As a huge fan of both A & E's WWE Legends series and The Iron Sheik himself, this was one I had watch live, and wasn't the least bit disappointed.
The story of The Iron Sheik isn't one that has been told all that often in the public (his 2014 biographical film The Sheik being an exception). So viewers watching this A&E Biography were treated to a unique tale of someone who came to America for a better life and ended up becoming one of the industry's top heels.
A who's who of professional wrestling, including Hulk Hogan, Jake The Snake Roberts, Bruce Prichard, Jerry Lawler, Sgt. Slaughter, Jeff Jarrett, Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Rikishi, Diamond Dallas Page, Greg Gagne and others talked about the durability and drawing power of Sheikie Baby, while historians such as Keith Elliot Greenberg and Sheik's business managers Page and Jian Magen gave some great historical context of everything the WWE Hall of Famer had endured.
When you think about how important The Iron Sheik and his Anti-American Heel persona was to the early formation of the WWF, including his World Championship win over Bob Backlund, his feuds with Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter, and his championship team with Nikolai Volkoff it really is an impressive body of work. If you add to that his role in the Rock 'n' Wrestling cartoon and iconic LJN action figure, you have one of the most accomplished heels of that era.
The Sheik's demons, while in some ways similar to many other wrestlers from the 1980s, the lack of income and depression, combined with increased drug use is tough to watch. And when he lost his daughter Marissa, it's impossible not to shed a tear for the legend and his family. The way Sheik casually talks about cutting the throat of his daughter's murderer in court is something you have to watch to believe.
Of course, The Sheik's redemption story including his show-stealing WWE Hall of Fame induction and resurgence as a pop culture icon ties the story up nicely. Overall, this was a really enjoyable documentary of one of the more underrated stars in wrestling. Definitely worth a watch.