Great story by Yahoo Sports!’s Kevin Iole on former pro wrestling great ‘the Iron Sheik’, who’s real name is Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, now 73 years old.
The former WWF champion now lives in constant pain from the toll wrestling took on his body. There are things in this story I never knew about the Sheik, who exploited the anti-Iran sentiment in the 80’s and helped fill the WWE’s pockets.
He was born in Iran and was a highly regarded amateur wrestler who participated in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, and also served as a bodyguard to the Shah’s family. He left for the U.S. when a friend was murdered, he believes, by the government, and felt he could be next.
He stayed active in wrestling in the U.S. winning the AAU championship in 1971 and was presented his gold medal by Muhammad Ali. The story doesn’t say exactly when he entered “Pro” wrestling, but it does mention that he became addicted to crack during his career and his oldest daughter, Marissa was murdered in 2003.
“He’s in such great pain, almost all the time,” his wife Caryl says. “He’s such a big, strong guy, and he hurts so much, it hurts me to see him,” she said. “He had operations on both of his knees about 10 years ago, and they failed. He hurts everywhere, but the knees are really painful. He told me, ‘Caryl, I hurt from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes.’ It breaks my heart. He can withstand a lot of pain, but this is too much for him.”
“Being a wrestler is not an easy life,” he says. “It’s very hard on the body. I loved it, but it is a hard life to live.”