Bubba, we want to tell you some Sheiky-baby stories.

No, really, the SlamWrestling.net team had various interactions with The Iron Sheik through the years, so we collected them in one place.

Kurt Nielsen

I look at The Iron Sheik’s boots every day — a constant reminder of his character and why I love professional wrestling. When Sheik died, with it went a little part of my youth.

My dear friend, Paul Bearer (Bill Moody) told me years ago that he was going to appear with Sheik at an autograph show. When I asked if he could get my boots signed, he told me flatly, “He will steal them.” Suffice to say, they remain unsigned.

The one time I met Sheik was in an elevator at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas. He was in a wheelchair, but still possessed all the fire he was known for. He looked up at me and asked, almost in a challenging way, “Do you know who I am?” Of course I did, I said in the most respectful and reverent way (because he demanded that), “Yes, Mr. Sheik.” We chatted about his early years with the AWA and my friendship with Playboy Buddy Rose, the man that he helped train for the business. “He’s too fat,” he remarked, shaking his head.

He was talented and outrageous and colorful and controversial and troubled, and that’s why we will always remember him.

Kurt Nielsen’s Iron Sheik boots.

Jonathan Schwartz

I never met The Iron Sheik personally, but like many folks from the Toronto suburb of Thornhill, Ontario, I grew up with his ‘nephews’ Jian and Page Magen. I went to grade school with the Magens — they were a year behind me, and like Mr. Vaziri, they were and are outsized personalities who make any room a happier, rowdier place.

I’ve kept in touch with them intermittently over the years, and we often talk wrestling. I know how much they love The Iron Sheik and how he loved them. The Iron Sheik whose fame transcended wrestling with his gloriously profane tweets and shoot videos and Howard Stern appearances is a product of the Magens’ hard work and imagination. He gave them the best source material and they reinvented him in a way that kept him relevant to the end of his life, while respecting the man and his legacy. After all, he was family.

The Magens with The Iron Sheik in 2004 as the documentary, The Sheik, is screened as a part of Toronto’s Hot Docs festival. Photo by Steve Argintaru, Twitter: @stevetsn Instagram: @stevetsn

I once dared to speak about Mr. Vaziri with the Magens and told them how brilliant I thought it all was — that to a kid The Iron Sheik was one of the best most sadistic foreign menace heels ever. As an adult, I admitted that I frankly couldn’t tell how much of his unhinged persona was real or worked, and that I hoped he — and they — would take that as a compliment. I’m still amazed by the backstage stories of him as a sweet, kind man and loving father. I feel that way about most heels, whom you’d think would have license to be jerks in their private lives. I’m relieved and happy when they turn out to be real good guys, flaws and all.

I think that the Magens and Sheik got that a lot, and it’s testament to just how great Mr. Vaziri was in playing his role. We won’t see that character or the likes of Mr. Vaziri again.

My condolences to his family, and to the kids I grew up with who were lucky to have an Iron Sheik in the family.

Ryan Nation

The Iron Sheik was one of those characters who stood out above many of the rest. My earliest memories of The Iron Sheik were actually outside the squared circle with his appearance in the music video for Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonies ’R’ Good Enough” and his depiction in Hulk Hogan’s Rock ’n’ Wrestling – the late Aron Kincaid voiced the animated version of The Iron Sheik.

Sheik was not afraid to get old school heat in and out of the ring. His antics on The Howard Stern Show and in various shoot interviews brought him more attention long after the end of his wrestling career. I am not exactly sure where The Iron Sheik ended and Khosrow Vaziri began. Sheik was the heel you loved to hate and later became the lovable scamp.

We are all a little humbler thanks to Sheiky Baby.

Alex Podgorski and The Iron Sheik.

