The wrestling world mourned the loss of a true legend when WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik passed away in June. Known for his larger-than-life persona and intense rivalries, Sheik left an indelible mark on the industry.
Born on March 15, 1943, in Iran, The Iron Sheik, whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, grew up idolizing Iranian Olympic Gold-Medalist wrestler Gholamre Takhti. Vaziri eventually immigrated to the United States and became involved in wrestling, joining several U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman coaching squads in the 70s.
Vaziri’s big break came in 1979 when he made his debut in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), now known as WWE. He quickly rose through the ranks and became the only Iranian champion in WWE history after winning the WWF Heavyweight Championship in December 1983. However, his reign was short-lived as Hulk Hogan defeated him the following month, sparking a long-standing rivalry between the two iconic wrestlers.
The clash between The Iron Sheik and Hulk Hogan became one of the most memorable rivalries in wrestling history. Their initial match took place in January 1984, and Hogan’s victory catapulted him to superstardom, igniting what would later be known as “Hulkamania.” The feud between the two wrestlers captivated audiences and solidified their places in wrestling lore.
Despite losing the WWF Heavyweight Championship to Hogan, The Iron Sheik’s impact on the wrestling world cannot be understated. His unique character, complete with his signature Persian clubs and catchy catchphrases, earned him a dedicated fanbase. In recognition of his contributions, The Iron Sheik was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, forever cementing his status as a wrestling legend.
The cause of death for WWE legend, The Iron Sheik, has been revealed as cardiac arrest, according to his death certificate obtained by TMZ Sports.