My Favorite Things: PWI Editor-in Chief Promoting Wrestling Show in Memory of His Wife

On April 6, 2024, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Editor-in-Chief Kevin McElvaney will present ‘ThashElvania;’ an independent wrestling show benefitting the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. This is a WrestleMania weekend show and, from the outside looking in, it may seem like just another one of the absolutely fantastic independent cards taking place on the biggest wrestling weekend of the year. But when you learn the story behind this show, when you look inside of it, you’ll find that ThrashElvania is a love story; the love story of Kevin and his wife, Megan Thrash. It’s a story about life, about death, about enduring strength. Mostly, it’s a story about a few of their favorite things.   

“My favorite thing in the world is being with you.” That’s something that Kevin McElvaney would tell his wife, Megan, as often as possible. And he really meant it. There was nobody else he’d rather be with and there was nowhere else he’d rather be than with his wife – wherever they were. 

For 13 years, Kevin and Megan had the ideal relationship. It was a storybook romance… one that began on OKCupid, clearly a tale as old as time. It was a story of boy meets girl or, more accurately, boy matches with girl on dating website and sends an opening message, hoping it is witty enough to differentiate him from the countless other men shooting their shot. Luckily, Kevin is a writer, so he crafted something that immediately caught Megan’s eye…and, eventually,  her heart. 

“We just talked for a little bit online at first and then met up for our first date,” Kevin remembered. “We went and got chinese food and then saw The Social Network.” 

See? Tale as old as time. 

All joking aside, their first date served as an overarching metaphor for their entire relationship. For the most part, theirs wasn’t a relationship made up of dramatic reveals, or hyperbole or visions of grandeur. Their first date –  like their proposal, like their wedding, like their entire relationship – was quiet, but special. It was comfortable. It was safe. It fit, like it was always supposed to be. And maybe it was.

“It was just a wonderful relationship,” Kevin beamed. “We were together for 13 years and married for almost six. We were together pretty seriously longer than we were married, and part of that is just, you’re in a long-term relationship. You’re trying to get your finances together because you want to be able to buy a house. Those were higher priorities for us at the time. But eventually, it was just ‘We’ve been together for so long, why don’t we seal it off and make it official?’ And it wasn’t much of a surprise. There’s not a crazy proposal story; to the point that she picked out her own engagement ring. We just both agreed it was a good idea.” 

And so, it was. Kevin McElvaney and Megan Thrash were married on October 13, 2017. They didn’t go on a honeymoon right away but, when they did, they made it count.They went to Europe and, like the majority of their relationship, Kevin stated that their honeymoon was full of quiet, beautiful moments that he would never forget. 

“That was unquestionably the best two weeks of my life,” he shared. “You know, there were these big poignant, deep moments where you’re standing in front of a Van Gogh painting or you’re seeing the Eiffel Tower all lit up, or something like that. But honestly, it was just going and grabbing lunch with her in Prague, or walking around a street in Munich and grabbing a pretzel or something – those were the best parts of the trip. I’ll never forget those times, and I’m very lucky to have had them.”  

It was a relationship made up of those sweet, soft, simple moments that the majority of us take for granted. 

And, after Megan passed away, those are the moments that Kevin misses the most. 

As simple as the majority of Kevin and Megan’s life together was for the majority of their relationship, that’s how difficult it became in the final years. 

In the spring of 2020, right near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Megan began showing symptoms of cancer; specifically, stage four cholangiocarcinoma. 

“Megan was having all of these gastrointestinal issues, for months,” Kevin said. “And at some point you’re just thinking, ‘Maybe it’s because I ate this or drank that,’ so you make adjustments. But eventually, enough was enough and she went to see a GI specialist, because her primary doctor was of no help. They just said ‘Oh, it’s probably acid reflux.’” 

It wasn’t. And despite what the doctor said, Megan and Kevin knew something was very, very wrong. Megan was losing weight rapidly. Her skin was yellowing. She was losing energy. Something was happening and they needed to get to the bottom of it. So, they did. They went to the GI specialist and Megan underwent all of the necessary testing.

“Megan eventually got the scan done,” Kevin said. “But because this was happening during COVID, it took weeks for the scan to be read and interpreted.” 

But finally, it was. And the subsequent phone call was one of the worst days of Kevin and Megan’s lives. 

“She got off the phone and I’ll never forget it,” Kevin said, his eyes closed as he flashed back to the moment. “I was like, ‘What is it? What happened?’ Because she was obviously upset. And she said, ‘I have cancer.’ And she was bawling and I…I couldn’t console her. And it was the worst feeling in the world.” 

In movies, when a character gets bad news, time seems to slow down and the world starts spinning, uncontrollably. Usually, Hollywood gets things wrong but that part? That part was pretty spot on.

They tried to be positive. They tried to “look on the bright side,” or “find the silver lining.” But here’s a sad fact of this world: Sometimes, there is no bright side. Sometimes there’s no silver lining. 

Sometimes things just suck. 

But, Kevin said, Megan never stopped fighting. More than that, she never stopped helping others.

A couple years after her diagnosis, Megan started a YouTube series called ‘Terminal, Yet Purposeful.’ Because that’s exactly what she was. This series served as something of a live diary of her thoughts and feelings as she had them, but it was also something that she used to encourage and empower others. 

“She fought and she stayed as positive as long as she could,” Kevin reflected. “She actually started a YouTube channel, which is still up. And she made a Facebook group to go along with it. I actually feel terrible because there are a lot of people who comment, even still, on those videos. And I haven’t been able to bring myself to go on there and update them.” 

Megan’s videos amassed thousands of views. She created a community for people to talk about their own diagnoses, their own struggles, their own fears. It was something that empowered her and gave her something to leave behind. Those videos also served as a gift for Kevin. Something he could turn on at any time to see just how strong, just how brave his beautiful girl was. 

“She helped so many people feel better,” Kevin said of his bride. “She wore her heart on her sleeve in these videos. She would talk about the good days, the bad days, the things that made her feel better or the things that made her feel bleak. She was just an incredible, incredible person.” 

Throughout those final few years, Kevin took care of Megan as best he could. There were countless appointments, specialists, meetings, and hospital stays. There were sleepless nights, early mornings, and long, long days. 

The longest days were the ones where Megan was bed-ridden at the hospital. Kevin, at Megan’s behest, tried to stay busy. He buried himself in work because he needed the distraction. 

“Last year, basically, she was in the hospital for about a month,” he said. “In July, she spent a week in the hospital because she had sepsis. She was switching courses with her treatment and then, in August, we found out about her brain tumors. And we transitioned to in-home hospice because we learned, like –he took a breath — we weren’t going to be able to beat this. And this was right around the time the PWI 500 issue went live.” 

The 2023 edition of the PWI 500 came with a little bit of controversy, as the ranking inadvertently left off one of the industry’s best wrestlers, Tetsuya Naito. Kevin, nor any of the PWI contributors meant to leave out Naito. It was a mistake but, in a time when the Internet Wrestling Community is constantly looking for something to be mad about, commenters were quick to let Kevin and the rest of the staff know that the mistake would not be tolerated. 

“Even with everything going on, I was still so embarrassed by the administrative goof of Tetsuya Naito being left off the list,” Kevin remembered. “So I got on Twitter and said, ‘This is all I’m going to say, my wife is in the hospital. Tetsuya Naito was supposed to be on the list, he got deleted, blah blah blah.’ And I remember, clear as day, somebody commented and said, ‘I’m sorry about your wife. Your list still sucks.’” 

That was the day Kevin stopped caring about what people on Twitter said. 

“In a dark way, it was very funny,” Kevin laughed. “But it was also the worst thing that anybody could say, you know? The PWI 500 got delayed being sent to the printer by a few days because it was over Labor Day weekend. But Megan asked me a couple of times about it. Her cognitive function was kind of hindered by the tumors toward the end, but she knew about the 500 issue being due and not being ready on time. And she asked multiple times, ‘Did you meet your deadline?’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, you impossibly sweet woman. Why are you worried about my deadline?’” 

