“Iron” Mike Sharpe has passed away at age 64. The self-proclaimed “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” was found in his apartment in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, over the weekend. Further details as to the circumstances surrounding Mike Sharpe’s death have not yet been revealed.
According to WWE.com, Mike Sharpe was a second-generation Superstar whose father and uncle were a successful tag team in the 1950s. Ontario’s Sharpe was a champion in his native country as well as several regional American territories in the United States.
Watch “Iron” Mike Sharpe in action in the video below.
Mike Sharpe made his professional wrestling debut in 1977. Trained by the late Missing Link, he made a name for himself in Gene Kiniski’s NWA All Star Wrestling. Sharpe took his place in the WWE in January 1983. Managed by WWE Hall of Famer Captain Lou Albano, Sharpe used a mysterious black brace on his right forearm to defeat opponents while simultaneously berating them.
He wore the brace for nine years, and it is rumored that it concealed a foreign object, possibly a piece of steel. The notoriously braced forearm even received a nod from Twitter fans.
— Jason Chirevas (@JasonChirevas) January 18, 2016
RIP "Iron" Mike Sharpe, 64. Pro wrestler; self-proclaimed "Canada's Greatest Athlete." Eternal forearm injury. pic.twitter.com/pnBkwUNEjJ
— Patrick Cainam (@Cainam) January 18, 2016
Besides the brace, his showmanship trademark was to interrupt the ring announcer before his match to insist the announcer introduce him as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” Iron Mike Sharpe. Sharpe’s signature move inside the ring included the piledriver and the bearclaw. His favored finishing move was the Iron Bomber.
— HabsHappy-JeSuisCH (@HabsHappy) January 19, 2016
Four months after his debut in the WWE, Sharpe earned himself a Championship Match against Champion Bob Backlund. Like so many others, Sharpe did not defeat Backlund and never reached a match of that magnitude again.
Sharpe then regularly competed in matches for both the WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling. His final WWE match was in June 1995 against The Smoking Gunns.
The Internet Wrestling Database shows Sharpe wrestled 168 documented matches, with more untracked by the site. Best known as the WWE’s loudest jobber, he won on only eight occasions.
Across his entire professional career, Sharpe did make some significant accomplishments within other wrestling organizations.
- NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- FSW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with I.C. Glory
- Mid-South Louisiana Championship (2 times)
- Mid-South Mississippi Championship (2 times)
- NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship (Vancouver version) (2 times) – with the Black Avenger and Salvatore Martino
- NWA Pacific Coast Heavyweight Championship (Vancouver version) (1 time)
- NWA Tri-State Brass Knuckles Championship (1 time)
- POW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WWWA Intercontinental Championship (1 time)
After retiring from competition, he ran the Mike Sharpe’s School of Pro Wrestling in New Jersey. His students included former WWE Superstars Charlie Haas and Simon Dean, as well as WCW Superstar Crowbar.
Crowbar (Chris Ford) recalled the experience in an interview with SLAM! Sports.
When asked what he thought of learning from “Iron” Mike, he responded, “Iron Mike Sharpe was a funny guy. He showed me the basics, but I’d be lying if I told you Mike Sharpe showed me how to do a Moonsault. He was a lot of fun. Even though he was never a top guy in the WWF, I always enjoyed watching him, he was always entertaining and, as you know, vocal (laughs), very loud, always screaming and yelling.”
Many wrestling fans paid tribute to Mike Sharpe via Twitter.
Iron Mike Sharpe was one of the most under rated heels in the 80's. A Canadian wrestling legend who I loved to hate as a fan. #RIP
— Bobby Roode (@REALBobbyRoode) January 19, 2016
RIP Iron Mike Sharpe thank you for all my childhood wrestling memories. Condolences to his friends and family
— Gail Kim-Irvine (@gailkimITSME) January 19, 2016
24 Wrestling reports that in 2007, a back injury and additional health issues left Mike Sharpe bound to a wheelchair.
[Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images]