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By Mike Johnson on 2024-01-20 10:56:00

Frankie "Francisco" Ciatso, a long-time stalwart of the Florida independent scene dating back to the late 1990s, passed away this morning, PWInsider.comis ad to report.  He was only 48 years old.

Originally from NYC, Ciatso first trained under Adrian Street and spent time at the WCW Power Plant.  He had worked for every promotion that emanated out of the Florida area over the last few decades including IPW, FIP, Ring Warriors, D1PW, ACW, World Wrestling Network, AIWF, NWA Florida, FUW, Vintage Wrestling, Coastal Championship Wrestling and many more.  He also worked in Georgia for several promotions, including Lariato Pro Wrestling.  

As Frankie Capone, he was a major part of the IPW promotion,feuding with the late Jeff Peterson over the Light Heavyweight and working with names like Scoot Andrews, Barry Horowitz, Naphtali, and Roderick Strong.  He also had a run with the promotion's TV Championship, defending it against Mideon, Vito Denucci and more.  Capone and Marcus Dillon, as Double Deuce Inc. had a run as the NWA Florida Tag Team Champions, woring with Heartbreak Express, 911 Incorporated and The Market Crashers, among other teams from that mid-2000s era in the Sunshine State.

“I can’t imagine wrestling without Francisco Ciatso," said Ron Niemi, who has been intimately involved with the Florida scene, including promoting IPW.  "After over 20 years of running the road together we had been estranged brothers for the last couple years until wrestling thankfully brought us back together again in 2023. Thanks for the memories Frankie and I hope you know how much you will be missed.”

As Capone, he made appearances on NWA TNA TV during the earliest era of the promotion, wrestling Abyss, Chris Daniels, Jeff Jarrett, Erik Watts and others on Impact and Xplosion episodes.    As Frankie Capone and later, Francisco Ciatso (a name change he credited to Paul Heyman), he regularly appeared on then-WWE developmental Deep South Wrestling's TV program out of Georgia.  He appeared on WWE TV doing enhancement work from time to time as well and on occasion wrestled for Ring of Honor.

In recent years, Ciatso remained active in Florida and Georgia and his passing has stunned a number of people from those local scenes. is told that Ciatso was scheduled to work the WWN Proving Ground show last night but called out, claiming he wasn't feeling well.  It is believed he had passed away in his sleep overnight.

"The independent scene is at a loss," Luke Hawx commented.  "Francisco Ciatso was a true passionate wrestler who absolutely loved the business and went above and beyond for it. He helped and coached a lot of people who wanted to get in the business. He loved it, he gave his life to it and he never took his foot off the pedal. I admire his admiration for Pro Wrestling. Frankie was one who truly lived for the business."

Ciatso's career was spotlighted in the documentary Journeyman, which was released in 2019 and won Best Documentary that year in the Los Angleles Film Awards. sends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of Frankie Ciatso.

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