Legend vs. Legend: FanSince09 Interviews The Iron Sheik

Legend vs. Legend: FanSince09 Interviews The Iron Sheik

I love The Iron Sheik, and so do you.

Don’t even try to deny it.

If you were male and were born at any point during the 80s, you watched wrestling. No matter how sophisticated you like to think you are, you watched wrestling. Every Saturday, you tuned in for an hour of WWF Superstars. If you were allowed to stay up, you probably also watched Saturday Night’s Main Event. You bought all the merchandise. You had the magazines and posters. You most likely knocked a friend out cold by hitting him with one of those old school 8’ JLN action figures made out of solid, heavy rubber. And every few months, you’d go to the Spectrum for a House Show.

Before Monday Night RAW and monthly pay per views, the house show was king.  Title changes would rarely happen, but arenas would go nuts for the chance to see wrestling’s biggest names wrestle to count outs, no decisions and double disqualifications. We would go nuts for heroes like Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant, but secretly, we were there to see the heels. We wanted to see the bad guys get the crowd fired up.  And in my opinion, which is always correct, there was no better wrestling heel than The Iron Sheik.

Waving the Iranian Flag and often accompanied by his Soviet partner, Nikolai Volkoff, Iron Sheik would infuriate crowds by demanding they stand for the Iranian (or Soviet) national anthem, followed by a declaration “Iran Number One!” and spitting on America. In the post- Iran Contra Reagan era, this was red meat to fans looking for someone to hate.

Fast-forward 30 years.  Long retired from wrestling, The Iron Sheik has reestablished himself as a more than a wrestling superstar; he’s evolved into a full-fledged Social Media Brand.  Instead of pissing off arenas full of fans, Sheik is now famous for calling out celebrities and giving his daily thoughts on sporting events, politics and life.  Kids who loved to hate him are now adults who can’t wait to see what he’ll say next.

Even a legendary WWE Champion needs some additional exposure and knowing that I’m the voice of our Fanbase, Sheik and his representatives reached out for an interview: legend on legend.  Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to ask the hard hitting questions that the Philadelphia fanbase demands.

Sheikybaby’s answers are in caps, per his request.

FanSince09: Growing up, I used to go to WWF house shows at the Philadelphia Spectrum, where you had many great matches.  Do you have any special memories of matches or moments you had in Philadelphia?

The Iron Sheik: I REMEMBER I WORK WITH THE SLAUGHTER IN THE SPECTRUM. WE MAKE A LOT OF NOISE AND STEAL THE SHOW. I WAS HOTTEST THING IN THE BUSINESS. ALSO I REMMEBER I ONCE BREAK THE BACK OF THE JABRONI TITO SANTANA

Philadelphia was the home of ECW, which pioneered the hardcore style of wrestling.  What are you feelings about ECW? Do you feel Extreme/Hardcore wrestling has helped or hurt the business?

THEY TRY HARD THE INTELLIGENT JEW MY GOOD FRIEND THE PAULY VERY SMART HE MAKE GOOD BUSINESS. BUT YOU SEE ONLY ONE EMPEROR OF ROME ONLY ONE KENNEDY MCMAHON. NOBODY MORE INTELLIGENT THAN MY #1 BOSS AND THE WWF OR WWE.

You were the greatest heel of all time.  Now that wrestling has moved away from colorful characters and gimmicks, do you think there will ever be a heel as hated as you were?  Who do you think is the best heel working today?

ONLY ONE IRON SHEIK ONLY ONE MUHAMMED ALI ONLY ONE MICHAEL JACKSON. MY TIME I MOST BELIEVABLE BECAUSE OF THE HOSTAGE SITUATION. YOU CANNOT TRY TO DO SAME THING AGAIN AND ALL TV NOT SURE WRESTLING CHANGE. TODAY I LOVE THE BROCK LESNAR I LOVE THE CM PUNK. THEY LOVE THE BUSINESS AND RESPECT THE LEGEND

The Philadelphia 76ers recently drafted Arsalan Kazemi, their first Iranian born player.   What advice would you give him about being an Iranian sports star playing in the US?

OH BUBBA YOU ASK EXCELLENT QUESTION. THE ARSALAN GOOD ATHLETE AND HE FROM THE IRAN MY FIRST HOME. I HOPE HE WORK HARD HE TRAIN HE BECOME ONE DAY IRON SHEIK CLASS. HE NEED TO SHOW ME THAT HE READY SO I CAN RESPECT HIM.

Which is your favorite Rocky movie?  If you were cast as Rocky's opponent, would you have put Rocky over? 

