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Keystone State wrestlers do it all for the 'Krazies'

| Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Kaida, also known as Mike D'Emidio of Donora, receives a boot to his face from Bulldozer, also known as George Fetty of Wheeling, in a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Kaida, also known as Mike D'Emidio of Donora, receives a boot to his face from Bulldozer, also known as George Fetty of Wheeling, in a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Olivia DiGiacomo, middle, 7, of Morningside, and Morgan Mudge, 8, of Lawrenceville, place their hands over their hearts as the national anthem plays during a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Olivia DiGiacomo, middle, 7, of Morningside, and Morgan Mudge, 8, of Lawrenceville, place their hands over their hearts as the national anthem plays during a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
Nicole Ellison, 18, of Millvale, has her photo taken with Keystone State Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Champion Shane Starr, also known as Tony Trozzo of Sharpsburg, during a KSWA fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014. Ellison is a KSWA fan who tries to make it to every match.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Nicole Ellison, 18, of Millvale, has her photo taken with Keystone State Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Champion Shane Starr, also known as Tony Trozzo of Sharpsburg, during a KSWA fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014. Ellison is a KSWA fan who tries to make it to every match.
Blood Beast, also known as Justin Blood of Beechview, uses a moving van mirror to apply makeup while getting into character prior to a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Blood Beast, also known as Justin Blood of Beechview, uses a moving van mirror to apply makeup while getting into character prior to a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Wrestlers prepare backstage prior to a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Wrestlers prepare backstage prior to a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
Jack Massacre, also known as Justin Martin of Moon, inserts a contact as he gets into character prior to a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Jack Massacre, also known as Justin Martin of Moon, inserts a contact as he gets into character prior to a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Kris Kash, also known as Mike Marchetti of O'Hara Township, delivers a flying kick to J Ru, also known as Jason Russo of Charleroi, in a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Kris Kash, also known as Mike Marchetti of O'Hara Township, delivers a flying kick to J Ru, also known as Jason Russo of Charleroi, in a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Brandon Sweeney, 7, of Sharpsburg, raises a fist while cheering on  Keystone State Wrestling Alliance wrestlers during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Brandon Sweeney, 7, of Sharpsburg, raises a fist while cheering on Keystone State Wrestling Alliance wrestlers during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Hana Maloney, 2, of Lawrenceville, wears a wrestling mask prior to a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Hana Maloney, 2, of Lawrenceville, wears a wrestling mask prior to a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
'Dr. Devastation', also known as Lou Martin of the North Side, lies on the mat in a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
'Dr. Devastation', also known as Lou Martin of the North Side, lies on the mat in a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance match during the 2014 Millvale Days Celebration on September 12, 2014.
Tyler Cross, also known as Anthony Perna of Follansbee, W. Va.,  gestures to the crowd during a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Tyler Cross, also known as Anthony Perna of Follansbee, W. Va., gestures to the crowd during a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
A prop lies backstage during a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
A prop lies backstage during a Keystone State Wrestling Alliance fundraising match at St. Raphael's Catholic Elementary School in Morningside on September 27, 2014.

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 gwathen@tribweb.com.

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