Top 10 Moments Of 2016--#9 to #6: From Nacho Gate To Morris To Spear Asylum To The Stunning Return Of "Mr. Tenacity"
December 31, 2016
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
In 2016, the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) hosted 19 events at 11 different venues. Some 69 stories were posted on KSWA’s website, 92 stories were published on KSWA Digest. The KSWA was featured in several newspaper articles and in a series of features for Good Morning America and ABC News. There were countless memories and “moments.” Recently, #10 was published. Now we look at others.
Number Nine: Nacho Gate
It’s odd to fathom that any “Nacho” controversy would include the legendary T-Rantula as a minor, bit player. The originator of the tasty, yet-devastating move continues to assault opponents with chips and cheese from a cardboard container to this very day. However, his participation in this controversy remains an aftertaste.
On June 18, T-Rantula was set to face the former 6-time KSWA Champion Shawn Blanchard in a one-on-one contest. It’s believed that this was the first face-to-face meeting between these two Pittsburgh institutions. Blanchard professed that there would be “no Nacho City tonight, as I’m lactose intolerant!” The two veterans went toe-to-toe for several minutes until T-Rantula got an advantage. He went for the Nacho City delivery, but when the time came for the attack, Blanchard juked out of the way, and pulled KSWA Head Referee David Fedor in. Fedor was clobbered. An infuriated and cheese-covered Fedor calls for the bell and disqualifies both combatants.
Blanchard faced fines and even a suspension in the days following this snack attack. He apologized but the sincerity appeared dubious.
Since that time, Fedor has gone out of his way to right infractions caused by Blanchard. Most notably, it appeared that Blanchard had defeated Shane Starr for the Golden Triangle Championship at the Sharpsburg Slam on August 7. Fedor raced to the ring, notified Special Guest Referee Bobby O that Blanchard had his boots firmly planted in the ring ropes when the decision-making pin was counted. The decision was reversed and Starr made the pin to retain in his home town.
Fedor also helped out at FanFest when referee Shawn Patrick was knocked out in the match between the VIPs and Demolition. With Fedor slapping the mat thrice, Demolition continued their dominance over the VIPs.
The animosity between Blanchard and Fedor will continue into the New Year.
Number 8: The Ascension of Harley T. Morris and David Marbell
At the KSWA’s 15th anniversary event in February, 2015, a debuting Harley T. Morris (w/manager David Marbell) lost to long-time Pittsburgh trouper Justin Sane. While there was nothing truly shocking with a newcomer losing to a vaunted veteran, Morris has followed that up with some shocking success.
Throughout most of 2015, Morris jabbed at Sane, but Justin prevailed in matches. The feud was set to end at FanFest 2015 in a Flag Match. The Wild and Wonderful West Virginian was to protect the WVU University flag with Marbell in his corner and Sane was assisted by the actor who portrays “Pittsburgh Dad” Curt Wootton in defending the University of Pittsburgh flag. Wootton ended up double crossing Sane and the feud was white hot going into 2016.
Morris qualified for an opportunity at the KSWA’s 5-Star Championship by surviving Battle Bowl until the very end. He inserted himself into the Mitch Napier/Kaida “Best of Five” series and nearly won. When Kaida had to retire due to an injury, Morris clinched the 5-Star championship in Homestead’s “Brawl Under The Bridge II” on July 23.
All this time, Morris has been surging, his manager, “The Mad Genius” David Marbell, has been pulling the strings, oftentimes while wearing either a fur vest or a Michael Jackson-inspired red leather jacket. The duo certainly brings color and moxie to the KSWA.
Morris lost the 5-Star championship to Ice Machine for one week, but then-owner Tommy Faime made the mysterious Machine give up the belt for refusing to un-mask and prove he isn’t Tony Johnson. Morris did lose Faime’s stake in ownership by failing to defeat Ice Machine at FanFest; however, he enters 2017 as the 5-Star Champion.
Number 7: Lost Boys, Spear Asylum And The Jester—Tag Team Derision
Kris Kash and Shane Starr began 2016 as the KSWA Tag Team Champions. In January, The Jester earned a shot at tag team gold at Battle Bowl. The Jester, who with Del Douglas were the team to derail the historic Party Gras run, had no initial interest in pursuing the championships held by his friends Kash and Starr. Then on May 28, Bobby Badfingers and Vinnie Stone, who would later call themselves “Spear Asylum,” defeated The Lost Boys for the most coveted tag team championship in the Commonwealth.
The KSWA Championship Committee agreed to allow The Jester to find a tag team partner. The Mayor Mystery-led Spear Asylum’s first title defense was against The Jester and his frequent in-ring collaborator: Lord Zoltan. There are some who think that The Jester and Lord Zoltan could give the original Party Gras a celebratory run for their money. However, The Jester did not cash in his Battle Bowl contract at that time. He continued to look for a partner.
At Brawl Under the Bridge, the Spear Asylum was tested, but bested, The Latin Assassin and the 7-foot-tall Jack Massacre. In August, Party Gras and The Jester defeated the Spear Asylum and Harley T. Morris in six-man competition. This signified The Jester was looking to derail the tag team champions. And they were immediately worried.
Spear Asylum would dispatch Party Gras once and for all, and The Jester had chances at Morris’ 5-Star title. Soon, Spear Asylum focused its collective gaze on The Jester. They beat him down after events and before matches. The message almost seemed clear, until FanFest was in the near future. Jester, who tagged with T-Rantula in some 6-man matches, chose the 2016 KSWA Hall of Famer to be his tag team partner for his contractually-assigned match. The scene was Pittsburgh wrestling’s biggest stage: FanFest.
Jester and T-Rantula took the fight to Spear Asylum and Mayor Mystery and won. The Jester and T-Rantula (with his first KSWA Championship), go into 2017 fresh and ready to go.
Number 6: The Return Of “Mr. Tenacity”
When Tommy Faime retired from the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance in the year 2000, the respite lasted four months. He came back to win the KSWA World Championship. He also served as a KSWA Commissioner and won the KSWA tag team championship. Then on December 3, 2005, his partner, Del Douglas, lost the championships in a Handicapped match after he retired.
He would make only periodic appearances over the next decade.
Because Faime was out of action for so long, the KSWA Championship Committee awarded him with a Hall of Fame spot in 2013. Faime was the first KSWA “Original” to make the celebrated Hall of Fame.
In a surprise move, Faime entered the KSWA landscape again and became an owner of the KSWA, just like Bobby O, in 2014. On March 26, 2016, Team Faime won the Joe Abby Memorial Night Main Event for the second consecutive year.
On July 2, Faime lost to Mitch Napier in his first one-on-one match since April 16, 2005. That is 4,096 days between singles matches or 11 years, two months and 17 days. Faime wrestled frequently leading up to FanFest, but lost every match.
Until FanFest. It had not gone unnoticed that Faime, who hovered around 300 pounds when he returned to semi-regular action at Battle Bowl 2014, had lost an immense amount of weight and moved quicker than many other veteran grapplers on the roster.
When Tommy Faime defeated Shane Starr for the Golden Triangle Championship, it was Faime’s first single’s win in 4,306 days, or 11 years, nine months and 15 days. When Faime defeated Mike Malachi in 2005, Shane Starr was one month past his 18th birthday, and just a few months away from making his KSWA debut.
“Mr. Tenacity” is back and ready for what 2017 has to offer.