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

Today's lineup: Jorge Alfaro makes second straight start

Today's lineup: Jorge Alfaro makes second straight start

Catcher Jorge Alfaro is making his second straight start after Saturday's 10-8 win.

Alfaro, the Phillies' top catching prospect, has gone 0 for 11 with a walk in his three career starts, all coming in the last two weeks since he was called up. Alfaro was acquired in the Cole Hamels trade last July and is 1 for 13 with a walk in five games. 

The 23-year-old will catch Jake Thompson in a game that means a lot more to the Mets (1:10/CSN).

Giving Alfaro playing time allows Phillies fans the chance to get a glimpse of the future. Roman Quinn has received plentiful playing time after was called up in the mid-September and Alfaro, like Quinn, is trying to leave an impression on the Phillies' brass before spring training.

Quinn is not in the lineup on Sunday as Aaron Altherr and Cody Asche man the corner outfield spots. Freddy Galvis moved up to second in the lineup after staying in the bottom half of the lineup in recent games.

Ryan Howard will bat fifth, playing likely his final game at Citi Field with the Phillies. While he has batted just .203 in 52 career games at Citi Field, he alos has 11 home runs there after smashing 12 homers at Shea Stadium, the Mets' previous stadium.

Here's the full lineup that will oppose Robert Gsellman and the Mets.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. Aaron Altherr, RF
8. Jorge Alfaro, C
9. Jake Thompson, P

For more on today's game, check out Steven Tydings' game notes

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies (70-85) at Mets (82-73)
1:10 p.m. on CSN

After two rough losses for the Phillies and their pitching staff, the offense picked them up and came through with a 10-8 win. 22-year-old Jake Thompson takes the hill this afternoon while Robert Gsellman starts a crucial game for the Mets.

Here are five things to watch on Sunday.

1. All the pressure on New York, Gsellman
The Mets remain 0.5 games up on the final National League playoff spot. 

While their pitching staff was falling apart at the seams going into (and during) this series, the one saving grace for New York was its soft schedule, facing the Phillies seven times in its last 10. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals have to deal with the MLB best Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants end the year vs. the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, a loss on Saturday (thanks in part to Noah Syndergaard getting scratched with strep throat) puts the Mets in a precarious position. They're tied in the loss column with the Cards and Giants while fighting for one of two playoff spots and their rotation most closely resembles their Triple A team from Opening Day. 

Gsellman is one of those pitchers who started the year never having tasted the major leagues. In fact, he started the year in Double A. His first career start came at Citi Field last month against the Phillies and resulted in his first career loss after he allowed four runs in six innings. 

He's been better since that start, carrying a 3.13 ERA into Sunday. The 23-year-old righty will likely start vs. the Phillies again next weekend, meaning the Mets' season rides in part on a rookie with just 31 2/3 innings in the majors. 

2. Young man on a roll
While Gsellman lost his last start, Thompson has won his last two starts. The young righty is on a hot streak as his season nears an end.

Thompson's ERA has goe down in each of his last five starts, a stat made less impressive by the fact that he began that run with a 9.78 ERA. He has gone at least five innings in his last eight starts and has shown glimpses of why he was such a valued prospects.

In September, Thompson is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA over four starts. He's still allowed 33 baserunners in 23 1/3 innings during that span, but it's been much better than his lackluster August.

While Thompson is in line to start next weekend against the Mets as well, today could be his final start of the season. He has already set a career-high in innings and the Phillies may not want to extend him one more start.

3. What to look for in the season's final week
Including Sunday, the Phillies have just seven games left in their season. They're eliminated from playoff contention, but there's still plenty to watch as the Phils take on Braves and Mets.

Ryan Howard's final fairwell: With his five-year, $125 million deal coming to a close this year, Howard is almost certainly playing his final games in Philadelphia next week. He'll get plenty of starts and may even face the Mets' Bartolo Colon, who he's smacked three home runs off of in his career.

Playing spoiler: As mentioned above, the Mets have everything on the line both today and next weekend in Philadelphia. There are few better ways to end a postseason-less season than knocking a rival out of playoff contention.

More looks at the kids: Roman Quinn's emergence over the last two weeks has been fun to watch and Jorge Alfaro may get more chances in the last seven games. Beyond them, Thompson, Tommy Joseph and others close out a nice first season. 

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Maikel Franco has looked more like his 2015 self over the last few weeks. He's batting .310 in September with three home runs, matching his August total. His 15 RBI this month are his most in a month other than July. 

Mets: Asdrubal Cabrera has been on fire this month as well. After battting .405 in August, he's batting .333 and has five home runs, including the walk-off homer on Thursday. He's slugging .628 this month after putting up a .786 slugging percentage in August. 

5. This and that
• In Gsellman's August start vs. the Phillies, he only allowed one run while he was in the game. However, he left the bases loaded in the 7th with no outs before A.J. Ellis knocked in the decisive two-run double to give the Phils a lead they would not relinquish.

• Six different Phillies batters had hits off Gsellman, including Jimmy Paredes who went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. 

• Despite pitching injuries, the Mets have the eighth-best team ERA in September with a 3.64 average. The Phillies are 15th in baseball with a 4.10 ERA this month.

• The Phillies are 6-9 against the Mets this year. They're already ensured of a better finish than last year's 5-14 mark vs. New York.

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