Pittsburgh's Professional Wrestling Organization Nears 250th Event, Flies Into More Communities Than Ever
August 28, 2018
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
Much has changed in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) since its debut at Peabody High School in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood on February, 18, 2000. Pittsburgh’s then-burgeoning professional wrestling organization was only one of the scant few that promoted events inside the state’s second most populous city. Only the KSWA remains.
[As the KSWA approaches its 250th event (there have been 245 as of this installment), this is the first in a series detailing the history of how the organization has become the most-traveled professional wrestling organization in the Commonwealth, and perhaps the country.]
After that first event, the KSWA moved to the now-shuttered Bloomfield VFW building and the now-permanently closed Candlelight Lounge. (Editor’s Note: While the KSWA added energy to any and every venue over its years, it became clear that the organization wasn’t the only attribute to keep establishments solvent.)
For the next four years and a total of 19 events, the KSWA continued to grow. Then in August, 2004 the KSWA moved to the KSWA Arena in Lawrenceville. For the next decade, the organization hosted 94 events, with more success as the years rolled on.
In September, 2006 the KSWA traveled across the Allegheny River to Millvale Days and the long-time partnership with that borough. On September 23, 2006 the KSWA visited its second stop outside the city of Pittsburgh when it hosted a fundraising event at the Butterfly Gardens Child Care Learning Center. The nine-mile trek was the longest ever for the six-year-old company. After following Millvale the week prior, that’s also the very first time that the KSWA was on the road for three consecutive events.
From 2007, the KSWA hosted the first of its five events in the back yard of the Obey House Tavern in Pittsburgh’s Crafton Heights neighborhood. Like McKees Rocks, the Obey House Tavern is West of Lawrenceville and the KSWA Arena (and three miles apart from one another). This seven-mile voyage proved to be successful for the Obey House and the friendship remains with that pub to this very day. In September, 2007 the KSWA hit Millvale and the Obey House to make up three consecutive events away from its KSWA Arena home.
In 2008 the KSWA debuted at Lawrenceville’s Arsenal Park as part of the 64th annual Independence Day Celebration. The organization has continued to hold yearly events during the holiday break ever since. There were also trips to Millvale and the Obey House. This year also became the KSWA’s year of travel. In addition to the other locations, the KSWA for the first time left the confines of Allegheny County and traveled to nearby Westmoreland County and the Lower Burrell VFD. Up until this time, this 17.3-mile trip up the Allegheny River was the longest ever for the KSWA. It would be 2017 before the KSWA made that trip again.
In 2009, the KSWA embarked on its first-ever “Krazy Tour.” The organization hosted 18 events that year, including eight that were on the road, away from the KSWA Arena. The group held its final two events at the Obey House and returned to Arsenal Park. On July 4, 2009 the organization took its longest trip outside of Pittsburgh to date. The KSWA traveled to Lake Latonka, 68 miles due north of Pittsburgh in Mercer County. The organization also returned to Bloomfield, this time at the Liedertafel. That venue proved too small and difficult to get the ring into, so a return was never approached.
On September 26, 2009 the KSWA hosted a fundraiser for a Ross Township man, suffering from a loss of limbs due to diabetes at the Ross Township Community Center (9.2 miles from the KSWA Arena by highway). That event with 406 paid was the most well-attended card the KSWA ever hosted up until that point. It held the attendance record for more than two years, after which it has been shattered many times.
The KSWA also hosted fundraisers for St. John Neumann School in Lawrenceville in 2009 and 2010. One of the fundraisers took place at the Teamster Temple on July 31, 2010. When the KSWA needed to look for a new home four years later, the nearby Temple would serve that purpose. Meanwhile, the St. John Neuman events were rousing success, but ultimately nothing could stop that facility from closing.
On July 31, 2010, the KSWA traveled the furthest south it ever had, some 30-miles to Monongahela for a youth sports fundraiser. A few months later, on November 6, 2010, the KSWA entered into a long and successful stint with one of its closest neighbors. Whether it be the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department or Guyasuta Youth sports groups, the KSWA has held a number of successful fundraisers.
[Over the next few years, the KSWA is scheduled to more events in more places than any federation from 2011 and on…]