Anatomy Of "AA" Return: Keeping KSWA's Biggest Homecoming A Secret
March 28, 2017
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
A “Mystery Opponent” has long been a staple of professional wrestling. Employing this enjoyable twist is difficult and important. It’s oftentimes triggered when an athlete gets “too big for his britches” and a ruling authority needs to find a way to settle a score or slight. This is something that the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Championship Committee has long been keen on utilizing.
In recent years, “Ice Man” Tony Johnson has frequently been a “Mystery Opponent.” Through injuries, leaves or in the most recent case—firing—Johnson has been labored to surprise a combatant. In another vaunted case, Lord Zoltan arrived during a June 11, 2011 “Ultimate Survivor” match and turned on the VIPs, who expected him to help their team win.
But for the 10th annual Joe Abby Memorial Tournament, a “Prime Time” ruse was employed at the most perfect of times.
Shawn Blanchard, who won the initial tournament in 2008, demanded a spot in the tournament. The former 6-time KSWA Champion felt entitled to the win, and it’s believed that he had an avenue paved to victory. In step KSWA Owner Bobby O and the Championship Committee.
It can now be told that the Committee nearly inked “Double A” Anthony Alexander for the 2017 Battle Bowl. The epic return to the KSWA Arena, now at Spirit Hall, would have blown the roof off of the packed house.
As it turns out, Alexander, who injured his shoulder during his last KSWA match nearly 6 years to the day at the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament in a Fatal Four Way. He successfully defended the Golden Triangle Championship against Alex Arcadian, Bobby Badfingers, and Vinnie Stone.
Then the Golden Triangle Championship was vacated, for the fourth time in the organization’s history. (In an interesting side note, Frank Durso, the second KSWA Hall of Famer and then advisor to the VIPs, won the Golden Triangle Championship the next month, and lost it a few minutes later due to a match restart.)
Alexander would be on the sidelines for the next six years.
Life sometimes gets in the way of a stellar professional wrestling career. With more than 100 KSWA matches in his career, a successful reign as KSWA World Heavyweight Champion behind him, Alexander, a headliner in every sense of the word, stepped aside.
At one time one of the most successful wrestlers ever to enter a KSWA ring, Alexander once turned his back on the fans. At FanFest, 2009 no less.(It is confirmed that one long-time supporter was so enraged with Alexander that she went home and tore her poster of the Megastar to shreds.)
After Alexander joined the VIPs, many faithful Krazies turned on him. When he’d approach the ring at the KSWA Arena, Krazies would turn their backs and raise newspapers they carried in. They would read as he circled the ring.
Then the injury occurred. It took a while for the always-fit Hollywood, California native to heel. Might he have regretted joining Shawn Blanchard and Lou Martin? Perhaps someday he will tell that tale. That is for another time.
Life sometimes tosses curves that can’t be hit. But through perseverance and dedication, sometimes life corrects itself.
For several months, talks took place between the KSWA Championship Committee and Alexander. It was determined by all that it was “time” for a return to professional wrestling in Pittsburgh. Alexander had reverted back to his roots as a fan favorite and he was eager to settle a personal score with Blanchard and the VIPs.
When Blanchard made his edict about entering the Abby Tournament, the Championship Committee, fearing an obnoxious win (Blanchard does excel on the biggest stages…no one can deny that), deprived him flat. However, Bobby O had an “AA” in the hole.
The tournament was set. Blanchard was allowed in by Bobby O. Jay Flash, who has won the Abby trophy in tag team at Team categories, was certain to be in. Shane Starr, another former KSWA Champion currently without an Abby win, successfully petitioned a spot. Other repeat winners had other match opportunites. Only The Latin Assassin was unaccounted for. Early bets suggested that he might be the Mystery Opponent. Other observers thought it might be Kaida.
Not one soul anywhere guessed Anthony Alexander.
In the weeks leading up to the Abby night, the other highlight of the evening, the Hall of Fame ceremony, took center stage. The announcement of Bill Apter last December was a huge win for the organization. The addition of Studio Wrestling’s Pie Traynor (his honor posthumously accepted by KSWA Hall of Famer and fellow baseball legend Lanny Frattare) was major news.
Then was the announcement of “The Fighting Cop From Carnegie,” Frank Holtz. His induction sparked unparalleled interest. Carnegie Borough and the Police Department sent acknowledgement. The Allegheny County Council, led by fellow KSWA Hall of Famers Chuck Martoni and John DeFazio, took it upon themselves to congratulate Holtz. KSWA Hall of Famer “Big Bully” Nick Busick cleared his busy schedule to make the event for Holtz. The announcement on KSWA Digest had more than twice as many views as any other story in the news outlet’s history.
At the Hall of Fame ceremony, KSWA Kommissioner “Gentleman” Joe Perri rounded out the Class of 2017.
That helped divert interest away from one of the biggest questions in KSWA history. Leading up to the day of the event, not one fellow entrant knew Blanchard’s opponent. Some guessed, many were intrigued. None of the 450 true, blue KSWA fans in attendance Saturday night had an inkling.
Blanchard charged the ring after the Hall of Fame ceremony and demanded to know who his opponent was. He wanted his hand raised in absentee victory as soon as possible.
And then “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix hit the sound system. There were many veteran KSWA fans who know the product better than anything on television, couldn’t believe their eyes when he re-debuted with sunglasses and gray/black pants. Many cheered, while some were still uncertain as to whether he was still a VIP.
When Alexander collided with one-time friend and long-time foe Blanchard, the Krazies knew that the old Double A was back. Still jacked, Alexander remains quick, powerful and tough. He defeated Blanchard with his patented Prime Time Cancellation. The fans went nuts.
Flash defeated Starr earlier in the night. When Flash and Alexander faced off in the Main Event, the overflow crowd was rapt. Hard hitting and athletic, the Flash/Alexander showdown was an early Match of the Year candidate. Flash, still ready to fall the giants, took on the most unexpected of them all. He gave it his all, and Flash could have easily been the victor.
A Prime-Time Cancellation stopped the always-charging “Giant Slayer” after a long and hard-fought battle. In the end, Alexander was awarded the Joe Abby Tournament trophy and he celebrated with the KSWA Krazies in a heart-warming return.
Welcome HOME, Anthony Alexander, your 2017 Joe Abby Memorial Tournament winner.