From their blood-curdling features to their gruesome and rather grotesque nature. While some characters wrestling fans may be familiar with, there are several that they may not necessarily be. Today we feature, Leatherface.
If the name is familiar, it likely should. Fans of the horror genre are familiar with the film Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A film that is loosely based on actual events. In this instance, we had art imitate life. The person that donned the mask and attire was none other than a rising talent in the World Wrestling Federation.
Michael Kirshner wrestled for a time in the promotion under the name Corporal Kirshner. The character was not unlike Sgt Slaughter as a famed former military hand that was there to defend the honor of the USA.
Leatherface – Before The Chainsaw
After departing the WWF in 1987, he would briefly compete for Stampede Wrestling. However, it was not until went to Japan that he brought about the iconic film character ‘Leatherface’ to life in the country.
The character took on a life of its own in fact, his legend was so notable that it went beyond the ring and engaged in an altercation with a fan leading to his being incarcerated. The beating the fan endured left them with severe injuries to their face.
It surely is a tale of a film character being reflected inside and outside the ring. There were no boundaries that the character would cross. Much like the chainsaw-wielding madman from the backwoods family, Leatherface proved to be one of the toughest wrestlers in the country.
While Kirscher did take on the character for some time, he was not the only one to hold that role. In fact, while Kirshner was incarcerated, Rick Patterson took on the role of Leatherface in his absence. Upon Kirshner’s return, he departed and competed for the W*ING promotion and then later the International Wrestling Association of Japan while Kirshner was in prison.
Leatherface – The Night The Script Was Shredded
In what was regarded as one of the most infamous matches of his career, the tandem known as The Leatherfaces went off-script. On December 13th, 1994, Kirshner’s Leatherface persona stepped in the ring with Hiroshi Ono and Shoji Nakamaki in what was dubbed a Double Hell Deathmatch.
Even the name shrieks with violence and blood. As the shrieks and cries of the pain and anguish of those suffering, a scenario had played out that became as infamous as the character himself. Leatherface went off script after the match tearing off a piece of the bed of nails, and then proceeded to drop his leg on Ono’s throat that had the bedding resting on it. This was then later followed up with a powerbomb by Leatherface on Ono onto the said bed of nails.
WARNING: The footage below is not for the faint of heart.
Leatherface – The Chainsaw-Wielding Wrestling Nightmare
Fans would scatter from ringside as the chainsaw-wielding madmen were committed to creating complete chaos. Fiction and reality had become blurred in this instant. True terror was alive and well here as men were battered and beaten. It hadn’t mattered who won or lost the match.
All that mattered was the blood and bedlam these two men created. Each and every word used to describe this type of violence could be comparable to witnessing a homicide. Fans had become witnesses to more than intimidation. They were becoming witnesses to a horror film coming to life.
This moment led to Leatherface’s departure from the IWA and the opportunity that came about in another company known as Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling. Upon his arrival, the newly dubbed ‘Super Leather’ was ushered in by a notable and iconic Hardcore wrestler himself. Cactus Jack spoke of what and his friend Leatherface would do to Shouji Nakamaki.
The Chainsaw Continues To Run In FMW
Leatherface remained with FMW until the promotion closed its doors in 2002. During this time, he, alongside partner Chris Romero, would capture wins against the likes of Iko Kuroda and former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Masato Tanaka.
After nearly fifteen years of inactivity, Leatherface rose again! During an independent wrestling event, he teamed with another horror-inspired character ‘Jayson Voorhees’. The duo was affectionately named ‘The Serial Killers’. While few could risk what this character could, Leatherface could.
His goals were not unlike that of the horror character. There would be no mercy. There would only be blood. For each person that would step across the ring from him, the result was the same. It was carnage and blood. There was no side of good that would prevail when Leatherface stood across from him.
While the mass of destruction and the fear he struck in the hearts of men, women, and children is countless, so is its memory on fans during that period. Leatherface walked in darkness but would shred your skin in the light.