Heel Turn on James Ellsworth
Join Date: Jul 2012
Forgotten Legends80: Iron Sheik
Ok, a case can be made for him not belonging here merely on the merit of him not letting us forget him with his shoots every now and then but he is a legend for his amateur background, ending Backlund's 6 year reign and his contribution as a heel in kick starting Hulk-a-mania inspite of being a copy of the Original Sheik.
Being a amateur wrestler, he worked as a bodyguard for the Shah. He participated in 1968 Olympics and joined as a coach for the same for US team. As usual, he was picked up by AWA, Verne Gagne who picks up only "real" wrestlers for his promotion and started as face before he was suggested to copy The Sheik. He also brought in the Persian Club challenge, something that Pelhwani wrestlers practice as a part of body and strength building.
He eventually joined WWF in 1979 and won the first battle royal ever in MSG challenging Bob Backlund and eventually winning the title. He quickly disappeared and went back to NWA using the Iran Hostage crisis to generate heat. He came back for a six year run in WWF where he again defeated Bob Backlund for the world title ,as a traditional transitional heel champion between Bob and Hogan. Bob allegedly refused to drop the title to a non-wrestler in Hogan. he went on to feud with Sgt Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan teaming with Nikolai Volkoff during which the infamous DUI incident happened that affected kayfabe. His career went downhill after that and he did not have any major runs post that.
With 18 title runs, numerous shoot interviews and being a major part of wrestling boom, his sure is a forgotten legend mostly remembered for his shoot interviews. But if things got serious, he would humble you.