The business of professional wrestling has its share of icons. The 1980s turned the industry – led by Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) – into a huge money-spinner. The likes of Hulk Hogan became genuine megastars off the back of their involvement in the enormous enterprise, which now sells out arenas all over the world.
Born in Iran, Vaziri was an amateur wrestler and bodyguard for the Shah in the 1960s. He moved to America in the 1970s and began to work for Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association before becoming a star in the WWF’s 80s boom as a foreign heel (bad guy). It was then that he adopted the name ‘Iron Sheik’ – his now iconic moniker.
Now, The Iron Sheik is best known for his wonderfully abusive, no-holds-barred tweets and YouTube videos, in which he comments on professional wrestling and the modern world.
Ahead of the release of The Sheik, I had a chat with the WWE legend over email. Here he is, in all of his unedited glory, talking about the filming process, WWE today and new foreign heel Rusev.
Note: This interview does contain strong language.
What was it that made you decide to make The Sheik – a documentary about your life?
My life have lot of the up and the down. I am Olympic coach world class wrestler have to leave my home country of Iran to come to the America to live America dream.
Most people only know Iron Sheik the wrestler. Nobody know how I become most hated man on the TV and how I become the legend of the earth. My fans all love me and I love them. This way my job to teach them how to become the real Iron Sheik class. My movie show people this.
During your time in wrestling, did you always prefer playing the heel?
YOU ASK INTELLIGENT question. The heel have to be natural. The heel have to carry himself in everywhere he go to be the real heel. Me and the Nikolai we loved our fans but we never showed them. I love being the heel because real way NOBODY FUCK WITH ME.
I was Olympic shooter I could beat the fuck out of anybody in the street in the restaurant I can break their neck. This way people everywhere we go believe we were the enemy.
What was it like playing an Iranian heel during the hostage crisis in the 1970s?
I was RED HOT bubba. The people wanted to kill me.
American people so much proud to be the American. They believe I was working for the Ayatollah. This way it was dangerous. I have to hide in trunk of car so they get me out of the arena. I was scared but also I know I am the legend and I could beat the fuck out of anybody. It was beautiful bubba.
Do you think modern foreign heels, like Rusev, will ever get the heat that you got?
Rusev do great job he look good he believable. But he not Iron Sheik. He not the real shooter.
He wear the jabroni flip flops and he don’t have anything new. He use my finisher and this way I respect him he respect me but I wish for he do his own finisher so the people respect him more.
You need to be your own heel. This way I wish he do more for himself.
How did your life change when wrestling became popular worldwide in the 1980s?
Vince McMahon genius. He know how to make the world news. The whole business go to 1 company WWF and he choose me to be biggest bad guy in the company.
This way I was best place in best time. I never forget 93 thousand people all want to kill me I know I do my best job because they choose me. Forever I become a legend because do this.
What was it like to be the man that arguably started Hulkamania?
I MAKE THE HULKAMANIA because I was best person for the job. I biggest heel bad guy in the world.
I have the world want to kill me real way and only arena most famous arena the Madison Square Garden I sold out to have American Hero become Hulkamania. This way I know forever I make the history and forever the people need to see this in my movie – The Sheik. I show you how I make the company most famous company in the world.
It was beautiful.
Is professional wrestling better now that kayfabe is dead?
The world now change. Not just the wrestling. But the reality TV, the internet, everything. This way I don’t feel bad.
The wrestling business change and the fans still want to believe which show that my fans still have the heart. This way I respect them forever.
The Sheik doesn’t shy away from the tough times in your life. Was it important for you to show that reality on screen?
Bubba, my movie excellent. It show everything in my life. It show the people that you need to live in the bad and the good to have full life. I work, I train and my movie take over 8 years to it become done to perfection.
I don’t waste my time with the jabroni movies I only put my heart into everything I love. This way I very proud of the movie.
What is it like being a Twitter sensation, especially with fans who don’t even remember your wrestling?
My twitter the new generation love me. They know I am the real hall of fame Olympic gold medal legend. This way I can say wahatever the fuck I want and to anybody who not Iron sheik class.
If I don’t like you or you do something bad to the people I let the people know that I don’t respect them.
Example if the jabroni Chris Brown singer hit the girlfriend he is a punk no good raisin balls piece of shit. Everybody agree with me and that way I know he get the message.
What is it like being loved online after being hated by so many people during your wrestling days?
Best feeling is when I know I do my job. As bad guy they love to hate me and as good guy they love me because I speak with the heart. Both way equal.
I never was good guy so this way it is new for me.
Still I am the heel to the people that want to fuck with the people and the legend.
Thank you, Iron Sheik! The documentary is available via iTunes from 2nd December.
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