Cleat Geeks

Former WWF Wrestler Dies

Former professional wrestler “Iron” Mike Sharpe has died at age 64, the WWE announced on Monday morning.wweRawIronMikeSharpe

The Hamilton native was managed by WWE Hall of Famer Captain Lou Albano and used the mysterious, and often loaded, black brace on his right forearm to defeat opponents. He used this brace as his finishing move called the “Iron Bomber.”

Sharpe’s winning ways were enough to earn him a WWF championship match against Bob Backlund in Philadelphia in April 1983 only four months after his WWF debut. He lost that match, and even though he debuted in the WWF in January of 1983 and did not retire until 1995, he never held a title in the organization. In fact, he never challenged for a title either.

Sharpe came from a family legacy of wrestling, as his father and uncle were a successful tag team in the 1950s, recognized as champions from San Francisco to Japan. He grew up in California, but moved with his father back to Canada as a teenager. In high school, he dabbled in both boxing and weightlifting before choosing to follow in his father’s footsteps.WWE_The_Missing_Link

Dewey Robertson(who you may remember as the Missing Link above with manager Bobby Heenan) trained him for the ring at age 25 and shortly thereafter Sharpe made his mark wrestling for promotions around Canada such as Gene Kiniski’s NWA All Star Wrestling. He became a two-time NWA Canadian Tag Team Champion, partnering first with Moose Morowski and later with Salvatore Bellomo, and also won the Pacific Coast Heavyweight title. His career picked up steam after moving to Louisiana, where he became a fan favorite and won two different Mid-South Wrestling belts – Louisiana champion (two times) and the Mississippi title (also two times) along with a Brass Knucks title in 1979.

He was a regular of WWF programming throughout the mid-1980s and early 1990s. He was announced and self-proclaimed as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” (a nickname taken from Kiniski) and was further distinguished by his near-constant yelling and grunting throughout a match, as well as a mysterious black brace on his right forearm, supposedly protecting an injury but more widely believed to contain a foreign object. Initially in his WWF career he was managed by Captain Lou Albano and received a sizeable push.

Piper questions "Iron Mike" Sharpe about his forearm brace on Piper's Pit.

Piper questions “Iron Mike” Sharpe about his forearm brace on Piper’s Pit.

While Sharpe’s television appearances were always as the role of a jobber, and victories even at house shows were rare, he chalked up quite a few untelevised victories between 1984 and 1988. Sharpe also had a few more memorable moments over his WWF career. He appeared on Piper’s Pit in 1984, provided the opposition in Ivan Putski’s 1987 comeback match at Madison Square Garden, and pinned Boris Zhukov to reach the second round of the 1988 King of the Ring tournament. And though he wrestled as a heel in the WWF, Sharpe was also the tag team partner of none other than Hulk Hogan during a tour of Japan against stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling in early 1984 (Hogan was heel in Japan). His last televised match was on June 6, 1995 in a losing tag-team effort against The Smoking Gunns(yes that is a young Billy Gunn).TheSmokingGunns

For some time after his retirement Sharpe had made his living teaching aspiring wrestlers at ‘Mike Sharpe’s School of Pro-Wrestling’ located in Brick, New Jersey and later Asbury Park, New Jersey (the school has since closed down). Among the better known of his protégés are Mike Bucci, Chris Ford and the Haas Brothers, Charlie and Russ

iron-mike-sharpeSharpe is described in at least three books by former wrestling personalities; Dynamite Kid, Hulk Hogan and Gary Michael Cappeta, and by longtime WWF wrestler/commentator Gorilla Monsoon, as having shown characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder, as evidenced by a preoccupation with cleanliness that caused him to spend hours washing his hands or showering at arenas and meticulously folding and re-folding his clothing. According to Cappetta, Sharpe’s behavior earned him the nickname “Mr. Clean” among his co-workers. Monsoon also once pointed in a televised broadcast about Sharpe’s known dedication to fitness and looking after his body noting that “If more people took care of themselves like Iron Mike Sharpe, then about 20 million more Americans per year would live past the age of 65.” Ironically, Sharpe died eight months and nine days before his 65th birthday on January 17, 2016.

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