"The sad tragedy of The Iron Sheik"

(Hossein Khozrow Ali Vaziri, better known in professional wrestling circles as “The Iron Sheik,” still very much alive, but apparently not kicking as much as before. Link to indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for documentary.)

Source: sports.yahoo.com

“The sad tragedy of The Iron Sheik”

His voice was instantly recognizable, like that of a long lost friend. But it was a joyless voice, and sounded a bit feeble.

Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, is 73, and is in pain. He badly needs knee surgery that he can’t afford, but if the truth is to be told, every joint on his body could use fixing.

A lifetime in wrestling, amateur and professional, will do that to a man.

So Vaziri, better known as the evil pro wrestler, “The Iron Sheik,” would on this day rather sit in his chair and let the hours pass by than talk about his life.

He aches all over, he’s not making a lot of money and he wants to be left alone.

“Bubba, please, I will talk to you and answer all of your questions,” he says, pleadingly. “But let’s do it another time. Now is not good.”

Now, though, is the time. At least that’s the view of Page Magen, who along with his twin brother, Jian, serves as the Sheik’s manager. The Magens are attempting to raise funds through crowd sourcing to produce a documentary on the Sheik’s life.

It is an incredible life, one well worth documenting. He was born in a small village near Tehran. His childhood home had no running water nor plumbing, but he worked hard and became one of Iran’s most popular athletes. He competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City on its Greco-Roman wrestling team, and served for a while as a bodyguard for the family of the Shah.

He fled the country, though, when his friend and idol Gholamreza Takhti was, he believed, murdered by the government. He feared he might be next, so in 1969, he headed for the safety of the U.S.

The official version of Takhti’s death, released by the government, is that he committed suicide. But Vaziri and many others believe Takhti was executed for his anti-government views.

“He was so popular in Iran,” Vaziri said. “He was like the Michael Jordan. Everyone loved him. And I was No. 2. I thought, if they got him, they’re probably going to get me, too. I knew I had to leave.”

And so he set out for the U.S. Though he spoke only Farsi when he arrived, he quickly became immersed in amateur wrestling in his new country. He won an AAU championship in 1971 and was presented his gold medal by Muhammad Ali.

Later, he served as an assistant coach under the legendary Alan Rice on the 1972 U.S. Olympic wrestling team before he went on to stardom as a villainous professional wrestler.

But he became addicted to crack cocaine during his wrestling career, then suffered through the 2003 murder of his oldest daughter, Marissa.

Page Magen knows that for Vaziri to raise the money he needs for the documentary, he has to tell the story of his life to drum up interest in the project, so he patiently prods Vaziri.

“Sheikie baby, listen to me,” Magen says, gently. “You need to focus. This is important. Can you do this for me, Sheikie? Just focus for a few minutes.”

Vaziri agrees, but he speaks slowly, in a monotone and without passion.

Later, his wife, Caryl, says she’s not surprised. It was not a good day, for the Iron Sheik, she says.

“He’s in such great pain, almost all the time,” Caryl Vaziri said.

The way wrestling works, it seems like you could pretty much substitute “any wrestler over 50” and have this be accurate.

Read the article earlier today and was saddened. As both an iconic entertainer in faux wrestling and a world class competitor in Greco-Roman wresting, the wear on his body has been incredible. It’s tragic how common it is for athletes to to end up like this.

I saw the Iron Sheik in the late 90’s wrestling in the Hawaiian Wrestling League in Honolulu at some random bar. We didn’t even know he (or any wrestler) was going to appear that night. We just went to one of our regular crappy bar stops and they had a ring set up in the middle of the floor.

“What’s this for?” we asked the bartender.
He shrugged. “Some wrasslin’ thing.”

He handed us a flyer that didn’t even mention the Iron Sheik.

Next thing we knew, the Sheik came out and started wrestling some local guy. We were psyched! I think our group of Army guys were the only ones that knew who he was right away. I was jazzed to see him, but also sad to see him wrestling at some no-name bar in Hawaii.

I used to love the Iron Sheik versus Sgt. Rock epic throwdowns back in the day. Super-cheesy. Super-fun.

I hope he gets the money he needs.

I had no idea he was in such poor condition, all I knew about his life lately is that he cusses out people on Twitter hilariously.

Yeah, his Twitter feed is a hoot.

He’s probably lucky to be alive consider the number of wrestlers who have died in their late 30 and 40s. Maybe he can get hooked up with DDP as he has helped Jake Roberts and a while back was trying to help Scott Hall too. Wrestling is a horrible business to get into, unless you’re the absolute top guy, you’re probably making peanuts and living week to week like the rest of America. Only difference is you’re very famous to a small group of people who equate fame with money which isn’t true for the most part.

This is the most recent wrestler-in-decline thread. so I guess this goes here.


Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka is the lead suspect in a 30-yr-old murder case.

Is it wrong that my first reaction is “I can’t leave without my buddy Superfly!”