The Iron Mike Sharpe of international rugby
Player profile: Victor Matfield, Springbok
Always dangerous, the outstanding Springbok lock Victor Matfield surely rates as the "Iron" Mike Sharpe of world rugby.
Sharpe became a regular of World Wrestling Federation (WWF) programming throughout the mid-1980s and early 1990s. [He] distinguished by his near-constant yelling and grunting throughout a match, as well as a mysterious black band on his right forearm, supposedly protecting an injury but more widely believed to contain a foreign object. Though occasionally defeating jobbers after smashing them with said forearm, Sharpe never held a single title for the promotion and is largely regarded to have himself been a jobber to rising stars of the then-WWF. Despite this, Sharpe was involved in his share of memorable moments...
Iron Mike Sharpe
REAL NAME: Mike Sharpe
BORN: Hamilton, Ontario
6'4", 275 pounds
Iron Mike Sharpe. The name alone brings up an image of a black forearm band and a lot of yelling.
Under the management of Captain Lou Albano, Sharpe fought his way up, though some may credit his mysterious black armband.
A Wrestling News article on Sharpe described the force of his forearm smashes during a match against Tony Garea.
"Garea was stung by a rain of heavy forearm smashes, delivered by the arm on which Iron Mike wears a strapped contraption of sorts. Many times over it has been alleged that what makes Sharpe's 'hammer' the most lethal in wrestling is that in this band of his he has secreted some kind of foreign object. That's what they say. But, because no one has ever succeeded in removing it from his arm, these allegations remain unproven."
Mike was a middle card tough guy who often was used by McMahon as a stepping stone for future contenders of the WWF championships. He wore a leather band on his arm that extended from wrist to elbow. Although it was made of nothing more than thin black leather, once nailed with an ordinary forearm smash, Sharpe's opponents senselessly collapsed to defeat. Iron Mike also slid weapons under his armband which he used when in trouble, concocting more controversy than his harmless gimmick ever deserved. He squashed lesser opponents on television only to be thrashed by up and comers at live events in Philadelphia and all of the major venues throughout the WWF territory. Once getting past Sharpe, the wrestler who was receiving the push gained credibility en route to presenting himself worthy of a title shot.
When his career had petered out, Sharpe turned his attention to teaching, and opened Iron Mike Sharpe's School of Pro-Wrestling in Asbury Park, NJ.
Crowbar (Chris Ford) was one of his students, and recalled the experience: "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. He had that patented leather forearm thing. Even though he wasn't a top guy I always enjoyed watching him."
I recall at a live WWF event held in Kitchener in the late 1980's. A group of us had seats above the entrance that the wrestlers used to enter the ring. When Iron Mike walked down the aisle towards the ring, we rose up out of our seats, wearing black forearm bands, making loud "Iron Mike" noises.
Iron Mike (the man was huge by the way), stopped, looked up at us and grinned. it was priceless. He subsequently lost to Hillbilly Jim that evening.....
Dean Berkers, Mount Forest Ont.