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The Rock Eulogizes The Iron Sheik, Credits Him for Originating Popular Insult
After news of WWE Superstar The Iron Sheik's death, his friends like The Rock, Mick Foley, and Triple H paid tribute online.
On Wednesday, The Iron Sheik’s official Twitter page released a statement announcing that he had died at age 81 but no cause of death was given. Regardless, after the impact the Superstar had over the years, there was no shortage of people whose lives he touched who quickly took to social media to honor him.
One of the first was actor Ken Jeong, who revealed that The Iron Sheik checked in on him at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic out of the goodness of his heart.
“Will never forget when @the_ironsheik checked in at the start of the pandemic. Rest in peace, and much love to his family. RESPECT THE LEGEND FOREVER,” he wrote.
After that, fellow WWE legend Mick Foley shared that, although they never truly got to know each other, he had respect for Iron Sheik after seeing him wrestle Bob Backlund at Madison Square Garden in 1983 and Sgt. Slaughter in 1984.
“Khosrow Vaziri was truly one of a kind. I send my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all those who loved him,” Foley concluded.
“So sad to hear [The Iron Sheik] passed away,” added the account of late Hall of Famer The British Bulldog. “Sending my love and condolences to his family. He will be so missed. What a legend.”
Rowdy Roddy Piper's account posted a photo of him, Sheik, and others from their heyday and wrote: “Our family is sad to hear that the Iron Sheik has passed. May his family and friends be surrounded with love at this time. Our sincere condolences for your loss. Rest in Peace Sheik.”
Triple H, 14-Time World Champion and current CCO of WWE, also took to Twitter to pay his respects.
“The legend. An all-time great performer and WWE Hall of Famer who brought his character to life and transcended our business,” he wrote. “My condolences to The Iron Sheik’s family, friends and fans.”
Finally, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared a lengthy video of himself at the gym, seemingly after just learning the news about the man he grew up with and his passing. Johnson made sure to include The Iron Sheik as a character in his autobiographical series Young Rock since he grew up calling him “Uncle Sheiky” and noted that he was a big help to him in his early days in the WWE (then WWF) locker room.
“There is no world like pro wrestling and when you’re a rookie, you’d better tie your boots up pretty fu--ing tight because that locker room is a tough one and if you can survive it, then you’ve got a good shot at making it,” he explained. “So when I first came into the WWE, The Iron Sheik had pulled me aside because, again, he was family… He said, ‘You come into the locker room, you sit down, you shut your mouth, you don’t say anything and you just watch and you learn, and then you understand who the good people are and who are the jabronis.’ As simplistic as that sounds, it was true. I sat there every night in the locker room and I just watched and I just learned.”
The Rock went on to credit The Iron Sheik with coming up with a catchphrase he later popularized as an iconic Superstar of his own.
“Of course, a couple of years later when I became The Rock, I borrowed the term jabroni," he said. "I used that word, that jabroni, by the way, ‘jabroni’ became a fixture in the lexicon, I believe it’s in the Webster's Dictionary now and they give me credit for it, no no no, the truth is, all the credit goes to the Iron Sheik because that was his word, he used it and I just came along and started using it in my promos.”
The Rock was slightly mistaken in that the word was not added to Webster’s Dictionary (yet) but rather to the comprehensive Dictionary.com, which did indeed credit The Rock. He concluded his video with a sincere thank you to the late Sheik.
“Iron Sheik, thank you for the memories, and perhaps more importantly, thank you for paving the way.”