Name: Mike and Ben Sharpe
Year Inducted: 2010

Mike and Ben Sharpe

For their era, Ben and Mike Sharpe were huge, both physically and as a gate attraction. "Had I been in a position of power in any territory, they would have been my main eventers because of their looks, their wrestling ability. They were just fantastic," the late Bob Orton Sr. reflected in 2002. "The Sharpe brothers were real serious wrestlers. You believed them as men and wrestlers." Well-built at 6-5 and 260 pounds, give or take a little, the Sharpes dominated tag team wrestling in northern California and Japan during the 1950s. They held the world tag team title in Joe Malcewicz's San Francisco promotion 18 times, in addition to winning a variety of other championships. Ben was the older brother and decided to give wrestling a whirl because he didn't want to be confined to a desk job after World War II. He managed Mike for a while, but the natives of Hamilton, Ontario, quickly formed a powerful team. Known for their tough, knock-'em-down style, the Sharpes made "the so-called Pier 6 brawls look like a quiet meeting of the Monday Night Sewing Club," the Humbolt (Calif.) Standard concluded after they incited a riot in the city’s auditorium. As big as they were on the West Coast, the Sharpes were even bigger in Japan, where they are credited with giving tag team wrestling a shot in the arm when they debuted there in 1954. As fans flocked to storefront windows to watch the debut of wrestling on Nippon Television, the Sharpes fought Rikidozan and Mahasiko Kimura to a 60-minute draw. Their partnership continued into the 1960s, mostly for Malcewicz, whose promotion folded in 1962. Even then, they left a lasting impression on fans. "My married name is Grueber, and my maiden name is Sharpe," said Ben’s daughter, Karen. "Somebody will mention, 'Hey the Sharpe brothers.' 'Hey, one of them was my dad!' 'No way! I used to go watch them wrestle on the weekends!' " Mike died in 1988, while Ben passed away in 2000.

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