Is the Pressure Getting To KSWA Heavyweight Champion Mitch Napier?
March 13, 2018
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
The Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) World Heavyweight Championship is the most prestigious singles wrestling title in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more than 18 years the championship belt has only grown in significance. The KSWA and its Championship has been featured in International publications and on national television. When the current Mayor of the city of Pittsburgh won his election in 2013, it was the KSWA belt that he held high into the night sky among flashbulbs and pageantry.
In those 18 years, only 13 men have worn the championship around their waist and its only changed hands 20 times. Compare than to a Western PA federation that’s been around nearly as long as KSWA, and you’ll note that their top title has changed hands 34 times and has been held by 24 different wrestlers. The desire to hold the KSWA Heavyweight Championship has never been more coveted.
Mitch Napier has held onto the KSWA World Heavyweight Championship for more than 460 days, the longest reign currently in the Commonwealth. His is the sixth-longest in KSWA history. “The Face of Pittsburgh” Lou Martin has the two longest reigns—798 and 735 days—respectively. “Double A” Anthony Alexander is next at 588 days.
Alexander had a very successful time at the top of the KSWA mountain. His 15 successful title defenses set the record that Napier broke by defeating Bubba the Bulldog in February. As KSWA Champion, Alexander also participated in six tag team matches over the 22 events of that span.
“Mr. Tenacity” Tommy Faime is next at 511 days. It should be noted that Faime’s tenure, while noteworthy, is somewhat dubious. Back in April, 2001 when Faime won the championship, that was the last KSWA event of that year. The organization had a stronger schedule in 2002, but Faime only had one successful title defense…against Mike Malachi.
Shane Starr is next at 476 days. Starr’s time with the strap included nine fruitful title defenses and four tag team outings in 15 events.
If Napier is able to hold on during the KSWA’s most ambitious early-year calendar in its history, he will approach Starr’s status. Five-hundred days isn’t really a stretch.
Napier’s run has been remarkable. Since winning the KSWA Heavyweight title in December 2016, the promotion has held 19 events. Napier has successfully held onto the title 18 times. He was in one tag team match with “Big Country” Matt McGraw last October against the VIPs—Blanchard and Martin. At the conclusion of that match, he was ambushed by the 320-pound BROhemoth, which basically set up the Main Event at FanFest.
Compare the 18 wins to Martin’s first time with the title. Martin had nine successful defenses and two matches ended in disqualification. Martin’s second time with the Commonwealth’s richest prize was seen then as the most ambitious, hard-fought and successful. In 735 days and 34 events, Martin won 14 matches, and had six matches end in count-out, disqualification, or in a “Loser Wears A Chicken Suit” contest.
Conversely, Shawn Blanchard’s six KSWA Title Reigns remain the bell-weather mark. In 1,422 days as champion over 15 years, Blanchard successfully defended the KSWA Heavyweight Championship a record 36 times, including three times in one night during his first run. His longest title reign was 315 days; but the others very respectable: 294, 267, 252, 245 and 49 days. His last run of supremacy (252 days) included the most title defenses (11) and, interestingly, disqualification losses (4).
Martin himself has quietly noted that Napier might be the KSWA’s second-most-important Heavyweight Champion behind Blanchard.
Those numbers are impressive, considering the talent and skill sets of all of those champions.
Napier’s sway has been remarkable in other ways. Napier has defeated five former World Champions: Blanchard, Jay Flash, “Big” Mike Malachi, Martin, and Shane Starr. He’s defeated one of the most decorated former champions in Western PA in Dennis Gregory, and one of the area’s most recognizable icons in Bubba the Bulldog. Other champions—past and present—such as Bob Badfingers, Del Douglas and Harley T. Morris have had unsuccessful opportunities at the belt. Plus, his feud with BROhemoth dominated 2017 and “The Gavel” David Lawless’ Battle Bowl win and subsequent, pending challenge promises to do the same in 2018.
Last month, the Krazies might have witnessed the very first kink in what has to be a stressful position for Napier. In his defense against Malachi in Brackenridge, Napier utilized a folding chair that the challenger had tossed into the ring. Napier blasted Malachi with the resting device and follows that up with the Sioux Falls Slam for the one, two and three.
Mitch Napier has been a popular champion. His time, autographs and pictures have been sought out by Krazies of all sizes, colors and genders. While Pittsburgh’s current team sports continue to be among the most popular anywhere, Napier is arguably the city’s most significant individual champion. He’s undeniably the most popular.
Now, Napier is set to have a rare night off from defending the richest prize in PA. On March 24, he and BROhemoth will take on Napier and another former challenger for the KSWA Championship in “Officer” Dan Murphy in tag team competition at Spirit Lounge in Pittsburgh. Lawless can cash in his Battle Bowl contract at any time. The KSWA Championship Committee continues to schedule matches for the KSWA Krazies, who continue to come to live events in record numbers. During three consecutive weekends in late February and early March, more than 1,000 fans took attended KSWA events, including two debuts in new towns…Springdale and Brackenridge.
"While Pittsburgh’s current team sports continue to be among the most popular anywhere, Napier is arguably the city’s most significant individual champion. He’s undeniably the most popular."
The KSWA Championship Committee will schedule only the best matches for the Krazies, no matter who is the titleholder throughout 2018 and beyond.