#KSWA200 From Peabody High To The Most Honored Promotion In PA Pro Wrestling
March 22, 2016
by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist
The ring posts were blue. The padding covering lumber was strapped down. There was no canvas or ring skirt to speak of. The Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) was bare-boned in front of a respectable crowd at Peabody High School on February 18, 2000.
The crowd was ready for excitement and they got it as the KSWA presented nine matches that night. Nine.
In the first match in the KSWA history, Eric "The Electric" Love pinned J-Ru. Local wrestling fans may not realize that the wrestler from Charleroi, PA was a KSWA Original. In fact, his next appearance in a KSWA ring would be a decade later. On July 31, 2010 at the Monongahela Wildcat Football & Cheerleader fundraiser at Monongahela Municipal Field, he would love to Lord Zoltan.
The KSWA's first-ever event also included a match with Veronica Von Irons. In this event, she pinned Manic.
From Four Corners, New Mexico, "Gorgeous" Greg Wallace lost to Cobra in his KSWA outing.
Blade pinned Soul Fighter. Soul Fighter was one of the earliest KSWA wrestlers to hand on to future events. His overall record in the year 2000 was 1-6. He feuded with Justin Sane as well as Joey Quervo. His lone KSWA victory was against the Drunken Luchadore in September, 2000.
In the fifth match of the evening, the combatants probably didn't know what they would mean to the budding organization, La Lucha defeated "Mr. Tenacity" Tommy Faime. Both wrestlers would become many-time champions and have success that would help define professional wrestling in Pittsburgh. Both men are former KSWA World Champions, and La Lucha's ascent after being featured on the cover of the Pittsburgh City Paper in 2005 has been identified as one of the moments that made the KSWA what it is today, professional wrestling in Pittsburgh.
Faime would retire, become a member of the KSWA Hall of Fame, and then return to wrestle from time to time and earn an ownership stake in the company. La Lucha would win the World Title, become a pop icon south of the border, and become the unified Mexican Champion. Every year his name is considered for the KSWA Hall of Fame, but the "Mayor of Mexico City" refuses every March.
Cousin Elmer defeated Shaun Adams.
Founding member of the VIPs--"Dr. Devastation" Lou Martin pinned "Misfit" Jeff Lockhart. Both wrestlers would help define the early events, but Martin would ultimately become the greatest Megastar in KSWA history. A two-time World Champion, multiple time tag team champion, and current Golden Triangle Champion, Martin became the reigning "#FaceofPittsburgh" and the most important independent professional wrestler from Western Pennsylvania since Lord Zoltan.
Super Hentai defeated Vince Viper.
The very first KSWA World Champion--Skippy Hawk--retained what would become the most prestigious title in all of the Commonwealth against Shawn Blanchard. In the decade and half to come, "The Enforcer" would become arguably the most formidable independent heavyweight champion of them all. He would win tag team gold, Tri-State acknowledgement, but it is his record-extending six KSWA Heavyweight Title reigns. It's extremely difficult to find any independent wrestlers who have stayed with one promotion for more than 15 years, and dedicate himself to its top prize. For a time in 2015, there were no World Wrestling Heavyweight Champions on television. Blanchard took it upon himself to carry that mantle--for the industry. And not one wrestler anywhere, or statistically could, challenge him.
After that first event, the KSWA would host six more in 2000; only three in 2001; five in 2002; five in 2003; and five in 2004. The organization's "modern era" would begin with eight events in 2005; a whopping 14 in 2006; 13 in 2007; and 14 in 2008. Stakes would become higher starting in 2009 with 18 events. In 2010, the KSWA should set a record with 21 events; in 2011 there would be 18; 19 in 2012; and 15 in 2013. The organization would lose its primary home--the KSWA Arena--in 2014 so the number decreased to 12. In 2015 the group would post an incredible run and 20 overall events.
The KSWA's 200th event is this Saturday, March 26, 2016. A proclamation from PA State House member Dominic Costa has been prepared and will be read. It's also the 9th annual Joe Abby Memorial event. Some years it has been a tournament, but for the last two years the "match" has been one of team elimination.