My loyal reader(s) already know about my latest Iron Sheik interview. In short, I interviewed many past champions for the upcoming WWE Championship book. Most of the conversations lasted about one hour … some more, some a little less. But my talk with Sheik clocked in at about 15 minutes, mainly because I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying. One thing I was able to understand, though, was his passion. Decades later, he still looks back fondly at his brief run with the gold. Much of our talk wound up in the book, but here’s a brief look at some of the former champ’s comments that didn’t make the book. I find you’ll enjoy it more if you read it with Sheik’s broken-English accent in mind:
The Iron Sheik on celebrating his WWE Championship win:
My wife was with me that night. I surprised her and took her to the Garden and she was shocked I become champion. And after that, myself and my wife we went to hotel and relaxed. There were a lot of Japanese and American photographer want to take my picture, but I want my privacy. I was with my wife and we just relaxed. After three-time AAU Champion, Iranian Champion, Olympic whatever, to me it was normal, but still I was very happy. Because I was the first Iranian to come to MSG New York and become champion it was a different feeling from when I won my AAU gold medal. I was really happy. My wife was really happy. I used to live in New Haven, Connecticut, but that night I stayed in Ramada Inn in New York City and I had a really good night.
Who is the greatest WWE Champion of all time?
Bruno Sammartino sold out MSG more than anybody. Also, Mr. Bob Backlund was another great champion for six years. Nobody beat him other than the Iron Sheik. And myself because I was only Iranian. but Bruno was one of the greatest.
The Iron Sheik on Hulk Hogan:
Hulk Hogan didn’t have any clue about Greco Roman wrestling. Hulk Hogan was special, though, because he had charisma. he was a body builder and he was a good talker and he was American. Also, he was in the right place at the right time.
The Iron Sheik on his short reign:
I’m not really upset, but I wish I had more of a return match with Mr. Hulk Hogan. That way I would be more happy. But even though it was short, it was a big honor for me.
The rest of our conversation made its way into the book. There’s a lot about Verne Gagne offering Sheik $100,000 to break Hogan’s legs in the ring, his admiration for Vince McMahon, Sr., the Iranian hostage situation and how it changed the course of his title reign, and more. Click here to pre-order the book.