The Iron Sheik Passes Away

The Iron Sheik has sadly passed away

Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri - better known as The Iron Sheik - has sadly passed away today, it was announced on the WWE Hall of Famer's Twitter account. He was 81 years old. The statement announcing the pro wrestling legend's passing noted that he "departed this world peacefully, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for generations to come." 

Born in 1942 in Iran, Khosrow moved to the United States and was an assistant coach for the United States Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team during the 1970s. Khosrow himself was an amateur wrestling champion before he transitioned to professional wrestling in 1972, training under Billy Robinson and Verne Gagne in the AWA. 

He initially worked as a face but Khosrow would transition to a heel role and adopt his trademark look/actions of a shaved head and moustache with a persian club demonstration. He initially worked as The Great Hossein Arab and then Hussein Arab before settling on The Iron Sheik from 1976 onwards. 

After working across the territories and briefly in the WWF, The Iron Sheik rose to stardom during the 1980s as a villain, primarily in the WWF where he briefly reigned as WWF Champion before dropping the gold to Hulk Hogan in 1984 in a moment that is seen as the birth of Hulkamania. Sheik would later team with Nikolai Volkoff and they captured the WWF Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania I.  

Sheik left WWF in 1987 and after runs on the territories and in WCW, he would return to WWF as Colonel Mustafa in 1991, an Iraqi sympathiser who managed Sgt. Slaughter during his WWF Title reign. In another WWF run in 1996, he managed The Sultan and he would win the Legends Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001.

Following his in-ring retirement in 2007, Iron Sheik remained popular through his tongue-in-cheek tweets from his Twitter account and shoot interviews in which he expressed his dislike for Hulk Hogan and others.  

Cultaholic Wrestling extends its condolences to The Iron Sheik's friends and family. 

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons