The Iron Sheik

The Iron Sheik
The Iron Sheik
6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
258 lb (117 kg)
April 24, 2010
Date of Birth
March 15, 1942


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Born on March 15, 1942, as Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri in Tehran, Iran, The Iron Sheik is a retired professional wrestler. He is known for his gimmick as a heel (villain), drawing upon his Iranian origin and the political tensions of his time.

Career History and Evolution

The Iron Sheik’s wrestling journey began with an illustrious amateur wrestling career in Iran, even serving as a coach for the US Olympic Team in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
He debuted as a professional wrestler in the 1970s under Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association (AWA). The Sheik later moved to the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, later WWE) where his career flourished. His time in the wrestling world saw a transformation from a respected foreign athlete to one of the most despised heels, largely due to the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Titles and Achievements

His most notable achievement was when he won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Bob Backlund in 1983. In addition to this, he held the WWF Tag Team Championship with Nikolai Volkoff.

Biggest Matches and Rivalries

One of his most significant matches was against Hulk Hogan in 1984, where he lost the WWF title and helped ignite the ‘Hulkamania’ era. His rivalries against figures like Sgt. Slaughter, with whom he engaged in a Boot Camp match at Madison Square Garden, have been etched in wrestling history.

Tag Team Partners

Iron Sheik’s most notable tag team partner was Nikolai Volkoff, with whom he won the WWF Tag Team Championship. They were managed by “Classy” Freddie Blassie, a team that embodied the anti-American sentiment of the Cold War era.

Family Life

The Iron Sheik is married to Caryl Peterson and they have three daughters together. Tragically, one of their daughters was murdered in 2003.

Finishing Move

His famous finishing move was the Camel Clutch, a submission hold that was quite fitting with his character. This move was later adopted by numerous wrestlers across generations.

Clothing and Entrance Music

Sheik typically wore traditional Middle Eastern attire, including a keffiyeh headdress and curled-toe boots. His entrance music, a piece aptly named “Iranian National Anthem,” further solidified his character as an Iranian heel.
The Iron Sheik remains a noteworthy figure in wrestling history. Despite his controversial persona, his contributions to the wrestling world, particularly in creating a successful villainous character, are undeniable. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.