Alex Podgorski

I met The Iron Sheik while he was touring Canada to promote the documentary on his life. His handlers needed someone to keep him company while they setup the venue and I volunteered. Even while confined to a wheelchair, Sheik never lost his passion for wrestling and his unyielding sense of excitement. His eyes widened like saucers when I showed him a copy of a book WWE Legends and he was on the cover. He grinned like the Cheshire Cat as I read the chapter on him about he helped usher in the era of Hulkamania. Then when his handlers came back Sheik handed me a beer and we drank to wrestling’s glory days.

Thank you, Sheiky. Keep making people humble in Heaven.

John Cosper

An excerpt from John Cosper’s book, Bluegrass Brawlers. It’s more a story about the politically appointed Kentucky Athletic Commissioner Fred Lampson, but it’s a great story from Jim Cornette:

Teeny [Christine Jarrett, the promoter] finally had enough with [Fred] Lampson one night in 1982. On this particular night, Lampson informed Teeny that too many people were using the ring mic. In his mind, wrestlers were there to compete, not talk. Lampson insisted the only person to be allowed to use the PA mic was the announcer.

Unfortunately for Lampson, The Iron Sheik was in the building that night. The microphone was an integral part of the Sheik’s performance. The Sheik took the mic before his match to trash the USA and remind everyone that Iran was number one. The Iron Sheik knew nothing of Teeny’s battles with Lampson, nor did he care, so when he arrived in the ring, he went straight for the mic.

Jim Cornette was on the mic that night, filling in for the regular announcer. Cornette tried his best to keep the Sheik from taking the mic, but the legendary heel would not be denied. Cornette staged a hopeless tug of war with the Sheik for the microphone, pleading with him to let it go. “The commissioner is here tonight!” Cornette shouted.

The Iron Sheik ripped the mic from Cornette’s hands, accidentally turning the mic on in the process, and responded, “F— the commissioner!!”

Lampson raced down the aisle fuming, ready to pull the plug on the Sheik. Instead, he ran straight into Teeny Jarrett, who caught his face in “The Grip.”

“Fred Lampson,” she said, staring into his wide eyes, “You worry about collecting the taxes, and I’ll worry about running the show!” Lampson got the message. He was not seen in the Gardens for about six months following the incident.

A young Mad Man Pondo and The Iron Sheik. Facebook photo

From John Cosper, who wrote Mad Man Pondo’s book, though this story wasn’t printed and might be used down the road. In the words of Pondo:

One night after a JCW show I was ushered into the back of a huge stretch limousine with a who’s who of wrestling stars. The limo was taking us to our hotel, and by us, I mean, The Rock N Roll Express, The Iron Sheik, King Kong Bundy … and me.

On our way to the hotel, the Sheik spotted a White Castle and shouted to the driver. “Bubba! Pull over! Sheikie needs a ten sack! Pull over! Pull over!” The driver did as he was asked, and the Sheik, still dressed in his ring tights, boots, and head gear, raced out of the limo. King Kong Bundy decided he wanted a bite as well, and when he decided to grab some food, so did I.

As I got to the door, I could hear someone inside White Castle shout, “It’s The Iron Sheik!” The customers blew up with excitement, and the Sheik knew he was in the right place.

“Yes, yes, it is me!” he declared. “Who is going to buy a ten sack for Sheikie?”

Sure enough, some guy jumped up to the counter and ordered a ten sack for The Iron Sheik.

As the fans gathered around The Iron Sheik, King Kong Bundy waved his hand in the air to get some attention of his own. “Hello?” he said.

Everyone looked up but got really quiet.

Bundy pointed to himself. “Wrestlemania II?” Nothing. “Main event?” Still nothing. “In the cage with Hogan?” Not a peep.

I spoke up now. “Did any of y’all see Moving with Richard Pryor?”

“Yeah!” A few folks answered.

I pointed to Bundy. “Remember the guy who pushed the semi-truck?”

“That was you?” one person shouted.

Instead of saying yes, Bundy blew up. “F–k you!” he shouted, waving two middle fingers and tossing in a few extra words I won’t repeat here. He stormed out of the restaurant, leaving me behind to take the brunt of the dirty looks that were intended for him.

