(Editor’s Note: This review comes to us from Aggressor Jason Sparta, the man behind our Creature Feature reviews.)
Hello, folks, Mister Sparta here. I may be the man behind the Creature Feature reviews, taking great joy in watching horror movies and breaking them down for you, the reader. But, this time, in lieu of my usual delving into all things spooky, I would like to switch gears and bring you something dealing with a subject very close to my heart: Professional wrestling.
For 12 years, I’ve been involved with the world of pro wrestling, which is why I’ve jumped at the chance to review The Sheik, a documentary about quite possibly the most iconic villain in pro wrestling history. So, lace up your boots, dear readers, because we’re about to sound the bell on this very special review.
Professional wrestling. The mention of it tends to drum up images of musclebound men in tights grappling and punching each other. But, it’s much more than that. In essence, professional wrestling is a much more complex beast than most people realize. One of these complex pieces is the character, or the ability to play a role not unlike an actor. And when it comes to character and pure raw wrestling talent, few can match the legendary Iron Sheik.
Born Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri in 1942, Iron Sheik came from an amateur wrestling background, earning the title of Iranian National Champion. It was in 1973 when he made the transition to professional wrestling, utilizing an all-american character the fans could relate to before adopting the now-iconic Iron Sheik character the fans despised, yet couldn’t get enough of. This popularity skyrocketed him into the World Wrestling Federation where he would attain massive success as the World Heavyweight Champion. He soon began to develop a reputation of being a badass, both in and out of the ring. His out-of-this-world in-ring presence was equaled only by his antics backstage. Any pro wrestler who knew him personally has a story to tell about Iron Sheik.
But, the world of professional wrestling has its pitfalls and its costs. In 1987, Iron Sheik and fellow wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan were stopped by New Jersey police, which resulted in drug possession charges. This incident caused a ripple effect that resulted in Iron Sheik’s fall from WWF and growing drug addiction, which spiraled out of control following the death of his daughter.
I have to be honest, there was a point when I wanted to turn off the television because it was too hard to watch the cruel and tragic fate of the once-great champion of the squared circle. But, in the interest of reviewing this fairly, I continued.
At his lowest point, Iron Sheik found the strength to turn his life around and conquer his drug addiction. Becoming a phoenix of sorts, rising from the ashes of his burned life, Iron Sheik found a new calling as an over-the-top social media persona and twitter sensation. In a sense, Iron Sheik’s career, and indeed his life, had come full circle as he was once more embraced by fans, both in wrestling as well as other areas of popular culture.
My final verdict? Go watch this documentary. This is a hilarious, heartbreaking, and in many ways life-affirming look into the life of a man who rose to the top only to fall and rise again. The Sheik pulls no punches in its portrayal of a man both in and out of the ring, his highs and his lows, his triumphs and tribulations, his damnation and redemption. At its core, it is a tale about the strength of spirit, that one can achieve success, that no obstacle is impossible to overcome through one’s own inner strength.
And that’s the bell to signal the end of this review, dear readers. Until next time, this is Mister Sparta reminding you to stay humble or else have your back broken. See you next time.