A Champion Outside Of The Ring, “Big Country” Matt McGraw Is The KSWA Digest 2020 “Megastar Of The Year”

December 27, 2020
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest

There hasn’t been much in-ring action for the Megastars of the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) in 2020, but that doesn’t mean that Pittsburgh’s wrestlers didn’t simply “go away.” Some Megastars like Beastman, Dennis Gregory and “The Professional” Harley T. Morris were able to find work on the road, away from Pittsburgh.

But then there are those who faced adversities away from the squared circle. In fact, “Big Country” Matt McGraw might have had the most challenging year of his life. But just like the promise of a new year, Matt McGraw is looking forward to his next chapter.

The strong man from Imperial, Pennsylvania locked-up with health concerns during this most unusual of times; and it’s because of his resilience, perseverance and strength that “Big Country” Matt McGraw is the KSWA Megastar of the Year for 2020.

About a year ago, McGraw first went to see a doctor and discovered that he had tumors on his thyroid. Understandably, he was nervous about the prospects of whether the growths, but soldiered on. A true man of service, McGraw continued to work his day job as well as a firefighter near his home in Pittsburgh’s western suburbs.

Mounting health issues and “life” got in the way as McGraw faced more unforeseen obstacles. Add in the uncertainly of 2020 and one can understand why he (as well as others) had a difficult time staying positive and upbeat. McGraw, who is a devoted family man to his wife, Stephanie, as well as his extended family, always has a supportive cast around him. In the year of COVID-19, they were all as important as ever.

Fortunately, the tumors on his throat proved to be benign and surgery was scheduled in early November. Nearly 10 days later the stitches were removed. Today, McGraw is getting healthy again and ready for whatever 2021 has in store.

McGraw began his career in the KSWA alongside his good friend, Yinza, the Pittsburgh Luchadore, as well as youngster Trick McSorley. Back then, “Big Country” was encouraged to come to the KSWA because of his friend, Nick “Big Bully” Busick.

After training in the KSWA, McGraw made his debut in front of his home town at MJ’s Steel City Saloon on July 29, 2017. His first opponent was no pushover in KSWA’s 5-time former Heavyweight Champion Shawn Blanchard. The contest ended in an upset disqualification win for the 286-pounder from just down the road from MJ’s.

An enthusiastic and energetic athlete, McGraw transferred from a career in boxing to professional wrestling.

On September 9 of the same year, McGraw bested The Cleveland Bruiser at Spirit Hall in his debut. And later at Millvale Days, McGraw beat Blanchard again. The second of Millvale Days that year witnessed McGraw suffer his first defeat, in a tag team match with Yinza against the VIPs—Shawn Blanchard and Lou Martin.

Rounding out that unique month, McGraw was victorious in the Kinloch Volunteer Fire Department Battle Royal. He found himself battling Shawn Blanchard and the VIPs over the next few months. McGraw even tagged with then-KSWA Heavyweight Champion Mitch Napier at Spirit Hall. In November, 2017, after defeating Martin in the first round, the rising star nearly defeated Blanchard in the finals of the Mario Ferraro Sr. Memorial Tournament.

Over the next two years, McGraw would challenge for the 5-Star Championship and battle the VIPs, and “King” Del Douglas. But “Big Country” would also fare well with the fans. In fact, he was a big reason why the KSWA partnered with MJ’s Steel City Saloon and fire department fundraisers. Two of those showdowns were Bull Rope matches against Blanchard.

In 2018, McGraw would team with the legendary KSWA Hall of Famer, T-Rantula. The two would find success against Harley T. Morris and Zak Hunter, as well as other Megastars. On September 15, 2018, McGraw found himself as the victor of the annual Millvale Days Battle Royal.

McGraw would also have his hand raised along with other tag team partners like Double-A Anthony Alexander, Sly Scarpone, Yinza and Napier.

A big guy in his own right, McGraw took on even bigger brutes like Jack Massacre and 2020 Hall of Famer “Big” Mike Malachi. He and T-Rantula would come up on the short end of a tag team title match against the VIPs at MJ’s Steel City Saloon. McGraw is one of only a few Megastars to have body slammed the 7-foot-tall, 360-pound Jack Massacre.

At the last FanFest, it was McGraw and T-Rantula who team together against Malachi and Massacre in a Loser Leave Town match. It was Malachi who took the pin, and left Pittsburgh professional wrestling behind him.

Before the world turned upside down, McGraw defeated the Cleveland Bruiser in February at the Pioneer Hose Company fundraiser. Two weeks later at the KSWA’s 20th anniversary celebration, McGraw and T-Rantula fell to Dennis Gregory and Bubba the Bulldog in Lawrenceville. It was known at that time that McGraw was going to have to have work down on his thyroid.

Since that time, McGraw has gone through more “uncertain times” than most, but is know ready for what’s next. A success as an athlete, man and Megastar, “Big Country” Matt McGraw has earned the title of “KSWA Megastar of the Year” for this, the KSWA’s record-breaking anniversary season.

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