February, 2017: Mitch Napier Remains The Best Around; Starr Takes Battle Bowl; Exclusive Interview: 2017 Is Bobby O's Time To Shine

January 30, 2017
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest

The February Issue of KSWA Digest runs the gamut of action for Pittsburgh’s professional wrestling organization.

The Best Around, The Toughest Around: KSWA Champion Mitch Napier

Some Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Krazies are calling Mitch Napier the toughest athlete in professional wrestling. Former KSWA Champion Jay Flash did everything in his physical (and metaphysical) power in an attempt to reclaim the most coveted wrestling title in the Commonwealth. At one point of action on January 14, Flash dangled from the rafters of the KSWA Arena at Spirit Lounge to deliver a pair of boots to Napier’s nose. The kick to the face was amazing and brutal. Although he was left with a nasty, bloody nose, Napier was not broken. Napier persisted an onslaught of offense and ultimately prevailed in the one-on-one rematch for the KSWA World Title. Napier planted Flash in the center of the Lawrenceville ring with a Sioux Falls Slam for the ages and the capacity crowd went berserk.

The standing-room-only, capacity crowd was solidly behind the two-time KSWA Champion. Some immediately noted how tough “The Best Around” is in 2017. Flash, who was the KSWA Digest Megastar of the Year in 2016, as well as a successful champion, was beside himself after the match concluded.

On February 18, Napier is set to go up against one-half of the Spear Asylum, Bobby Badfingers. Badfingers is a former tag team and Golden Triangle Champion. Under the tutelage of Mayor Mystery, Badfingers hopes to become a KSWA World Champion. On September 3 of last year, Badfingers came up empty in his opportunity for the championship when it was held by Kris Kash. In the past year or more, the vast majority of Badfinger’s matches have been of the tag variety, so this will be a different experience against Napier. The last time these two met in a one-on-one match was at FanFest 2013, as part of the Gauntlet Match for the Five-Star championship. In that instance, Badfingers was victorious against Napier, and he ultimately won the belt in that match.

It was May 5, 2012 at Immaculate Conception Church when they met before that. That time, Napier won. Before then, Badfingers successfully defended the Golden Triangle Championship against Mitch on October 1, 2011. On July 9, 2011, Badfingers held onto the same belt against Mitch, this time by disqualification. The two even formed a formidable tag team once in 2010; however, neither probably remember.

Shane Starr Wins Battle Bowl

Some 30 Megastars entered Battle Bowl in 2017 with three single’s title shots on the line. Old KSWA favorites like La Lucha and Stan Squatch made appearances, and new faces like western PA stalwart Dennis Gregory and the up-and-coming MV Young headlined a group that also included Gino Slice and Zac Hunter. Heck, even former KSWA Megastar Jake Garrett made an appearance in attempt to win favor with the Krazies and Battle Bowl gold.

In the end, it was “Big” Mike Malachi, Kris Kash and Shane Starr. All three are now guaranteed opportunities at KSWA Championship gold, whether it be the Five Star champion, the Golden Triangle, or the most sought-after title in the Commonwealth, the KSWA Championship. Kash and Starr—long-time friends, former tag team champions, and fan favorites, teamed to dump Malachi over the top rope. And just then, Starr saw the chance to eliminate Kash, and he took it. Starr shot Kash over the top rope and onto the concrete floor below. The Krazies booed Starr with a hearty lust. Of course, Battle Bowl is every Megastar for himself, but they never saw this coming. Starr looked befuddled by the response and he tried to make things up with his friend, and Kash appeared to take the elimination in stride.

In February, the Lost Boyz team up again to take on Golden Triangle Champion Tommy Faime and former KSWA Champion Jay Flash in tag team action. We will also soon see who gets the opportunities at the KSWA Championship, Golden Triangle and Five-Star championships.

KSWA sole owner Bobby O with the 2017 Battle Bowl contracts. At press time it was announced that Shane Starr has earned an opportunity at the KSWA World Championship, Kris Kash can go after the Five-Star belt anytime in 2017 and "Big" Mike Malachi earned a match for the Golden Triangle Championship.

Bobby O’s Time To Shine: An Exclusive Interview With Independent Wrestling’s Most Important Owner

Bobby O is once again the sole owner of the KSWA. The long-time shareholder lost half of the company to Shawn Blanchard several years ago, and the 6-time former champion duped him into not winning it back a few years later. Last December, fellow-owner Tommy Faime lost his half of Pittsburgh professional wrestling company in a match between Harley T. Morris and Ice Machine.

[KSWA Digest had an opportunity to discuss KSWA and 2017 in an exclusive interview.]

