The Iron Sheik was one of the industry's most colorful stars, and someone who deserves his own chapter in the history of professional wrestling.
For those who have never seen his excellent documentary film The Sheik, or the recent A&E Biography on him, this was a man who had excellent amateur credentials and eventually made his way to America to live out his dreams. After plying his trade in the AWA and elsewhere, The Sheik became world-renowned as a top villain in the WWF, and someone who paved the way for Hulkamania to run wild when he passed the torch to him on that fateful day of January 23, 1984.
After competing at the first WrestleMania (where he captured the tag team titles with Nikolai Volkoff), the Sheik slowly moved down the ladder of top contenders. But he enjoyed a second life as a social media superstar in later years, going on fun tirades on the Howard Stern Show and especially on Twitter, thanks to his family friends Page and Jian Magen.
My first experience meeting The Iron Sheik was at a WrestleMania watch party in 2010. He entered the room as nice as could be, personally saying hello to everyone. When he stopped by to chat with my brother and I, he kindly asked for a nice cold beer, and we were happy to oblige a true Hall of Famer. Later in the show, he fell asleep at the gimmick table, putting sunglasses on to hide his eyes (yes, just like Homer Simpson on jury duty), but it only added to his charm.
At one point, I wrote an advice column pretending to be The Sheik, but it was all in good fun, as his character was so colorful and well developed. Wishing the best to his family and friends, and hoping he's prepared to humble people in heaven.