That was such a perfect example of who Megan was as a person. She was dying, literally lying in her deathbed, and making sure that Kevin met his deadline. That’s Megan. 

“She was just such an incredible person,” Kevin beamed. “I am only who I am today because of knowing her. She made me feel that I could be my best, most authentic self and I tried to be a better person each and every day because of her. And that’s something that I still try to do, and it’s harder without her here. But I still try.”

Megan Thrash passed away on October 4, 2023. It was, without question, the hardest day of Kevin’s life. Even still, he tried to make sure that up until that very last moment, Megan knew just how loved she was. 

“I was there with her,” Kevin said. “Her parents and her best friend were there when she passed. She wasn’t conscious, but we’re told that the last sense to go is hearing and I hope she heard us tell her how amazing she is, and that it’s okay to let go, and that I’ll love her forever. Because I’ve never meant anything I’ve said in my life as much as I meant those things.” 

Kevin said that he’s not the religious type, that he doesn’t know what happens when we die. But he did say that he felt Megan’s presence leave the room. 

“The room was just…different once she was gone,” he stated. “I felt her absence; physically, emotionally, spiritually, and everything else. But if she is somehow out there, somewhere in the great beyond and can hear our conversation, I hope I’m making her proud.” 

He is. Anybody that knows Kevin, anybody that knows the type of man he is, anybody that knows how big of a heart he has, is proud of him. It’s been said that the best way to honor somebody who has died is to live as though they’re still with us. And that is what Kevin does. 

“In her last will and testament, she left messages to all of us,” Kevin shared. “And she told me that she didn’t want me to be sad. She wanted me to live a happy, unburdened life…which is exactly the kind of thing that empowers me to go and do something stupid like book a wrestling show over WrestleMania weekend.” 

And so, that’s exactly what he’s doing. Pro wrestling was one of the things that Kevin and Megan shared. While Kevin was, obviously, the bigger fan of the two, Megan still loved the production and the pageantry. Pro wrestling was one of their favorite things. So, after Megan died, Kevin found himself thinking about those things, their favorite things. 

“Not long after Megan died, to kind of just take my mind off things and get out of here, I took a trip out to the West Coast; to Los Angeles,” Kevin said. “I’d never been out there before. I’d never seen the Pacific Ocean, and that was kind of a bucket list thing for me. And that will sound very basic to some people, but I just never traveled much until I met Megan. And then we traveled as much as we could together. So after she died, I went out there, and I saw the ocean and had a moment in the sand, dipping my toes into the water.” 

It was December when he went. So he couldn’t exactly let the waves crash over him, but simply dipping his toes into the water was a big enough act to honor his wife. 

“Then, I just kind of went solo and had dinner and a drink,” he said. “It was something that Meg and I would’ve done, had we gone together. And I’m sitting there enjoying the dinner and the drink and watching the sun set over the ocean. And it’s kind of an emotional moment. And I don’t know what made me think of it, but I thought, ‘Maybe I should do this show. That will be something good to focus my time on. And I think Megan would want me to do it.’” 

Out of that moment – out of that beautiful, sweet, soft, simple moment – ThrashElvania was born. 

“In doing the concept, it seemed only appropriate to have it be in tribute to Megan in some way,” Kevin said. “Her last name was Thrash. And mine is McElvaney. She kept her maiden name, because she had the best last name of all time. So friends of ours would call us ‘The ThrashElvaneys.’ They’d make the portmanteau of it (raise your hand if you knew what that word was before now).” 

ThrashElvania it is and, really, the name fits perfectly with the spirit of the weekend (being WrestleMania weekend and all). 

“The other component of this is that if I’m running this show completely by myself – IWTV is not making money off of the gate, PWI is not making off of it – I don’t want to make money off it, either,” Kevin said. “It just feels wrong in this case. I don’t want to be a wrestling promoter and be on that side of it. I just want to do something that’s fun and memorable. And so it makes perfect sense to do this as a charity show.” 

 Kevin said that he’s footing the bill for the costs that come with putting on an independent pro wrestling show in the middle of WrestleMania weekend, which includes the venue, paying the performers, etc. But any money that comes from ticket sales, or from the live stream will all go to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation.

