It is with deep sadness that we bid farewell to a true legend, The Iron Sheik, who has left an indelible mark on the world of professional wrestling. The Iranian-born wrestler, whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, passed away at the age of 81. His legacy will continue to resonate for generations to come.
In the statement released, it was acknowledged that The Iron Sheik’s contribution to professional wrestling went beyond the ring. He became a cultural phenomenon and a pop culture icon, captivating fans worldwide with his memorable catchphrases and unforgettable moments.
“Today, we gather with heavy hearts to bid farewell to a true legend, a force of nature, and an iconic figure who left an incredible mark on the world of professional wrestling,” the statement read. “It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of The Iron Sheik, but we also take solace in knowing that he departed this world peacefully, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for generations to come.”
RESPECT THE LEGEND FOREVER 😢 pic.twitter.com/Cr6CC9pXSO
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) June 7, 2023
The Iron Sheik, known for his fierce rivalry with Hulk Hogan, held the WWE championship title and achieved tag team success with Nikolai Volkoff. His career spanned various territories, including the WWF (now WWE), AWA, Jim Crockett Promotions, Mid-South Wrestling, Championship Wrestling in Florida, and Georgia Championship Wrestling.
“Throughout his career, The Iron Sheik became a cultural phenomenon, transcending the real of professional wrestling to become a pop culture icon,” the statement read. “His memorable catchphrases and unforgettable moments are etched into the memories of fans worldwide. He left an indelible mark on the industry, and his influence can still be felt in the world of wrestling today.”
His return to the WWF in 1983 marked the beginning of his national recognition, culminating in his historic victory over Bob Backlund for the world championship at Madison Square Garden. The Iron Sheik’s submission maneuver, the Camel Clutch, solidified his reign as champion, forever etching his name in wrestling history.
The news of his passing has brought sorrow to the wrestling community, with many of his peers expressing their condolences on social media. Wrestling legends like Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Mick Foley paid tribute to The Iron Sheik’s undeniable impact and his unique persona. The wrestling world has truly lost an irreplaceable talent.
“A true icon and someone who left a mark on wrestling that can never be erased,” Jake “The Snake” Roberts said. “Another great one gone.”
“Although I never got to know The Sheik well, I was fortunate to have been on hand for two of his most iconic matches — his WWE title victory over Bob Backlund at Madison Square Garden on December 26, 1983 and his ‘Boot Camp Match’ with Sgt Slaughter at MSG in August, 1984,” Mick Foley said. “I also had the honor of wrestling the iron sheik for the first and only time — on a tour of Dominica in 1987. Khosrow Vaziri was truly one of a kind.”
“My Dear Friend Khosrow Vaziri!!!” Flair wrote on Twitter. “We Started Wrestling Together In 1972. Seems Like So Long Ago! We Crossed Paths So Many Times Over The Years & You Were Always So Entertaining. … The Greatest Line You Ever Said To Me In 1972: “If I Had Your Hair, I Would Be With Elizabeth Taylor!” Rest In Peace My Friend. Be As Entertaining To God As You Were To All Of Us!”
Survived by his wife, Caryl Vaziri, whom he married in 1976, The Iron Sheik leaves behind two children and five grandchildren. The family has endured tragedy in the past with the loss of their eldest daughter, Marissa, in 2003.
As we reflect on The Iron Sheik’s incredible career and the legacy he leaves behind, we honor his contributions to professional wrestling. He will forever be remembered as an influential figure who entertained and inspired fans across the globe.