Championing Professional Wrestling For 32 Years, Preston Steele To Enter KSWA Hall Of Fame
March 12, 2019
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
There’s no clowning around: Preston Steele is the newest inductee into the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Hall of Fame.
Pete Lucic started his professional wrestling career in 1987. Among his first matches were televised showdowns against Ax and Smash (Demolition), Butch Reed and a :50 loss to King Kong Bundy at the height of his career. When 1988 rolled around, Lucic dropped his birth name for the much more intimidating “Preston Steele.” According to Wrestlingdata.com, Steele and fellow Dominic DeNucci student Troy Martin (who would later also drop his name for Shane Douglas) defeated Dick Flanagan and Cactus Jack Foley (Mick to his friends) in front of 12,125 in Milano, Lombardo, Italy on January 23, 1988.
Whether he is Preston Steele or the villainous “Sheriff” Steele, the 6’4”, 240-pound muscular powerhouse has wrestled all over the world. In addition to Italy, the Youngstown, Ohio native has wrestled in Australia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, England and Japan. He also took on foes at St. Mary’s in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood 31 years ago. Those shows included Dante DeNucci (KSWA Hall of Fame Class of 2018 member Cody Michaels), Cactus Jack, KSWA Hall of Famer, Class of 2013 “Luscious” Johnny Valiant and David Sammartino among others.
Again, according to Wrestlingdata.com, Preston Steele’s most frequent opponent has been fellow KSWA Hall of Famer (Class of 2012) Lord Zoltan/Ken Jugan. Steele’s wrestling resume is a “Who’s Who” of the squared circle. He’s taken on Corey Graves, KSWA Hall of Famer, Class of 2016 T-Rantula, “Nasty” Nick Crane, Lou Marconi, The Iron Sheik, Koko B. Ware, and KSWA’s Bubba the Bulldog to name several. At time, Steele was managed by KSWA Hall of Famer, Class of 2018 Mark Curtis (Brian Hildebrand) and current Manager of Champions Mayor Mystery.
Although he wrestled all over for many years, Lucic worked as a real-life Trumbull County (Ohio) Sheriff for 33 years. He retired in 2014 but continues to work in Private Security.
In recent years, Steele has trained his son, Johnny Mercury, in wrestling. The two have traveled extensively and worked one another on cards.
For 27 years, “Sheriff” Steele has helped raise money for the Men’s Sports Club at Beth Shalom Temple in Squirrel Hill. As a highlight of the low-tech, high-jinx luncheon, Steele usually enters into an arm-wrestling contest with attendees all to humorous conclusions. Steele always makes a point to wear a Cleveland Browns jersey in his final challenge to intimidate the Steelers fans in attendance. He’s also helped raise funds for youth through the Fraternal Order of Police in Ohio. In 2012, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (then in Amsterdam, New York), designated Steele as a delegate for the Buckeye State. Preston Steele was listed in the PWI Top 500 for six of the seven years between 1991 and 1997 (1994 was the only year he wasn’t chosen).
And although he still continues to wrestle, the end of in-ring action is ending for the veteran. A nagging hip requires surgery and will force retirement.
But that won’t stop Steele from joining the KSWA Hall of Fame, Class of 2019. His induction will be part of the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament event on Saturday, March 30 at Spirit Hall in the Lawrenceville neighborhood within the city of Pittsburgh.
The KSWA Hall of Fame is the longest-running, continuous award ceremony of its type in Independent Wrestling. Dating back to 2008, the KSWA Hall of Fame includes such dignitaries as Joe Abby, Frank Durso, Bill Eadie, Dominic DeNucci, Donna Christiantello, George “The Animal” Steele, Bruno Sammartino, Bucky Palermo, Tommy Faime, T-Rantula, Baron Mikel Scicluna, photographer Howard Kernats and others.