Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling

Michael James Penzel (September 7, 1957 – December 22, 2021) was an American professional wrestler and United States Army paratrooper. He was best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation under the ring name Corporal Kirchner in the mid-1980s, as well as his appearances in Japan for New Japan Pro-Wrestling, W*ING, International Wrestling Association Japan, and Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling under the ring name Leatherface.


World Wrestling Federation

Early in his career, Kirchner adopted the ring name "Corporal Kirchner" and used a militaristic gimmick. He is known in North America for his brief feud with Nikolai Volkoff in the in the World Wrestling Federation in 1986, which included a victory over Volkoff at WrestleMania 2 in a Flag Match. He was considered one of the toughest men in the WWF at the time and as a result, his career suffered because many wrestlers were afraid to work with him. He was suspended by the WWF for testing positive for drug use in 1987. When his suspension ended, he declined to return and left the company.

In 2001, Kirchner was announced as a participant in the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven. The WWF went as far as to picture him in a graphic on promoting the match, yet Kirchner was removed weeks before the event.


Following his dismissal from the WWF, he made a successful wrestling career for himself in Japan as he created the ring name and gimmick of "Leatherface" and tied it in with the villain of the same name from the movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He originally wrestled for Victor Quinones' W*ING promotion and was considered by many to be the toughest hardcore wrestler in W*ING. However, Kirchner was later arrested and jailed for six months following an attempted assault by a fan, which left the fan with severe facial injuries. During his brief time in jail, the Leatherface character that Kirchner created was given to another wrestler, Rick Patterson, who eventually left W*ING and went to International Wrestling Association of Japan. During a subsequent match in the IWA that the new Leatherface competed in, the original Leatherface (Kirchner) appeared in the crowd.

This set up the team of the Leatherfaces, which lasted for only one match and was intended as a transition of the character away from Patterson. On December 13, 1994, the Leatherfaces faced two popular wrestlers, Shoji Nakamaki and Hiroshi Ono in a Double Hell Deathmatch where a Bed of Nails was used. In a match that would become a classic within hardcore wrestling, Kirchner broke kayfabe after the match and ripped off a piece of the bed of nails, placed it on Ono's throat and then executed a leg drop onto the patch of nails. He then powerbombed Ono onto the bed of nails. Kirchner afterward left the IWA, with the promotion claiming that he was fired in an attempt to salvage Ono's destroyed reputation.

Kirchner then left for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling. Using a modified version of his Leatherface gimmick, he debuted for the promotion under the name "Super Leather" and later formed a tag team with Chris Romero. The team proved to be successful, as they managed to score wins over popular and well-known tag teams including Jado and Gedo, and Masato Tanaka and Iko Kuroda. By 2002, Kirchner retired from wrestling.

Return to wrestling

On March 24, 2007, Kirchner revived his "Super Leather" persona for his first match since 2002. In his return match, he wrestled against Raven at the New Alhambra Arena, best known for being the "home" of Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Most recently, Kirchner returned as "Leatherface" for a tour for the Insane Clown Posse's Tempest Release Party. Since the tour, he has begun wrestling regularly for ICP's promotion Juggalo Championship Wrestling under his Leatherface ring name.

Championships and accomplishments

External links