Top Memories Of 2017: #1--The First 400 Days, Mitch Napier's Ascendancy To PA's Most Important Mountaintop
January 1, 2018
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
When Mitch Napier defeated Jay Flash and Kris Kash at FanFest on December 3, 2016, no one could really predict what may happen. It has been well-noted that Napier's first Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Heavyweight Championship run lasted less than two minutes. He was bamboozled by Lou Martin exactly five years earlier, when "Dr. Devastation" saved his Battle Bowl opportunity for the very last seconds of 2011.
Napier was a little more straight-forward. It's been long forgotten that Napier had actually packed in his KSWA wrestling career. On April 29, 2014 after the conclusion of the 7th Annual Joe Abby Memorial Tournament, Napier vanished from the KSWA landscape. He returned one year, four months and 25 days later, emerged from the crowd and defeated Super Ginger for the 5-Star Championship in an "Open Challenge." Gone was the smiling, positive Napier, replaced by a gritty, quick-tempered powerhouse. That Mitch Napier earned respect throughout the KSWA locker room during a best of five tournament with Kaida over the 5-Star title. When he gave Kaida a Sioux Falls Slam from the corner post, Napier exclaimed that he was back, perhaps better than ever.
Even though Harley T. Morris cashed in a Battle Bowl opportunity and dashed off with the 5-Star Championship, Napier was a changed Megastar. When then-Heavyweight Champion attacked his predecessor, Kris Kash after a defense, the "Red, White and Blue" Mitch Napier emerged from nowhere to make the save. The unexpected and unexplained return took the Krazies by storm.
Then Napier was the champion. No KSWA Heavyweight Champion on record has done what Napier has done in one calendar year...plus. On Saturday, January 6, Napier will have held the KSWA Heavyweight Championship exactly 400 days. He is scheduled to defend against the veteran "King" Del Douglas that night. If Napier is to advance (Bloomfield bookies say that he is the favorite), the Champion will find himself in rarified air. Napier's reign is still behind many Megastars when it comes to time: Lou Martin's two reigns are the longest--his first was 798 days and his second 735--but the Sioux Falls native's will be the longest since Shane Starr's (476) that ended in 2015. The Latin Assassin's (434 days) could be passed next. Mike Malachi, Anthony Alexander and Tommy Faime's runs also have lasted longer. That doesn't even touch on Shawn Blanchard's six reigns (1,422 days for those playing at home).
But it is with the regularity in which Napier has defeated the best in the business in 2017. Jay Flash, Bob Badfingers (twice), Lou Martin (twice), Dennis Gregory, David Lawless, Shawn Blanchard, Mike Malachi, Harley T. Morris (twice), Shane Starr and BROhemoth twice. That's 14 title defenses in 15 events. Napier wrestled alongside rookie "Big Country" Matt McGraw against the VIPs in the only match of the year in which his title wasn't on the line. No one does that, anywhere on the independent scene.
Napier successfully defended against Flash, Martin, Blanchard, Malachi and Starr. Between them, they have held the KSWA Heavyweight Championship--the most prized singles title in the Commonwealth--11 times. Badfingers is a multi-time champion and "The Baddest Man" in the KSWA. Gregory is one of the very few independent wrestlers anywhere who has pedigree similar to Shawn Blanchard's. David Lawless is an up-and-comer who has held regional titles, and the same can be said for BROhemoth.
Napier's run has not only been impressive, it has been astonishing. The Krazies love his ability to take a massive beating, and as has been shown with BROhemoth, hoist a wrestler onto his shoulder for a definitive drop to the mat and three count. He is also the master of an ankle lock that could make any competitor tap.
There's no telling how long Napier's place can be held on the mountaintop. Del Douglas has held every title in the KSWA besides the top prize. He is a formidable foe. Battle Bowl X has extra meaning this year. An opportunist there has all of 2018 to make a run. And the KSWA Championship Committee has never been shy about pitting Napier against the best Western PA and beyond has to offer.
Others can claim to hold important "ten pounds of gold," but going into 2018, there's only one wrestler who is "The Best Around."