Keystone State wrestlers do it all for the ‘Krazies’
Hard-core music blares from speakers. The crowd turns to see a menacing, 6-foot-5, 293-pound figure wearing black face paint and carrying a red skull.
He lumbers toward the ring, glaring at the children and adults cheering and jeering him.
The Blood Beast, as he is known, has arrived.
Since 2000, wrestlers in Keystone State Wrestling Alliance have entertained Western Pennsylvania audiences. The alliance is made up of about 24 wrestlers who dedicate their time — and sacrifice their bodies — for little more than love of the sport, to the delight of the “Krazies,” a nickname for KSWA fans.
Fans of all ages come to matches, said “Trapper” Tom Leturgey, the organization’s ring announcer and journalist.
“Our target audience is wrestling fans who enjoy a family-friendly version of the sport,” Leturgey said. “We also have hipsters who drink (Pabst Blue Ribbon beer) at the bar and hoot and holler at their favorites (and not so favorites). They are terrific fans.”
Although the alliance is considered a professional wrestling organization, the athletes are by no means getting wealthy for their efforts.
“At this level of professional wrestling, we do it for the love of the business,” Leturgey said. “Most of the wrestlers have traditional day jobs.”
Yet love of the business can come at a price.
Though trained athletes, the wrestlers injure wrists, ankles, knees. Some suffer broken noses.
“Guys reel from aches and pains after every match,” Leturgey said.
Guy Wathen is a Trib Total Media photographer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.