"The Fighting Cop Of Carnegie" Latest Inductee Into Pittsburgh Wrestling Hall Of Fame
March 6, 2017
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest
As the recognized heir apparent to the Studio Wrestling brand, the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) in Pittsburgh has diligently worked the past decade to honor only the most-deserving members of local wrestling community. With that, one of the most sought-after additions of the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA)/Pittsburgh professional Hall of Fame ceremony has been secured.
“The Fighting Cop of Carnegie,” Frank Holtz, joins the ranks of the Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 25 for the 10th annual Joe Abby Memorial Tournament.
Last December at KSWA FanFest, international wrestling Journalist Bill Apter was the first name to be announced for the Class of 2017.
A laborer out of high school, Holtz worked alongside Bruno Sammartino. The future World Champion encouraged Holtz to train and expand on his interest in working out. According to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature in 1988, Holtz trained and cut his teeth wrestling in Oklahoma.
According to Wrestlingdatabase.com and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Frank Holtz’s local wrestling career began not long after Bruno Sammartino (Class of 2012) captured the WWWF World Title on May 17, 1963. The earliest result that can be found is Holtz’s win (by disqualification) over the German powerhouse Hans Mortier on June 2, 1963 in Johnstown, PA. He defeated Bill Scholl in Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena the very next day (Sammartino successfully defended against Mortier in front of 5,376). On August 27, 1963, Holtz, Chief Red Cloud, and Chuck Martoni (Class of 2014) lost in a six-man match against Eric Von Stein, Frank Durso (Class of 2008) and “Killer” Joe Abby (first inductee, 2008).
“The Fighting Cop” would wrestle part time for the next several years. He wouldn’t have a full-time presence in Pittsburgh until 1967. For many of the years he wrestled, the North Side native was legitimately a police officer for the borough of Carnegie. In 1988, he ascended to police chief for the suburban community. He wrestled for 17 years, until a man driving a stolen automobile smashed into his squad car. The crash injured his leg and abruptly ended his wrestling career.
Over his career, he matched up against Tony Altimore the most, followed closely behind was Baron Mikel Scicluna (KSWA Class of 2016) and Frank Durso. At 6’3” and 270-lb., Holtz was one not to be trifled with.
Holtz’s match took place August 10, 1979 in a time-limit draw with S.D. Jones at the Civic Arena.
Although Holtz lost more matches than he won outside of the Channel 11 studios, he was one of the most popular wrestlers of the Studio Wrestling era. In addition to Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci (Class of 2010) and George “The Animal” Steele (Class of 2013), Holtz has been one of the favorites than KSWA Krazies wanted to see inducted into the longest-running, continuous independent wrestling Hall of Fame in existence.
The KSWA Hall of Fame began with the induction of Joe Abby, a hard-working Pittsburgh wrestler in 2008. His friend and tag team partner, the devious Frank Durso, joined him in the initial class. In 2009, Brownsville, PA native Bill Eadie, known worldwide as both The Masked Superstar and Demolition Ax, joined the ranks. In 2010, Donna Christiantello and Dominic DeNucci were honored with a ceremony and plaques.
In 2011, Studio Wrestling staples Ron Romano and Bobby “Hurricane” Hunt were enshrined. In 2012, longtime sports photographer Howard Kernats was the first non-wrestler to be inducted. He was joined by the most important independent professional wrestler to come from Western PA, Lord Zoltan. In addition, during his last independent wrestling event anywhere, Bruno Sammartino was added to the Hall ceremony.
In 2013, George “The Animal” Steele, KSWA Original Tommy Faime, “Luscious” Johnny Valiant and Bucky Palermo, the first referee to join the exclusive club.
In 2014, the largest Studio Wrestling class was inducted when Chuck Martoni, “Jumpin’” Johnny DeFazio and “Chilly” Bill Cardille joined the KSWA HOF. In 2015, Nick “Big Bully” Busick and James J. Dillon were the next to be added.
In 2016, Baron Mikel Scicluna, legendary local grappler T-Rantula, second-generation personality Eugene Palermo, and long-time Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster and frequent FanFest guest ring announcer Lanny Frattare were honored.
The KSWA Hall of Fame has now celebrated 24 members. Holtz becomes the 25th. At least one more announcement is to be made this year. Each member of the KSWA Hall of Fame has had an indelible mark of the world of professional wrestling in Pittsburgh.
The KSWA Hall of Fame ceremony is part of the Joe Abby Memorial Tournament, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 25 at the KSWA Arena at Spirit Hall, 242 51st Street in the Lawrenceville neighborhood within the city of Pittsburgh.