Trapper Tom Leturgy

April 1996, The Iron Sheik sat at a gimmick table inside the gymnasium at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in suburban Pittsburgh. I was not “smart” to the wrestling business, even at 29. Sure, there had been whispers long before the Internet, but this was a simpler time. The Sheik looked intimidating, and not a lot of people were approaching his table.

That is probably why I, along with my longtime friend, Drew Gordon and his teenage brother-in-law, Andy, made snide comments about his being alone. During intermission, we steered clear. The gymnasium fundraiser, put on by local wrestler Ken Jugan/Lord Zoltan (his sons Adam and Blaise are deaf and attended the school), was packed. Drew had befriended Ken because he and his wife, Jen’s daughter Emily was deaf and took classes at the respected facility.

We roasted the Sheik from afar. But somewhere along the way, it became apparent that he could hear us.

Later in the main event, and before Koko B. Ware was to take on the former WWF World champion, the Sheik brought out his famous Persian clubs and called out all comers. Mostly, the audience was confused as no one immediately took the challenge.

After what seemed like an eternity, one burly independent wrestling challenger came from the locker room. He was big and strong and had no idea what to do with the clubs. Then someone else tried. I had never seen this challenge before, and immediately knew that it took a lot of strength and even more technique to wield the wooden clubs.

That’s when it happened. We had been riding the Sheik all night, and my booming voice had to carry the loudest. From the center of the traditional basketball gymnasium to the benches some 40 yards away, the Sheik looked me dead in the eye and challenged me! It was unmistakable. However, I was 180 pounds. He couldn’t be looking at me!

Shocked, I looked at Drew, and his white, bloodless and emotionless face. I looked down at youthful Andy, who was equally terrified. I looked up and Koz yelled in his full voice, “Not little boy, YOU big mouth!” Now, I did not know what to do. I was not, and still am not, a fighter. But my masculinity was challenged by The Iron Sheik! My mind raced a mile a minute.

Knowing that the Persian clubs were unwieldy (and who knows how heavy) I knew had I gone up there and fallen as I tried to enter the squared circle, I would have caved my own head in trying to lift the strange weapons. So, I chickened out. I’m sure he cursed me out and I deserved it.

I do not regret my move. Heck, those clubs cost Bob Backlund the title!

Koko B. Ware defeated The Iron Sheik that night and sent everyone, including us, home happy.

Greg Oliver

Oh where to start? How about The Sheik documentary? Jian and Page Magen, the producers and driving force behind it, have been friends for many years, and they asked me to appear in the movie as a talking head / historian. If you are curious, I was paid in pizza.

There was the AWF show in early 1999 where I first interviewed The Iron Sheik. It was a typical Sheik interview, in his almost staccato-delivery, and you can hear him talking.

In Iowa, at the Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame induction, Khosrow Vaziri was, of all things, humbled by old friends and colleagues from the amateur world that came out for his induction, including icons Dan Gable and Alan Rice visiting with him before the banquet.

Greg Oliver tries to get the microphone back from The Iron Sheik at the 2009 Cauliflower Alley Club reunion as Sgt. Slaughter enjoys a laugh. Photo by Howard Baum

But what stands out the most was at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas, in 2009, where I was tasked with doing the roving microphone during the Baloney Blowout. The usual goal is to introduce newcomers in the room, people who are at their first CAC event, or maybe had returned after a long absence. Well, there was The Iron Sheik, at his first (and only) CAC in Vegas. Superstar Billy Graham had gifted Sheik with a painting that he’d done, which was a nice moment.

Then Sheik got my microphone … and wouldn’t give it back. He just kept talking and talking, and everyone just kept laughing. Photographer extraordinaire Howard Baum actually captured the moment, as I try to reclaim the mic. Eventually I did, otherwise Sheiky baby would have talked all night.