Later this month, a battle-ready, bulked up and out-for-retribution Jay Flash hopes to extend his reign in the city’s most prestigious one-night tournament.
The Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) former Heavyweight Champion has entered 2017 ready to reclaim all of the top honors, including the most coveted Singles title in the Commonwealth. But until then, he looks forward to continuing his success as the most successful Joe Abby champion in the tournament’s 10-years history.
For the past two years, Flash has been a member of the foundation of Team Faime, a four-athlete conglomerate. In 2016 and 2015, Team Faime was victorious over competition in the tournament named for Studio Wrestling mainstay Joe Abby. In 2013, Flash and his now-former friend Tony Johnson won the tournament when it focused on tag team wrestling.
With that resume, it’s easy to see why Flash says he is the top tournament wrestler in the KSWA. He gets an opportunity to add a singles nod on Saturday, March 25 when the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament returns to the former Lawrenceville Moose (now called Spirit Hall) after a two-year interlude. And Flash says it’s just a matter of time before he gets his hands on the vaunted trophy yet again.
Jay Flash was KSWA World Champion at 174 pounds for a major portion of 2016. In the months since losing the Heavyweight Championship to Mitch Napier at December’s FanFest, he has dedicated himself to adding muscle to his already fast and furious in-ring attack. Last month, he weighed in at a chiseled 200 pounds. He took Napier to the limit in their January rematch, only to have the warrior from Sioux Falls retain the KSWA title. A capacity crowd gave a standing ovation to both men following the match.
In February, Flash and Golden Triangle Champion Tommy Faime failed to advance in a competition to determine the KSWA tag team division’s Number One contenders. While Flash and Faime would have liked to continue, Flash really looks forward to adding to his medal count.
“I’ve won three times,” the perpetually verbose Flash said recently. “I will walk out with a fourth Joe Abby Memorial trophy win.” In the Semi Finals, Flash will take on another former KSWA Champion Shane Starr. Starr has never won the Joe Abby tournament but he says now would be a good time to get register that benchmark.
In the other semi-final contest, Shawn Blanchard (who won the first tournament in 2008) will take on a surprise entrant. Once the semi-finals are over, the finals will also be held that night. A tournament winner will be crowned.
In addition to the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament, the KSWA hosts its annual Hall of Fame night. The KSWA’s 10th annual ceremony is the longest-running, continuous Independent wrestling Hall of Fame anywhere. This year, journalist Bill Apter joins the Hall of Fame, along with “The Fighting Cop from Carnegie” Frank Holtz and the late Studio Wrestling announcer and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Pie Traynor. In a special moment, former Pirate announcer Lanny Frattare will induct Traynor.
The KSWA Hall of Fame formed in 2008 with Abby and another Studio Wrestling athlete, Frank Durso. Over the years, the KSWA Hall of Fame has inducted Bobby “Hurricane” Hunt, Donna Christiantello, referee Bucky Palermo, George “The Animal” Steele, Bruno Sammartino and many others.
Flash says that it’s only a matter of time, “Maybe a year or two” before he is inducted in the Hall of Fame.