"Canada's National Treasure" Earns KSWA Hall Of Fame Honors Through "Nastyness" Longevity, Grit And Dependablity

March 22, 2019
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest

“You’re never really retired (in wrestling),” commented Nick Crane on the telephone recently from his home, which may or may not be in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. “Canada’s National Treasure” is the newest inductee into the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Hall of Fame.

Not always, “Nasty,” Crane began his wrestling career in Western Pennsylvania under the tutelage of “Gentleman” Joe Perri in Penn Hills and Verona. Crane had been a fan of Hulk Hogan, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and the other big names of the day. He trained and soon found himself on one of Perri’s events at Squaw Valley Park in Fox Chapel. On July 4, 1990, Crane wrestled his first match against another young athlete, Paul Atlas.

Crane would continue to train and work with KSWA Hall of Famer (Class of 2017) Perri and others throughout the years. He would be managed by Perri and Roderick Rondell in his early days. “Mark Curtis (aka KSWA Hall of Famer, Class of 2018) was one of the guys who would stop in,” he said. In October, 1990 at a City Limits show in Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs, he first met Lord Zoltan (KSWA Hall of Fame 2012) “Nasty” wrestled in other areas like Eastland Mall “until the money stopped” and Glassport, which had a successful federation for a short while.

Next up, Crane appeared with United States Championship Wrestling (USCW) in Washington, PA. There he wrestled such opponents as Todd Taylor, Mike Quackenbush and Dynamite Dean. According to Cagematch.net, Dynamite Dean defeated Crane for the USCW TV Championship at John F. Kennedy High School in Washington, PA.

Nick nearly became the APWF Heavyweight Champion in 1998 but he lost to Johnny Rayz in the semi-finals of a tournament in Punxatawney. Also, in the late 90’s, Crane wrestled Tom Brandi on a USCW television program and he took on the legendary Kamala with Kimchee.

In early, 2000, Crane locked in with Powerhouse Hughes’ CWF in Monongahela and the Mon Valley. Additionally, on May 20, 2000 Crane debuted with the KSWA when he matched up and was defeated by Kingdom James. On August 4, Crane defeated James by disqualification. Both matches were held at the KSWA’s first home at the Bloomfield VFW. It would also be the last KSWA match for Crane in a decade.

Crane would continue to be a CWF mainstay. He and fellow Lord Zoltan became tag team champions as “The French Ticklers.” Crane also wrestled Doink from time to time, “I always had fun with those matches,” he said.

Throughout the 2000’s, Crane was very busy with singles matches as well as tag team contests. He took on wrestlers like J-Ru and Powerhouse Hughes, and tagged as the Ticklers and The Foreign Xchange with The Specialist. He even went “home” to Canada and wrestled for Legend City Wrestling in St. Johns-Newfoundland, Canada.

Crane returned to the KSWA in September, 2010 for the Paul Scuillo Memorial event at the KSWA Arena. Doink the Clown and Dominic DeNucci defeated Crane and Zoltan in a tag team match.

In addition to being a CWF mainstay, Crane was a fixture at the Deaf Wrestlefest events. There he took on Doink at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf fundraiser in 2011 and represented the KSWA with Ali Kaida and Doink to face fellow KSWA Hall of Famer (Class of 2019) Preston Steele, his son, Johnny Mercury, as well as current KSWA Heavyweight Champion Dennis Gregory.

Beginning in 2012, Crane found a late surge in his career when he became a dependable member of the KSWA roster. Whether teaming with Sniper to cement “The Mercenaries” or steaming forward as a singles competitor, Crane earned the moniker “Canada’s National Treasure.” It was also then he and Sniper began to be thorns in Justin Sane and Lord Zoltan’s “Party Gras” sides.

On December 4, 2014 Crane met “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan at KSWA FanFest. Canada's Honorouable Liam Duchesne Lieutenant Viceroy of Québec and representative of Her Majesty’s government arrived to personally bestow Crane with his mother country’s “Medal of Exceptional Merit.” During the presentation, Duchesne was interrupted by Duggan, who was led to the ring by the Civil Air Patrol. During the subsequent match, the KSWA Krazies sang “God Bless America” as Duggan scored the pin and win. Nevertheless, Crane still officially holds Canada’s title of “Colonel in Chief.”

Crane calls that match one of the favorites in his quarter-century-plus career.

On June 13, 2015, Crane scored single’s gold when he defeated Super Ginger for the 5-Star Championship. Crane and his manager, Mayor Mystery, renamed the title the “5-Maple Leaf” Championship. Super Ginger won the title back on June 20, at Brawl Under the Bridge and the 5-Star name was reinstated.

On October 5, 2015, The Mercenaries became KSWA Tag Team Champions when they defeated “Big” Mike Malachi and Jack Massacre. They defended once successfully against Massacre and The Jester, before losing to Kris Kash and Shane Starr at KSWA FanFest on December 5, 2015.

FanFest, December 3, 2016 Crane was pinned by KSWA Owner Bobby O and lost the “Loser Must Retire” match. After the contest concluded, Mayor Mystery grabbed the microphone and called Crane the “Weak Link” in the Mercenaries and berated his client. Crane took matters into his own hands and clobbered Mystery to a ruckus ovation from the fans. Crane walked off into the sunset a KSWA favorite.

“It’s great to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” he said. “I am very happy to be going in with Preston.” As for the Krazies, Crane said, “They are awesome. Whether they love you or hate you, they let you know it. Without them, it wouldn’t be the same.”

The KSWA Hall of Fame is the longest-running professional wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony in Independent Wrestling, dating back to 2008. Inductees include Bruno Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci, George “The Animal” Steele, Bill Eadie, Donna Christiantello, Angie Morelli, Brian Hildebrand, Cody Michaels, Ron Romano, Bobby “Hurricane” Hunt, Frank Durso, “Killer” Joe Abby, J.J. Dillon, Bill Apter and others.

Crane joins Steve Novak and Preston Steele in the KSWA Hall of Fame, Class of 2019. The event is part of the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament to be held on Saturday, March 30 at Spirit Hall in the Lawrenceville neighborhood within the city of Pittsburgh. Call 412-726-1762 for tickets or more information.

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