September 5, 2022
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
Especially in the summertime, the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Heavyweight Champion may defend the title on a weekly basis. That’s why it’s the most intimidating position in all of the Commonwealth and beyond, and why some cannot simply handle the responsibility. That’s one of the reasons why, in more than 22 years, only 16 men to hold KSWA Heavyweight Championship gold. It’s difficult to find a champion with the necessary loyalty, dedication, work ethic, and pedigree for that kind of workload. It’s fair to say that a picture of a multi-promotional champion might never include the KSWA Heavyweight Championship, as there isn’t enough time to chase for gold in other places.
A 22-plus-year veteran, J-Ru won the KSWA Championship, albeit by dubious means, when he defeated Anthony Alexander at Brawl Under the Bridge on July 16. Over the next eight weeks–56 days–he will have already defended the championship six times.
Compare that to some other KSWA Heavyweight Champions, including the first: Skippy Hawk. The original KSWA title holder had one successful defense (against “Mr. Tenacity” Tommy Faime) in the year 2000 before losing the strap to “The Enforcer” Shawn Blanchard. Hawk held the title 216 days in the KSWA’s inaugural season.
Blanchard’s first title reign was the most unique of his six. It was the “wild west” at that time. He defeated 11 challengers over the next 267 days, but that included as many as three title defenses a night.
When Tommy Faime pinned Blanchard and won the title in April, 2001, the KSWA didn’t host nearly as many events as it does today. He successfully defended one time in 511 days. That would be the promotion’s longest reign for three years.
In Blanchard’s next championship reign, he held the title for 49 days before Mike Malachi won the belt in Bloomfield. Over the next 441 days, Malachi was the KSWA Heavyweight Champion. He successfully defended the gold twice…against Tommy Faime and Ali Kaida.
In 2006, Shawn Blanchard recorded a legendary reign at the top of the Commonwealth. Over 245 days he defended the title 8 times, lost to La Lucha once via disqualification, had a 30-minutes stalemate against Anthony Alexander and at a double count out against the Prime Time Player.
Blanchard would lose the title to La Lucha at FanFest, 2006, but would win it back 49 days later.
Blanchard’s fourth title reign (315 days) included four successful defenses, but also included tag team matches, a non-title loss to Sara Brooks, a 30-minute draw with Alexander and a double count out with Alexander. The Prime Time Player also scored a disqualification win before winning the championship.
By comparison, Alexander’s first title reign included 17 title defenses in 588 days. Blanchard’s 294 days at the top produced another six successful title defenses.
The Latin Assassin dethroned Blanchard and defended the belt 13 times over the next 434 days, before losing to Ali Kaida.
Kaida would hold onto the title for 147 days and successfully defend six times.
Since that time, the amount of events the KSWA hosts has increased. Many of those pre-2005 reigns occurred during times in which Pittsburgh’s official professional wrestling organization was having its feet planted. Over the past decade or more, there have simply been more opportunities to win, defend, and lose the championship.
Jay Flash’s 84 days at the top of the KSWA mountain included three title defenses. His time with the championship was dominated with tag team contests, before losing to Mitch Napier.
“The Gavel” David Lawless defended the championship six times over 118 days (twice as long) at the very top of the Commonwealth ladder.
The lengthy commands of Lou Martin, Mitch Napier (2nd), Shane Starr, Dennis Gregory and Anthony Alexander are in a category all to themselves; however, J-Ru has taken his time as champion…like a champion.
J-Ru has defeated Shane Starr in Franklin Park, Anthony Alexander in West Mifflin, Matt McGraw at Flag Plaza in the shadow of downtown Pittsburgh, Shane Starr in Verona and the Pittsburgh Luchadore Yinza, in Natrona Heights. Not only are those a modern-day “who’s who” of Pittsburgh wrestling, the matches have taken place in a wide area. Only the KSWA has taken to the road so far and so often, particularly since the lessening of COVID-19.
Recently, he was given a proclamation by KSWA Class of 2022 Hall of Famer, Mayor Mystery, and still was able to defend against Yinza (even though the proclamation was used in a unique way).
The Keystone State Wrestling Alliance returns to action this Saturday, September 10 at Three Rivers Harley Davidson at 2 p.m. for a special matinee.