhere. The table folds around Malachi in the corner. Alexander goes for a pin but Malachi kicks up at two. Alexander pulls him up and hits the Prime Time Cancellation. A 2 ½ count follows. Malachi will not go down lightly. There's a second Prime Time Cancellation. An agonizing two count. Then Alexander sets him up for a third. And after many battles, Jimmy James counts to three. The winner and still Golden Triangle Champion, Double-A Anthony Alexander. After the match, Alexander leaves and O'Shea enters the ring. Malachi takes a hero's welcome and goodbye from the fans. Malachi grabs the microphone and says a few words before tears well up in his eyes and he says so long. The Krazies continue to cheer for Big Mike as he goes behind the curtain. This was a five-star match to go out on.
KSWA Tag Team Championship
The VIPs (Shawn Blanchard and Lou Martin) w/Frank Durso v. Kris Kash & Shane Starr w/James J. Dillon
Over the past few months the Tag Champions, Kris Kash and Shane Starr had been appreciative that the manager of many tag team champions, James J. Dillon had reached out to them to counter Frank Durso's presence at FanFest. J.J.'s involvement was so much more important too because this title defense was the best two-out-of-three falls. Before the match gets underway, J.J. Dillon grabs the microphone and tells Frank Durso that he will get his. The Krazies got nuts over that. Once the action gets started it's all Kris Kash. He takes care of both members of the VIPs that are involved in this match. But after a while, Lou Martin gets his momentum going and gets some offense on Kash. Kash gets to his corner and tags in Shane Starr. Starr goes right after Martin with a Fireman's take over. After some more offense, Kash is tagged back in. Prone in the corner, Martin is hit with Kash's patented tilt-a-whirl drop kick. This one hits Martin square in the mush. Martin somehow gets to his corner and tags in Blanchard. Starr bodyslams Blanchard. He also gets a two-count on him. Blanchard is pulled up and lead to the corner. Starr climbs the corner post and proceeds to hit Blanchard in the head with 10 punches. Blanchard goes down for another two count. Blanchard recovers and Starr tags in Kash. Blanchard meets him with a spinebuster. There's a two count. Blanchard pulls him up and chops him in the chest. J.J. Dillon keeps his eye on Durso and grabs a chair in case a weapon is needed. Blanchard continues his attack on Kash. Blanchard also takes the opportunity to take a swing at Starr on the apron. Now in the corner, Blanchard uses the tag rope on Kash's throat. Meanwhile at ringside, Dillon chases Durso, who also has designs on Kash's throat. Martin is in and side slams Kash. Blanchard returns and knees Kash in the crotch. Blanchard then gestures in an unflattering manner to Dillon on the outside. Blanchard goes to work on Kash's knee. Lou Martin is in for an elbow drop on Kash. Phantom tag is made as referee Shawn Patrick fights off Shane Starr who is desperately trying to save his partner. Blanchard slaps on the Figure Four in the center of the ring. Kash fights out of it, toward his corner. Somehow, he gets to Starr and the tag is made. Shane Starr comes in and cleans house. Somehow in the bedlam, Starr pins Martin for one fall. Martin then pins Starr for a pin in rapid fire. Two out of three falls are recorded. All four men get some licks. Kash hits Blanchard with some serious chops in the corner. Kash brings Martin in hard over the top rope. Kash hits both VIPs with a double noggin-knocker. Kash goes for the twist of fate on Blanchard, the legal man. Durso climbs the stairs. From the outside J.J. Dillon reaches into his Four Horsemen jacket and tosses an object directly to Shawn Blanchard! It turns out that its a pair of brass knuckles and Blanchard plants a punch right into Kash's heart. Kash goes down, the referee doesn't see it and counts to three. The winners and the new KSWA Tag Team Champions, Shawn Blanchard and Lou Martin for the third time. James J. Dillon celebrates with Frank Durso, then they celebrate with the VIPs.
KSWA Heavyweight Championship
Ali Kaida v. The Latin Assassin
This match is between two Megastars who simply do not like one another. The maniacal Ali Kaida has often found himself in a Heavyweight Championship Match at FanFest. This marks his third appearance. This was Latin Assassin's first title defense at FanFest. The wrestlers spent a good amount of time feeling each other out. There's an arm bar and Ali Kaida simply tosses Latin Assassin outside of the ring and onto the concrete below. Latin is back in and is immediately met with Ali Kaida's rage. Kaida chokes Latin in the corner. He follows that up with a big splash. There's an immediate pin attempt on Latin. He kicks out at two. Ali Kaida gouges at Latin's eyes. At one time he bites the Assassin. Again, the Afghani Assault Weapon tosses Latin outside. Latin gets back in and is met with a pin attempt. He's up at two. Ali clubs Latin. Kaida continues to work on Latin's left shoulder. Although he has been completely dominated in the opening moments, Latin rallies and chops Ali Kaida. He gets Kaida down and goes for his own pin, but it's just a two count. Latin goes after Ali Kaida's right knee which was injured in a battle royal in September. Ali battle back. There's a collision in the middle of the ring and both men are down. Latin is the first to get on his feet. Latin rolls up Kaida for a pin attempt but only gets two. Ali Kaida comes back and hits Latin with a thunderous chest bump. Latin bounces off the mat hard. Latin climbs to his feet and chops at Kaida. Kaida rams him again with the chest bump. The Krazies chant “USA, USA.” The chest bump sends Latin outside and Kaida follows. He rams Latin into the corner post. Latin battles back. The battle rages on the outside for a few minutes. Once back in, Latin goes for a pin. Two count. Latin bodyslams Ali. Latin climbs to the middle ropes, tosses aside his elbow pads and goes for the big elbow drop. Kaida moves. Latin hits the mat hard. Kaida clamors to the corner. Latin leers in. In a flash, Kaida goes to hit Latin with a fire ball, but he hits himself instead! Latin Assassin knocks Ali Kaida to the mat and scores the one, two, three in the middle of the ring. The winner and still KSWA Heavyweight Champion, The Latin Assassin!
A frantic FanFest comes to a close.