Pitt Fight Returns For A Good Cause This Friday

The late, great John Belushi became iconic for his role in the rowdy comedy, “Animal House,” a tale of rebellious college students that crashed their campus with infamous toga parties. This Friday, there will be more collegiate chaos, but it will be for a good cause when the special Pitt Fight series returns to the Pitt-Greensburg campus with another memorable night of pro wrestling action that will benefit the Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity project, a noble venture to help those in need.

Pitt Fight was a concept developed by two college roommates, Kyle Harper and Cornell Grigsby when they formed the Pitt Fight Club at their school through their shared passion for professional wrestling. When the two pals took a newbie, their sidekick, Sam to an independent event early in their college tenure in 2018, it sparked an idea that led to a series of events that defined much of their tenure in higher education.

“The night was amazing. We watched a hardcore match with Tommy Dreamer, Cornell had a hilarious interaction with Colt Cabana, and we had the time of our lives. After we got home, we talked for what seemed like hours about the show. The one question we kept asking was, ‘Why can’t there be something like this in Greensburg?’ This think tank moment was where Pitt Fight was born. Our goals have always been to bring the Pittsburgh wrestling community and Pitt-Greensburg community together for a fun, action-packed night while also raising money for a good cause,” explained Harper.

Harper was ingrained into the fabric of the university, located in Westmoreland County of the western Pennsylvania area, and remains a fixture at the school today. Dual-majoring in Communications, and Creative and Professional Writing, Kyle Harper earned his Bachelor’s Degree in the spring of 2022. During his tenure as a student, he worked as a community assistant within the Office of Housing and Residence Life, a role that he expanded upon after graduation when he was hired as the Resident Director position that he works in today.

But, this passion for the grappling arts wasn’t discovered simply when he watched over-the-top stars drop elbows in between his time hitting the books at school. Professional wrestling is somewhat of a family tradition in the Harper household. Kyle’s father was known to wrestling fans around the region as QB Blitzz, a powerful brute that left a memorable mark around various organizations throughout the area during his heyday through the late-90s and into the early-2000s.

This family connection was pivotal for the Pitt Fight project to get off the ground, as the man formerly known as Blitzz was still well-thought-of within wrestling circles and was able to introduce his son to longtime veteran, Marshall Gambino, a tag team specialist that also runs his own organization.

“My father eventually introduced me to Marshall Gambino, the promoter for Prospect Pro Wrestling. Marshall agreed during this meeting to support us and allow us to use his ring. Marshall has been a mentor to us since we started these shows, and Pitt Fight would not exist without him,” Harper commented.

“Being part of Pitt Fight from the beginning has truly been an honor. It’s great to see when multiple organizations can come together for one night to support a local cause, this year being the Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity. Pitt Fight is special because you’ll get to see matches with several wrestling superstars that under regular circumstances you wouldn’t normally with talent attending from Ryse Wrestling in Uniontown, 2PW in Worthington, RWA in West Newton among others. It’s going to be an incredible night of non-stop wrestling action and I’m very excited about it,” Marshal commented.

“My boys, they are no strangers to street fights or the men that they face on Friday. You’re talking about Marshall and Mickey Gambino who haven’t feared anyone for the past twenty years.The Gambino Family says what they mean and do what they say. You can expect they will do whatever it takes to get the job done this Friday, added Emily DelVecchio, business manager of the Gambino Brothers.

With the right connections, equipment, and determination to make what started as small talk in a dorm room into a reality at the university gymnasium, Pitt Fight hosted its inaugural event in March 2019, raising nearly $1,500 for Connor’s Cure, the cancer research fund that was established in memory of WWE Hall of Famer, Connor “The Crusher” Michalek. Later that year, Pitt Fight returned with its second edition, adding another $800 to the research fund that was named after the 8-year-old that touched the sports world through his enthusiasm and courage. Future plans for the college-based grappling venture were in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered most of the world. However, Harper and his trusted team rebounded strong with their return event last March, shattering their previous fundraising efforts with almost $7,000 donated to the St. Jude organization.

“It’s incredible the amount of support that we have gotten from the wrestlers who participate at this show. My experience with creating matches was very limited. In high school, my father and I hosted a charity wrestling event, but he helped a lot with the creative end of things. In a passing of the torch moment, when we told him about this, he gave me the information I needed to help build a show myself. In terms of the talent as a whole, I am extremely grateful to anyone who has been on a Pitt Fight show. They hear me, listen to my ideas, help me improve these ideas, and then put on some of the coolest matches I have ever seen. That’s all anyone could ask for. I have some wrestlers who have been on all four of the Pitt Fight shows, but we also always have new faces in our matches,” Harper remarked.

One of the many reasons that Pitt Fight became a staple of the Pittsburgh wrestling calendar is the all-star cast of athletes that come together for a good cause. There are top-tier talent from every major independent group in the region that gather at the Pitt-Greensburg campus to allow for matches that aren’t seen anywhere else for these special events. Standouts like Gory, “The Gavel” David Lawless, The Gambino Brothers, Ron Hunt, and many others provided memorable action throughout Pitt Fight’s history that always generates anticipation for the next card.

This Friday’s event has a particularly special importance for the campus, as Pitt Fight looks to positively impact the local community.

“This year, our proceeds are being donated to Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity. We have donated to several organizations during Pitt Fight’s tenure, but we have never donated to an organization that directly affects our surrounding community. Members of the organization are going to be present at our event, and they have been nothing but supportive and grateful. In terms of how the proceeds will go to the event, we donate everything we make from the shows to the respective charity. Since this event is funded by the University, we are given an allocated budget for each show that we have to present to our Student Government Association. This covers all the necessary costs for running an event like this,” Kyle said.

This Friday’s “Fight or be Forgotten” spectacular already has a stacked line-up with ten matches that has the Pittsburgh scene talking, as both wrestlers and fans look forward to this entertaining evening. A six man tag team street fight, a championship tables match, and more has already been announced for the card that will have more than fifty grapplers featured at the event.

“This show is going to be our craziest show yet. We are planting some seeds for the future with some qualifying matches for a championship scramble at a future event. Contenders will be named, titles will be defended, and Pitt Fight will be going to the extreme,” Harper concluded enthusiastically.

For more information, you can go to https://www.facebook.com/pitt.fight.7

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Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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