“That was a very important group for Megan, in terms of getting her information when she was first diagnosed, and connecting her with other people – ‘Warriors,’ is the term that is used. It was a very rare type of cancer and it wasn’t one with a good outlook. So it was really crucial for her to have that community and that information. And so I just wanted to give back to that group somehow.” 

 All of the proceeds from ThrashElvania will go directly to the foundation. This isn’t a ticketed event, per say. Attendees are able to donate $25 to the foundation, which they can access online. The foundation will then give Kevin the list of donations, and those names on the list will be given access to enter the building. Unless tickets sell out before the show, attendees can also donate at the door to see the show. 

And what a show it will be. According to the event website, “During a blockbuster weekend for pro wrestling in the Philadelphia area, some of the best and brightest grapplers on the planet will descend upon the H2O Wrestling Center to fight for an important cause. Those scheduled to appear include former MLW World champion Alex Kane, Dragongate’s Shun Skywalker, PROGRESS Wrestling Women’s champion Rhio, Alec Price, Shazza McKenzie, and many more.” 

Kevin says that he understands how many incredible shows will be taking place in Philadelphia and surrounding areas that weekend. He tried to schedule this one so that it doesn’t conflict with the other major shows. 

“We want this to be a fun show for a good cause,” Kevin said. “I don’t want people to tune in and think this is going to be a very maudlin or morose thing. It’s just meant to be fun. My goal is to have this be, lowkey, one of the best independent cards of the weekend.” 

And it just may be. ThrashElvania will feature some of the best and brightest independent wrestlers in the world, some of whom are Kevin’s friends and all of whom want to honor the amazing, intelligent, funny, brilliant, kind, compassionate woman that Megan Thrash was. 

More than anything, this show is designed to showcase some of Kevin and Megan’s favorite things. 

“Favorite Thing is a lyric by The Replacements,” Kevin said. “And it’s something that I apply to Megan, like, ‘My favorite thing in the world is being with you.’ And also, my favorite things are on the show. We have our cats on the flyer. We’re showcasing my friends and independent wrestlers I like. And that’s just the concept of the show. My favorite things. It’s a Replacements lyric but, ultimately, it’s a tribute to Megan; to our love and the life we built together. We’re going to pay tribute to my very favorite person in the world.” 

Kevin said that many of the wrestlers on the show are some of Megan’s favorites. These are people who Megan spoke with, and complimented, and encouraged. Because that’s what Megan did. She encouraged people. She believed in people, even if they didn’t necessarily always believe in themselves. Kevin knows that better than anybody.

“We had this wonderful, loving relationship that was built on empowering each other to be our best selves,” Kevin said. “That’s how I would describe it. I knew pretty early on that she was the one. It was pretty early in our relationship and there was a time I was, like, freaking out over a waterlogged iPhone or something. Something so inconsequential in the big picture. And she calmed me down in a way that no one has ever calmed me down when I’ve been anxious before. It was just like…she told me it was going to be okay, and I believed it. And I’ve had a very hard time just taking someone at their word on something like that. But with her, I did.”

ThrashElvania is going to be a celebration — a celebration of Megan’s life, a celebration of professional wrestling…a celebration of the love between Kevin and Megan. It will be a celebration and an opportunity for Megan, even in death, to challenge Kevin to do something he’s scared of. ThrashElvania is a chance, one more time, for Megan to empower her husband to step out of his comfort zone and do something incredible.

And, hopefully, it will serve as a reminder for Kevin. When the show is over, and the crowd has moved on to the next event, and the wrestlers have cleared out of the locker room, maybe, hopefully, Kevin can step into the ring and look around the building, knowing that he did a good job. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll feel Megan there as she puts her hand in his and tells him, one more time, that it’s going to be okay.

ThrashElvania is happening Saturday, April 6, 2024 at the H2O Wrestling Center in Williamstown, New Jersey, beginning at 12pm ET. Donations for entry into the event can be made here, and the show will air live on IWTV.