AKE THE F—K UP, JABRONI!” shouts the Iron Sheik. It’s lunchtime at his manager’s house in Toronto, and the Sheik is working. We’re at a kitchen table littered with plates of Persian food, a pack of Camel Filters, four empty cans of Coors Light, one bottle of Glenrothes whisky, and a gold-plated microphone.
To the Sheik’s right, a twenty-something computer programmer adjusts the mic. To the Sheik’s left, Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake, a 193cm ex-wrestler, passes the time rolling a joint and occasionally interrupting the Sheik’s takes. The sound bites are being recorded for a smartphone app called the Iron Sheik Alarm Clock. If you watched his merciless ringside rants in the 1980s or more recently heard his uncensored tirades on The Howard Stern Show, in person the Sheik is somehow even more deafening. A hefty, thick-necked 72-year-old with a heavy Middle Eastern accent, he speaks with a booming, syncopated cadence that suggests he needs both anger management training and a hearing aid.
“Monday? F—K THE MONDAY!”
“Good morning, YOU F—KING JABRONI!”
“Download my app OR GO F—K YOURSELF!”
These lines are fed to the Sheik by his managers, a pair of 34-year-old identical Persian twins named Page and Jian Magen, who have recently revitalised the Sheik’s career. The app is their idea – as is the Sheik’s trip to Toronto: in the span of 96 hours, he’ll be honoured/lambasted at two comedy roasts headlined by Gilbert Gottfried; he’ll sign hundreds of head shots and pose for photos at two VIP meet-and-greets; he’ll shoot a spec TV commercial for Bud Light in which he arm-wrestles a blonde actress in a pizza parlour; he’ll film his final interview for the documentary Iranian Legend: The Iron Sheik Story, which is available online now; he’ll storm Mayor Rob Ford’s office in Toronto and hijack a gaggle of TV news crews. Video of him insulting the politician – “The man eats a cheeseburger and smokes crack!!!” – will go viral.
Which brings us to the Sheik’s Twitter account. What started as a shits-and-giggles experiment has introduced the Iron Sheik to an audience beyond wrestling. Today getting heckled by @the_ironsheik has become, in some strange way, a testament to a celebrity’s relevance. No one is off-limits. Nothing is sacred.
“Adam Levine biggest douchebag cocksucker no good piece of shit…”
“Kim and Kanye get married same excitement as dead dog get raped by Michael Bolton sister”
“hello @MileyCyrus twerk my balls or i break your neck”
With more than 360,000 followers, his comeback is pretty remarkable.
“Save it for later!” Jian says as the Sheik pours more whisky.
“You trying to insult the legend?!” barks the Sheik, unleashing a grin that exposes his Chiclet-size chompers. “You think I can’t handle it?!”
“Just sip it,” pleads Jian, before telling me, “It’s gonna be a wild night. Fun for Sheik. Fun for fans. Crazy for us.”
For the full feature and images grab the July 2014 issue of MAXIM.
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