November 15, 2021
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
For many years, Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Owner Bobby O and the KSWA Championship Committee for many years have considered a FanFest/Toy Drive match to celebrate the contributions to the legendary Pittsburgh wrestling Donna Christianello. And the group decided that after a one-year hiatus from FanFest, it was time to book a contest in her name. On Saturday, December 4 the first-ever Donna Christianello Memorial Match is set to take place, and with women who harken back to the pedigree of the KSWA Hall of Famer.
Gabby Gilbert comes to KSWA FanFest/Toy Drive with an impressive, 20-plus year career inside the squared circle.
Well-trained from respected organizations such as JAPW and PWU, Gilbert continued to learn the craft from the likes of Dr. Tom Prichard, Mercedes Martinez, and Jazz. A well-traveled veteran, Gilbert has wrestled throughout the states, Canada, Mexico, Japan and the U.K. She's appeared on PPV and IPPV events, in addition to live television.
In fact, Gilbert has established quite a resume. In 2010, as Roxie Cotton, she made the PWI Top 50 females list, was one-half of the World-1 tag team champions with former ROH Women's Champion Sumie Sakai, and was one-half of the WSU tag team champions with Annie Social. That's a distinction she earned twice.
She was a Dangerous Women of Wrestling (DWOW) tag team champion with Marti Belle, and in Mexico, Gilbert was the LLF Jr. Champion. She's also held gold in WXW, and Maryland's ACW, just to name a few.
Over the past two decades she has worked with Awesome Kong, current Impact Women's Champion Mickie James, Sara Del Rey and Thunder Rosa.
Now, the Philadelphia-area grappler is set to wrestle Scarlett in the first Women's Match in FanFest history. "It is a huge honor to be the first women’s match," Gilbert wrote in an email recently. "But I know we are going to set the bar high for every girl after."
While this is the first match at FanFest, women have wrestled in the KSWA before. Most recently, Ray Lynn wrestled Zoey Skye at MJ's Steel City Saloon in Imperial. Before that, Laura Loveless and Honey Badger took part in the fundraiser for Lord Zoltan in 2018. Women's matches also dotted KSWA cards in the early days of 2000.
Pittsburgh born-and-bred legends Christianello and her niece, former WWF wrestler Angie Minelli, have long been established in the KSWA. Christianello was inducted into the KSWA Hall of Fame in 2010 and Minelli in 2019.
The KSWA Championship Committee and Owner Bobby O said the time is right for such a match, as adding the likes of a solid veteran like Gilbert and local powerhouse Scarlett adds to an impressive card at a new venue for the Holiday Spectacular.
James J. Dillon and Cowboy Bob Orton help headline a stacked event featuring KSWA Megastars such as Heavyweight Champion Anthony Alexander, "The Face of Pittsburgh" Lou Martin, The "O.G. of the VIPs" Shawn Blanchard, Shane Starr, "The Regent" Joshua Kavod, Yinza the Pittsburgh Luchadore, "Big Country" Matt McGraw, "King" Del Douglas and others.
The Toy Drive associated with FanFest has benefitted the Allegheny County Holiday Project since 2005. Tens of thousands of toys have been donated over the years as FanFest has been cemented as the biggest and most popular professional wrestling event in Pennsylvania and beyond.