BUBBA I LOVE THE ROCKY LIKE I LOVE MY GOOD FRIEND THE ROCK. ALL THE MOVIE GOOD BECAUSE THEY FIGHT WITH THE HEART LIKE THE LEGEND

There is actually a statue of Rocky at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  If someone made an Iron Sheik jawn, where would it be? 

HAHA, BUBBA MY STATUE BE EVERYWHERE. BECAUSE I HAVE MY FANS IN EVERY CITY COAST TO COAST THEY KNOW ABOUT THE LEGEND. I LOVE THEM FOREVER BECAUSE THEY RESPECT ME.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia in 1776.   Which founding father do you think would make the best wrestler?  I’d go with Ben “The Body” Franklin.

HE GOOD GIMMICK MAN HE KNOW HOW TO TALK LIKE THE JESSE VENTURA. THEY KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS AND HOW TO MAKE THE PEOPLE LOVE THEM.

Do you like Philly Cheesesteaks?  Whiz, Provo, Swis or American?

OH I LOVE THAT SANDWHICH. I GET ONE WITH THE NASTY BOYS THEY SHOW ME. AMERICAN CHEESE MAKE ME HAPPY

Smh. Provo or Whiz were the only acceptable answers. I’ll let that slide, since it’s still better than Ben Revere’s first steak.

So Ock, besides wrestling, do you follow any other sports?  Are you a fan of any of the Philly teams?

I LOVE ALL THE SPORTS. I LOVE THE BASKETBALL THE PHILADEPLHIA PLAYER THE SPENCER HAWES HE RESPECT ME AND I LOVE HIM FOREVER. I LOVE THE FOOTBALL AND THE HOCKEY.

Lighting Round:  I’m going to list the name of some prominent Philadelphia entertainers and athletes, and you tell me whether or not they’re The Real.  

Boys II Men

HALF AND HALF

Will Smith

THE REAL

Roy Halladay

THE REAL

Donovan McNabb

THE VIRGIL

Coal Hammels

HE NO GOOD JABRONI PUNK. I DON’T LIKE HIM I DON’T RESPECT HIM BECAUSE HE THINK HE BIG DEAL I CAN BREAK HIS NECK PUT HIM IN CAMEL CLUTCH MAKE HIM HUMBLE.  F THE COAL HAMMELS

OK, that was the greatest moment in the history of our great sport and probably the highlight of my life.

Now, some readers may not know this:  You’ve taken to IndieGogo to fundraise for a documentary about your life.  What’s your goal with releasing the documentary?   

I WORK WITH MY AGENTS TO I PUT TOGETHER MY LIFE MOVIE. THIS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME BECAUSE THE PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ALL ABOUT IRON SHEIK. THEY KNOW ONLY WRESTILNG SIDE. THIS WAY NO MY TIME TO LET THE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE LEGEND

You've raised a nice chunk of change so far, how does it make you feel to see so many wrestling fans that want to give back to you?

OH EXCELLENT. I LOVE MY WRESTLING FANS I LOVE MY TWITTER FANS. THEY SUPPORT ME AND THEY LET ME SPEAK WITH THE HEART. THIS WAY NOW MY TIME TO SHARE WITH THEM AND RESPECT THEM IRON SHEIK CLASS

The wrestling industry doesn't provide a lot of help or support for wrestlers once their career ends, do you think fundraising projects like this are a good way to help former wrestling superstars get by?

BUBBA, WRESTLING TOUGHEST SPORT. WE ON THE ROAD 300 DAY A YEAR WE HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELF ONLY WAY TO SAVE. NO TIME OFF BECAUSE YOU GET HURT YOU LOSE YOUR JOB. THIS WAY VERY DIFFICULT. I THINK ALL THE WORKERS NEED TO BE SMART THEY KNOW ONE DAY THEY HAVE TO BE SMART. NOW I HOPE THE FANS REMEMBER ME AND THEY HELP ME SO I DON’T BE FORGOTTEN.

What's next for you after the documentary?  

WE SEE WHAT HAPPEN BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE CALL THEY WANT TO WORK WITH THE LEGEND BUT I NOT IN GOOD SHAPE I NEED TO GET BETTER SO THE PEOPLE CAN SEE MORE OF THE IRON SHEIK

Everyone knows I'm a legend on twitter, but am I Iron Sheik class yet?  If not, how can I put myself over?

