Gangrel Set For Action As RWA Celebrates 15 Years

The Renegade Wrestling Alliance, a blue-collar league with its home base at the West Newton Gymnasium in western Pennsylvania, will celebrate its 15th anniversary this Saturday. Among the myriad of independent stars, many of which are staples of the Pittsburgh scene, a WWE legend will be in the house as a guest star for the organization’s special occasion.

When the RWA began a decade and a half ago, it was simply a passion project by Derek Widziszewski, known on wrestling cards as Dr. Feelbad. Widziszewski was a familiar face of the steel city grappling scene for years and became well known for his infectious dedication to the squared circle. Finally, he brought that excitement and enthusiasm to his own brand of professional wrestling when the RWA began from humble beginning in 2009. Within the span of the past 15 years, not only did the RWA become a viable business venture as it built a dedicated fan that was truly invested in the athletes in the ring, but it also became a force within the Pittsburgh scene, a circuit that sees wrestling cards throughout the area run by different organizations on an almost weekly basis. Names like Corey Graves, Matt Hardy, The Gambino Brothers, Scotty 2 Hotty, Troy Lords, and many others were among the mixture of local stalwarts and national stars that appeared for RWA events.

“RWA gave me and others a chance when no one else would, and now 15 years later here we are. Nobody thought we’d be a force in this local industry, and here we are. RWA is home for me and always will be. Because of this place, I have gained confidence, friends, family, and a place in this business. I couldn’t be more proud and happier of the men and women who devote their time, effort, and most importantly, bodies to make this company one of the best in Pennsylvania,” said Doc Daugherty, the RWA leader play-by-play announcer and one of the voices of the entire Pittsburgh wrestling circuit.

The region of western Pennsylvania, an area known almost as much for its wrestling as the steel it once produced, has a wide variety of organizations that offer unique event for their audiences, but the RWA is specifically known for its diehard and dedicated audience that attends regularly. The heroes are crowd favorites, and the villains are jeered to a throwback level not often seen in the modern era.

Promoter Derek Widziszewski has often cited his personal connection with the fans as a reasoning for the genuine atmosphere at RWA events. He doesn’t see attendees as simply dollars and cents, but rather customers that he strives to give their money’s worth each month RWA sets up shop in the West Newton gymnasium. Many pro wrestling pundits consider the RWA fan base as much a part of the experience as the in-ring action.

Not only is the 15th anniversary of RWA special for its promoter, but also for its head organizer, Quinn Magnum, a nearly 30-year veteran of the industry that was an in-ring performer for years before a series of injuries derailed his time inside the ring ropes. Instead, Quinn spent the vast majority of the second half of his tenure in the wrestling business as a head booker and organizer for a variety of organizations.

“It has been a fantastic journey thus far, working with a promoter that busts his butt to promote the product, a full budget to acquire top talent from the region as well as out of state, work with some of the best talent this region has to offer, great personnel both in front of and behind the curtain, and an old school style of fan base second to none,” Quinn commented.

One of the most respective figures of the area, Magnum made his mark behind the scenes over the past two decades, and in the process gave a start to many that have flourished among the Pittsburgh circuit, including several that will decorate RWA’s anniversary event this Saturday.

After the COVID-19 pandemic halted live wrestling events and shuttered the entire world in 2020, Quinn thought that perhaps it was a conclusion to his time in the industry. However, much like the secret world of the mafia could be compared to the early days of the wrestling industry on the carnival circuit, just went Magnum thought he was out, pro wrestling pulled him back in.

As the owner of RWA, Widziszewski knew of Quinn’s reputation for maximizing the assets of roster, and asked him to join the RWA crew in late 2022 before Quinn jumped in with both feet early last year.

“Personally, I am very appreciative of Dr. Feelbad and all of RWA for reigniting a passion for wrestling in me that I long thought was extinguished and gone,” Quinn explained via phone as he made extra notes for Saturday’s event.

With Gangrel as the special guest to step into the ring with longtime veteran, Chris Taylor, the RWA fans have already voiced their anticipation on social media. Another expected highlight of the line-up is established pro, Patrick Hayes against former RWA heavyweight champion, “The Rev” Ron Hunt. Plus, there’s an entire card of action scheduled for West Netwon.

With an old school mindset that has an emphasis on storytelling and emotional investment, with a flare of the modern athletics, Quinn expressed enthusiasm as he enters his second year as the head organizer for the RWA product and expects the organization to continue to grow throughout the year.

“I predict that 2024 will continue to bring an escalation in personal issues as top athletes all arrive to be one thing, the best. That always ensures there will be bad blood between people all striving for the same goals. Some have pride and will do things on the straight and narrow, while others will take any shortcut that they can to get ahead. New top talent will continue to be sought after and signed as well as surprises and very recognizable names making their way to RWA,” Magnum concluded.

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Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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