Main Plot Points:
- Khosrow Ali Vaziri was born in Iran in 1942, establishing a name for himself as an amateur wrestler, a bodyguard for the Shah of Iran, and an athlete representing his home country in the 1968 Summer Olympics. In the early 1970s, following the unexpected and controversial death of his good friend and Olympic Gold Medal Winner Gholemreza Takhti, Vaziri left Iran to pursue the American Dream. His journey to the United States began one of the most spectacular professional wrestling careers in modern history.
- Assuming the persona of the villainous The Iron Sheik, Vaziri became one of the most celebrated and hated men in sports entertainment, helping launch Hulkamania in the 1980s and weathering a career that saw him turn the wrestling world upside down throughout the 80s and 90s. A fall from sobriety after the murder of one of his daughters brought the Sheik to the lowest and most challenging point in his life. At age 72, the Sheik has embraced an unlikely new persona as an outlandish social media sensation, known for hilarious outbursts and massively popular antics. Featuring candid interviews with Vaziri’s family, historians, and over 25 wrestling superstars, The Sheik is a pop culture documentary that chronicles Khosrow Vaziri’s electrifying career from his upbringing in Iran, his journey to the US, to his unprecedented experiences as America’s most hated villain.
What We Thought:
- The Sheik is a really interesting documentary about a fascinating man and character.
- I grew up watching the WWF (now the WWE) in the 1980s and remember how hated The Iron Sheik was. He was the bad guy and you rooted for Hulk Hogan and Hacksaw Jim Duggan who were the good old Americans! I had no idea how layered and intense The Iron Sheik’s life was. He was just the wrestler I wanted to see beaten by the Babyfaces.
- Watching this you realize how much of a wrestling legend he truly is. Before coming to the US and becoming a professional wrestling “heel” (bad guy), he was one of Iran’s most honored amateur wrestlers. His good friend died, they say by suicide, but others think the government had him killed. If it wasn’t for that act, he might not have ever come to the United States.
- When he first gets here he becomes an assistant coach and brings AAU championships to his team. That background set up his life in professional wrestling after doing the smaller circuits and eventually landing in the WWF.
- What I never put together was just how influential his WWF career was. I knew he was big and wrestled for many years, but it was The Iron Sheik that took the title from Bob Backlund after 6+ years. It was also The Iron Sheik that gave Hulk Hogan his first championship which a lot of people didn’t want to see happen. In fact, many people wanted him to hurt Hogan for real. If Hogan doesn’t become champ, do we get Hulkamania? Does wrestling grow as big as it did? Would we have Dwayne The Rock Johnson today? Plus it was The Iron Sheik that made wrestling come out and admit that it was staged. Him and Hacksaw got arrested together for drunk driving and cocaine and they were enemies in the ring, they should NOT have been seen together outside of the ring.
- What I also never knew was the death of his daughter. After the incident with Hacksaw, The Iron Sheik eventually found himself wrestling in more independent leagues again. His daughter was murdered and that pushed him over the edge where he became a drug addict and got into terrible shape.
- Nowadays The Iron Sheik is a cult icon with a huge social media following. He calls out people and swears and it’s pretty funny. A lot of former stars (including The Rock and Mankind) talk about the wrestling Hall of Famer in The Sheik and really paint a picture of a guy who did way more than the average fan realizes. If you like wrestling, this is a must watch.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- The Iron Sheik
- Dwayne The Rock Johnson
- Mick Mankind Foley
- Other WWE/WWF Superstars of the past
Recommended if You Like:
- Beyond the Mat
- The Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts