Sgt. Slaughter Remembers Iron Sheik: 'He Loved Every Second Of [The Hate]'

The world lost one of the greatest bad guys in professional wrestling when the Iron Sheik passed away earlier this week. Since the news broke, there has been an outpouring of emotional tributes from across the entire wrestling world. We've seen posts from fans like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who grew up watching the reviled villain, modern competitors like Ariya Daivari who were inspired to travel the trail he blazed, and his greatest rivals like Hulk Hogan. Now, another one of his memorable adversaries chimes in with some beloved memories of the WWE Hall of Famer.


While speaking to TMZ, Sgt. Slaughter shared a number of cherished moments he's had with the Iron Sheik over the years. Although, he also provided some insight to what the man behind the character was really like. First, despite being such a hated figure by the fans, the former WWE Champion relished the emotional response and still managed to maintain a healthy separation between work and real life.

"He just got the people so irate and he loved every second of it," said Sarge. "[But he was] a family man completely. We were characters, but we both had families. We loved our families. Outside the ring was a different story [because we] never brought any [of our characters] in the house... [But in the ring,] we were the kind of entertainers that if you bought a ticket to see us you got your money's worth."


'He loved the fans'

Though he was best known as a notorious heel who scared children for the majority of his career, Slaughter revealed that "Sheiky Baby" loved the younger members of the audience almost as much as he loved the business itself. He thrived off the hate and vitriol he received from crowds since that only made them love babyfaces like "Hulkamania" or the "Real American Hero" even more.


"He just loved wrestling and, whether people know this or not, he loved his fans," recalled Slaughter. "He just loved to perform and he loved the young children. But once he went through that locker room and toward the ring, he was all business. He was the Iron Sheik... [and he] was never afraid to put a little heat on him [when] he went into the full Iron Sheik character."

Thanks to Sheik's willingness to embrace heat, he welcomed the storyline with Slaughter that stemmed from the hostage crisis in Iran, which firmly established a previously heel Sarge as a major hero in the eyes of the WWE Universe. And though they each might have found similar levels of success on their own, the Iron Sheik and Sgt. Slaughter truly reached new heights when they worked together.


If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit TMZ Sports with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.