In a solemn announcement that reverberated through the world of professional wrestling, Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, popularly known as "The Iron Sheik," passed away at the age of 81 on Wednesday. The news of Vaziri's death was shared by his family on his official Twitter account.

Born in Iran in 1942, Vaziri initially pursued amateur wrestling in his home country before immigrating to the United States during the 1960s. Although he never competed in the Olympics himself, he played an influential role as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic wrestling team in 1972 and 1976, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

Vaziri's journey into the world of professional wrestling began when he was recruited by the legendary promoter Verne Gagne, who was in charge of the American Wrestling Association at the time. Gagne's wife, Mary, suggested that Vaziri adopt a villainous name and gimmick, thus giving birth to the infamous persona of The Iron Sheik.

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Embracing his new character with fervor, Vaziri proudly waved the Iranian flag as he entered the ring, donning his signature curled-up boots. Vaziri's portrayal of The Iron Sheik proved to be the perfect antagonist for wrestling icons such as Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, and Sgt. Slaughter. 

Throughout his illustrious career, Vaziri achieved numerous milestones. He held the WWF World Heavyweight Championship once. Additionally, during the 1980s, he formed a memorable championship tag team with Nikolai Volkoff, captivating audiences with their unique chemistry and formidable presence in the ring.

Beyond his famous moniker as "The Iron Sheik," Vaziri assumed various other ring names, including "Hussein Arab" and "Col. Mustafa," each one further adding to his ever-evolving legacy in the world of professional wrestling.

Over the years, the Bangor Auditorium had become a regular stop for World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) events, attracting fervent wrestling fans from around the region. 

In the spirit of nostalgia, let’s take a look at every time Vaziri wrestled in Bangor, according to the pro wrestling database,


WWF Live Event

May 2, 1979: 

Hussein Arab defeats SD Jones


WWF Live Event

June 13, 1979: 

Hussein Arab defeats Johnny Rodz


WWF Live Event

August 4, 1979: 

Hussein Arab defeats SD Jones


WWF Live Event

September 5, 1979: 

Hussein Arab defeats Dominic DeNucci

This event was headlined by a tag team match featuring Andre The Giant & Chief Jay Strongbow vs. The Valiant Brothers (Jerry Valiant & Johnny Valiant).


WWF Live Event

October 17, 1979: 

Bruno Sammartino defeats Hussein Arab


WWF Live Event

January 30, 1980: 

Larry Zbyszko defeats Hussein Arab by DQ


WWF Live Event

November 3, 1983: 

The Iron Sheik defeats SD Jones


WWF Live Event

January 13, 1984: 

WWF World Heavyweight Title: The Iron Sheik (c) defeats Chief Jay Strongbow (7:38)

The Iron Sheik, at the height of his notoriety, defended his WWF World Heavyweight Title against Chief Jay Strongbow, emerging victorious. It was a momentous occasion, as Vaziri was champion for only 28 days total before Hulk Hogan dethroned him on January 23, 1984. Bangor had a rare sight, seeing The Iron Sheik as champion.


WWF Live Event

March 16, 1984: 

Sgt. Slaughter defeats The Iron Sheik by Count Out


WWF Live Event

May 13, 1984: 

Bob Backlund defeats The Iron Sheik by Count Out


WWF Live Event

August 20, 1984: 

Andre The Giant defeats The Iron Sheik


ICW TV-Taping

October 9, 1987: 

The Iron Sheik vs. Tony Atlas - Double DQ

This was at a television taping for the wrestling company International Championship Wrestling, and would be the last time that Vaziri would wrestle in Bangor.

Credit: Ben Rose / Getty
Credit: Ben Rose / Getty

The legacy of The Iron Sheik extends far beyond his appearances in Bangor. He was a pioneer who left a permanent impact on the world of professional wrestling.

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