Not many current WWE fans are familiar with Corporal Kirchner. And y’know what? There’s probably a good reason for that, though…as he only had a cup of coffee in the company before moving on. The thing with Kirchner is that he was in the WWE during the time I began watching it on a regular basis, so I still remember him to this day.
Kirchner first started under the moniker of RT Reynolds and was enhancement talent. Here is video of a rare pre-Kirchner appearance…
Turns out that Kirchner actually WAS a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, so once Vinny Mac found out that bit of information he decided to try and turn the guy into a legit wrestling hero. It’s so awesome that I found these vignettes online because I remember the build for the guy’s debut…
I gotta be honest…Kirchner wasn’t really the greatest in the ring. Heck, he wasn’t the greatest on the mic, either (as you could tell by those promos above). But there was just something about him that people liked. He wasn’t the most “over” guy on the roster by any stretch, but he certainly had the fans cheering for him. This was his debut television match under the gimmick:
The big feud that Kirchner had was with Nikolai Volkoff. I mean c’mon…it only makes sense, right? If you wanted to get your pandering babyface over as the next Sgt. Slaughter, then have him go up against the only hated Russian in the promotion. They had a match at WrestleMania II and feuded all around the world. And being honest…these matches weren’t exactly 5-star classics.
Unfortunately, Kirchner was suspended from WWE for a positive drug test in 1987. Once it was over, he declined to return to the company that made him “semi” famous. From what I’ve read, he wasn’t really missed because he was considered one of the stiffest workers in the company. That would work to his advantage, though, as he then went to Japan and created the Leatherface gimmick, which was basically his spin on the character from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. The crazy thing, though…is that through hardcore matches (which were all the rage at the time) the gimmick got over enough for Kirchner to have a career in Japan that lasted for well over a decade.
Really, the best thing about that gimmick was his entrance…where he legitimately scared the shit out of the Japanese fans by chasing after them with a chainsaw (lol). Now this particular match is famous because, in addition to having TWO Leatherface characters (long story)…Kirchner (fresh out of jail for assault, mind you) broke kayfabe by doing a legdrop ONTO a bed of nails that was laying on top of Hiroshi Ono‘s chest and throat (around 11:45 of the match) and then, after the match, when he went a bit too far in the post-match beatdown by jumping ON the bed of nails that was laying over Ono, who was already laying on a bed of nails (around 17:20).
Anyway…he was fired after the match and moved to another wrestling promotion in Japan, where he finished up his career circa 2002-2004.