As farewell wishes flood in from all corners of the professional wrestling world upon the news that The Iron Sheik had passed away, fans waited with bated breath to see how his former promotion would eulogize the man who took the WWF Championship off of Bob Backlund and eventually lost the strap to Hulk Hogan at Madison Square Garden.
Fortunately, WWE came through in a major way and delivered a nearly three-minute video that tributed The Sheik and gave fans who didn't see him in action a perfect picture of what made the Iranian-born performer one of the most compelling heels of all time.
“Having grown up in Iran, The Iron Sheik was a tough as they came. An amateur wrestling champion for the Iranian National Army before transitioning into sports entertainment, by channeling political tension from his homeland, Sheik quickly built a career as one of the most despised ring villains of his era,” WWE stated in their video package.
“With an impressive physique and brute strength, Sheik’s devastating Camel Clutch dismantled his opponents. And in 1983, the Iron Sheik shocked the world with one of the most iconic championship wins in WWE history, becoming the first Iranian-born WWE Champion. Sheik’s ability to elicit strong emotions from fans was instrumental to WWE’s sky-rocking popularity during the 1980s. Sheik’s impact and notoriety are undeniable, and in 2005, he was immortalized in the WWE Hall of Fame. From his capitating persona to his unparalleled charisma, The Iron Sheik’s legendary career has earned him a special place in the hearts of fans worldwide.”
Before the video came to a close, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sent his regards too, fittingly from the gym, wishing The Iron Sheik well and promising that his legend will live on forever.
“Thank you for the memories, and thank you for paving the way,” Johnson said. “The Iron Sheik, you are a legend, you will be missed, but never forgotten.”