Is December 3 The Most Important Date In KSWA FanFest/Toy Drive History?
December 3, 2020
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
Since 2005, the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) FanFest/Toy Drive has been the sport’s unparalleled highlight of Pittsburgh’s Holiday Season. And it all began on Saturday, December 3, 2005. Over the next 15 years, FanFest would fall on Saturday, December 3 three times. And all were remarkable and memorable in their own ways.
Where it all began: December 3, 2005 at the K.S.W.A. Arena on 51st Street in the Lawrenceville neighborhood within the city of Pittsburgh.
“Big” Mike Malachi, who was named to the KSWA Hall of Fame, Class of 2020, won a $10,000 Battle Royal.
The Lost Boyz (Kris Kash and Shane Starr) defeated Biker Al & "The Drunken Luchador" Joey Quervo in tag team action.
As their long-time feud continued, La Lucha defeated "The Enforcer" Shawn Blanchard in a special "Fan Fest Match.”
KSWA World Heavyweight Champion "Dr. Devastation" Lou Martin defeated Ali Kaida to retain what was destined to become the most coveted professional wrestling championship in the Commonwealth.
Also, after grappling with La Lucha earlier in the evening, "The Enforcer" Shawn Blanchard defeated Anthony Alexander to become #1 contender for the KSWA Heavyweight Title. This too would be a rivalry that would help define each Megastar’s career.
It wasn’t unusual for wrestlers to “double duty” in the KSWA’s formative days. At the very first FanFest, Mike Malachi defeated The Latin Assassin to become the KSWA Tri-State Champion.
And the “Mayor of Mexico City” La Lucha & Justin Sane defeated Del Douglas (he had been forced to wrestle alone) to become the KSWA Tag Team Champions.
And while that was certainly an incredible beginning, the event would only get bigger. Much bigger.
December 3, 2011 - K.S.W.A. Arena
K.S.W.A. Fan Fest/Toy Drive '11 started much earlier in the day. A group of wrestling fans created a “mild roast” of Dominic DeNucci earlier in the day at a Green Tree hotel. DeNucci, Lord Zoltan, “Big Bully” Nick Busick and then-TNA wrestler Matt Morgan were in attendance for the afternoon that featured an appearance by members of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, then in Amsterdam, New York. PWHF founder Tony Vellano also made the trip from northern New York. At the conclusion of DeNucci’s speech, KSWA FanFest “Special Guest” George “The Animal” Steele made an unscheduled appearance to see his old friend.
Then-Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto, a long-time fan of DeNucci, stopped in to present the legend with a Proclamation naming December 3, 2011 “Dominic DeNucci Day” in the city of Pittsburgh.
Later, DeNucci and others who attended the luncheon, including Tony “Battman” Marino, “Pretty Boy” Larry Sharpe, “Irish” Davey O’Hannon and Pittsburgh’s own Cody Michaels stopped by the FanFest event that evening.
FanFest 2011, with the heavily-promoted appearance of George “The Animal” Steele, featured a packed KSWA Arena and the very first of many sell-outs. City police later estimated that more than 250 fans were turned away from the door.
When action got underway at FanFest, a returning from retirement La Lucha and his tag team partner Ric Rumskey defeated the duo that had been beating him for months: Jonny Axx & The Blood Beast.
Early in the card, "Dr. Devastation" Lou Martin defeated Joey Quervo, but Martin would return in surprise fashion.
In the first of its type “Gauntlet Match” Shane Starr defeated Kris Kash to win the K.S.W.A. Jr. Heavyweight Title.
The next match has long been a favorite of anyone who has watched the KSWA for a long time. Jay Flash defeated Bobby Badfingers to win the K.S.W.A. Golden Triangle Title in a physical battle.
KSWA tag team champions Lord Zoltan and Justin Sane defeated Drew Belanger and J.P. Goulet to retain the K.S.W.A. Tag Team Titles. The match was highlighted by Battman himself having the referee restart the contest when it was determined that a false pin had been recorded.
In the Main Event, Mitch Napier defeated Shawn Blanchard, The Latin Assassin and Ali Kaida to win the K.S.W.A. Heavyweight Title in a Fatal Four Way Match. Moments after the end of the contest, “Dr. Devastation" Lou Martin returned with a referee and nearly-forgotten World Heavyweight Championship opportunity from Battle Bowl. With the help of Blanchard, Martin hit the Death Certificate on Napier and won the Heavyweight Championship for a second time.
December 3, 2016 - Teamster Temple
Fan Fest/Toy Drive '16 was held for a third and last time at the nearby Teamsters Temple on Butler Street. The venue had been a respite for the KSWA from 2014-2016 when the KSWA Arena was in between owners.
Not only would fan favorites Demolition return to Pittsburgh, but so would Nick Busick, Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas. It would also be Bill Apter’s “debut” in the KSWA. Apter would be rewarded for his career with his own “Day” in the city of Pittsburgh, as well as a letter of accomplishment from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
Long-time veteran “Mr. Tenacity” Tommy Faime defeated K.S.W.A. Golden Triangle Champion Shane Starr to win the Golden Triangle Title in the opening contest.
Party Gras (Lord Zoltan and Justin Sane) as well as tag team partner Bobby O defeated "The King" Del Douglas & The Mercenaries (Nick Crane and Sniper) along with Mayor Mystery. The wrestler who was pinned in this contest was forced to retire. At the end, Nick Crane’s shoulders were on the mat for the three count.
The seven-foot-tall, nearly 400-pound Jack Massacre defeated the nearly 300-pound “Big” Mike Malachi in a Body Slam Match.
The turning team of Demolition defeated The VIPs (Shawn Blanchard and Lou Martin) in a “return match” stemming from a contest in 2009 in which Ax and Smash defeated the VIPs for the KSWA Tag Team Championship.
The popular and talented Ice Machine defeated Harley T. Morris in a match with more important stipulations than a three-count. Ice Machine would “lose his mask” if he lost; while Morris served as a surrogate for the Tommy Faime’s part-ownership of the KSWA. Ricky Steamboat helped the level the playing field against Morris’ then-manager David Marbell.
T-Rantula & The Jester defeated K.S.W.A. Tag Team Champions Spear Asylum to win the Tag Team Titles
And in the main event, Mitch Napier defeated K.S.W.A. Heavyweight Champion Jay Flash and former champion Kris Kash in a Triple Threat Match to win the Heavyweight Title. The match was highlighted by Kash incredibly diving from the second deck of the Teamster’s Temple onto his opponents. Ironically, Napier won both of his KSWA Heavyweight Championships on December 3!
Over the duration of the KSWA, FanFest/Toy Drive, has been filled with countless memories, but December 3 has meant just a little more.