On This Day In History: Twenty Years Ago Blanchard Wins First KSWA Heavyweight Gold
August 4, 2020
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
Before an appreciative crowd at the Bloomfield VFW, the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) hosted its third-ever event. And the night produced the first change in the promotion’s Heavyweight Championship.
Leading up to the main event, Van Hughes defeated "Pretty Boy" Shaun Adams in the first match of the evening. Justin Sane bested Soul Fighter and "Nasty" Nick Crane defeated Kingdom James, via disqualification.
The Latin Assassin defeated "Dr. Devastation" Lou Martin, via disqualification, in what would become a legendary feud between the two. In tag team competition, Mantis and Super Hentai defeated the team of Shirley Doe and Devil Bhudakahn.
In another tag team showdown, Mike Malachi and "The Misfit" Jeff Lockhart defeated La Lucha and The Great Toyota.
In the Main Event, "The Enforcer" Shawn Blanchard pinned K.S.W.A. Heavyweight Champion Skippy Hawke to win the title. It was a remarkable victory and just the beginning of what has become one of the most remarkable careers in all of Independent Professional Wrestling.
“Winning the KSWA title from Skippy Hawke made me the undisputed leader of the KSWA and since that day nobody has come close to matching my leadership,” said Blanchard in an email earlier this week. “After I won the title, I had major flash backs of growing up watching [Ric] Flair and [Harley] Race and win world titles. Nothing is better than having my arm raised and announced the champ.”
Hawke was awarded the KSWA title by the KSWA Board of Directors, a pre-cursor to the KSWA Championship Committee. Hawke successfully defended the title against Blanchard at the initial KSWA event on February 18, 2000; and he defended against Tommy Faime on May 20. However, Hawke’s 216-day at the top ended against The Enforcer (who was already one-half of the KSWA tag team championship with Lou Martin).
“I always hear ‘I won not only for me and I want to thank the fans and my family etc. etc.’” he continued. “Not me! I won that title just for me.”
Blanchard went on to hold the title that would become the most important Championship in the Commonwealth for 267 days. Blanchard successfully defended against the likes of Jeff Lockhart, as well as Great Toyota, La Lucha and The Latin Assassin (in three separate matches on the same day), Joey Quervo, Mike Malachi and Skippy Hawke before losing it to Tommy Faime on April 28, 2001.
Blanchard would win the vaunted title again in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009 and along with manager James J. Dillon, in 2015. Pittsburgh's Studio Wrestling mainstay also served as Blanchard's "Advisor" for many years.
He held the championship for a total of 1,422 days and in 2018 earned an opportunity at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship which is held by Nick Aldis. Blanchard is one of the primary reasons why the KSWA Heavyweight Championship was elevated from a regional title to the most prominent in the Commonwealth and one of the most recognized in all of Independent Professional Wrestling.
In addition, Blanchard is a six-time KSWA tag team champion, a former Tri-State and Brawl Under the Bridge champion and Joe Abby Memorial Tournament and Mario Ferraro Sr. Memorial Tournament winner. All of the wins have made Blanchard one of the most decorated professional wrestlers currently working.
“Winning the KSWA Heavyweight Championship a total of 6 times over the years that makes me the greatest of all time,” Blanchard continued. “Many have tried and all have failed. Not one KSWA Megastar can even come close to being the evil emperor of the KSWA. When I say I am the greatest I truly believe it. I live it! I breath it! I am it!”