BUBBA YOU ARE A LEGEND BECAUSE YOU RESPECT THE LEGEND. THAT IS THE #1 RULE. AFTER THAT YOU RESPECT YOURSELF YOU ALWAYS BE HUMBLE YOU ALWAYS SHOW THE PEOPLE YOU ARE THE REAL. THIS WAY YOU BECOME #1. IF YOU DON’T YOU ARE BIG TIME JABRONI DON’T WASTE MY TIME

You can help finance The Iranian Legend: The Iron Sheik Story by donating here.

The Sheik is offering a variety of perks, but more importantly, the funds raised will allow Sheik to have ankle and knee surgery that will allow The Sheik to get back on his feet and pursue career opportunities.

Thanks to Magen Boys Entertainment for giving Sheik the chance to be interviewed by the voice of Philadelphia.   My inner 8 year old is marking out.

Previously: FanSince09's Lunch with Sixers CEO Adam Aron: A Troll's Remorse

You can follow FanSince09 on Twitter here. Photoshops by @_magowan, @ThePhilaPanda and @ZooWithRoy

Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 1

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Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

The Phillies' late-May slide continued in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night.
 
Aaron Nola delivered a solid start, but got poor run support. The Phillies entered the game averaging 3.2 runs per game, lowest in the majors.
 
The Nationals scored all their runs on home runs.
 
The Phillies have lost nine of their last 11 games. They are 1-7 in their last eight and have gone from 25-19 and two games back in the NL East to 26-26 and 5½ games back.
  
Starting pitching report
Nola went six innings and allowed two runs, both on solo homers. He walked one and struck out six. He is 4-4 with a 2.88 ERA.
 
Washington right-hander Joe Ross (5-4) pitched a strong game. He gave up just three hits and a run over seven innings. He walked two and struck out five. Ross has given up just two runs over 14 innings in his last two starts.
 
Bullpen report
Jonathan Papelbon closed it out for the Nats in a non-save situation.
 
At the plate
The Phillies had just four hits. They have been held to two or fewer runs 20 times in their 52 games.

Cesar Hernandez tripled home the Phillies' only run.

Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy accounted for the Nationals’ first two runs pair of solo homers against Nola. Danny Espinosa smacked a two-run homer off Colton Murray in the ninth and Stephen Drew followed with an inside-the-park homer.
 
Murphy also singled in the game. He had 47 hits in the month of May, tying a Washington/Montreal franchise record that had previously been shared by Al Oliver and Marquis Grissom.

Lineup stuff
Mackanin was trying to send Hernandez a message by batting him eighth (see story).
 
Bryce Harper did not play for Washington. He was hit on the right leg by a pitch in Monday night’s game.
 
Slumping Ryan Howard started at first base and went hitless in three at-bats to fall to .154. He hit .101 (7 for 69) in the month of May.
 
Howard will not start Wednesday night against Max Scherzer. He is 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts against Scherzer. Tommy Joseph will start that game.
 
Minor matters
Cody Asche’s minor-league rehab stint expires Wednesday. He could rejoin the team at any time.
 
Up next
 The series concludes on Wednesday night. Lefty Adam Morgan (1-3, 6.67) pitches against Washington right-hander Scherzer (5-4, 4.05).

Drexel alum Ken Tribbett enjoys 'special' week for Union

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Drexel alum Ken Tribbett enjoys 'special' week for Union

CHESTER, Pa. — For more than a month, Union center back Ken Tribbett waited patiently on the sidelines, hoping to get the starting spot back that he had and then lost.

Last week, he indeed got back on the field … and then some.

After Joshua Yaro separated his shoulder in Orlando on Wednesday, Tribbett proceeded to notch his first MLS goal and assist, before playing the full 90 minutes in front of 30 family members in his home state of Colorado on Saturday.

It was quite the eventful week for someone who wasn’t expected to play at all during the road trip, let alone accomplish a couple of emotional milestones.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Tribbett told reporters from Tuesday’s training session after the Union returned home following hard-fought road draws vs. Orlando City SC and the Colorado Rapids. “For me, being out a month, mentally I had to make sure I stayed tuned in. And when I got my chance, I stepped in and was ready to go.”

Even if you are mentally prepared, it’s still not an easy thing to step in at center back in the middle of a game, considering that’s a position that rarely gets changed. Making things even more difficult was the fact that Yaro, who took over starting duties after Tribbett rolled his ankle in April, had been looking every bit like the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft.

“Josh was playing a great game in Orlando,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “If you go back and watch the tape, he was one of our top performers. Ken stepped in at the end of the first half, which is challenging at center back — not a position you like to sub at all. But Ken came in pretty seamlessly and got the goal, which is a bonus, obviously.”

