When checking out the memories and condolences posted about the death of Khosrow Vaziri, the feared Iron Sheik, it’s fair to say that it isn’t just wrestling fans.
He entered popular culture at the height of the WWF run in the 1980s, including as a cartoon character on Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling. The Iron Sheik LJN doll was one of the first released as well, and among the best sellers ever — since Hogan needed an opponent.
There were dark years for Vaziri, and he was off the radar for much of the late 1990s and 2000s. His revival came about in the 2010s, and he was seemingly everywhere — talking to Howard Stern, at the Grammys, trading barbs with Brian Blair, at comedic roasts.
So the social media world isn’t constrained to just pro wrestling this go round:
Ric Flair, The Nature Boy: My Dear Friend Khosrow Vaziri!!! 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! 🙏🏻
HAVE A GREAT TRIP, YOU FUCKING JABRONI. @the_ironsheik
— Macaulay Culkin (@IncredibleCulk) 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
Lance Storm: “RIP The Iron Sheik. Respect the Legend, always.”
SHEIKY BABY pic.twitter.com/3MnfipZQZJ
— Bayley (@itsBayleyWWE) June 7, 2023
The Iron Sheik — the 2nd greatest wrestling villain of my lifetime behind Roddy Piper. America hak-ptew RIP.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 7, 2023
Sad day- RIP to one of the most memorable and iconic characters to ever step foot in a ring, The Iron Sheik pic.twitter.com/NcjvRSpV9J
— Sam Roberts (@notsam) June 7, 2023
David Marquez: “Sad, sad news on the passing of a great friend Khosrow Vaziri, better known as the Iron Sheik. Throughout my career, ‘Koz’ was always there for me. He performed on my WLW, NWA and United Wrestling Network broadcasts. If he loved you, you knew it. If he didn’t love you, you really knew it. I was excited to design the NWA Hall of Fame medal, I designed it with one person in mind, him. I knew he’s appreciate the sentiment and proved it my never taking it off in public (or in private as I’ve just learned). There will never be another Iron Sheik and thank you for helping a struggling, young promoter. My condolences to his family, friends and fans. Rest well Bubba.”
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
From adult film star Kendra Lust: “Rip @the_ironsheik Legends never die.|
So sorry to hear of one of the all time greats passing away, Iron Sheik
Had a lot of funny times with “Sheiky Baby”
My prayers and condolences to his family, friends and fans.
— Michael PS Hayes (@MichaelPSHayes1) June 7, 2023
Booker T – 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.
So sorry to hear about the death of the Iron Sheik, one of the most memorable wrestlers of the last 50 years.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) June 7, 2023
Sinn Bodhi: “RIP Iron Sheik. Thank you for entertaining me as a kid. Thank you for sharing locker rooms with me and telling me stories and be kind to me. It was a pleasure to know you…”
Rest in Peace Iron Sheik. His mid-2000s shoot interviews and Howard Stern appearances before he got on medication are some of the best comedy ever madepic.twitter.com/7dLFTk9fDV
— Pericles 'Perry' Abbasi (@ElectionLegal) June 7, 2023
The first time I ever went to a wrestling event live, the Iron Sheik headlined. Never before and never again since did I see someone elicit such a heated reaction from a crowd. Garbage and debris was throw at him from everywhere…and he never flinched. Farewell to a legend. https://t.co/z4zx3OJTnn
— James Cybulski (@JamesCybulski) June 7, 2023
WWE is saddened to learn that Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, known the world over as WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik, passed away on Wednesday, June 7, at age 81.
— WWE (@WWE) June 7, 2023
TOP PHOTO: The Iron Sheik at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony at WrestleMania 32. Photo by Ricky Havlik