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"Insane. Completely, utterly and wonderfully insane. That's the only way we can describe The Iron Sheik, who in recent years has gone from forgotten Cold War wrestling villain to the nutty Iranian grandpa we all wish we had."—RD Reynolds, The Wrestlecrap Book Of Lists!, "The 6 Wrestlers Who Must Have a Reality Show"
If there was ever any wrestler who best exemplified the Foreign Wrestling Heel character in Professional Wrestling, especially in WWE's "Federation years," The Iron Sheik was it. Born Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, this Iranian-born wrestler made a name for himself in the early 80s WWF, where he won the championship from Bob Backlund, breaking the former champion's six-year title reign...only to drop it the next month to Hulk Hogan, kicking off the Hulkamania craze. His appearances would be sporadic for many years after that, seemingly fading into obscurity in the pro wrestling scene.
Tropes pertaining to him include:
- Anything That Moves: What the Sheik does just after breaking your back and before making you humble.
- Arch Enemy: Hulk Hogan, both from the WWF and in Real Life, it seems.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In May of 1987, Sheik was riding with Arch Enemy Hacksaw Jim Duggan when the two were pulled over by New Jersey police, who found that both of them were doped and coked out of their minds. Duggan was given a conditional release and Sheik was put on probation. This caused a major stink in WWE at the time, but the big issue here wasn't the fact that they were caught doing drugs and driving under the influence, but that the two of them (who were in a major feud at the time) were breaking Kayfabe with their actions. Sheik was released by WWE and Duggan would be taken off of television for a few months.
- In his now legendary tirade on Howard Stern's radio show, he ran through every profane thing you could think of to B. Brian Blair...and paused to apologize to Robin Quivers about his abrasive language.
- Badass Mustache: A curly mustache, at that.
- Bald of Evil / Bald of Awesome: Depending on who you ask
- Berserk Button: Mention anyone that he believes didn't measure up to his standard of "respect" for the business (B. Brian Blair, Hulk Hogan,
- Biggus Dickus: Once threatened to introuduce the Ultimate Warrior's daughter to his "...10-inch Iranian cock!"
- He might not be exaggerating either (see Memetic Molester).
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Cloudcuckoolander: Especially around the Turn of the Millennium.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Many of his interviews
- Defeating the Undefeatable: He ended the 6-year championship run of Bob Backlund, capturing the world championship in the process.
- Disproportionate Retribution: If this interview on Howard Stern is anything to go by, Sheik's idea of Cheap Heat is to threaten a wrestler's family members, both male and female, with sexual assault.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Called out Warrior, who stated in his blog that Heath Ledger deserved to die for portraying a positive gay character in Brokeback Mountain.
- He stated that at Wrestlemania III, he wanted to humble Brian Blair, but didn't "because for the God and Jesus, and Mr. McMahon."
- Exact Words: He once stated in an interview that he doesn't type his own twitter. The internet assumes he merely shouts what he wants to say from another room...not exactly a far-fetched assumption.
- After a Forbes(!) interveiw, it was indicated that, yes, this is indeed how his twitter is managed: his agent tweets based on conversations he has with The Iron Sheik.
- Expansion Pack Past: Before emigrating and becoming a wrestler, worked as a bodyguard for the Shah of Iran.
- Fake Nationality: Portrayed the Iraqi Col. Mustafa in 1991.
- Fan Nickname: Sheik-y Baby.
- Finishing Move: The Camel Clutch.
- Foreign Wrestling Heel: Boy, is he ever.
- Hidden Depths: One of Sheik's workout routines involves the use of a pair of instruments called "Persian Clubs." Apparently, nobody in the entire professional wrestling industry is able to pull off how to work these clubs properly except Iron Sheik himself. Only Mark Henry was able to get the clubs over his head.
- Also falls into World's Strongest Man - its so difficult he's legendary in strongman circles. 75lbs. may not sound much, but swinging that much weight on what is essentially a lever is extremely difficult.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: "More beer, please."
- No Indoor Voice
- Patriotic Fervor: "Iran, number one! Russia, number one! USA--haaaack ptooey!"
- He once got into an argument with Sgt. Slaughter over which country was greater:
Sgt. Slaughter: AMERICA, you puke!
Iron Sheik: IRAN, you jabroni!
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules: Verne Gagne offered him $100,000 to shoot on Hogan during their title match, and hopefully cripple him. Sheik refused.
- Serious Business: He was most active in The Eighties, when Kayfabe was at its strongest. One of his biggest criticisms about Hulk Hogan (and other notable Faces in the day) was that they would act like dicks toward the fans when not in a wrestling capacity.
- Sir Swearsalot
- Stout Strength: He's a lot tougher than he looks.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With fellow Foreign Wrestling Heel and Federation Years holdover Nikolai Volkoff
- His relationship with Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka mixes this with Worthy Opponent--he raves about him and considers him a friend, but "shooting-wise, I beat the fuck out of him."
- Worthy Opponent: When asked on YouShoot why he could never defeat Jerry Lawler, Sheik answered that it was for the sake of diplomacy: because Jerry Lawler was "the King" and he was wrestling him in his home "country" of Memphis, Tennessee, he thought it only proper that he should put "the king of the Memphis, Tennessee" over, but he could beat Lawler in a real fight.