Continuing on from our podcast AND with the Max Monday series, we’re taking another look at a classic pop culture villain and one of the most hated men in Pro Wrestling history, The Iron Sheik! While I had previously added the “Sheik” movie/documentary to my List on Netflix, after putting my faith in Max, I let him pick my movie for me which turned out to be the documentary in question. Born on March 15, 1942 in Tehran, Iran, Hossein Khosrow Ali Viziri was an amateur pro wrestler turned bodyguard to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his family for several years. He competed as part of the 1968 summer olympics in Mexico before leaving his home country when famous amateur wrestler Gholamreza Takhti suspiciously commited suicide after speaking out against the Shah. Khosrow left Iran for america before becoming a couch for the US wrestling team in the Olympics and soon after becoming a pro wrestler, training under Verne Gagne in the AWA along with fellow WWE Hall of Famer, Ric Flair.
Initially a baby face, Khosrow would determine he wanted a bigger part of the show, shaving his head and growing out his mustache to become the Iron Sheik, the most hated man in pro wrestling. Playing up his history as a bodyguard to the Shah of Iran during the Iranian hostage crisis, Khosrow would go on the become a historical icon in Pro Wrestling as a heel (aka the Bad guy.) Speaking in Farsi, hating on the pro american icons like Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter and Bob Backlund, the Sheik would go on to be a WWF (at the time) World champion as well as a Tag Team champion with Russian competitor Nikolai Volkoff. If you grew up watching wrestling in the late 70s, the 80s or the early 90s, without a doubt the Iron Sheik was the man to hate.
As his ability in the ring dwindled, the Sheik battled his demons of substance abuse and became an internet icon through his use of youtube and twitter. Shooting on pop culture stars of the day, the Sheik would usually declare you as “The Real” (meaning he liked you) or “The Jabroni” (meaning he didn’t like you) in his tweets and youtube videos. The documentary, “Sheik”, does a wonderful job and a very honest job of showing Sheik battling with his demons, losing his daughter, being pushed away from his family for his drug abuse, and watching him become the Legend he is again and reinventing himself for today’s modern audience. The documentary is available now on Netflix for you to watch, but will apparently be released on DVD later this year with bonus features, extra scenes, and more. If you really want to support the project and Sheik himself, you can also purchase the documentary on ITunes and Google Play. Going from one of the greatest Villains in pro wrestling history to possibly one of the most beloved “Baby Faces” (aka Heroes) in the business, we gladly add The Iron Sheik to our list of great Villains in Pop Culture History.
It seems inappropriate to take this short look at the legacy of the Iron Sheik and not end it in typical Sheike Baby fashion, Bubba! “I Suplex you, put you in the camel clutch, break your back, fuck your ass, make you humble. Thank you very much, have a good day, sir!”
Make sure you follow the Sheik on Twitter @IronSheik, check out the Sheik movie on Netflix, ITunes and Google Play. And if you don’t like the Sheike Baby, Go Fuck Yourself, Bubba!