WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik is currently crowdsourcing for a documentary on his life.
To some, he is a world class amateur wrestler, a hero in his home country of Iran, a former WWE champion and one of the best pro wrestlers of all time. Others see him as a man troubled by drug and alcohol abuse and a comical caricature of the once mighty figure he portrayed on worldwide television.
Whatever perception you may have of the man, expect all topics to be addressed in this documentary.
“Sheikie Baby” as he is affectionately known to his friends and fans, is managed by Page and Jian Magen, twin brothers who are event promoters and entrepreneurs out of Toronto.
“My twin brother and I have been blessed in our lives. Growing up many of us watched wrestling on the TV. We not only watched it we lived it," Page explained. “You see my father immigrated from Iran to Toronto in the '70s. he was a world class table tennis champion. He left everything behind. The only person he kept in touch with was his best friend who was also a world class athlete.
"That person I am referring to is none other than the Iron Sheik. Every month or 2 The Sheik and other pro wrestlers would come to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto to perform in front of the tens of thousands of screaming fans. We were not only fans we were part of their entourage. Fast forward, my brother and I still have the same love and affection towards pro wrestling but it has now gone a step further. We are making a movie. ... It is about our hero. It is about someone we consider family. It is about his life."
The Iron Sheik joined me for a Q&A over the phone about the documentary and his life and career (for full effect, I've decided to leave his words intact -- at least the printable ones):
What will fans see in this documentary and why should they help support it?
All my intelligent fans will see the legend in every way. My old country background from the Iran when I come to the America and I become America dream. From the Olympic coach to my life in WWF [now WWE] to now that I become world famous again you see the A to the Z. A lot of my friends in the business and Hollywood share the love for the legend also.
The crazy Iron Sheik that people see today, through videos and tweets - how much of that is the real Khosrow Vaziri?
Oh, you know. If somebody cross me wrong way and they [mess] with me that is the real Iron Sheik. You never insult the legend. You never show no respect to me...
Are drugs a part of your life today?
Bubba, in my old day I party on the road with all my friends. Now, I respect my family I respect the world and I don’t do anything anymore. I happy to say I now clean. This because I have my time. Now my time to be leader and teach next generation about the real legend and how to be the real.
Do people tend to exaggerate your drug/alcohol use because of what they have seen online?
The people know I'm a legend. They know I make the world news and they know they cant [mess] with me no matter what.
How do you want people to remember you?
I love the people to see me as gold medal, Hall of Fame, world champion that knows how to make the world news and how to come from oldest counrty in the world to be most famous Iranian in the history.
I haven't really seen too many comments from you about your time as Colonel Mustafa in WWE around 1991. What do you remember of that run?
I don’t like the gimmick, because it was not the real. I am from the Iran they say I am from the Iraq. Only because of the Iraq war they put me in that place. Now they know I always be the legend Iron Sheik
Was that run enjoyable for you at all? Do you wish that you were booked more, higher on the card?
I love the Sgt. Slaughter because we were in middle of hostile situation. They know I biggest heel in the world at the time. They know I get over everywhere I go. Also me and the Hogan could go forever but they afraid I was going to break his [expletive] leg and make him humble that way they cut it short.
You are talking about your WWE title match with Hulk Hogan in January of 1984, where Verne Gagne asked you before the match to break Hogan's legs for real. How do you think your career would have played out if you had actually gone through with it?
Bubba, I break Hogan leg they never be the Hulkamania. They never see the legend because he never work again. That way maybe bad for wrestling business because the Hulk Hogan know I make the Hulkamania and that the WWF never be as popular if no Hulkamania.
You can support Iron Sheik's documentary project at this link: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-iron-sheik-story