December 1, 2021
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
After missing an in-ring event during a global pandemic, the phenomenon that is Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) FanFest/Toy Drive is back and in a bigger venue than ever before.
Held as a special 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday, December 4 at Three Rivers Harley-Davidson , 1463 Glenn Avenue in Glenshaw, 15116 (just minutes from the previous home in the city neighborhood of Lawrenceville), FanFest is set to be one for the ages.
Special guests James J. Dillon and "Cowboy" Bob Orton are set to arrive for FanFest. As always, fans are encouraged to bring brand new, unwrapped toys for local youths to be delivered by the Allegheny County Holiday Project.
The richest prize in the Commonwealth will be on the line as the current, reigning, two-time KSWA Heavyweight Champion Anthony Alexander will defend the title against the veteran Edric Everhart. KSWA Owner Bobby O had allowed for an Open Challenge to defend the belt at FanFest, something that had never been done before in Pittsburgh lore. Everhart, who unsuccessfully challenged for the championship at the KSWA 20th anniversary event in February, 2020, is back for another crack. He takes on Alexander, who has been more of a fighting champion that any professional wrestler representing a brand...anywhere. This should be battle of two titans of the Pittsburgh squared circle. Everhart began his professional wrestling journey more than a decade ago in the KSWA ring. He is bigger, stronger and badder than at any point previously in his career. And he's out to prove a point, that he's ready to lead the KSWA into 2022. But Anthony Alexander has other plans. He intends to hold onto the belt, which he earned two years ago, and break records in the new year.
Meanwhile, another fighting champion is Shane Starr, the current Golden Triangle Champion. While the KSWA Heavyweight belt is the most cherished in the Commonwealth, Shane Starr's Golden Triangle champion is meant to represent the city of Pittsburgh's finest. He will take on the always-formidable Lucio Deveer. This showdown between two even-skilled wrestlers has been seen before, but never under this type of importance. The Golden Triangle Championship has been defended just as feverishly in 2021 as the KSWA Championship. And with Shane Starr at the top, the fans have never been more excited. Might the new attitude of Lucio Deveer derail Shane Starr's December and Holiday Season? This will be a match to watch.
The KSWA's Five-Star Championship has never been more important than this year. From Harley T. Morris' reign that began in 2020 to J-Ru's successful run, to Joshua Kavod's ascent to the division, this championship has been the organization's most fluid since action caught up again. All three Megastars have been front-and-center when it comes to the 5-Star Championship, the KSWA's newest regularly-defended title. Now, "The Regent" defends against three men: the former champion J-Ru, Ric Rumskey and Malakai Gage. The KSWA Championship Committee has obviously decided to present three wrestlers an opportunity at Kavod's championship. Love him or leave him, J-Ru is one of the hardest-working professionals in the game. Ric Rumskey, when in the organization, is an energetic and athletic athlete who has every ability to win the strap. He was involved in the Fatal Five Way that saw J-Ru win the title over Morris. And Malakai Gage, whether in tag team competition alongside Lucio Deveer or in a burgeoning single's campaign, is up to this task.
The "Steel City Strap Match" between "The Face of Pittsburgh" Lou Martin and "The O.G. of the VIPs" Shawn Blanchard has been two years...or two decades...in the making. The frienemies have known each other for more than twenty years. They have been the best of friends, and have been the worst of enemies. The most recent chapter in their personal odyssey began at FanFest 2019 when an angered Shawn Blanchard attacked Martin, and pile drove him in front of an intense crowd. It's never been made public before, but then-KSWA FanFest attendee Bob Backlund was amazed by the turn of events and called it a moment that couldn't be topped that evening in the ring. Since that time, Blanchard had been sidelined by injury. That did not stop him from forming stronger-than-ever bonds with "King" Del Douglas, and it even helped BROhemoth become a more fearsome assassin in the squared circle. More recently, Blanchard has been cleared to wrestle again and he has challenged for the Golden Triangle Champion, but has not forgotten about his one-time VIP partner. And let's not forget, Blanchard has placed a telephone call to his mentor, advisor and manager James J. Dillon. The Hall of Famer will be in Blanchard's corner, for one promises to be one of the most important matches in the 6-time former KSWA Champion's legacy. Meanwhile and since that initial break, Martin has become a beloved "Face of Pittsburgh" who also hasn't forgotten The Enforcer. Most recently, a KSWA Krazy asked about the intensity of this Strap Match. It will be cemented in Pittsburgh wrestling lore.
The Renegades--"Big Country" Matt McGraw and Yinza, the Pittsburgh Luchadore--have become one of the KSWA's best home-grown tag team champions. The will be able to show their collective mettle in a Gauntlet Match that pits them against three of the best tag teams in recent KSWA vintage. The team of "An Officer and a Gentleman," Dan Murphy and Harley T. Morris has taken the tag team champions from pillar to post several times in recent months, and may find a way to rest gold from their waists. But that doesn't mean that relative newcomers "The Ram" Anthony Drake and Sin Born aren't ready to take their place among Pittsburgh's tag team elite. Drake and Sin Born have wrestled frequently this year in the KSWA, together and against one another. Their particular set of skills might also be of advantage in this Gauntlet. And lastly, but not least, the wild card team in his match..."King" Del Douglas and BROhemoth. To look at the duo separately, one might never believe they would work well together. Yet, they do. Both Douglas and BROhemoth have worn tag team championship gold, and have worked well with different partners over the years. That is an advantage that no other team has here. It's quite possible that Yinza and McGraw could lose their belts without having their shoulders pinned to the mat in this unique contest.
For many years, KSWA Owner Bobby O and the KSWA Championship Committee has worked toward finding a way to celebrate the legacy of Pittsburgh wrestling legend Donna Christanello. There has been talk of a match between two women who exemplify the in-ring mastery of the KSWA Hall of Famer. This year, in a brand new venue, Bobby O and the Championship Committee determined this was the year for the Donna Christianello Memorial Match. The showdown features the imposing Scarlett against a long-time veteran in Gabby Gilbert. Scarlett is an imposing figure with incredible power and Gilbert is a seasoned veteran who will instantly make friends with the Krazies. In a video posted on social media, Gilbert expressed her excitement about coming to FanFest, but also showed that she knows facing Scarlett will be a daunting task.
"The Rev" Ron Hunt has enlisted his "Jesus Club" stablemate A.J. Alexander to face Bubba the Bulldog and Super Hentai in tag team action. At Brawl Under the Bridge in July, Hunt tagged with a returning Hentai to take on Bubba and Dennis Gregory. The hard-hitting match was a highlight of an exceptional evening. However, it was Hentai who swerved Hunt and hit him with a frog splash from the top rope. Hentai and Gregory have been friends for many years, and the Super One wasn't about to permanently turn his back on his long-time cohort. Gregory cannot be at FanFest, so it's Bubba the Bulldog and Super Hentai against Hunt and Alexander. Bubba the Bulldog has been away for several months due to injury and he is ready to get back to action. This simmering rivalry will take a decidedly personal turn this Saturday afternoon.
Fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to KSWA FanFest/Toy Drive this Saturday afternoon. There will be plenty of food and drink vendors, as well as plenty of other merchants, a world-class Chinese Auction as well as a 50/50 raffle right before the gift-giving season.