The Iron Sheik: Iran’s Greatest Cultural Ambassador

As America recovers from Ahmadinejaditis, I think we should take some time to remember Iran’s first famous cultural ambassador to the United States: the Iron Sheik.

Born Hossein Khosrow Vaziri, the Iron Sheik was a decorated amateur wrestler from Iran who later served as a bodyguard for the Shah and an assistant coach for the United States Olympic team in 1972, before he began training under Verne Gagne to become a professional wrestler.

Vaziri was christened the Iron Sheik and would go on to have a career as one of the greatest villains in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment when he defeated Bob Backlund to become World Champion on December 26th of 1983.

Unfortunately, a month later the Sheik would drop the title to a newcomer named Hulk Hogan. However the Sheik’s career was not over, he along with Nikolai Volkoff would win the WWE Tag Team Championship at the inaugural Wrestlemania in 1985.

In 2005, the Iron Sheik was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame along with Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan. Today the Iron Sheik is well known for his shoot interviews where he criticizes several of his old workmates, in a manner that could be described as very un-calm. Everyone from Hulk Hogan to Kramer has been lambasted by the Sheik: especially if you’re Brian Blair or the Ultimate Warrior.

The Sheik’s rants have made him a quasi-celebrity leading to appearances on the Howard Stern Show (warning: coarse language ahead). To book the Iron Sheik for an appearance go to ironsheikonline.com.

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