The Year Without A FanFest? KSWA Owner Bobby O And The Championship Committee Might Just Save Christmas, 2020
November 8, 2020
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
Things have been eerily quiet around the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) offices in Pittsburgh for a long time. Too long.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Independent Professional Wrestling in Pittsburgh this past March, Owner Bobby O and the KSWA Championship Committee have been eagerly awaiting a nod to have business get back to normal.
Western Pennsylvania has been lucky to see some sporadic events in baseball parks, drive-ins and even vast gymnasiums; however, the city of Pittsburgh has been silenced when it comes to grappling action.
In February, the KSWA’s last event, a celebration of a record-shattering 20 years in Pittsburgh, with Mayor Bill Peduto in attendance, was the organization's unexpected finale.
The 13th Annual Joe Abby Memorial Tournament, with Bobby Badfingers and Big Mike Malachi headlining a substantial and meaningful Hall of Fame Class in the KSWA’s 20th year, was long scrapped.
Most of the group's expected 25 events, including the KSWA’s 300th, were tabled. VFD and other fundraisers were halted, Lawrenceville’s Independence Day celebration was silenced. There was no highlight of the summer with Brawl Under the Bridge, no Millvale fire trucks leading Mitch Napier to the ring in September.
A celebration of first-responders at MJ’s Steel City Saloon was canceled, as was a litany of benchmark events at the Home of Professional Wrestling in Pittsburgh, Spirit Hall. No Mario Ferraro, Sr. Memorial Tournament, a bell-weather stop in Sharpsburg.
None of the Battle Bowl winners have been able to reach for the richest championships in Pennsylvania. KSWA Heavyweight Champion Anthony Alexander has been at the top of his game and ready to defend the Commonwealth’s most important title.
But the biggest hit of all has been what no one wants to talk about: The Year Without FanFest.
KSWA FanFest/Toy Drive is unquestionably the most important professional wrestling event in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Each year, the KSWA Krazies are treated to a visiting legend, a historic title defense, or both. But what makes FanFest even more significant has been the generosity of the fans. For more than 15 years, the Krazies have donated untold thousands of toys at FanFest, and needy children throughout Allegheny County have been gifted through the “Holiday Project.”
Hence the silence. Bobby O and the KSWA Championship Committee never stand in the center of the ring and promise major initiatives, never to have them materialize. Reportedly, there have discussions of streaming action from near-empty venues, but that is not the KSWA way when it comes to monumental proceedings like FanFest. Assuredly, the planning of KSWA FanFest is year-round. Enthusiasm is tremendous.
Bobby O, the Championship Committee, KSWA staff, wrestlers, and fans alike all realize that FanFest is unlike all others. Wrestlers know that their participation in FanFest is akin to television wrestling’s paramount spring offering. Careers can be defined, or concluded at FanFest. It was last year that the VIPs imploded in a blowup that stunned even guest Bob Backlund. The Krazies buy their seats months in advance.
But there has been some, albeit miniscule, recent movement. The KSWA Social Media pages announced that an announcement is coming. Calls, messages, facsimiles have yielded no details as of this deadline. More is promised in the days to come. While it is virtually impossible to believe that in-ring competition will be available in December, 2020, but something is afoot.
The Good News: in uncertain times, it’s grand to know that Bobby O and the KSWA Championship Committee may just save Christmas, 2020 after all.