Corporal Kirchner passes away

Dec 23, 2021 - by Marc Middleton

Former WWE and FMW star Corporal Kirchner (Mike Penzel, aka Leatherface/Super Leather) has passed away at the age of 64.

FMW archivist BahuFMW reported that Penzel passed away on Wednesday from a heart attack. It was noted that “his wife tried to save him, but couldn’t.” He reportedly passed away at his home in Siler City, NC.

Penzel’s obituary notes that he passed away at home. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, three sons and one daughter. You can read the obituary at this link.

Penzel got into pro wrestling after a stint in the United States Army as a paratrooper. He got into pro wrestling after meeting WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan in a gym while working as a mechanic and bouncer in Minnesota. Hogan introduced him to AWA promoter Verne Gagne. He worked for WWE from 1985-1987, replacing WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter as a patriotic character for the company. One notable moment from Penzel’s WWE career was the WrestleMania 2 Flag Match win over WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff, which took place during the Rosemont Horizon portion of the show.

Penzel later worked for various companies in Japan, including NJPW, and held the FMW Brass Knuckles Title. He worked as a truck driver after pro wrestling, and had not wrestled since 2009 it appears. WWE profiled Kirchner for a “Where Are They Now?” feature in 2011.

Below are several clips from Penzel’s career:

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