WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik has died, his family announced Wednesday.
Born Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri in Iran, he competed in Greco-Roman wrestling in his native country. After moving to the United States, he won the AAU championship at 180.5 pounds in 1971. Soon after, he transitioned to professional wrestling, getting his start with the Minnesota-based American Wrestling Association. He made his WWF debut as “Hussein Arab” in ’79. In ’83, he wrestled for the first time in a WWF ring under his Iron Sheik persona.
As The Iron Sheik, he became one of the WWF’s most popular performers, winning the world heavyweight championship in December 1983 and the tag team championships (with Nikolai Volkoff) in ’85.
The wrestling legend’s death sparked an outpouring of remembrances from those around the industry.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of @the_ironsheik. He is one of the very best to ever to do it. God speed.— Booker T. Huffman (@BookerT5x) June 7, 2023
Sheik was one of the greatest to ever do it. A true legend and it was an honor to meet him. I was nicknamed The Iron Sheik when I was with the Cardinals as a tribute to him. We’re going to miss you! https://t.co/bcKMKMiQPl— Dean “Mojo” Muhtadi (@MojoMuhtadi) June 7, 2023
RIP Iron Sheik. Very sad news. An integral part of the success of the 80’s wrestling boom and an extraordinary talent and incredible “bad guy” I have a lot of Sheik stories and many great memories. Thank you for all you gave to our industry. Godspeed sir. pic.twitter.com/qMkAPGIhGt— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) June 7, 2023
Heartbreaking! What an icon. A legend. An Iranian who became a part of Americana. So many stories. All good. My heart goes out to the family. Rest In Peace Shieky baby. I love you. https://t.co/TU7WGLUFlD— Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie (@BlueMeanieBWO) June 7, 2023
RIP IRON SHIEK 🙏🏽💪🏽— Bully Ray (@bullyray5150) June 7, 2023
Respect the Legend Forever. pic.twitter.com/3P4G5NJuIl
RIP @the_ironsheik Thank you for all the memories and positive thoughts and prayers to all family and friends. 🙏— RYBACK (@Ryback) June 7, 2023
What a legend. Condolences to his friends and family. Any time I get to see or use Persian Meels for a workout, I think of the Iron Sheik. He was a great performer! Wrestlers should continue to study his body of work. https://t.co/2Quks4BVPK— Drew Gulak (@DrewGulak) June 7, 2023
Newer generations were introduced to The Iron Sheik in his later years through his prolific Twitter account, which posted a host of viral tweets over the years. The account, which was run by his management team, captured the essence of his character perfectly.