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Arts, Sports & Culture

'Brawl Under The Bridge' Features Local Wrestlers Body Slamming For A Cause

Howard Kernats
Lou "Dr. Devastation" Martin riles up a crowd at a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance event. Many of the group's proceeds go to benefit children in Allegheny County.

Seven wrestling matches with titles on the line. A strong-arming visitor from Moscow. An "ambulance match" in which two wrestlers will go head-to-head until someone leaves in ambulance.

It sounds like the recipe for a WWE pay-per-view event, but it’s actually a local independent wrestling showcase.

The Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) is teaming up with Blue Dust of Homestead for a community event called Brawl Under the Bridge II. For its second year, Zero Fossil, KSWA and Blue Dust will join together for a solar-powered wrestling match and community gathering.

The KSWA is an independent wrestling organization based primarily out of Lawrenceville. Its members have performed around the city since the early 2000s. Lou Martin, also known as his wrestling persona “Dr. Devastation,” was one of their original wrestlers.

Credit Howard Kernatz / KWSA
Lou "Dr. Devastation" Martin is tackled by a KSWA opponent.

He said he may be a bad guy inside the ring, but emphasized the good work of KSWA outside the ring.

In addition to raising funds for causes and organizations such as United Way, cystic fibrosis research, volunteer fire departments and the local food bank, KSWA hosts a yearly winter event for local children.

“We have a holiday toy drive in conjunction with the Allegheny Holiday Project,” said Martin. “We’ve probably raised about 7,500 toys in the years we’ve been doing it.”

All those toys stay in Allegheny County when they are distributed.

Martin also stressed how important it is to KSWA that their events be for all ages and affordable.

“Our wrestling is PG-13 at worst, so we try to keep all of our events family friendly,” said Martin.  

If we can get folks to one KSWA event, we can get them to come back. - Lou "Dr. Devastation" Martin

The upcoming Brawl, for example, is $5 and will feature food trucks, family activities and craft beer carts.

The Brawl Under the Bridge II will take place in Homestead under the Homestead Grays Bridge. One of the event sponsors is a local company, Zero Fossil Energy Outfitters, who make it possible for the event to run entirely on clean solar energy.

While local indie wrestlers are the main players, high profile guest Nikolai Volkoff of the World Wrestling Federation will be appearing. Volkoff has not been to Pittsburgh for quite some time, so KSWA is excited to host him in a six-man tag match (three-on-three wrestling).

The event will take place on July 23, with bell time at 7 p.m.

Martin said he is always encouraged by the number of viewers who come for matches.

“If we can get folks to one KSWA event, we can get them to come back,” said Martin.

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