October 29, 2009
Iron Mike Sharpe courtesy JL Wiseman
Catching up with some of the most obscure stars of the 1980s wrestling crew and what they have been doing since leaving wrestling.
- "Iron" Mike Sharpe was a popular enhancement talent for the WWE in the 80s. Sharpe trained in Canada under Dewey Robertson and eventually made his way to New York where he was used primarily to put over up and comers. Sharpe suffered mightily from obsessive compulsive disorder that often found him taking numerous showers after a show and folding and refolding his clothes. He ran a short lived wrestling school after retiring from the ring from which Mike Bucci is his most famous graduate. Sharpe has battled kidney problems for years.
- Tito Santana played football for West Texas A&M University on a team quarterbacked by Tully Blanchard. After graduating Santana got a try out with the Kansas City Chiefs but was cut and eventually made his way to the NWA and AWA and finally to the WWF where he enjoyed tremendous success as a single and as a tag team performer. Santana has made sporadic ring appearances since his retirement and is now teaching.
- Nikolai VolKoff grew up in Croatia who defected to Canada during a weightlifting tournament. After training with Stu Hart in Calgary, Volkoff went to the WWWF as part of the Mongol's tag team and willing the belts. Volkoff wrestled mostly as a tag team performer but did sell out MSG once for a match with then WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino. Volkoff still makes occasional ring appearances but spends most of his time working as a code enforcement officer for Baltimore County, Maryland. Volkoff recently ran, unsuccessfully for the Maryland Senate.
- Rick Martel has worked virtually everywhere in the US and abroad for various promotions but his most successful run was as the "Model" in the WWF. Martel worked primarily in tag teams during the later part of his career and won many championships. His greatest accomplishment would have to be winning the AWA World Title for Verne Gagne's promotion before it went under. Martel is still making the rounds doing mostly conventions, conferences and autograph signings.
- SD Jones worked mostly as a jobber for the WWF after a brief but successful career in the Mid-Atlantic and California territories. He won several singles and tag titles before moving to the WWF to become enhancement talent. SD passed away in 2008 after suffering a stroke
- Paul Orndorff was a stand-out football player for the University of Tampa scoring 21 touchdowns and over 2000 yards in his college career. Orndorff was selected in the late rounds of the NFL draft in 1973 but couldn't pass the physical and was cut. The move to professional wrestling was one that paid handsomely for Orndorff as he became a fixture all over the south and mid-south feuding with and winning titles from the likes of Jerry Lawler, the Masked Superstar, Baron VonRashke and others. HIs time in the WWF cemented what was already a stellar career and he was part of Wrestlemania I with Roddy Piper battling Mr. T and Hulk Hogan. Orndorff would move to WCW and become part of a championship tag team before a neck injury eventually forced him to retire. Orndorff was a trainer at the WCW Power Plant before it folded and now he is content being home with his wife and spending time with his grandchildren.
- Duke Drose trolled around the Florida scene for a few years before getting the call from the WWF and being turned into a garbage man. When the gimmick he had ran it's course in the WWF and creative had nothing more for him, he returned to Florida to work indies for a short time. He now works as a strength and conditioning coach for Warren County High School.
- Wendi Richter was one of the first WWF "divas" that really brought women's wrestling to a new light as part of the Rock&Wrestling Connection in the early 80s. Richter was eventually double crossed by Vince McMahon and the Fabulous Moolah and lost her title due to a screw job ending. Richter became somewhat bitter toward wrestling at that point and because a bit of a recluse for a number of years. Post wrestling Richter worked as a real estate agent and has a degree in physical therapy as well as occupational therapy.
- Luna Vachon was one of the original "divas" in the WWE until she had a run-in with Sable. Vachon was let go from the WWE and shortly after divorced husband David "Vampire Warrior" Heath. Despite taking an occasional indie booking or reunion gig she has become somewhat of a recluse living in Florida where she drives a tow truck and battles Bi-Polar Disorder. Luna's son Van recently appeared on "Hells Kitchen."