June 3, 2022
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
Bubba the Bulldog’s professional wrestling career is one of the most underappreciated in Western Pennsylvania’s vast independent heritage. Much like his longtime friend and tag team partner Dennis Gregory, Bubba’s in-ring career began in the mid 1990’s.
Now they are both among the KSWA Class of 2022 Hall of Fame. Bubba becomes the 46th member of a distinct, Pittsburgh-and-Pennsylvania-based class that includes Bruno Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci and others. Bubba notes that his family owned a grocery store in the Oakland neighborhood in the city of Pittsburgh and the Sammartino family were loyal customers when they first immigrated from Italy.
Bubba’s early matches in West Newton and North Versailles, among others, saw the popular radio station morning host grapple with the likes of Crusher Hansen and Paul Atlas (who along with a now-grizzled group, helped define an era that inspired groups like the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance).
Business really picked up for the grappler when local television opportunities arose, and he began working for what is now World Wrestling Entertainment. Bubba tells the story that he (at least once) appeared on wrestling programs on the same evening…for a local outfit, as well as the television leader.
In 2001, he and “Founding Fathers” that included Gregory began a wrestling promotion he dubbed a “Cartel” influenced by cable television’s “Soprano’s”. That organization, which is still a leader and in operation today, is the second-longest continually-running professional wrestling organization, behind only the KSWA.
Bubba the Bulldog, through his ties with the WWE, was helpful in spearheading the “Connor’s Cure” charity. Connor Michalek was a Pittsburgh youth who courageously battled a rare brain cancer. This is just one of the many philanthropic endeavors Bubba has assisted over his many years in the public eye.
Still a popular morning radio show host, successful restaurateur and high school baseball coach, Bubba the Bulldog has rejuvenated his in-ring career since joining the KSWA in 2017. Immediately, he and fellow KSWA Hall of Famer, Class of 2022, Dennis Gregory, defeated the team of Jack Massacre and Lucio Deveer. Along with KSWA Hall of Famer, Class of 2022 Mayor Mystery, the newly-minted “Team Don’t Care” was off and running.
At FanFest 2017, Bubba and Dennis Gregory fell short in their first attempt at KSWA tag team gold, but defeated The Jester and KSWA Class of 2016 Hall of Famer T-Rantula for the most prestigious titles in the Commonwealth on January 6, 2018.
Bubba had a chance at the KSWA Heavyweight Championship when he faced then-KSWA Champion Mitch Napier in February, 2018.
Later that year, “Team Don’t Care” would successfully defend against Kris Kash and Shane Starr.
On July 21, 2018, Bubba defeated The Jester for the 5-Star Championship and became “Bubba Two Belts.” It was a self-appointed nickname he revealed in sharing. That was until the next month when he and Gregory lost the tag team championships to Kash and Starr.
Bubba defended the 5-Star Championship against the likes of Mitch Napier, The Jester, Officer Dan Murphy and T-Rantula. On September 29, 2018 at the KSWA’s 250th event, Bubba successfully defended that belt against Yinza, the Pittsburgh Luchadore.
Bubba entered into a memorable feud with former Megastar Sly Scarpone. The two would be intertwined for months to come.
In November, 2018, Bubba and others challenged then-KSWA Heavyweight Champion “The Gavel” David Lawless for the Keystone State’s top prize in a Fatal Fourway. At FanFest 2018, BROhemoth defeated Bubba by disqualification, but did not earn the 5-Star Championship. He defeated former KSWA Megastar Zak Hunter the very next month.
On February, 16, 2019, Bubba defeated challenger Trick McSorley in quick fashion and threw an open challenge to the KSWA locker room. Sly Scarpone answered and in one of the most thrilling moments in KSWA history, the challenger defeated the champion. Then, before the excitement could falter, Bubba (who had won a shot at the 5-Star Championship at Battle Bowl), attacked Scarpone, cashed in his opportunity and regained the title. The move still resonates as one of the most dastardly actions in KSWA history.
Bubba successfully defended against all comers, and then defeated Anthony Alexander for the Golden Triangle Championship on June 22, 2019.
On July 20, 2019 at Brawl Under the Bridge, Bubba bested Anthony Alexander in a rematch. KSWA Owner Bobby O made Bubba defend the 5-Star Championship against Scarpone. In another amazing explosion of excitement, Scarpone pinned Bubba the Bulldog for the belt. “Bubba Two Belts” was no more.
He would continue to reign supreme as the Golden Triangle Championship, with wins over Kris Kash, The Beastman and Zak Hunter. Bubba nearly won the Mario Ferraro, Sr. Memorial Tournament in Sharpsburg, but he continued to win as the city’s top champion over the likes of Shane Starr and J-Ru.
On January 4, 2020, Shane Starr defeated Bubba for the Golden Triangle Championship.
Bubba re-teamed with Gregory to face T-Rantula and Matt McGraw before the pandemic shut wrestling down.
When action resumed, Bubba challenged KSWA Heavyweight Champion Anthony Alexander and then-Golden Triangle Champion Shane Starr.
At Brawl Under the Bridge, 2021, he and Dennis Gregory faced off against “Rev” Ron Hunt and a familiar, yet masked face in Super Hentai. At the conclusion of that contest, Super Hentai turned on Hunt and embraced Gregory and Bubba. At FanFest, 2021, Bubba teamed for the first time with Super Hentai under the KSWA banner.
Always at the top of any card, Bubba recently took on “The Face of Pittsburgh” Lou Martin to see who was really the city’s most popular face. It was Martin. And he’s also challenged Anthony Alexander for the KSWA Heavyweight Championship.
Now, Bubba the Bulldog is entered into the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament on June 11 at Three Rivers Harley Davidson on Rt. 8 in Glenshaw. It is also the 15th annual KSWA Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The class includes Mayor Mystery, Dennis Gregory and Bubba the Bulldog.