[Review] The Sheik (2014)

16602_275x407I have been excited to check this documentary out for a while, and this week it finally got unleashed upon the world through Vimeo. As soon as I found out you bet I purchased the film and watched it straight away. This documentary is about former wrestler and current social media superstar Khosrow Vaziri aka The Iron Sheik.

He is someone I have been a fan of since as far back as I can remember, not only as a wrestler but through his insane YouTube videos and Twitter account. In the very early days when I was a kid, my family would watch wrestling, in thanks to my grandparents who absolutely loved it. In fact I found out that in the earlier years they would actually go to shows! During these early years my Dad who I am sure is a very closeted fan would cheer for The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. Such a fan was he, when we would all sit down to watch Raw (back during 2001) he would say “Marcella this is stupid, the wrestler here are not good, the best were the Iranian the Sheik and the Russian” and he would then recall how they used to piss off the crowd by singing their anthems and carry the flags and how Freddie Blassie would help them win by cheating. I might add my Dad certainly loved the foreigners, Sheik and Volkoff were always the best but Tajiri when he debuted in the WWE had his name right next to theirs.

russian iranian

So you can see, I’ve had a long history with the Iron Sheik, how could I not love the man who my Dad declared one of the best? In fact in those days I hired out old WWE shows so we could watch Iron Sheik and Volkoff and I could bond with my Dad over the thing I loved so much. Naturally I have always followed The Sheik and I’ve read about and seen (on his YouTube videos) his many ups and downs and how apparent it was he was suffering badly from substance abuse. It was sad to see, and this documentary actually covers everything and shows us that the man with so many demons and so many swear words is actually in a much better place now and he’s not using anymore.

This film documents Khosrow Vaziri from his early days in Iran, and he was an amateur wrestler back then and one of the best (he wont let you forget it either haha). He actually served as a bodyguard for the Shah of Iran and due some events back then, he decides to leave Iran and head to America. It was here he actually found himself as a wrestling coach for the US team! So he really made things work, and before long he got the attention of Verne Gagne and turned to Professional Wrestling. He was a beast in look and he certainly had the ‘it’ factor, and JR said that he possibly didn’t get bigger back then because he wasn’t bully. But things changed when the gimmick of The Iron Sheik came along and he was the bad guy. The timing of it was all perfect and he was the ultimate heel. For those in the know, don’t need for me to say where things led to, but just in case … he wound up as World Champion after Bob Backlund chose him to lose to. Which then led to Hulk Hogan beating Sheik for the belt.

jimmyhart the sheik

These early days are very interesting to hear about, there are a lot of stories I didn’t actually know about and Sheik really did handle himself pretty well. It is true if he didn’t drop the belt to Hogan, things would have been quite different. The documentary also shows Sheik at convention and seeing all the old guys, and his face lights up with everyone, and their faces in turn light up as well. It is actually incredible to see the rapport he has with Hulk Hogan someone who on YouTube he doesn’t have anything nice to say (but he is playing a character). And incase you were wondering, this doco does cover the drug bust with Sheik and Hacksaw and we do hear from both about it. It does not shy away from anything, and I think that makes this a must see documentary.

It does show and go through some really dark days with Sheik, where he is at his lowest, no money and addicted to drugs, which really came to a head when his daughter Marissa was murdered. Despite the help he definitely fights getting better but eventually after losing everything (including his wife) he starts to fight and begins the journey to get his wife back and to have a family. Through social media (Twitter and YouTube) he becomes famous again, people have rediscovered him or discovered him and now he has so many more fans. He’s created a character that people love and find funny and its allowed him to redirect that negative energy into something positive. In the more recent years you can see the profound change this has had on him, he’s happy!

the sheik

This is a rollercoaster of a ride, you’ll laugh and cry and want to give Sheik a big hug by the end of it. The film is told extremely well, and it is made with such passion you can feel it. There are interviews of course with Sheik, but also The Rock (hear the origins of jabroni), Mick Foley, Jake Roberts Nikolai Volkoff, Jim Ross and many more. For wrestling fans, Sheik fans and people who love documentaries this is a MUST SEE!


You can watch The Sheik at this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thesheik


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