Iron Mike Sharpe Trash-talks Death to a Grudge Match (or: Noisy Ring Warrior Pinned for Final Time)
The world of professional wrestling has always been filled with larger-than-life personalities, many saddled with gaudy nicknames in keeping with the colorful lives played out for fans. Names like Haystacks Calhoun, Classy Freddie Blassie, Gorilla Monsoon or the unforgettable Rowdy Roddy Piper set the tone for the currently-named WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment. Weekends were loaded with hours of loud, raucous events from a variety of venues and different organizations, but none had the production values of the precursor to the WWE, the World Wrestling Federation, or the WWF. With the multitude of matches the then-WWF needed to fill time, there were a number of second- and third-tier wrestlers in name and popularity, one of which being “Canada’s Greatest Athlete”, Iron Mike Sharpe. For the kid at home watching television, Mike Sharpe was generally “that guy”, the wrestler pitted against the more popular regulars and the one that would usually lose. What kept Mike Sharpe infinitely more watchable for the fan, more so than any “Mr. X” or Ivan ‘Polish Power’ Putski, were the man’s antics in the ring.
Iron Mike never kept his mouth shut. Iron Mike never stopped making noise. Iron Mike was huge. Iron Mike consistently cheated during matches. Iron Mike was the butt of more than one joke and bore it until he retired, revered amongst many of his peers. Iron Mike Sharpe was fun to watch, just as much as any Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Mike Sharpe always seemed to be at a competing level that was never allowed to grow. He was one of the day-to-day wrestlers, the ones that kept the acts going for the characters with the larger draw. Calling him “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” was likely done for laughs, but you cannot say the man wasn’t athletic. Regardless of how the matches were choreographed, he was the physical match to many of the bigger names in wrestling. He had a singular look that didn’t need enhancement of flashy boots or shorts, and he made you know who he was while he was in the ring. How could anyone not enjoy seeing him perform? Iron Mike Sharpe, 10/28/1951 – 1/17/2016, there hasn’t been another like you.