Anatomy Of A Hero’s Return

July 20, 2023

by Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest

Last Saturday, at Brawl Under the Bridge 8, Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Heavyweight Champion Lou Martin engaged in what can only be described as an underdog’s most courageous pursuit. Enraged for weeks by former friends who turned their backs on the Face of Pittsburgh and the city’s most loyal fans, Martin had, during a celebration of our nation’s Independence, brandished a baseball bat and challenged all four former KSWA Champions to a match. An “Un-Civil War” for the ages. Four—Shawn Blanchard, Kris Kash, Anthony Alexander, and their leader Del Douglas—against one.

Seeing the uphill battle that stood in Martin’s way, KSWA Owner Bobby O, the recipient of more than a handful of dastardly sneak attacks by the Dynasty, overcame trepidation and reached deep down into the core of his soul. There he found reserve, purpose and gallantry to join his Megastar brother-in-arms.

Then there was Shane Starr—who just as personally as Martin—had been betrayed by Blanchard, Alexander, and especially Kash. All three men had been stablemates at one time during his 18 years inside the squared circle. Way back when, a very youthful Starr was recruited to be a VIP. The arrangement didn’t last long, and when he was cast aside by Blanchard and company, it was Kash who took his childhood friend back. And when Kash listened to Douglas and decided to join the burgeoning Dynasty, it was Starr he belted for the swerve. The most recent attack on the Sharpsburg Shooter left the strongman banged up, in a neck brace and questioning his in-ring sanity.

It was still a handicapped match of danger-filled proportions. The Dynasty is the most dangersome quartet ever assembled in the KSWA. The team, with nine KSWA Heavyweight Championship reigns between them, is the most decorated set of athletes Independent wrestling the city of Steel has ever witnessed.

Team KSWA was combined of three men who never worked together in a match.

The Un-Civil War began with Blanchard and Martin facing off for five heart stopping minutes. Due to the advantage provided by a coin flip, Alexander entered the fray next. For two minutes, two of the most decked KSWA Champions in 23 years ganged up on the current title holder. Two minutes later, the sides leveled when Shane Starr raced in and ripped off the protection to his collar.

The action was fast and furious and potentially deadly. Kris Kash entered and went right after his former tag-team Lost Boy. And when Bobby O entered, he went straight after the trouble-making Blanchard. Last but certainly not least, “King” Del Douglas joined the assault, and with that, the “Un-Civil War” began.

Martin, Starr and Bobby O did everything they could, but even three of the most passionate Megastars to ever lace up a pair of boots were overcome by four of the most seasoned and experienced hands in professional wrestling.

With the others dispatched, the Dynasty turned their attention to Owner Bobby O. Bobby O took a heck of a beatdown, but he still had the audacity, and verve to pick up the official KSWA microphone and make one timely declaration.

“When I said I was coming to Brawl Under the Bridge to fight, I was never said I was coming…alone,” said the owner. After a pregnant pause of sound, the familiar “You’re the Best Around” by Joe Esposito rang out from Kommissioner Tim Steiner’s ringside speakers. And stepping out from behind the locker room curtain, former two-time KSWA Heavyweight Champion Mitch Napier!

Mouths dropped agape as Napier, clad in red, white, and blue, emerged with a smile and a familiar thump’s up to the fans who exploded in celebration. Just beneath that wonderment, Napier had a look of determination and grit. The KSWA needed Mitch Napier, and he heeded that call.

With workaday smoothness, Napier slid into the ring and bounced Alexander with a clothesline. Alexander fell to the outside as Napier ricocheted off of the ropes. The duo of Blanchard and Douglas were next to taste a diving double clothesline. Another lariat spun Kash around like a top and crashing to the mat. Then a returning Alexander was met with shots to the midsection.

The battle would rage for several more minutes as nearly every Megastar would have a chance to win the match, but it was Napier who would scoop up The King, land a Sioux Falls Slam and record the win for Team KSWA in 21:39.

