Rock n' Roll Express Take On The VIPs, Lord Zoltan Wants To Settle A Score, Tag Team Supremacy Looms At FanFest
November 27, 2017
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
The Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) extravaganza known as FanFest returns on Saturday, December 2 with the pomp, circumstance, highlights and professional wrestling action that has been customary since 2008.
This year, in addition to all of the KSWA Megastars, Tito Santana and The Rock n’ Roll Express make their way to Spirit Hall in the heart of Lawrenceville. This is the first FanFest at the former KSWA Arena since 2013 and organizers are excited about the return.
Rock n’ Roll Express v. The VIPs
Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson have been known collectively as the Rock n’ Roll Express since 1983 and were top tag team competitors for almost a decade. In the NWA, they were 8-time tag team champions. Later they would be the Smokey Mountain tag team champions 10-times. They wrestled together for shorter times in WCW and the WWF. Earlier this year they were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Ricky and Robert were among the most popular tag teams of all time and now they return to Pittsburgh to take on the VIPs—Shawn Blanchard and Lou Martin. Morton and Gibson had many high-profile matches with the Four Horsemen. Morton frequently challenged Ric Flair for the NWA title and appeared to nearly win all the time. Now the duo takes on Blanchard and Martin—the VIPs—who closely resemble the swagger, confidence and ego of the most decorated stable of all-time. In fact, Blanchard in particular has a close association with James J. Dillon, leader of the Four Horsemen, and an occasional sage to the VIPs.
Now the VIPs—who also tangled with the legendary Demolition on more than one occasion—take on the Rock n’ Roll Express in one of the most eagerly-anticipated showdowns of the year.
Blanchard and Martin are vaunted and adorned tag team veterans, frequent champions, and are looking forward to this collision.
Tito Santana v. Lord Zoltan
This match is 34.5 years in the making. A pre-Lord Zoltan Ken Jugan wrestled his first WWF television match against Tito Santana at the Agricultural Hall in Allentown, PA on May 31, 1983. Jugan had wrestled for a few years, but this was his first shot at television exposure on WWF television. Santana, who had previously held the tag team championship with Ivan Putski (defeating KSWA Hall of Famer “Luscious” Johnny Valiant and his brother Jerry in 1979) had returned to the WWF just two weeks earlier and defeated Jose Estrada. Santana bested Jugan as a result of their showdown, in 4:19.
It’s a loss than resonates with Lord Zoltan to this very day.
Since that matchup during the Reagan administration, both wrestlers have gone on to spectacular careers.
Tito Santana, by his own words, grew up a migrant worker in South Texas. He became a high school football player. Santana originally thought of becoming a teacher, but was encourage to go into professional wrestling instead. He became a tag team champion again and an Intercontinental Champion. Santana remains one of the most popular wrestlers to have performed in the WWF.
Lord Zoltan has recently returned to the “dark side” after pummeling Justin Sane a number of times during their summer-long chase of the 5-Star Championship. Zoltan has also reteamed with the “Manager of Champions,” and “The Mayor of Parts Unknown,” Mayor Mystery. Zoltan promises that this meeting between he and Santana will not go the same way this time around.
KSWA Tag Team Championship
All year long, the KSWA World Tag Team Champions—The Jester and T-Rantula—have not backed down from a Nacho-fueled fight. In January, the champions defeated Spear Asylum—Bobby Badfingers and J-Ru in their rematch from FanFest 2016. Badfingers and J-Ru had singled out The Jester all year after he won an opportunity at the tag team championship at Battle Bowl.
In February, the team defeated newcomers Zak Hunter and BROhemoth, Big Game Hunters. It was here that T-Rantula blasted BROhemoth with a high-velocity snack delivery. At the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament in March, the tag champions were in a six-man contest with Jack Massacre, who lost to Spear Asylum and Big Mike Malachi.
In May, the team took on the most successful tag team champions in KSWA history, Party Gras. This match was unique because T-Rantula faced off against Lord Zoltan for the first time in a match of significance. The two long-time veterans had held tag team championships together for regional promotions, but in 2017, on a major stage, they faced off once again. Not to mention the fact that it was The Jester and King Del Douglas who defeated Party Gras after their historic 75-week run at the top. Party Gras has tagged with The Jester and battled against him numerous times. This time, it was the Jester and T-Rantula who were victorious.
In June, T-Rantula and The Jester took on another formidable team in Dennis Gregory and Jay Flash. With Gregory, T-Rantula once again takes on a familiar face, and Jay Flash was “The Giant Slayer” on his way to the KSWA Heavyweight Championship. This was a hard-hitting match between foes who know their competition inside and out. It was fair to note that The Jester and Jay Flash arrived in the KSWA at about the exact same time and battled countless times since their debut. Once again, Jester and T won out; however, it’s believed that this is when Gregory knew he his sights were just being set on tag team gold.
In June and July, T-Rantula took on individual competition, including Lou Martin in Brawl Under the Bridge III. In the famed “Battle of the Mayors,” Mayor Mystery accompanied Martin and T-Rantula came to the ring with Homestead Mayor Betty Esper on the back on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. The moment was capture by a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and featured in Pittsburgh Magazine.
In September, T-Rantula and The Jester took on the VIPs—Lou Martin and Shawn Blanchard—the most iconic team in KSWA history. That match did not have a clean finish because a debuting Bubba the Bulldog joined Gregory in a massive flattening of the tag team champions. Bubba went so far as to take T-Rantula to “Nacho City.” The two also attacked The Jester with a chair, injuring his leg. Doctors said it was remarkable The Jester wasn’t injured more severely. The reverberations of that meeting sting ring in some corners of Spirit Hall.
With an injured Jester away, T-Rantula took on Gregory in Lower Burrell and at the outdoor event at Spirit Hall in early October. Gregory sprinted off when things went south for him at the Sam’s Club Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser, and the “Golden Boy” defeated T-Rantula in their second face-to-face.
At the Mario Ferraro Sr. Memorial Tournament, T and Jester got back together and retained against Lucio Deveer and Jack Massacre, as well as Mike Malachi and Jay Flash. In that end, T-Rantula inadvertently hit Massacre with the high velocity snack delivery.
After the match, T-Rantula and The Jester challenged Dennis and Bubba the Bulldog for a FanFest title defense. The two, along with Mayor Mystery, quickly agreed. This showdown will be epic.
In addition to those matches, the Golden Triangle Championship is on the line as titleholder Tommy Faime defends against “Double A” Anthony Alexander and KSWA Heavyweight Champion Mitch Napier looks to retain against BROhemoth for the most coveted title in the Commonwealth.
KSWA FanFest/Toy Drive This Saturday
Other matches are still being finalized for KSWA FanFest/Toy Drive 2017 at Spirit Hall in the Lawrenceville neighborhood within the city of Pittsburgh. Many of your favorite—and not so favorite—Megastars will be in action. Fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for needy children via the Allegheny County “Holiday Project.” Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for kids. Card is subject to change.