The Sheik

| March 3, 2016

Throughout the history of professional wrestling, there have been two main entities: the babyfaces and the heels. The babyfaces, or good guys, played by the rules and always did what was right for their fans. The heels, or bad guys, would do anything possible to not only rile up the audience but also to win matches. The most legendary babyface in pro wrestling history is Hulk Hogan, who would tell the little Hulksters to say their prayers and eat their vitamins. Hogan would not have risen to such an immense level of fame if it wasn’t for the most notorious heel in wrestling history, The Iron Sheik. The documentary, The Sheik, tells his tale, and it’s incredible

The Iron Sheik began his life in 1942 in Iran. Sheiks real name is Hossein Khosrow Vaziri. Vaziri established himself in his native Iran as one of the top 3 amateur wrestlers in the country. Vaziri’s accolades even garnered attention from the Shah Of Iran, who made Vaziri his personal bodyguard. Vaziri’s friend and mentor, Gholemreza Takhti, was an Olympic Gold Medal winner that started to hold more attention of the Iranian public than the Shah. When Takhti was dead of a supposed suicide, Vaziri realized it was time to head to the United States.

Upon his arrival, Vaziri became a coach for the U.S. National team and promptly lead them to 4 consecutive AAU national titles. Vaziri moved to Minnesota to learn professional wrestling from legendary promoter and pro wrestler Verne Gagne. Vaziri was a tremendous talent, but was stagnating in his career. After a fatefull conversion with Gagne’s wife, and with the Iranian hostage situation happening at the U.S. embassy in New York, Vaziri decided to reach back to his Iranian heritage and start dressing like a sheik. Hence, The Iron Sheik was born.
The Sheik was one of, if not the most hated villains in all of pro wrestling in the 1980’s. His legendary decries of the U.S., followed by spitting on the mat, would turn the audience rabid. And on a cold January night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, The Iron Sheik would lose the WWF World title to the man that would light the wrestling world on fire and bring it to worldwide prominence: Hulk Hogan. That history making event might never have happened, though. Verne Gagne offered The Sheik an enormous amount of money to break Hogan’s leg and bring the WWF title to Gagne in Minnesota. The Sheik declined, and the rest is history.

After a drug bust in the late 80’s, Sheik’s career all but disappeared. He would make money from Independent wrestling shows and autograph signings. Life was pretty good for The Sheik until 2003, when his daughter Marissa was strangled to death by a jilted lover. Marissa’s death sent The Sheik over the edge, and he became steadily dependent on crack, cocaine, and marijuana. The heavy drug use was ruining his family life. Finally, two sons of an old friend stepped in to help get The Sheik out of his downward spiral. Thankfully, it worked, and now The Iron Sheik is quite possibly more famous than ever, especially thanks to his hilarious Twitter and YouTube accounts. In a pro wrestling landscape littered with death-too-soon horror stories, The Iron Sheik has come out the other side. And if you don’t like it, he’ll suplex you, put you in the camel clutch, and make you humble.

The Sheik is an insightful, sometimes heartbreaking, and all around wonderful documentary, featuring interviews with a number of professional wrestling luminaries, and brought to DVD by Dark Sky Films and TriCoast Worldwide. The DVD comes with only the trailer for the documentary, as well as 4 trailers for current and upcoming Dark Sky releases. Buy the DVD, or else The Iron Sheik will find you and “fuck you in the ass, make you humble”. And I’m pretty sure no one wants that…

About the Author:

Steve graduated from Southwestern Michigan College with an Associate's Degree in communications. He currently resides in Niles, MI
Filed in: Video and DVD

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