But how did this incredible surprise for the Krazies, and Hail Mary to Team KSWA happen?

Napier left the KSWA after March 25, 2022’s loss to Edric Everhart. The fan favorite had been injured months earlier when he was attacked by former “Best Bro Around” BROhemoth. Napier returned at KSWA FanFest 2021 to settle score, and he’d wrestle a couple of times since then. There was also another sizeable chunk of time in the past in which Napier left the KSWA to take care of personal issues. Humble and talented in and around the ring, Napier is a quiet sort who spends time with family and friends, enjoying time around from the grueling KSWA schedule. His standard of title defenses remains the standard.

Napier remains in a sort of self-preservation, but when an old friend called, Sioux Falls, Iowa’s favorite son answered.

“After Lou was willing to take on the Dynasty all by himself, Bobby O started to piece together a team,” wrote Napier in a recent email. “With Shane Starr having taken a beating, he reached out to me to be waiting in the wings for the last possible moment as to not let the Dynasty suspect a thing. Their overconfidence at a 4-3 advantage would be their downfall.”

Bobby O: “Initially, there was no grand plan. Shane Starr was involved from the beginning and then the Dynasty literally dragged me into this feud last year.

“After the beat down at Gino Brothers, Lou Martin was also drawn in. After that event, I brought out the bat and Lou responded in kind with his typical passion. Even though the bat was lost at the Lawrenceville event, the challenge was made.”

The Owner continued, “Of course, the committee and myself couldn’t allow that match to be four vs. one. During that week, I sought to be an entrant in the match since I was already physically involved. The Championship Committee and I fully anticipated Starr’s insistence to become involved, even at less than 100%. Once the legal assurances with that were secured, it was then I started thinking about evening the odds.”

Bobby O says that it was “during the week prior to Brawl that I reached out to Mitch to gauge his interest. He’s as passionate as any of us about the KSWA, and he eventually agreed to join Team KSWA.”

Lou Martin added, “Bobby O kept Mitch Napier’s involvement in the match totally under wraps. I had no idea. When I heard Mitch’s music reverberate under the bridge, I was shocked. At that moment, I knew Team KSWA was going to victorious.”

Bobby O continues, “It was my call to keep Mitch’s participation a complete secret. The Dynasty works by tactics such as bullying and bravado, so I thought keeping the appearance of four vs. three would feed their overconfidence. Sometimes, you must play chess when others are playing checkers. The element of complete surprise with Mitch was the tactic that Team KSWA needed. I’m certainly glad it was enough to help us emerge victorious in the Un-Civil War match at Brawl.

While away, it’s clear that Napier continues to follow everything KSWA and professional wrestling in Pittsburgh. “It really broke my heart to see how the frustration built for Double A after losing his championship after defending it for so long. Something I could relate to. I wish I had been in the company at that time, feeling the guilt that I could've been a friend he could confide in. But the biggest, most surprising betrayal of all was Kris Kash's turn. That floored me. That's when I knew the reach that Blanchard and Douglas had. That they could manipulate even the most admirable of my friends.”

Napier, in his trademark honest, hard-working and most trustworthy way, plans to come back to Pittsburgh’s official professional wrestling organization again. “I feel stronger and more focused than maybe ever before. And when I come back full-time, the KSWA and it's fans will see some incredible things. It was a long road to tow, being away for so long, but I'm glad I stepped away. And even if I have a little more to do away from the ring right now, I'm more driven than ever before to get in there and mix it up with everyone!”

And Napier, through that emotional homecoming, heard the Krazies loud and clear. “The reception I received last Saturday will stay with me for the rest of my life. To be welcomed back like that felt like time stood still. I could've soaked up that adulation all night long. We have the best, most passionate fans in the KSWA. Every show we put on, each time we put our bodies on the line, they make it all worth it. They make it feel like home.”

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