On June 7, the world received sorrowful news as we learned of the passing of WWE Hall of Famer, The Iron Sheik, at 81. Known by his real name, Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, he was a remarkable amateur wrestler hailing from Iran before transitioning into the world of professional wrestling, where he carved his legacy as one of the most notorious villains in the history of the business.
However, The Iron Sheik's life was no easy journey, as he battled addiction and health problems in his later years. TMZ reported that The Iron Sheik's cause of death was cardiac arrest, confirmed through the obtained death certificate.
The document revealed that he also suffered from congestive heart failure and hypertension before passing. The Iron Sheik's presence in the wrestling world was undeniably immense. With his formidable physique, trademark curled boots, and devastating Camel Clutch finishing hold, he had an innate talent for riling up crowds around the globe.
What started as awe-inspiring showmanship eventually earned him not only the respect of his peers but also a place in the hearts of the WWE Universe, turning him into a beloved figure.
Wrestling Accolades and Controversial Championship Triumph
Before his WWE fame, The Iron Sheik excelled in Greco-Roman Wrestling, earning a gold medal at 180.5 pounds in 1971 in the Amateur Athletic Union.
He achieved legendary status when he claimed the WWE Championship on December 26, 1983, by defeating Bob Backlund in Madison Square Garden. His victory, however, was marred in controversy as Backlund's manager threw in the towel when Backlund refused to submit to The Iron Sheik's Camel Clutch.
Following his memorable WWE Championship reign, The Iron Sheik engaged in a fiery rivalry with Sgt. Slaughter, culminating in their unforgettable Boot Camp Match at Madison Square Garden. He later joined forces with Nikolai Volkoff, forming an anti-American duo that went on to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship at the inaugural WrestleMania in 1985.
Although The Iron Sheik departed WWE in 1988, he made a remarkable return in 1991, aligning himself with former enemy Sgt. Slaughter under the moniker of Colonel Mustafa. His final in-ring appearance occurred at WrestleMania 17, where he participated in a one-night-only Gimmick Battle Royal, reigniting his feud with Slaughter.
Beyond his wrestling career, The Iron Sheik remained a cultural icon, known for his bombastic online persona and appearances on various shows, including "The Howard Stern Show" and "The Eric Andre Show." WWE and the entire wrestling community extend their heartfelt condolences to The Iron Sheik's family, friends, and devoted fans.
His legacy will forever be etched in the annals of wrestling history, and he will be fondly remembered as a larger-than-life character who captured the hearts of millions. Rest in peace, Iron Sheik.