Cardille's Influence Undeniable At Last Professional Wrestling Event
July 22, 2016
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
Then-Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) World Champion Shane Starr said he told "Chilly" Bill Cardille that the long-time Pittsburgh broadcasting legend had a key role in carving his professional wrestling career. Starr told the former radio and television trail-blazer that he and his grandfather enjoyed his work. Starr also told Cardille that if it weren't for him, "Shame Starr" might not exist. Cardille reportedly was touched by the compliment. Start said the interaction is a top moment in his already-stellar career.
The sentiment would repeat itself often that night, Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the KSWA Arena in Lawrenceville.
The KSWA Hall of Fame, Class of 2014 was significant for a number of reasons, most notably Cardille's participation. Fellow Studio Wrestling legends "Jumpin'" Johnny DeFazio and "Cannonball" Chuck Martoni would fill out the group of inductees, but it was Cardille's Day. Literally.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto officially declared it Bill Cardille, KSWA Hall of Fame Day in the city. Allegheny County Council, with the help of state Democratic Party director Jim Burn, recognized the trio. DeFazio and Martoni were among the first county councilors and remain on that governmental body to this day.
Cardille's appearance at the Joe Abby Memorial and Hall of Fame night were made in part by Rich Dalzotto, a good friend of Bill's and the KSWA . Dalzotto was also heavily involved with the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, where Cardille was honored the Halloween prior. Dalzotto and other also run the Horror Realm, the movie convention in which Cardille was a frequent guest.
It was at a previous Horror Realm in which wrestling legend and future KSWA Hall of Famer James J. Dillon went out of his way to visit Cardille. Dillon noted it has been 42 years since the two had seen one another.
Also instrumental was Lori Cardille, Bill's daughter and celebrity in her own right. Lori was to attend her father's Hall of Fame induction ceremony but a scheduling conflict arose, but she sent her love and support.
When the time of the evening came for the Hall of Fame ceremony, Cardille spoke at length about his love of Pittsburgh, wrestling, and the fans. His acceptance speech resonated with many. Two wrestling college students turned video bloggers--Bryan Chechak and Nick Buzzelli--later said the speech touched them greatly.
KSWA Owner Bobby O detailed his own excitement about having Cardille at the Arena that night. Bobby, a broadcaster himself, mentioned how Cardille was talented, no matter what on-site role he possessed. Bobby O added that Cardille's participation helped legitimize the KSWA as the true heir-apparent to Studio Wrestling , the long-running Saturday Night television attraction that pre-determined Chiller Theater.
More than 320 Krazies attended the Hall of Fame night festivities which included a fun, late run-in from Peduto during the Lou Martin/Lord Zoltan main event for the Abby Tournament trophy.
Cardille, DeFazio and Martoni joined the premier Independent Wrestling Hall of Fame, which also includes Bruno Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci, George "The Animal" Steele, Bobby "Hurricane" Hunt, Donna Christiantello and others.
Not only would the evening be the last event at the KSWA Arena, it would be Cardille's last appearance at a live wrestling show anywhere and it was in Pittsburgh.