Grappling With Tragedy: Dan ‘Spider’ Quirk

Brian Damage

Grappling with Tragedy is a series of articles that deal with unfortunate, tragic incidents that have occurred throughout the history of professional wrestling. It is unlike the ‘Wrestling with Sin’ series that deals more with the seedier side of wrestling like arrests, murders and suicides. Grappling looks more at particular tragic incidents that have in some instances altered pro wrestling in some way.


Daniel Michael Quirk began his career in 2002 under the tutelage of John Brooks and former WWF enhancement talent Bert Centano. He also attended clinics from Christopher Daniels and Dr. Tom Prichard. Quirk started out as a manager named Stuart on the independent scene, but quickly began his in ring career as a pro wrestler. He adopted the name ‘Spider’ due to his high risk, high flying style.

Spider competed in various indie promotions in the New England area and was one of the youngest wrestlers to ever hold the NWA New England Junior Heavyweight Championship. Spider also wrestled in Chikara and was a mainstay for Ultimate Championship Wrestling. Quirk wrestled the likes of Mikey Whipwreck, Eddie Edwards and Gran Akuma.

On May 28, 2005…Quirk was facing the Hi Lite Kid in Taunton, Massachusetts for UCW when he was thrown outside the ring. Hi Lite Kid attempted a top rope plancha on Quirk , but caught his foot on the rope. Dan Quirk was quick to protect his opponent by catching him on the outside to avoid serious injury. Unfortunately and tragically, Hi Lite Kid’s weight was too much for Quirk to handle and was thrown to the unprotected concrete floor smashing his head in the process. Quirk’s blood was visible on the floor and the match was immediately stopped. Medical personnel tried to revive Quirk, but he sadly died at the scene.

Quirk’s untimely and tragic death was the first in ring death at an independent show and led veterans like Al Snow and William ‘ Paul Bearer’ Moody to call out promotions over their negligence and demand regulations. Quirk’s family would set up the Daniel Michael Quirk Memorial Scholarship Fund for senior students at Quirk’s old high school for students majoring in graphic arts and communications. Dan Quirk was studying both in college at the time of his death. Dan ‘Spider’ Quirk was just 22 years old.

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