More Than History On The Line As KSWA Heavyweight Championship Is To Be Defended Saturday

November 27, 2022

by Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest

The Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Heavyweight Championship is the richest prize in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a federation-leading 22 years, the gold belt of Pennsylvania has resided in Pittsburgh. Only 16 Megastars have held the title, from Skippy Hawke, to Hall of Famers Tommy Faime and Mike Malachi, and groundbreakers like Jay Flash, Kris Kash, Shane Starr and The Latin Assassin.

The word “legend” is thrown about often in the world of combat sports, but the title has been earned by the likes of Shawn Blanchard (and his six title reigns), Anthony Alexander’s record-breaking 952 days at the top, and Mitch Napier’s grueling reigns as KSWA Champion.

Then there are those like current KSWA Champion, J-Ru, an underappreciated stalwart of the Western Pennsylvania scene. Blink and you realize that the veteran from Charleroi, Pennsylvania has been in independent wrestling for about a quarter of a century. And for the past six months, J-Ru has resided at the top of Pennsylvania’s historic legacy as the most significant title holder of them all.

The year began spectacularly for J-Ru with a win to determine the new #1 contender for the KSWA Heavyweight Championship on March 19 in Freeport. This was the organization’s first event of the year and a departure of sorts. Usually, a Battle Bowl winner determines the number top contender, but J-Ru was victorious in a Fatal Four Way that included presumptive favorite Napier.

J-Ru would go on to defeat Justin Sane, and A.J. Alexander (not to be confused with Anthony) in single’s competition early in the year. J-Ru would stumble against “The Ram” Anthony Drake in a one-on-one contest, as well as some tag team outings.

But in a rare double-shot on June 25, J-Ru defeated “The Face of Pittsburgh” Lou Martin at Arsenal Park and “The Leader of the Grayson Nation” Tyler Grayson at Gino Brother’s in Sharpsburg. It was momentum that led him to the biggest summer stage (and largest crowd of the year), Brawl Under the Bridge in Homestead.

Using nefarious tactics, J-Ru upset Anthony Alexander and won the most prestigious prize of his career.

Since winning the KSWA Championship by defeating Alexander, J-Ru has been a fighting champion. At The River in Franklin Park on July 23, J-Ru defeated Shane Starr and won again over Alexander in a rematch at Century III Kia in West Mifflin.

J-Ru’s success continued with wins against “Big Country” Matt McGraw near downtown Pittsburgh, Shane Starr in Verona, and Yinza in Birdville.

Although dogged by relentless chants of “Teapot,” J-Ru was victorious in a Fatal Fourway, as well as a single’s challenge at Millvale Days.

He battled former Heavyweight Champions Shane Starr and Dennis Gregory over the next few weeks. His last title defense was successful against Tyler Grayson. A tag team match with J-Ru tagging with now-friend Anthony Alexander vs. Lou Martin and Shane Starr ended with the KSWA Champion eating a table tossed onto him repeatedly by The Face of Pittsburgh.

This all leads into a monumental defense against Lou Martin, who has previously held the KSWA Heavyweight Championship twice before. Whether a VIP or a fan favorite, Martin is one of the most successful and important Megastars to ever don boots in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance.

Martin lobbied KSWA Owner Bobby O for the match, which was quickly signed.

Martin’s first reign as Champion began on January 24, 2004 when he defeated Malachi at the VFW in Bloomfield. That was the last Heavyweight Championship title change in the KSWA’s first home. The group would move to the Lawrenceville Moose, and that venue would ultimately be dubbed the KSWA Arena, the Home of Professional Wrestling in Pittsburgh. It is a designation and history that remains untouched to this very day.

Martin, only this 5th man to win the belt, would hold onto that championship for 798 days, which until earlier this year was the longest-running incumbency in KSWA, and perhaps Pittsburgh independent wrestling history.

This Saturday, December 3, is the 11th anniversary of Martin winning his second KSWA Championship, this time by shocking means against Mitch Napier. After Napier won a Fatal Fourway, Martin used a long-pocketed opportunity won nearly a year earlier at Battle Bowl. He would go on to hold the strap that second time for 735 days. Together, he held the KSWA Heavyweight Championship for 1,533 days in two reigns. Only Alexander’s 1,540 days have been longer. Blanchard’s six trips have accounted for 1,422 days.

The time for KSWA Champion J-Ru versus Lou Martin has come.

The most important match in KSWA history returns to the city of Pittsburgh this coming Saturday, December 3 at the American Legion in Sheraden. The stacked card includes title defenses for the Golden Triangle and tag team championships, and the vacant 5-Star belt will be decided. In addition, Ax and Smash, Demolition will be on hand to celebrate their 35 years as a tag team, and their 35th anniversary as a team in Pittsburgh.

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