- Jan 18, 2000
The Iron Sheik, a standout Greco-Roman wrestler from Iran who gained global fame in professional wrestling with his 1980s rivalries against the likes of Hulk Hogan, died Wednesday at the age of 81, according to his official Twitter account.
Sheik, whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, was a former WWF World Heavyweight champion and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. As a hated heel, he had legendary battles in the 1980s against Hogan, Bob Backlund and Sgt. Slaughter. Vaziri beat Backlund for the WWF title in December 1983, and, one month later, Hogan defeated Vaziri in front of more than 20,000 at New York's Madison Square Garden to win the belt for the first time. The match helped catapult Hulkamania into a phenomenon, leading into the first WrestleMania one year later.
Pro wrestling legend The Iron Sheik, who won the WWF title in the early 1980s and was later inducted into the Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 81.