Iron Sheik

Pro wrestling legend Iron Sheik passes away at age 81

Professional wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik, passed away on Wednesday, June 7, at age 81.

The Iron Sheik first excelled in the world of Greco-Roman Wrestling, competing in the Amateur Athletic Union, before transitioning to pro wrestling and sports entertainment.

Born Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, the Iranian wrestling star 1968 he moved to the United States in 1968, and in 1971, he obtained two silver medals in AAU Greco-Roman tournaments, one in 1969 and one in 1970. In 1971 he became gold medalist at 180.5 pounds. He later became assistant coach to the USA team for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

In 1972, Khosrow was invited to become a professional wrestler by promoter Verne Gagne, and the rest is history.

The Iron Sheik is legendary for drawing heat from fans, serving a “heel” in the industry, and one of the best to ever do it.

On June 4th, 1979, at Madison Square Garden, a star was born. Then going by The Great Hussein Arab, he won a 20-Man Battle Royal, and had an unforgettable classic against champion Bob Backlund.

The victory was a controversial one, as Backlund’s manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel when Backlund refused to submit to the Camel Clutch.

After losing the title to Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik engaged in a heated rivalry with Sgt. Slaughter culminating in their famous Boot Camp Match at Madison Square Garden. Soon after, The Iron Sheik teamed with Russian strongman Nikolai Volkoff. The anti-American pairing went on to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship in 1985 at the first WrestleMania.

The Iron Sheik left WWE in 1988 but reappeared in 1991 by the side of former enemy Sgt. Slaughter as Colonel Mustafa. His last in-ring appearance was at WrestleMania 17, as The Iron Sheik returned for one night only, winning a Gimmick Battle Royal and re-igniting his rivalry with Slaughter in the process.

The Iron Sheik remained a pop culture icon due to his bombastic online persona and appearances on “The Howard Stern Show,” “The Eric Andre Show,” and more.

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