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Mike Sharpe

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Michael "Mike" Sharpe (October 28, 1951 – January 17, 2016) was a Canadian professional wrestler and actor better known as Iron Mike Sharpe.

Career

Sharpe comes from a family legacy of wrestling, as his father Mike Sharpe Sr. and uncle Ben Sharpe 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 boxing and weightlifting before choosing to follow in his father's footsteps.

Dewey Robertson 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.

In January 1983, Sharpe entered the World Wrestling Federation and would become a regular of its 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, regularly defeating jobbers after smashing them with said forearm. This culminated on April 30, 1983 with a match against world heavyweight champion Bob Backlund at the Philadelphia Spectrum, but Sharpe was defeated and would never reach such main event heights again. In fact, Sharpe would never hold a single title for the promotion, and would become largely relegated to the mid-card of house shows and being regularly used as a jobber himself to rising stars of the then-WWF in television tapings. New England area fans were less impressed with Sharpe than those in the South, and reports from the era say 'WIMP!' was a common insult flung his way.

Despite the derision, Sharpe 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). In what may be his last televised match, Sharpe was defeated by the short-lived Man Mountain Rock on May 15, 1995.

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 proteges are Mike Bucci (b.k.a. Nova and Simon Dean), Chris Ford (a.k.a. Crowbar and Devon Storm) and the Haas brothers, Charlie and Russ.

Sharpe is described in at least three books by former wrestling personalities (Tom "Dynamite Kid" Billington, Hulk Hogan and Gary Michael Cappetta) 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.

Death

Sharpe died on January 17, 2016 at the age of 64 after he had been battling several health issues.

Acting career

Mike will be making his film debut in 2010's Cartel co-starring Josh Brolin.

In wrestling

  • Nicknames
    • Iron Mike Sharpe
    • Canada's Greatest Athlete

Championships and accomplishments

  • Five Star Wrestling
  • FSW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with I.C. Glory
  • NWA Tri-State Brass Knuckles Championship (1 time)
  • Professional Organization of Wrestling
  • POW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • World Wide Wrestling Alliance
  • WWWA Intercontinental Championship (1 time)

External links

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