You can call it a really big bonus.

Tribbett was never expected to even be in MLS this year after failing to get much notice following a standout career at Drexel.

And he certainly wasn’t expected to log much playing time this season with the Union, who added Yaro and Anderson, a Brazilian, to a position that already featured a rising star in Richie Marquez.

So surprises are nothing new for Tribbett, who started the first five games of the year after soaring up the depth chart in the preseason and now has a goal to add to his unlikely MLS resume.

But it’s no surprise to him.

“I don’t think shock is the right word because I expect a lot of myself and I expect to score a couple of goals this year,” Tribbett said. “So it was just more relief to get the first one out of the way. Any time you score, it’s jubilation, so that was awesome. And to tie the game in Orlando after going down 2-1 was really good for the team, so everything about it was just a special moment.”

Tribbett, who also had a secondary assist in Orlando, enjoyed another “special moment” just three days later when he got to play in the Denver area where he grew up. That was not something he could have imagined after his circuitous journey took him from Colorado to Drexel to the USL’s Harrisburg City Islanders and now to the Union.

“That was probably a moment I won’t ever forget,” Tribbett said. “I had about 20 or 30 family members there, and for a lot of them it was the first time they’ve seen me play professionally. So being back home in Colorado was a special feeling.”

Although the Union backline stayed organized and surrendered only a couple of shots on target in Colorado, Curtin did say it wasn’t the best performance from Tribbett. But the Union coach is ready to lean on him again for Wednesday’s game vs. the Columbus Crew at Talen Energy Stadium (7 p.m./TCN) while Yaro gets an MRI on his shoulder.

“He did fatigue at the end and I talked to him about it,” Curtin said of Tribbett. “He had a couple of little mistakes toward the end of the game. Part of that is your legs starting to fade. But it’s good for him that’s under his belt. He’ll be ready to go now [Wednesday] for the full 90 minutes.”

With the Union idle for two weeks following Wednesday’s game because of a Copa America layoff — and Tribbett’s place in the lineup uncertain from there — the Drexel alum is certainly excited to get back on the field for his first home game since April 8.

“It’s a very important game,” Tribbett said. “We want to go into the break with certain goals for ourselves. We want to be at the top of the conference, and if we win, we’ll achieve that goal. We want to keep one goal per game [allowed]. Right now, we’re one off that, so if we get a shutout tomorrow, we’ll be right back on track.”

Pete Mackanin sends Cesar Hernandez a message

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Pete Mackanin sends Cesar Hernandez a message

Pete Mackanin dropped second baseman Cesar Hernandez to eighth in the batting order for Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Nationals.

“If you want to call it a message you can call it a message,” Mackanin said.

Hernandez entered the game hitting .255 with a .616 OPS. Last year, he hit .272 with and .687 OPS.

“I expect more out of him,” Mackanin said. “I think he's a better hitter than he's shown. I think he's a .280 hitter and I think he's at .250. I want to see improvement. We need him to get back up to .280, where I think he belongs. He’s got to make adjustments. We need offense.”

Mackanin pointed to Hernandez’s double-play partner, shortstop Freddy Galvis, as an example of a player who has made improvements.

Galvis entered Tuesday night hitting .257 with a .696 OPS. But in the month of May, he was hitting .277 with a .708 OPS.

“Freddy is starting to come on,” Mackanin said. “He’s starting to make adjustments.”

Galvis has also played excellent defense.

The Phillies are a rebuilding club with a number of potential big-league contributors rounding out their development in the minors. The team’s top prospect is a shortstop – J.P. Crawford – and he’s in Triple A now. It’s not out of the question that he will be the team’s opening day shortstop next season.

Crawford’s eventual ascension impacts both Galvis and Hernandez. Galvis can also play second base. Whether Hernandez or Galvis becomes the second baseman when Crawford arrives could be determined by who hits. This is the time to make impressions.

“That's basically what it boils down to,” Mackanin said. “I've even talked to them about that — 'It's an important year for both of you because there are people who want to be in the big leagues that are in the minor leagues and want to take your job.' You have to approach it that way. You can't let down. You have to stay focused and work hard.”

While all signs point to Crawford taking over at shortstop in the future, Mackanin said Galvis’ defense should not be taken for granted.

“As well as Freddy is playing shortstop, you'd hate to move a guy like that out of that position,” Mackanin said. “It's a defensive position and he's been so good at it.”

Galvis entered Tuesday night with just two errors in 50 games. His .990 fielding percentage trailed only San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford and Detroit’s Jose Iglesias, both .995.