Putting together a top 100 list is easy. There’s a formula. Think about a top 100 albums list. Number 100 is a marquee name to draw everyone in. The 90s are filled with recognisable entries, the 70s and 80s have some obscure picks, the 50s and 60s contain those whose reputation is either on the rise or on the fall. You get into the top 40 and you can start bringing out the big boys. We’ve done all that. We even had a wildcard entry with Sara Malm. And now is the time of the list where we go “Actually, “Stunt” by the Barenaked Ladies is one of the best albums of the 90s”. You’ll double-take, you’ll shake your head, but eventually you’ll agree: “It’s All Been Done” and “In The Car” are great singles and they both deserved more airplay.
People enjoy the Twitter work of @the_ironsheik. He’s a funny guy! His Twitter style is well-defined now, it’s all “fuck the [pop culture celebrity] i teach him the lesson old country style” or “the [NFL quarterback] is he the real or the gay?” People who wring their hands like cringing schoolmarms when @menshumor tweets a dumb blue gag will fall over themselves to RT and endorse these A+ rape and homophobia zingers. Sheiky Babe has even parlayed this Twitter fame into some real life money, convention appearances, shots on Howard Stern, the works.
But… this isn’t The Iron Sheik. This isn’t good.
The Iron Sheik’s government name is Hossein Ali Vaziri. He was born in Tehran back in 1943 and competed at the 1968 Olympics as a Greco-Roman wrestler (contrary to his future claims, he didn’t medal). He defected to America, at which point he became a professional wrestler. His fame mainly came in the late 70s and early 80s: not only did he pick up tag team gold as the partner of both Nikolai Volkoff and Bull Ramos, but he was also the symbolic bridge that passed the title from Bob Backlund to Hulk Hogan, signifying the birth of the “Rock N Wrestling” era and kickstarting the sport’s most profitable decade. His career slowed down after the mid 80s, his last wrestling gig of note was a SummerSlam 1991 appearance doing an Iraqi sympathiser gimmick.
In 2003, his daughter, Marissa Jeanne Vaziri, was brutally beaten and strangled to death by her then-boyfriend, Charles Reynolds. In the aftermath of his daughter’s death he began, like many other wrestlers who find themselves in a place of need, to abuse crack cocaine. Wrestling is a scummy industry, and so-called “shoot” interviews, where out-of-work grapplers are paid to insult and abuse their former co-workers under the guise of being “out of character”, are a good hustle for a man in need of cash.
So a clearly under-the-influence appears on one of these videos insulting the tag-team specialist B. Brian Blair, one half of The Killer Bees. He’s angry, confused and desperate. The video goes viral. Sheik, while still abusing crack cocaine, begins to develop a career of sorts, turning up on more and more of these shoot interviews and being pressurised into saying ever-more outrageous comments about wrestlers.
In 2009, @The_IronSheik was set up. Now: not a single tweet is written by him there. Not one. The content is provided by two “comedians”, The Magen Boys. Their job is to make bank for themselves by pushing a drug-addled man clearly still visibly struggling to come to terms with the death of his daughter. They write tweets adopting the language of a grieving man with a crippling addiction, and use it to pass humorous comment on the news and sports stories of the day.
So there you go. That account you thought was funny? The account you like? It’s full-scale manipulation and abuse of a man who clearly needs help, perpetuated by two schmucks who will just dip and bounce with their 20% as soon as Vaziri’s heart gives up on him. And they say there’s no money to be made in social media…
“i do interview for the dumb bitch who fight take a look and see the legend he know how to make world news”
“Mario Lopez, you are a cheap jew mexican piece of shit garbage low life”
“@carlosmencia I like you. You good man. You show Sheikie respect, bubba you the best.”