It seems like Bobby is ready to run the KSWA like he’s wanted. The KSWA moved from the former Moose lodge near the corner of 51st and Butler Streets (known as the KSWA Arena) to the Teamster Temple on Butler Street in 2014. Some 20 events were held at that building until organizers there went into a different direction. Bobby O and the KSWA Championship Committee found that what is now called Spirit Lounge were eager to share in the promotion’s success. So, the KSWA came “home” in January, 2017, for the most spectacular Battle Bowl ever.

“What an amazing night! An unbelievable packed house for Battle Bowl IX at the Spirit Hall, we have the most amazing fans around and their loyalty never ceases to amaze me,” said Bobby O recently. The Krazies are top notch and judging by their interaction at the first show back in our old haunts, their lungs are top notch as well!”

Owning the most important professional wrestling organization in the Commonwealth is an important task. The KSWA leads every promotion in myriad categories: community, direction and philanthropy, not to mention family-friendly entertainment and athleticism. Under Bobby O’s leadership, the KSWA Championship Committee had commissioned some of the best wrestling matches in recent years, including the Jay Flash/Tony Johnson one-on-one contest that many observers called the “Match of the Year,” regardless the promotion.

Bobby O has locked up Western Pennsylvania wrestling legends like Lord Zoltan, Mayor Mystery and T-Rantula. He’s brought others who have made impressions, like Ice Machine, Morris (w/David Marbell) and before him, “Nasty” Nick Crane and Sniper. He’s been at odds with the VIPs—Tommy Faime, Shawn Blanchard and Lou Martin. However, those men have been able to co-exist for the betterment of the KSWA and professional wrestling in Pittsburgh.

Now the pressure is on for Bobby O and he’s ready for the challenge. He’s locked up the KSWA Arena at Spirit Lounge for 2017 and he’s already looking at filling the rest of the calendar with events and “moments” that define the new “era.”

“You know, there is always a bit of apprehension when you are forced to make changes,” he added. “Sometimes the results are good sometimes, not so good. In the case of the organization moving back to the old KSWA Arena, the results were excellent! What a way to kick of 2017 with a sellout crowd for Battle Bowl IX! Bravo KSWA Krazies, bravo!”

“I and the other members of the KSWA Championship Committee are certainly buoyed by the great turnout in January. With change, you don’t always know what to expect. But with or fans being the great fans that they are, we all are excited for the remaining 7 events at the Spirit Hall and for all of 2017 as well.”

The KSWA has been recognized by the city of Pittsburgh, County of Allegheny, Governor’s Office and the United States Congress as Pennsylvania’s premier professional wrestling group. The company has entered 2017 as the longest-running professional wrestling organization in the city’s history. But Bobby O isn’t willing to rest on his laurels. He is aware that there isn’t a professional wrestler anywhere on the independent scene that doesn’t want to wrestle for the Krazies. He knows that every critical eye is on the product, which can also mean opportunities for other, new and aspiring Megastars.

“As our fans saw, there were some new faces in Battle Bowl IX as there were in Battle Bowls past. We are very excited to have Denny Gregory, who has had a very successful career in Western Pennsylvania, lace up the boots in February against a young and exciting talent MV Young. Additionally, other new faces such as Gino Slice and Zak Hunter have also been signed to KSWA contracts, so moving forward this year, we hope the fans enjoy some of the new talent that has debuted in the KSWA, as well as familiar Megastars like Kash and Starr, KSWA Heavyweight Champion Mitch Napier and even the VIP’s.”

The KSWA has a historic year ahead. Now in its 17th season, the organization hosts the 10th Annual Joe Abby Memorial Tournament on Saturday, March 25. That means it’s also the 10th annual Hall of Fame ceremony. It was recently discovered that the KSWA provides the longest-running, continuous and most-important Independent professional wrestling Hall of Fame in the industry. (It’s already been announced that Bill Apter is among the Class of 2017. Apter picked up his plaque at December’s FanFest.) And on Saturday, September 9, the KSWA hosts its 100th event at the KSWA Arena at Spirit Lounge (the former Lawrenceville Moose, which served as the home of professional wrestling in Pittsburgh for a decade).

“I always have high hopes moving forward. First, we have an amazing amount of talent with the Megastars on the KSWA roster,” he continued. “Second, we have the greatest wrestling fans on the planet. Third, we came back home. When you add those three things together, it almost certainly makes for a great event night on 51st Street in Lawrenceville.”

Bobby O concluded his thoughts for the new year. “As far as a business plan goes, we start out every year in the KSWA with our set schedule of events. This year, including Battle Bowl, we have set eight great shows at the Spirit Hall. Of course, the work never stops. As the fans know, we are always adding additional shows and appearances throughout the year and 2017 will be no different. My pledge and the pledge of the KSWA Championship Committee is always to bring our fans “Pro Wrestling the Way You like It”, and that is what we plan on happening during the upcoming year.”

The year 2017 will undoubtedly be another historic year for professional wrestling in Pittsburgh

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