BWW Interview: Iron Sheik Discusses Documentary, Career, Drug Use, Justin Bieber
For professional wrestling fans who came to the "sport" in the 80s, there was likely no one they hated more than The Iron Sheik, but the life of Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri is more than just his wrestling persona. The former Iranian National Wrestling Champion fled the country in the early 1970's and became a member of the United States Olympic coaching staff before moving from the mat to the squared circle.
After success in the smaller independent territories, he capitalized on the Iranian Hostage Crisis and rebranded himself as The Iron Sheik, eventually winning the WWF title. His Hall of Fame career was full of ups and downs, including being arrested with his on-screen nemesis "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan on drug charges. The news of their arrests shattered the carefully crafted illusion of professional wrestling's realism, and seriously put into doubt The Sheik's position in the business.
Eventually, Vaziri's drug abuse began to fracture his relationships with his family. However, with the support of his family and managers, he got cleaned, and via social media became a social media celebrity with his candid comments on the wrestling business, entertainers, and world news.
If you are unfamiliar with the way that Vaziri speaks or writes, check out the trailer for the documentary below, or scroll through his Twitter feed @the_ironsheik. The Sheik coined the term "jabroni" which is derived from the wrestling term "jobber" for someone whose job it is to lose matches; and uses it often. He also regularly refers to himself as "the legend" or "the real," as in, "the real deal." I conducted the interview below via email, and in an effort to maintain his voice, I printed his responses exactly as he wrote them.
BWW: When you decided to leave Iran, why did you settle on starting your life over in America?
Sheik: America where everybody go back then and still. Best biggest city in the world. They make the world go round I love I come to the America to make the world news.
In the film, you talk about how violent some fans were, and how Vince McMahon had to protect you; what was the moment when you felt that you were most in danger from crazed fans?
Bubba somebody come to the arena with a gun and shoot bullets at me. I have to hide underneath ring and in the back of arena till they put me in ambulance I say one night I swear to god bubba they go to kill me. thank god to the jesus.
How did all of the hatred from fans impact you personally and emotionally?
Well you know I know I do good job when they hate me so much. I kind of happy because that me they believe me. this compliment in the wrestling business. SO some way I was happy. I just want them to know I love the America but I cant tell them. Now I tell them in my movie
Obviously, personally, getting arrested with Jim Duggan was an extremely challenging time for you; but looking back, how do you think it impacted the wrestling business?
Bubba this cost me million million dollar. A lot of people say I never work again because I work with my babyface (good guy) in same car we do the drugs together. People were shock. This change the way everybody think forever. Now the wrestling more open but it is because of the legend this happen
Why do so many professional wrestlers abuse to drugs; either illegal or prescription medication?
Life on the road not easy. You live in the cold arena, hotel, airport day after day you get tired lonely very quick. The drug take away all the pain from the match help you go to sleep and this way I understand how it take you there. It not easy to be in this business bubba
The documentary shows how low you were when you were using drugs, and how well you are doing since you quit, but it didn't spend a lot of time on how/why you decided to get clean. Can you explain your reasoning and process to get completely off of the drugs?
I come clean my greatest championship. I have family and my agents they tell me if I don't get clean up I going to die. I see what happen to all my brothers in the wrestling. This way I want to do my best to make everybody know I am champion of everything I do. I very proud I drug free.
How is your relationship with your family now?
I love my family wife daughter grandchildren. All them are my life. I love them because they know I am the legend but they are my legends because they are my heart
Since you became a cultural phenomenon a few years ago, what has been the most exciting experience you have had?
I do the howard stern make me happy also I sold out comedy Store in the Los Angeles for my roast. This way everybody know I make the people laugh and happy. I love it
To finish, I thought maybe we could play a little "Real or Jabroni" with some stars:
Ray Rice: BIG TIME F*CKING JABORNI
Adrian Peterson: F*CK HIM JABRONI
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: F*CKING LOW LIFE DUMB SON OF A B*TCH JABRONI
Dwayne Johnson: REAL IRON SHEIK CLASS
Hulk Hogan: REAL F*CKING JABRONI
Vince McMahon: REAL GREATEST PROMOTER
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson: HALF AND HALF
Bill Cosby: F*CKING JABRONI
Miley Cyrus: DON'T EVEN ASK ME THAT BUBBA
Justin Bieber: BIGGEST JABRONI EVER
What do you think, is the Sheik "the real" or a jabroni? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter @BWWMatt. Also, don't forget to follow @BWWMoviesWorld on Twitter and Like us on Facebook for all of the latest movie news.